Nevada Housing Division (NHD) officials will be the first to admit that a year ago at this time, they could not have predicted what their year-end report would look like. Though we’re guessing they’re not alone in that.
“Though it was a rough year for Nevada and its residents, we’re pleased that our agency was able to assist so many Nevadans through our programs,” said NHD Administrator Stephen Aichroth.
NHD, which is a division of the Department of Business and Industry, was created by the Nevada Legislature in 1975, with a mission to provide affordable housing opportunities and improve the quality of life for Nevada residents. Though their methods have changed through the years, the NHD team has not strayed from that mission, which they accomplish through these programs:
- Home Is Possible (HIP) down payment assistance
- Affordable multi-family rentals
- Administration of state and federal grants/assistance
- Oversight of manufactured housing and compliance
- Weatherization assistance
- Low-income housing data and advocacy
- CARES Housing Assistance Program administration
Home Is Possible for Nevadans
NHD’s HIP program is designed to help more credit-worthy families buy homes – people who can afford a monthly mortgage payment, but who may be having a hard time coming up with a down payment. It provides a (non-repayable) down payment of up to five percent of the loan amount for Nevada families who qualify. Buyers must meet standard underwriting requirements, complete a homebuyer education course and live in the home as a primary residence. There are also special benefits for veterans and teachers.
In 2020, the HIP program administered 3,323 home loans, at a total of $837 million. That’s 3,233 people who were able to find their way home through the HIP program, in one very scary year.
Since the HIP program was founded in 2014, HIP has helped 25,284 households, which includes 1,025 teachers and 1,662 veterans.
To get started, contact a HIP-qualified lender.
To better explain the homebuying process, the NHD team developed a web series called “Homebuyer Confidential,” which follows a pair of first-time homebuyers, Daniel and Karina, as they go through the entire home buying process — from getting a home loan to signing the paperwork and moving in. You can watch Karina and Daniel’s home buying adventure on NHD’s YouTube Channel.
Surviving the Pandemic
Unfortunately, 2020 was a rough year for many of Nevada’s homeowners and renters, so NHD also worked with the governor and the federal government to administer the CARES Housing Assistance Program, which provides relief for families struggling to pay their rent or mortgage due to pandemic-related job loss or reduction.
Criteria to qualify for the program includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- COVID-19 impact such as loss of employment, reduction in work hours or reduction in wages
- Income restrictions on a per-county basis
To apply for rental assistance through this program, visit housing.nv.gov and click on the county where you live.
Addressing the Housing Shortage
NHD’s work didn’t stop at helping Nevadans buy homes. The team helped address Nevada’s housing shortage through financing for the construction of 844 multi-family units in 2020. These numbers are part of the 3,804 affordable housing units NHD has financed since 2015.
NHD also provided a low-interest loan of $2 million for the Village on Sage, a bridge housing community that serves as a transition to permanent housing for 216 people in downtown Reno.
The agency’s newly redesigned NVHousingSearch.org website got a lot of use in 2020. With 47,389 rentals listed, the site averaged 250 searches per day, an increase of 20% from 2019.
“Housing was a challenge even before COVID, and we’ve been working with partners throughout the state to try and help address this situation,” said Aichroth.
Keeping Out the Cold (and the Heat)
The NHD Weatherization Assistance program provides energy conservation measures in dwelling units occupied by families at or below 150% of the federal poverty income guidelines, as established by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. For eligible homeowners and renters, there is no direct cost to participate in the program.
After a home energy assessment is performed by a trained energy auditor, a dwelling unit may qualify for some of these typical energy conservation measures:
- Air sealing
- Energy efficient light bulbs
- Low-flow shower heads
- Pipe wraps
- Solar screens
The program helped 644 low-income, elderly and disabled households receive free home energy enhancements in 2020.
Though the COVID vaccine is a start to getting back to some form of normalcy, the NHD team understands that many of these challenges will remain for the foreseeable future. They’ll continue to work with the Legislature and partners throughout the state to respond to Nevada's housing needs by revitalizing neighborhoods and strengthening communities throughout the state.
If you would like more information about NHD and its programs, visit www.housing.nv.gov.