Valley Sun Village: Home for the Holidays

Field with mountains

First Southwest Bank • November 28, 2017


For over 50 years, Monfric, Inc. has been at the forefront of the national affordable housing movement. Their specialty is the preservation, rehabilitation and management of HUD Section 8 rental properties — the very properties that make it possible for low-income families to have homes and thus a better quality life than the alternative.

“We talk about health care as a big issue, but if you don’t have shelter, what are you going to do?” asks John Moseman, Monfric Inc.’s project redevelopment manager. “You going to make them live in grass huts or mud houses? What are you going to do?”

Durango-based Moseman says Monfric Inc.’s solution is to seek out properties that were built under the original section 8 contract and find a consortium of owners and investors who will take the investment risk to save those properties. In late 2016, Valley Sun Village (Montezuma County’s only Section 8 elderly housing project) popped up on Monfric Inc.’s radar. Moseman, who has been working in this industry for over 35 years, was all over it.

Valley Sun Village is a cozy, if not dilapidated, respite for the 50 residents who call it home. The 35-year-old facility has definitely seen better days, and its aging population would benefit greatly from improvements to their personal spaces as well as shared community space around the 14-building property.

“These people don’t have [anywhere else] to go, but does that mean they deserve less of a shelter?” asks John. “Absolutely not.”

It takes a bank and the people who operate it to be visionaries, willing to take a hard look and grasp the bigger issue.

Monfric Inc. is unique in that not only do they purchase these Section 8 properties, but they also take charge of the management aspect — a delicate, challenging beast in its own right. Moseman says that Monfric Inc. is comprised of “housing people,” that is, people who know how to address both the functional and human elements of rehabilitating and managing an affordable housing project — because this responsibility can’t just fall to the city and county governments, he says.

“They don’t know how to form those relationships and partners to bring this asset full circle,” he says. “It takes a community effort.”

So when the opportunity arose for Monfric, Inc. to purchase Valley Sun Village and take charge of much-needed renovations and management, they connected with local lenders.

Enter First Southwest Bank (FSWB). Passionate about meeting community needs on a tangible level, FSWB partnered with Monfric, Inc. to provide bridge funding so Monfric, Inc. could apply and secure permanent funding in the form of CHFA 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LITCH). Highly competitive, these tax credits provide an invaluable source of equity for developers.

“Normally, I don’t have a lot of faith in banks because they can only go so far,” says Moseman, who works with lenders across five states. “But [FSWB] looks at preservation the same way we do: it’s great for the community and great for stockholders.

“It takes a bank and the people who operate it to be visionaries, willing to take a hard look and grasp the bigger issue,” says Moseman. “That’s what [FSWB] did. They came right to the plate and followed through, getting us off to a great start with short-term financing.”

What makes a good bank, like FSWB, says Moseman, is their ability to mitigate risks associated with loaning money. He adds that it’s reassuring to the community to have a local lending institution open to bold, important opportunities, like preserving housing for senior citizens so they, too, can have a warm, safe home for the holidays.

“We hope and pray that we can approach this in such a fashion that it will extend this community need for the next 40 years,” says Moseman.

For more information, contact Kent Curtis, First Southwest Bank CEO, at kent.curtis@fswb.com.