The Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority (VIHFA) focuses on developing relationships with developers and contractors to help meet the demands of the severe shortage of affordable housing in the Territory. The goal of the Affordable Housing Program is to continue to cultivate these relationships by providing training on the program while identifying construction and financing opportunities that will help to continue the development of low-to-moderate income housing for residents. Through partnerships, the Authority is able to build affordable, sustainable and diverse communities for residents of the Territory.
The Developer’s Program
The Developer’s Program is established to assist prospective affordable housing developers in achieving the goal of creating affordable housing opportunities for VI Residents in an efficient streamlined manner. There are two specific ways that a developer may come to work in the Affordable Housing Development Program. One method is through a firm to develop housing typically on VIHFA land and the second is through unsolicited proposals. This method requires the developer to create a project, locate financing, and assemble a qualified team to construct affordable housing units.The VIHFA may choose to negotiate and contract with any qualified developer or contractor whose proposal is deemed by the Authority to best fulfill the intent of the Affordable Housing Program.
By working with the Virgin Islands Housing Finance Authority, the contractor is also able to receive tax benefits awarded to participants building under an Affordable Housing Development Agreement. The Affordable Housing Development Program also provides small contractors with many benefits, including the opportunity to build their business to the capacity to that of a larger company and the chance to strengthen their financial capacity and portfolio by building affordable housing for the residents of the Territory. Every Applicant who applies to the Authority by submitting an Affordable Housing Development Plan for approval as a developer, contractor, provider or sponsor of affordable housing units, may be eligible to receive a tax benefit under the program.
The VIHFA partnered with the Virgin Islands Department of Labor to implement the Pre-Apprenticeship Program for the Affordable Housing Program. Contractors/Developers receiving affordable housing tax exemption benefits are required to hire apprentices to work on their projects. Apprentices were hired at the Amalie Terrace Project, Mount Pleasant infrastructure installation, and the Lorraine Village Rehabilitation Project. The Department of Labor assisted the Agency in the development of this initiative to provide workforce development training through the affordable housing programs.
The Pre-Apprenticeship Program is designed for individuals who want to prepare for entry level careers in the construction industry. The program provides the participant with the necessary skills to pursue a career track in Electricity, Plumbing, Masonry, Carpentry and Heavy Equipment. Participants are tested for the appropriate career path and provided technical training in the related area. Upon placement into an apprenticeship, participants are trained by industry experts in the construction or remodeling and renovation of single-family residential buildings as well as subsidized housing projects.