Posted on April 6, 2020
BOSTON --- During the COVID-19 public health emergency, MHP continues to take steps to do the daily work of addressing the need for affordable housing while ensuring employee health.
MHP has been operating remotely as of Monday, March 16 and will do so until further notice. As much it can, MHP will continue all business services to the public. A few employees will be in the office each week to handle work that cannot be managed remotely.
"For MHP employees, working at home is not optional during this period of time, it is mandatory," said Clark Ziegler, MHP's executive director. "It would defeat the purpose of preventing the spread of coronavirus if more employees than absolutely necessary commute to the office."
Here's is a team-by-team update on MHP's work and how to reach us during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The team is watching legislation and weighing in on policy ideas aimed at helping communities respond to the coronavirus health emergency. Last week, it published guidelines and a checklist to help communities that are considering using local funds for emergency rental assistance programs.
It is also watching legislation that would provide guidance on hearings and required actions, which is expected to move forward this week.
Three MHP trainings have been rescheduled. MHP will monitor public health guidance regarding public gatherings and will adjust accordingly. Here are the new dates:
- The March training on how to use affordable housing trust and Community Preservation Act funds for affordable housing has been rescheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17.
- The 14th annual MHP Housing Institute - originally scheduled for June 5-6 - has been rescheduled for Nov. 18-19 at the Devens Common Center.
- The Western Mass. Housing Conference has been moved from April 16 to Feb. 11, 2021 at Hadley Farms.
People who have registered for these events can apply it to the rescheduled date or request a refund by emailing Katie Bosse at email@example.com.
Many of the background materials and resources that MHP uses to hold conferences are available on MHP's Housing Toolbox web site. MHP will also be exploring ways to hold some virtual trainings. Please check the toolbox web site out and contact our community assistance staff if you have questions.
The lending and portfolio management teams are continuing to operate as normally as possible while working remotely. All phone calls and emails are being automatically routed to staff, so developers, borrowers and property managers can continue to contact MHP.
All critical business functions such as loan closings, interest rate locks and other activities related to the deadlines and tasks of making and closing loans are continuing. MHP will continue update interest rates for all its capital sources - bank funds, Federal Housing Administration programs and Fannie Mae. MHP usually does this weekly, but will do more updates if necessary, given the recent drop in interest rates for MHP's lending programs. For more information, contact Director of Lending David Rockwell or Senior Relationship Manager or Nancy McCafferty.
MHP's portfolio management team oversees over 275 multifamily properties that have been supported with long-term financing from MHP. The team will continue monitor these loans and support its multifamily owners and property managers. For more more information, read this PM team borrower advisory or contact Director of Portfolio Management Cynthia Mohammed.
SoftSecond and ONE Mortgage
ONE Mortgage remains operational and continues to encourage owners, prospective buyers, lenders and counseling agencies to reach out about regular business and concerns related to COVID-19.
This week, the homeownership team has published guidance for SoftSecond and ONE buyers who are worried about making upcoming mortgage payments. For more information, read the latest homeownership advisory.
Prospective homebuyers are encouraged to take an online homeownership class, the first step in qualifying for a ONE loan. Many homebuyer counseling agencies offer online trainings. There's more information in the homeownership advisory.
The advisory also has information for partner lenders and homebuying counseling organizations on how best to reach the ONE Mortgage team during the coronovirus health emergency. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out to the homeownership team.
Center for Housing Data (CHD)
In the weeks before the coronavirus, CHD was hard at work with Northeastern University's Dukakis Center and UMass Boston's Donahue Center on finishing the Boston Foundation's Greater Boston Housing Report Card. That project is now on hold as the team regroups to assess how to analyze and present findings that will show a way forward.
Much of CHD's attention is now on supporting the lending and portfolio management's team analysis of MHP's 275-property multifamily housing portfolio and the impact of lost income on residents and owners.
The data team will continue to provide data support to MHP teams and updates to its DataTown and Transit-Oriented Development Explorer (TODEX) web sites. It is also looking to build on TODEX and expand its parcel analysis for the entire state. We urge you to check out DataTown and TODEX and consider using their easy-to-download graphics to illustrate your point at virtual municipal meetings. If you have questions or see something in the data that doesn't square with your knowledge of the community you're looking at, contact Data & Communications Analyst Lucas Munson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please be patient as we work to provide answers
While MHP will strive to be part of the solution during this crisis, please keep in mind that shifting operations from an office to home setting on short notice does present several challenges, ranging from providing and technology to juggling work while responding to home and family responsibilities. There may be times when our ability to respond may be delayed. If your question is time sensitive, please email email@example.com. Thank you for your patience and understanding. For more information, contact Rus Lodi at 857-317-8523 or firstname.lastname@example.org.