Our Roots: A Partnership with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI)

In 2008, Smith NMTC Associates pioneered our groundbreaking NMTC for-sale housing model and our multi-QALICB model in our first Habitat for Humanity International transaction, deploying $25M to 5 Go Zone affiliates.


As a longtime Habitat St. Louis volunteer, board member, and past board president, co-founder Howard Smith has been a champion of affordable homeownership initiatives to expand opportunities for homeownership to low-income families for decades.

Inspired by this work, Howard collaborated with US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) leaders Marc Hirshman and Zack Boyers to create a New Markets Tax Credits model to support affordable for-sale housing development. Howard, Marc, and Zack approached Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), offering USBCDC as the investor and Smith NMTC Associates, LLC as HFHI’s partner in a CDE (Community Development Entity), both financially and as the manager of the CDE.

Before this collaboration, NMTCs had never been used for affordable for-sale housing development. Instead, their use had been limited to funding operating businesses and the development of other real estate projects, such as charter schools and community facilities.

HFHI’s strong affiliate network of affordable housing developers, financial and homeownership counselors, and mortgage lenders using high-touch loan servicing made HFHI a natural partner in Smith’s endeavors. HFHI accepted the proposal and the team jointly formed a CDE named HFHI-SA I, LLC.


In 2007, Smith NMTC completed the CDE certification process and prepared the CDE’s first NMTC Allocation application and received $25M to be deployed in the GOZone—the Gulf Opportunity Zone (those areas hit hardest by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita).

Smith also pioneered the multi-QALICB model in its first transaction, deploying all $25M to five Habitat affiliates, resulting in 251 new homes for the residents of Lafourche, Terrebonne, and St. Tammany Counties in Louisiana; Jackson and Harrison Counties in Mississippi; and Mobile County in Alabama. Smith also used Targeted Populations, committing its QALICBs to sell at least 60% of the homes built to individuals earning less than 80% AMI.

Smith wrote two additional applications for the HFHI-SA NMTC I, LLC CDE, receiving an additional $78M in allocation and providing funding to 27 affiliates in 19 states, completing projects that ultimately resulted in 1,461 affordable for-sale homes. By structuring the transactions to allow for multiple QALICBs, Smith NMTC reduced the burden of the transaction expenses and thereby maximize the net benefit retained by each borrower. All 3 allocations resulted in a total of 1,622 homes sold to low-income buyers.

From the closing of the transaction, through the seven-year compliance period, and past the exit, the Smith NMTC accounting and compliance teams ensured proper funds management, documentation, and reporting for the CDE and its QALICBs, backed by a recapture risk guarantee from Smith NMTC.


Through its joint ownership and launch of the first CDE dedicated to for-sale housing projects, Smith NMTC Associates defined a national model for using NMTCs to increase homeownership opportunities within low-income communities.

Since that successful application and inaugural project, Smith NMTC has expanded its impact by supporting other nonprofit developers, CDEs, and mission-driven collaborators. Over the past 14 years, we’ve secured and deployed over $500 million in NMTC funding for affordable for-sale housing projects throughout the U.S. All of this underscores the true possibility of successfully expanding the use of the NMTC program to help address the national affordable for-sale housing shortage.

Unlike renting an affordable house or apartment, owning a home provides families, especially low-income and families of color, with the opportunity to accumulate wealth, to use the equity to help improve the financial, physical, and mental well-being of all family members, and to lay the foundation of continued financial stability for generations to come.


We offer transparency with our proprietary models because we believe so deeply in homeownership—and its ability to enact sustainable change in the lives of low-income families across the country. You can access our available resources, including our three models, by clicking here.

We’re also committed to serving as a resource and a collaborative partner for anyone interested in utilizing the NMTC program for affordable for-sale homeownership. Reach out to us to schedule a call or learn more.

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Published On: July 7, 2023Categories: Housing News, Partners, Projects, Services