Tag Archives: community development

NAHRO Members: Share Stories about How the LIHTC Rates Helps Create Housing and Jobs!

On Tuesday, Nov. 25, NAHRO is asking members to pitch their Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) success stories to local media outlets as a part of our national push to educate members of Congress about why LIHTCs are beneficial and important to their home districts.

The fixed rate 4 percent and 9 percent rates expired at the end of the 2013 calendar year and have not been renewed. There are two legislative options to fix this problem: temporarily extending the credits or permanently authorizing them. NAHRO supports a temporary extension to allow communities to access these critical credits as quickly as possible, but hopes that Congress will approve the permanent authorization to avoid another lapse if a temporary fix is allowed to expire again.

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Colorado NAHRO Names Rep. Perlmutter Legislator of the Year

On Monday, Oct. 6, Colorado NAHRO (CoNAHRO) honored Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) as its 2014 Legislator of the Year.

A member of the House Financial Services Committee, Perlmutter has a proven track record of fighting for the interests of Colorado residents by supporting the activities and programs of housing authorities and community development agencies. In 2013, he sponsored the Freddie Mac REMIC Reform Act, more commonly known as H.R. 3754. In the same year, he introduced an amendment to the 2014 Energy and Water spending bill in an effort to restore resources in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. He is also committed to making transportation accessible by all.

“Rep. Perlmutter worked to help secure a “Sustainable Community Initiative” grant worth $4.5 million for DRCOG to develop the Metro Denver region’s long-range plan for growth and development, while addressing one of our region’s most pressing and exciting challenges: leveraging the multi-billion dollar expansion of the FasTracks transit system,” said Tami Fischer, president of CoNAHRO. “Part of this plan is to ensure families have affordable housing along transportation lines such as the Westline and Northline.”

Perlmutter worked side by side with CoNAHRO to endorse regulatory reform in a time of declining federal resources, in order to enable housing authority and community development agencies to more efficiently and effectively meet the growing demands of Colorado residents.

During his remarks, Perlmutter explained that his role in this process had been insignificant compared to the work of the housing and community development (HCD) professionals of Colorado. “This is a team effort,” he said. “It’s about a vision and an effort to make that vision a reality.”

The ceremony honoring the Congressman took place at the Lamar Station Affordable Housing Development in Lakewood, Colo., in front of more than 50 HCD industry leaders.

Combating Hunger, Creating Opportunity: NAHRO Staff Gives Back

DC Central Kitchen_1 Today, ten of national NAHRO’s staff members gave back to the DC community by volunteering at D.C. Central Kitchen, a local nonprofit located near the Capitol known for reducing hunger with recycled food, training unemployed adults for culinary careers, serving healthy school meals, and rebuilding urban food systems through social enterprise. From 9 a.m.-12 p.m., our staff worked alongside D.C. Central Kitchen staff, volunteers and culinary school students preparing enough food for more than 4,000 of tomorrow’s meals for city’s homeless and low-income populations.

“This was my first time volunteering at the D.C. Central Kitchen,” said Tamarha Walker, regional service officer for the NAHRO Middle Atlantic Regional Council (MARC). “I came away with not only improved culinary skills, but with also a renewed reality check that there are still thousands of families and single persons without access to healthy food options.”

While a main focus of D.C. Central Kitchen is to feed hungry and at-risk neighbors daily, they are also committed to eliminating food waste among local restaurants, universities and corporate partners; providing fresh produce options in food deserts throughout the metro region; and training hardworking, low-income persons to become self-sufficient through culinary art. In 2013 alone, D.C. Central Kitchen estimates that they recovered 737,564 pounds of food for their meals and saved $155,573 in food costs by securing donated produce. Through its Healthy Corners program, D.C. Central Kitchen sold over 7,500 healthy snacks, including fresh produce, per month to corner stores serving lower-income residents with limited access to grocery stores. Since 2008, 339 graduates of D.C. Central Kitchen’s Culinary Job Training program have achieved a job placement rate of 90 percent and a job retention rate of 85 percent.

Each fall, in preparation for Housing America Month, we ask our members to consider hosting an event showcasing the positive impacts of affordable housing in their communities. Historically, we have participated in a local Habitat for Humanity build, but this year, we wanted to stress the importance of cross-industry collaboration and the positive impacts which can occur when addressing the needs of the whole person.

DC Central Kitchen_2

“Barriers to food accessibility is a real issue which many of our members’ clients and residents face every day,” said John Bohm, director of Congressional Relations, Public Affairs and Field Operations for NAHRO. “Partnering with other nonprofits and for profits to address issues like access to healthy food options and transportation is critical to addressing the root causes of poverty and helping a person to reach self-sufficiency.”

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

Austin: AAHC Breaks Ground on Two Affordable Housing Projects

POBW ELEV RENDER_AustinAustin, Texas is about to get a lot more affordable housing. On Sept. 30, the Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC), a subsidiary of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin, and developer LDG Development broke ground on two affordable housing properties, which will provide a total of 443 new multifamily units.

The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White will create a neighborhood featuring garden-style apartments. The Villages will target veterans and seniors and will closely coordinate with the nearby Veterans Administration Outpatient Clinic.  Family housing will be a priority for The Pointe, with the property coordinating with key social service agencies in the area.

“Austin needs more affordable housing, and we are excited that construction on these two apartment communities is underway,” said Michael Gerber, President and CEO of the Housing Authority of the City of Austin.  “Austin seniors, veterans, and families will soon have new affordable housing options.  We look forward to showcasing these properties as a model of what can be achieved when working with an involved, thoughtful community and an experienced developer.”

The properties will be located at 7000 East Ben White Boulevard in South Austin.

Both properties will feature one-, two-, and three-bedroom units with Energy Star appliances; they will also have central air conditioning, ceiling fans and combination hardwood and carpeted flooring. Onsite community amenities include a furnished clubhouse, a business center, an exercise facility, and outdoor facilities including a playground.

Ben White Site Plan (300x205)

“The Pointe at Ben White and the Villages at Ben White are excellent examples of the type of progress cities and smaller communities can make in meeting the housing needs of our nation’s most vulnerable when nonprofit and for profit organizations collaborate together,” said Clifton Martin, CME, chair of NAHRO’s Housing America Campaign. “The Housing America Campaign honors housing authorities and community development agencies like the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Austin Affordable Housing Corporation (AAHC) for educating national decision makers and community leaders; advocating on behalf of lower-income families and individuals, veterans, children and seniors, and persons living with disabilities; and empowering clients and residents to share how accessing affordable, stable housing has impacted their lives.”

For more examples of innovative, forward thinking affordable housing developments like these, visit the Housing America Campaign website.

What Affordable Rental Housing Means to Families

By Elva Trevino

Card03_Elva

I am an eighteen year old girl who happens to be the oldest sibling in the family. I love school, playing with my family, and talking to my mom. I, however, do have a very strong dislike for insecurity, instability, and having to say goodbye to the ones I love the most.  In all honestly, the latter I do not “strongly dislike” as much as I hate.

Life has proven to be a great roller coaster to my family ever since I was small, which may unfortunately be the same for many. My family and I have moved unceasingly, from being in the process of owning our own house to losing that opportunity, moving to another country to living in the countryside, to having to stay with relatives and friends away from parents and siblings. I have never relied on a paternal figure; my mother has been both my mother and father for most of my life. She is also the one that has been carrying the entire financial burden of the family in her shoulders. There was a time in which I lived away from her, and I hated the feeling of leaving her side to get a better life while she struggled in a daily basis to raise my youngest siblings. Six months after we reunited, we finally had a place we could call home.

I have been a resident in Public Housing for five years now. Thanks to this assistance, I have been able to make long lasting friendships, been able to excel in school, volunteer in my community, and help my family financially: things foreign before that point in my life. I would have never imagined myself in such stability back when I was in elementary. Back then all of this would have been a wonderful dream. Today I am grateful to say that this dream has finally become a reality for my family.

I have been able to show exactly “What Home Means to Me” by participating more than once in NAHRO’s poster contest under the same name. My illustrations depict what I find in my home, some things that I lacked while growing up.  “Love, security, knowledge, happiness” and, most importantly, “a place where loved ones await” are words that decorate my illustrations. I hated that time in my life where my mom was not present, where I could not play with all my siblings, which is why I longed for a place where we would safely reside, a place that I could call “home” and affordable rental housing has made that happen.

In two weeks I will be attending Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas in order to pursue a career in medicine — away from home, but now by choice. I plan to come back and become a resource to the community that has helped my family greatly. I also wish to help my family financially, help them become self-sufficient, in order to give Edinburg Housing Authority the opportunity to assist another family in need.

Elva Trevino is a two-time national winner of NAHRO’s annual ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest. Her artwork has been displayed on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

For more information about the ‘What Home Means to Me’ poster contest – part of the Housing America Campaign – , visit http://www.housingamericacampaign.org/

 

NAHRO Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of CDBG

The Community Development Block Grant program turns 40 years old on August 22- celebrate CDBG with NAHRO by participating in a Twitter town hall and by asking your Representative to co-sponsor a resolution. 

Take to Twitter on Wednesday, August 13th at 2:00 PM ET to show your support for CDBG using the hashtag #CelebrateCDBG.  Retweet CDBG tweets from @NAHRONational, share your own CDBG stories, and tweet at your members of Congress to urge them to co-sponsor H. Res. 668. Visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page to find a list of Congressional Twitter handles to tweet directly at your legislators.

You can also honor the 40th anniversary of CDBG by asking your Representative to support H Res 668. Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-Pa.) and Rep. Michael Turner (R-Ohio) introduced the resolution last month celebrating the goals and ideals of CDBG. Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send a pre-written letter to your Representative asking that they join the resolution as a co-sponsor. 

Senate T-HUD FY 2015 Spending Bill In-Depth: Community Development Programs

On June 6, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill (S. 2438).  The bill includes $45.8 billion for HUD programs, $3.2 billion more than was provided for FY 2014. Today’s Direct News item is intended to provide NAHRO members with a comprehensive summary of the Senate bill’s treatment of Community Planning and Development programs, including Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program, and homeless assistance grants.

NAHRO’s earlier analysis of the Senate bill’s treatment of Section 8 programs and Public Housing programs is available online.  Click here for a chart comparing the funding levels in S. 2438 to FY 2014 enacted levels, the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal, the House-passed FY 2015 T-HUD bill, and NAHRO’s FY 2015 funding recommendations, respectively.

Community Development Fund and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program

Community Development Block Grants

S. 2438 provides $3.09 billion for the Community Development Fund, with $3.02 billion made available for the CDBG Program. This funding level for CDBG is $220 million above the President’s request, and $10 million below the FY 2014 enacted level. The bill provides $40 million less for CDBG compared to the House-passed T-HUD bill, which cleared the House on June 10.  Within the Senate bill is language that, according appropriators, aims to “ensure the program remains flexible, but also accountable and transparent.” The bill retains an existing provision that prohibits any community from “selling” its CDBG award to another community and adopts a new requirement that stipulates that “any funding provided to a for-profit entity for an economic development project funded under this bill undergo appropriate underwriting.” The Senate bill continues language, first proposed by NAHRO, requiring HUD to notify grantees of their formula allocations within 60 days of enactment of the Act.  The House-passed bill also retains this provision.

Indian Community Block Grant Program

The Senate bill sets aside $70 million for the Indian Community Development Block Grant program, $10 million above the House level. The Senate also designates $10 million of that funding for mold remediation and prevention in Native American housing, to be awarded through a single national competition.

Section 108 Community Development Loan Guarantee

The Senate bill once again adopts the administration’s request to shift Section 108 to a fee-based program under which HUD would be authorized to collect fees from Section 108 borrowers in amounts that would result in a credit subsidy cost of zero.  The bill would also raise the loan guarantee limit to $500 million, an increase strongly supported by NAHRO.  The House-passed bill also adopts the administration’s proposal.

The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations act provided $3 million in direct appropriated funding for Section 108 credit subsidy costs, but also authorized HUD to collect fees from borrowers, with the collection fees and funding available to subsidize a total loan principle of no more than $150 million.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program

The Senate bill provides $950 million for the HOME program, $50 million below the FY 2014 enacted level and equal to the President’s request. The Senate amount is also $350 million above the House bill, which slashes the HOME account to $700 million, a figure that would represent by far the lowest funding level in the program’s history. This historically low level of HOME funding in the House bill would be further exacerbated by a $10 million set-aside to fund the Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership (SHOP) Program, as proposed by the Administration. The Senate bill rejects the proposed SHOP set-aside and provides $10 million for SHOP through a separate line item.

The Senate bill accepts certain provisions requested in the President’s budget related to the HOME program. One provision allows statewide nonprofits to be designated as Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), so that less populous States will have more organizations to serve the entire State. The bill also includes a provision that creates an exception to the 30-day eviction notice “in instances where a tenant poses a threat,” an exception that is found in other housing assistance programs and a revision to the HOME program long supported by NAHRO and other industry groups.

Self-Help and Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP)

For the Shop Program the Senate provides funding at $50 million, equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Under this account, $10 million is appropriated towards SHOP, while $35 million is provided for the Section 4 Capacity Building program, and $5 million is provided to carry out capacity building activities within rural communities.

Homeless Assistance Grants

The FY 2015 Senate bill includes $2.145 billion for Homeless Assistance Grants, $40 million above both the FY 2014 enacted level and the level provided under FY 2015 House-passed bill, but short of the President’s budget request of $2.406 billion.

Within this account, the Senate bill makes at least $1.848 billion available for the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program, including the renewal of existing projects, $48 million above the amount provide for under the FY 2015 House-passed bill. The Senate bill also makes at least $250 million available for the emergency solutions grants program (ESG), equal to the FY 2014 enacted level and $50 million above the House-passed bill. The Senate bill does not provide funding for new permanent supportive housing, but does stipulate that if funds remain available in this account after fulfilling renewal demands and funding ESG, “HUD may use it for new projects, provided that such projects are targeted to areas with greatest need, as measured by homeless data.” To support the Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the Senate bill provides $7 million for data analysis and technical assistance.  The Senate-passed bill does not include designated funding for the Rural Housing Stability Assistance program, a new program authorized by the HEARTH Act of 2009 but never implemented by HUD due to lack of funding.  The House-passed bill designates $10 million for the rural program.

Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)

The Senate bill provides $330 million for the HOPWA program, $2 million below the both the House bill and the President’s budget, but equal to the FY 2014 enacted level. Senate appropriators acknowledge that the HOPWA statute requires an “update to the funding formula to target limited resources to communities most impacted by HIV” and encourages HUD to engage in legislative reauthorization proposal activities.

Related Resources:

CDBG Spotlight: A new spring for Burnham’s Field

Once dilapidated, Burnham’s Field in Gloucester, Mass. is getting a dose of new life thanks to funding – plus the efforts of some dedicated community members.

The field had not undergone any major renovations in 30 years.

That all changed when a community group called the Friends of Burnham’s Field decided to pitch in to help revitalize the field. John McElhenny, the group’s founder, said it started three or four months ago with a modest membership of three to five people.

“Now it’s probably up to thirty or forty people who have contacted us and said, ‘I care about Burnham’s Field. I want to be involved too,’” McElhenny says. “There’s really a lot of momentum behind the Friends of Burnham’s Field.”

The community garden, which began in 2011, was one of the first steps to revitalization. McElhenny says the garden has 20 plots. Families get their own plot, where they grow vegetables and flowers. The garden has created a community of people who care about the field, and that has led to more frequent cleanups, removal of graffiti and repairs to the field’s fencing.

More improvements are set to get underway this spring with the help of more than $345,000 in funding from community development block grants, state Department of Environmental Protection funds and contributions from the Community Preservation Committee. McElhenny says the funds will go to two new playgrounds, one for toddlers, and one for older kids; improved lighting; pathways through the field; renovations to the two basketball courts; an area for kids to play in hot weather; and restroom facilities.

McElhenny says he had the support of local politicians in securing funding for the project. Stephen Winslow, senior project manager at Gloucester’s Community Development office, helped organize the grant process. State Senator Bruce Tarr and Gloucester Mayor Carolyn Kirk have also been supportive.

“Burnham’s Field sits in the heart of Downtown Gloucester and serves as a prime spot for play, basketball and pick-up soccer games by hundreds of area youth,” Winslow says. “Neighbors had sounded the alarm that old facilities, lack of lighting, trash and drug use made the field less and less desirable for families. CDBG funding proved invaluable in getting the ball rolling on planning and implementing a park rehabilitation and have resulted in over a 1 to 1 match in state and local funding. Mayor Carolyn Kirk and other local officials will all join with the community on May 3rd to finally break ground on this project that has been 5 years in development and design. ”

CDBG Spotlight: Housing Authority of Bowling Green gives one house a total makeover

 

HABG Home Makeover     HABG Home Makeover_2Photos by Joshua Lindsey/Daily News

 

While you might not see it on television, the makeover this house will get is pretty extreme.

In the hopes of giving someone a home who might not otherwise be able to afford it, the Housing Authority of Bowling Green (Ky.) has purchased a house with the help of Community Development Block Grant funds. It’s in the process of getting an extensive renovation. Volunteers helped to tear down all the drywall, carpeting and ceilings inside the house. All the fixtures, like countertops and sinks, are gone too.

The outside of the house is getting an overhaul as well. The plan is to install new vinyl, landscaping and a porch. In fact, the only parts that will not be demolished are the original foundation and frame.

The effort has also brought community members together. Employees of Independence Bank, a community-focused bank who has supported Habitat for Humanity in the past, joined Fiji, the Western Kentucky University chapter of Phi Gamma Delta, to help the housing authority tear down much of the house. In addition, Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College will pitch in to install the electrical wiring plus heating and cooling in the home.

“The bank has several skilled people,” says Abraham Williams, executive director of the Housing Authority of Bowling Green. “They will do all the painting on the inside of the house.”

They’ll continue to be a part of the project through the rebuilding and renovation process. Williams also says that the local Chick-Fil-A even offered their support, supplying the fraternity members with lunch while they worked on the house.

“It’s a real community effort,” Williams says.

This isn’t the first extreme home makeover for the Housing Authority of Bowling Green. Previously, the university was looking to expand, and had a house they were going to tear down. The housing authority got the chance to buy the house and move it for a reduced price. Williams says they were able to give the home to a woman in the Section 8 homeownership program who was blind and hard of hearing. Now she shares it with her teenage son.

The Housing Authority of Bowling Green is in the process of selecting the lucky recipient of the renovated home. It hopes to complete the project and hand over the keys in July.