February 26, 2014

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.

America’s Future Cities: Where the Youth Population is Booming 

(RECAP: Something dramatic happens as children age: They and their parents start moving to the suburbs in massive numbers. This is one reason roughly 23.9 million children below the age of 14 live in the suburbs of our 51 largest metro areas compared to 8.6 million in the core cities.)

The Robot That Can Print a Real House in 24 Hours

(RECAP: Could 3D concrete printers provide solid shelter for the poorest and most vulnerable? Most goods—clothes, cars and appliances— are produced using automation. Homebuilding is the next frontier.)

Location Optimization Tools: Toward More Comprehensive and Multi-Modal Indicators

(RECAP: Households increasingly recognize the value of living in a neighborhood that offers good walking, cycling and public transit accessibility. Several organizations have recently developed tools to help homebuyers optimize home locations based on accessibility and related costs.)

Ten things planners need to know about the future real estate market

(RECAP: Analysis suggests the growth in demand for new housing over the next 30 years will consist primarily of demand for smaller homes on smaller lots — a reversal of the type of demand that fueled sprawl in the late 20th century.)

New Assisted Living Model Cuts Cost Without Cutting Corners

(RECAP: A development company with deep roots in the senior housing industry has launched a new, more affordable assisted living model—with the same level of service, care and programming—achieved through suite sharing.)

The Promise and Potential of Social Impact Bonds

(RECAP: By only paying for success, a new funding tool known as "social impact bonds" that is gaining traction across the country shows real promise for moving the needle on longstanding social problems. This funding model gets better results with existing resources, minimizes risk to taxpayers and ends programs that are not working.)

February 19, 2014

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.

9 unusual recycled homes

(RECAP: Converting airplanes, water towers, even satellite stations into living spaces is no easy task, but it's done all the time around the country. By salvaging these otherwise unusable spaces, unique homes are created frequently for a lot less than buying new.)

Accessibility Requirements Spark Debate

(RECAP: A growing number of cities are mandating that new homes include accessibility features like levered door handles and wide doorways, but not everyone sees merit in the requirements.)

Why We Shouldn't Obsess Over the Falling Homeownership Rate

(RECAP: A housing recovery will be good for the economy. But that's not because more people will own homes; it's because we'll need to build more homes, regardless of whether the people living inside own them or not.)

Comprehensive plans – helping or hurting?

(RECAP: Effective comprehensive plans identify specific steps to be taken after the plan is adopted—methods of selecting capital improvements, new annexation policies and zoning-code overhauls—to implement the plan. Without thorough implementation, a comprehensive plan’s true potential has been wasted.)

National Council of Nonprofits Adopts 2014 Public Policy Agenda

(RECAP: Structured in six broad categories through which policymakers and others can be educated about the work and impact of nonprofits, the NCN agenda fits specific policy goals into a broader context that focuses on local, state and federal issues of concern to all nonprofit organizations.)

Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Awards

(RECAP: The 2014 awards will recognize innovative state and local policy initiatives that provide ongoing and sustainable support for affordable and workforce housing. The deadline for submission is March 17.)

February 12, 2014

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.

StreetSeen: A New Tool for Understanding the Built Environment

(RECAP: Want an easy to use a public engagement tool that helps you understand the visual preferences of the public? StreetSeen (http://streetseen.osu.edu), a free online tool, allows planners and others to simply construct and deploy visual surveys.)

Lease-to-purchase program provides pathway to homeownership

(RECAP: Despite a slowly recovering economy and down-payment assistance programs, many families still struggle to afford homeownership. This Michigan program offers a way to ease into it slowly.)

How Community Benefits Agreements Protect Local Communities

(RECAP: As the economy has improved over the past year, once-stalled development projects are revving up and interest in using CBAs as a tool to secure the wellbeing of local communities is growing.)

Norfolk’s Second Better Block A Success!

(RECAP: A collaboration with the city of Norfolk, the National Association of Realtors®, the Hampton Rhodes Realtors Association and the Park Place Business Association, took two blocks of semi-vacant historic building stock with wide streets, and converted them into an active and vibrant neighborhood destination.)

Supportive Housing Toolkit for Public Housing Agencies

(RECAP: A guide for public housing agencies and others who would like to set up supportive housing in their communities. Explains who supportive housing serves, its benefits and characteristics, and the most common models and features.)

February 5, 2014

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.

Commentary: Micro Apartments Yield A Big Boom in the Small Space Sector

(RECAP: Being scooped up by young urban singles, service workers, recent grads and retirees on a fixed income, the micro apartment is the epitome of the downsize. Developers say they can't build micro-housing fast enough.)

Are Drive-Thrus Discriminatory?

(RECAP: We've built a physical landscape that often does not acknowledge the existence of people who don't always drive. It may sound silly, but as Americans continue to drive less, issues like this are going to keep coming up.)

Gentrification and Displacement: Not the Relationship You Might Have Thought

(RECAP: The prevailing wisdom is that as a neighborhood gentrifies, long-time, low-income residents are forced to move out because of rising rents, i.e. displacement. Two studies from Columbia University and the Federal Reserve draw different conclusions.)

The New Geography of Apartment Rentals 

(RECAP: According to a study conducted by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies in conjunction with the MacArthur Foundation, participation in the home rental market is at its highest level in more than a decade for all age groups.)

New Trend: Senior Roommates

(RECAP: Four million women age 50-plus live in U.S. households with at least two women older than 50—a statistic that is expected to rise. With an increase in housing costs and a need for companionship, shared housing can be a win-win for many seniors.) 

February 4, 2014

VHDA and Virginia Supportive Housing: Providing Virginia’s Homeless With Much More Than a Place to Live

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This article first appeared in VHDA’s annual Community Outreach Report for 2013. To download the PDF, click here.

It’s no secret homelessness is a complex condition that runs much deeper than simply not having a place to call home. Virginia’s homeless are often challenged with physical, mental and emotional disabilities that need to be addressed along with their housing needs.

That’s why VHDA partners with Virginia Supportive Housing (VSH), a not-for-profit organization that works to end homelessness in Virginia through supportive housing. Permanent supportive housing includes supportive services such as mental health counseling, access to substance abuse treatment programs, assistance with medical care and financial literacy training to help residents overcome the challenges in their lives.

VSH develops, owns and operates more than 460 apartment units across Virginia. Additionally, VSH connects homeless individuals with rental property owners to provide even more subsidized housing to those in need. “Supportive housing is a proven, permanent solution to homelessness,” said VSH Executive Director Alice Tousignant. “VSH would not be able to provide permanent supportive housing without the help from VHDA, with whom we have partnered for more than two decades,” she added.

VHDA supports Virginia Supportive Housing developments through our Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC) and through SPARC rental housing loans. “Most recently, VHDA has allocated tax credits and provided loans to VSH that allowed us to develop 240 units of supportive housing in South Hampton Roads and 21 units in Richmond,” said Tousignant.

While the programs and services VSH offers are varied, the goals are the same: improving people’s economic self-sufficiency and housing stability and promoting mental health and substance abuse recovery. VSH’s approach has achieved impressive results: 98 percent of their residents do not return to homelessness.

For more information, contact VHDA Senior Strategic Lending Officer Chris Hilbert at 804-343-5741 or chris.hilbert@vhda.com.
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