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Michigan State Housing Development Authority Recognized for Program Excellence at National Housing Conference

Contact: Katie Bach
Media Affairs Manager
bachk@michigan.gov                            

November 5, 2013
 
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) scored two Awards for Program Excellence during the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) 2013 Annual Conference in New Orleans, LA, last month. 

The awards identify and elevate industry best practices and encourage continued Housing Finance Agency (HFA) innovation. Winners were chosen from 147 national entries in seven categories: Communications, Homeownership, Legislative Advocacy, Management Innovation, Rental Housing, Special Needs Housing and Special Achievement.

MSHDA won in the Communications and Rental Housing categories.

"Program Excellence awards honor the best work of HFAs nationwide and I’m proud that the Authority was recognized twice this year,” MSHDA Executive Director Scott Woosley said. “This puts us in elite company and allows us to share what we know while learning best practices from other stars within the HFA community. That will help us all be more successful in achieving our common mission of providing affordable housing for those who need it."

In the Communications category, MSHDA wowed with its Creative Media entry, the “Down Payment Fairy" campaign.

MSHDA is the sole institution in the state that offers Down Payment Assistance (DPA) to eligible first-time homebuyers. Despite the program’s benefits -- up to $7,500 for first-time homebuyers and low interest rates -- awareness among young potential homebuyers was low.

To engage this audience, MSHDA worked with Pace Marketing & Communications to develop a comprehensive home loan and DPA campaign atypical of state government, using humor and a “Down Payment Fairy” to sell the MSHDA product. The relatable fairy personified the “magic” behind MSHDA and hit home with the target demographic.

In mid-April, MSHDA launched the campaign that integrates traditional public relations and inexpensive marketing strategies with innovative, low-budget social media activities. Here are just some of the “magical” results:

  •  38 million impressions from paid media
  •  More than 100,000 unique visitors to OwnMiHome.org
  •  Average of $4 million in loans per month jumped to $4 million in loans per week
  •  551 loans from May to August 2013, a 57 percent increase from same period in 2012
  •  More than 1,000 inquiries received through the website
  •  76 percent of site visitors entered through a mobile or tablet device

To see the “Down Payment Fairy” in action, visit OwnMIHome.org.

In the Rental Housing category, MSHDA received Program Excellence recognition for its Automated Audit Process entry, which standardizes the submission of audited financial data and improves the accuracy of data collection. This enables audit reviews to pinpoint issues with specific developments. The result is improved communication with the partners and MSHDA’s greater ability to maintain specific reviews of regulatory requirements.

All NCSHA entries were judged on originality, innovation, a proven track record in the marketplace, cost/benefit ratio, and measurable benefits provided to targeted customers.

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The Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) provides financial and technical assistance through public and private partnerships to create and preserve decent, affordable housing for low- and moderate-income residents and to engage in community economic development activities to revitalize urban and rural communities.*

*MSHDA's loans and operating expenses are financed through the sale of tax-exempt and taxable bonds as well as notes to private investors, not from state tax revenues. Proceeds are loaned at below-market interest rates to developers of rental housing, and help fund mortgages and home improvement loans. MSHDA also administers several federal housing programs. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/mshda.

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