On the heels ofblistering criticism of its efforts to meet the needs of low- and moderate-income home buyers, the Resolution Trust Corporation has Joined with the Federal National Mortgage Association to launch a new affordable housing financing plan.

The program is part of a slowly developing $10 billion initiative to address the nation's unmet and special housing needs that was announced by the RTC in March 1991.

Under the arrangement with Fannie Mae, the RTC intends to offer financing for the purchase of RTC-owned multifamily properties that will provide affordable apartment rental housing for low- and moderate-income families.

The RTC has been under mounting congressional and consumer pressure to implement an adequate affordable housing program.

Investigations by the Congress, the General Accounting Office and even the RTC's own inspector generars office. have found that the agency's effort to make affordable housing available has been less than a glowing success.

Under the latest plan, however, Fannie Mae has agreed to buy up to $100 million in permanent financing for RTC multifamily properties in which a percentage of the units will be set aside at restricted rents for lowincome families.

The resolution agency will also provide second mortgages to nonproflt organizations and government agencies. which allow such buyers to purchase the properties with minimum down payments of 5%.

For-profit purchasers will be required to put down a 30% down payment.

Under the RTC program, eligible organizations buying the properties must set aside at least 35% of the total project units at restricted rents for low-income families. FIfteen percent of the total project units must be occupied by 'lower-income' families earning less than 80% of the area median income. and 2096 of the total project units must be occupied by 'very low-income' households earning less than 50% of the area median income.

Available for financing under the RTC/Fannie Mae plan are almost 300 RTC-owned apartment properties contalning about 25,000 units. Most of the properties are located in Arkansas. Arizona, California. Colorado. Florida, Georgia, Kansas. New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.

Other properties may be avaflable for financing as additional thrifts are resolved. Byyear-end, the assets of an expected 80 savings and loan institutions will need to be disposed of once the RTC receives additional funding, expected next year.

'A lack of financing from the private sector has been one of the great difficulties faced by purchasers of multifamily properties under the RTC's affordable housing program.' says Stephen 8. Allen. director of the agency's Affordable Housing Disposition Program.

Congress authorized the RTC to provide financing to individuals for these properties, but it has so far been lax in responding to this mandate.

'In FIRREA (Financial Institutions Reform. Recovery and Enforcement Act), Congress envisioned that Fannie Mae would provide liquidity for low-income housing in areas where other private financing resources are scarce. That's now in place,' Allen says.

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