Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed Senate Bill 269 by Senator Neil Riser, creating the Louisiana Housing Corporation, a consolidated organization for the state's housing policy and programs. This bill was part of the Governor's package for the 2011 Regular Legislative Session.
Governor Jindal said, "In Louisiana, for too long we've had dozens of housing programs spread across five state agencies, which lead to inefficient management and duplicative operations, costing the taxpayers in dollars and lost opportunities. By consolidating these programs into one organization, we will improve how developers access capital and how we offer affordable housing options to Louisiana residents in need of safe homes for their families. Long overdue, this reform will create a consolidated and focused strategy to coordinate our state housing programs."
Commissioner of Administration Paul Rainwater said, "We will work with Legislative leaders to immediately begin the process of transitioning staff members and programs into one unified organization with a shared focus -- improving how we deliver housing options in the state. Through this process, we will be reviewing each program to ensure that we're avoiding duplication of effort and staff and also maximizing the use of available resources."
The Act brings together the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency with the following programs in the Office of Community Development: Small Rental Property Repair Program, Gustav and Ike Affordable Housing, LIHTC Piggyback Program, the Permanent Supportive Housing voucher program, the Soft Seconds program, First Time Homebuyer program, Non-Profit Rebuilding Pilot program and the Plaquemines Parish Rehabilitation program, the Housing Development Loan fund, Contaminated Drywall program and the Gustav/Ike Homelessness program.
The LHC also will incorporate housing programs from the Department of Health and Hospitals and the Department of Children and Family Services, including the Emergency Shelter Grants Programs and the Rapid Re-housing Program.
The Corporation will be governed by an 11-member board, including six appointments by the Governor, two appointments by the Speaker of the House, two appointments by the President of the Senate and the Treasurer or his designee. The Corporation's board will appoint an executive director for the corporation, subject to confirmation by the State Senate.
This new, unified approach to Louisiana's housing needs will allow the state to better attract and leverage private capital in the credit markets, ensure that those citizens positioned for home ownership also have access to opportunities to make this a reality, ensure that safe and affordable rental options are available for those who need it and develop policies focused on providing support that is financially sustainable for families by balancing low-income lending against risks to borrowers and taxpayers.
The unified structure for housing programs will also streamline operations, ensuring that all programs operate within a high level of accountability, all programs operate within budget and limit risks to homeowners and taxpayers, policies encourage sustainable housing and that federal and state laws are administered consistently.