December 31, 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.

Q: Does affordable housing development lower nearby property values?

(RECAP: This perennial fear of neighbors has been the subject of repeated academic study by a wide range of research teams under a wide range of conditions, and the consensus is overwhelmingly that well-designed, well-maintained affordable housing does not lower property values—and in some cases it might raise them!)
http://www.shelterforce.org/article/3348/the_answer_172/

NY Times: Senior Housing Not Cutting it on Meeting Residents’ Needs

(RECAP: Aging adults living in senior housing are more likely to have unmet needs than those living in their own apartments, homes or condos, research shows. And the numbers are “unsettling,” writes Paula Span in a recent New York Times column.)
http://seniorhousingnews.com/2014/12/10/ny-times-senior-housing-not-cutting-it-on-meeting-residents-needs/

Part 3: Typical Elements of a Form-Based Code

(RECAP: Form-based codes, when prepared by experienced, well-trained professionals, should be clearer and easier to use than conventional zoning codes. This makes them attractive to a variety of constituencies: landowners, developers, neighbors, planning and zoning administrators, public officials and the general public.)
http://plannersweb.com/2014/12/fbc3/

5 Ways America’s Newest Landlords Can Win the Public’s Trust

(RECAP: In order to build strong national brands, single-family rental firms should provide renters a reasonable level of service and protection regardless of what state law demands and should aim to build trusting relationships with neighbors and local governments by investing in local communities.)
https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/housing/report/2014/12/18/103530/5-ways-americas-newest-landlords-can-win-the-publics-trust/

Aging & Disability Resource Centers (ADRCs)

(RECAP: ADRCs offer information and resources for older Americans and people with disabilities who are looking for long-term services to remain independent and in their homes and communities instead of moving to a nursing home or other institution.)
https://www.disability.gov/resource/aging-disability-resource-centers-adrc/

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.

Growing a Stronger Nonprofit Housing Sector

(RECAP: High-capacity nonprofit housing enterprises that can achieve efficiencies of scale have an important role to play in addressing the affordable housing crisis and policy makers should help them do so.)
http://www.shelterforce.org/article/3341/growing_a_stronger_nonprofit_housing_sector/

Place Mobility: Sometimes good transportation is slow

(RECAP: Place Mobility may at first glance appear to be an oxymoron. Yet it is real and powerful and can be defined as the ability of a dynamic, mixed-use, urban place to enable people to get to where they need to go efficiently in a variety of ways.)
http://bettercities.net/news-opinion/blogs/robert-steuteville/21226/place-mobility-sometimes-good-transportation-slow

December 30, 2014

Downtown Revitalization, Part 1: Roanoke

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Named one of America’s Best Small Cities on the Rise by Smarter Travel in July 2014, Roanoke was known during colonial times as an important intersection of trails and roads in Southwest Virginia. Today, the City of Roanoke, situated at the southern end of the scenic Shenandoah Valley, has grown into a hub for commerce and business, with a population of just under 100,000 and a median area income of $62,900.

Over the past several years, VHDA has fostered relationships with local city leaders and developers to help revitalize the historic downtown district and provide a variety of urban housing options. Since 2010, VHDA has committed financing totaling over $83 million on 2,946 affordable multifamily units in the Roanoke and Lynchburg area. VHDA offers a range of rental loans that can be used to preserve existing housing stock or to build new quality affordable housing.

December 26, 2014

VHDA congratulates The Warwick, a Virginia 2014 Timmy Award winner

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Congratulations to The Warwick in Newport News, VA for winning its category in the 10th Annual J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation, known as the Timmy Awards.

The Warwick won for “Best Historic Rehab Utilizing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTCs) – Small (Total Development Cost of $10 Million or Less)”. This development received federal tax credits administered by VHDA’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Program.

December 24, 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.


Shaping the City | Affordable housing design doesn’t have to be boring

(RECAP: Earlier this year the American Institute of Architects and HUD selected four projects to receive national awards for excellence in affordable housing design. Curiously, all four projects receiving awards are in California.)

When Grandma's House Is Home: The Rise Of Grandfamilies

(RECAP: Grandfamilies are so common that you'll see public housing complexes designed with this in mind: wide walkways, everything on one floor, guardrails — and then outside the window there's a playground.)

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery for Community Development Organizations 

(RECAP: An action guide for community organizations from NeighborWorks America that can help organizations and residents rebuild and recover when disaster strikes.) 

Part 2: The Emergence of Form-Based Codes

(RECAP: Form-based codes are written with the creation (or preservation) of a specific urban form in mind — to regulate private development so that it consciously shapes the public realm.) 

Disability.gov’s Guide to Assistive Technology

(RECAP: Assistive Technology is any piece of equipment or system that can help people with disabilities live independently and participate in the classroom, the workplace and in their communities.)

New research connects investments in low-income communities to direct gains in employment and income

(RECAP: A new study of dozens of poor communities across the country found that families fared better economically in places where a far-reaching revitalization effort addressed multiple community needs at one time—affordable housing, safety, education, employment and other basic services.)

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.

Walkability Is Good for You

(RECAP: The evidence from a growing body of research shows that walkable neighborhoods not only raise housing prices but reduce crime, improve health, spur creativity and encourage more civic engagement in our communities.)

How Much Cleaning Up Brownfields Is Really Worth

(RECAP: There are more than 450,000 U.S. brownfield sites—properties once used for industrial purposes now contaminated by hazardous substances at low levels. According to a new study, neighborhoods near brownfield cleanup sites enjoy a rise in housing values that can be dramatic.)

December 23, 2014

VHDA congratulates The Locks, a Virginia 2014 Timmy Award winner

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Congratulations to The Locks in Richmond, VA for winning its category in the 10th Annual J. Timothy Anderson Awards for Excellence in Historic Rehabilitation, known as the Timmy Awards.

The Locks won for “Best Market-Rate or Mixed-Income Residential”. This development used VHDA financing and received federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits administered by VHDA.


Three of the repurposed industrial buildings in the Locks development
The National Housing & Rehabilitation Association (NH&RA) presents the Timmy Awards annually to honor outstanding real estate projects that involve rehabilitation of older, historic buildings primarily using federal or state Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.

December 18, 2014

VHDA + Alexandria Housing Development Corporation: Affordable Housing Communities are Reborn

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Today’s post originally appeared in VHDA’s Fall 2014 Community Outreach Report.

One goal of Alexandria’s Master 2013 Housing plan is to preserve the affordable units which have been rapidly disappearing as many parts of the city undergo intensive redevelopment. The Alexandria Housing Development Corporation (AHDC), headed by Carol Jackson, Executive Director, is working aggressively to meet that goal.

Their most recent undertaking was the acquisition and redevelopment of Arbelo and Longview Terrace Apartments. These two dilapidated properties were at risk of being lost forever as affordable housing resources. AHDC put together a partnership to ensure these communities would be valuable assets for years to come. Today, this redevelopment effort is providing 75 attractive and much needed workforce/affordable housing units.

December 17, 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.


Q: Why doesn’t the market produce enough affordable housing where people want it?

(RECAP: Location, location, location… The value of housing is tied to location. In desirable locations there is a limit to how much housing can be created.)
http://www.shelterforce.org/article/3479/the_answer_173/

Prospect’s Affordable Accessory Dwelling Units

(RECAP: Unlike much of the affordable housing found in other places that end up being segregated from the rest of the community, Prospect Newtown’s ADUs are perfectly blended within the town overall—and actually help contribute to the development’s success.)
http://buildabetterburb.org/prospects-affordable-accessory-dwelling-units/

Retirees Turn to Virtual Villages for Mutual Support

(RECAP: An offshoot of the sharing economy, virtual villages are popping up all over the country. Experts say these villages are low-cost ways to age in place and delay going to costly assisted-living facilities. One lure is that virtual villages can be tweaked to fit any environment — including the country.)
http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/29/your-money/retirees-turn-to-virtual-villages-for-mutual-support.html?src=me&module=Ribbon&version=context&region=Header&action=click&contentCollection=Most%20Emailed&pgtype=Blogs

Part 1: What Is a Form-Based Code?

(RECAP: As communities confront the need to update their zoning ordinances, many are discussing form-based codes. But quite a large percentage of those are not quite sure what this relatively new planning and zoning tool is all about.)
http://plannersweb.com/2014/12/fbc1/

See the Futuristic Elevators That Move in Every Direction

(RECAP: 160 years after its invention, the elevator is getting a major makeover. A German company is developing the world's first cable-less system that could revolutionize the shape and height of our future skyscrapers.)
http://www.bloomberg.com/video/the-elevator-of-the-future-moves-side-to-side-GNNcqMENTfSSkQ0OpZppog.html

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.

Choose One, Millennials: Upward Mobility or Affordable Housing

(RECAP: The paradox of the American Dream: The best cities to get ahead are often the most expensive places to live, and the most affordable places to live can be the worst cities to get ahead.)
http://www.citylab.com/housing/2014/11/choose-one-millennials-upward-mobility-or-affordable-housing/382953/

Child Homelessness Reaches All Time High, But Remains A Hidden Problem

(RECAP: One in 30 of American children is homeless—an all-time high of 2.5 million, according to a new report by the National Center on Family Homelessness. Some states have begun to focus on helping such children, but their efforts are being complicated by the way the federal government counts them.)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/03/child-homelessness_n_6262296.html

Register now for one of our How-to-Apply Tax Credit workshops

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Are you new to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit application process, or has it been a while since you’ve applied? Then you should attend our LIHTC How-to-Apply workshops. They’re scheduled for January 6, 7 and 9 at locations across Virginia. Each workshop will cover:
  • The web-based locality notification information submittal due January 28, 2015
  • Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) and manual changes from last year
  • Application requirements
  • Scoring categories
  • Reservation documents
  • Allocation documents
  • Tax-exempt bond credit requirements
  • Completing the application
  • Identifying areas where common mistakes occur

Information, including directions and hotel information, can be found below. If you would like to attend any of these free workshops, please use our online calendar to register.

Jan. 6 How-to-Apply @ The Virginia Housing Center (4224 Cox Rd-Innsbrook)
Jan. 6 How-to-Apply @ The Southwest Virginia Housing Center-Wytheville
Jan. 7 How-to-Apply @ Fairfax Marriott at Fair Oaks-Fairfax
Jan. 9 How-to-Apply @ Marriott-Norfolk Mariott Chesapeake
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

December 11, 2014

VHDA Housing Choice Voucher Program – Preference for People with Intellectual or Development Disabilities

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Today’s post originally appeared in VHDA’s Fall 2014 Community Outreach Report.

People with disabilities have historically faced limited housing options, often requiring them to live in institutions or other segregated settings where they are denied many of the basic freedoms that people without disabilities take for granted. The Supreme Court’s decision in Olmstead acknowledged that segregating people with disabilities in institutional settings deprives them of the opportunity to participate in their communities, interact with people who do not have disabilities, and make their own day-to-day choices.

In 2012, the state of Virginia reached an agreement with the Department of Justice that calls for Virginia to partner with other agencies to move more rapidly toward a community-based system of support that provides more integrated living environments.

December 10, 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.


HAND January Meeting: FHLBank Atlanta Affordable Housing Program

(RECAP: On January 22, Arthur Fleming, Senior VP/Director of the Community Investment Services and Joel Brockmann, Assistant VP/Rental Production Manager will provide an overview of the program, tips for submitting successful applications, scoring categories, underwriting guidelines and timelines for the funding process.)

Study: Walkable Neighborhoods Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline in Older Adults

(RECAP: Researchers continue to verify the health benefits of walkable neighborhoods. Most recently researchers at Kansas University found benefits that communities can use to ensure the quality of life of aging residents.)

The Housing Credit is a Critical Tool for Reducing Veteran Homelessness

(RECAP: As we reflect on the needs of veterans today, it’s important to remember the Housing Credit’s critical role in increasing the supply of affordable housing to the men and women who have served.) 

Urban Acupuncture Is Coming to America

(RECAP: Inspired by an idea that originated in 1970s Brazil, urban planners in America are increasingly thinking small scale to solve big problems.)

How Much Do Neighborhoods Influence Future Earnings?

(RECAP: The potential impact on lifetime earnings between growing up in a well-to-do neighborhood and a poor neighborhood is potentially larger than the difference between the earnings of the average college and high school graduate, according to a new study on social mobility.)

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.

How The Youngest Member Of Obama’s Cabinet Plans To Tackle The Homelessness Crisis

(RECAP: HUD Secretary Julian Castro explains why he will staunchly support the “Housing First” model, an innovative approach to provide free, stable housing to the homeless without first without first requiring that they be sober, drug-free or employed.)

December 4, 2014

Good News in Newport News: Revitalization Continues

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Today’s post originally appeared in VHDA’s Fall 2014 Community Outreach Report.

Just a few years ago, it was a vacant building in downtown Newport News. Today, the 100-year-old Roam building — one of the few remaining original structures along Jefferson Avenue — is a vibrant mixed-use/ mixed-income (MUMI) community known as The Lofts on Jefferson.

December 3, 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.

How Cities and States Are Fighting Gentrification’s Displacement Factor

(RECAP: Governments, including Fairfax County, and non-profit organizations have developed a variety of strategies to preserve housing affordability for those most affected by gentrification and revive distressed communities.)

Social Security disability income shouldn’t mean you don’t qualify for a mortgage

(RECAP: More than 15 million people receive Social Security disability income every year. Placing unnecessary documentation requirements on recipients of Social Security disability income, including disabled veterans, may raise fair lending concerns.)

Making the Real Estate Case for 'Walkable Urban Places'

(RECAP: If real estate developers don't want to miss out on the next big thing, they should focus on “walkable urban places,” or “WalkUPs,” according to a new report from LOCUS, a coalition of real estate investors that's part of Smart Growth America.)

Boomers to Seniors Housing: Hell No, We Won't Go!

(RECAP: Just as the baby boomers reach the age at which they might start using 55-plus seniors housing, not only are they still not ready to go the traditional route, but this attitude is causing a massive shift in the use and design of residences for the elderly.)

16 Online Tools And Resources for More Productive Planners

(RECAP: You manage multiple projects, plans and engagement processes and collaborate with colleagues, partners and stakeholders. How can you work smarter and faster every day? It starts with having the right tools.)

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.

The Unfinished Suburbs of America

(RECAP: Thousands of acres across the country were partially developed during the housing boom. What should happen to them now?)

Faith in land trusts

(RECAP: The third path between renting and homeownership is tantalizingly within reach. Community land trusts are proven successes, but with credit still tight everywhere, they need FHA-backed loans.)

December 2, 2014

Virginia Tech Offers a Residental Property Management Program

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Check out this YouTube video about Virginia Tech’s Residential Property Management (RPM) program. In it, students enrolled in the Virginia Tech Property Management major share their experiences with classes, professional development, travel and career opportunities.


VHDA employs a number of RPM graduates, including Asset Manager Jessica Braden, who shared her thoughts. “Virginia Tech's RPM Program is a tight-knit family of professors, alumni, professional, and students working to improve the quality of residential property management in an array of avenues. Students are well prepared for entering the workforce and often, if not always, graduate with one or more job offers.”
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.