February 14, 2013

Introducing SPARC Multifamily Financing

The alphabet soup of acronyms is an all too familiar part of the affordable housing industry.  

VHDA-funded SPARC loans covered a portion 
of Cloverleaf Apartments, one of Virginia
Supportive Housing's permanent supportive
From RD, HUD and DHCD to LIHTC, NOFA and CBC -- each of these acronyms identifies an agency, delineates a program and/or classifies policy. While sometimes overwhelming, this acronym catalogue of resources is critical to the mission of providing of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income households.

As diverse housing needs continue to grow across Virginia, one tool that has become a crucial affordable housing lever is VHDA’s Sponsoring Partnerships for Affordable Community Housing program, or SPARC. SPARC’s below market rate loans provide permanent mortgage financing to support developments that meet some of the state’s most critical housing needs. The program is funded by VHDA’s earnings through the support of the Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing (REACH) initiative.

The SPARC program focuses on assisting with new developments, as well as preserving existing developments. It also plays an important role in facilitating the adaptive re-use of significant existing community assets, for example converting historic school buildings into unique affordable housing options.

Affordable housing initiatives supported by SPARC resource are outlined in the table below. Check back for future posts on additional specifics about our REACH SPARC program.

Definition of SPARC Program Categories
Frail Elderly
Older adults who require support because of an accumulation of debilities, including those that are physical or mental.
Chronically Homelessness
Unaccompanied homeless individuals with a disabling condition who have either been continuously homeless for a year or more or have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.
Housing for People with Disabilities
An individual is considered to have a “disability” if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, has a record of such an impairment or is regarded as having such an impairment.
Preservation of Affordable Housing
The retention of affordable rental housing in a community financed by existing federal subsidy from one or more of the following sources: HUD 236 and/or Project-Based Section 8, HUD 202/811, RD 515 with rental subsidy or expiring Federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits.
A planned process that strengthens economically impacted communities through local public and private partnerships, thus stimulating investment in sustainable community development.

Source: SPARC Program Guidelines

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