October 30, 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.

Jobs Plus Pilot Program

(RECAP: This Notice of Funding Availability announces the availability of funding of approximately $24 million for the Jobs Plus Pilot program for Public Housing Agencies to develop locally-based approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes for Public Housing residents. The application deadline is December 17, 2014.)

Ranking Names Best Cities For People With Disabilities

(RECAP: A new ranking is offering insight on the nation’s best and worst places for people with disabilities to call home. Overland Park, Kan. tops the analysis of the nation’s 150 most populated cities, with Chesapeake, Va., ninth in the top 10. Newport News, Norfolk, Richmond and Virginia Beach also made the “best” 150 list.)

Philly’s “Awesometown” Offers a Different Brand of Affordable Housing

(RECAP: Instead of using federal support, Awesometown is relying on a combination of private financing and local support (a property tax abatement from the city) to build the 14-unit housing development that touting four “affordable units” in a gentrifying area.)

Healthy Urbanism: A New Foundation for Place-Making

(RECAP: When healthy urbanism is the foundation of place-making and design, economic value follows from a walkable environment that enlivens both retail and the residential character of streets and neighborhoods.)

4 Ways Operators Are Reinventing Senior Housing

(RECAP: Whether it’s expanding to add more units or renovating an existing community for the modern era, senior living providers are tackling their construction projects with an eye towards the latest design trends.)

Opinions on Housing 

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Risks vs. Rewards: Inside HUD’s Favorite New Program

(RECAP: With the potential expansion of a current pilot program, the U.S. could be stepping closer toward the privatization of public housing — which will have short- and long-term impact on our most vulnerable city residents who depend on such shelter.)

Lifting the Fog on Section 3

(RECAP: When it’s more appealing to circumvent the law requiring that jobs in public housing construction go to qualified residents than to follow it, something needs to change.)

October 29, 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.

Roanoke to Feature in Historic Preservation Documentary on Public TV

(RECAP: Downtown Roanoke has had a face-lift, and now it’s ready for its close-up. Roanoke’s role is to illustrate how using historic tax credits to revive aging buildings can drive not only preservation, but economic development, as it has in downtown.)

Hope for the Burbs

(RECAP: While cities are seeing more of the same — gentrification that restores decaying neighborhoods, in-fill development looking a lot like the existing development — real estate developers are reinventing suburban structures from the inside out.)

What Will it Take to Put Affordable Housing Within Reach?

(RECAP: The full Out of Reach report, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, compares the Housing Wage to a variety of benchmark wage and income levels. And it makes it clear why many Americans, not just those with the lowest incomes, have difficulty paying for their housing and making ends meet.)

These Neighborhoods Squeeze Onto Empty Rooftops And Parking Lots To Help Solve London's Housing Crisis

(RECAP: As London struggles to build affordable new housing for a quickly growing population, one designer has a suggestion: New communities could sprout up on rooftops and in place of old parking garages, with architecture inspired by centuries-old local design.)

Opinions on Housing

The views and opinions expressed in Opinions on Housing are solely those of the original authors, and do not necessarily represent those of VHDA, our stakeholders or any/all contributors to this blog.

Affordable Housing Advocacy: Is Anyone Minding the Store?

(RECAP: The silence about affordable housing from national political candidates is deafening. The idea that the nation should be producing and maintaining sufficient quantities of decent, safe, affordable housing for low-income people is just not the place where politicians feel they should invest any nuggets of their political capital.)

United Nations: Give Voice to Slum Dwellers

(RECAP: Give voice to slum dwellers in city planning. That was the United Nations’ message for World Habitat Day, celebrated October 6. Senior officials with the global body demanded “urgent action” on a new urban agenda that emphasizes safe, affordable housing for the downtrodden.)

October 28, 2014

Meet Barbara Hamm Lee, Chair of NRHA Board of Commissioners

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Barbara Hamm Lee is making history at the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Lee is the first female to be elected Chair of the NRHA Board of Commissioners in its 74-year history. Appointed in 2010 as vice-chair, Lee is the Executive Producer and Host of WHRV-FM’s “Another View” and Managing Director of SkillsOnline, a workforce/professional development initiative at WHRO Public Media. We asked Lee about her experience thus far and what is in development at the Housing Authority.

October 21, 2014

Don’t Forget! Governor’s Housing Conference to be Held Oct. 29 - 31 in Norfolk

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VHDA is looking forward to the 2014 Governor’s Housing Conference, which takes place on October 29 - 31 in Norfolk. The Governor's Housing Conference is Virginia's largest and most comprehensive annual affordable housing event, and this year it’s happening almost a month earlier than previous conferences. Governor Terry McAuliffe will be attending the conference and is scheduled to speak at the Virginia Housing Awards Luncheon on Oct. 30. This year’s keynote speaker is David Stevens, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), former assistant secretary for housing and federal housing commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and former president and COO of the Long and Foster Companies.

For more details, see our post from September 25. We hope to see you at the 2014 Governor’s Housing Conference!
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October 15, 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.

A Look Inside DC’s Shipping Container Apartments

(RECAP: DC has its first residential complex made up of shipping containers. The four-unit complex at 3305 7th Street NE took seven months to build from conception to build-out, according to architect Travis Price.)

Millennials: A Powerful, Suburban Living Generation

(RECAP: The latest survey data on the living preferences of the Millennial generation (born 1982-2003) once again validates the picture of a cohort that, contrary to urban legend, actually prefers the suburbs, even as they prepare to shape the suburbs in their own image.)

A Danish City Is Using GPS to Track (and Help) the Homeless

(RECAP: An opt-in program in Odense aims to use the data to bring services to the homeless where they already congregate. If the plans can teach us anything, it’s that working with and listening to homeless people can create a better city for everyone.)

Remaking Petersburg 

(RECAP: A historic city finds a resurgence. And ground zero is Sycamore Street, a former center of a downtown retail area that runs through the heart of the city's 190-acre Old Towne Historic District.)

What happens when families lose housing assistance? We don't know

(RECAP: A new report uses the federal Moving to Opportunity demonstration to see what happens to households when they stop receiving housing assistance. Findings suggest that HUD and local housing authorities should proceed with caution and make sure families are truly prepared for what is often a very traumatic transition.)

NeighborWorks Training Institute Comes to Washington, DC

(RECAP: December 8-12 will find 2,000 colleagues and peers from around the county sharing a week of cutting-edge learning, best practices and professional development in the areas of community development and nonprofit leadership. Pre-registration ends Nov. 16, and scholarships are available.) 

October 14, 2014

Richmond and Charlottesville Areas Recognized as Standouts in 2014

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Congratulations to Richmond’s Fan District for being recognized as one of 2014’s top 10 “Great Neighborhoods” by the American Planning Association. The APA’s selections “represent the gold standard in terms of having a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for tomorrow,” as well as a focus on history, architecture, community amenities and events.

Photo: Jeb Hoge
Photo: Jeb Hoge
 The Fan combines historic homes, abundant parks, schools, statues, and an eclectic variety of restaurants, retail, and other businesses in a naturally developed mixed-use development.

The only neighborhood in Virginia to be recognized for 2014, the Fan is a 140-year-old neighborhood that contains one of the largest collections in the U.S. of intact Victorian homes from the early 20th century. This isn’t the first APA recognition for the area, though. In 2007, Monument Avenue was designated as a “Great Street” by the APA.

Also, the APA lauded The Lawn at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville as one of 2014’s top 10 “Great Public Spaces.” The APA writes “The Lawn and Rotunda serve as models for similar designs of "centralized green areas" at universities across the United States including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Duke University, and the University of South Carolina.” UVA is currently engaged in a major renovation project for the Rotunda, designed by Thomas Jefferson as the focal point for the Lawn and University. The Lawn and its structures are listed on a number of historic registers, but are still used daily for academic, residential and tourism functions, drawing 100,000 visitors per year.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Privacy Policy.

October 8, 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.

Trees! A real advantage in neighborhood revitalization

(RECAP: The conclusions of a study featured in the Wall Street Journal suggest ‘street trees’ make a clear difference. Through analysis, they were able to place a dollar value on how much the presence of trees positively influences real estate prices.) 

Report: Nearly 1 In 3 With Disabilities In Poverty

(RECAP: More than two decades after enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the nation has made significant progress in ensuring that places are physically accessible, but an investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee finds that major social and economic barriers remain.)

Forget Liberals vs. Conservatives. One of the Biggest Cultural Divides in the U.S. Is Between Renters and Homeowners

(RECAP: Turns out Americans view their communities quite differently depending on whether they own or rent their homes. Looking closer at the results of the Atlantic Media / Siemens State of City poll, some key differences emerge between those who pay a mortgage and those who pay rent.)

HUD embraces regulatory flexibility to encourage preservation of affordable rental housing

(RECAP: HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing recently issued guidance to create regulatory flexibility and encourage preservation of existing affordable multifamily properties. Changes in HUD rules will ease the burden on property owners trying to recapitalize aging assisted properties and maintain their long-term affordability.)

How to sculpt a skyline: Arlington planners rethink Rosslyn

(RECAP: Rosslyn is the most prominent cluster of tall buildings in the Washington region, and with more development coming it's only going to get more substantial. To get Rosslyn right, planners must grapple with how the height and form of such tall buildings affects their surroundings.)

October 7, 2014

Upcoming Universal Design Seminar

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If you’re interested in learning the ins and outs of Universal Design — which is the design of environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design — then save the date of October 23 and attend VHDA’s Universal Design seminar. The seminar will be held from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Virginia Housing Center in Glen Allen. Universal Design Certificate holders who last completed a VHDA Universal Design seminar prior to January 1, 2010 must re-attend in order to remain current and eligible to earn points on the Tax Credit Application. You can register here to attend the upcoming session. There will also  be another Universal Design seminar on January 15, 2015.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Privacy Policy.

October 2, 2014

EarthCraft Virginia Hosts Lecture Series

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Over the past decade, dedicated efforts by VHDA have significantly increased participation in Virginia’s EarthCraft green building certification for both single family and multifamily housing. To help keep that momentum going, we’re passing along the news that EarthCraft Virginia is offering a monthly lecture series. Discussions will include building codes, indoor air quality, energy monitoring and other topics related to energy-efficient construction. The series begins October 16 and is free to attend. Most lectures will also offer attendance via webinar for a minimal fee. See the full schedule below and register to attend the upcoming lectures. Lectures will be held at Gather, 409 E. Main Street, Richmond, VA 23219 from 8 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.

October 1, 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.

Webinar Series on New Home & Community-Based Services Rule – September 30 – October 28

Watch this webinar series to learn about a new rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that defines acceptable settings for home and community-based services. Find out how the new rule will affect housing and other services for people with disabilities.

Affordable multifamily properties’ mid-life crisis

(RECAP: Many of us appreciate the role affordable apartment properties play in providing housing to Virginians who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it, but few genuinely understand what goes into preserving those meaningful living quarters in the state’s affordable housing supply. It’s an information gap that needs to be closed soon.)

Is housing assistance a safety net or a springboard?

(RECAP: Is housing assistance a springboard to economic opportunity? Today, with the release of the largest study ever to explore the issue, we have evidence that the answer is, by and large, no.)

Viable Futures Toolkit

(RECAP: The financial, social and health care issues raised by today’s elders and aging baby boomers can be harnessed to create a viable future for generations to come. With this in mind, JABA partnered with the Viable Futures Center in Baltimore, MD, to create a Viable Futures Toolkit that can assist communities with the policies and practices to create viable and vibrant futures for all generations.)

How '9x18' Parking Spaces Could Solve Affordable Housing

(RECAP: The dimensions, 9x18, total 162 square feet or the size of a parking space. The "9x18" proposal by the Institute for Public Architecture provides a lesson in the relationship between parking requirements and the cost of housing.)

Interactive map shows 12 years and more than 100 million new mortgages in 24 seconds

(RECAP: For the first time, anyone can see at a glance when and where new mortgage loans were made to African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Non-Hispanic white borrowers. It’s a quick and easy way to understand how the boom and bust played out for these racial and ethnic groups in every American community.)