Category: housing

Progressive Voice: Innovation Needed to Solve Affordable Housing Crisis

Progressive Voice | December 2, 2019 at 2:45pm | Source

As a 20+ year resident of Arlington and an affordable housing developer, I am often asked by neighbors, “What does affordable housing mean?” often followed by, “How can we help?”

In stark terms, here’s an example of the “affordable”* housing situation. The average apartment rent in Arlington in 2018 was $1,918 per month.* Yet a minimum-wage working family would need to work 154 hours a week to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Arlington.

Many people in the private and public sectors are putting in the hard work to combat this situation. Unfortunately, we are falling short on own stated community goals of seeing 17% of our housing stock be affordable* by 2040. As of Fiscal Year 2018, we were closer to only 8.8% (or 10,200 units) of our 115,400 housing units being affordable.

So, to the question: how can “we” help? Arlington has the benefit of excellent planning, transportation, a supportive community, and economic prosperity that comes with being one of the nation’s top technology economies. If we harness innovation and hold ourselves accountable, we can pull the pieces together to make it happen.
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Mario Morino’s new book released today…High rates of students in remedial community college courses…Talking with new DHCD head [News, 5.19.11]

COMMUNITY | Today Venture Philanthropy Partners, in collaboration with McKinsey & Company, are launching their latest publication, Leap of Reason: Managing Outcomes in an Era of Scarcity, by Mario Morino. The book calls on funders to empower their grantees to focus on impact and outcomes, rather than onerous reporting requirements, particularly during the current economic downturn when maximizing nonprofits’ impact is especially important.

BUDGETS | Yesterday advocates demonstrated to protest the cuts to services for the homeless in the District’s FY2012 budget. They seem to have gotten their message across: Council Chairman Kwame Brown told the crowd that he would “do everything I can to restore all of the homeless services” in the budget, though he said he wouldn’t be doing it by raising the income tax. (WAMU, 5/19)

EDUCATION
– A new report shows that significant segments of students at the region’s community colleges have to enroll in remedial English, math, and English as a second language courses. (Examiner, 5/19)

– Jay Matthews takes a look at the controversy around an extremely rigorous new DC charter school, which opponents think won’t adequately meet the needs of special education students and students learning English as a second language. (WaPo, 5/12)

Closing more bad charters sooner (WaPo, 5/15)

– D.C. schools investigate security breaches in 2011 tests. (Examiner, 5/19)

HOUSING | John Hall, the new director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, talks about his plans and priorities for his new position, particularly with regard to ensuring a supply of affordable housing. (City Paper, 5/17)

ENVIRONMENT | New technology being acquired by DC’s Wastewater Treatment Plant will be the “largest source of clean renewable energy in Washington, D.C.,” according to George Hawkins, the head of DC’s Water and Sewer Authority. (WAMU, 5/17)

AWARDS
– The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region is inviting nominations of exceptional youth and young adult leaders for its 2011 Linowes Leadership Award. The foundation awards four people annually, with one award specifically recognizing a young person, age 18 or younger. Nominations must be in by May 25. More information is available here.

– Greater DC Cares’ 2011 Impact Summit, where regional business, nonprofit, and volunteer leaders who have made an impact in philanthropy, volunteerism, and service will be recognized, is coming up on June 15. The is an open call for nominations in each category. Nominations are due by May 27. Forms and more information can be found here.

GIVING | Today is the Dulles Greenway’s annual “Drive for Charity” day. 100% of the tolls collected today will be donated to five Loudoun County nonprofits. If you’re wondering how much one day of tolls amounts to, last year’s Drive for Charity day raised $226,427.


Today’s news round-up by Rebekah.

Housing Counselors Help Homeowners Avoid Foreclosure

By Peggy Sand, Director, Capital Area Foreclosure Network

As we struggle through this recession, it is easy enough to think of a foreclosure as a confined relationship between a bank and a homeowner. In fact, foreclosures deeply and seriously affect our entire region – they destabilize families, disrupt neighborhoods, and erode local property tax bases. In December 2009, more than 148,000 mortgages (12 percent of all loans) in the Washington metropolitan region were in foreclosure or delinquent. In Prince George’s County, 25 percent of mortgages were past due or facing a foreclosure sale.

At a recent briefing sponsored by Washington Grantmakers, the Nonprofit Roundtable, the Council of Governments, and the Capital Area Foreclosure Network (CAFN), funders gathered to learn about the results of an Urban Institute survey – commissioned by CAFN – which shows that housing counseling can help troubled homeowners avoid foreclosure.

The Urban Institute’s analysis of the first year of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program indicated that homeowners working with a counselor were 60 percent more likely to cure an existing foreclosure than those who navigated the system alone. For homeowners who obtained loan modifications, counselors helped reduce monthly payments by an additional $454, on average.

Unfortunately, in our region the number of housing counselors is dwarfed by the number of homeowners needing assistance – and housing counselors are already overloaded. Urban’s survey found that the average foreclosure prevention counseling caseload per organization increased from 287 to 423 clients between 2007 and 2009. The lack of counselors is particularly severe in Northern Virginia and Prince George’s County.

Currently, the government serves as the major funder of foreclosure prevention counseling. New federal programs to prevent foreclosures include the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives Program, which helps homeowners complete a short sale or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure, and the Unemployment Program, a forbearance program for unemployed homeowners.

The Capital Area Foreclosure Network has established a regional pool of local funding to support existing foreclosure prevention counseling and, if possible, expand counseling capacity. To learn more contact, CAFN Director Peggy Sand at psand@erols.com.

Links:
Summary of the Urban Institute’s survey data for the Greater Washington region
Chief Homeownership Preservation Officer Phyllis Caldwell’s remarks to funders about the Making Home Affordable program

CDSC “Know Your Neighborhoods” Tour: Affordable housing co-ops in DC

By Callahan Seltzer, CDSC

P1010858
Maurice Mason, director of the
N.E. 2nd Street Cooperative

On September 17, Washington Grantmakers’ Community Development Support Collaborative (CDSC) joined current funders, members of  Washington Grantmakers, and neighborhood partners to learn about the challenges and opportunities facing resident-owned affordable housing cooperatives in the District. Our host for this edition of the CDSC Know Your Neighborhoods Tour was one of our newest neighborhood partners, University Legal Services (ULS).

We met with Cooperative residents, leadership, and service providers who are helping the tenants manage their multifamily properties. At the N.E. 2nd Street Cooperative, Inc., ULS is helping Cooperative leaders with asset management services including governance training, monthly management reviews, and tax relief assistance.  At the 1820 California Street Cooperative, resident leadership told us that without guidance and support from ULS, they would have been duped into selling their homes and displaced from their neighborhood by a former property manager. Instead, these 17 households are now some of the most affordable housing units available in their Adams Morgan neighborhood.

P1010864
Mike Dinkin, program manager with University
Legal Services, speaks with funders.

Over the past 25 years, with assistance from nonprofit housing organizations, approximately 100 resident-led cooperatives have been established, providing housing to over 4000 families in wards throughout the City. During this time, ULS has acted as the prime contractor for DHCD’s Tenant Purchase Technical Assistance Program. Since the inception of the Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act (TOPA) in the early 1980s, ULS has been a key player in helping City residents in multifamily buildings stabilize their living situations–either through the purchase of their buildings or through negotiating and enforcing improved living conditions. With ongoing support, training, and access to professional services, ULS is helping these resident-led cooperatives improve and capitalize on their physical, financial, and human assets.

“A commitment to significant city-wide multifamily ownership requires resources and ongoing support beyond the financing and purchase of the building,” said Martin Mellett, director of the CDSC. “The training of the leadership of resident-led cooperatives is preserving affordable housing in the District and enhancing the quality of life in their neighborhoods.”

Major victory for affordable housing in DC

By Martin Mellett, Director, Community Development Support Collaborative

On Tuesday evening the DC City Council approved in a unanimous vote a first reading of a bill that would create a permanent floor for the Housing Production Trust Fund–$70 million for next year and $100 million for future years. This is a major victory for affordable housing. In the wake of a number of affordable housing cuts last week, we thought this was not going to move forward. But advocates packed the city council yesterday morning, made a bunch of calls, and visited council members. It paid off.

From the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED):

“Yesterday, November 18, 2008 the Council voted unanimously (all 13 members) to approve Bill 17-0943 the “Housing Production Trust Fund Stabilization Amendment Act of 2008”… The passage of this bill and follow through by the Mayor and Council to fund it would assure that the Trust Fund will have stable funding for years to come, and a unanimous vote by the Council speaks volumes about their support of affordable housing. A final vote on the bill will take place in December.”

For background, read about Washington Grantmakers’ testimony at the Oct. 20 Council hearing on this subject.

Stabilizing D.C.’s Housing Production Trust Fund


(l to r) Martin Mellet, director, CDSC; David Bowers, co-chair, CDSC (Enterprise Community Partners); Oramenta Newsome, director, DC LISC

At a D.C. City Council hearing on Oct. 20, Washington Grantmakers (WG) testified in support of stabilizing funds for the production and preservation of affordable housing in the District. Martin Mellett, director of the Community Development Support Collaborative – a project of WG – testified from the perspective of philanthropy:

“If the Trust Fund is not increased and stabilized, nonprofit housing developers will not be able to secure adequate financing to complete projects in their current pipelines. Not only would affordable housing production and preservation decrease, the District of Columbia would lose the leverage of philanthropic dollars to nonprofit organizations.”  [Click for full testimony]

The Housing Production Stabilization Amendment Act of 2008, authored by Councilmember Barry and co-sponsored by Councilmembers Graham, Brown, Cheh, Bowser, Alexander, and Thomas, will require the city to strengthen the Housing Production Trust Fund by establishing a base contribution of $100 million annually to be drawn from deed and recordation taxes. A number of nonprofit housing developers, including SOME and Mi Casa, testified to the critical role that the Trust Fund has played in recent years to support the development and preservation of affordable housing – especially in gentrifying neighborhoods.

Over 200 residents, nonprofit organizations, and other interested stakeholders attended the nine hour hearing.

For analysis released by the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development and the DC Fiscal Policy Institute, please click here.

Nonprofits working to address the foreclosure crisis in Greater Washington [News, 6/19]


FORECLOSURE CRISIS
D.C. Region’s Foreclosure Rate Soars (WaPo, 6/19) – “Sixfold Increase Surpasses Most Hot Spots in Country”

* From the Nonprofit Roundtable: You Have 10 Days to Move Out — A scan of nonprofits working on the front lines of the foreclosure crisis in Greater Washington–supported by WG member Fannie Mae and released at today’s ‘Regional Housing Foreclosure Summit’, convened by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and sponsored by Freddie Mac (both WG members). The report finds:

Two key areas of need: 1) Nonprofits that provide emergency assistance and 2) Nonprofit homebuyer counseling programs

PEOPLE
Fannie Mae’s Stacey Stewart gives back to the community (WBJ, 6/9) – We missed this one when it first came out. Stewart is a member of Washington Grantmakers’ Board.

Grantmakers advocate for affordable housing

With DC’s FY 2009 budget season in full swing, Washington Grantmakers and the Community Development Support Collaborative (CDSC) sent letters to City Council members in support of the Mayor’s proposed budget for affordable housing. Following are the recommendations and eventual outcome: Continue reading “Grantmakers advocate for affordable housing”

Funders responding to the foreclosure crisis


Tamara Lucas Copeland, President, Washington Grantmakers 

Home foreclosures set a record in the first quarter of 2008 and are still rising. Two million children in the U.S. live in families that will lose their homes over the next two years to foreclosure–and that’s just one aspect of this crisis.

On June 19, WG member Freddie Mac is sponsoring The Foreclosure Crisis: A Regional Perspective, put on by another WG member, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. This event will give regional leaders the chance to suggest coordinated responses to one of the most important issues facing this region.

Ralph Boyd of Freddie Mac will moderate the “Local and National Funders Respond” session, which will feature funders sharing the development of their strategies and responses. I encourage any grantmaker working on this issue to attend.

In Detroit, five foundations have collaborated to fund the creation of an Office of Foreclosure Intervention & Response. What innovative approaches might our community come up with?

– Tamara