CHICAGO, Jan. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- National Equity Fund (NEF) has appointed a top federal housing expert to lead its work on public housing and ramp up its focus on the Rental Assistance Demonstration program (RAD), which taps private capital to help revitalize deteriorating developments.
Catalina Vielma recently stepped in as NEF's new vice president for public housing. She was most recently the branch chief at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) overseeing $1 billion in RAD construction activity since the 2013 launch of the program.
"There is no one in the country who understands RAD better than Cat Vielma," said Joe Hagan, NEF president and CEO. "Pretty much every deal in the country has fallen under her purview at some point and we are thrilled to have her on board."
This is Vielma's second stint at NEF. She previously worked as a senior underwriting analyst for the Chicago-based nonprofit, before moving on to HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing and, subsequently, the Office of Recapitalization, where she and her staff facilitated approximately 400 RAD transactions across the country.
HUD developed the RAD program to address more than $26 billion in unmet capital needs for subsidized housing—a level of rehab that cannot be funded by public dollars alone, Vielma said. All told, 185,000 units could benefit from RAD investments and related regulatory changes offered by the program.
"At a time when every single county in the country is struggling with affordable housing challenges, we can't afford to lose these units," said Vielma. "RAD is critical both for very low-income residents, who generally can't find other housing within their means, and for communities, which are so often dragged down by declining properties. It is far more efficient to revitalize these developments than it is to shoulder the financial and social costs of their ongoing decline," Vielma added.
NEF, one of the country's largest syndicators of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs), serves as a bridge between institutional investors and local housing authorities that need to raise capital and manage complicated housing deals to take advantage of RAD. Over the last three decades, NEF has raised and invested more than $11.4 billion in public housing developments—leveraging LIHTCs to support the effort.
"For at least the next five years, housing authorities will be primarily focused on improving its aging housing stock and closely managing costs," Hagan said. "RAD gives them the framework to do that; we bring in the capital and expertise to help. Long term, it's another way that we can lift up the quality of life in low-income communities that otherwise would have great difficulty attracting redevelopment dollars."
About National Equity Fund
National Equity Fund, Inc. is a leading syndicator of Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The Chicago-based non-profit is an affiliate of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and has played an integral role in creating affordable housing options, revitalizing communities and strengthening local economies for close to 30 years. It has invested $11.4 billion in 2,300 LIHTC developments, creating approximately 140,000 affordable homes for low-income families and individuals. For more information, visit www.nefinc.org/
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SOURCE National Equity Fund