Affordable Housing: The 2020 RealWorld Update


We have long known that the Affordable Housing crisis is an uphill climb to bring housing relief to those who are financially vulnerable. What we could not have known was that the events of 2020 would make that climb even steeper. There was (and is) the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on our industry. Rent payment issues. Eviction moratoriums, the latest of which went into effect on September 4th. Potential budget shortfalls. And more. 

What we need to know is where our industry is now, and what steps are being taken to tackle the challenges moving forward. That calls for a definitive update. The good news is that it’s coming very soon. Tune into the Affordable Industry Update session, Monday, September 14 from 12:50-1:10 pm Central Time at RealWorld 2020, the comprehensive, yearly, multifamily industry conference sponsored by RealPageÒ.

There is even more good news in that exciting changes are coming to Affordable. During this session, some of the Affordable industry’s leading experts will discuss the impact of current and future trends on owners/agents and residents of Affordable Housing. Attendees will learn about new and upcoming regulatory changes for HUD, LIHTC, Public Housing and Rural Housing, and Affordable Online Leasing and eSignature. Participating in the session are Greg Proctor, Vice President, Affordable Housing Solutions at RealPage. Jenny DeSilva, Senior Director, Blueprint Housing Solutions and Larry Sisson, President, TESCO Properties as well as Vice President at NAHMA. Registration is still open.

A number of essential topics will be addressed.

First on the list are the legislative and regulatory updates that are ramifications of COVID-19 and the CARES act. One stand-out example is the IRS certification policy shift as a result of changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

Not least of these developments is HUD’s decision to allow electronic signatures after so many years. TESCO’s Larry Sisson will discuss the meteoric rise in the importance of electronic and virtual technologies such as electronic documents, electronic signatures, online payments, and electronic payment forms. Says Mr. Sisson, “Technology has been vital during this time of COVID, and that's only going to increase. Now everyone's used to it. Even our elderly residents have signed up for our online payment process.”

A portion of the session is devoted to the spike in RAD conversions from the public- to project-based rental assistance. Blueprint’s Jenny DeSilva will spearhead the discussion. Ms. DeSilva is a huge proponent of RAD and is excited by its ability to ensure housing stock preservation and breathe new life into aging housing programs. Says Ms. DeSilva, “RAD is the talk of the town right now in making sure that aging public housing properties have a new mechanism for establishing longevity, revitalization and funding mechanisms. I’ve personally seen several beautiful properties constructed through RAD conversions.”

At the same time, RAD is creating challenges. Part and parcel of Ms. DeSilva’s discussion will be the need for updated automation software—TRACS, specifically—to assist people in the midst of RAD conversions. It is crucial, for example, for TRACS to be able to help them navigate intricate and tricky RAD processes such as vouchering and converting from 5-8’s to 5-9’s. She will address the issue with an update on the status of the new TRACS version 2.0.3.A. and its much-anticipated deployment. Ms. DeSilva will also note the use of compliance software like RealPage’s OneSite® Affordable module to successfully facilitate a conversion.

TESCO’s Larry Sisson will drive the session to an exhilarating close describing his experience managing business in the wake of the pandemic and the CARES Act. Mr. Sisson will move from facing the seemingly overwhelming task of making sense of a world turned upside down by COVID to the story of how his team nailed transition into a new way to do business.

Big in the story is the initial imposition of the eviction moratorium and the looming possibility of a disaster in rent collection. The CARES Act prevented properties from collecting late fees, terminating a lease for a non-payment, or even giving a nonpayment notice that included the lease termination language. Congress had taken away what many in the industry thought was their only collection tool. The common wisdom was that rent collection would tank. TESCO took a unique, common-sense approach to the matter. Results? “It looks like we have actually been able to get to a spot where we're able to manage better. And collections are actually up vs. previous years,” says Mr. Sisson.

How did they do it?

Find out on Monday, September 14 from 12:50-1:10 pm Central Time at the RealWorld 2020 Affordable Industry Update session.

There is plenty more to learn, besides. Don’t miss it.

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