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NYSAFAH Names nyhomes 2008 Innovator of the Year

NYSAFAH Names nyhomes 2008 Innovator of the Year

NEW YORK, NY – May 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — The New York State Association for Affordable Housing (NYSAFAH) has named nyhomes, New York State’s affordable housing bank, as its 2008 Innovator of the Year.

nyhomes–which includes the New York State Housing Finance Agency, the State of New York Mortgage Agency and the New York State Affordable Housing Corporation–received NYSAFAH’s prestigious award for transforming its agencies through innovation, transparency and a willingness to partner with the affordable housing community.

NYSAFAH announced its 2008 Innovator of the Year at its 10th Annual NYS Affordable Housing Conference in New York City.

Bernie Carr, NYSAFAH Executive Director, said, “The changes adopted by nyhomes put it at the forefront of housing innovation in New York State. As a result, nyhomes has become a great partner for us at NYSAFAH and for all the members of the affordable housing community. Its agencies have brought openness, fresh thinking and additional resources to the table. And it has continued to promote affordable housing even in these difficult economic times. We at NYSAFAH look forward to our continued partnership with nyhomes as we create housing for working families throughout New York State.”

Priscilla Almodovar, President and Chief Executive Officer of nyhomes, said, “We are very honored to receive this important award from NYSAFAH. We came into office two years ago committed to becoming a partner with all segments of the affordable housing community–for-profit and not-for-profit developers, lenders, builders, equity investors and housing professionals. We are proud of our accomplishments and we are dedicated to continuing our progress in the years ahead. Despite the industry’s economic troubles, the Paterson administration will press ahead with its efforts to create and preserve affordable housing all across New York State.”

Duncan Barrett, President of the NYSAFAH Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Omni Housing Development LLC, said, “We recognize nyhomes today for transforming how its agencies work and for its openness and commitment to serving the entire state. Whether it’s rental or homeownership, big developer or small, upstate or downstate, for profit or not-for-profit, nyhomes has been a partner to us all.”

Roger Brandt, president of Rochester’s Cornerstone Group, a real estate developer headquartered in Rochester, said, “nyhomes has demonstrated intelligence and flexibility in developing solutions to finance affordable housing, which is important given the current disruptions in the capital markets. The agency’s attention to the upstate market is especially welcomed. Ms. Almodovar leads an able staff that works collaboratively with developers to craft workable financing structures. This award is well deserved.”

Steve Weiss, partner at Cannon, Heyman and Weiss, which represents for-profit and not-for-profit developers throughout New York State, said “Ms. Almodovar’s leadership was apparent from the start–she immediately focused the agency on meeting the need for affordable housing across the state. nyhomes has transformed itself into a valuable, active and creative partner. We applaud this well-deserved recognition of the agency’s efforts.”

In addition to Innovator of the Year, NYSAFAH also announced these awards at its 10th Annual NYS Affordable Housing Conference:

2008 Advocate of the Year to Norma Drummond, Deputy Commissioner of Planning, Westchester County

2008 Project of the Year (Upstate) to South End Revitalization — Phase II in Albany, New York

2008 Project of the Year (Downstate) to SoHa 118 in New York City

2008 Not-for-Profit Partner of the Year to Habitat for Humanity of New York State

2008 Donald M. Halperin Award for Lifetime Service to Affordable Housing to the Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake of Greater Allen AME Cathedral in Jamaica, New York.

In naming nyhomes 2008 Innovator of the Year, NYSAFAH cited the agencies for their numerous accomplishments over the past two years:

· Found new ways to finance multifamily developments in a challenging economic environment. This included creation of an open bond “pool” to fund smaller affordable rental projects in a way that saves money and promotes efficiency, and successfully expanding the use of private activity bonds to finance smaller projects in upstate markets;

· Streamlined its approval processes to make the agencies more user-friendly for developers and first-time homebuyers, saving them time and money;

· Expanded the use of its “Aa1” mortgage insurance fund to provide insurance to a greater number of multifamily mortgages, lowering project costs and freeing private capital when these mortgages are sold to the City and State pension funds;

· Purchased project bonds with its mortgage insurance fund resources when the municipal bond market temporarily shut down in the fall of 2008;

· Forged new and effective partnerships with other government agencies–including NYS Division of Housing and Community Renewal; the NYS Office of Mental Health; the NYS Division of Veterans Affairs; the NYC Department of Housing, Preservation and Development; and the NYC Housing Development Corporation–as well as private and nonprofit organizations, including the NYS Builders Association and NeighborWorks® America.

With these innovations, nyhomes tripled the number affordable housing units it financed, from 1,230 in 2006 to 3,831 in 2007 and 3,746 in 2008. On the single-family front, it purchased a near-record number of mortgages for first-time homebuyers in 2008–$531 million in 2008, a 67% increase over 2007, stepping in when local banks pulled back from lending. And its mortgage insurance fund increased the number of affordable units it insured in 2008 by nearly 50%, again stepping in when other lending institutions pulled back.


The New York State Association for Affordable Housing, formed in 1998, is a trade association for private sector organizations throughout New York State that are involved in affordable housing. Its goals are to increase housing programs and subsidies, to be a voice for professionals in the field, and to inform members of new opportunities and developments.

nyhomes is comprised of three State agencies that function as New York’s affordable housing bank. They include the New York State Housing Finance Agency (HFA), which was created in 1960 to sell bonds to finance the construction and rehabilitation of multi-family affordable rental housing in New York State; the Affordable Housing Corporation, a subsidiary of the HFA, which was established in 1985 to promote homeownership by low- and moderate-income households; and the State of New York Mortgage Agency, which was created in 1970 with the mission of helping low- and moderate-income families become homeowners.

NYSAFAH contact: Bernie Carr
Executive Director
718-432-2100; Bernie (at) nysafah (dot) org

nyhomes contact: Philip Lentz
Director of Communications
212-872-0679; plentz (at) nyhomes (dot) org


U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is the nation’s housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation’s fair housing laws.


Brian Sullivan
(202) 708-0685