Tag Archives: Housing America Campaign

Going Digital: Housing Choice Voucher Waiting Lists

Providing shelter for families, children and adults who have fallen on hard times is a housing authority’s main function. And in these difficult times, any way to speed up and improve the process of helping those in need find shelter is helpful. The Lafayette (La.) Housing Authority did just that this month, by moving its administratively burdensome Housing Choice Voucher waiting list application process from in-person to online.

When LHA last opened its waiting list, they were greeted at their door by thousands of people hoping to secure an affordable home.  “Two years ago, we accepted nearly 1,200 names in two hours,” said Katie Anderson, executive director of the Lafayette Housing Authority. “To date, we have just under 3,000 people who have applied to be added to the wait list. I’m anticipating about 4,000 names to end up going to the lottery for selection.” This year, at the end of the lottery process, 1,000 names will have been added to the waiting list, and the process itself will have been streamlined. The lottery closes on Oct. 14.

Housing authorities across the country are shifting the process online. Over the last few months, Baltimore Housing, Charlotte Housing Authority, and the St. Louis Housing Authority have all transitioned their application processes online, giving families a chance to apply without disrupting their work or school schedules.

Today, the Housing America Campaign celebrates the Lafayette Housing Authority and the countless others who continue to find quicker and more efficient ways to help those in need of safe, quality and affordable housing.

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.