Attracting Federal Investment to Multifamily Housing

The federal investment in multifamily housing enables multifamily affordable housing properties (MFAH) to pursue high-impact upgrades

Ravi Malhotra

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) and Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law in 2021 and 2022, respectively, enable multifamily affordable housing (MFAH) properties to pursue high-impact upgrades largely on the federal government’s dime. The MFAH segment can tap free money for weatherization, beneficial electrification, solar, and health and safety solutions. These kinds of green solutions can reduce operating costs; increase net operating income; and increase affordability, health, comfort, and safety for the low-income households.

However, the time to benefit from these funds is finite, and quickly disappearing. This year, many funds are moving from the federal government to the states, and then on to communities. A crucial step for MFAH stakeholders will be persuading federal and state agencies that MFAH offers a path to addressing agencies’ pain points when it comes to IRA and BIL: getting their allocations spent in a manner that is cost-effective, simple, scalable, deeply impactful, and in alignment with the federal Justice40 initiative.

At ICAST, a national 501c3 nonprofit with a 22-year history of scaling green solutions in MFAH, we are working at the same task. In the process, we have created a library of resources that the MFAH segment can utilize for its advocacy efforts. ICAST provides research, insights, and case studies, as well as key guidance including:

  • For myriad reasons, the same program design cannot serve single-family and multifamily, and MFAH is a different animal altogether.
  • Programs should take advantage of established strategies for the MFAH segment to simplify the qualification, intake, processing, invoicing, and reporting process.
  • Programs should leverage a “one-stop-shop” approach, where the program implementer offers a simple, yet turn-key solution that is hassle-free for the MFAH customers.
  • Programs should offer leveraging of funds from various programs to reduce or eliminate the investment needed from property owners.
  • Programs should have a “mass customization” approach wherein every project is tailored to drive the highest benefits based on each property’s specific needs.
  • Programs should lean on existing successful programs and partnerships.

 About the author:

Ravi Malhotra is the Founder and President of ICAST, a national nonprofit that creates holistic retrofit solutions for MFAH. He has 30+ years of experience designing, launching, and managing programs to benefit this segment.

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