The Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Housing Authority recently secured nearly $15 million in financing through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program to build and substantially renovate a combined 44 homes. This remarkable accomplishment will help the community combat overcrowding and a shortage of housing.
The Chippewa Housing Authority (CHA) is building 20 new single-family homes, a community center and a park, while simultaneously rehabilitating another 24 houses for members of the Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians. These two separate projects are referred to as Lac du Flambeau Chippewa Housing Authority #1 and #2 (LDF CHA #1 and CHA #2) and represent $24.6 million in development.
Together, they’ll help to address an estimated shortage of 400 homes in the Lac du Flambeau community while also strengthening the Tribe’s future and sovereignty.
“One of the long-term benefits of these projects is that it will help the Tribe be able to sustain Tribal membership here in the community,” CHA Executive Director Jeff Ackley said. “They will not have to move off the reservation to find other housing.”
To fund the developments, CHA partnered with Travois to successfully apply for two 2022 LIHTC allocations from the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Association (WHEDA). LDF CHA #2 is the first Tribal LIHTC new construction project to have been awarded in Wisconsin since 2014.
“It’s quite an accomplishment for the Chippewa Housing Authority to be under construction on two LIHTC projects at once. In such a competitive environment, developers are lucky to receive one allocation of credits per funding round, so for CHA to receive two awards was quite a feat,” Travois Vice President for Housing Development Bryan Schuler said. “The community of Lac du Flambeau has not seen this level of transformative development since CHA’s prior LIHTC projects in 1998 and the early 2000s.”
In August, CHA closed with equity investor RBC Community Investments. As part of the LIHTC process, RBC Community Investments will provide nearly $15 million in equity that doesn’t need to be repaid.
“I think this is quite a monumental feat for a community to do that because a lot of times the developers that are applying for tax credits are the huge developers. They have a means to be able to do that, but we have a path and a way to be able to do that too in our Tribal communities.” Ackley said.
CHA acquired funding from several other sources to cover the remaining costs. The housing authority received $3.7 million through the American Rescue Plan Act and a $750,000 Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines.
The CHA Board of Commissioners, the Tribal Council and the Tribe’s Business Development Corporation collaborated to fill a remaining gap in funding.
“Despite several obstacles, they were able to successfully close both projects with an equity investor and commence construction before the winter settles in” Travois project manager Abby Day said. “The homes will accommodate larger family sizes and include design features such as front porches and garages to fit the needs of the Band’s members. Forty-four new and substantially renovated homes is a huge win for their community!”
LDF CHA LIHTC #1
The Tribe’s first LIHTC development comprises the rehabilitation of 24 single-family, including 15 ranch homes and nine split-level homes. The existing three-bedroom homes will be updated to feature four bedrooms and an additional bathroom to accommodate larger families and reduce overcrowding.
Travois architects have incorporated several green building techniques in the rehabilitation to lower energy use and utility costs for residents. Each home will receive new energy efficient windows and doors, increased wall and attic insulation, and high-efficiency HVAC systems.
The homes will serve members living at or below 60% of the area median income with certain units set aside for supportive services and veterans.
LDF CHA LIHTC #2
The second LIHTC development consists of 20 new single-family homes with two-, three- and four-bedroom layouts. Travois architects custom designed the new homes to feature open floor plans, covered front porches and kitchens with island or peninsula seating. Mudrooms with garage or exterior door access will act as an airlock in colder winter months.
The homes will serve members living at or below 60% of the area median income, ranging from families with children to elders. There will be a set aside of units for unhoused relatives, people with special needs, residents who need supportive services and veterans.
Additionally, a new community building will include a community room, a full kitchen, an office, and a large front porch to facilitate events for members of the neighborhood, as well as a park with a playground.