HOME Impact Story in Vancouver, Washington

During National Community Development Week, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

Project name Isabella Court I IMG_3578_Isabella
Location Vancouver, WA
District WA-03
Project Year 2015
Project Description Spearheaded by REACH, one of the largest and most successful Community Development Corporations in Oregon, Isabella Court offers affordable, senior living in Vancouver, Washington. Isabella includes 46 one-bedroom and 3 two-bedroom apartments and is built to the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS), with its focus on energy efficiency and promotion of sustainable living. The Isabella offers vibrant living in the Fourth Plain Corridor, with nearby restaurants, shopping, movie theater, and parks.
Use of HOME Funds New construction and development costs for multifamily rental housing.
Target Population Apartments are reserved for households 62 years of age and over earning 60% or less of the area median income.
HOME Funds $2,518,734 were provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the City of Vancouver and Clark County Community Services.
Other Funds 10 Project-Based Section 8 vouchers valued at $331,200; LIHTC; Tax-exempt bonds; State Housing Trust Fund. Total project cost: $12,476,777.
Project Impact The investment of these HOME funds and other leveraged dollars brought one of the first rent-restricted senior developments to the City of Vancouver in almost ten years and supplied the area economy with construction jobs with a living wage. The affordable housing provided much needed apartments to a City with one of the highest percentage rent increases in the nation between 2015 and 2016. Other impacts of this project include municipal economic development, job skills training, apprenticeship and neighborhood revitalization for one of the poorest Census Tracts in Clark County.
Contact Ben Sturz – bsturtz@reachcdc.org www.reachcdc.org

CDBG Impact Stories in Washington County, Minnesota

During National Community Development Week, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

CDBG is a flexible federal program and Washington County, Minnesota has used CDBG dollars to strengthen their communities through a wide variety of projects:

  • Affordable senior housing so that the elderly population may comfortably age in place;
  • zero percent home improvement loans for families and seniors to fund repairs that these homeowners might not otherwise be able to afford; and
  • an expanded local food bank so that additional fresh produce and meats are available to their growing number of clients.
Project name Piccadilly Square Senior Housing BuildingPiccadilly Square
Location Mahtomedi, Minnesota
District MN-04
Project year 2015
Use of CDBG funds Soil remediation for redevelopment
Project Description The Piccadilly Square Senior Housing Building is a 79-unit affordable senior housing development for seniors 62 or older with incomes at or below $35,000. Developed through the joint effort of the Washington County Housing and Redevelopment Authority and a private developer, CDBG funds were used for soil remediation of 3 acres for redevelopment of a former restaurant site at the edge of downtown Mahtomedi.

Piccadilly Square enables seniors to age in place. A senior service coordinator is available to all tenants to proactively problem solve issues affecting seniors ability to live well and safely in their units.  Building design includes: 5 wheelchair accessible units and 9 units with accessible communication features for residents who are deaf or hearing impaired; roll-in showers in all units; ample space in unit and common area spaces for walker/wheelchair mobility; no threshold curb at main entry; and two elevators.

Target population Low-income, elderly
Amount of CDBG funds $352,709
Other project funds; leverage $14,078,516; 1:98. HOME, 4% Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Tax Exempt bonds, Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Metropolitan Council Livable Community Act funds, and City fee waivers.
Jobs created 28 temporary jobs
Project impact Not only does the apartment complex allow low-income seniors to comfortably age in place (full occupancy of the 79-unit building is expected in summer of 2017), but this project has contributed to the beautification of the downtown area. The restaurant previously located on the site had been shuttered since 2005 and was badly deteriorating. The project called for razing the building and extensive environmental cleanup of the soil. City officials expect Piccadilly Square to “spur things happening in the downtown area.”
Contact Washington County Community Development Agency BDacy@wchra.com
Project name Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Loan ProgramWashington Co Loan Program
Location Throughout Washington County, Minnesota
District MN-02, MN-04, MN-06
Project year Yearly
Use of CDBG funds Homeowner housing rehabilitation
Project description Administered by the Greater Metropolitan Housing Corporation (GMHC), this program offers deferred, 0% interest loans to homeowners in Washington County for home improvements to low-income families or seniors that might not otherwise be able to afford repairs.
Target population Families and the elderly
Amount of CDBG funds $207,000
Project impact 10 to 15 homes a year
Contact www.gmhchousing.org
   
Project name Hugo Good Neighbors Food ShelfHugo Food Shelf
Location Hugo, Minnesota
District MN-04
Project year 2014
Use of CDBG funds Land acquisition for construction so that HGNFS could move into a new and improved space.
Project description Opened in May 2009, the Hugo Good Neighbors Food Shelf (HGNFS) was started by a group of volunteers in response to the needs of their neighbors, whom were struggling to meet their financial obligations and provide food to their families. It was critical to the community that the food shelf conduct itself with a philosophy of operational transparency and as an independent, stand-alone Food Shelf, not affiliated with any other private organization. With this in mind, and with the full support of the City of Hugo, HGNFS was developed as a non-profit 501(c)3 organization. Significant growth of HGNFS over the last seven years spurred the need for a larger space – the previous food shelf had been operating out of a small garage that housed the Hugo Fire Department’s fire truck over 30 years ago and had inadequate heating and cooling and no running water.
Target population Extremely low-income families, seniors, youth, homeless.
Amount of CDBG funds $70,000
Other project funds; leveraging Bank Loan $202,414; 1:4
Project impact In the early days, HGNFS served, on average, served 10 households per month. In 2012, the other food shelf located in the community closed its doors, leaving HGNFS as the sole provider of food shelf service for the growing community. As a result, clients have doubled and they now serve, on average, 125 households per month. Thanks to the CDBG program, the new building has the additional space needed to offer more fresh produce and meats to their clients.
 Contact  www.hugofoodshelf.org
   

HOME Impact Story in Lawrence, Kansas

During National Community Development Week, April 17-22, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

Project name Cedarwood Senior Cottages

A883A166-D713-413C-9F65-616FABCDD0D5

Location and District Lawrence, Kansas (KS-02)
Project Year Construction completed 2015-2016. Leased up by March 2017
Project Description Built by Tenants to Homeowners, Inc. (a nonprofit CHDO) and community partners, Cedarwood is an innovative affordable senior housing complex with 14 individual cottages, including 10 with garages, and a community room in the heart of the property. There are 9 two-bedroom units and 5 one-bedroom units that are fully accessible, Energy-Star 3 certified, and use health and safety smart technology (a smart sensor system can track movement in the home and the community room includes a touch screen kiosk that provide residents with helpful information and resources). All these features are meant to allow seniors to age in place.

Cedarwood meets a local housing need for middle-income seniors who want to remain independent but earn too much to live in a subsidized home and not enough to afford a senior living facility. According to local news coverage of Cedarwood, “[t]he need for affordable senior housing is only likely to increase, with the baby boomer generation reaching retirement age. An estimated 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day through 2029. Meanwhile, a local retiree attraction task force in 2012 identified affordable senior housing as a need in the community.” Cedarwood can serve as a model for future senior housing projects in the community.

Use of HOME HOME funds were used for construction.
Target Population Elderly (62+), 9 HOME units with 4 targeted at below 50% and 5 targeted below 60%. The remaining 5 units target 60-80% median family income.
HOME Funds $167,000 from City of Lawrence HOME funds and $525,000 from State Kansas HOME funds.
Other Funds $260,000 lot donation (1.3 acres) from Douglas County, Kansas; $100,000 from City of Lawrence fee waivers and in-kind infrastructure; $600,000 CHDO equity from Tenants to Homeowners, Inc.; $420,000 in Federal Home Loan Bank Affordable Housing Program funds; $500,000 construction and permanent loan financing from Truity Credit Union.
Jobs Created $2.3 million project using all local vendors, 3 temporary jobs created for 24 months (Davis Bacon did not apply).
Project Impact Cedarwood currently serves 13 households with 16 seniors and the project has added value to the local Qualified Census Tract. Furthermore, the project puts senior housing in a central location with available public transportation, services, and shopping. Cedarwood also demonstrates how smart technology can be used to help seniors age in place and save the community in unnecessary early assisted care expenses.

The project also improved the use of a vacant infill lot that sits next to a nonprofit incubator building; providing independent living and a senior community within a residential neighborhood that links to senior services that are offered by nonprofits. This allows for intergenerational activities and senior social interaction as well as shared services.

Quote from a beneficiary: “It is been really nice. My dog Daisy is really happy here and we are able to take walks in the neighborhood and stay active.” -Holly Holbert, resident since July 1, 2016.

Contact Rebecca Buford, Executive Director, TTH, Inc. rbufordefird@yahoo.com 785-760-2058

CDBG Impact Story in Fort Collins, Colorado

During National Community Development Week, April 17-22, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

Project Name Redtail Ponds Permanent Supportive Housing

Redtail Ponds

Location Fort Collins, Colorado
District CO-02
Project Year 2015
Project Description Redtail Ponds is a 4-story permanent supportive housing (PSH) development that offers 60 apartments for people with disabilities who have experienced homelessness. Multiple support services for those with substance abuse or mental health issues are located on site to help people gain stability in their lives. In a recent press coverage for the development, the columnist appropriately refers to Redtail Ponds as a “window of hope” since this award winning development demonstrates that “the best thing to be done for the homeless is not soup or pallets on a barren floor, but a place to assemble one’s life in peace.” In addition to apartments, Redtail Ponds features a community kitchen, fitness area, computer room, community garden and several common areas for residents to congregate.
Use of CDBG Funds Construction of housing
Target Population Homeless with disabilities and veterans with disabilities
CDBG Funds $1,391,077
Other Funds Leveraging: LIHTC Equity Investment, Colorado Division of Housing, Colorado Housing and Finance Authority Mortgage.
Jobs Created 40 jobs
Project Impact With its inspiring scenic view of the snow-covered Front Range, this project has provided homes for 60 residents, from 19-80 years old, including 22 veterans. After one year, 95% of the residents remained stably housed, 14 enrolled in employment training and 12 rejoined the workforce.

Quote from a beneficiary:

“When I came here and saw my apartment, I cried. I felt like I had gone from being a pauper to a princess virtually overnight. The majority of us here now have become like a family to each other. We care about each other. I have a send of joy and family that I was lacking.” –Cheryl

 Contact Housing Catalyst

HUD Corrects FY16 Housing Trust Fund Allocations

On April 13, HUD announced in the Federal Register that approximately $120,913 in Housing Trust Fund (HTF) dollars was incorrectly allocated to grantees for fiscal year (FY) 2016. HUD first announced FY 2016 HTF formula allocations to grantees, which total about $173 million, in May 2016. HUD subsequently discovered an error it its calculations for American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Northern Marina Island, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Accordingly, allocations for the Insular Areas have been reduced while allocations for 15 states and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico have increased slightly.

The states receiving the largest increase under the new allocation include: California ($28,296 increase), New York ($19,961 increase), and Texas ($11,112). While Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Georgia, North Carolina, Washington, Virginia, and Puerto Rico each receive increases that range from $1,000 to $10,000.

In the coming weeks, HUD is expected to announce the HTF formula allocations for FY 2017. Based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s (GSEs) recent SEC filings, a boost in GSE business last year means that the HTF could be receiving about $219 million for FY 2017. While we expect FY 2017 allocations to be available this year, it is possible that some Congress members may try to introduce bills to eliminate or divert HTF funding to other programs, similar to what happened in last Congress. Further more, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has ultimate authority over whether the GSEs continue to set aside contributions to the HTF. If the current Obama-appointed FHFA Director Mel Watt, resigns early, or if Congress and the Administration decides to move forward on housing finance reform, the status of the HTF will come into question.

National Community Development Week 2017 — April 17-22: Celebrating the Important Work of CDBG and HOME

NAHRO, along with fellow members of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Coalition, will be celebrating National Community Development Week, April 17-22, 2017. Over the course of this week, communities across the country will celebrate the work of the CDBG Program and the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program.

The CDBG program provides grants to over 1,200 state and local governments and funds activities such as housing rehabilitation, business assistance, senior services, and infrastructure – to name a few. These activities are primarily targeted to low-income persons and households. Every $1.00 of CDBG leverages another $3.65 in other funding; bringing additional resources to communities that support jobs, businesses and, most importantly, the people who live in these communities.

HOME provides grants to over 600 State and local governments to create safe, decent and affordable housing, both rental and homeowner. HOME is a vital federal housing program that allows communities to leverage $4.20 of public and private dollars for every HOME dollar invested.

CDBG and HOME have been proposed for elimination in the President’s FY 2018 HUD budget and National Community Development Week provides the opportunity for Congressional Members and the community to see first-hand the results of these programs by touring projects, meeting with state and local staff and interacting directly with beneficiaries served by the programs.

NAHRO is urging members a to participate in National Community Development Week by supporting local project tours, issuing proclamations, engaging and educating Congressional Members on the programs, and reaching out to the media to promote the impact of CDBG and HOME. Here’s what you can can do:

Learn

Advocate

  • Contact and engage with your members of Congress to schedule meetings and plan a site visit of a local projects to show how these programs have helped your community. Remember –  Congress is in recess through April 23 and lawmakers will be back in their districts
  • Send letters to your legislators using NAHRO’s pre-drafted Advocacy Action Center letter telling Congress to take action today to finalize FY 2017 spending and pass a full-year Transportation, Housing and Urban Development spending bill.
  • Join over 2,000 local, state and national organizations and sign on to the CDBG support letter seeking $3.3 billion for CDBG in FY 2018. This letter will be sent to Appropriations Committee leaders in May.

Spread the Word

  • Share your impact story by writing and submitting a Letter to the Editor or op-ed to your local newspaper. Make sure to mention your members of Congress so it gets picked up in their daily clips.
  • Join @NAHROnational on Twitter and elevate awareness of the need for – and the impact of – CDBG and HOME through tweets. Make sure to use the following hashtags: #CDBG #CDBGImpact #Fight4CDBG #HOME #HOMEImpact, and to tag your House and Senate representatives.
  • Follow and share the NAHRO Blog where we will post success stories of CDBG and HOME submitted by NAHRO members throughout week.

Connect with NAHRO

  • If your impact story was published in your local newspaper or you meet with your member of Congress, let us know! Please email Jenny Hsu at jhsu@nahro.org with a description of your advocacy efforts so that we can highlight your efforts with Congress once they are back in session.

CDBG Coalition Members: NAHRO, U.S. Conference of Mayors, National Association of Counties, National League of Cities, National Community Development Association, Council of State Community Development Agencies, National Association for County Community and Economic Development, National Association of Development Organizations, American Planning Association, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Habitat for Humanity International, Feeding America, YWCA USA, Enterprise Community Partners, Rebuilding Together, National Recreation and Park Association, National Association of Regional Councils, National Urban League, International Economic Development Council, Heartland Alliance, The Trust for Public Land, and National Development Council

Senators Reed and Collins Introduce Bill to Strengthen the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness

On March 28, Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced bipartisan legislation (S.743)  to strengthen the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (the Council). Created by Congress in 1987, the Council is the only federal level agency specifically tasked with coordinating the federal response to homelessness. Since its creation, the body has grown to include 19 Cabinet secretaries and agency heads.

Unfortunately, the Council was last authorized by Public Law 113-325 and sunsets at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2017. The Council would have to close its doors on October 1, 2017 and the Reed-Collins bill would eliminate the sunset date so that this agency can continue to build on its success in helping to prevent and end homelessness across the nation.

“The Council works with government, public housing agencies, homeless service providers, and local partners to better align their resources, efforts, goals, and measures of success. The progress we are making is encouraging, but it is not irreversible and now is not the time to end this effective, evidenced-based program that has helped leverage federal investments and measurably reduced homelessness in America,” said Senator Reed. “In our current budgetary environment…[t]he Council is proof that the government can work and save money in the process”

“As the Chairman of the THUD Appropriations Subcommittee, I will continue working to ensure that homeless programs have the data and the resources to reduce and prevent homelessness,” said Senator Collins.

In 2010 the Council unveiled Opening Doors, a federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, through set goals, best practices, and policy priorities. Since then, HUD has reported a 14 percent decrease in overall homelessness in the nation, including a 47 percent decline in veterans’ homelessness.

NAHRO believes that the Council has been instrumental in bringing down homelessness rates and joins a strong and diverse coalition of non-profit and housing organizations in support of the Reed-Collins bill.

 

 

Representatives Tiberi and Neal Introduce Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Yesterday, Representative Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661), a comprehensive bill that would strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC or Housing Credit). This bill serves as the companion legislation to S. 548, which was introduced earlier this month by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Rep. Hatch is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Similar to the Senate bill, H.R. 1661 seeks to improve LIHTC through provisions that would streamline and modernize the program, as well as increase financial feasibility for projects and encourage development in underserved areas. The legislation would also support the development of rental units that use the Housing Credit in conjunction with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide important financing to about 40 percent of all Housing Credit apartments.

The House bill has bipartisan support and there are  16 other original co-sponsors, 13 of which are Ways and Means Committee members. Unlike S. 548, the House bill would not phase-in a 50 percent increase to the Housing Credit cap. However, H.R. 1661 takes significant steps to strengthen LIHTC and NAHRO joins the ACTION Campaign (a coalition of over 2,000 national, state and local affordable housing stakeholders) in endorsing this critical legislation, while encouraging Congress to include a cap increase in any final tax legislation.

More information on H.R. 1661 by the ACTION Campaign can found here:

Senators Reintroduce the Bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Yesterday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), a comprehensive bill that would strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). This legislation is very similar to the version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 3237) introduced by the same Senators last year, but with minor modifications.

Earlier this week, Senator Cantwell released a new report that chronicles the nationwide shortage of affordable housing. In her press release, Senator Cantwell said, “[w]e are facing pressures from all sides: demand for rental housing has increased by 21 percent, but we are building units at the lowest rate since the 1970s. If we do not act to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit-our best way to build new affordable homes-by 2025 over 15 million Americans could be spending half of their income on rent. This is unacceptable.”

S. 548 seeks to take steps towards addressing the affordable housing deficit by increasing the overall Housing Credit authority by 50 percent. The legislation also includes other provisions that would streamline and modernize the Housing Credit, increase financial feasibility for projects, and encourage development in underserved areas. The legislation would also support the development of rental units that use the Housing Credit in conjunction with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide important financing to about 40 percent of all Housing Credit apartments.

S. 548 has bipartisan support on the Hill and there are currently eleven other original co-sponsors to the bill: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Also recently, over 2,000 organizations across the country, including NAHRO, signed on to the ACTION Campaign’s letter to Congress in support of S. 548.

More information on the bill by the ACTION Campaign can found here: