January 29, 2015

Rental Unit Accessibility Modification Grant Program Helps Make Rental Homes More Accessible

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

Since 2003, VHDA has provided financial assistance to people with disabilities through our Rental Unit Accessibility Modification (RUAM) grant. The program began as an outreach effort between VHDA and the Christopher Reeve Foundation and has helped over 720 households throughout the Commonwealth.

Financial assistance to make housing more accessible is provided through the REACH Virginia program. VHDA’s RUAM grant helps pay for modifications to rental units occupied by the elderly, adults with disabilities and families of children with disabilities who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income (AMI). Grant funds up to $2,800 per unit may be used to widen doorways, lower countertops, install wheelchair ramps and make other modifications that improve accessibility and safety.

January 28, 2015

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.

NLIHC 2015 Housing Legislation Forum

(RECAP: The 2015 NLIHC Housing Legislative Forum, to be held March 1-3 in Washington, D.C., is strategic and focused in its design, geared specifically for NLIHC members who are actively engaged in and committed to influencing legislative action on national housing policies affecting extremely low income individuals.)
http://nlihc.org/events/forum

What Does Living 'Close' to Transit Really Mean?

(RECAP: Not all urban street networks are created equal, but recent findings raise the possibility cities could increase both ridership and market opportunities by extending transit oriented development (TOD) planning at least a mile from a station.)
http://www.citylab.com/cityfixer/2015/01/what-does-living-close-to-transit-really-mean/384421/

Can Boomers Make Cohousing Mainstream?

(RECAP: Popular in northern Europe, cohousing is still a fringe option in the U.S. But the number of cohousing communities here is set to climb, thanks to Baby Boomers.)
http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/01/can-boomers-make-cohousing-mainstream/384624/

The Top 10 Senior Housing Trends for 2015

(RECAP: Overall demand is intrinsically rising for senior housing options (a.k.a. ‘choices’) as seniors are finding it easier to sell their homes and make decisions, which cascades to industry participants. Here are the Top 10 Trends for Senior Housing for 2015.)
http://seniorhousingnews.com/2015/01/19/top-10-senior-housing-trends-2015/

Small to Go Big in 2015? Maybe. Finally. Here’s why.

(RECAP: To help get more model neighborhoods on the ground, local and national non-profits are coming to the table to add value to potential deals with private developers and to help manage thorny issues with financing and qualifying candidates for rental units. That may be the next stage of accelerating pocket neighborhood growth.)
http://www.placemakers.com/2015/01/19/small-to-go-big-in-2015/

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.

Talkin’ Right, Leanin’ Left: The ‘New Consurbanism’?

(RECAP: Urbanists tend to romanticize the appeal of city life and understate the challenges of trying to build a life there without the talent, luck or resources to take advantage of what cities offer. Conservatives tend to romanticize rural and small town life without acknowledging the cultural isolation and the narrow range of financial opportunities. Agreeing on ultimate ends allows for the discussion you want to get to — the one about means.)
http://www.placemakers.com/2015/01/12/talkin-right-leanin-left-the-new-consurbanism/

Obtaining a mortgage loan: How do we know if it's too hard, too easy, or just about right?

(RECAP: Measuring access to credit is complicated. On January 6, the Urban Institute’s Housing Finance Policy Center convened a panel of experts to discuss three promising new indices that provide a robust measurement of credit availability.)
http://blog.metrotrends.org/2015/01/obtaining-mortgage-loan-hard-easy-right/

January 27, 2015

Homebuyer Education on the Rise in the Northern Shenandoah Valley

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Today’s post is a collaboration between VHDA and People Inc. of Virginia.

Housing professionals in the Northern Shenandoah Valley are joining together to expand homebuyer education opportunities. They recently completed VHDA's Homeowership Education Train-the-Trainer Program, the first step towards teaching VHDA‘s First-time Homebuyer class.

Although local housing professionals streamline the home purchase transaction as much as possible, buyers benefit when they are knowledgable as well. How do buyers achieve this? Through the free class offered by VHDA’s Homebuyer Education program. Class topics include: personal finance, credit and credit issues, role of the lender, working with a Realtor®, the home inspection and loan closing. It provides homebuyers with a curriculum that is standard throughout the state, with a strong emphasis on education without solicitation.

January 23, 2015

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.

3D-Printed Architecture in Amsterdam Could Usher in a Future of Affordable Cities

(RECAP: While the 3D Print Canal House remains a research and demonstration project, livable 3D-printed houses have already been built. When all the pieces come together, automated mass construction may make housing much more affordable not only for the poor and displaced, but for everyone.)

Part Two: Demystifying Affordable Housing Development

(RECAP: In this second part of a two-part Q&A, Michelle Yarbrough Korb, special counsel in the Real Estate Practice Group of Pepper Hamilton LLP, describes some approaches to affordable housing finance used by public agencies.)

What Makes Nature Look Natural?

(RECAP: What are the particular properties of green settings that enhance our mental well-being? A new study that analyzes these visual cues is a step toward helping designers, planners and architects develop spaces that offer maximum mental benefits.)

Finding the Next Hot Spot for Senior Living Development

(RECAP: Rather than looking simply at population data and the number of adults ages 75 and older in a given metro, recent research indicates that analyzing the net migration rates of this population can give senior living providers, developers, investors and other industry stakeholders deeper insight into where older adults are actually headed across the country.)

History and the Hill: Historic Tax Credit Coalition Asks Regulators to Make the Historic Tax Credit Eligible for CRA

(RECAP: The Historic Tax Credit Coalition, in concert with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has asked federal bank regulators to expand and clarify when Historic Tax Credit investments by lending institutions qualify under the Community Reinvestment Act.)

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.

Don’t Boost Cities by Bashing the ‘Burbs

(RECAP: Rather than target suburbia for extinction, cities should focus on the hard work ahead of them. Even as pundits worry about the loss of artists in high-cost cities, the urban future really depends on holding onto middle-class families and millennials as they age.)

Rent-Burdened Nation: Housing Expert Discusses Affordable Housing Crisis

(RECAP: Governments at all levels have been complicit in allowing housing costs to rise year after year, making it impossible for builders to produce housing affordable to working people without government subsidies. There are lots of reasons for this, from building codes to land use regulations that limit density.)

January 22, 2015

REACH Virginia Funding Resources

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

REACH Virginia (Resources Enabling Affordable Community Housing in Virginia) is VHDA’s initiative to serve the housing needs of Virginia’s diverse communities through a variety of programs. Click through the jump to learn more!

January 21, 2015

Check Out the Economic Impact of VHDA on Your Community

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What effect do VHDA's activities have in YOUR community? Here's an easy way to see the economic impact VHDA is having in your area, and all over Virginia.


January 15, 2015

Piedmont Housing Alliance: Partnering for Affordable Homeownership

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

The Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) has partnered for years with VHDA in the greater Charlottesville area. This local housing organization uses VHDA grants and financing to support housing counseling and financial education, to connect homebuyers with low-interest mortgages and to build capacity for creating more affordable housing.

Last year, with support from VHDA, PHA worked with 293 new housing counseling clients, provided monthly VHDA Homebuyer classes and financial education, helped 29 homebuyers with down payment assistance loans (totaling more than $660,000), and connected three homebuyers with low-interest VHDA CHRP mortgage loans.

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.


Research in a time of change: Understanding housing needs, identifying promising solutions

(RECAP: By many measures, 2015 will be a period of transition in housing policy and planning. Demographic and policy changes will create demands for new housing types and opportunities for service delivery. And localities will be called upon to proactively plan for ways to build inclusive communities.)

The Best Planning Apps for 2015

(RECAP: A list of mobile apps that support planning, as part of an annual update. Learn about exciting new ways to explore cities and enhance planning via mobile apps.)

Demystifying the Alphabet Soup of Affordable Housing Development

(RECAP: If you’re dealing with a public housing agency’s aging housing stock in need of revitalization or in the market for additional rental units, you may be wondering if a unit may be both a public housing and LIHTC unit.) 

How the Cycle of Chronic Homelessness Begins—and Ends

(RECAP: Untreated mental illness, addiction and childhood trauma can spin a life out of control. This is a story about taking it back, and how the Housing First model made it possible.) 

Multifamily Developers: The Gateway to Senior Housing’s Future

(RECAP: Driven by desires for more walkable settings within close proximity to retail, restaurants and entertainment hubs, studies suggest the concept of the urbanized senior living community will be most attractive to Baby Boomers’ when it comes time for them to begin utilizing senior housing 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.

Congress should help small communities by amending the Dodd-Frank Act

(RECAP: The Dodd-Frank Act favors big banks and cities. Congress should amend it to help smaller banks compete in the new financial marketplace and prevent capital flight from small communities.)

January 13, 2015

APAH adds new board members

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VHDA welcomes the five new members joining the board of the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. We look forward to working with Yvonne Aiken, Nadia Conyers, Jay Harris, Paul Holland and Rev. Andrew Merrow, as well as the rest of the APAH organization, in our continuing partnership to provide affordable housing for Arlington residents.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

January 9, 2015

VHDA Receives VCEE Community Partnership Award

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VHDA is proud to announce that we recently were awarded the Virginia Council on Economic Education’s Partnership Award for our longtime dedication to economic education in schools across the state and our service to VCEE.

For more than 45 years, VCEE has been a driving force behind getting economics and personal finance into Virginia’s K-12 classrooms. Annually, VCEE’s affiliated centers for economic education provide more than 200 workshops reaching more than 2,500 K-12 teachers, providing them with resources and materials they can use to help students become competent decision makers, productive employees, innovative entrepreneurs, thoughtful investors, and financially responsible individuals.

January 8, 2015

VHDA Training Opportunities For Stakeholders and Potential Partners

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

Homebuyer Education Train-the-Trainer. VHDA’s Housing Education department provides those who are interested in teaching our First-time Homebuyer class with a ”Train-the-Trainer” course. This half-day training covers the curriculum for our First-time Homebuyer class, and explains the specific responsibilities of a facilitator. The course is held monthly in various locations across the state. To sign up, visit vhda.com/trainthetrainer.

Housing Counseling Program. Our Housing Education department also offers training and technical assistance throughout the year to non-profit agencies participating with VHDA through various housing counseling grants. Training opportunities are available to all housing counseling entities in Virginia. To learn more, email vhdagrant@vhda.com.

Marketing 101. VHDA’s Marketing department offers an introductory presentation covering How to Reach Your Audience, Websites, Social Media, Event Management and Creative Strategy Development. The Marketing department also provides consulting to partners, ranging from a quick marketing review and emailed recommendations to a site visit and development and implementation of specific strategies. For more information, contact Marketing Director Robert Halloran at Robert.Halloran@vhda.com.

Revitalization Training. VHDA’s REACH Virginia department provides “Revitalizing Neighborhoods through Housing and Economic Development” training. This two-day, interactive session focuses on the importance of housing opportunities for neighborhood revitalization. Training is typically conducted in partnership with the Virginia Chapter of the American Planning Association (APA-VA) and the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). To learn more, contact REACH Team Director Elizabeth Seward at Elizabeth.Seward@vhda.com.

Challenges of Community Design. Our REACH Virginia department also offers a two-hour workshop focusing on the challenges of community design. Participants engage in a series of quick group exercises during which they identify their individual design preferences from a series of pictures, develop a group consensus concerning the design of key community assets with a focus on housing, and place the assets on a community visioning map. Each group then presents their community vision to the other groups for discussion. For more information, contact REACH Team Director Elizabeth Seward at Elizabeth.Seward@vhda.com.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

January 7, 2015

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


Using Google Earth to Understand Parking Utilization

(RECAP: As planners we use maps on a daily basis. This article shares how to find the date and time that a Google Earth image was taken, which can be helpful in undertaking site analysis and understanding parking utilization.)

How Hard Will New Home-Loan Limits Hit Veterans?

(RECAP: Congress put a limit on a popular and successful VA home loan program. Here's what that means for military homebuyers.)

Jane Jacobs was right

(RECAP: Older and smaller buildings and a wide range in building age offer real economic and social benefits for neighborhoods and urban centers, according to a study of three major cities — Washington DC, San Francisco and Seattle. The study was inspired by Jane Jacob's influential 1961 bestseller, The Death and Life of Great American Cities.)

With Caregiver Pay Hike, States Warned About ADA Obligations

(RECAP: Starting in January, home care workers will qualify for the first time for federal minimum wage and overtime protections. Now, the Obama administration is warning states not to forget the needs of people with disabilities — who often rely on in-home care providers — as they implement the new policy.)

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.

Here Are the Equity Storylines You Need to Follow in 2015

(RECAP: While unemployment and gas prices have shown promising signs in recent months, stark inequality remains a key feature of the American economy. In the coming year, here are the stories to follow if you want to know whether things are getting better or worse for low-income, urban communities.)

No One's Very Good at Correctly Identifying Gentrification

(RECAP: It's clear "gentrification" is still a vague, imprecise and politically loaded term. We not only need better, more objective ways to measure it; we need to shift our focus to the broader process of neighborhood transformation and the juxtaposition of concentrated advantage and disadvantage in the modern metropolis.)

January 6, 2015

EarthCraft Virginia Professional Training To Be Offered in January

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EarthCraft Virginia, one of the largest regional green building programs in the country, is a leader in providing ongoing educational opportunities for home builders, developers, contractors, and anyone else involved in the construction and maintenance of housing. In addition to their ongoing lecture series, EarthCraft Virginia has announced a Building Professional Training course to be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 20, 2015. This comprehensive overview will be held at VHDA’s Virginia Housing Center and costs $175 per attendee, which includes lunch and training materials. It’s open to all who wish to attend, so if you’re interested, register on the EarthCraft Virginia website.


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