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202 – HUD’s Section 202 program helps expand the supply of affordable housing with supportive services for the elderly. It provides very low-income elderly with options that allow them to live independently but in an environment that provides support activities such as cleaning, cooking, transportation, etc. Providence has several of these properties.


Accrued Interest – Interest on a note, bond, etc. which has been earned but not yet paid.

Active Partners Performance System (APPS) – allows HUD business partners to manage their company and individual participation information and submit their Previous Participation Certification

(APPC) requests directly to HUD for processing via the Internet.

Active Transportation – Any form of non-motorized transport, including walking, running, biking, skateboarding, etc.

Addendum – An agreement or list that is added to a contract, agreement, or other document.

Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) – A mortgage loan in which the interest rate is periodically adjusted to more closely coincide with current interest rates.

Admission & Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) – PHA policy, which must conform to HUD standards, and must include, among other items, selection and admission of applicants from PHA waiting list, occupancy standards and policies, assistance for families claiming illegal discrimination, grievance review and hearing procedure, rent determinations, and procedural guidelines for inspections.

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing – Programs and activities related to housing and urban development that affirmatively furthers the policies under the Fair Housing Act, to include providing diverse and inclusive housing communities.

Affordability (Housing) – A measure of how much of one’s income one spends on housing (be it rental or mortgage payments). Housing is considered unaffordable if it costs more than 30% of the resident’s income.

Aggregate Lending – The number of loans originated and purchased by all reporting lenders inspecified income categories as a percentage of theaggregate number of loans originated and purchased by all reporting lenders in the metropolitan area/assessment area

Agreement to Enter into Housing Assistance Payment Contract (AHAP) – A statement that a property owners agrees to rehabilitate the project units to make them safe and sanitary.  Rent to be paid to owner through HUD once a unit is occupied by an eligible family.

Alternative Housing Pilot Program (AHPP) – Funded by FEMA, this initiative is building 500 homes in Southeast Louisiana for families affected by Katrina. Most are for homeownership.

Amortization – Payment of debt in regular installments of principal and interest.

American Community Survey (ACS) – A mandatory, ongoing statistical survey that samples a small percentage of the population every year, giving communities the information they need to plan investments and services.

American Housing Survey (AHS) – The most comprehensive national housing survey in the U.S. used to provide a current and continuous series of data on selected housing and demographic characteristics, carried out by HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau.

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) – A stimulus package passed in 2009 meant to create new jobs, save existing jobs, spur economic activity and invest in long-term growth, and foster accountability and transparency in government spending.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – Passed in 1990, the ADA prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, and governmental activities. The ADA also establishes requirements for telecommunications relay services. 

Analysis of Impediments (AI) – A review of barriers that affect the rights of fair housing choice.  Impediments to fair housing choice are defined as any actions, omissions, or decisions that restrict, or have the effect of restricting, the availability of housing choices, based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Annual Audited Financial Statements (AFS) – Audited financial statements which must be provided to HUD on a yearly basis for any HUD funded projects.

Annual Community Assessment (ACA) – An annual performance assessment conducted by HUD to determine whether grant recipients are carrying out planning, activities and reporting within the statutory requirements.

Annual Contribution Contract (ACC) – This is the former name for traditional public housing, in which the government owns and operates the housing units.

Annual Percentage Rates (APR) – A term that expresses on an annualized basis, the charges imposed on a borrower to obtain a loan, including interest, discount and other finance charges.

Annual Performance Report (APR) – An annual report required for all HOME participants, including information on assisted properties, on the owners or tenants of the properties, and on other programmatic areas.  The information will be used: 1) to assist HOME participants in managing their programs; 2) to track performance of participants in meeting fund commitment and expenditure deadlines; 3) to permit HUD to determine whether each participant meets the HOME statutory income targeting and affordability requirements; and 4) to permit HUD to determine compliance with other statutory and regulatory program requirements.

Annual Performance Plan (APP) – A combined report and plan by HUD, intended to provide readers with a clear sense of HUD’s progress toward achieving its mission over the past year, as well as its plan for making progress in the next fiscal year.

Applicable Federal Rate (AFR) – Prescribed rates provided by the IRS for federal income tax purposes.

Appraisal – An opinion or estimate of the value of a property.

Appraiser – The appraiser determines the market value of your prospective home, based on its condition and selling prices of comparable homes recently sold in the area.

Area Median Income (AMI) – The median of all families’ income for a given geographic area. This is used as the benchmark to determine affordability.  New Orleans’s AMI is currently $60,000 for a four-person household.

Arrears – When a payment is made that includes principal and interest, the interest is applied to the interest accrued in the previous month. This means that interest is paid in arrears.

Assessment Area – A geographic area delineated by the bank in accordance with therequirements of the Community Reinvestment Act.

Asset Control Area (ACA) – FHA Single Family Housing designated area for special property sales initiatives.

Asset Management Project (AMP) – Project-based budgeting.

Assumption Fee – Lender's charge for the paperwork and processing of records necessary to approve and document a new buyer.

Attorney/Closing Agent – The attorney or closing agent explains all closing documents to buyer and the seller, obtains signatures, records documents with the appropriate local governmental agencies, and collects the transaction fees.


Balance Sheet – A snapshot of the organization’s finances at a given moment in time, including assets, liabilities, and ownership equity.

Blight – A deteriorating property; a property, vacant or occupied, that is not maintained up to city code standards and can be issued a code violation.

Board of Zoning Adjustments (BZA) – New Orleans BAZ is a seven member board made up of citizens that are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council.  The Board hears and makes final decisions on requests for variances from the requirements of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and considers appeals of decisions by the Director of Safety and Permits.  This Board was placed under the management of City Planning by a City Charter revision that became effective on January 1, 1996.  The Board of Zoning Adjustments meets the first Monday of each month (unless otherwise indicated) at 10:00 am in the City Council Chambers.

Bonding – A surety bond is essentially a guarantee that if work is not completed, the construction company will pay the developer a given amount. GCs need bonding in order to access certain construction contracts. This is one of the major obstacles for minority-owned constructions companies in New Orleans.

Brownfields – Vacant or underutilized industrial and commercial properties that are environmentally contaminated.

Brownfields Economic Development Initiative (BEDI) – Grants connected with 108 guaranteed loans to improve security and viability of projects.

Brownfields Redevelopment Initiative (BRI) – Interagency initiative addressing financial and legal risks of brownfield clean up and redevelopment.

Business Improvement District (BID) – A defined area within which businesses pay an additional tax or fee in order to fund improvements within the district's boundaries. In New Orleans, the Downtown Development District is a BID.

Buy Down – A payment to the lender for the reduction of the interest rate.


Capital – synonym for money

Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities (CFCF) – A HUD grant program which provides capital funding to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) for the construction, rehabilitation, or purchase of facilities to provide early childhood education, adult education, and job training programs for public housing residents based on an identified need. PHAs may also use CFCF program funding to rehabilitate existing community facilities that will offer comprehensive, integrated services. These facilities will offer services to help public housing residents achieve better educational and economic outcomes resulting in long-term economic self-sufficiency.

Capital Fund Financing Program (CFFP) – A HUD program which allows PHAs to borrow private capital to make improvements and pledge, subject to the availability of appropriations, a portion of its future year annual Capital Funds to make debt service payments for either a bond or conventional bank loan transaction.

Capital Fund Program (CFP) – A HUD program which provides funds, annually, to PHAs for the development, financing, and modernization of public housing developments and for management improvements.

Capital Investment – Investments in physical infrastructure.

Cash-flow Statement – Another financial analysis tool. A cash-flow statement shows how revenue is transformed into net income by subtracting expenses. The purpose is to show whether an organization made or lost money during a given period. It’s similar to a profit and loss statement but also reflects the short-term liquidity of an organization.

Cash-Out Refinance – When all or a portion of equity is converted to cash causing the principal amount of a new mortgage to be greater than the principal amount on the existing mortgage.

Center for Community Progress (CCP) – A national 501(c)3 nonprofit organization solely dedicated to building a future in which entrenched, systemic blight no longer exists in American communities. The mission of Community Progress is to ensure that communities have the vision, knowledge, and systems to transform blighted, vacant, and other problem properties into assets supporting neighborhood vitality. 

Certificate of Occupancy (COO) – Document issues by the local government that certifies a building is in compliance with building codes and ready for habitation.

Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) – This is a new HUD program unveiled in 2011 to replace HOPE VI. It requires one-for-one replacement of all demolished public housing units, commercial revitalization of the neighborhood (in addition to just housing), and holistic community supportive services for residents. New Orleans was one of 5 awardees in the country; we received a $31 million implementation grant to redevelop the Iberville Public Housing Development.

Citizen Participation Program (CPP) – A program designed to allow citizens to have a greater say in city government decision-making and priority setting, which also gives the government an effective means for communicating with the people.

City Planning Commission (CPC) – The CPC is a nine member citizen board appointed by the Mayor and approved by the City Council. The Planning Commission provides analysis and recommendations to the City Council on matters dealing with the present and future development of the City, in accordance with the goals and policies of the City's Plan for the 21st Century or the Master Plan. This includes reviewing, approving, and/or recommending to the City Council requests for master plan amendments, map changes, text amendments to the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO), appeals and subdivisions.

Closing – The delivery of a deed, financial adjustments, the signing of notes and, in some cases, disbursements of funds necessary to consummate a sale or loan transaction.

Closing Costs – Fees paid to close a mortgage, such as an origination fee, discount points, title insurance fees, survey fees and attorney fees.

Co-Borrower – A second borrower who is personally liable on the mortgage note.

Commitment – An agreement often in writing between a lender and a borrower detailing the terms of a mortgage loan such as interest rate, loan type, term and amount.

Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) – Contract signed by developer of a specific project and the community surrounding that project, whereby developer agrees to include certain community-serving amenities or make certain investments in exchange for community support.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – Federal money allocated to states for community development activities. After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans also received a lot of D-CDBG (Disaster-CDBG) funds. Community Development Corporation (CDC) – Any nonprofit organization that provides programs, offers services and engages in other activities that promote and support a community.

Community Development Corporation (CDC) A CDC allows banks and holding companies to make equity type of investments in community development projects. Bank CDCs can develop innovative debt instruments or provide near-equity investments tailored to the development needs of the community as well as to the financial and marketing needs of the bank. A CDC may purchase, own, rehabilitate, construct, manage and sell real property. Also, it may make equity or debt investments in development projects and in local businesses. The CDC activities are expected to directly benefit low- and moderate-income groups, and the investment dollars should not represent an undue risk on the banking organization.

Community Development Entity (CDE) – An organization certified by the federal CDFI Fund, which is eligible to receive NMTCs (New Market Tax Credits). They thus become the tax-credit syndicator, or investment vehicle, for the NMTCs, meaning that the government allocated the tax credits to them and they in turn sell them to investors in specific projects that they wish to support.

Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) – A financial institution that provides credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations. They can take the form of a community development bank, a community development credit union (CDCU), a community development loan fund (CDLF), a community development venture capital fund (CDVC), a microenterprise development loan fund, or a community development corporation (CDC).

Community and Housing Development Organization (CHDO) – (Pronounced cho’do)  A private nonprofit, community-based service organization whose primary purpose is to provide and develop decent, affordable housing for the community it serves.

Community Housing Resource Board (CHRB) – Organization assisting with voluntary compliance with fair housing laws.

Community Planning and Development Office (CPD) – A HUD office which seeks to develop viable communities by promoting integrated approaches that provide decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expand economic opportunities for low and moderate income persons. The primary means towards this end is the development of partnerships among all levels of government and the private sector, including for-profit and non-profit organizations.

Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) – Passed by Congress, CRA is a federal regulation that encourages banks to serve and invest in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Banks are reviewed annually for compliance.

Community and Supportive Services Program (CSSP) – The breadth of services offered to low-income families as part of a comprehensive affordable housing program. At the Sojourner Truth Neighborhood Center, Providence provides financial literacy training, case management, some health screenings, senior programs, and more.

Comparables – P{roperties used for comparative purposes in the appraisal process that have similar characteristics to the subject property.

Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) – Data demonstrating the extent of housing problems and housing needs, particularly for low income households.

Community Land Trust – A non-profit entity that owns the land on which homeowners, tenants, and businesses reside. The land trust itself is managed jointly  homeowners, tenants and community members.

Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) – The law that governs land use throughout the City of New Orleans. The CZO includes lists of permitted land uses for each of the City’s zoning districts, in addition to height limits, setback requirements, urban design standards, operational rules, and other regulations.

Condo Doc – The documents that describe the condominium project and all the rules and regulations by which it is operated. Generally, condo docs include the MAster Deed and by-laws of PUDs (Planned Unit Developments) and/or condominiums.

Consolidated Plan (Con Plan) – A locally developed plan for housing assistance and urban development under the CDBG and other CPD programs.

Construction Loan – A short-term loan used for construction only. During construction, the developer pays only interest and pays off the entire principal after construction (as a balloon payment). Often the land beneath construction is used as collateral to secure the loan.

Continuum of Care (CoC) – Federal program stressing permanent solutions to homelessness

Co-op – An arrangement whereby individual tenants/owners in a housing development/apartment building become shareholders of the corporation that owns and operates the development/building

Consumer loan(s) – A loan(s) to one or more individuals for household, family, or other personal expenditures. A consumer loan does not include a home mortgage, small business, or small farm loan. This definition includes the following categories: motor vehicle loans, credit card loans, home equity loans, other secured consumer loans, and other unsecured consumer loans.

Conventional Mortgage – A mortgage loan not obtained under a government insured program such as FHA or VA.

Cooperative Endeavor Agreement (CEA) – Also similar to an MOU, MOA, or LOI.

Cooperative Management Housing Insurance Fund (CMHI) – A fund used by the HUD Secretary to insure mortgages covering property held by non-profits corporations, cooperatives or trusts, and to mortgagors who intend to sell such property to such non-profits.

Coordinated Assistance Network (CAN) – A multi-organizational partnership among the leading nonprofit disaster relief organizations, which works with state and local relief agencies to share information regarding disaster relief and to develop improvements on how relief and recovery services are provided to individuals and communities.

Cost Burdened – Paying more than 30% of one’s income for housing.

Cost Per Unit (CPU) – Total cost per number of housing units.

Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) – A national non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education.  New Orleans is not currently a member.

Credit Report – A report of a borrower's debt payment history.


Debt Coverage Ration (DCR) – The proportion income available for debt service (repayment of loans) to the sum of principal, interest, and other expenses. This indicates the person or entity’s ability to repay a loan. Banks use it in determining whether or not to underwrite a loan.

Debt/Income Ratio – A qualifiying ratio used in underwriting a mortgage loan which compares total monthly expenses to gross monthly debt.

Deed of Trust – An instrument used in many states in place of a mortgage. Can also be referred to as a security deed in some states. (Louisiana does not use this)

Department of Public Works (DPW) – It's composed of five divisions responsible for maintaining approximately 1,547 miles of streets (21,000,000 square yards of pavement) and 149 bridges in the City of New Orleans. This system includes 68,092 catch basins and approximately 8,200,000 linear feet of drainage lines. The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development is responsible for maintaining an additional 105 miles of state and federal highways within the City limits.

Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) – DOTD serves the transportation and water resource needs of Louisiana residents, businesses and government partners.

Departmental Accounts Receivable Tracking System (DARTS) – A HUD tracking system that allows area offices to make inquiries into and generate reports regarding financing and payment records for PHAs.

Development Application Processing System (DAP) – The HUD system used to enter and track applications for multi-family housing projects.

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)/Minority-owned Business Enterprise (MBE)/Woman-owned Business Enterprise (WBE) – The government must certify companies with this designation in order to be counted. Many times State or Federal funding will come with mandates for a certain percentage of DBE participation.

Disbursements – Actual payments of monies.

Disclosure – Information relevant to specific transactions that is required by law.

Document Preparation – The preparation of final legal papers, such as a mortgage, deed of trust, note or deed.

Down Payment – The amount one pays for a property in addition to the mortgage amount.

Down payment Assistance Program (DAP) – Loan programs designed to assist first-time home buyers with the required down payment and closing costs required by the FHA loan program.


Easement/Servitude – A covenant that allows one party to use real estate owned by another  (usually an exclusive agreement).

East New Orleans Neighborhood Advisory Commission (ENONAC) – advises the city on neighborhood planning issues.

Economic Development Initiative (EDI) – (CPD program) Competitive EDI provides grants to local governments to enhance both the security of loans guaranteed through the Section 108 Loan Program and the feasibility of the economic development and revitalization projects they finance.

Economic Development and Supportive Services (ED/SS) – (CPD program) ED/SS provides grants that aid public and Indian housing authorities in creating and operating programs that increase resident self-sufficiency and support independent living for their elderly and disabled residents.

Effective Gross Income (EGI) – GPR – Vacancy Loss + Other Income = EGI

Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) – Federal and State governments provide food and cash benefits via a debit card. SNAP benefits are often put onto an EBT card.

Emergency Mortgage Assistant Program (EMAP) – Programs which provide temporary monthly mortgage payment assistance for up to five years to eligible Connecticut homeowners who are facing foreclosure due to a financial hardship.

Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) – HUD program renamed Emergency Solutions Grants in 2012.

Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) – HUD program which provides grants by formula to States, metropolitan cities, urban counties and U.S. territories for eligible activities, generally including essential services related to emergency shelter, rehabilitation and conversion of buildings to be used as emergency shelters, operation of emergency shelters, and homelessness prevention services.

Empowerment Zones (EZ) – A HUD initiative meant to reduce unemployment and generate economic growth through the designation of Federal tax incentives and award of grants to distressed communities. This designation expired at the end of 2013.

Enterprise Communities (EC) – A HUD initiative, like EZs, meant to reduce unemployment and generate economic growth through the designation of Federal tax incentives and award of grants to distressed communities.  This designation expired at the end of 2004.

Enterprise Income Verification System (EIV) – A system designed to make integrated income data available from one source, via the Internet, for PHAs to use to improve income verification during required income reexaminations. EIV provides the following information: 1) Monthly employer new hires; 2) Quarterly wages (including employer information); 3) Quarterly unemployment compensation; 4) Monthly social security and supplement security income benefits.

Environmental Assessment (EA) – Analysis to determine the effect of a project on the environment.  May lead to an environmental impact statement (EIS).

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Analysis of environmental impacts of a proposed project.

Estimated Cost of Damage (ECD) – The estimated amount of the cost of damage as a result of a natural disaster.

Equal Housing Opportunity Plan – Plan developed by PHA for use in Section 8 and Moderate Rehabilitation Programs.

Equity – The difference between the amount owed on a house and the amount it could sell for. 

Equity v. Debt – An equity investment is when an investor purchases a part of a property or enterprise and expects long-term returns either through the enterprise’s operations or through the later sale of the property. Equity literally means ownership. Debt is when an investor or financial institution loans a developer money, to be paid back, usually with interest. Most development deals include a combination of equity and debt financing. Equity is usually preferred, although sometimes investors will require a certain degree or project control in exchange for their equity investment.

Escrow – The portion of a mortgagor's monthly payments held by a lender or servicer to pay taxes, hazard insurance, mortgage insurance, lease payments and other items as they become due. 


FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing – Congress established the FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing program in 1992 to increase and speed up FHA’s multifamily mortgage production. The FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing program allows state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) that meet rigorous financial standards to underwrite FHA multifamily loans in return for sharing the risk of losses on those loans. FHA provides full insurance on the loans, and HFAs agree to accept up to 90 percent of the risk of losses on those loans. The more risk HFAs assume, the more underwriting flexibility FHA permits them.  In the event of a default, FHA and the HFA apportion the loss according to the risk-sharing agreement they have made.

Fair Housing Act (FHA) – 1968 act providing HUD Secretary with fair housing enforcement and investigation responsibilities.

Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) – Program assisting state/local government with processing fair housing complaints.

Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) – Program to assist state/local government, community groups and housing resource boards to combat housing discrimination.

Fair Market Rent (FMR) – maximum rent for Section 8 rental assistance.

Faith Based and Community Organizations – Faith-based and community oriented organizations.  These can receive assistance through HUD to help assist their local community.

Fixed Rate Mortgage – A Mortgage in which the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan. 


Government Loan  – A mortgage obtained under a government insured program such as the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or the Veteran's Administration (VA).

Ground Lease/Land Lease – An arrangement whereby a tenant rents land from another party but owns the buildings on that land.


Hazard Insurance  – Insurance on your property to provide protection from loss due to damage or loss caused by fire, theft, wind, liability. Flood coverage requires a different policy.

Historic Tax Credits – Programs at the State and Federal level to incentivize equity investment in the rehabilitation of historic properties. The Federal and State programs have different requirements. For instance, the Federal program requires that the building is 75 years old; the State program, only 50.  

HOME – HOME funds are federal dollars given to states and cities that are often used in conjunction with local nonprofits to build, buy, or rehab affordable housing or home buying assistance to low-income people.

Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) – A program introduced in 2009 to assist homeowners with refinancing, who have remained current on their mortgages, but still owe as much or more than the home is worth. HARP offers lower interest rates, shorter team loans, or the ability to change from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Home Affordable Second Lien Program (2LP) – A program allowing homeowners with a second mortgage to reduce or eliminate the second mortgage.  This program is subject to availability and certain eligibility criteria.

Homeownership Loan Program (HLP) – (Delaware) A program designed to provide affordable first mortgage financing, down payment and settlement assistance, and a First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit.

Homestead Exemption  – An exemption from property tax on a house in which the owner resides. An owner should file for homestead exemption exemption with the Assesor's office yearly to avoid paying taxes on the house.

HOPE VI – Most public housing redevelopments have introduced a mixed-income model, whereby 1/3 of the units are affordable to families making below 30% AMI, 1/3 are affordable to families making up to 80% of AMI, and 1/3 are rented or sold for their full market value.

Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) – Used to provide Section 8 tenant-based assistance under the HUD housing choice voucher program.

Housing Assistance Plan (HAP) – Housing plans required by CDBG program.

Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) – New Orleans local PHA (Public Housing Authority)

Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) – Also called Section 8 vouches, these are given by the government to individuals so that they can rent on the open market. Voucher holders pay 30% of their income each month and the government pays the difference between that amount of market-rate for their housing unit. These are sometimes tied to a specific development, in which case they are called Project-Based Vouchers (PBV).

Housing Finance Agency (HFA) – state or local agencies responsible for financing and preserving low/mod housing within a state.

Housing Needs Assessment – housing needs-related statistics and analysis using up to date local and national resources.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) – The only Federal program dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS. Under the HOPWA Program, HUD makes grants to local communities, States, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.

Housing Quality Standards (HQS) – The minimum criteria for standard housing to provide for the health and safety of participants in the housing choice voucher program.

Housing & Urban Development (HUD) – The Department of Housing and Urban Development administers programs that provide housing and community development assistance. The Department also works to ensure fair and equal housing opportunity for all.

HUD Project-Based Rental Assistance – HUD agreements with owners of multifamily apartment complexes to pay the difference between the approved rent and what the tenant can afford.  To be eligible, tenants must have incomes at or below 80% of are median income.  Nationwide, two-thirds of the households in these unites are elderly and disabled.  Many have very low incomes.


Index – A published value or rate of return which serves as a basis for establishing interest rates on adjustable rate loans. 

Integrated Business System (IBS) – Software solutions used to integrate business process flows and operations.

Interest – The amount paid to a lender for the use of the money loaned to the borrower.

Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) – An asset building tool designed to enable low-income families to save towards a targeted amount, usually used for building assets in the form of home-ownership, post-secondary education and small business ownership.  In principle, IDAs work as matched savings accounts that supplement the savings of low-income households with matching funds drawn from a variety of private and public sources.


Land Trust – An entity that owns the land on which tenants reside or own businesses.  It lowers the rental or ownership costs of the building by removing the cost of land on which the building sits.  The land trust itself is often owned or managed jointly by tenants/building owners.  Community land trusts are usually for housing, and commercial land trusts are for businesses.

Landbanking – The practice of purchasing land and holding it until it is profitable to sell.

Lease-to-Purchase – An arrangement whereby a family rents a home (at an affordable rent) for several months or years while they save money in order to purchase it.

Letter of Intent (LOI) – nonbinding agreement similar to an MOU but framed as a letter from on part to another. Often used to attract investors to a project before final contracts can be finalized.

Leverage – Using given resources to magnify an outcome (the way one might use a lever to lift an object she couldn’t lift with her bare hands). Borrowing money is one way of leveraging a small amount of money (like a down payment) to create a greater outcome. Sometimes investing a small amount (like a grant writer’s salary) can result a much larger return (millions in grants) for an organization.

Lien – A lender’s claim to a property (the loan collateral) if a debtor cannot repay their loan.

Liquidity – A measure of how readily one’s assets can be sold (without loss of value). Cash is the most liquid asset and can be used immediately to perform economic actions like buying, selling, or paying debt, meeting immediate wants and needs. Liquidity is generally good. It can refer not only to an asset’s ability to be sold but also to an organization’s ability to meet its payment obligations.

Loan Servicer –  To whom one pays a monthly mortgage. This may not be the lender that made the loan to buy the home, but the lender making the loan will notifiy you where to send mortgage payments.

Loan to Value Ratio (LTV) – The amount of a mortgage compared to the overall value of the property. The higher the LTV, the higher the risk on the loan. Below 80% is considered a safe LTV.

Lock-In – An agreement for a specified period of time by which a lender guarantees a borrower a specific interest rate on a mortgage.

Long Term Recover Organization (LTRO) – A coalition or organization working as a single entity to bring resources to bear on the disaster-related needs.  The purpose is to coordinate and communicate the efforts of these groups by leveraging a limited supply of resources to maximize and sustain the recovery process by collectively addressing survivor needs. Funding is available from the federal government to help in establishing a LTRO.

Lot Next Door – A program that allows owners directly next to a vacant lot to purchase the lot for a small cost and use it as a side yard. It has come under much criticism from people who think the new owners should be allowed to build additional housing on it and that property owners behind or across the street from the lot should be eligible to buy it as well.

Louisiana Association of Affordable Housing Providers (LAAHP) – LAAHP is a non-profit organization with the primary intent to work for laws, legislation and programs that are necessary for, and contribute toward, the development of a viable affordable housing inventory in Louisiana. Their membership represents a broad array of members, including: non-profit developers, for-profit developers,  lenders, management companies, market analysts, accountants, lawyers, attorneys, and financial advisors.

Louisiana Housing Alliance (LHA) – Statewide coalition similar to GNOHA. The LHA is a nonprofit statewide coalition which works to ensure the preservation and production of quality affordable housing for low and moderate income Louisianans and those with special needs.

Louisiana Housing Corporation (LHC) – Recently formed state office that consolidates many state offices related to housing, including the former LHFA (Louisiana Housing Finance Authority), into a single entity governed by a seven-person board.

Louisiana Housing Finance Agency (LHFA) – Former Louisiana housing office now incorporated within the LHC. Low-Income – Up to 80% of area median income, or $48,000 for a four-person household and $43,200 for a three-person household. When using a 30% affordability rate, a family of four.

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) – Federal program to incentivize investment in the construction and rehab of low-income housing. These units are priced for the “working poor”—people earning up to 80% of Area Median Income (AMI).


Main Street Program – Founded by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, they are a State-designation which entails a small grant. In Louisiana, most Main Streets are rural but there are 6 in New Orleans (Broad Community Connections [BCC] is one of these). The State is cutting back Main Streets funding, and many people in New Orleans are trying to get the City to fund the Main Streets program long-term, as they do in other cities like Boston.

Moderate Income – 80% to 120% of area median come. One hundred and twenty percent of area median income is$72,000 for a four-person household and $54,000 for a three-person household. When using a 30% affordability rate, a family of four at the moderate income level should be spending no more than $1,800 for housing costs, including utilities.

Mortgage – A written contract holding the property as security against a specified debt.

 Mortgage Insurer – Mortgage insurance makes it possible for lenders to offer mortgage loan options with only a small down payment. If for some reason you can no longer make your payments, mortgage insurance helps cover the lenders' losses.

Mortgage Insurance Premium (MIP) – Protection for the lender in the event of default by a mortgagor on federally insured loans.


National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) – Passed in 1969, it is designed to minimize the negative environmental impact of new development. Colloquially, it has also come to refer to the Environmental Review (ER) process necessary in order to comply with the legislation.

National Partnership for Reinventing Government – Formally known as NPR (National Performance Review). Review of federal government operations resulting in recommendations for improvement.

New Market Tax Credits – An insanely complicated tax credit program created in the year 2000 to spur revitalization efforts of low-income and impoverished communities across the US. The Program provides tax credit incentives to investors for equity investments in certified Community Development Entities, which invest in low-income communities. The credit equals 39% of the investment over seven years.

Notarial Fees – The cost of filing legal papers.

Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) – This is a document released by government agencies when a grant is going to be made available. It is usually just an announcement of an upcoming program with specific application details released in a later document.

Neighborhood Participation Program (NPP) - The purpose of the Neighborhood Participation Program for Land Use actions is to provide timely notification of any proposed land use action affecting a neighborhood and to provide the opportunity for meaningful neighborhood review of and comment on such proposals. The City Charter calls for “a system of organized and effective neighborhood participation in land use decisions and other issues that affect quality of life.”

New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) – NORA is a government agency whose primary responsibility is revitalizing neighborhoods by returning residential and commercial properties to the real estate market. NORA oversees the City’s Lot Next Door program and sells properties through targeted Redevelopment Initiatives.


Office of Community Development (OCD) – State office in charge of managing CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) and disaster funds.

Origination Fee – The charge to the borrower to cover the cost of issuing a loan. 


Points – The percentage paid to the lender to cover his administrative fees. 

Poverty Line – Developed in the 1960s, it was 3 times the average family’s cost of food at that time. Since then, it has been adjusted for inflation but never substantially changed. Even though it’s not a particularly accurate measure of poverty, it is still the barometer for many federal programs. 

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) – Housing for low-income people with disabilities.

Pre-Paid Items – Loan expenses that are paid in advance, such as taxes and insurance.

Principal – The amount of debt owed on a mortgage. 

Private Mortgage Insurance – Protection for the lender in the event of default by the mortgagor on conventional loans. It is acquired through private insurance companies.

Property/Mechanical Inspector – Licensed professional who examines the property from basement to attic. The inspection includes an evaluation of the house's plumbing, electrical work, appliances, the furnace and/or air conditioners, roof and structural stability. 

Public Housing Units – Rental apartments supported by federal public housing operating subsidies.  In New Orleans, households must be at or below the Extra Low Income level or 30%AMI, $24,250 for a family of four, of area median income to qualify for the program.


Rent-burdened – Someone who spends more than 30% of their income on housing.

Reservation – Set-aside of funds for a particular program initiative.

Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) – Requires lenders to provide borrowers under Federal loan or mortgage insurance programs to receive specific loan transaction information.

Recording Fee – A fee charged for the filing of documents to make them a matter of public record. 

Rehabilitate – To store useful life to a pre-existing property; make needed repairs to bring property up to code. 

Renovate – To make changes, modernize, rebuild or make improvements. 

Request for Proposal / Request for Qualifications (RFP / RFQ) – When organizations or agencies have a contract to award, they will often solicit consultants via an RFP or RFQ. Consultants respond by submitting either a proposal (P) or a list of their previous work (Q), and the organization or agency will review according to a specified rubric and award the contract.

Return on Investment (ROI) – The profit that an investor receives from their investment.

Revolving Loan Fund – A source of money for multiple small business development projects that would not qualify for traditional financial services; similar to microcredit or microfinance.

Right of Way (ROI) – A strip of land reserved for transportation uses. They are owned by the government and can exist even if no street is paved, in which case the government can choose to create one at a later date. When ROWs are revoked, they are no longer reserved for transportation uses and are often turned over to a private entity for some other use. This happened in New Orleans in the case of the VA Hospital and University Medical Center, where several blocks of streets were closed to create two large superblocks where the hospitals will be built.

Regional Planning Commission (RPC) – The RPC for Jefferson, Orleans, Plaquemines, St. Bernard, St. Tammany and Tangipahoa Parishes, is a 31 member board of local elected officials and citizen members, appointed to represent you on regional issues. This board is supported by a staff of 23 professionals with broad experience, and doctorates or masters degrees, in a variety of areas including urban and regional planning, community development, economics, engineering, government, history, law, landscape architecture, political science, sustainable development, transportation, geography and other disciplines.

Rolling In – Common term used in refinancing for closing costs that are added in the amount of the loan and are financed rather than paid in cash at closing. This eliminates any out-of-pocket funds needed at closing. 


Section 3 – Obligates Public Housing Authorities to afford resident access to jobs and contracting opportunities created by federal funding.

Section 5 (h) – Permits Public Housing Authorities to sell all or part of a public housing development to eligible residents.

Section 8 – Housing Choice Voucher Program (Housing and Community Development Act of 1974).

Section 8 – Housing Choice Voucher Program (Housing and Community Development Act of 1974)

Section 8 (a) – Small Business Act authorizing SBA to enter into contracts with other federal agencies for goods and services. SBA then subcontracts work with eligible small firms.

Section 8 FMC – Section 8 Financial Management center (under HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing).

Section 106 – Before construction or demolition using federal funds can go forward, according to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, federal agencies must assess the impact of the construction on historic properties and make all efforts to mitigate that effect. Providence went through this process with demolition of the former Lafitte Public Housing Development and Wheatley Elementary School. In the case of Lafitte, Providence chose to maintain 3 historic buildings and commemorate the history of the development in the form of an oral history project. For Wheatley School, they are building a model of the former building to be housed in the new building when built.

Section 184 – Loan Guarantee Program.

Section 202 – Loans for construction/rehab of housing for the elderly or handicapped.

Section 203 – Basic FHA Single Family mortgage insurance program.

Section 108 – Section 108 Loan Guarantee program (under HUD Office of Community Planning and Development).

Section 202/811 – Programs for housing assistance to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Section 207 – Basic FHA multifamily insurance program.

Section 221 (d) (2) – FHA Single Family Mortgage insurance for low/moderate income families.

Section 221 (d) (3) – FHA mortgage insurance for Multifamily housing for low/moderate income families.

Section 223 (e) - FHA mortgage insurance with housing in older declining neighborhoods.

Section 223 (f) – FHA mortgage insurance to refinance existing multifamily housing.

Section 231 – Mortgage insurance for housing constructed or rehabilitated primarily for elderly persons.

Section 235 – FHA single family mortgage insurance with subsidies on interest for low/moderate income families.

Servitude / Easement – A covenant that allows one party to use real estate owned by another (usually an exclusive agreement). For instance, the railroad company Norfolk Southern has an easement to use the publicly owned rails at one end of the Lafitte Greenway.

Section 236 – FHA multifamily mortgage insurance with subsidies on interest for low/moderate income projects.

Severely Rent-burdened – Someone who spends more the 50% of their income on housing. Homeowners are in severely unaffordable housing if they pay more than 60% of their income to pay their mortgage and utilities.

Settlement – Closing of a mortgage loan. 

Site Appraisal and Market Analysis – Required for commitment of FHA mortgage insurance on most Multifamily Projects and large subdivisions.

Small Rental Property Program  (SRPP) – A rental housing initiative formulated by the Louisiana Recovery Authority and the state Office of Community Development, that uses CDBG funds to provide forgivable loans to landlords for repair of hurricane-damaged small rental properties, primarily those with one to four units. In return for financing, landlords must comply for 5 to 10 years with certain tenant income and rent restrictions.

Soft-Second Mortgage – A forgivable second mortgage to cover the gap between the cost of a home and the mortgage that a low-income family qualifies for. The soft-second mortgage has a lower interest rate than a regular mortgage and the loan is forgiven after the family has spent a certain length of time in the house.

Soft vs. Hard Costs – Soft and hard costs are two categories within a construction budget. Hard costs are all the costs directly associated with construction of a project, including materials, labor, equipment, etc. Soft costs are expense items not considered direct construction costs, including architectural, engineering, financing, and legal fees, and other pre- and post-construction expenses

Source Evaluation Board – Group of HUD officials responsible for reviewing proposals on competitive contracts of more than $500,000.

Special Risk Insurance Fund – One of four FHA funds used primarily for higher risk programs.

Subprime Mortgages – This hasn’t been such an issue in New Orleans (there was historically a high rate of homeownership and the fallout from Katrina has mostly insulated NOLA from the national housing crisis), but it might still be good to know. Subprime mortgages are loans made to people who have bad credit, are overleveraged, and would otherwise have difficulty maintaining the repayment schedule. They are risky for banks and therefore require a high interest rate to offset the risk. They’re not necessarily bad by definition, but in the 2000s, predatory lenders abused them to give loans to poorly informed consumers who couldn’t repay them, wound up defaulting, and having to turn their homes over to the banks—hence the foreclosure crisis. Providence and the City of New Orleans are giving soft-second mortgages to low-income families so that they can buy homes without relying on subprime mortgages.

Subsidized Housing – Rental units with tenant income, and in some cases rent, restrictions imposed by the above programs. Subsidized households refer to the households that occupy those units.

Survey – The process, usually performed by an engineering or surveying firm, which determines measurements of a parcel of land. 


Tax Abatement – Also known as a tax holiday, a temporary reduction or elimination of taxes. Nonprofits like Providence are often granted these if they can show that they plan to rehabilitate a property to put it back into commerce.

Tax Arrears – Unpaid taxes owed to the government.

Tax Credits – An amount deducted from the total amount a taxpayer owes the state. They are often granted to organizations as subsidies or incentives for certain behavior.

Tax-Increment Financing (TIF) – A public financing method that is used for subsidizing redevelopment, infrastructure, and other community-improvement projects. TIF uses future gains in taxes to subsidize current improvements, which are projected to create the conditions for said gains. The completion of a public project often results in an increase in the value of surrounding real estate, which generates additional tax revenue. Sales-tax revenue may also increase, and jobs may be added, although these factors and their multipliers usually do not influence the structure of TIF. There is some discussion about using a TIF to finance redevelopment on Claiborne Avenue.

Tax sale – When an owner hasn’t paid their taxes for 3+ years, the City can sell it to a new owner for the cost of the back taxes. Unfortunately, this doesn’t result in clear title (the new owner technically owns the tax liability, not the property) so it’s often difficult to get financing to rehab these properties. If no one buys a property when it’s put up for tax sale, it is adjudicated and ownership reverts to the City.

Tax Service Fee – A one-time fee paid to a third party which ensures the lender will receive and pay taxes in a timely manner. 

Tenant-Based Vouchers – Federal rental subsidies, administered by a public housing authority, for units that tenants choose in the private market. This category includes the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and post-Katrina DHAP voucher programs. To be eligible, households must have incomes at or below 80% of area median income. However, federal law gives priority to households with incomes at or below 30% of area median income. 

Title – Written evidence of the right to or ownership in a property. 

Title Insurance – An insurance policy which protects the holder from losses incurred by defects in the deed or title. 

Title-in-Lending – A federal law that requires lenders to provide, in a uniform manner, full written disclosure of credit terms and conditions, including the finance charge, the annual percentage rate and other charges incurred in connection with the loan. 

Total Development Cost (TDC) – The total cost of a project, including constructions, interest on financing, fees, and other soft costs.


Underwriting – The analysis of the risk involved in making a mortgage loan to determine whether the risk is acceptable to the lender. Underwriting involves the evaluation of the property as outlined in the appraisal report, the stability of the borrower's income, and the borrower's ability and willingness to repay the loan.

Unified New Orleans Plan (UNOP) – Following Hurricane Katrina, Concordia convened and facilitated an interdisciplinary team of urban planners, architects, and community organizers to develop the UNOP. Twelve national and local architecture and urban design firms collaborated to deliver ten district plans and one citywide redevelopment plan in less than five months, and the plan included voices of more than 9,000 current and displaced New Orleans residents.


Very Low Income – Up to 50% of area median income, or $30,000 for a four-person household and $27,000 for a three-person household. When using a 30% affordability rate, a family of four at the Very Low income level should be spending no more than $750 for housing costs, including utilities. 


Walk Through – Physical inspection of house immediately prior to Act of Sale. The day of sale is recommended.