December 26, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Three steps to downtown economic renaissance

(RECAP: Formerly ridiculed as “Deadwood City,” Redwood City, California, has seen a dramatic downtown comeback due to code reform, a strong investment in public spaces and a strategy of using entertainment as a catalyzing force.)
http://bettercities.net/article/three-steps-downtown-economic-renaissance-20348

How Salt Lake City Solved Chronic Veteran Homelessness

(RECAP: Officials say that by the end of this month, they’ll have zero chronically homeless veterans. The fact that public officials have zeroed in on a sub-population of the homeless is part of the reason for Salt Lake City’s success.)
http://www.governing.com/news/headlines/gov-how-salt-lake-city-licked-veteran-homelessness.html

Why Eds and Meds Matter for Community Economic Development

(RECAP: Local universities and hospitals (eds and meds) can be important partners in making community wealth building and neighborhood economic transformation happen. For those looking for resources in a time of diminishing government funding, they remain critical players far too important to ignore.)
http://www.rooflines.org/3530/why_eds_and_meds_matter_for_community_economic_development/

The Geography of Aging: Why Millennials Are Headed to the Suburbs

(RECAP: Here’s how the geography of aging works. People are most likely to move to the core cities in their early 20s, but by their 30s, they move increasingly to the suburbs, as well as outside the major metropolitan areas.)
http://www.newgeography.com/content/004084-the-geography-of-aging-why-millennials-are-headed-to-the-suburbs

What Planning Won’t Do

(RECAP: Our techniques for planning are quite different from our techniques for problem solving. These separate skills should not be confused. If we recognize our inabilities, we can make our true abilities all the more valuable.)
http://www.planetizen.com/node/66480

The Importance of Building Dementia-Friendly Communities

(RECAP: Enhancing quality of life for the ever-expanding population of adults with dementia can lower costs for the community as a whole. It also inspires people with dementia to remain a part of the life around them. And their contribution benefits us all.)
http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-12-12/building-dementia-friendly-communities/

December 18, 2013

What is Single Family Servicing? A Sit Down with Pamela Holmes

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Today's post comes to us from VHDA's Heather Weidner, who interviewed Pamela Holmes for the discuss.design.develop blog.

Pamela Holmes is the Director of VHDA’s Single Family Servicing, and she gave us an overview of her department and the services that they provide.

How did you get involved with affordable housing? I began my career in collections and moved to the role of customer service representative. Later, I was promoted to Escrow Administration. When I joined VHDA, I worked in the taxes area, and then I was promoted to Customer Service Manager. I was recently promoted to my current position in March of 2013 after 15 years of service.

What is Single Family Servicing? This department includes Customer Service, Escrow Administration, Payoffs and Assumptions, Investor Relations, and Default Administration for our Single Family borrowers.

Can you tell us about your role at VHDA? Our job is to ensure that we mitigate all types of risks and that all business functions such as data quality, reporting and analytics are in alignment with the investor guidelines.

What do you want everyone to know about your department? We are here to provide excellent customer service. Ninety percent of our loans are performing loans, and our division is about more than Default Administration. Our group is responsible for staffing the Call Center, disbursing escrow items, and working with borrowers by performing early stage collections and determining retention options to help our homeowners remain in their homes.

Has the focus of your department changed as a result of the economic shifts over the past few years? We have developed creative initiatives to assist our borrowers with various workouts in Default Administration. In addition, we have increased our staffing capacity to handle the demand for our services. Like other businesses, we have been challenged to do more with less.

© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

December 17, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Pressure on Resources? Use Data

(RECAP: Cities around the world are working out how to accommodate more people and cope with increased pressure on resources; and making use of city data could help.)
http://www.ubmfuturecities.com/video.asp?section_id=435&doc_id=526250&

Fighting the Vacant Property Plague

(RECAP: The innovative move by a shrinking city to help keep neighborhoods livable may end up serving as a model for industrial cities across the nation that are faced with smaller populations and high foreclosure and vacancy rates.)
http://www.newgeography.com/content/004060-fighting-vacant-property-plague

Mod Squad

(RECAP: From the New York City skyline to the blue skies of Los Angeles, several affordable housing developments are rising section by section using modular construction. The size and scope of these developments may kick open the door for other affordable housing projects.)
http://mydigimag.rrd.com/publication/frame.php?i=181749&p=&pn=&ver=html5&dfpzone=home

CDFIs: A New Force in Homeownership?

(RECAP: When it comes to connecting underserved communities with the capital to revitalize, no organizations are more effective than community development financial institutions (CDFIs)—the innovative, mission-driven organizations that provide much-needed financial services in low- and moderate-income communities across the U.S.)
http://www.rooflines.org/3522/cdfis_a_new_force_in_homeownership/

Seniors More Likely to Live in Communities than with Relatives

(RECAP: Although the share of seniors moving in with relatives has been on the rise in recent years, those living in areas with large senior populations are more likely to opt for community-style living. The rise in seniors living with relatives is not due to the recession, rather, it’s because of demographic shifts.)
http://seniorhousingnews.com/2013/11/20/seniors-more-likely-to-live-in-communities-than-with-relatives/

December 11, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Traversing the Border: Planning with Transnational Communities

(RECAP: Transnational communities challenge tenets of both locality and community, and help us understand what sustains a community even in the face of significant political and physical barriers.)
http://www.planetizen.com/node/66255

In Blight Fight, Philadelphia May Be Biggest City to Create a Land Bank

(RECAP: Land banks have become an increasingly popular tool for cities dealing with empty lots and abandoned property. Now the model may be getting even bigger.)
http://www.governing.com/topics/urban/gov-philadelphia-may-be-biggest-city-with-land-bank.html

CDCs: You Don’t Have to Develop Real Estate to Be a Success

(RECAP: Community development is not and should not be centrally defined by affordable housing production. Re-emphasizing the community-connection commitment of community development means that new CDCs in new places should first and foremost be community organizers.)
http://www.rooflines.org/3524/cdcs_you_dont_have_to_develop_real_estate_to_be_a_success/

Cities Banish Homeless, Not the Problem

(RECAP: Prohibiting the homeless from gathering where food or help is offered is nothing more than sweeping a painful set of urban problems under the rug. Cities, and their homeless residents, deserve better.)
http://www.ubmfuturecities.com/author.asp?section_id=234&doc_id=526237&

Silver Linings: Low Income Senior Housing

(RECAP: While “low income senior housing” may sound unappealing to some people, the reality is that affordable housing can be a boon for seniors who find themselves spending the lion’s share of their retirement income on rent.)
http://assistedlivingtoday.com/2013/11/silver-linings-low-income-senior-housing/

December 4, 2013

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

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A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

Austin to House Homeless in a Tiny House Village

(RECAP: Community First! Village, in the planning stages for nearly 10 years, is set to break ground on a 27-acre property sprinkled with tiny houses, mobile homes, teepees and refurbished RVs.)
http://www.shareable.net/blog/austin-to-house-homeless-in-a-tiny-house-village

Smart Cities around the World Are Saving Money Now. How about Your Home Town?

(RECAP: Proven smart cities strategies can boost productivity, increase responsiveness and reduce impact on the environment. Hard-pressed local governments often complain they have limited resources to invest, so the “Smart Cities Readiness Guide” points to eight areas that can yield quick payback.)
http://www.baconsrebellion.com/2013/11/smart-cities-around-the-world-are-saving-money-now-how-about-your-home-town.html

Housing Proves Challenging For Adults On The Spectrum

(RECAP: The vast majority of adults and transition-age individuals with autism are living at home and less than one-quarter are on waiting lists for housing services so they can live more independently. Financial concerns loom large as a potential barrier to achieving housing goals.)
http://www.disabilityscoop.com/2013/11/13/housing-challenging-spectrum/18889/

A new way to keep tabs on mom and dad

(RECAP: A new pilot program designed to improve the well-being of aging Americans still living independently in their homes is looking to a rather unusual source of information to get ahead of people’s potential health problems: usage patterns of water, electric and gas.)
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/a-new-way-to-keep-tabs-on-mom-and-dad-2013-10-21

Goldman Sachs Weighs In on Social Impact Bonds

(RECAP: Ever since the United Kingdom matched private investments to social-problem solutions, the idea has been spreading like wildfire here in the U.S. Since 2012, social impact bond legislation has passed in fourteen states and the District of Columbia, and Harvard's Kennedy School has set up a Social Impact Bond Technical Assistance Lab.)
http://www.governing.com/news/headlines/gov-goldman-sachs-weighs-social-impact-bonds.html

December 3, 2013

What kind of community do Americans want?

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In today's post, VHDA's Brooke Scott brings us up to speed on an interesting national survey and how it relates to affordable housing.

In case you missed it, the National Association of REALTORS® recently released its 2013 Community Preference Survey. Because it provides timely insight into the housing needs and desires of the current population, planners and developers seeking to design or revitalize communities will find it a valuable resource.

Survey participants not only indicated their ideal community, type of home, changes in quality of life and transportation needs, they also identified issues they think should be a high priority for state government. Among those issues is affordable housing. According to the survey:

  • 57 percent of respondents believe having housing for people with moderate- to low-income should be a high priority for their state government (up 11 points from 2011, from 46 to 57 percent).
  • 59 percent believe improving the availability of affordable housing should be a high priority (up eight points from 2011, from 51 to 59 percent).

Whether you’re developing or revitalizing communities or creating policies to support affordable housing, you’ll find there is something for everyone in the survey. View the analysis and slides.

© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.