What Affordable Housing Means to Me…

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SUCCESS STORY: ILLINOIS
A SAFE PLACE

favorite_place_to_live_in

Mission: As the leading advocate for eliminating domestic violence in northern Illinois, A Safe Place provides a 24-hour crisis line, case management, legal advocacy (including orders of protection), emergency shelter, individual, family, art and group therapy, transitional and permanent housing, advocacy, education, outreach and supportive services to survivors of domestic violence and their children, a mentoring program for adolescent boys, supervised custody exchanges, supervised family visitations, education for teens on healthy relationships, community education and intervention services for abusers to learn accountability for their choices and actions. A Safe Place is a 501(c)(3) organization that receives HUD Emergency Shelter Grant program (ESG) funding for our emergency shelter. This 35-bed shelter houses women and children who are fleeing domestic violence for up to 90 days.

i_like_living_here

Story: A mother with three children had experienced years of abuse from her partner. The abusive partner threatened to kill the mother and her three children, resulting in the mother fleeing in her car with her children. This mother and her children had no other option but to sleep in the car, and also sometimes in an outdoor field. The mother shared with A Safe Place that some nights she would stay up all night just watching over the children to ensure that the abusive partner hadn’t found them. When the mother was connected with A Safe Place and first arrived at its emergency shelter, she told the staff how grateful she was for A Safe Place because she was finally able to sleep without fear. In addition to providing emergency shelter to the family in imminent danger from their abuser, shelter staff provided basic needs for the family and worked with the mother to stabilize the crisis, attain safe and permanent housing, and work toward self-sufficiency. Through the assistance they received, after nearly 60 days in an emergency shelter, the mother and her three children were able to leave the shelter and move into their own apartment. So many families like this one need assistance getting back on their feet after trauma occurs. Federal programs that create affordable housing and end homelessness benefit individuals and communities and are a good investment in our country’s infrastructure. Without continued funding, families like this would most likely be homeless, with children not regularly attending school, and unable to work and contribute to the economy. HUD funding is changing lives and working to end homelessness.

Opportunities Created: 
City: Lake County, Illinois
Congressional District: IL-10
Use of Funds: Emergency Shelter
Federal Program: ESG: $33,647
Total Federal Dollars: $33,647

Contact: 
Laura Ramirez
P: 847-731-7165
E: Lramirez@asafeplaceforhelp.org
W: asafeplaceforhelp.org

 


Read more affordable housing success stories at: http://nlihc.org/partners/chcdf

What Affordable Housing Means to Me…

AFFORDABLE HOUSING SUCCESS STORY: ALASKA
COOK INLET HOUSING AUTHORITY

Mission: Cook Inlet Housing Authority (CIHA) is one of 14 regional housing authorities established in the 1970s to address poor housing conditions throughout Alaska. Its service area includes the state’s largest urban center, Anchorage, small towns, and remote Alaska Native villages accessible only by sea and air. CIHA is a Tribally Designated Housing Entity that leverages Native and non-Native federal housing resources to serve all eligible Alaskans. It has become one of Alaska’s largest housing developers and managers, with a rental portfolio of more than 1,400 homes. CIHA’s developments have been recognized nationally by the National Association of Home Builders, the Charles L. Edson Tax Credit Excellence Awards, HUD, and the American Planning Association.

Story: Because of complex market conditions, mixed-income housing developments are uncommon in Anchorage. Because of the availability of Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC), Indian Housing Block Grant program (IHBG) funding, and other private and state resources, CIHA was able to develop Loussac Place, a mixed-income community, despite the market barriers. Loussac Place is home to an incredibly diverse community. Its first residents include a recent widow with five young children, a retired senior couple on a fixed-income, a pharmaceutical marketing professional with a college degree, a single father employed as a traveling sales representative, and a recently homeless veteran. Loussac Place includes a community building, where residents have access to a library and a computer lab. A gathering room provides space for financial fitness classes, job and education fairs, and cultural celebrations. CampFire Alaska provides onsite afterschool programming for families living at Loussac Place, allowing them to work or to pursue education or job training. After five years, Loussac Place is enabling families to stabilize and thrive. The Lupie family lives at Loussac Place and proudly reports that for the first time in their lives, their Alaska Native children do not feel subjected to racial discrimination in their own community.

loussac_photo_4Through a partnership with CampFire Alaska, several Loussac Place families received scholarships to send their children to an overnight summer camp, where the kids experienced many “firsts”—including their first canoe ride, first hike, and first time away from home. A parent told us, “I can’t afford to take my kids to something like this. Thank you for bringing CampFire here.” One child who attended the camp shared, “I never knew how to follow the Big Dipper to the North Star. I’m going to look for it at night.”


Opportunities Created
City: Anchorage

Congressional District: AK-AL

Use of Funds: New construction

Federal Programs:
Indian Housing Block Grant: $4.17 million
LIHTC: $20.65 million

Total Federal Dollars:
$24.82 million

Other Financing: 
$12 million

Total Project Cost:
$36.82 million

Affordable homes created or preserved:
120

Contact: 
Gabriel Layman
P: 907-793-3004
E: glayman@cookinlethousing.org
W: cookinlethousing.org 


To view other affordable housing success stories, go to: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/A-Place-To-Call-Home_Profiles.pdf

What Affordable Housing Means to Me…

Affordable Housing Success Story: Florida

Ability Housing 

Mission: Ability Housing’s mission is to build strong communities where everyone has a home. To fulfill this mission, we develop and operate quality rental housing affordable to people with extremely limited incomes, focusing on the needs of people experiencing or at risk of homelessness and adults with disabilities. Ability Housing partners with area service organizations so our residents have the supports they require to ensure housing stability and increase their independent living skills. In 2015, Ability Housing’s housing stability rate was 95.5% across its affordable developments. This exceeds the HUD Continuum of Care performance benchmark (80%) for permanent supportive housing.

Story: Consuello lost her housing in 2012 due to several setbacks caused by her anxiety and depression. After weeks in transitory motels and shelters, she lost custody of her daughter. Michael was forced to leave his grandmother’s home due to family conflict. When he and Consuello met, an immediate bond of faith and love was formed between them. But they could not find housing as they were unable to find work and were forced to live outside of an abandoned warehouse. Jacksonville, like many communities, has a crisis with affordable housing with more than half of the city’s renters being cost-burdened and 337 people identified as chronically homeless. When they met Joe Johnson, the program manager at Ability Housing, Consuello and Michael said that their prayers had been answered. The Village on Wiley was developed specifically to provide 43 units of permanent supportive housing for the community’s highest users of crisis services. The couple moved into their new home at this beautiful complex in 2015. With the support resources provided by HUD Continuum of Care program (CoC) funds, they found the capacity to rebuild their lives and married in early 2016. Consuello and Michael are now receiving benefits that have further stabilized their income and Consuello is now supplementing their income with work at McDonald’s, having gotten her license and a car to help her get to work. They have moved into a two-bedroom apartment at Ability Housing’s Mayfair Village so they can have their children back in their lives. Education seemed like an unattainable dream when Consuello and Michael were experiencing homelessness, yet they are planning to attend Edward Waters College to study music, with the goal of teaching children. With the support of Ability Housing, their future is as bright as their smiles.

consuello_and_michael_ability_housing_village_on_wiley_2016_2

Contact:

Tanya Adams; 904-359-9650; tadams@abilityhousing.org

abilityhousing.org

Organization Information:

City: Jacksonville

Congressional District: FL-4

Use of Funds: Rental Assistance

Federal Programs: CoC: $925,414

Total Federal Dollars: $925,414


Success stories from the A Place to Call Home report are available at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/A-Place-To-Call-Home_Profiles.pdf 

CHCDF Series on Housing as Infrastructure

HUD Programs Create Jobs and Build Infrastructure. So Why Would the President Want to Eliminate Them?

By Marion McFadden, Vice President for Public Policy at Enterprise Community Partners 

capitol_image_blog

Late last night Politico leaked the story that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) proposed $18 billion in new program cuts for fiscal year (FY) 2017 to offset the President’s proposed increases to Defense and ‘border security’ spending. The skinny budget released earlier this month also proposed an $18 billion cut to non-Defense discretionary (NDD) programs to fund a $33 billion Defense and border security increase but did not detail where the $18 billion would come from.

This latest proposal would cut FY 2017 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program funding in half, about $1.5 billion, and would eliminate all funding for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) at Treasury Department as well as the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development, and the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks) would be reduced by $75 million.

Congress must reject these outrageous proposals from the White House and refuse to increase Defense spending at the cost of cuts to vital domestic programs both this year and next.  Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress seem opposed to making cuts so late in the fiscal year, but it remains to be seen how Republicans will follow the lead of the President, as the head of their party.

As a lifelong advocate for a social safety net for people of modest means, I’m deeply disheartened by the budget proposals, and I’m confused by them, since they work against the best interests of the nation. The President’s budget outline for next year (FY 2018) seeks to eliminate funding for nearly all grant programs that provide flexible funding to states and communities for their local housing and community development needs, including zeroing out the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program in addition to the cutting or eliminating all of the programs I called out above. At a time when Americans are demanding more jobs and better infrastructure, I am at a loss as to why the White House proposes eliminating the programs that are most effective at doing those things.

Choice Neighborhoods, for example, is a competitive grant program that supports locally driven strategies to address struggling neighborhoods with HUD-assisted housing. To receive a grant, a community must develop a comprehensive neighborhood transformation plan that provides a strategy for the simultaneous revitalization of the publicly assisted housing units as well as the surrounding neighborhood. The program empowers communities to take ownership of their own redevelopment. Choice Neighborhoods among other community development programs are designed to give communities flexibility to address their unique challenges but also requires grant recipients to closely track their accomplishments and leverage other funding sources to achieve their revitalization goals.

Choice Neighborhoods is just one program in a larger network of mutually reinforcing housing and community development programs that leverage each other as well as private funding to utilize taxpayer money as efficiently as possible. The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) provides targeted investment to some of the nation’s most distressed communities by investing federal dollars and private sector capital. CDFI Fund investments take a market-based approach to supporting disadvantaged communities. HOME and CDBG are both flexible grant programs that are commonly used as gap financing for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), which is responsible for the development of nearly all new homes affordable to low-income households. A local housing nonprofit may use HOME funding to rehabilitate modest homes but requires a Section 4 Capacity Building grant to cover personnel costs. Federal housing and community development programs efficiently leverage other funding sources, and they also provide funding for projects that would otherwise not happen. Whether it’s laying the infrastructure for new affordable homes, leveraging private capital under the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), or building a convention center, CDBG, HOME, Choice Neighborhoods, and Section 4 actually provide our communities with their building blocks and do so efficiently.

When I was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Grant Programs at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, I oversaw the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula program, which, in light of the proposed spending cuts, has received attention as a funding stream for the deservedly popular Meals-on-Wheels program. CDBG is so much more than a source of support for meals for the elderly; it is in fact one of the most Federalist of HUD programs, providing flexible dollars to governors and local elected officials, who have the discretion to choose how to spend the funds and consequently are ultimately responsible for ensuring they are used wisely to meet their local needs. The program works in part because it is built on the acknowledgment that where federal funds are needed, locals are in the best position to prioritize and address those needs.

If there is one thing we can all agree on, it’s that America needs jobs. CDBG provides funding for programs and projects that otherwise would not happen, which means that CDBG creates jobs that otherwise would not exist. When announcing the state of Georgia’s CDBG allocations last year, Governor Nathan Deal (R-Ga.) remarked that the projects funded by CDBG “stimulate economic development in these communities and enhance the quality of life for all Georgians,” and that CDBG “allows cities and counties to direct federal funding to address critical community needs, maximizing opportunities for citizens and ensuring that Georgia remains a top state for business.”  In the past ten years, CDBG has supported nearly 390,000 jobs in all 50 states and over 7,200 rural, suburban, and urban communities. On average, each dollar of CDBG leverages another $3.60, and there can be no doubt about the targeting to those most in need.

No matter where you live, I can almost guarantee that you’ve benefitted from a CDBG-funded project at some point in your life, whether it’s a business you patronized that got a loan of CDBG funds, a public park, rec center, or library you visited, or demolition that removed an unsightly abandoned property. Since its creation in 1974, CDBG has invested more than $150 billion in communities nationwide.  Because our country still needs flexible federal support for infrastructure investments, job creation, and poverty elimination, we must not allow CDBG to be terminated by the stroke of a pen.

The President’s skinny budget claims loosely that CDBG “is not well-targeted to the poorest populations and has not demonstrated results.” The data and the first-hand accounts of community leaders nationwide indicate that this could not be more untrue. CDBG like all federal housing and community development programs, requires grant recipients to closely track their accomplishments, under the watchful eyes of HUD, the HUD Office of Inspector General, and Congressional overseers. Nobody who has even skimmed through the data and project reports for these programs would suggest that they haven’t “demonstrated results.”

And putting evidence aside, there is a huge difference between whether funds have been proven to meet a need and whether funds are unneeded.  If we concede that there is a need for the funding that Congress provides each year, the best choice to address remaining concerns is to amend the reporting requirements. The Secretary of HUD and his hard-working career staff have all the authority they need to tailor the rules to ensure better reporting.

Communities would lose too much under the President’s plan. Federal grants of this magnitude likely cannot be replaced with other sources of funding, no matter how hard communities work to increase the amount of skin they put into the game. Eliminating nearly all programs that invest in community development amounts to giving up on the people and places that need support the most.

Along with my colleagues at Enterprise Community Partners, I am speaking out against President’s reckless budget proposals and urge Congress to reject them outright.


 

This article was originally published on March 28, 2017 at: www.enterprisecommunity.org/blog

What Affordable Housing Means to Me…

Affordable Housing Success Story: California
West Hollywood Community Housing Corp. 

Mission: West Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (WHCHC) develops safe, decent and affordable housing for people with limited incomes, including those with special needs, enhancing the community and supporting economic diversity. We envision sustainable communities of healthy, diverse neighborhoods within the greater Los Angeles, California area. Our residents include people with disabilities, seniors, people with HIV/AIDS, transition-age youth, families, and people who have formerly been homeless. As of December 2016, WHCHC houses 813 residents, 60% of whom are 55 years old or older. Most WHCHC affordable projects include HUD HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) funds from the County of Los Angeles Community Development Commission and the City of Glendale, as well as HUD project-based vouchers (PBVs) from both the County and City of Los Angeles housing authorities. WHCHC also relies on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC) in developing its projects.

Story: After almost 10 years of homelessness, Stephen was selected from a lottery in 2009 for an apartment at Sierra Bonita Apartments in West Hollywood, California. It changed his life.

stephen_sadler_photo_2_whchcStephen, a paraplegic from back injuries, was awarded a Shelter Plus Care (S+C) voucher, but he was unable to find an apartment that would accept his voucher. In fact, because of the housing shortage in West Hollywood and Los Angeles, Stephen’s voucher expired twice while he was trying to find an apartment. Ultimately, Stephen found WHCHC, the only landlord in West Hollywood accepting new residents with vouchers.

Sierra Bonita Apartments is a 42-unit new construction project for people with disabilities, located in a low-income neighborhood where much of the housing stock is aging and deteriorating. The project was awarded $3 million in HUD HOME funds in 2008, and it received 32 HUD project-based vouchers in 2011. The development created approximately 45 construction jobs and two permanent jobs. The WHCHC Resident Services department provides Sierra Bonita tenants with educational and economic opportunities, and staff help to promote housing retention and positive health outcomes.

While living at Sierra Bonita, Stephen keeps fit by working out and surfing with his friends at “Life Rolls On.” WHCHC’s Resident Services staff provide services as needed, but Stephen is becoming less reliant on supportive services in his daily life.

Contact:
Robin Conerly; 323-650-8771; robin@whchc.org
 whchc.org

Organization Information:
City: West Hollywood
Congressional District: CA-28
Use of Funds: New construction, rental assistance
Federal Programs: HOME: $3 million PBV: $164,448/year LIHTC: $7.09 million
Total Federal Dollars:
Development: $10.90 million
Rental Assistance/ Services: $164,448/year
Other Financing: $3.79 million
Total Project Cost: $18.77 million
Affordable homes created or preserved: 42


Success stories from the A Place to Call Home report are available at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/A-Place-To-Call-Home_Profiles.pdf