July 29, 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.


Adopting Rapid Re-Housing Statewide: The Commonwealth of Virginia

(RECAP: Virginia’s rapid re-housing showed that with a relatively small investment over a 3-year period, a state can re-tool its family homelessness system and improve its effectiveness, resulting in significantly reduced family homelessness. This paper discusses the process by which Virginia re-tooled its approach to family homelessness to one centered upon rapid re-housing, and the project and partnership that supported this effort.) 

Downtown Hurdles

(RECAP: An obstacle to downtown revitalization is simply an incentive for development to take place somewhere else. Your community's comprehensive plan should make downtown the easiest and most advantageous place for new development to occur.)

Changing veteran housing needs

(RECAP: The National Housing Conference’s new report, Housing and Service Needs of Our ChangingVeteran Population, explores the changing demographics of the veteran population and identifies their special housing and supportive service needs. The report also includes policy recommendations.)

The Benefits of Aging in Manufactured Housing Communities

(RECAP: As places for low- and moderate-income Americans to age in place, manufactured housing communities present an impressive array of advantages—and some financial risks.)

Planning for Prosperity in Small Towns and Rural Regions 

(RECAP: The NADO Research Foundation has developed a new website, Planning for Prosperity in Small Towns and Rural Regions, that contains materials developed over the past four years through HUD’s Sustainable Communities Initiative capacity building program. The website includes links to publications, webinars, workshop materials and other information on a variety of topics and themes.)

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.

Bring the Home Loan Banks' Housing Program into the 21st Century

(RECAP: Some housing professionals are reluctant to participate in the FHLBs' Affordable Housing Program, objecting to burdensome requirements and rules that are inconsistent with other funding sources. It's time for the FHFA to make some updates.)

Asset Management and Survival of Nonprofit Owners

(RECAP: What does it take for a mission-oriented real estate owner to survive? The question is cash, and the answer is asset management. Today, CDC portfolios and new development face seven challenges: preservation, rising capitalization requirements, cost containment, energy management, operational sustainability of the service suite, outflowing cash and services make community.)

July 28, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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GAO Recommends Joint IRS-HUD Oversight of the Housing Credit Program 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/gao-recommends-joint-irs-hud-oversight-housing-credit-program

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) yesterday released its report on federal oversight of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, which concludes that there are deficiencies in the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) oversight of the program and recommends that Congress consider designating HUD as a joint administrator of the program.  GAO finds IRS oversight of HFAs and the program in general to be minimal, citing the limited number of audits IRS has conducted of HFAs and Housing Credit investors over the life of the program.  Without regular monitoring, GAO contends that IRS is unable to determine the extent to which HFAs comply with program requirements.  It also criticizes IRS for not regularly reviewing state Qualified Allocation Plans (QAP), not setting goals or assessing the program’s performance, and for having inadequate and unreliable program data.  


Provision to Rescind Hardest Hit Funds Removed From Senate Highway Bill 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/provision-rescind-hardest-hit-funds-removed-senate-highway-bill

Senate leaders have removed a provision that would have rescinded unobligated Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) program funds from a transportation reauthorization bill (the DRIVE Act) that it is currently considering.  NCSHA summarized the now-deleted provision in a blog post published yesterday.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the change this morning on the Senate floor when he introduced an amended version of the DRIVE Act. McConnell then undertook a parliamentary procedure to effectively limit the number of amendments to the bill that the Senate may consider.  Consequently, it is all but assured that the final version of the bill the Senate votes on next week will not include language rescinding HHF funds.


Boehner Admits CR Is Fate of Appropriations

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/boehner-admits-fate-appropriations-cr/?dcz

With only 16 scheduled legislative days before government funding runs out, Speaker John A. Boehner finally acknowledged Thursday that the House and Senate were headed toward funding the government through a continuing resolution.   A CR, omnibus — or even cromnibus — is not out of the ordinary. Though funding the government through appropriations bills is so-called regular order, the last time Congress actually passed all 12 spending bills on time was 1997. Despite GOP leadership’s stated goal of restoring regular order and passing appropriations bills this year, it’s long been accepted that a spending deal would be necessary at the end of the fiscal year in September. (The Senate hasn’t passed a single appropriations bill this year.)

VHDA Provides Financing for Quality Housing in Greater Richmond

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Let’s take a tour of some of the VHDA financed developments providing quality housing in the Greater Richmond area.

The Locks is an adaptive reuse of historic warehouses situated directly on the Kanawha and Haxall Canals. The four historic buildings of The Locks were originally built along the canal system as warehouses for the tobacco industry. These urban apartments are centrally located in Richmond’s business district and are close to dining, shopping and entertainment venues. A loft apartment home at The Locks puts you in the middle of anywhere you want to be.

July 24, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Obama: New Fair Housing rule will help further American Dream
http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34459-obama-new-fair-housing-rule-will-help-further-american-dream

Aiming to reinforce the administration’s commitment to the Fair Housing Act, President Obama dedicated his latest weekly address to the act and its impact on fighting discrimination in housing.

Specifically, Obama addressed last week’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of the “final rule” on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, which will “equip communities that receive HUD funding with data and tools to help them meet long-standing fair housing obligations in their use of HUD funds.”   In his address, Obama said that the Fair Housing Act and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule help to ensure that all Americans get an “equal shot” at finding success in life.  “The work of the Fair Housing Act remains unfinished,” Obama said.   “Just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court ruled that policies segregating minorities in poor neighborhoods, even unintentionally, are against the law,” Obama continued. “The Court recognized what many people know to be true from their own lives: that too often, where people live determines what opportunities they have in life.”


HUD Publishes AFFH Final Rule and Revised Assessment Tool for Local Governments in Federal Register 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/hud-publishes-affh-final-rule-and-revised-assessment-tool-local-governments-federal-register

On July 16, HUD published the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule in the Federal Register.  HUD published the AFFH final rule on its website on July 8, but the rule’s official publication is the date on which it appears in the Federal Register.  The rule replaces the current Analysis of Impediments requirement with a new Assessment of Fair Housing requirement for HUD participating jurisdictions.  The rule’s effective date is August 17, 2015.  HUD also published July 16 a notice announcing modifications it is making to the Fair Housing Assessment Tool for local governments and soliciting comments on those revisions.  HUD will be publishing a separate Assessment Tool for states.

The Assessment Tool is intended to help local governments complete their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), as required by the AFFH regulations.   It will provide instructions for completing the AFH, nationally uniform data provided by HUD, and a series of questions designed to help local government program participants identify areas of racially and ethnically concentrated areas of poverty, patterns of integration and segregation, disparities in access to opportunity, and disproportionate housing needs.


House Passes the Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/house-passes-private-investment-housing-act-2015

July 14, the House of Representatives passed The Private Investment in Housing Act of 2015, H.R. 2997, by a vote of 395-28. The bill would authorize a pay-for-success demonstration program that leverages private funding to improve the water and energy efficiency of HUD multifamily developments.  The bill would authorize HUD to enter into performance-based contracts with private sector intermediaries who would fund and oversee utility efficiency upgrades for existing residential properties. Investors would receive a percentage of energy savings as repayment from HUD only after the savings are verified by a third party.  The demonstration program would last for four years, beginning in FY 2016. Up to 20,000 units in Project-Based Section 8, Section 202, and Section 811 properties would be eligible to participate.


Mortgage, housing trades urge CFPB to extend TRID deadline, again

http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34419-mortgage-housing-trades-urge-cfpb-to-extend-trid-deadline-again

Or at least extend and formalize the grace period
More leading mortgage and housing industry trade groups are asking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to push back its effective date for the Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule to the end of the year, or at least extend the grace period.  For now, the CFPB proposes to move the rule’s effective date to Oct. 3, 2015, from its original Aug. 1 date and its subsequent Oct. 1 change.

The rule, also called the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule, requires additional mortgage disclosure forms and a more complex compliance apparatus for lenders. The required loan documentation consists of two new forms: the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure to ensure compliance.

July 23, 2015

Great News! Adopting Rapid Re-Housing Statewide Is Working

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As many of our partners and stakeholders may remember, homelessness among Virginia’s children and their families was decreasing until 2008 when the financial downturn struck. The result was high rates of unemployment and poverty that increased homelessness across the state. In response, Virginia released a plan in November 2010 to reduce homelessness by 15 percent by 2013. One of the main strategies of the plan was to increase rapid re‐housing through collaboration by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Virginia Coalition to End Homelessness and the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a new initiative sponsored by the Freddie Mac Foundation.

The goal of the initiative was to help Virginia communities improve the availability of affordable housing for children—and their families—experiencing homelessness by increasing the provision of rapid re‐housing. Rapid re‐housing is a model that views obtaining housing as a critical first step in helping families (and individuals) live productive lives. Once in housing, tailored services are delivered to ensure the family remains in housing and does not experience homelessness again.

VHDA is pleased to help spread the word that Virginia’s rapid re-housing initiative proves that, with a relatively small investment over a three-year period, a state can re-tool its family homelessness system and improve its effectiveness to significantly reduce homelessness. Here’s where you can read all the details about the project, and the supportive partnerships, that enabled Virginia to redesign its approach to family homelessness to one centered on rapid re-housing.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

July 22, 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.


The Housing Affordability Opportunity

(RECAP: A recent McKinsey Global Institute report identifies four of the most important levers for making housing more affordable. McKinsey’s Jonathan Woetzel summarized these levers as unlocking land, improving productivity in construction, increasing efficiency in management and reducing financing costs.)

The Manufactured Housing Institute’s Urban Design Project

(RECAP: To illustrate that today’s manufactured homes can meet the need for affordable housing and can be aesthetically compatible within existing urban neighborhoods, the Manufactured Housing Institute launched the Urban Design Project. The program was structured as a public/private initiative that would include the design, development and construction of a series of manufactured homes on urban infill sites in selected cities around the country.)

Affordable Housing, Always

(RECAP: Even neighborhoods that aren’t under threat from gentrification are creating land trusts, knowing that in a culture where cities are “in,” no one is safe from being driven out of a neighborhood.)

Improvement with a Capital “I”: Tax Credits and Rural Development

(RECAP: Some mistakenly believe nonprofits are ineligible for the New Markets Tax Credit Program — founded by Congress in 2000 and renewed annually since — due to their tax status. In fact, as part of a New Markets financing it is the investor, not the nonprofit, that receives the credit, thus incenting capital into projects that would not otherwise get done.)

Building trust to build communities

(RECAP: The National Housing Conference’s regulatory comments, convenings and resources around HUD’s forthcoming rule on affirmatively furthering fair housing emphasize the need for trust between the federal government and state and local governments while making measurable progress. Look for more on this at their Solutions for Restoring Neighborhoods convening in New Orleans, November 5-6.)

Egg-shaped home powered by sunlight and wind lets you live anywhere

(RECAP: The striking design from Slovakian group Nice Architects represents a creative effort to offer housing solutions for this planet. The 'Ecocapsule' is a mini apartment with all the conventional luxuries you would expect, but generates its own clean energy and can be situated anywhere, from city to tundra.)

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.

3 Things Cities and HUD Can Do to Stop Gentrification That Segregates

(RECAP: City and federal officials must go beyond affordable housing efforts and stimulate meaningful social interactions among new and long-term residents to weave a new social fabric of integration in these vibrant, transitioning neighborhoods.)

July 21, 2015

VHDA’s Executive Director "Sounds Off" on Housing Credits

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Susan Dewey, our Executive Director, was one of nine housing finance authority executives to talk with Affordable Housing Finance magazine about QAP changes, cost containment and preservation of existing affordable housing. One new 2015 strategy she discusses is VHDA’s focus on energy efficiency in rehab deals that includes increased developer fees for tax-exempt developments that pursue LEED/EarthCraft certification. She also notes that the most common mistake VHDA sees developers making when applying for Housing Credits is not reading the instructions thoroughly.

Here’s where you can read the entire interview, including what she had to say about the biggest change made to our 2015 QAP, strategies being implemented to preserve existing affordable housing and what VHDA is doing to address cost containment.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

July 20, 2015

Help Housing Virginia Create a Housing & Schools Toolkit

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We’ve shared information about the Housing & Schools Symposium co-hosted by Housing Virginia and VCU's Center for Urban and Regional Analysis before. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can view slides, photos and more from the 2014 and 2015 events on Housing Virginia’s website. These sessions, which focused on the intersection of housing and education policy, brought together educators, housing experts and public officials. Now Housing Virginia is asking for your help.

Housing Virginia is soliciting input to help develop a Housing & Schools Toolkit, featuring tools and resources to help equip community leaders to start their own "Connecting Housing & Schools" conversations. We hope you’ll add your voice by completing their short survey — only nine questions — at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/GCLWPHF.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

July 15, 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.


Cultural Asset Mapping

(RECAP: In recent years, urban planning, arts and culture, economic development and city administration have found common ground in a raised awareness of the importance of culture to a community's livability and prosperity. Gaining a solid understanding of your community’s natural and built environment will lay the groundwork for more effective planning.)

How to Make Smart Growth More Lovable and Sustainable

(RECAP: To make places more welcome, more lovable and embraceable - to make places we can not just accept, but also be proud of - we could do a lot worse than look back at those historic neighborhoods that have in fact been loved and have endured over time, and to emulate what has made them so special.)

Disability Housing: 'How Sweet It Is' to Have Choices

(RECAP: When we design social services -- particularly services for individuals with disabilities -- we often try to standardize, streamline and scale. In doing so, we can unfortunately undermine the choice and freedom of those we seek to serve.)

Larger, More Accessible Homes Increase in Demand by Homeowners Preparing to Age-In-Place 

(RECAP: An increase in home square footage with the rising popularity of accessible design concepts points to a population that is preparing to age-in-place, or, perhaps, is anticipating responsibility for care taking of older relatives in the future.)

In These Urban Forest Neighborhoods, The Houses Are Disguised As Trees

(RECAP: “We need a new building typology that goes beyond the usual technical sustainability," says architect Raimond de Hullu. "We need a 100% green concept, not only technically but visually as well, and which is desirable plus affordable at the same time.")

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.

Supreme Court’s Fair Housing Ruling Could Boost True Neighborhood Revitalization

(RECAP: Disparate impact arguments, armed with research, can take aim at policies that might not appear discriminatory, in an era when increasingly sophisticated data helps illustrate disparities that have been more difficult to capture in the past.)

The Virtuous Cycle of Keeping Your City Affordable for Artists

(RECAP: The creative sector is the engine of urban economic development. Designers, musicians, actors, artists and other creative professionals are a catalyst for growth – creating new businesses, enhancing existing ones and attracting new residents with their performances, designs, murals and other contributions to urban vibrancy.)

July 14, 2015

VHDA Hits the Road, Bringing Homeownership Opportunities to Southwest Virginia, Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Southside Virginia

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Michael Locking
How do you provide affordable home loans to residents in rural areas where banks aren’t easily accessible? That was the question facing the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) in 1996 when it began expanding the availability of its affordable mortgage loans to first-time homebuyers in the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck, Southside Virginia, Southwest Virginia and surrounding counties.

The answer? You go the extra mile with the VHDA Mobile Mortgage Offices — a pair of recreational vehicles converted to offices on wheels. The job is to deliver a customer-friendly environment with Internet access and the personal assistance of Michael Locking, a VHDA mortgage professional with 20 years of experience who services Southwest Virginia, and Allen Andrs, a VHDA mortgage professional with 30 years of experience who serves the Eastern Shore, Northern Neck and Southside Virginia.

July 10, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Budget Brinkmanship Grips DC


http://thehill.com/policy/finance/246825-budget-brinkmanship-grips-capitol
Republicans and Democrats are locked in an increasingly bitter debate over government spending, with few legislative weeks remaining to avoid another shutdown this fall.  Bolstered by veto threats from President Obama, Senate Democrats are vowing to block all GOP spending bills, arguing the legislative work is pointless until Republicans come to the negotiating table.   “Republicans’ current appropriations strategy is only driving our nation toward another government shutdown,” House Democratic leaders said in a letter sent last month.  Republicans, meanwhile, have slammed Democrats as using obstructionist tactics, labeling their strategy the “filibuster summer.”  Democrats need to “pull their party back from a senseless path of forcing endless filibusters and a shutdown no one wants but the hard left,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech.  The debate is certain to heat up when lawmakers return from the July 4th recess, with no guarantee that lawmakers can find a way to avoid the second shutdown of the federal government in two years.


HouseCanary: Shifting demographics reshaping housing, mortgage finance

Problems and opportunities presented for investors


http://www.housingwire.com/articles/34331-housecanary-shifting-demographics-reshaping-housing-mortgage-finance
A new study from HouseCanary shows how demographics shifts are reshaping demand for residential real estate. “The vast imbalances in wealth and homeownership among Baby Boomers (age 55+) and Millennials (ages <35) are resulting in wide disparities in the demand for home buying versus renting,” according to J.P. Ackerman, President at HouseCanary. “Our analysis indicates that rising interest rates and home prices will exacerbate the situation as the Millennials’ ability to purchase homes will be severely jeopardized as monthly payments get further out of reach.”   Boomers have historically fueled the housing market as they entered each stage of life. They drove growth in the entry-level market during the 1970s and 1980s, the move-up market in the 1990s and 2000s, and will fuel household growth over the next 20 years due significant wealth and high homeownership rates.

July 9, 2015

85th Certified Planning Commissioner Program

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For our partners and stakeholders looking for a complete understanding of the legal foundations of community planning in Virginia, and insight into current planning practices and approaches, this program is for you. Hosted by Virginia Tech as part of its Land Use Education Program, the event includes two training sessions (Sept. 28-29 and Dec. 10-11) and a 10-week self-study component.

The ever-growing and changing legislation that mandates and regulates the operation of planning programs and procedures makes professional training a necessity. The Certified Planning Commissioner program is designed to provide the legal and technical background needed by citizen-planners and decision makers. The program thoroughly covers the law and principles that guide planning practices so the participant can learn and understand both why and how to properly handle the various matters that come before a planning commission.

The deadline to register is Monday, September 14. Space is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. You can learn more — and register — here.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

July 8, 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.


Placemaking Street Banners Installed in Tysons

(RECAP: Banners won’t solve all of Tysons problems, but adding some design depth and contrast to what is, in many places, a concrete and asphalt canyon, helps soften the neighborhood and give it a sense of place.)
http://intysons.com/placemaking-street-banners-installed-in-tysons

Your Community’s Little Instruction Book: The basics of putting together a comprehensive plan.

(RECAP: The comprehensive plan has a critical role: it establishes the intent and goals of the community. Too many communities that haven’t fully utilized their comprehensive plans as their guide when making important decisions get themselves into real trouble when making decisions not grounded on what’s set out in their plan.)
http://plannersweb.com/2008/04/your-communitys-little-instruction-book/

Boomers Push Developers to Innovate

(RECAP: Unlike their parents, who may have downsized to resort-style homes or assisted living, this demographic is pressing developers to offer new, multi-housing options as they age. And with their 18-year age span stretching from 51 to 69, boomers naturally don’t represent a one-size-fits-all target market.)
http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/design-development/boomers-push-developers-to-innovate_o

For Individuals With Disabilities, There's No Place(ment) Like Home

(RECAP: Individuals with disabilities and advocates have been fighting for thoughtful supports, inclusion in communities and independent living since the 1960s "based on the premise that people with even the most severe disabilities should have the choice of living in the community." The challenge isn't new, but the solutions will need to be.)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/micaela-connery/for-individuals-with-disabilities-theres-no-placement-like-home_b_7564380.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.

Reframing Government’s—And Our Own—Role in Affordable Housing

(RECAP: Clearly, there is work to do to educate the public about the positive impact government at all levels can have in ensuring access to affordable housing. Introducing housing affordability with values based messages can help bridge this divide.)

3 Fixes For America’s Urban Housing Crunch

(RECAP: Congested American cities should examine the menu of options for expanding housing availability, including transit improvements; legalizing denser construction wherever it is politically possible; and legalizing "micro-units" for students, young singles and seniors.)

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2015/06/22/how-urban-america-can-fix-the-affordable-housing-crisis


The Ripple Effects of Having a Stable Home

(RECAP: Housing often gets left off the agenda in conversations about vital social issues, even though continued research indicates that safe and decent shelter is critical for family and community health. But more industries outside the housing arena are beginning to take notice of the ripple effects of having a stable home.)
http://www.rooflines.org/4154/the_ripple_effects_of_having_a_stable_home/

Five Ways Alternative Data Can Expand Credit Access

(RECAP: It’s important that Congress provide affirmative permission to add on-time utility and telecommunications payment data to credit reports and scores. This would open up credit, housing and employment opportunities for tens of millions of Americans and make our current credit system more inclusive and accurate.)
http://www.americanbanker.com/bankthink/five-ways-alternative-data-can-expand-credit-access-1074980-1.html

July 7, 2015

Breaking Ground on New Workforce Housing in Fairfax County

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Groundbreaking on a new workforce housing development in Fairfax County, financed in part by VHDA, took place on May 5.

This new development, named The Residences at Government Center, is the first of its kind in Virginia to use a financing structure that mixes both 9% and 4% tax credit allocations from VHDA, as well as tax-exempt bonds from the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) and other financing sources.

Photo by Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development

The Residences at Government Center will include 270 LEED® for Homes-certified apartment units along with a number of amenities, including fitness and hospitality areas and a multi-level parking deck. All units at the Residences at the Government Center will be leased to households earning up to 60% of the Area Median Income.

The public-private partnership is designed to create an economically viable housing option for Fairfax County’s low- and moderate-income workforce, enabling county workers to live closer to where they work instead of in surrounding counties. The site is located on the Fairfax County Government Center campus, with the main entrance off Monument Drive, across from the Fairfax Corner mixed-use development.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

July 3, 2015

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

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Supreme Court Upholds Disparate Impact Standard for Violations of the Fair Housing Act 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/supreme-court-upholds-disparate-impact-standard-violations-fair-housing-act
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court today issued its opinion ruling that disparate impact claims may be used to support plaintiffs’ claims of alleged Fair Housing Act (FHA) violations.  Justice Kennedy wrote the Court’s opinion, joined by Justices Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan in the case of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.  The decision remands the case to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals for further proceedings consistent with the Supreme Court’s opinion.  The plaintiff in the case, The Inclusive Communities Project, claimed that Texas DHCA had caused continued segregated housing patterns by allocating a disproportionate amount of the state’s Housing Credits to developments in predominantly black inner-city areas.

Senate Appropriations Committee FY 2016 THUD Bill Virtually Eliminates HOME 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/senate-appropriations-committee-fy-2016-thud-bill-virtually-eliminates-home
Earlier today, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted 20 to 10 to pass the Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies funding bill.  Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) joined the Republican members of the Committee to report the bill for consideration by the full Senate. Full Committee consideration of the measure followed the Subcommittee mark-up on June 23.  The bill would effectively eliminate the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program—a critical program that is central to HFAs’ ability to meet their states’ affordable housing needs.  It provides just $66 million – a staggering reduction of 93% from HOME’s already record-low FY 2015 funding level of $900 million.  According to HUD, if HOME were zeroed out in FY16 and not funded at the President’s requested level of $1.06 billion, there would be a loss of an estimated 38,665 affordable housing units (16,045 homebuyer units, 15,099 new or rehabilitated rental units, and 7,521 owner-occupied homes rehabilitated for low income homeowners), and 8,813 fewer families would be assisted with HOME tenant based rental assistance.

HUD Issues FAQs and Other Resources for Housing Trust Fund 

https://www.ncsha.org/blog/hud-issues-faqs-and-other-resources-housing-trust-fund
On June 22, HUD published new background resources for the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) program, including a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document, a summary of the interim rule, and a video on HUD’s YouTube channel providing an overview presentation of HTF.  The FAQ addresses questions about the HTF Annual Action Plan, including how and when states can submit HTF allocation plans to HUD, administrative requirements regarding when a state must notify HUD of which agency will administer HTF, and whether states will be allowed to charge pre-award costs to HTF planning activities.  The FAQ confirms that Davis-Bacon Labor Standards will not apply to HTF.

July 2, 2015

VHDA Launches New Mortgage Credit Certificate Program

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We recently introduced our Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) program, which could save a first-time homebuyer thousands of dollars by reducing the amount of federal income tax they owe. To qualify, homebuyers must be first-time homebuyers, or not have owned a home during the previous three years – but this requirement may be waived if the home is in a Federal Targeted Area. The home must also be used as their principal residence, and VHDA’s maximum income and sales price limits apply.

July 1, 2015

News Flash! FREE Energy Benchmarking webinar!

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Interested in reducing your operational costs through utility savings? Not entirely sure where to start? Looking for an easy way to understand the energy performance of your buildings?

All of these questions, and more, can be addressed by a FREE Energy Benchmarking webinar, to be held Thursday, July 9 at 11 a.m. Click here to register.

Multifamily property benchmarking through WegoWise enables property owners and managers to understand:

  • How their buildings are performing compared to similar buildings with regard to energy and water use; 
  • How to prioritize buildings to address energy and water efficiency upgrades to achieve monetary savings; 
  • How to monitor the results from work that has been completed to measure progress and to determine whether efficiency goals are being achieved.  

The webinar is sponsored by Virginia Community Capital, WegoWise and Elevate Energy. Owners of affordable multifamily properties may be eligible for one year FREE use of WegoWise (a utility benchmarking service provider).

Questions? Contact Monique Johnson.
© 2013 VHDA, All Rights Reserved. Please Review the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

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.


Every Single County in America Is Facing an Affordable Housing Crisis

(RECAP: A new report reveals that zero counties in the U.S. have enough housing for families in extreme poverty. The crisis is national and it is growing. Since 2000, rents across the nation have increased. So has the number of families who desperately need affordable housing.)
http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/06/every-single-county-in-america-is-facing-an-affordable-housing-crisis/396284/?utm_source=SFTwitter

NHC’s Policy Symposium highlights: Solutions from the field

(RECAP: The June Policy Symposium hosted by the National Housing Conference showed many ways that housing can be a solution, and it drew together housing stakeholders to learn from each other. If you missed the event and the live webcast, here are just a few of the highlights.)
http://www.nhcopenhouse.org/2015/06/nhcs-policy-symposium-highlights.html

How Façade Improvement Programs Can Benefit Your Community

(RECAP: The revitalization of a neglected commercial district or residential neighborhood often begins with improvements to a single building or storefront. Here’s an overview of how façade improvement programs work.)
http://plannersweb.com/2013/10/how-facade-improvement-programs/

New Study Finds Many People with Disabilities Are Priced Out of Housing

(RECAP: A new report by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities finds that people who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability payments are likely unable to afford decent housing without some type of assistance.)
http://www.tacinc.org/knowledge-resources/news/tac-and-ccd-release-priced-out-in-2014/

Housing Quick Facts

(RECAP: This Housing Virginia Sourcebook fact sheet provides several affordability measures that indicate the degree of need for affordable housing in specific areas of the Commonwealth, including a Housing Affordability Index and housing cost burden by income and by year.)
http://housingvirginia.org/housing-quick-facts-VT.aspx

Study: Seniors Housing Now More Popular Among Those with Higher Incomes 

(RECAP: Higher income seniors are now more likely to occupy seniors housing in their elderly years than those with moderate and low incomes, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts.)
http://rebusinessonline.com/study-seniors-housing-now-more-popular-among-those-with-higher-incomes/

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 National Housing Trust Fund on the Congressional Cutting Block Unless Advocates Act

(RECAP: Since the National Housing Trust Fund was created, it has had no money. Obviously, funding exists that could be redirected toward the trust fund. Congress will listen, but only if the voices in favor of National Housing Trust Fund funding are organized, loud and insistent.)
https://nonprofitquarterly.org/policysocial-context/26265-the-national-housing-trust-fund-on-the-congressional-cutting-block-unless-advocates-act.html

Community Development of Tomorrow

(RECAP: Should the primary approach to neighborhood development focus on geographical surroundings by refurbishing housing and attracting new businesses? Or, should the approach be to develop people by concentrating on economic and social empowerment for existing, longtime residents, especially those who are low income and of color?)
http://www.rooflines.org/4152/community_development_of_tomorrow/