Tag Archives: Low Income Housing Tax Credit

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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D.C. Housing Authority: Impacting the quality of lives of the families it serves

With its focus on the future and the ever-changing backdrop of affordable housing in our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) has spent much of 2014 and the years before developing and preserving its existing affordable housing stock for the thousands of low-income persons and families in need. DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting1

In March 2014, DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman and local leaders broke ground on the latest addition to the Southeast neighborhood community, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter. When completed, the $42 million L Street building will contain 156 market-rate and 39 affordable rental units. Amenities will include a roof top deck and pool, internal courtyards, an exercise room, and a computer room. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are part of DCHA’s Capitol Quarter redevelopment project, one of the nation’s largest Hope VI projects.

“At DCHA we work creatively with other public and private partners to unlock opportunities for our residents so that they can improve their life outcomes,” Todman said. “We are in the final stages of developing the Capitol Quarter neighborhood into a successful mixed-income community that our clients can consider home.”

DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting2Funding for the Lofts at Capitol Quarter was made possible by combining Low Income Housing Tax Credit subsidies, District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency debt purchased by Citi Community Capital, and a short-term loan made by Industrial Bank.

Helping families to self-sufficiency one step at a time

Homeownership can be an overwhelming process to go through for a first time buyer, particularly when the buyer doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of the process. DCHA saw a need to help support and counsel its residents moving toward homeownership both at the beginning of the process and after to ensure complete success.

By combining the resources of local and federal government, FDIC Insured Banks, HUD community-based homeownership organizations-University Legal Services, prominent title companies-Answer Title, and the DCHA HCV Homeownership Program, DCHA was able to educate its first-time homebuyers in the process in a way that the typical first-time homebuyer would not receive.

DCHA has pledged to continue to develop partnerships with resource centers across the city through its Homeownership Coordinating Committee in order to bring an even greater level of support to future homeowners.

Serving the needs of our seniors

DCHA also opened its first, state-of-the-art, affordable assisted living facility, with the designation of certified Medicaid provider. By creating a model that combined HUD rental subsidies, Medicaid reimbursements, and other revenues, DCHA is able to provide a 24-hour per day community and healthcare outlet for seniors, as well as health-related employment opportunities for other trained DCHA residents.DCHA-Maintaining Housing for Seniors

“It’s clear there is a need for additional affordable housing options in the District of Columbia and I salute DCHA for putting great care in creating this new facility that not only puts a roof over residents’ heads, but provides them with key wrap-around services that will help them to lead healthy and full lives,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “This new facility will serve as a model as we continue to foster a city where all can live and thrive.”

Seniors’ Housing Choice Voucher leases are often terminated because of disputes between landlord and resident, a failure to complete the biennial recertification process, or a resident violation of Housing Quality Standards (HQS). DCHA’s HCVP Mediation Program partners low-income seniors, a majority of whom are low-income ethnic minorities and women, with an Elder Buddy –AARP’s answer to legal counsel for the elderly.

Since 2012, more than 400 of DC’s seniors have received legal counsel through the Elder Buddy program which has resulted in a major decrease in terminations from the HCV Program.

For these reasons and many more, we celebrate DCHA today during Housing America Month for its its undying dedication and commitment to providing safe, quality, and affordable housing for all in  need in our nation’s capital.

Housing Authority Provides Active Seniors with a Community to Call Home

Pinellas Heights, a new, 153-unit development for seniors and persons with disabilities, is described as “a blessing” by many in Pinellas County.

PinellasHeightsInitialHR-2The Pinellas County Housing Authority (PCHA) transformed a once-vacant abandoned lot into a vibrant, thriving community center for seniors living on fixed incomes. The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was instrumental in the development of the property. “Without the LIHTC, we couldn’t have constructed Pinellas Heights,” said Debbie Johnson, PCHA’s executive director. Public-private partnerships were also key. Pinellas Heights was designed by Bessolo Design Group, Inc. and constructed by Brooks & Freund. Norstar Development USA, LLP was a co-developer with PCHA on the project.   PinellasHeightsInitialMR-13
Pinellas Heights boasts of an impressive list of amenities including Energy Star appliances, walk-in showers, and emergency assistance pull cords in every apartment. It also features an onsite library, fitness center, and laundry rooms accessible on every floor, as well as internet access, touch-screen computers and scenic views. Pinellas Heights is also a smoke-free and pet-friendly property.

With the growing number of seniors in need of affordable housing in the area, it is clear that Pinellas Heights is a welcome addition to the community. Read what current residents are saying about their home:

  • “I’ve waited three years for this, and it finally came. It’s a blessing. It’s like the Taj Mahal, seriously.”
  • “One of the things we really appreciate was that this building was designed to accommodate any kind of handicap.”
  • I think this is a fantastic completion of a dream. And as a long-term resident of Clearwater and Pinellas County, I appreciate the opportunity that this is providing for me and for so many other citizens to have beautiful safe housing for those of us on a low-income.”
  • It gave the community such a sense of pride, particularly seniors that have low affordability.”

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.

#SOTU14: What NAHRO Wants to Hear

About this time each year, Washington is buzzing about the annual State of the Union Address otherwise referred to as the SOTU.  NAHRO for years has been a part of the process and has prepared a written response re our thoughts on the address good and bad.  Our thoughts are sent to the media, members of congress and others to ensure that affordable housing issues are on the table.  More recently we have live tweeted the speech to our ever growing list of followers.  This year we will be tweeting from @NAHROnational and we will prepare a more formal response following the Presidents remarks.

The Administration forwarded talking points to us today in advance of the speech.  The list of talking points is not altogether surprising:

  • The President will deliver the State of the Union address Tuesday night, driven by three key principles: opportunity, action, and optimism.
  • The core idea is as American as they come: If you work hard and play by the rules, you should have the opportunity to succeed. In America, your ability to get ahead should be determined by your hard work, ambition, and goals – not by the circumstances of your birth.
  • The President will lay out a set of real, concrete, practical proposals to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class, and empower all who hope to join it.
  • In this year of action, the President will seek out as many opportunities as possible to work with Congress in a bipartisan way on behalf of the American people. But when American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done, he will not wait for Congress.
  • The President has a pen and he has a phone, and he will use them to take executive actions and enlist every American – from business owners, workers, mayors and state legislators to young people, veterans, and folks in communities across the country – in the project to restore opportunity for all.
  • It will be an optimistic speech. America has a hard-earned right to that optimism thanks to the grit and determination of citizens across the country. Five years after the President inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, our businesses have created more than eight million new jobs in the past 46 months, and they’re primed to create more.
  • The President will remind the country that, with some action on all of our parts, we can help more jobseekers find work, and more working Americans find the economic security they deserve.
  • In the week following the State of the Union, the President will travel to communities across the country – including Prince George’s County Maryland, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and Nashville – before returning to the White House to outline new efforts to help the long-term unemployed.

This is the first time that I can recall that talking points such as these were broadly distributed in advance of the speech providing a window into what we can expect to hear from the President. Yes, it would have been better to see the word housing or better yet, affordable housing in the talking points, but we hold out hope that the work that NAHRO members do every day to ensure that vulnerable populations are being served will be recognized in some way. Specifically, we hope the President will speak to the following NAHRO “talking points” in the SOTU:

  • The most vulnerable in our nation should know that providing decent, safe and affordable housing is still a priority;
  • The investment we make in providing affordable housing will serve those in need, create good paying jobs and will help stimulate the economy through the sale of goods and services;
  • The Administration recognizes that any attempt to address “income inequality” must include a vigorous well thought out plan to address the housing needs of the most vulnerable;
  • Improving our nation’s infrastructure includes preserving our nation’s irreplaceable housing inventory of affordable housing. The two are not mutually exclusive;
  • Efforts to get our fiscal house in order going forward should not come at the expense of domestic discretionary accounts generally and HCD accounts specifically;
  • He intends to focus on a plan to restore our nation’s aging inventory of federally assisted-housing (including public housing and section 8 assisted housing) in the remaining months of his term as President;
  • He hopes the Congress will send him tax reform legislation or at a minimum tax extender legislation that preserves both the 9% and 4% LIHTC credits.
  • He has directed HUD and other government agencies to expedite regulatory reforms that save the federal government money and relieve the administrative burdens that such regulations impose upon local providers;
  • He wants to work with mayors and all those who utilize both the HOME and CDBG programs to maximize the effectiveness of both programs in the larger effort to meet the housing and service needs that exist in our communities;
  • He wants to ensure that the needs of seniors, the disabled and children living in federally supported-housing are part of this Administrations overall commitment to ensure quality housing and a quality living environment for those in need.

Too much to ask for in one speech? Maybe.  A reasonable set of objectives to shoot for this year and for the remainder of the President’s term in office?  We certainly hope so.

Today marks the second time the bipartisan budget conference will meet to discuss a short-term budget deal which all Americans hope will save the country from yet another disastrous game of Washington chicken. As Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and Democratic key player Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Chairman of the House Budget Committee and Republican key player and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) work together to find a solution, we, the affordable housing industry, must continue to advocate for the importance of low-income housing and community development programs.

Last month, a NAHRO commissioned poll found that 41 percent of respondents agreed that sequester cuts should not apply to federally subsidized programs that assist vulnerable populations including the elderly, poor, children and disabled. Troublingly, 36 percent answered “not sure” and 23 percent disagreed.

Another survey question asked whether, regardless of the respondent’s views on the federal budget deficit, they agreed or dis- agreed that the federal government should continue to assist low-income families and seniors, veterans and disabled in acquiring decent, safe and affordable housing. Over two-thirds – 67 percent – agreed, with 19 percent answering “not sure” and 14 percent disagreeing.

Respondents also showed support for specific HCD-related initiatives such as adding affordable housing funds to infrastructure repair bills (55 percent supported this, 23 percent were not sure and another 23 percent opposed it), the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (59 percent for it, 21 percent against it, and 20 percent unsure) and the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) (54 percent in support, 23 percent against and 23 percent unsure).

While the data does indicate substantial support for housing and community development programs, it also signals that much the American public does not know specifically how our programs help our most vulnerable populations. It is our responsibility as housers to educate all Americans through outreach to our local, regional and national news outlets, social and new media and grassroots advocacy efforts on the importance of safe, decent and affordable housing.

If you are interested in joining the fight to protect housing and community development, sign up to be a Congressional District Contact (CDC). This group is NAHRO’s legislative team on the ground, a loud voice for housing and able to take quick action when needed.

You can also take small daily actions that help to make a big difference. Call, email or tweet your members of the House and/or Senate asking them to include affordable housing and HCD programs in the budget conversation. Be sure to tell them that any further sequester cuts would be devastating to our daily and long-term operations.

Every day we sit silently by, the more dollars our programs will lose. Now is the time to make a stand and speak up. Join NAHRO in the national fight to preserve funding for the programs that are the safety nets for many families across the country.