Affordable housing in Omaha: Developers apply for loans, grants

They say they would accept vouchers from HOA, HUD to subsidize rent
$40 million is up for grabs for developers willing to build affordable housing in Omaha.
Published: Aug. 24, 2022 at 6:49 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - For developers willing to build affordable housing in Omaha, $40 million is up for grabs.

Front Porch Investments is helping to hand out $20 million in city funds and $20 million in private funds. It’s a mixture of grants and low-interest loans going to developers who are putting up affordable housing in Omaha.

One of the developers who previously partnered with Front Porch is Don Curry, executive director of Talented 10th Group.

“Based on Front Porch’s financing model, they’ve set it up to where the rents are enough to finance the mortgage, cover the mortgage, as well as sustain up-keep on the property as well,” Curry said.

This funding from Front Porch is to create housing for people making less than 120% of the median income in Omaha. According to HUD’s latest numbers, that’s about $80 thousand a year for one person or about $114,000 for a family of four. And they have to be making that much or less to qualify for these units.

Omaha AMI
Omaha AMI(HUD)

“We’re looking at three bedrooms, two baths, each unit at 1,000 square feet per unit. Calling it affordable just at the mere fact I’m keeping rent at about $1,300 a month,” said Curry.

He’ll be applying for this new round of funding to create 20 more units like the one from the first round of funding that will break ground in September. That tri-plex unit will be located near 16th and Emmet.

Another potential developer looking to earn funding from Front Porch is the Legacy Builders Program.

“We are working on our rents being right at a $1,000, maybe a little bit below. And then again, we will be helping our renters and our homeowners utilize the other incentives to help their rents and mortgages to be affordable,” said Toni Goins-Brockman, the organization’s chief visionary officer. She hopes to provide affordable housing to rent and buy in North Omaha.

Rents proposed by these two developers would be considered affordable, according to HUD’s definition.

“You should not exceed 30%, whether it’s your mortgage or your rent. And that’s 30% of your income,” said Goins-Brockman.

That definition is 30% of your pre-tax income. After taxes, rent still could eat more than 50% of a family’s income.

These developers do say they would accept vouchers from HOA and HUD to subsidize people’s rent.