Three days left to apply to become an emerging affordable housing developer

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Chicago Construction News staff writer

There’s still time to apply for the Next Generation Capacity Building Initiative (Next Gen), a new program designed to increase diversity within the housing development field and related industries.

Applications from Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC) developers seeking to participate in the Next Gen training program will be accepted until  5 p.m. Friday (Dec. 1). Click here to apply.

An informational slide deck that can be accessed here. In addition, LISC recorded a webinar to provide additional details about Next Gen and answer questions about initiative.

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. This joint initiative between IHDA and LISC is part of the authority’s continuing efforts to support the capacity and growth of a diverse pool of affordable housing developers in Illinois.

LIHTC provides most of the capital available to developers of affordable housing each year. However, the technical knowledge, high cost of entry, and relationships required to develop tax credit properties have historically made it challenging for new developers, and particularly developers led by BIPOC, to access this resource. The Next Gen initiative seeks to address this disparity by lowering the systematic barriers BIPOC developers encounter in three key ways.

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

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.

Also, 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.

“The Next Gen program will support a talented but underrepresented group of developers that have historically faced higher barriers to participation in state and federal programs,” IHDA executive director Kristin Faust said in a statement. “IHDA believes that greater diversity among the state’s development partners will lead to more inclusive outcomes for residents and greater community engagement in the developments we fund, and we are grateful to partner with LISC in this innovative approach that will increase access to key financial and technical resources that have been out of reach for many.”

“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.”

More information on the application process, participant eligibility, and program details will be available here.

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