Tag Archives: low-income housing

Transforming neighborhoods, building communities

This October marked not only Housing America Month, but also big anniversaries for two of our members: the Warren Housing Authority (R.I.) and Yolo County Housing (Calif.). Each housing authority celebrated by bringing together its residents, elected leaders, colleagues and regional HUD representatives. Sen. Reed _ Housing America Month

On Monday, Oct. 20, the Warren Housing Authority marked its 50th anniversary by recognizing the foresight Warren community leaders had to make a safe, quality, and affordable home for seniors.

“It was 50 years ago that a group of citizens led by Warren’s own Victor Andreozzi approached the town council and asked to form a housing authority,” said Carol Costa, executive director of WHA.  “Today, we celebrate the pioneers who made this possible; the commissioners who guide our vision; the residents who make this place so lively; the administration and staff who make this place tick and the federal, state and town leaders who keep us in business.”

In attendance were Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), State Sen. Walter Felag, Rep. Jan Malik, Rep. Ken Marshall and national housing officials representing NAHRO, New England Regional Council of NAHRO (NERC NAHRO) and Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI).

During the luncheon, WHA received citations recognizing its 50 years of service to the community from Sen. Whitehouse, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate.

Rep. Cicilline_Housing America Month tweet

On Thursday, Oct. 23, Yolo County Housing celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of Riverbend Manor. The property was once a school that closed in 1978 and fell into disrepair. In 1984, it was converted to housing for senior and disabled families. Today, the classrooms have been further updated to provide housing for 63 extremely low-income families. Onsite amenities include a ceramics classroom complete with a kiln, community gardens and a lunch program for senior residents.

California State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead attended the anniversary celebration as well as former students and instructors of the school.  HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead and Lisa Baker _housing america event

NAHRO congratulates both Warren Housing Authority and Yolo County Housing on their years of service to their communities and thanks them for providing safe, quality, and affordable homes for all!

Yolo County Housing

Fighting homelessness and generational poverty with affordable housing

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (NC) is honoring Housing America Month this October, but more importantly, the clients and residents it serves every day. The Oaks at Tenth_Winston Salem

This year, HAWS partnered with the Bethesda Center for the Homeless by committing to set aside 42 public housing units for those persons in the community experiencing chronic homelessness. Since 2012, HAWS Collaborative Program has helped 49 homeless individuals.

Affordable housing is at a premium in Winston-Salem much like the rest of the country. That’s why HAWS recently broke ground on a new 30-unit public housing property called Camden Station. The property is set to be completed in the summer of 2015. HAWS also recently completed its Stoney Glen Apartments project, a newly renovated public housing community. The Apartments began leasing this month. Both properties come with energy efficiency washers and dryers and require residents to work. Earlier this year, HAWS also completed The Oaks at Tenth, HAWS’s first ever working requirement activity community.

HAWS also focuses on helping its residents further their education. Eight first generation college students will continue their education at local colleges and universities thanks to HAWS and funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Stoney Glen Renovation_Winston Salem

For more information about how agencies like the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem are positively impacting their communities, visit the Housing America Campaign website.

Community Focus on Affordable Housing for ’17Days’

From Sept. 19 through Oct. 5, artwork created by youth living in assisted housing provided by the State Representative Alma Adams with GHA youth at HA eventGreensboro Housing Authority (NC) was featured at the 17Days Arts and Culture Festival in celebration of Housing America Month. Artists in grades K-12 created art that expressed what home means to them.

“We are delighted to have our ‘What Homes Means to Me’ posters included in the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival,” said Tina Akers Brown, president and CEO of GHA. “This is the first time that an agency such as ours has had the opportunity to participate in the community event.  It will be great exposure for the children and will help highlight the many positive things that happen in our communities.”

03_72dpi_Harmonee_FebIncluded in the exhibit was Greensboro’s national winning 2015 ‘What Home Means to Me’ contest entry created by 18 year old, Harmonee.

Greensboro (NC) Mayor Announces 2015 What Home Means to Me National WinnerArtsGreensboro’s annual festival celebrates “all things beautiful and exciting.” In 2013, more than 85,000 people attended the festival including State Representative Alma Adams. This year, Greensboro Mayor Nancy B. Vaughan joined GHA at the 17Days Arts and Culture Festival to highlight not only wonderful work of the children, but the integral role affordable housing plays in education and job training and development.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The True Cost of Not Providing Affordable Housing

screen shot for blog

What happens when a family can’t find affordable housing? Sandra J. Newman, director of the John’s Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies, recently conducted a study (published in the Journal of Housing Economics) to determine the “impacts of affordable housing on the well-being of children.”  In the study, Newman posits that a family should spend roughly 30 percent of their income on housing–no more, but also no less. This ratio is much more difficult to keep for low-income families. Last year, the International Business Times released a report detailing the expenditures of low-income, average, and wealthy American households. Their report finds that the average income for a low-income family in 2013 was $17,563 and that they spent roughly $10,000 of that income on housing. For every dollar a low-income family spent on housing in 2013, they only spent $0.03 on education.

Lack of affordable housing options for families creates other, less obvious costs. When families are forced to spend more on housing and necessities such as food and transportation, educational expenses – for field trips, books, computers and other learning aids — are no longer affordable. Newman believes that providing such educational opportunities is essential to cognitive development.  Newman’s research showed that when families transitioned to spending 30 percent of their income on housing, they spent $98 more on the enrichment of their children.

But lowering cost burdens isn’t enough. Affordable rental housing also needs be built in safe, decent and healthy neighborhoods. In an interview with John’s Hopkins University, Newman said, “the markedly poorer performance of children in families with extremely low housing cost burdens undercuts the housing policy assumption that a lower housing cost burden is always best. Rather than finding a bargain in a good neighborhood, they’re living in low-quality housing with spillover effects on their children’s development.”

These studies underline the importance of providing decent, safe, affordable rental housing to all, and what is at stake when we fail to do so. The burden placed on low-income families should never be reflected in the development of their children; having a roof over your head should never come at the cost of a child’s education.

By: Gabby Richards, NAHRO Public Affairs Intern

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.