Posts filed under ‘Affordable Housing’

HAWS to Request City Funds for Acquisition of Property

Triad City Beat has an article about the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem’s (HAWS) efforts to buy a property near its Cleveland Avenue Homes community:

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem plans to request financial assistance from the city to pay for the acquisition of a blighted complex known as New Hope Manor Apartments that is wedged between Cleveland Avenue Homes and Fairview Park — potentially a key aspect of an ambitious plan to transform the neighborhood.

The anticipated request comes on the heels of a unanimous vote by city council on June 20 to the join the housing authority as a co-applicant for a federal Choice Neighborhoods grant as part of an ambitious plan to transform the area surrounding the Cleveland Avenue Homes public-housing community.

The city’s participation includes a pledge of $4.5 million to pay for business façade improvements, neighborhood broadband, a revolving loan for businesses, streetscaping and land for new parks and other public spaces in the area.

HAWS representatives have talked to the lender on the property and learned that the lender is willing to dispose of the property at a significant loss. They are concerned that it will attract a low-ball investor who will put minimal effort into revitalizing the community.

Ritchie Brooks, Winston-Salem’s director of community and business development, wrote in a memo that “HAWS believes this could provide an appealing opportunity for an absentee investor to purchase the property, do some minimal rehab, and then continue to operate the property as untenable multifamily housing, perpetuating the blight and inhibiting the development of the surrounding area.” As a result HAWS is asking the city for $1.7 million to help “acquire, demolish, abate, rehab and operate the property in a sustainable manner.”

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July 6, 2016 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

NAA Statement on “How Housing Matters” Study

Following is a statement from Doug Culkin, CAE, President and CEO of the National Apartment Association, on the MacArthur Foundation’s 2016 “How Housing Matters” survey:

“With four of five Americans believing housing affordability continues to be a problem, this study underscores the need for political leadership and results‐driven policies to meet the demand for apartment housing.

America’s affordability problem is growing. The supply of rental apartments can’t meet the demand – between 300,000 to 400,000 apartments must be built annually to keep pace, but only an average of 208,000 were built between 2011 and 2015.

Compounding this challenge is stagnancy in incomes. Median rental household income is almost unchanged from 35 years ago on an inflation‐adjusted basis.

Finally, costly and cumbersome regulations at all levels of government create barriers to the development of new rental housing and ultimately drive rents above what many families can afford.

We commend the MacArthur Foundation for reinforcing that Americans want lawmakers to act now to address our nation’s housing affordability challenges.

Lawmakers must recognize that the most viable solution requires a strong partnership between government and the private sector. The National Apartment Association continues to work to enable our members to provide apartment homes that meet the needs of all Americans.”

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The National Apartment Association (NAA), America’s leading voice for the apartment housing industry, provides its members with the best range of strategic, educational, operational, networking and advocacy resources they need to learn, to lead and to succeed. As a federation of nearly 170 state and local affiliates, NAA encompasses over 72,000 members representing more than 8.4 million apartment homes globally. NAA’s purpose is to enable every single one of its members to fulfill his or her professional goals with great competence, speed and the highest standards of ethics. To learn more, visit http://www.naahq.org.

June 27, 2016 at 1:00 pm Leave a comment

Winston-Salem Council Denies Rezoning Request for Affordable Development

At its May 2 meeting the Winston-Salem City Council voted 5-2 to deny a rezoning request for a 54-unit apartment development in the city’s northwest ward. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Siding with neighbors who came out in opposition, the Winston-Salem City Council on Monday rejected a developer’s plan to put a low-income, two-story 54-unit apartment building at the entrance to the Town and Country neighborhood at the corner of Briarcliffe and Reynolda roads…

Developer Bill Scantland described the apartment building as one that would serve people who are 55 years old or older, who make between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income of $58,500. Scantland said the building would look just like one built for market-rate tenants.

Opponents said the apartment building would be too tall for the neighborhood, especially since the corner lot drops off about 20 feet in elevation from Reynolda Road to Briarcliffe…

When the proposed rezoning went to the City-County Planning Board on April 14, it had no opposition and sailed through on a unanimous vote — although it was noted that emails were coming in from people who said that they didn’t know about the case and hadn’t had enough time to think about it.

One problem, it turns out, is that the neighborhood meeting to discuss the plan with Town and Country residents was held on April 13, only one day before the planning vote…

The developer’s financing imposed a time frame that didn’t allow for postponing the decision, MacIntosh said.

May 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm 1 comment

Bank of NC Investing $5 Million to Build Affordable Housing in High Point

Bank of North Carolina is investing $5 million in an effort to build affordable housing in High Point. From a story in Triad Business Journal:

Seeking to have a direct impact on the city that’s home to its headquarters, Bank of North Carolina will build affordable housing in struggling High Point neighborhoods and sell the new homes using a new mortgage product crafted for a population of potential homeowners now being underserved…

The bank’s effort will be in partnership with the city of High Point, which has had a downpayment assistance program in place for several years, and also has an inventory of vacant lots and reclaimed properties in lower-income neighborhoods that could provide land for the housing effort…

What Bank of North Carolina is proposing is to begin building three-bedroom, two-bathroom houses priced in the $70,000 to $80,000 range…

The idea would be to sell the homes at cost or near cost, with the new homeowners using a mortgage product Bank of North Carolina rolled out several months ago focused on those potential homeowners that lenders typically don’t target.

April 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm 1 comment

Notes from Greensboro Housing Summit

The Greensboro Housing Coalition hosted it’s annual housing summit today and here are some interesting tidbits that might be of interest to our members:

  • Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan provided an opening address and mentioned that the city council is planning to get an affordable housing bond on the ballot this November.
  • Walker Sanders of The Community Foundation announced that they are going to partner with the city to raise funds to address housing affordability, and the goal is to raise more than they did for the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. That means they’re trying to raise something north of $80 million.
  • Beth Benton, code compliance manager for the city of Greensboro, outlined the changes that had been made to the Greensboro Minimum Housing Commission’s operations. One is that they have started issuing “Orders to Repair” in addition to “Orders to Demolish.” That allows the city to make necessary repairs if the property owner is unable, and then the property owner pays them back over time. One criteria they use when determining whether to repair or demolish is that the repair must cost less than 50% of the tax value of the property.
  • Benton also mentioned that two years ago a developer asked her for a list of properties that had orders to demolish pending. Since then over 80 investors/developers have been added to the list she sends the monthly report to and as a result over 60 houses have been purchased and repaired in the last two years.
  • Stephen Sills of the UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies shared some very interesting data his team has compiled related to poverty, housing affordability and the like. I’m going to try and get a copy to share on a future post.

The summit was an interesting and informative experience and well worth the time for anyone who is involved in housing in Greensboro.

February 24, 2016 at 9:20 pm 1 comment

Underlying Factors In the Housing Affordability Policy Debate

Ken Szymanski, the Executive Director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, has written an outstanding piece on the underlying factors contributing to the housing debate in Charlotte, and many of them apply to us here in the Triad. Some key points are excerpted below, but you really should read the full piece here.

  • Moderate-, middle-, and upper-income households are served perfectly well by the dynamics of the marketplace. But low-income households cannot be served by the marketplace because their buying power is too low. That fact always has and always will generate social and political reactions, because those households are cost-burdened and have to deal with problems of housing quality and overcrowding…
  • At all levels of government—federal, state, and local—for many decades the political will has generally been lacking to materially increase this subsidy coverage of 25 percent. To quote Joseph Califano, a Cabinet secretary under President Jimmy Carter, “You can only go ‘so far’ at redistributing wealth.” We have not seen the political will to spend the money that would increase this materially. Regardless of who the HUD secretary was or whether the person in the White House was an “R” or a “D,” the appetite of elected or appointed officials—or the general public—is not there to go much over 25 percent…
  • State government has a role.  The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has been the state administrator of the federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.  The federal tax credit program was created in 1986 and generally aims to house those whose income is at or below 60 percent of the area median income level. 
  • The federal government has a role. Formerly, the role of the federal government was to fund public housing and provide below-market interest rate mortgages for multifamily rental housing. The role has been substantially diminished in recent years…
  • Inclusionary policy for new development/mixed-income housing has not attracted developers. Nearly three years ago, the Charlotte City Council approved a voluntary affordable housing “density bonus” for developers. If a developer wanted to build in affluent areas, the city would allow it to build extra units if it included some apartments or homes for low-income residents. But no developer has participated in the program, and the city may be starting over. A number of misconceptions underlie the city’s current inclusionary housing policy, including: a misunderstanding of the importance of return on cost in development feasibility; an overestimation of economies of scale in construction; a stereotype that private developers want to discriminate against poor people.

  • “Source of Income” civil rights issue. Somewhat akin to the inclusionary policy for new development are calls to mandate the acceptance of Section 8 (housing choice) vouchers in existing communities. Some advocates are attempting to make the market-rate rental sector shoulder a disproportionate burden of the city’s affordable housing crisis by making it “discriminatory” for a housing provider to elect not to participate in the voluntary Section 8 program. Making Section 8 voucher administration more market-like, not passing a state “source of income” statute, is the proper way to improve the workability of the federal government’s major housing assistance program.

February 19, 2016 at 3:07 pm 1 comment

FHA Initiative Intended to Boost Development of Affordable Housing

From Housing Wire (via NAA Industry Insider):

The Federal Housing Administration announced a new plan to reduce multifamily insurance rates in order to encourage capital financing of affordable and energy-efficient apartments…

The rate reductions will take effect on April 1, 2016, and will directly impact FHA’s Multifamily Housing Programs and properties housing low- and moderate-income families and/or developments installing energy-efficient systems or building within federal energy guidelines.

As a result, the FHA said it expects the multifamily insurance rate reductions to cause the rehabilitation of an additional 12,000 units of affordable housing per year nationally…

The FHA also announced that it is reducing upfront premiums to support its affordable housing and energy efficiency goals. Upfront insurance rates will be set at 25 basis points for Broadly Affordable and Energy-Efficient properties and 35 basis points for Mixed-Income properties. 

February 5, 2016 at 4:04 pm 1 comment

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