• August 19, 2019

OHFC discusses potential housing fund - Odessa American: ECISD

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OHFC discusses potential housing fund

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Posted: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 5:11 pm

Representatives from Ector County, the City of Odessa, ECISD and the Odessa Housing Finance Corporation met Wednesday to discuss the idea of structuring an equity fund to build more workforce housing in the area.

Dan O’Dea, a representative from Delphi Affordable Housing Group, talked with the group about ideas for how the fund would be structured. The fund, hypothetically titled the Delphi Permian Fund, would be financed by multiple investors, distributing the money down to developers to build housing that would fit within the parameters of a certain price range for workforce housing, between 60 and 120% of the median income in Odessa.

“Because the developer is gonna have a hard time, because our construction costs are a lot more, so it’s very hard to make a deal work in that price range,” OHFC Executive Director Jill Miller said.

This fund could help incentivize builders to want to make deals for this kind of housing, Miller said.

“You have affordable stuff and high-end stuff, but you don’t have anything for the normal workers that just need help,” Miller said.

O’Dea said the fund would need to have at least $20 million invested at a minimum, to fund a pipeline of deals for affordable housing in the area.

“The idea is that a good investment for the investors is a good investment for the owners,” O’Dea said.

There was also some discussion about the possibility of an opportunity zone, where investors are able to defer their capital gains taxes by investing them in opportunity funds that provide long-term investments to promote economic vitality, as long as they are held for more than 10 years.

Miller said there is an opportunity zone in Ector County, stretching from West University Boulevard to FM 866, and from Kermit Highway back to Loop 338. Miller said this equity fund could be part of an opportunity zone fund, and deals could be done in opportunity zone areas, but the equity fund could also help deals outside of the zone.

Miller said the next step is seeing what the interest is among local officials in assembling a fund, and if so, one would be put together to help spur on more developers to build workforce housing.

“So families that are from 60% all the way to 120% of median income need a place to live that’s affordable that’s not just drastically overpriced,” Miller said. “And so that need is understood and in order to keep that money here in the Permian Basin we’re asking to say we’ll put a team together and work together to set up a fund to help fill that gap.”

District 5 Council Member Mari Willis was in attendance at the meeting, and said she was interested in learning more about the idea of a fund, but needed more details before committing.

“I’m all for more houses, I just didn’t have enough information,” Willis said.

Odessa, TX

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