As chairman of OHFA's Board of Trustees, Richard S. Lillard served as the catalyst for obtaining approval from the Oklahoma Attorney General to create the fund now named in his honor.

OKLAHOMA CITY - At its January meeting, the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency Board of Trustees approved a resolution to rename its disaster relief fund in honor of Miami resident Richard S. Lillard. As chairman of OHFA’s Board of Trustees, Lillard served as the catalyst for obtaining approval from the Oklahoma Attorney General to create the fund. The Richard S. Lillard Emergency Housing Assistance Fund, previously known as the OHFA Emergency Housing Assistance Fund, allows OHFA to utilize up to $500,000 yearly to help affected Oklahoma residents secure immediate shelter following a natural disaster.

In 2013, OHFA assisted 250 families following the May tornado outbreak by utilizing $500,000 in excess administrative fees from a previous Housing and Urban Development disaster housing program. Lillard, acknowledging that Oklahoma is prone to natural disasters, recommended that OHFA establish an ongoing fund to provide immediate assistance to families impacted.

Last year, Lillard requested an opinion from the Oklahoma Attorney General asking if OHFA, as a public trust, could utilize funds from its trust estate to establish an emergency housing fund. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter issued an opinion June 2 in favor of OHFA. The agency’s board of trustees, in turn, authorized the creation of the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency Emergency Housing Assistance Fund at its Sept. 13 meeting.

“Because of Chairman Lillard’s foresight, many Oklahomans, in the event of a major disaster, will have access to immediate temporary shelter,” said OHFA executive director Deborah Jenkins. “OHFA would like to recognize Chairman Lillard’s commitment to providing a housing resource to Oklahoma citizens facing homelessness in a critical time of need.”

Guidelines for the Richard S. Lillard Emergency Housing Assistance Fund include:

$500,000 per fiscal year will be available. No additional funds will be available within a fiscal year after the $500,000 has been exhausted. Funds will be available for an Oklahoma disaster receiving a federal declaration and declared a state of emergency by the Governor of Oklahoma where a minimum of 25 families are impacted. Funds may only be used in Oklahoma. Funds will only be disbursed in the fiscal year in which a disaster occurred. Funds will only be available up to 60 days after a disaster.

Lillard was first appointed as an OHFA trustee in 2001, serving as board chairman since 2002. Lillard has been director and Chairman of the Oklahoma Industrial Finance Authority and the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority. He also serves as a member of the National Conference of State Housing Boards.

As Oklahoma’s largest provider of affordable housing, OHFA offers nine housing programs ranging from “OHFA Advantage” for home ownership to housing development and rental assistance. For more information about OHFA and its programs and services, visit www.ohfa.org.