Spectrum is Hiring!

November 7th, 2019

Affordable Housing Compliance Analyst

Spectrum Enterprises Inc specializes in compliance oversight for the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program. Our services include document analysis, tenant file reviews, application pre-approvals, client training, and site inspections of previously certified low income housing units. Our national roster of clients includes state housing agencies, leading investors, syndicators, developers, and asset and property management companies.

The position is physically located in our corporate office and is not open to a telecommuting or home office arrangement. Our current office will be re-locating before year end from Cape Elizabeth to the Maine Mall area in South Portland.

This is a permanent full time position requiring the following skills and professional characteristics, with previous LIHTC compliance analysis and/or familiarity is strongly preferred:

  • Industry training and certification (C3P, HCCP, COS, etc.) and/or prior experience with state agency compliance manuals, IRS forms and guides, and the HUD 4350.3 handbook
  • Highly organized and reliable person with analytical mind, attention to detail, strong math skills
  • Excellent written and verbal communication is essential
  • Must be an independent, motivated, and resourceful person with the ability to balance multiple projects and deadlines
  • Strong computer skills including internet searches, email, Word, Excel, Google, and working in a network environment with shared drives

Spectrum is an equal opportunity employer. We offer a competitive starting salary and opportunity for growth. Employees receive a generous benefit package including medical, vision, dental, life, STD, LTD, 18 paid personal days and 9 holidays each year to start, and 401k plan participation after 1 year of service and a yearly employer contribution.

Candidates must submit a cover letter and resume and must pass a background check.

If interested please apply online at www.Indeed.com.

SOCIAL SECURITY COLA FOR 2020

October 10th, 2019

October 10, 2019: The Social Security Administration has announced the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2020.  According to www.ssa.gov:

“Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 69 million Americans will increase 1.6 percent in 2020.

The 1.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 63 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2020. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2019. (Note: some people receive both Social Security and SSI benefits)”

You can add the 1.6% COLA by multiplying the current award amount by 1.016.

For management staff, be sure to apply this COLA to benefits for the appropriate number of months. 

Example:

Mrs. Smith would like to move in on December 1, 2019.  Her 2019 gross Social Security monthly amount is $928.  You will calculate her Social Security income as follows:

$928 x 1.016 = $942.85 (2020 monthly amount)

$928 x 1 = $928 (December 2019)

$942.85 x 11 = $10,371.33 (January – November 2020)

$928 + $10,371.33 = $11,299.33 (12 months)

If you have already processed files for move-in for January 2020, it is recommended that you review the household income and apply the COLA to benefits issued by the Social Security Administration since it is a known anticipated change in income.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY COLA FOR 2019

October 11th, 2018

October 11, 2018: The Social Security Administration has announced the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2019.  According to www.ssa.gov:

“Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 67 million Americans will increase 2.8 percent in 2019.

The 2.8 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 62 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2019. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 31, 2018.”

You can add the 2.8% COLA by multiplying the current award amount by 1.028.

For management staff, be sure to apply this COLA to benefits for the appropriate number of months. 

Example:

Mrs. Smith would like to move in on December 1, 2018.  Her 2018 gross Social Security monthly amount is $928.  You will calculate her Social Security income as follows:

$928 x 1.028 = $953.98 (2019 monthly amount)

$928 x 1 = $928 (December 2018)

$953.98 x 11 = $10,493.78 (January – November 2019)

$928 + $10,493.78 = $11,421.78 (12 months)

If you have already processed files for move-in for January 2019, it is recommended that you review the household income and apply the COLA to benefits issued by the Social Security Administration since it is a known anticipated change in income.

 

SOCIAL SECURITY COLA FOR 2018

October 13th, 2017

October 13, 2017: The Social Security Administration has announced the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA) for 2018.  According to www.ssa.gov:

“Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 66 million Americans will increase 2.0 percent in 2018.

The 2.0 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 61 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2018. Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries will begin on December 29, 2017.”

You can add the 2.0% COLA by multiplying the current award amount by 1.020.

For management staff, be sure to apply this COLA to benefits for the appropriate number of months. 

Example:

Mrs. Smith would like to move in on December 1, 2017.  Her 2017 gross Social Security monthly amount is $928.  You will calculate her Social Security income as follows:

$928 x 1.020 = $946.56 (2018 monthly amount)

$928 x 1 = $928 (December 2017)

$946.56 x 11 = $10,412.16 (January – November 2018)

$928 + $10,412.16 = $11,340.16 (12 months)

If you have already processed files for move-in for January 2018, it is recommended that you review the household income and apply the COLA to benefits issued by the Social Security Administration since it is a known anticipated change in income.

 

2017 Income Limits

April 14th, 2017

HUD has announced the 2017 income limits for the MTSP housing programs effective April 14, 2017. This includes low income housing tax credits and tax exempt bond financing. HUD allows for a 45 day grace period, which means these limits must be in use by May 29, 2017.

Our advice to all housing professionals is to immediately check for an increase for your sites. If the income limits in your area have increased go back through any files denied over the past few months to see if any slightly over income households may qualify under the new limits.

To find your 2017 income limits visit this site (and make sure to bookmark it!):

https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/il.html

2015-2016 Staffing Changes

April 21st, 2016

The private monitoring division has experienced consistent growth over the past several years and we have made the following staffing adjustments to better serve our clients.

1. Jen Borland is now the main point of contact for all of our “File Pre Approval” work. Jen has taken an increased role in this division to oversee a staff of 12 full time employees providing this service to over a thousand properties across the US. If you have any questions about this service or want to request a proposal – please contact Jen Borland directly. (207) 805-0025 or jborland@spectrumlihtc.com

2. Jennifer Borland is now the main point of contact for all of our “Tenant File Training” work. Jennifer has several years experience providing LIHTC compliance reviews for hundreds of properties throughout the US. In recent years she has been delivering full day training sessions to groups of property managers on how to certify low income tenants and successfully maintain tenant file records to achieve clean reports from investor and state agency partners. If you have any questions about this service or want to request a proposal – please contact Jennifer Borland directly. (207) 805-0025 or jborland@spectrumlihtc.com

3. As of January 2016 Wesley Chisholm has been with Spectrum for 2 full years. In his current role, Wes has been the main point of contact for many of our clients to get proposals and contracts in place; working with sites on how to submit files to our office using our online portal; generating all invoices; and helping to shape the format of all reporting used by Spectrum. Wes will be gradually moving out of this role as he is being promoted to a full time compliance analyst. We have hired Daniel Warren to take over the role being vacated as a result. Daniel is a recent graduate of the inaugural Property Management Training class at Southern Maine Community College here in South Portland, ME. Wesley Chisholm: (207) 805-0028 or weslihtc@gmail.com Dan Warren: (207) 805-0933 or dwarren@spectrumlihtcom

4. It is always exciting to share news of promotions and new hires. Unfortunately, we are also losing a member of our staff who has been with us since 2009.  Melissa Flavell has given her notice and, while we have been very fortunate to have her part of our team for so long, we will miss working with her. Melissa has impressed many people throughout the industry with her dedication to providing compliance services of a very high caliber. She has been a terrifically dependable employee and many clients have expressed to me how grateful they are with the quality and care of her work. Hers will be large shoes to fill. Good luck with your next endeavor!

5. Tami Peterson has recently been hired by Spectrum as a full time Compliance Analyst. Tami has worked locally in Southern Maine for over 15 years in various affordable housing programs including HUD, HOME, LIHTC, and USDA. Most of her time was spent working for a public housing authority and she is extremely knowledgeable on LIHTC properties with mixed funding. Tammi: tpeterson@spectrumlihtc.com

6. In 2015 we were fortunate to add 2 additional Compliance Analysts to our company. Both Jennifer Guptill and Carolyn Price joined our team last year bringing with them a strong background in LIHTC compliance auditing. They both have worked extensively to properties in several states and with multiple sources of funding. Jennifer: (207) 805-0024 or jenlihtc@gmail.com, Carolyn: (207) 805-0041 or carolynlihtc@gmail.com.

Recertify your C3P Status Now!

November 24th, 2015

It is that time again!  Time to send in your C3P recertification renewal forms.  If you have your C3P (or above) you are eligible to receritfy.  Even if you havnen’t done it in a few years, you are still eligible.  All we need is a copy of the renewal form, the renewal fee and proof that you have taken at least 3 hours of continuing education during the 2015 calendar year.

Here is the link to the form.

If you need to take a continuing education course we have a 3 hour LIHTC brush up video that will qualify you.  The course is $195, and the $50 renewal fee is waived.

FAQ About C3P Renewal

What if I earned my C3P this year (2015)?

You will be eligible for your C4P certificate in 2016.  Keep track of any training you take and submit at the end of next year.

How much does it cost?

The renewal fee is $50.  However, if you have taken a training class with Spectrum during the 2015 calendar year your fee is waived.  All you  need to do is note that on your renewal form.  

Why should I recertify?  

It is not required but it does show that you are keeping up with your continuing education.  Many companies require employees to show they are current with their certificates.  

How do I submit my recertification form?  

You can mail it to our home office or you can email it to: admin@spectrumseminars.com .  

When will I receive my new certificate?

The certificates go out by the end of January.  

I’m getting back into the business and I haven’t updated my certificate in a few years.  How do I recertify?

No problem!  Although you do need to show that you have taken at least 3 hours of continuing education to qualify you can still update your certificate.  Please note, we cannot bump you up more than one number per year.

What qualifies as continuing education?

We need proof that you are continuing to learn and hone your skills.  We will accept any LIHTC training, Fair Housing, Real Estate renewals and anything you can relate to the Tax Credit program.  Don’t forget we offer a 3 hour online training that qualifies you!  If you have any doubts, contact me!

Questions? Email: admin@spectrumseminars.com or call 207-767-8000 x201.

Thank you NEAHMA

November 5th, 2015

Written by Edward Clark, Spectrum Enterprises

The October NEAHMA conference held in Randolph, MA this past week. They were kind enough to ask me again to participate in there agency update forum.  NEAHMA puts on this show every year and every year attendees have the opportunity to become better informed, and better prepared to address issues pertinent to the affordable housing industry. It’s a great conference, and I get out of the office for the day.

This time they took me by surprise and gave me their “Industry Partner of the Year” award. Nancy Hogan of NEAMHA said kind words about my responsiveness to questions and common sense answers. Honestly, I wish I had a transcript just to prove to my children that some people think I am smart. Whenever I say I am smart, they just roll their eyes.

So let me take this opportunity to give a very sincere THANK YOU to this organization for their acknowledgment. It was very flattering to be recognized by people I hold in such high regard.

A Few Tidbits from Wil at Spectrum

October 15th, 2015

Written by Wil Whalen, Spectrum Enterprises

  1. There will be no cost-of-living (COLA) increase for Social Security this year. “With consumer prices down over the past year, monthly Social Security (SS) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for nearly 65 million Americans will not automatically increase in 2016.” – ssa.gov  This means that managers will not be required to add an increased amount of SS or SSI to TICs this year.

 

  1. It’s always a good idea to compare a tenant’s first annual recertification file to the move-in file to see what has changed. This is particularly helpful when a tenant goes over the income limit at the first annual certification.  And if there are any changes in the file that would be cited by an auditor, place a clarification or note-to-file explaining the change.  It goes along with the old auditor adage, “If one page in a file raises a question, the next page should contain the answer.” 

 

  1. Calculation Sheets are your friends. One thing that makes my job easier as an auditor is when a file contains a calculation sheet.  This page is basically a summary sheet of all the calculation tapes in your file.  However, a common thing we find is instead of an actual calculation, we see is “Total x1 = Total.” ( ie: Employment – $31,200 x 1 = $31,200). As opposed to “Employment – $15 x 40 (hours) x 52 (weeks) = $31,200”.  This doesn’t show us your work or explain where you got your numbers.  Even if there is a calculation tape further on in the file, it’s helpful to show your work here as well.

 

  1. Winter is coming! According to the National Weather Service, El Nino is in full effect and it will be the strongest El Nino of the last 50 years.  This means good news for the Northeast – where I reside – and bad news for everywhere else!  California is expected to be much more active weather-wise this winter.  They will get significant precipitation in the form of both rain and snow.  This could result in mudslides and flooding, which is bad news for areas with recent burn scars from wildfires.  There will be less lake effect snow for the Great Lakes Region and a milder winter for the Northeast.  The Southeast can expect a much stormier winter than usual. They are expecting this to have a serious impact on weather throughout the all of North America, so pay close attention to your weather forecasts and plan accordingly.

 

  1. Flexibility is important on inspection/audit day. Keep in mind that most inspectors book multiple inspections/audits in one day.  In Massachusetts we do up to four or five smaller properties in a day.  We have a lot of ground to cover each quarter.  So this means we’re often running a few minutes late and even more often a few minutes early.  So be sure you provide your inspectors with good contact phone numbers so they can keep you updated on our status.  Also, it’s a good idea to give your inspectors information as to where they should park when they arrive.  This information can often be the difference between arriving on time and being late.  If they need to park in a public lot or garage blocks from the property, knowing this in advance will allow them to factor the time to park into their travel schedule.  We always do our best to be on time, but traffic and Mother Nature often work against us.  So being flexible on inspection day will make everyone’s lives a little easier.

 

  1. Happy Halloween.

HUD Tenant Demographic data and Spectrum’s End of Year Data Collection Software

September 18th, 2015

Written by Paul Perpich, Spectrum Enterprises

The 2014 Spectrum End of Year data collection cycle has been completed and the tenant demographic data has been submitted to HUD. The 2014 cycle marked the end of significant updates HUD has made over the past two years to the tenant demographic and income data that was collected as a result of the congressional mandate embodied in the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA). For the most part the recent major updates that you saw in our End of Year (EOY) software, primarily version 5.0.0 and later, have been stabilized and you shouldn’t see any changes to the dataset for awhile.

In 2014 HUD published their first final report on the tenant demographic and income data that has been submitted to date and included only the 2012 collected data. The initial report on 2013 data was published earlier this summer. It became apparent early in the process that the effort required of HFAs, property owners and managers as well as management software system vendors to ramp up their systems and personnel to collect tenant demographic data that was previously not collected for tax credit compliance was significant. Consequently, HUD decided that the 2009 to 2011 data submitted was not suitable for publication.

One aspect of the data collection process that has been problematic for HUD and is something we’ll be continuing to focus on is the submission of incorrect Building Identification Numbers (BIN). For this past 2014 cycle we added information in the Building form in our software that provided information about the correct format for the BIN as well as a tool to check the format of the BIN that had been entered. While we provided this guidance we did not require that the BIN be correct and the file could be submitted to us with the incorrect BIN. Moving forward we’ll be stiffening the requirement to submit correct BINs.

For the 2015 collection cycle we will still allow incorrectly formatted BINs to be submitted to us but we will be providing a report of those properties that have submitted incorrect BINs to the state HFAs. That report will also include statistics on the completeness of the rest of the HUD required data that was submitted. Our expectation is that by the 2016 collection cycle report files with incorrect BINs will not be allowed to be submitted to us.

Importing data using XML

The ability to import data directly from property management software systems into the Spectrum EOY software has been steadily increasing since the introduction of the State Housing Finance Agency Low Income Housing Tax Credit Data Transfer Standard in 2006. The development of the standard has been sponsored by the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) and is commonly referred to as the NAHMA LIHTC XML Data Transfer Standard.

Spectrum included the ability to import data using the XML standard in 2009 with version 3.1.1 of our software. After a slow start use of the XML standard has increased significantly over time with the greatest increase occurring during the past two years. Spectrum has been working closely with the standards group since inception of the standard and has taken a leadership role in working with the HUD and the standards group to ensure that the standard includes all of the data elements is HUD requesting as part of their Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Tenant Demographic and Income Data Collection program.

Using the XML import process to move event data from a management software system to the EOY software is a quick and relatively easy process that once correctly setup eliminates the need to manually enter tenant demographic and income data into the EOY software. An entire year’s worth of data can be processed and moved in just a few minutes. The XML standard is supported by Yardi, Real Page and Boston Post (now MRI) as well as other vendors. If you’re not using the XML process and would like to learn more about it please contact me at EOYHelp@SpectrumLIHTC.com or 517-277-0120.

Here’s a breakdown by Spectrum monitored states of the use of the XML import process:

State

 Properties

Use XML

%

CA

2944

2151

73%

CT

234

111

47%

HI

84

29

35%

MA

651

433

67%

MD

375

285

76%

WV

242

142

59%

VI

24

9

38%

Totals:

4554

3160

69%

Important Reminders

Before submitting your EOY file to Spectrum please be sure to remember the following:

  1. Make sure the BIN numbers are correct (e.g. MA-12-00001) and match what’s on the 8609.
  2. Make sure the Placed in Service Date (PISD) is accurate (building form).
  3. Make sure the BIN address is complete and matches what’s on IRS form 8609 (building form).
  4. If you’re using XML to import data from your management system be sure to verify all the data that is not included in the XML import file such as the following:

– Management agent, owner and general partner data especially contact information

– All the property information, building and unit counts as well as the set aside information located in Property form.

  1. Missing TIC information to avoid 8823s
  2. Keep in mind that HUD is now requiring Live in Caretakers be reported on the TIC even though they aren’t included in the number of occupants count for the unit.
  3. Also keep in mind that all household members need to be entered not just the head of household.

Subscribe to Our Blog

 

 Subscribe in a reader