Applied and denied: Three local projects didn’t qualify for affordable housing programs this year – but they can try again

The Wyoming Community Development Authority rejected federal program applications for three local housing projects this year.

The projects are located in Shoshoni, Riverton, and Fort Washakie.

Hiiteen Crossing

The Riverton project – named “Hiiteen Crossing” – imagines 40 newly constructed family units on West Sunset Drive, across the street from Riverton High School.

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h/t WCDA

WCDA housing development officer Casey More said the project exceeded the cost limits established in the state’s 2022 Affordable Housing Allocation Plan – by 25 percent.

“We felt like there was not any justification for why their cost limits were as astronomical over our published limits,” More said. “It was judged not something that we felt was justified.”

The affordable housing allocation plan sets “different thresholds” for program applicants to meet, More explained.

“For example, we can’t fund a project that’s going to cost $400,000 per unit when (it) could be done for maybe $200,000,” she said.

The project developer – Northwest Real Estate Capital Corporation – asked that the cost limit threshold be waived in this case, but More said the WCDA did not find the request “satisfactory.”

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Tammy Krei, the WCDA’s director of housing and neighborhood development, said developers usually provide additional information with their waiver requests – like different bids showing estimates for materials.

That way, she said, “we can actually see in black and white that it truly is that expensive to build in that area.”

The developer in this case did not provide that kind of information, Krei said – but they can always reapply, preferably after contacting the WCDA for more information.

“There are things that we look for … in order for us to agree to those cost limit (waivers),” More said. “So it’s good for them to reach out to us prior and say, ‘This is kind of what we’re dealing with – how do we document that?’”

Hot Springs Subdivision

Another WCDA project proposal came from the Eastern Shoshone Housing Authority, which is building 20 new residential family units off of Ethete Road near Fort Washakie School.

h/t WCDA

More said the project “did not satisfy the debt coverage ratio” required by the affordable housing allocation plan.

In other words, she said, the project doesn’t generate enough income to cover its debt while still maintaining affordable housing prices over the next 30 years – the “affordability period” required for program participation.

“(We have) to make sure that these projects are going to be viable and remain affordable and survive the longevity of that affordability period,” she explained. “It has to remain (available) to low-income households for that entire timeframe.”

The ESHA could apply to the WCDA again, she said, submitting a waiver that shows the developer has “the financial means to cover any expenses that might (come from) not generating enough income” through the project.

“Again, that would be something that maybe they’d want to talk to us about, as far as (showing) their developer as a whole has those financial resources,” More said. “We would need the documentation to show that … this was going to be able to survive.”

ESHA executive director Charles Washakie said he has contacted the WCDA to learn more about the reasons his agency’s application was denied.

Senior housing

The third local housing project on the WCDA list this year envisions four newly constructed units for seniors at 505 W. Fourth St. in Shoshoni.

h/t WCDA

More said the application for the Shoshoni Senior Housing project at 505 W. Fourth St. did not come with the required market study.

Shoshoni town clerk Chris Konija said his staff “didn’t have time to have (the study) completed last year before the deadline,” but they plan to “resubmit the application this year.”

The WCDA administers three affordable multi-family rental housing development programs, according to its website: the Low-income Housing Tax Credit Program, the National Housing Trust Fund program, and the HOME Investment Partnerships Program.

For more information call 265-0603.

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