NEW YORK, April 02, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Tanya Eastwood, President of Greystone Affordable Development and Chairman of the Board for the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH), testified today before the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance on the urgent need to address the country’s affordable rural rental housing crisis.

Her testimony was part of the April 2, 2019, hearing, “The Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural America: Assessing the Federal Response,” which took place at 2:00 p.m., in room 2128 of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.

Ms. Eastwood encouraged Congress and the current Administration to do more to address the affordable housing challenges and infrastructure needs facing rural communities across America. She acknowledged that a public-private partnership is critical to addressing rural communities’ needs and that neither the private nor the public sector could produce affordable rural housing independently.  

“Though the Section 514 and 515 programs under Housing Act of 1949 operate through a successful public-private partnership, the number of properties able to be preserved with current resources will nowhere achieve portfolio-wide preservation in any reasonable time period. The Section 514 and 515 portfolios are largely more than 30 years old and at risk of becoming obsolete. We encourage the prioritization on the preservation of existing properties ahead of new construction, as it is much more cost-effective to complete a substantial rehabilitation compared to the cost of building new,” said Ms. Eastwood.

Ms. Eastwood stated that CARH had several legislative recommendations that, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development (RD) and Congress, would help expand tools available to RD in preserving the much needed, but at-risk, affordable housing for rural communities. Among these recommendations were:

  • Make permanent and expand the MPR program, providing sufficient funding for urgent preservation needs;
  • Extend the Sec 542 voucher program to properties facing mortgage maturity or foreclosure, not just prepaid properties;
  • The need for a specific direction to RD to spend all funds on hand each fiscal year;
  • Continue efforts to modernize and expand the successful Housing Credit program, including fixing the 4% Housing Credit similar to the 9% credit;
  • Modify the tax rules to better allow for preservation of the aging stock of Section 515 affordable housing;
  • Continue and expand the RD Section 538 loan guaranty program; and
  • Keep and expand the HOME program.

Ms. Eastwood also went on to offer CARH’s support for the concept in the proposed Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019, but with major revisions to Sections 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the proposed legislation, saying, “We are deeply concerned that many of the details, conditions and restrictions in the proposal would have unintended consequences and actually work against preservation.”

“Households in rural rental properties are among the most vulnerable in the nation: female-headed households currently occupy 70 percent of these affordable housing units, and over 62% are occupied by seniors or disabled residents. And the adverse effects of housing instability on this country’s greatest asset, our children, has been well documented,” said Ms. Eastwood. “We agree that infrastructure legislation by Congress should specifically address the unique needs of agriculture and rural communities, including housing. With a few relatively minor changes, Congress can provide the tools needed to continue the successful public-private partnerships for affordable rural housing.”

To read Ms. Eastwood’s written testimony, click here.

About Tanya Eastwood
Tanya Eastwood is President and CEO of Greystone Affordable Development, an affiliate of Greystone & Co., Inc., where she is responsible for the strategic growth and implementation of Greystone’s affordable housing preservation efforts. Greystone Affordable Development is a leading developer and advisor in recapitalization for rural affordable housing, having preserved over 12,500 affordable housing units in the U.S. Tanya and her team assist non-profit and for-profit owners and developers in meeting the challenges of production, preservation, recapitalization and rehabilitation of affordable housing assets across the U.S. She specializes in sourcing creative solutions to complex affordable housing transactions involving HUD, USDA, and other state and federal agencies. She has facilitated the preservation of over 300 of USDA’s existing RD 515 properties across the country, with another 175 properties in various stages of redevelopment. Ms. Eastwood has been involved in multifamily real estate since 1989, focusing on development, management, marketing, fiscal analysis and asset management. Prior to Greystone, she was Executive Director of WAJ Management, LLC where she directed the asset management of LIHTC, HUD, and USDA sites. Previously, she was Vice President of Development for the eastern division of Forest City Residential, a Cleveland based publicly traded real estate company, where she concentrated on the production of urban development and adaptive re-use of multifamily sites throughout the eastern US.

Ms. Eastwood is the current Chairman of the Board of the National Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) and served as the organization’s President from 2016 through 2018. She served on the board of the National Rural Housing Coalition, as well as currently Chairs Fannie Mae’s Rural Duty to Serve Advisory Council.  She was named CARH’s 2018 Member of the Year, and in 2019 was named one of the leading women of influence in affordable housing by Affordable Housing Finance.  

About Greystone 
Greystone is a real estate lending, investment, and advisory company with an established reputation as a leader in multifamily and healthcare finance, having ranked as a top FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac lender in these sectors. Our range of services includes commercial lending across a variety of platforms such as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, CMBS, FHA, USDA, bridge and proprietary loan products. Loans are offered through Greystone Servicing Company LLC, Greystone Funding Company LLC and/or other Greystone affiliates. For more information, visit www.greyco.com

PRESS CONTACT:
Karen Marotta
Greystone
212-896-9149
Karen.Marotta@greyco.com