Washoe Housing Authority secures funding for new homes and community building

The Washoe Housing Authority recently secured funding to develop 20 single-family homes and a community building for members of the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California.

The $9.6 million Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development, Washoe Housing Authority #2 (WHA #2), will serve Tribal members in the Stewart Community in Carson City, Nevada.

“It’s extremely vital to develop affordable housing in Northern Nevada, being in a high cost of living area in close proximity to Lake Tahoe and Reno,” Washoe Housing Authority Executive Director Martin Montgomery said. “There is also a housing shortage due to huge corporations like Amazon, Tesla and Panasonic coming into the region. Most Tribal members don’t work for those companies and remain at moderate- to low-income positions, making it very challenging for them to find homes or apartments off the reservation.”

The Washoe Housing Authority partnered with Travois to successfully apply for a 2022 LIHTC allocation from the Nevada Housing Division and closed with equity investor Red Stone Equity Partners in May. As part of the LIHTC process, Red Stone Equity Partners will provide over $7.6 million in equity that doesn’t need to be repaid. An Affordable Housing Program (AHP) grant from the Federal Home Loan Home of San Francisco will cover another $800,000 of the cost.

The Washoe Housing Authority also received a $5.5 million Home Means Nevada award last year to pay for infrastructure at the development site, including roads, a water supply tank and water and sewage lines. By installing these improvements, additional homes may be built at the site in the future.

“To date, the WHA #2 development has nearly $14 million in debt-free financing through low-income housing and solar tax credit equity, the Home Means Nevada grant and AHP funds, which is a significant achievement,” Travois Project Manager Abby Day said. “Leveraging these funds will enable the Washoe Housing Authority to develop 20 beautiful new homes and the infrastructure to develop many more.”

WHA #2 is one of several initiatives the Washoe Housing Authority is undertaking to address a Tribal housing shortage in a region with increasing housing costs. The homes will serve members living at or below 50% of the area median income, ranging from families with children to elders.

“Because of the additional funding that has been applied for and awarded, it essentially means that we’re building 20 homes and a community building for a small amount,” Montgomery said. “Whereas, if we did not have those funding sources, the practice of building one house a year would be continued.”

Travois Architecture designed each single-family home to include three bedrooms, a two-car garage, solar panels, lighted walkways and energy-efficient fixtures and equipment. The community building, designed by Berger Hannafin Architecture features a community room, full kitchen, computer room and office space for an on-site service coordinator. The service coordinator will work with Tribal service providers to deliver on-site supportive services, including after-school tutoring for children.

“A project of this size has not been done since the early 1990s, and we have received overwhelming support from our Tribal membership and councils,” Montgomery said. “There is a lot of excitement in anticipation of the new homes and community building.”

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