Blaine County applicants went one for three in the 2020 allocation of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit funding awarded by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, the organization announced late last week.

Twenty projects sought the funding, which is designed to spur investment in the construction or rehabilitation of affordable rental housing by allowing investors to claim credits on their federal tax returns. Eight will receive the money, including the ARCH Community Housing Trust’s county-backed senior housing block on the former site of Blaine Manor in Hailey.

After falling short in 2019, ARCH Executive Director Michelle Griffith improved the plan’s score by securing more of the county’s acreage, and pitching a separately funded family-housing construction project on the other side of the lot. The combined plan—bolstered by a range of other funding sources—better fit IHFA’s revamped rubric, helping this year’s application earn 94 points on the IHFA’s scoring rubric, tied for the top mark.

For Blaine Manor, the award adds up to $578,984 per year for 10 years, just shy of $5.8 million, over the life of the funding.

Low-income tax credits are the federal government’s primary carrot for incentivizing low-income housing. Each year, the IRS divides a set amount of tax credits among the states based on population, via each state’s housing credit agency. The IHFA scores each application, and then goes down the list doling out funding until the money is gone. This year, Idaho got $4,852,222 annually—worth 10 times that over the life of the instrument. Applicants sought $10,977,445 per year.

That left two other Wood River Valley projects waiting for next year.

Scott Niblack of Denver-based Terra Realty and Management, Inc. sought $795,000 annually—$7.95 million total — to purchase and remodel the 45-unit Snow Mountain Apartments on Woodside Boulevard in Hailey. Forty of those units would have been earmarked for low-income families, according to Niblack’s application.

Seattle developer Gregory Dunfield’s proposed Bluebird Village fell short, too. Dunfeld’s GMD Development LLC sought the most of any project this cycle, $1,127,348 annually for 10 years, to build a 28-unit apartment building at 480 East Ave., the site of Ketchum’s current city hall. Twenty-five would have been affordable, according to the application.

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