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Helping to House New England

Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston's Helping to House New England (HHNE) program is a subsidy program dedicated to expanding affordable rental and homeownership financing through the six New England Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs). Specifically tailored for HFAs, the subsidy will be used to write down interest rates to zero percent on Classic Advances for the purpose of expanding affordable rental and homeownership initiatives. From 2019 through 2021, a total of $15 million in subsidy will be made available to the New England HFAs.

In 2019, FHLBank Boston introduced the Housing Our Workforce (HOW) program as a component of HHNE. Through our members, HOW provides grants to help homebuyers earning more than 80 percent and up to 120 percent of the area median income with down payments on owner-occupied primary residences. FHLBank Boston made a three-year commitment for HOW. In 2019, $2 million has been set aside to fund a two-to-one match of down payments made at the time of purchase by eligible homebuyers.

A pilot program of an additional $1.5 million ($500,000 per year) will be available to members and HFAs on a first-come, first-served basis to support the reduction of rents for targeted-income households, multifamily housing, and/or down-payment and closing-cost assistance in partnership with specific cities and towns.


Eligibility

HHNE funding must support targeted initiatives serving individuals and families who qualify for loans under the HFA's income guidelines for comparable loans. Examples of potential uses include, but are not limited to, short-term construction lending, workforce housing, deferred loan programs for homeownership, multifamily loan refinance, and rental housing expansion, particularly in areas with job growth that exceeds the supply of rental units. 

HFAs can contact Ken Willis, director of housing and community investment, at 617-292-9631 to apply.


Uses

  • Advances: utilize the HHNE subsidy to obtain zero-rate advances with terms ranging from one through 10 years.
  • Bond purchase: the bond purchase option is available as part of a public offering, must be rated AA or higher, and for a term not to exceed five years.
  • Grant: the subsidy amount is also available as a grant.

Application

HFAs can apply for HHNE funding starting April 1, 2019. FHLBank Boston will notify HFAs of the status of an application and with requests for additional information within 10 business days.


Limits

HHNE funding is available and allocated on an estimated per-capita basis, with a
10 percent (or $500,000) floor as the minimum allocation per state.


Advances Take-Down and Disbursement

Taking down an HHNE advance is similar to the normal advance disbursement process, with the addition of an HHNE application. Once the application is approved, a Supplement A form must be filed three days prior to requesting the disbursement of funds. Further instructions will be provided upon application approval.


Expirations

The 2019 HHNE applications and approved (but not disbursed) funds expire on December 31, 2019.  Demand may result in the full disbursement of the program's subsidy prior to year-end. If an HFA is unable to utilize the HHNE funding, please notify the Bank by October 31, 2019 so that funds may be reallocated to the other New England HFAs. Any subsidy unused by December 31, 2019 cannot be carried over into the following year.


Reporting Requirements

Applications approved under the HHNE program are subject to the Bank's HHNE reporting requirement. HFAs will be required to report on the actual use of the HHNE funds, along with the rationale for the spread charged over the zero-percent advance rate. This report, filed on the Bank's online reporting tool, will be required by the one year anniversary of disbursement of each HHNE advance.


Contact

For more information, please contact:.

  • Ken Willis Office Phone icon 617-292-9631
    First VP / Director of Housing and Community Investment
 
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