September 3, 2015
The Credential
A Message from the Chairman
A Season of Change

By David Ho, HCCP, Ocwen Financial Corporation

Summer is almost over, but what an incredible season! Our country experienced all kinds of unusual events: flooding in the South, drought in the West and civil unrest in the East and other parts of the country. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of major rulings, including a case on disparate impact. Despite these natural and human calamities and rulings, we in the LIHTC industry have to learn from the past, look ahead and move forward.

I am very pleased that the Board of Governors of HCCP has been able to address critical issues that we in the LIHTC industry face every day via The Credential and our webinars. In this issue of The Credential, Terry Kimm, CPA, of Cohn Reznick, LLP wrote about what a developer and owner should know when a casualty loss happens. Mr. Kimm goes into detail about the various situations and their respective treatment on tax credit claims during the restoration period if the project is located within or outside a FEMA-designated disaster area.  

In June 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that housing policies could be considered discriminatory if it has a disproportionate adverse impact on those that are protected by the Fair Housing Act. A.J. Johnson, of A.J. Johnson Consulting Services, explains in plain English the background, the issues and the implications of this ruling in his article entitled “Supreme Court Rules on Disparate Impact.”

Most of us are familiar with the term VAWA — the Violence Against Women Act. This act was reauthorized with additional protections in 2000, 2005 and 2013.  Wendi Le Mense, of Royal American Management, explains in her article the various groups that are covered under VAWA, the enormous number of federal grants and programs, and the unfortunate unintended outcome of the act. She also addressed the critical compliance issues from the perspective of property management.

Two of our board members, Oke Johnson, LEDIC Management Group, and Bob Landis, IIPC, interviewed David Cooper, one of the owners of a LIHTC property that was under construction but was destroyed in the recent civil unrest in Baltimore this past April. Civil issues aside, there are many lessons to be learned about business relationships, planning, project management, insurance carrier and coverage, and human aspiration.

Please do not miss the Regulatory section on HUD’s new regulations and guidance, and its new policy on difficult-to-develop areas (DDA). We also include a spotlight on one of our board members, Vinnie Viola, owner of Birch Island Real Estate Consulting. A similar spotlight is trained on one of our HCCP members, Robin Thorne, a founding partner of Vital Spirit. Vinnie brings years of institutional LIHTC experience to the Board and has been incredibly resourceful and helpful. Robin’s work focuses on Native American housing issues. She educates people on how the LIHTC program can be used in Indian Country, and assists state housing authorities on policies, writing manuals and various LIHTC related reports. 

Don’t forget about the upcoming webinar “Be Prepared: 10 Tips for Navigating Casualty Loss” to be held on September 10. This is an incredibly important subject for all developers, owners, investors and property managers.

Lastly, congratulations to the new HCCPs!  We welcome you to our group and please feel free to reach out to us for ideas and comments.