IHDA, LISC launch program to support emerging housing developers

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have launched the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative (Next Gen), a new program designed to expand the talent pipeline and increase diversity within the housing development field and related industries.

Next Gen will provide training and technical assistance to expand access to pre-development financing and housing resources administered by the state, with a focus on reducing barriers to entry for developers of color in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

Applications from Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) developers seeking to participate in the Next Gen training program can be found here. Applications will be accepted today through 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. More information on the application process, participant eligibility, and program details will be available here.

“Here in Illinois, we believe every person deserves a roof over their head and a place to call home—and our affordable housing developers are working to achieve just that,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “As we focus on equitable opportunity in the housing industry, the Next Gen program promises support for BIPOC developers that have been historically underrepresented in this field.

“Thanks to the hard work of IDHA and LISC, we’re addressing these disparities, so that our talented developers better reflect the many communities that make up Illinois.”

First, an in-depth training program will be developed and delivered to up to 15 program cohorts. This will include a 160-hour curriculum delivered by LISC on affordable housing development and housing tax credits, with a special focus on IHDA’s tax credit programs and processes. LISC will also coordinate networking opportunities for participants to connect with seasoned industry professionals.

Second, upon completion of the training program, developers will be eligible to apply for financing under a pre-development loan fund, funded with Next Gen funds provided by IHDA and administered by LISC, to support the pre-construction and planning costs necessary to establish project design, scope, site control, and other early costs.

Third, project-specific technical assistance will be provided to each BIPOC developer or development team who receives a loan from the pre-development loan fund. The technical assistance will be curated to participants’ specific needs and will include tracking milestones of program participants and their development projects.

“Through this groundbreaking program IHDA has taken a significant step towards creating a more equitable and diverse future in the affordable housing development field,” said Meghan Harte, senior executive director of LISC. “Next Gen combines comprehensive training, tailored technical assistance and critical pre-development resources to empower BIPOC developers to succeed in accessing LIHTC awards.

“LISC is excited to be a partner in fostering a more inclusive landscape where everyone has the opportunity to contribute to the growth and vitality of our communities.”

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