Community First December Newsletter

  • December 3, 2019
The December 2019 edition of the Community First® Newsletter is now available.


$27.7 Million Awarded Through 2019 Competitive Affordable Housing Program
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago (FHLBank Chicago) announced that it has awarded $27.7 million in grants through the 2019 competitive Affordable Housing Program. Fifty awards were made to 37 member institutions and 34 sponsors to support the new construction, acquisition, and/or rehabilitation of 2,671 units of rental and owner-occupied housing. For more details, read the press release.


Katie Naftzger Named Community Investment Officer
Katie Naftzger was recently named Community Investment Officer for the FHLBank Chicago. Katie has been with the Bank since 2002 and has served in a variety of roles within the Community Investment Group, most recently as Senior Policy Specialist. Congratulations, Katie! 

Community First® Award Nominations Now Open
The annual Community First Awards recognize FHLBank Chicago member institutions and local partners for their work in building and strengthening communities. Nominations are accepted in four categories - Partnership, Project or Program, Pioneer, and Emerging Leader - and awardees identify a nonprofit organization to receive up to $10,000 on their behalf. The deadline for nominations is January 17, 2020. For more information on award categories and to submit a nomination, please see the nomination form

Register for a Downpayment Plus® Program Webinar
The 2020 DPP programs are scheduled to open on January 13 with an initial allocation; additional allocations will be made as they become available. Register for a webinar to learn more about the 2020 programs, including significant changes from 2019.

The FHLBank Chicago's 2019 Downpayment Plus (DPP®) and Downpayment Plus Advantage® (DPP Advantage®) programs still have funds available. New reservations of 2019 DPP funds will be accepted through December 31. Contact 312-565-5824 or with any questions. 


Disaster Relief Program Update 
On October 7, 2019, the FHLBank Chicago announced a $500,000 allocation to its Community First Disaster Relief Program to assist communities affected by DR-4459 in Wisconsin and DR-4461 in Illinois. Members may submit applications for grant assistance on behalf of eligible households and businesses through December 20 or until funds are fully reserved, whichever occurs first. Applications may be found under Resources on the Disaster Relief webpage

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Guide for Project Management Updated
The Guide for Project Management has been updated. Members and sponsors with AHP projects may review this guide for guidance on making changes in AHP Online, semi-annual progress reporting, extensions, and disbursements. 

Policy Corner
New Requirements for AHP Online and DPP Online Users
Effective January 1, 2020, the FHLBank Chicago will require Microsoft Excel 2010 or newer for files uploaded to AHP Online and/or DPP Online. Microsoft no longer supports Office versions prior to 2010. This change will minimize security threats associated with older versions. Users are encouraged to obtain Microsoft Excel 2010 or a newer version prior to January 1 in order to upload worksheets in the system. 

Final AHP Rule Implementation
On November 28, 2018, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published its amended regulation (Final AHP Rule) giving the FHLBanks greater flexibility to identify and respond to the unique needs of their Districts. For an overview of the Final AHP Rule and a comprehensive list of changes effective in 2020 and 2021, visit our AHP Modernization webpage. Significant changes to owner-occupied competitive AHP projects effective January 1, 2020 are summarized here; significant changes to the Downpayment Plus Program effective January 1, 2020 are summarized here

Advisory Council Spotlight
Advisory Council Members Recognized for Service
The FHLBank Chicago has recognized four professionals for completing a term of service on its Community Investment Advisory Council: Tom Landgraf, Jackie Newman, Sean O'Brien, and Valerie Johnson Renk. The Advisory Council consists of practitioners actively involved in providing or promoting affordable housing and/or community lending in Illinois or Wisconsin. The FHLBank Chicago expects to announce appointments to the 2020 Advisory Council soon. 


Reflections From the Advisory Council Leadership 
2019 has been a year of transition for the Community Investment Advisory Council. Many seasoned members completed their term on the Council, and others arrived, bringing new energy and points of view. We (Jackie and David) began our first year as chair and vice chair, respectively, and the opportunity to lead this group of accomplished professionals has been both thrilling and humbling. The diversity and breadth of knowledge, experience, and expertise they bring to the council from their work in communities across our district enriches the insights we contribute to the FHLBank Chicago’s Community Investment programs.


A Year of Fresh Perspectives
In June, we were pleased to meet once again with the full FHLBank Chicago Board of Directors, and for the first time this meeting took place outside of Chicago, in Milwaukee. The change of venue presented an opportunity for the group to tour the Gerald L. Ignace Indian Health Center, a nonprofit community clinic (and 2018 Community First Award recipient) that provides access to comprehensive healthcare at low or no cost to vulnerable and underserved populations in the greater Milwaukee area. Representatives from Impact Seven, a community development financial institution member of the FHLBank Chicago (and Community First Fund partner) that financed the health center’s recent expansion, were on hand to provide an overview of the work they’re doing throughout Wisconsin. For both our Council and the Board of Directors, this was a chance to see firsthand how the Bank’s Community Investment programs, collaborations, and funding partnerships are meeting the needs of communities in our district.

We recently returned from this year’s Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Advisory Council Leadership Meeting in Washington, DC, where we were able to meet with our counterparts and staff from FHLBanks across the country. It was exciting to hear how other FHLBanks and their partners are addressing affordable housing needs in their districts, and to learn from their approaches to shared challenges. For example, we were inspired and enlightened by FHLBank members’ presentations on the important intersections between housing and medical needs, and on efforts to achieve greater diversity and inclusion by reaching out to underrepresented students before they’ve settled on a career path.

Looking Forward to AHP Modernization
Since last November, when the Federal Housing Finance Agency released its final rule updating the FHLBanks’ Affordable Housing Program (AHP) regulation, FHLBank Chicago staff have been planning the implementation of required changes to the program. Because a major focus of the Community Investment Advisory Council is to provide guidance on how the AHP affects the organizations and communities it serves, we will be working closely with Bank staff throughout 2020 as they manage this transition. We’re eager to see how these long-awaited reforms will shape the AHP, making it more flexible and responsive to local needs within our district.

In service,
Jackie L. Newman, Chair
David Porterfield, Vice Chair

Project Spotlight
Arc of the Quad Cities Area Capital Expenditures
Location: Rock Island and Moline, Illinois
AHP Award: $432,000
Member: Modern Woodmen of America
Sponsor: The Arc of the Quad Cities Area
Photo Courtesy of The Arc of the Quad Cities Area

Upcoming Events
December 10 Interfaith Housing Development Corporation's Annual Holiday Breakfast  
Chicago, IL | Attending and Sponsoring
March 2-3
Illinois Housing Council's 2020 Affordable Housing Forum 
 Chicago, IL | Attending, Exhibiting, Speaking, and Sponsoring
March 4
Neighborhood Housing Services of of Chicago's Annual Awards Dinner 
Chicago, IL | Attending
April 2  LISC Milwaukee's Milwaukee Awards for Neighborhood Development Innovation 
Milwaukee, WI | Attending and Sponsoring
April 23  LISC Chicago's Chicago Neighborhood Development Awards 
Chicago, IL | Attending, Judging, and Sponsoring

Contact Us

Please direct all media inquiries to:

Casey Reidy 
Director, Communications

Heather Bockstruck
Assistant Director, Communications