Financial Tools

Successful housing acquisition, preservation, and new construction often require creative application of financing tools. Arlington County works with developers to package available local, state, and federal financing resources for affordable housing development.

Arlington County Resources

The County currently provides funding from several different sources for multifamily and single-family loan programs: Local Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF), Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Federal Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), and the Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) fund. From these sources, the County Board appropriated through its budget adoption process approximately $15 million in new FY 2019 funds for multifamily and single-family development projects.

Developers should apply for these development funds through the County’s Notice of Funding Availability process for federal and local loan funds, which generally occurs every 12-18 months. Please view this web page for more information.

Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF)

The Affordable Housing Investment Fund (AHIF) is the County’s main financing program for affordable housing development. Since its creation in 1988, AHIF has helped to create the majority of Arlington’s over 8,000 approved affordable rental units that benefit low- and moderate-income households. In conjunction with the Affordable Housing Ordinance, this fund provides incentives for developers through low-interest loans for new construction, acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing. Since the inception of the AHIF program, the County has originated more than $340 million in loans for affordable units.

A total of $14.3 million has been allocated for AHIF for Fiscal Year 2019. In addition to general fund and recordation tax contributions, the fund is supported by loan repayments and developer contributions. For most projects, every $1 of County loan funds can leverage $3 in private funds.

Federal Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds

As with AHIF, the County uses federal funds to support affordable housing development, including acquisition, rehab, and new construction. (Note that the County also uses federal funds to support homeownershipcommunity service grants, outreach, and staff administration and planning)

Columbia Pike Transit Oriented Affordable Housing (TOAH) Fund

This fund was designed to promote affordable housing development within designated boundaries of the Columbia Pike corridor. Affordable housing developers who are applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits may put TOAH funds toward infrastructure-related items (like underground utilities, tree preservation and streetscaping) and County fees (such as Certificate of Occupancy, building permits and tap fees) to help keep their project under the Virginia Housing and Development Authority Total Development Cost limits and increase competitiveness for tax credits.

The Columbia Pike Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Area was established as a funding mechanism for the TOAH. Within specifically designated commercial and multi-family residential revitalization districts, 25 percent of tax revenue generated by new development and property appreciation will be dedicated to affordable housing along the Pike. For more information, please see the County’s TOAH Guidelines FY 2020.

Bond Financing

Housing staff can assist developers with various bond financing options:

Tax Exemptions and Credits

Several tax incentives are available to developers who qualify.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

This federal program encourages Affordable Housing development by providing a federal income tax credit to property owners, and incentives for private investors to participate in construction and rehabilitation of housing for low-income families. Developers may obtain this tax credit for projects with committed affordable units. For program details, visit the VHDA website.

Historic Preservation Tax Credits

These credits are often used in conjunction with the LIHTC program to finance preservation projects. To determine if a property qualifies for the credits, contact the County’s Historic Preservation Program at 703-228-3812.  More information about federal and state rehabilitation tax credit programs is available at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Opportunity Zone Investments

Please see description under Other Financial Tools.

Other Financial Tools for Affordable Housing Development

In addition to the resources above, Arlington County has identified other financing tools that are directly available to affordable housing developers wishing to create or preserve affordable housing in Arlington. Developers should use the information that follows to apply directly to these organizations for funding.

Washington Housing Initiative's Impact Pool Fund

The Washington Housing Initiative (WHI) is a market-driven approach to the shortage of affordable housing in the greater Washington metropolitan area. WHI seeks to marshal private and philanthropic capital for the preservation and creation of affordable housing in changing communities through two primary vehicles: the Impact Pool and the Washington Housing Conservancy. WHI is a partnership between JBG SMITH and Federal City Council, and focuses on investments in high-impact locations – areas that are currently affordable but anticipated to rapidly become more expensive over the next 5-10 years.

The Impact Pool (Pool) is a $100-$150 million investment vehicle managed by JBG SMITH Impact Manager, a subsidiary of JBG SMITH Properties, that will provide low-cost junior mortgages for the acquisition and development of 2,000-3,000 units of affordable housing in high-impact locations. The Pool mortgages will be targeted toward projects in which 40% of the households are earning 60% of AMI or less, and 51% of the households are earning 80% of AMI or less. The Pool, given its partnership with Federal City Council, is committed to deploying 50% of the capital to Washington, DC proper, while the remaining 50% will be available to other high-impact locations in the greater Metropolitan area. This financing is available to layer with other sources of capital and could potentially replace a portion of local soft debt.

WHI pursues a ‘triple-bottom line’ approach on financial, social, and environmental impact investing, following the Global Impact Investing Network metrics.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Provides another source of funding to developers preserving or developing affordable housing in Arlington, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information
AJ Jackson
bajackson@jbgsmith.com
Washington Housing Initiative

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

PNC Preservation Fund

The PNC Preservation Fund (Fund) operates through PNC Real Estate, and is backed by a corporate sponsorship. The primary focus of the Fund is the preservation of “at risk” market-rate affordable housing. To achieve this, PNC identifies properties that are near the end of their Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) 15-year compliance period or non-LIHTC properties that are at risk of redevelopment. Instead of properties being sold to market-rate developers, PNC purchases them to preserve and extend affordability of the units.

In evaluating potential purchases, PNC focuses on properties in primary and secondary markets, smaller markets with subsidized rents, or Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) markets. PNC holds the property for three to five years, after the which the property is sold to a nonprofit developer at the fair market value based on a limited scope appraisal. The developer is responsible for applying for new or additional LIHTC so that units may be renovated and affordability extended.  In some cases, PNC may stay in the deal if a developer uses a multi-investor fund upfront during the purchase.

The PNC Preservation Fund size is expected to reach $200 million. PNC has worked with several properties in the DMV area, including two deals in Leesburg, VA and three in Prince George’s County, MD. They seek developers who are familiar with and have experience in the market.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Nonprofit developers can partner with PNC to quickly mobilize financing and preserve at-risk properties.

This model also may provide developers with an option to purchase a fair market value property that would extend LIHTC eligibility and affordability, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information
John Nunnery
John.Nunnery@pnc.com
Affordable Housing Preservation Investments 

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Enterprise Local Impact Fund (Our Region, Your Investment)

Introduced in 2016, Our Region, Your Investment has allowed local investors—community members, foundations, banks, nonprofits and others—to buy Impact Notes that finance the preservation of affordable housing in the Washington, D.C., region. In partnership with the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, this is a local impact investing initiative that has raised more than $12 million from community stakeholders for investment in affordable housing projects.

Developers apply for funding raised through this initiative directly through Enterprise. Enterprise’s Loan Fund has provided financing to six affordable housing developments so far, preserving nearly 650 homes. For example, through Our Region, Your Investment, the Loan Fund provided McCormack Baron Salazar with a $1.5 million predevelopment loan to finance early-phase activities for Clarendon Court in Arlington, including relocation planning. This fund also supported APAH’s Gilliam Place development with a $750,000 loan.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

As a mission-driven lender with a DC-VA-MD focus, Enterprise’s Loan Fund can provide gap financing, particularly difficult to secure predevelopment loans, to support Arlington’s affordable housing projects.

Contact Information

Sharon Bollers
Enterprise Community Loan Fund

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Opportunity Zone Investments

The Opportunity Zone tax benefit, created through the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, holds opportunity for incentivized economic activity in local communities such as Arlington. Opportunity Zones are the first community development tax incentive program created since the Clinton Administration. Investors are eligible to receive a temporary tax deferral and other tax benefits by investing unrealized capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF) for a minimum of five years. In return, developers may access this capital for affordable housing and other eligible uses.

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) website provides an Opportunity Zone locator. DHCD also helps connect potential investors with eligible projects located within Opportunity Zones. The County may work as a facilitator between investors and potential projects, although investments are made directly by investors to projects (i.e., the County is not a pass-through agency). More information about opportunity zones in Arlington may be found on the County’s Opportunity Zone website.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Arlington has two Opportunity Zone areas that are eligible to receive Opportunity Fund investments, including projects that include affordable housing. More information about the opportunity zones in Arlington may be found on the County’s OZ website.

Contact Information

Michael Stiefvater
mstiefvater@arlingtonva.us
Arlington Economic Development

Kristen Dahlman
oz@dhcd.virginia.gov
Virginia DHCD Opportunity Zones

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE)

Many older buildings have windows, air conditioning, lighting, heating, or other systems that are not energy efficient. Upgrading to modern clean energy systems can be a significant cost to property owners, but may curtail future operating expenses. Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy, or C-PACE, is a county-wide voluntary program that enables commercial building owners, including owners of multifamily housing, to finance up to 100% of eligible energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water efficiency improvements with affordable, long-term, non-recourse financing. The financing is provided by private capital providers at competitive rates and is tied to the property. Thus, the owner is not required to sign a personal guarantee.

Upon finance closing, a voluntary special assessment is recorded on the improved property to secure the investment. The special assessment is then billed and collected by the capital provider and repaid by the building owner over the financing term. In many cases, the energy cost savings can exceed the PACE payments, enabling capital-intensive upgrades and cash-flow-positive projects. Additionally, as the assessment is tied to the property and not the owner, the repayment obligation can transfer to the next owner if the property is sold.

There are several potential benefits to choosing C-PACE to finance eligible improvements. The financing provided is long-term, up to 25 years, and requires no upfront, out-of-pocket costs. Further, eligible improvements add value to the property while reducing energy use and costs. Additionally, in well-designed projects, cash flow can be improved based on energy savings. Finally, the program requires no personal guarantee for property owners.

To apply for this program, applicants must provide total project construction costs by trade component to the C-PACE program administrator (see contact information below) and confirm that buildings will be designed to exceed the current energy code. The C-PACE program administrator then determines the maximum C-PACE financing amount for each project.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

For developers wishing to preserve existing market-rate affordable housing or develop new affordable housing units, C-PACE provides another source of funding, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information

Scott Dicke
SDicke@PACEworx.com
Arlington C-PACE

Rich Dooley
rdooley@arlingtonva.us
Arlington C-PACE

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Metro Industrial Areas Foundation

The Metro Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF) Community Restoration Fund, LLC (Fund), operates through Metro IAF. The Fund’s purpose is to finance acquisition, pre-development and redevelopment expenses for affordable housing. The Fund targets areas in which there are experienced developers and projects associated with Metro IAF organizing groups, such as Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE) in the Northern Virginia area. The Fund is not for general application.

The Fund has two investment options available to developers of affordable housing for families earning between 40 and 120 percent of the area median income. Class A Notes offer an aggregate of up to $25 million at an interest rate of no higher than 2 percent, as well as a balloon repayment after ten to fifteen years. Class B Notes offer up to $5 million in subordinated loans to investors willing to provide first-loss capital to the Fund. The notes have an interest rate of no more than 2 percent with a balloon repayment in ten to fifteen years. Class A Notes will be subordinated to all other debt and obligations of the Fund, except for Class B Notes, which are subordinated to all other debt.

The Fund is anticipating providing financing for 9,000 affordable housing units, with 80 percent being rental units and 20 percent for homeownership. Financing would be available for neighborhood preservation, development and revitalization. For ownership projects, the Fund targets families who have experienced foreclosure and cannot secure credit, but have the income to purchase a home.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

The Fund may provide another funding option for multifamily and single-family properties within Arlington County, reducing the need for county assistance.

Contact Information

metroIAF@gmail.com
Metro IAF

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Virginia Housing Trust Fund

The Virginia Housing Trust Fund (Fund) is administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, along with the Virginia Housing Development Authority. The goals of the Fund are to provide loans that reduce the cost of rental and homeownership and to provide grants to reduce homelessness across the commonwealth.

At least 80 percent of the Fund’s allocations must go towards projects that reduce the costs of affordable housing rental and ownership. Funds used for these activities are disbursed through two programs: the Affordable and Special Need Housing (ASNH) program and the Vibrant Community Initiative (VCI).

The housing development loans are awarded to developers that supply affordable housing that meet or match goals in line with gubernatorial initiatives or state housing policies. The loans are low-interest and have a maximum amount of $800,000 through the ASNH program and up to a $1 million through VCI. The provisions of the loan encourage developers to use outside funding sources, such as tax credits or other federal and local funding programs. Criteria used in awarding funding include, but are not limited to: the project’s impact on state housing policy; affordability; financial sustainability; feasibility; and readiness.

VCI combines several funding sources to finance projects that address economic and/or community development and affordable housing needs. All funded projects must include housing elements in its plans.

Up to 20 percent of the Fund may be used to provide grants that target homelessness reduction. Grant funds can be used for rental assistance not to exceed one year, housing stabilization services, and predevelopment assistance for permanent supportive housing projects. Eligible projects are chosen through a competitive process and grants are capped at $100,000. Criteria used in awarding funding include, but are not limited to: the project’s impact on state housing policy; sustainability; impact on homelessness reduction; and feasibility.

For all purposes described, the Fund can disburse loans and grants to several types of organizations. Specifically, local housing and redevelopment authorities, regional or statewide organizations that provide affordable housing and homeless assistance, and affordable housing developers are eligible to apply for funding.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Provides another source of funding for development of affordable housing in Arlington, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information

Pamela Kestner
Pamela.Kestner@dhcd.virginia.gov
Virginia Housing Trust Fund

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Kaiser Foundation Housing Impact Fund

In May 2018, Kaiser Permanente announced a commitment of $200 million to address housing affordability and homelessness. The company recognizes that housing is a key factor in a person’s overall health and that providing stability helps provide a social return on investments made in these areas. Through Kaiser’s Thriving Communities Fund, the company has pledged to invest these funds over the next several years in collaboration with Enterprise Community Partners.

Of the total commitment, $100 million will be used to create and preserve 3,250 affordable homes in service areas, to include Arlington County, reached by Kaiser Permanente. Developers that qualify for loans will work with the company to address chronic diseases, mental health, social cohesion, and economic security. (Note that the remaining commitment will be used in a dozen Bay Area (California) counties, with half of this amount being used on the promotion of health and preservation of affordable homes in Oakland, Calif.)

Returns on the fund could be used to make new investments in the future. Investments are planned to be made on a case-by-case basis through a process that involves identifying community-based organizations that have already identified a need and a specific project.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Provides another source of funding for development of affordable housing in Arlington, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Thriving Communities Overview

Kaiser Permanente and Enterprise Announce New Funds

Printable version.

Community Impact Market Analysis

The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers funding options for predevelopment and planning stages of certain housing projects.

The Predevelopment Loan Fund provides financing options for predevelopment-related expenses. Eligible expenses may not be used for operating expenses, developer fees or activities that are not connected to the creation of affordable housing. Through this fund, technical assistance is also available to developers. Funding is available for non-profit organizations, for-profit companies, local governments and housing authorities for activities related to the development of affordable multifamily rental housing properties. Preference is given to entities that have closed at least one transaction with VHDA, as well as those showing two years of successful payment history.

The Community Impact Market Analysis provides grant funding for project planning activities, such as preliminary architectural and engineering reports, housing inventory studies or other similar types of market analyses, for affordable community housing.  Applicants may apply under one application for projects that combine multiple studies. Grants are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Non-profits, local governments, or other housing authorities are eligible to apply, but must be in Virginia and have had at least three years of operations.  Applications must focus on at least one of three housing-related missions:

  1. Creating economically integrated and inclusive housing, including options for people with disabilities.
  2. Planning and community development that has significant attention to housing planning.
  3. Providing services and/or educational opportunities to further affordable housing.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Provides a source of funding for predevelopment activities of affordable housing in Arlington, which the County does not provide. Contact VHDA prior to the initiation of any application.

Contact Information

Luke Tate
Luke.Tate@vhda.com
Funding Opportunities Spotlight

Matthew Bolster
Matthew.Bolster@vhda.com
Funding Opportunities Spotlight

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) Financing

With FHLB financing, affordable housing developers partner with FHLB member banks to apply for funding, which is offered through competitive funding rounds on a periodic basis. Depending on the sponsoring FHLB, financing may be in the form of grants or low-interest loans and are awarded to the highest scoring projects.

FHLB grants and loans typically may be used for:

  • Single- and multi-family housing
  • New construction and rehabilitation
  • Rental and owner-occupied homes
  • Scattered-site housing development
  • Transitional and single-room-occupancy housing

FHLB grants and loans support the development of housing intended for underserved populations such as very low-income households, individuals with special needs, the homeless, or veterans. Typically, these projects also provide wrap-around services, such as counseling, vocational and educational services, and/or medical support, for the clients served by these affordable housing communities.

Affordable housing developers in Arlington have partnered with member banks to apply for FHLBank Atlanta and FHLBank Pittsburgh financing.

  • FHLBank Atlanta offers a wide variety of homeownership and rental products as well as services to connect members to business drivers in their markets. Each year FHLBank Atlanta sets aside 10 percent of its annual net income to provide funding for affordable housing. Programs help first-time homebuyers purchase their first home, help veterans purchase or rehabilitate a home, and provide much needed resources to help developers create affordable housing for very low- to moderate- income families. Member banks may be found at this link. For more information on FHLBank Atlanta’s Affordable Housing products, visit: http://corp.fhlbatl.com/services/affordable-housing-programs/
  • The FHLBank Pittsburgh Affordable Housing Program (AHP)provides grants and subsidized loans for the acquisition, construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing for households with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area median income. There is one competitive funding round each year and financing is awarded to the highest scoring projects, up to $750,000 per project, until the round funds are exhausted. Once notified of funding approval, awardees must draw down funds within 12 months of the approval date. Member banks may be found at this link and more information and step-by-step instructions for applying may be found on their website: https://www.fhlb-pgh.com/ahp

Potential Applicability in Arlington

FHLB financing provides another source of funding to developers preserving or developing affordable housing in Arlington, which may reduce the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information 

FHLBank Atlanta:
Rasheed Bracey, Strategic Initiatives Manager
404.888.8366
rbracey@fhlbatl.com

FHLBank Pittsburgh:
Contact information is forthcoming.

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.

Master Leases

Master leases for residential properties entail an agreement between a nonprofit and a multifamily housing property owner. This agreement allows a nonprofit to establish a long-term, fixed-price lease for units in an existing housing building. For smaller multifamily buildings, a nonprofit may lease all the units and completely manage the property. The nonprofit would then rent these units to tenants at an affordable rate.

Nonprofits entering a master lease would be responsible for filling any vacancies. As such, property owners would be protected against the uncertainty of vacancy loss and turnover costs. This model would allow the property owner to see a sustained source of income.

Having a nonprofit manage all or a portion of units in a property allows for below-market rental rates. To make up the gap between the rent received and rent owed, other funding sources, such as grants or public programs, could be used. Additionally, tenants renting at the properties could enter long-term leases that have protections against high rent increases.

Nonprofits managing master leases may also establish savings accounts for tenants. Individuals could have a small portion of their rent put aside into a savings account. Having these savings would buffer households against unexpected medical and other emergencies.

Potential Applicability in Arlington

Provides an opportunity for affordable housing providers to partner with multifamily property owners in Arlington, who would provide below-market rates for tenants in return for guaranteed rental income. This model may provide housing affordability while reducing the need for Arlington County assistance.

Contact Information

Andrew Jakabovics
ajakabovics@enterprisecommunity.org
Enterprise Community Partners

For a printable version of this resource, please click here.