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Bluebird Village Community Housing Project Loses Funding Opportunity in IHFA Tax Credit Round

KETCHUM, Idaho – Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA) announced its 2020 nine-percent Tax Credit awards. A project cost tiebreaker lost the round for one of the top scoring projects, the Bluebird Village community housing project.

Bluebird Village landed in the top scoring group of applicants under the Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) Preference Points, yet it fell short due to a construction costs per unit tiebreaker driving the project out of range for funding availability.

Last year, Ketchum was unable to achieve a top score because of its geographic location. Changes made in QAP criteria this year made that attainable.

Project cost now seems to be the only differentiating factor in the allocation plan; a factor difficult for Ketchum to compete with.

Although there was tremendous local political and financial support, the allocation system does not differentiate this factor fairly among the applicants to benefit Ketchum.

Project sponsor, Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC), is disappointed with the allocations. “High cost of construction in Ketchum is the reason that we weren’t funded,” said KCDC Executive Director Charles Friedman. “This is also why the Tax Credit award is so necessary for us to build affordable housing.”

Frustrated but tenacious co-developer, GMD Development, has made 4 attempts in 8 years to bring Tax Credit funding to Ketchum. “Ketchum does not have fair access to federal housing funding under the current IHFA plan,” said owner Gregory Dunfield. “This is something that needs to change. We will continue to keep our sleeves rolled up and work with IHFA to seek a better way.”

While experiencing the most acute shortage of long-term rental housing in the State of Idaho, Ketchum has only received one award of 9% Tax Credits in the 30-year history of the program.

Other funding options for the project are available. Unfortunately, they will cost the City of Ketchum disproportionately more than other local communities in bringing affordable housing to their towns.

Mayor Neil Bradshaw is not discouraged. “Every application creates a new opportunity to learn for the future,” he said. “I am encouraged by the score we received, and I look forward to finding a way to make Bluebird Village fly.”

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