Tuesday, November 21, 2017

MaineHousing Lowers Delinquency Rates with RIHousing Subservicing

With the help of Mortgage Servicing Solutions (MSS), a division of RIHousing, the delinquency rate for MaineHousing’s single-family loan portfolio is now under 4% for the first time in almost 20 years. The delinquency rate was reduced by 1.5% between January and June of 2017, the first six months of MaineHousing’s arrangement with MSS.

RIHousing’s experience and familiarity with MaineHousing’s government insured loans has been instrumental in serving MaineHousing’s borrowers and lowering delinquency rates.

In 2016, RIHousing announced that the corporation had been chosen to serve as mortgage sub-servicer of MaineHousing’s half-billion dollar portfolio. RIHousing is one of only a handful of housing finance agencies nationwide, and the only one in New England, that offers mortgage sub-servicing to others. MaineHousing’s loan portfolio consists of 6,509 loans totaling $531,385,786. 

MSS is rated a “Top Tier” servicer with HUD due to their successful engagement in borrower workout activities. Additionally, MSS provides 24/7 access for borrowers through their Customer Care Net portal, where borrowers can access loan information, make payments and access additional helpful tools.

RIHousing Leaders Recognized for Outstanding Contributions

RIHousing raked in the accolades at the annual National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) conference. Out of more than 115 submissions for awards in 18 categories, the corporation was honored for program innovation in Communications for its spring homebuying campaign, “It’s Time to Buy.”

The campaign’s simple message, “It’s Time to Buy a Home,” resonated with homebuyers, realtors and lender partners, contributing to a 48% increase in mortgage registrations and compelling Rhode Islanders to take the first step toward homeownership.

Also at the NCSHA conference, Executive Director Barbara Fields was elected to the organization’s national Board of Directors. As NCSHA considers its priorities for the year ahead, she will work with the board to shape the organization’s agenda.

Finally, Director of Leased Housing and Rental Services Claribel Shavers was recognized for her service and exemplary contributions to the housing industry, receiving the prestigious State Agency Person of the Year from the New England Affordable Housing Management Association (NEAHMA) at its annual conference.

Congratulations to all award winners!

RIHousing Announces New Funding, Including First-ever Allocation of Housing Trust Fund

RIHousing is pleased to announce the opening of competitive funding rounds for several housing finance programs: the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME) and the Housing Trust Fund (HTF), initiatives of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and 2018 Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), a program of the U.S. Treasury used in the financing of construction and/or rehabilitation of properties to be used as affordable rental homes in Rhode Island. Click here for more information on the RFPs.

RIHousing anticipates awarding $6 million in HOME and AHT and the allocation of approximately $2.7 million of LIHTCs. Since 1986, RIHousing has administered the LIHTC program to finance the development or preservation of more than 11,500 apartments in 29 cities and towns; since 1992, the corporation has invested over $94.5 million in HOME funding for housing production and rehabilitation in all 39 Rhode Island cities and towns. HOME funding is a flexible tool for developing homes for Rhode Islanders earning no more than 80% of AMI, which is about $52,000 for a family of three.

“A healthy housing market is key to future economic growth and vibrant neighborhoods where people want to live and work,” said Senator Jack Reed, who wrote the law creating the National Housing Trust Fund in 2008. “These federal funds will help the state preserve and increase the number of affordable homes and address the housing crunch.” Reed is a senior member of the Banking Committee, which has jurisdiction over HTF and HOME programs, and is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD), which appropriates funds for the programs.

HTF is a new affordable housing production program that will complement existing federal, state and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of affordable housing. This is the first time HTF funds have been awarded in Rhode Island. 

Monday, October 16, 2017

RI Leaders Address Senior Needs at Health & Housing Forum

RIHousing, along with HousingWorks RI and LeadingAge RI, recently held a Senior Health & Housing Forum to discuss innovative ways for health care and service providers to collaborate with housing providers.

Over the next ten years, Rhode Island’s senior population is expected to grow significantly – which has important implications for our state. Particularly as Baby Boomers age, their needs and expectations are different than the seniors of previous generations.

Seniors today are not drastically slowing down their lives when they reach age 65. Rather, they are remaining active, staying in the workplace longer and living longer, and, more seniors are choosing to “age in place,” or remain in their homes. To meet the needs of this growing demographic, Rhode Island must plan now to find solutions for senior housing, healthcare and services.

A full capacity crowd heard insights from Marianne Raimondo, Executive Director of the Institute for Education in Healthcare at Rhode Island College, which provides cross-disciplinary education and learning opportunities for the health care workforce in Rhode Island. Keynote speaker Linda Couch, LeadingAge's national Vice President of Housing Policy, discussed the rapidly changing landscape of senior care and how changes at the federal level will impact our states. Attendees also participated in breakout sessions to share best practices on housing and healthcare for seniors.

For more information on the Forum, including materials and other related resources, click here.

New Housing Search Portal Now Online

RIHousing is pleased to announce the launch of HousingSearchRI.org,  a free online rental listing service that links people to the housing they need.

The site allows Rhode Islanders to list and search for available rental and for-sale homes free of charge. Detailed listings can include pictures, maps, eligibility requirements (if applicable) and much more. The quick and easy-to-use interface allows for both simple and detailed search queries.

Benefits to property owners and landlords
  • Receive more qualified inquiries
  • Log in 24/7 or call the toll-free call center to update, add or remove listings
  • Register, post and update your listings anytime, anywhere
  • Remove properties immediately after renting/selling to reduce unwanted calls
Benefits to homebuyers and tenants
  • Search by price, amount of rent, size, location, proximity to your work and more
  • Detailed, up-to-date listings with photos
  • Homes for sale, market rentals, subsidized housing and special-needs housing included
  • Additional tools such as a rental affordability calculator and checklist of things to look for when searching for a home, as well as links to helpful resources
HousingSearchRI.org is available online 24/7 and supported by a toll-free, bilingual call center at 1-877-428-8844, Monday - Friday, 9:00 am - 8:00 pm EDT.

Record-breaking Quarter for Mortgages

RIHousing funded an all-time high 531 mortgages during the third quarter of 2017. Totaling over $106 million, this represents RIHousing’s highest single-quarter mortgage volume in the corporation’s 44-year history.

“We are thrilled that more people are putting down roots in Rhode Island,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing.  “This is a great win for our communities and economy.”

The corporation’s mortgage volume rose steadily during each month of the quarter:

Comparatively, RIHousing’s average monthly mortgage volume throughout 2016 was approximately 135 first mortgages.

“RIHousing’s success is a direct result of the strong relationships we have cultivated with our partners,” Fields added. “40 broker and lender partners offer a wide array of programs that are helping Rhode Islanders achieve the dream of homeownership.”

RIHousing offers an extensive line of loan options for first-time homebuyers, current homeowners and Rhode Islanders looking to improve their homes. Since 2007, RIHousing has helped approximately 10,000 Rhode Islanders purchase a home.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Congratulations to Peter Walsh!

After almost eight years with the RIHousing team, the agency would like to congratulate Deputy Director Peter Walsh on his impending retirement.

Peter has served as the Deputy Director for Homeownership and Administration, where he has overseen the corporation’s Homeownership origination and servicing, the RIHousing HelpCenter and the Information Technology, Human Resources, Communications and Facilities functions within RIHousing. 

“Peter has been an outstanding member of the senior team at RIHousing. We have benefitted enormously from his business acumen as well as his commitment to the communities and people of Rhode Island,” said Barbara Fields, Executive Director of RIHousing. “We will miss Peter tremendously – particularly his unique style and sense of humor – but wish him all the best in his next chapter..”

Prior to his appointment as Deputy Director in June 2015, Walsh served as Director of Homeownership and Customer Service at the corporation, where he oversaw a dramatic increase in the number of mortgage originations administered by RIHousing and its partners. Peter joined the corporation in 2009 as Director of External Relations, following nearly three decades in the banking industry with Citizens Bank and Bank RI.