Member Spotlight: Everett Housing Authority
Everett Housing Authority Purchases Huntington Park, Furthering Community-Focused Strategic Plan
Huntington Park Apartments is under new ownership through Everett Housing Authority (EHA) as of March 11, 2022. The purchase of this 381-unit multi-family complex marks another step for EHA in alignment with their strategic goal of providing affordable housing to the Everett community.
Current residents of the complex will not be affected by this transition of ownership and EHA’s hope is that they will benefit from the transaction, as the acquisition is part of a large-scale affordable housing preservation action. The property primarily services Everett’s workforce and residents will benefit from the location of this property with walkable public transportation, grocery stores, restaurants, entertainment, and schools all within a one-mile radius. This will provide multiple job opportunities and transit options for working families.
“We are excited about this and to be able to provide to those that need affordable housing in our community,” said EHA Executive Director Ashley Lommers-Johnson. “This is, by far, the largest acquisition we’ve ever made, and it has increased our housing portfolio by 25 percent. We wanted to make sure this housing is preserved for those in our community that need it.”
EHA worked with the KeyBanc Capital Markets’ public sector team to quickly finance the acquisition with a $118 million 100 percent loan-to-cost short-term debt. Simultaneously, EHA began the planning process of securing a credit rating and issuing tax-exempt bonds to secure permanent financing.
“We are proud to work with EHA to provide affordable housing for the Everett community. KeyBank has a long history of helping the clients and communities we serve to thrive.” said Tony Pass, senior vice president, KeyBanc Capital Markets. “EHA is another forward-thinking Public Housing Authority demonstrating their ability to enhance service to its residents without the need for subsidy” added Sam Adams, managing director, KeyBanc Capital Markets.
Huntington Park was built in 1991 and offers a range of amenities that include a fitness center, pool, dog park, and clubhouse across almost 14 acres. Future renovations over the next several years will include window replacement, parking lot repair and sealcoat, roof replacements, and unit renovations as units turn over.
Incorporated in 1942, EHA was created to address “a shortage of safe and sanitary dwelling accommodations in said City of Everett available to persons of low income at rentals they can afford.” EHA, recently admitted to HUD’s innovative Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration program, has remained intently focused on expanding the supply of affordable housing for low-income individuals and families residing within the city of Everett. EHA’s mission is to create affordable housing, foster healthy communities where households thrive, and replace systemic racism with equity for all.
Member Spotlight: HQM Properties, Inc.
HQM Properties and L&T Purchase and Develop Affordable Housing
HQM Properties, Inc., and L&T Affordable Housing Urban Renewal Corporation purchased 24 affordable housing apartments, known as the Farm at Harding, from the Township of Harding, NJ. This was done through a partnership with Lakeland Bank. Once the purchase was completed, L&T began plans for four new apartments on the site. The new apartments were designed by William Charleroy, AIA from Pennington, NJ. He designed the new units to resemble the existing apartments.
In June 2020 L&T submitted plans to the Harding Township Planning Board and received approval to develop the new units and a new office and began development of the final plans and specifications for bidding. The Corporation solicited public bids to construct the new units and of the four bidders the lowest most qualified bid was awarded to Straightedge Construction from Manasquan, NJ, at a cost of $1,260,000. The new building will have four units. There will be three 2-bedroom and one 3-bedroom apartments. All four of the apartments will be rented to homeless families through a partnership with Morris County’s Homeless Solutions. Each of the apartments will be Energy Star certified.
The Corporation received a $700,000 grant from the Department of Community Affairs Housing Trust Fund and a donation of $325,000 from the Township’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund for the new apartments. They are also working with Lakeland Bank on a $300,000 mortgage for the development.
Louis A. Riccio, CEO of HQM Properties, Inc., and former PHADA Trustee, said, “We are very grateful to the State’s Housing Trust Fund and especially James Lordi from NJDCA for his cooperation and assistance, and to the Township of Harding for their donation. Without these funds we could not have developed these much-needed units. In addition, Lakeland Bank’s dedication to affordable housing should be commended. Once again the Lakeland Bank has shown a true commitment to assisting with the development of affordable housing.”
Other New Affordable Housing Developed by HQM Properties
Riccio announced occupancy for its latest project, 7 Elm Street, on September 1, 2021. This development was also designed by William Charleroy, AIA, and is being constructed by Straightedge Construction.
The building will have two 2-bedroom apartments. One will be rented to a very low-income family, and one will be rented to a moderate-income family. These apartments will assist the Borough of Madison meet its Fair Share obligation. Both apartments have a forced hot air heating and air conditioning system with hook-ups for washers and dryers. The apartments meet the State’s Energy Star requirements.
Sarah Craig, President of HQM Properties said, “This was a very difficult development because of the triangular shape of the property and its size only being 40´ wide by 98´ deep. The architect and the contractor did a fantastic job fitting this building onto this site. Even the municipal building official commented on the workmanship of the contractor.”
For more information visit www.HQMProp.com
Member Spotlight: Central Texas Housing Consortium
Calhoun Square Apartments
The Central Texas Housing Consortium renovated an historic downtown building into affordable apartments. The former church building (originally constructed in 1952) re-opened December 20, 2020, as Temple’s newest downtown apartment building. A major goal of the development was to create housing so residents could live near where they work and in walking distance of downtown local businesses and restaurants.
(L–R): 1952 Education Building Attached to Church; 2020 After Renovation.
The apartments are the result of a $2.7 million renovation project of the former education building of Temple’s First Baptist Church which had been vacant since a 2010 fire. The costs of the renovation were funded by seven donors, an in-house $1.0 million loan and CTHC reserves. The project included a total interior rehabilitation plus landscaping, outside seating and recreation green space and the addition of wrought iron fencing around the property. Renovation included high efficiency heating/cooling systems, appliances and water heaters, low-E rated windows, and low-flow faucets/shower heads.
The apartments consist of 18 units – six with one-bedrooms and 12 with two-bedrooms – spread over three floors. Many areas needed special attention to enable installation of equipment, electrical and other systems. As a result, some units have a mixture of high and low ceilings, different amounts of closet space and efforts were made to retain as much historical character as possible. Most of the second and third floors have the original hardwood flooring and the stonework around the main entrance was retained.
Construction began November 2019 and all renovations were completed December 21, 2020. Rents of between $625 and $725 for 690–984 square foot units keep rates very affordable for our area. The first unit was leased December 22nd and other units were quickly filled as residents began moving to their new homes.
Member Spotlight: Housing Authority of the City of Titusville
Big Doings from Small Communities
The Housing Authority of the City of Titusville (HACTV) built Titusville Towers in 1972 as a “seniors only” apartment complex. The Commissioners decided the Authority needed to do more to serve our senior citizens and worked toward instituting an Assisted Living Program (ALF) for low and moderate income senior citizens. In 2004 Titusville Towers qualified for an Assisted Living license through the Department of Elder Affairs.
We have been fortunate in keeping our Titusville Towers Assisted Living Facility (TT ALF) healthy and happy during the trying times of COVID-19. Being a facility that houses a Senior Community that are among the most vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 it is imperative that we keep them safe. Over the past year, we have adjusted to the multitude of challenges presented by the Coronavirus Pandemic as we continue to maintain services for over 120 residents. At the same time taking measures to prevent and plan for potential infections. Our main focus is to provide the best care possible in ensuring our residents and staff are in a safe and healthy environment and that the risk of COVID-19 transmission is minimized.
We have kept the spirits of our facility up as we fight this COVID-19 dragon that has been spit-firing adversity at every level. We have maintained control over exposure at the TT ALF, with no major break out of the corona virus and very few positive cases reported. Our efforts have definitely been exceptional in response to the circumstances. We installed ultra-violet lighting in all common area air conditioning ducts, as mandates were issued we closed the building to visitors. We initiated staff and visitor temperature reading as well as a Covid-related questionnaire for residents and staff members.
Monthly letters are distributed to our residents, communicating our management activities, areas of available assistance and procedures taken to alleviate the spread of the COVID-19 virus. This valuable information is helping our residents to maneuver through the daily impact of COVID-19. As state mandates were issued to close access to our facility we quickly complied. These restrictions help to control the viral spread but impose additional challenges in providing essential daily requirements to our housing resident. During the ever-changing circumstances we continue to create strategies to secure a healthy home environment for our residents.
Since March of last year, we have been serving three meals (prepared in our kitchen) daily to 120 residents in their individual apartments. From the initiation of this large endeavor our ALF Staff has worked tirelessly, with the assistance of our Public Housing staff, Maintenance staff and Section 8 staff to keep our residents safe, Covid-free, and well-fed. That is well over 120,000 meals delivered over the past 11-months which has been a daunting feat for our Assisted Living Facility staff to undertake. In our efforts to shield the facility we consistently evaluate the situation and adjust accordingly to ensure the care of our residents. We are so thankful for our dedicated staff as they have gone above and beyond, in caring for our residents, while facing additional demands and responsibilities during this pandemic.
Our Titusville Towers ALF has been approved for the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Waiver (CLIA). With this waiver we are able to test for the Covid-19 and get results for our residents and staff on-site, usually within 15 minutes! This is a major accomplishment in our fight to reduce risk and spread within our facility.
In partnership with CVS Pharmacy we offered the COVID vaccine on January 17th, to our ALF residents and staff. The organized event was well received and went smoothly with no adverse reactions to the vaccine recorded. This is a huge step in moving forward as we seek a path through this pandemic to save lives and expedite the reopening of our facility.
With our Senior population feeling the effects of isolation we reached out to our local community to join with us in making the holidays brighter for them. With an outpouring of love and donations we were able to provide a drive by parade engaging our residents in a socially responsible event to bring forth Holiday Cheer. News outlets reported on this event, residents made signs of cheer and good tidings and were able to feel some joyous Holiday Magic. Through the generous donations of our community we were able to provide, to each and every resident of our Titusville Towers family, special gifts which made them feel the true spirit of the Holiday Season. Our community made them feel loved and not forgotten.
During the past year our staff has been very creative in designing programs that fulfil our residents needs in a time that they were forced into a situation of isolation from their family, friends and loved ones. A calendar is distributed with internal activities that can be completed in their rooms, keeping them socially distanced but engaged in keeping them active. They are eager to get involved as they are entered into a daily basket raffle if they participate. This encourages them to think and engage their minds which helps with their mental state.
Through the Housing Authority’s Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) grant we were able to set up a new computer lab area at Titusville Towers. Two new computers, a printer and new desks were purchased for the benefit of our ALF residents. We are providing computer training sessions to assist our residents in using the computers and software. Access to these computers provide our residents another avenue to stay connected.
We have received funds through the CARES Act – Provider Relief Fund to assist us in preparing, planning and responding to the effects and impact of COVID-19. The funds are providing us with a much needed resource as we navigate through this unprecedented time and are forced to absorb additional costs.
Due to the coronavirus we were forced to put our ground floor expansion of Titusville Towers ALF on hold. We are eager to move forward and are hoping that in the very near future we will be able to start ground-breaking on this project. The new ground floor layout will increase square footage, providing a larger library, recreational and up-scale dining areas for residents to enjoy. New office space will accommodate staff in their ability to provide services to our residents. HACTV has received a Capital Fund Emergency Safety and Security Grant to install Carbon Monoxide detectors in each unit of our TT ALF. This is another step in keeping our residents safe and secure.
At our Titusville Towers Assisted Living Facility we continue to be cognizant of our elderly population needs as we take necessary precautions to limit their vulnerability to the viral spread. We understand the emotional impact COVID-19 is presenting and strive to keep a healthy home environment for our elderly residents that call Titusville Towers home.
Titusville Towers ALF Team truly exemplify the title of “Hero” for the lives of those they touch daily. They have proven to be an exceptional team as they guide through this pandemic with tireless effort, dedication and commitment in caring for their residents who rely on them each and every day. We appreciate all they do as they go above and beyond in making a difference for our Titusville Towers family.
Member Spotlight: Housing Authority of Salt Lake City
Pamela’s Place Apartments, Salt Lake City, UT
Supportive Housing with Medical Center Opens for Homeless Adults
PHADA Trustee Dan Nackerman, Executive Director, Salt Lake City Housing Authority.
In September 2020, The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (HASLC) with Governor Gary R. Herbert, Pamela Atkinson, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson presented a ceremonial virtual ribbon cutting for Pamela’s Place Apartments, an affordable housing development for low-income adults experiencing homelessness. Immediately prior the officials held press conference that focused on importance of permanent supportive housing with service provides throughout the state.
Pamela’s Place Apartments, named after Pamela Atkinson, a Utah-based humanitarian and advocate for people experiencing homelessness, will serve as a 100-unit permanent supportive housing complex, by combining affordable housing assistance with voluntary support services to address the needs of chronically homeless people.
Watch a promotional video featuring Pamela’s Place Apartments.
Pamela’s Place includes:
- A 5,000 sq. ft. complete health clinic available for residents and the public;
- Dedicated housing case managers and clinical staff;
- Nurses station;
- American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant garden boxes;
- Community space, kitchen, and media room;
- Gazebo, memory garden and a service animal area with a watering station; and
- 24-hour onsite property staff.
The Housing Authority of Salt Lake City is an independent agency that provides affordable housing for more than 10,000 individuals in the Salt Lake Valley. We own 32 properties and 1,711 units in Salt Lake City, as well as, control nearly 3,000 Section 8 Vouchers (also known as Housing Choice Vouchers). Our mission is to promote and provide affordable housing opportunities for our community.
Member Spotlight: Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, Rhonda Snyder
CVS Health Invests $13.7 Million to Renovate Low-Income Housing, Fund Community Programs in Columbus
Investment in South Linden’s Rosewind Community Kicks-Off The Company’s Nearly $600 Million Commitment To Address Racial Inequality
Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority’s (CMHA) largest community, Rosewind, is going through a major renovation through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and the units are converting to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. This is part of CMHA’s strategy to convert all of our public housing units through RAD. CMHA will be working with CVS Health and other service providers to offer health services and job training to the Rosewind community.
CVS Health will invest $13.7 million to help renovate 230 low-income housing units at the Rosewind apartments in Columbus, Ohio. These funds will also be used to make significant improvements to the local community center and support new community programs in the area.
The investment kicks-off the company’s commitment of nearly $600 million over five years to address racial inequality and social determinants of health in Black communities. This commitment includes an emphasis on increasing access to affordable housing, which is inextricably linked to health.
“When people have access to high-quality, affordable housing, it puts them in a better position to improve their overall wellbeing, including taking care of their health or managing a chronic disease,” said David Casey, Chief Diversity Officer, CVS Health. “One aspect of our commitment to address racial inequality is addressing social determinants of health – like housing – at the community level, which is where we can make a meaningful impact.”
CVS Health will work with CMHA and the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing on the project. Through CVS Health’s investment, CMHA will spend $50,000 per unit in much-needed rehab and repairs.
“The redevelopment of Rosewind is part of CMHA’s $250 million investment in affordable housing in 2020,” said CMHA President and CEO Charles Hillman. “Stable housing provides a solid foundation, but people also need access to health care, employment, training and other services to reach their fullest potential. We’re excited to collaborate with CVS Health to provide new opportunities for our residents and revitalize the Linden community.”
Within the Rosewind complex in the South Linden neighborhood of Columbus, 95% of residents are Black and have an average annual household income of less than $17,000. Average life expectancy in South Linden is just under 70 years – more than seven years shorter than the average in all of Franklin County, which includes Columbus and certain neighboring communities.
“Housing and health care go hand-in-hand, and health outcomes are impacted by housing affordability and stability,” said Peg Moertl, President and CEO, Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. “We are pleased to be working with CVS Health and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to provide quality housing, economic support, and educational training opportunities to those families and individuals facing challenges in the Linden community.”
The renovations, as well as new community programming funded by CVS Health, will provide comprehensive local support to residents, including the following new on-site programs:
Health and wellness programming through CMHA and the Healthcare Collaborative of Greater Columbus to provide individuals with the best health care experience possible on-site;
On-site health screenings and COVID-19 testing to bring preventative health care services directly to the community, especially as the pandemic continues to expose health disparities among the Black population;
An educational cooking series with the nonprofit organization Local Matters, to increase access to fresh, nutritious foods and teach residents how to make healthy and tasty meals, which will improve their overall health outcomes;
Maternal programs – with 8.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in Franklin County and 25.7 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in South Linden, there will be a new program to support maternal health at Rosewind that will equip new and pregnant mothers with parenting resources;
Community programs where individuals will have the opportunity to have an open dialogue about the root causes of systemic inequalities and barriers.
CVS Health will also establish a new program at Rosewind as part of its ongoing workforce initiatives to provide employment services and training to the Rosewind community, focused on empowerment and building local relationships that will help community members achieve meaningful employment opportunities.
"Finding ways to encourage housing that is affordable to everyone is not just the right thing to do," said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. "It helps the region remain competitive in attracting and retaining businesses."
Since 1997, CVS Health and Aetna, a CVS Health company, have invested more than $1 billion in affordable housing and community initiatives. In 2019, the company invested $67 million in affordable housing across the country, and the company plans to exceed that amount over each of the next five years to help address housing insecurities and promote community health improvement in Black communities.
Member Spotlight: Reno Housing Authority
A new affordable housing complex for seniors highlights the financial challenges of today’s affordable housing world—and the commitment of a community and its housing agency to overcome them.
Biggest Little Affordable Housing Shortage
Reno, Nevada is known as the “Biggest Little City in the World.” As new jobs in technology and logistics have recently made it bigger, its housing market has become increasingly crowded. Housing prices and rent have gone up so much that two years ago Reno ranked fourth in the nation for increases. That puts increasing pressure on the housing market in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County—and on the Reno Housing Authority (RHA), which serves all three jurisdictions. Now the RHA is taking a big step to ease the shortage of affordable housing, especially for seniors.
In May 2019, the Reno Housing Authority broke ground on the Willie J. Wynn Apartments, 44 units of affordable housing for seniors. Completion is expected in April 2020. The Willie J. Wynn Apartments will include a community room, a covered patio for barbecuing, horseshoe pits, a wellness room, a computer lab, four laundry rooms, fitness centers and a dog park. The property is located just up the street from the Washoe County Senior Center, where seniors can access services and community activities.
Neighbors are watching the building take shape over a period of months, but construction required decades of planning, lots of legwork—and a good Samaritan. “It’s a lot harder than people think,” says RHA Executive Director Amy Jones, a PHADA Trustee member, of the financing process. “We support others in our community who build affordable housing. But few actually get a project to pencil out. It takes creative financing to make it happen.”
Like much of the West Coast, Reno experienced a post-war building boom. In the 1950s, blocks of moderate middle-class houses sprang up east of the Reno Livestock Events Center, home of the “Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West.” Subsequent decades, however, brought cheaply built duplexes and small apartment buildings, increasingly controlled by absent owners. Even the farmhouse that had been the cornerstone of the neighborhood fell into disrepair. By the 1990s, the street named Friendship Lane was known, not for friendship, but for drugs and gangs.
Fed up with crime and blight as the year 2000 neared, the Reno City Council took drastic action, condemning and buying properties along Friendship Lane. The City looked to the RHA as its community partner to clean up and improve the neighborhood. With Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, the RHA built nine two-story houses to replace run-down duplexes. In the early 2000s, the RHA sold the new homes to first-time home buyers.
The neighborhood got an instant facelift—and even a new street name. Hillboro Lane replaced the ill-reputed Friendship Lane. Several parcels of land, however, remained vacant. For many years the RHA youth programs used these lots to raise money for their programs by allowing cars to park during the Reno Rodeo. Public Housing residents volunteered for the parking project and raised money for their resident council events.
In 2017, the RHA was approached by a longtime neighbor, the Greater Harvest Church, offering to sell its building and land. The church owned the two parcels adjacent to the RHA’s vacant lots. An agreement was reached and the RHA had secured enough land to move forward the agency’s vison of developing affordable housing. The timing was perfect. But key funding was still missing.
Then the RHA received a generous donation from developer Jeff Jacobs, known for gaming and resort projects across the country. Jacobs owned an established casino in Reno’s downtown area. In 2017 he bought an even larger casino several blocks away, announcing an ambitious plan: He would buy up the land between the properties, creating a new mixed-use downtown corridor. To support the local community and help fill the need for affordable housing, Jacobs donated three townhomes and $1 million to the RHA.
His million-dollar donation became the cornerstone of financing for the Willie J. Wynn Apartments.
Financial Fine Print
The RHA retained Praxis Consulting Group, a Reno-based company that helps non-profit, for profit and governmental agencies across the country develop and finance affordable housing. Northern Nevada is only awarded enough Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) to complete one project of approximately 45 units per year. The RHA was awarded $9.8 million in LIHTC, $1 million in HOME funds, $400,000 in Housing Trust Funds (through the State of Nevada), $440,000 of Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds through the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco, and Jacobs’ private donation. As a final piece to the financial puzzle, the RHA will carry a small amount of permanent debt on the property. “Reno is growing faster than we can keep up, and competition for this limited funding has become increasingly competitive,” says Jones.
It had been more than 20 years since the RHA had created new housing. Reno’s affordable housing shortage created an imposing emotional backdrop as more than a hundred community members gathered for the ground-breaking ceremony. Politicians and community leaders praised the project.
Many attendees were former members of the church that would fall to make a place for affordable senior apartments. They were reassured by the fact that a preacher’s dream would be realized. Reverend Willie J. Wynn had founded the Greater Harvest Church. He had also served on the RHA’s Board of Commissioners, and he worked tirelessly to create new affordable housing before his untimely death in 1985. The RHA’s Resident Advisory Board and current Board of Commissioners voted to name the new apartments in Wynn’s honor.
Forty-four new apartments won’t begin to provide affordable housing for all of Northern Nevada, but they mark a new start. “We’re glad we can take this important step toward that goal,” Jones said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “We challenge our friends and neighbors to join us in the work that lies ahead. Affordable housing is the work of the entire community, and the Reno Housing Authority is eager to do our part.”
Seniors who qualify according to LIHTC income guidelines will enjoy fully accessible apartments served by an elevator as well as the numerous community amenities. Thanks to the Reno Housing Authority’s multiple community partnerships, residents will also enjoy senior services usually reserved for private retirement communities. The property will be staffed by a manager and a maintenance technician and will share the services of the RHA’s dedicated elderly services administrator.
Of the 44 Willie J. Wynn apartments, 12 will be devoted to seniors who have spent time in the city’s homeless shelter or weekly motels. They’ll be vetted and recommended by case managers of partner non-profit organizations.
The RHA will begin accepting applications late this year and plans to begin the leasing process next spring. The beginning of leasing will mark the end of a very difficult journey.
“It’s a long process,” says RHA Board of Commissioners Chair Dick Scott. “But it’s worth the effort because our community is hurting right now and this is one way we can help.”
Scott and Jones hope this is the beginning of a new chapter—for both the community and the Reno Housing Authority. While the RHA still relies on federal funds, this could be the first of a new round of community-based projects.
In early 2017, dozens of community groups, led by Charles Schwab Bank, agreed to hire Enterprise Community Partners, a nationwide non-profit community consulting group, to draw up a long-range, strategic plan to create and maintain a stable inventory of affordable housing in northern Nevada. Since then, Enterprise has researched the area’s challenges and assembled a set of recommendations. It’s now up to the three local government entities—Reno, Sparks and Washoe County—to approve action. Once they’ve committed, the RHA has been identified as the lead agency to push the plans forward. Powerful new partnerships, new funding sources and a new community focus could lead to a new round of affordable housing development for the Reno area.
“Our community is changing,” says Jones. “It’s our responsibility to change with it, to provide affordable housing well into our future. We’re excited to assume that responsibility and lead in new directions.”
RHA Executive Director Amy Jones serves on the PHADA Board of Trustees.
Member Spotlight: Housing Authority of Phenix City
Housing Authority Awarded $1.2 Million in Tax Credits to Redevelop Affordable Housing in City Center
Third times a charm! The Alabama Housing Finance Authority awarded $1.2 million in low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) to Liberty Hill at Homage Park, the first phase in the redevelopment of Frederick Douglass Homes, the second milestone in the revitalization of the surrounding Five Points neighborhood and the third tax credit award for the Housing Authority of Phenix City (PCHA). No matter how you look it, PCHA is quickly and confidently seeing its dreams become reality.
“We are in shock,” said Mary E. Mayrose, Executive Director of the PCHA. “Every time we submit an application, we’re holding our breath and crossing our fingers – just hoping for good news. So yes, we are floored to have done it again. This award is a testament to the commitment and hard work of this team, who’s gone above and beyond to make quality, affordable housing in Phenix City something real and something to be desired.”
Since rolling out its Master Plan in 2015, PCHA has not only seen the start of two tax credit projects – Hidden Hills Trace and Whitewater Village – in the Riverview Courts community, but it has also secured a 2018 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Liberty Hill at Homage Park will be PCHA’s third affordable housing site to be developed using highly competitive, 9% tax credits, adding another 72 newly constructed units to its housing portfolio. Consisting of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom apartments, this first phase will be constructed off-site and located in the 1700 block of 20th Avenue.
“To date, we’ve constructed 166 new homes for the residents of Phenix City and Liberty Hill will allow us to provide so much more. Our successful partnership with Hollyhand Development and the City of Phenix City, is changing the face of affordable housing in this community and the positive effects are not just being felt by the residents, who directly benefit from the housing, but by the City as a whole. This award brings a new total of $37M dollars to this community. Nearly everyone is coming on board to make these developments happen and PCHA is truly grateful.”
In October 2018, PCHA received a $250,000 CNI grant. Emphasizing housing, people and neighborhoods, the grant is currently being used to create a Transformation Plan for the entire Five Points Neighborhood, which includes Frederick Douglass Homes. Liberty Hill at Homage Park is a product of the grant’s collaborative planning process, where residents, business owners and other civic and community stakeholders have joined together to plan for targeted neighborhood improvements.
Founded in 1938, the mission of the Phenix City Housing Authority is to provide safe, affordable, quality housing free from discrimination, and centered on customer service, while providing opportunities for economic independence. Hollyhand Development, LLC specializes in all facets of affordable housing finance, development, construction and management using the low-income housing tax credit program. Formed in 2003, it is the development affiliate of Doug Hollyhand Realty, Inc.
Member Spotlight: Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority
Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority is Closing the Digital Divide
Over 100 AMHA Residents Attend Device Distribution Day
On Wednesday, July 17, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) and PCs for People welcomed over 100 residents to a special device distribution event at the AMHA central office in downtown Akron. Of those attending, over 60 low-income individuals received desktop computers, laptop computers, and wireless internet hotspots. The event is the most recent effort through AMHA’s ConnectHome Akron initiative, which has been working to connect residents with life-changing access to digital technology.
Through AMHA’s ConnectHome Akron initiative and Building for Tomorrow – AMHA’s nonprofit subsidiary – a partnership with PCs for People was born. PCs for People is a national nonprofit dedicated to provide access to computers and mobile internet through electronic reuse and refurbishing. These services have been essential to AMHA residents’ ability to purchase highly subsidized technology
“We know that digital access is absolutely essential in today’s society especially for things like education, healthcare, and employment opportunities – all of which are already challenges for residents in our housing. This event was huge for our residents,” says Brian Gage, AMHA Executive Director.
During the distribution event, 22 desktop computers were distributed, 37 laptops were distributed, and 9 wireless hotspots were distributed. Each desktop system includes a computer, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. Each computer comes loaded with a new copy of Windows 10 Professional, Open Office, anti-virus software, and anti-spyware software, and every computer is covered by a one-year warranty.
“We are excited to join forces with AMHA in the battle to close the digital divide. Thank you to our corporate donors that provide us with their unused technology, giving us the opportunity to refurbish and redistribute affordable technology back into our community,” says Bryan Mauk, Executive Director, PCs for People Ohio.
AMHA and PCs for People will be holding other distribution days in the coming months.
“For some of our residents, this is the first device they’ve ever owned – it’s a big deal,” says Gage. “We will continue to do this work and grow our ConnectHome Akron projects to serve our residents.”
AMHA provides affordable housing and social services to low income residents throughout Summit County. The agency serves over 40,000 people who qualify for federal housing assistance. AMHA, an Affordable Housing Accredited agency, is a nationally recognized as a high performing agency and for the development of innovative programs for public housing residents.
Member Spotlight: Minneapolis Public Housing Agency
Minnehaha Townhomes Receive Certificate of Occupancy
Ready to House Families Experiencing Homelessness
On June 11, the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) celebrated a grand opening with families and neighbors of the city’s first new public housing since 2010. The Minnehaha Townhomes are home to 16 area families previously experiencing homelessness.
The event included remarks by Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey, City Council Member Andrew Johnson, and Hennepin County Commissioner Angela Conley.
A wide array of partners made the Minnehaha Townhomes possible. At a cost of approximately $5 million, the townhomes represent the financial contributions of MPHA, Minnesota Housing, the City of Minneapolis, Hennepin County, the Met Council, Federal Home Loan Bank, Otto Bremer Bank, and Otto Bremer Trust. The townhomes were designed by Cermak Rhoades Architects and built by Frerichs Construction.
The four buildings revitalize a long-vacant site in the East Nokomis neighborhood, donated by the City of Minneapolis. The townhomes include four two-bedroom and 12 three-bedroom units that are fully occupied by families referred from Hennepin County Coordinated Entry.
The site on Riverview Road in South Minneapolis includes a playground, ample green space, and community patio. The townhomes are located on the Blue Line light rail between two major job centers – Downtown Minneapolis and Bloomington/MOA/MSP. They are walking distance to the VA Medical Center and Minnehaha Regional Park.
Construction Underway for Renovations At 1515 Park
Residents recently had a chance to view and give feedback on renovation work that has just begun at 1515 Park Avenue. The highrise was built in 1967 and like many of MPHA’s buildings from that period, the plumbing is very much in need of replacement. As part of the extensive work in the bathrooms, MPHA is installing new showers and flooring, as well as an overall fresh coat of paint and deep clean to the rest of the apartment. Many residents said they’re looking forward to the updates, which are planned for 165 units through October of this year.
MHRC Area Meetings Celebrate Cultural Heritage
The Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council recently held their annual cultural celebrations at the area meetings. Residents have the opportunity to learn about and from their neighbors through ethnic dance, storytelling, music, poetry, and delicious multi-cultural treats. This year also featured a lively and colorful special performance of Aztec dance by local group Kalpulli KetzalCoatlicue!
Member Spotlight: Ripley Housing Authority
Left to right: Doreen Graves, THDA Community Outreach Liaison; Jennie Tucker, Helen Tucker Board Member; Roger Criner, Helen Tucker Board Chairman; Candice Burkheart, Helen Tucker Executive Director; Maurice Gaines Jr., Mayor of Lauderdale County; George Tyree, Ripley Housing Authority Board Chairman; Jon Pavletic, Mayor of Ripley; and Justin Jones, Ripley Housing Authority Executive Director.
The Ripley Housing Authority will combine a $67,400 TN Housing Trust Fund grant from THDA with matching funds to complete construction on a new home for adults with disabilities. The funding will be used to construct a three-bedroom, community-based group home for intellectually or developmentally disabled adults. This grant was one of six totaling just over $2.1 million that were awarded during the Fall 2019 round of THDA’s competitive grant program.
Member Spotlight: White Plains Housing Authority
ArtsMobile: Bringing the Arts to the White Plains Housing Authority
ArtsWestchester in partnership with White Plains Hospital and Con Edison, will initiate an ArtsMobile in 2019 which will bring the arts to Housing Authority sites in White Plains and Yonkers as well as to Westchester based community sites, parks and events. An ArtsMobile has been on ArtsWestchester’s agenda for some time and extends the reach of our education program that now brings multi-session, participatory, arts-making workshops to schools, after school programs, mental health facilities, day-care and senior centers, and other human service agencies. The ArtsMobile schedule will consist of consecutive weekly visits to sites throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall, starting in April of 2019. Each workshop will be guided by an ArtsWestchester professional teaching artist. ArtsWestchester maintains a Directory of over 80 Teaching Artists (see www.artswestchester.org) in literary, performing, and visual arts who undergo a competitive application process prior to being accepted.
Workshops (weather permitting) will occur outside, in and around the ArtsMobile. Tables, chairs and a canopy will be arranged for participants, as well as all supplies needed for the designated workshop. As originally planned, Housing Authority sites were chosen which allow for parking for the vehicle and close proximity to a community space and bathroom in case of inclement weather. As well, in order to continue to appropriately plan for workshops, ArtsWestchester will meet with White Plains Housing Authority staff and residents to schedule dates, artists and logistics.
Member Spotlight: Cambridge Housing Authority
CHA Recently Completed a $170 Million Renovation to Aging Public Housing using HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program
This past October, Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) gathered with its partners, employees, residents and neighbors to celebrate the completion of the $170 million renovation at five properties as part of its Phase 1 Public Housing Preservation Program. The CHA was able to fund these improvements by converting its public housing to project-based assistance under HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
A celebration of this milestone accomplishment, which funded the most capital improvements underway at one time in CHA’s eighty year history, was held at Manning Apartments, one of one of the five sites where construction was completed. Speakers included State Representatives Majorie Decker and Mike Connelly, Cambridge Mayor Mark McGovern, and City Manager Louis DePasquale, as well as its financial partners from Wells Fargo Community Lending and Investment and MassDevelopment. Residents from the five properties also spoke.
The $170 million of improvements funded significant upgrades to 837 deeply affordable housing units at Washington Elms, Newtowne Court, Manning Apartments, Putnam Gardens, and Woodrow Wilson Court. For most units, work included new kitchens and bathrooms, life safety upgrades, energy efficiency improvements, and site enhancements. The work ensured that CHA current and future residents will have high quality deeply affordable housing for generations to come.
The construction activity at CHA’s developments required 675,000 hours of construction activity, or the equivalent of 108 full time construction jobs for a three-year period. These investments in public housing generated an additional $170 million in economic activity through indirect and induced activities.
CHA’s use of RAD was made possible by the long-term cooperation and support from the City of Cambridge as well as participation in HUD’s Moving to Work (MTW) program. MTW provides on-going operating support and is being used as a vehicle to secure enhanced tenant protections, similar to those currently in place under the public housing program. “This was an extraordinary effort by the CHA, its residents, and its partners to provide a great place for our residents to live for the long-term,” said Michael Johnston, Executive Director of Cambridge Housing Authority. “We are extremely fortunate to have this opportunity to improve CHA’s housing” Johnston added.
“Wells Fargo is proud to join with the Cambridge Housing Authority to celebrate the revitalization of RAD Phase 1,” said Jennifer Crampton, senior vice president, Wells Fargo Bank. “As a financier on this project, Wells Fargo is committed to helping CHA and all the other community partners involved preserve and improve the affordable housing choices for the residents of Cambridge.”
CHA is also extremely proud of the sustainable and energy goals achieved with the RAD Phase 1 modernization, and the $2.6 million in funds provided by Action for Boston Community Development (Boston ABCD) and Eversource. All projects were designed and certified under the Enterprise Green Communities program. The energy efficiency resulting from these construction projects will provide $1 million in annual cost savings to the CHA.
In addition to HUD and the City of Cambridge, CHA joined with a number of financial partners to make this transformation possible: Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, MassDevelopment, Action for Boston Community Development (Boston ABCD), Wells Fargo and Citi Community Capital.
About Cambridge Housing Authority
Cambridge Housing Authority (CHA) is a national leader in the development, management and administration of subsidized affordable housing for low-income elderly, family and disabled households. Established under state law on December 9, 1935, by the City of Cambridge, CHA’s mission is to develop and manage safe, good quality, affordable housing for low-income individuals and families in a manner which promotes citizenship, community and self-reliance.
Member Spotlight: Jamestown Housing Authority
50 Years of Living – Housing Authority Celebrates Golden Anniversary
Bob Counihan, PHADA Trustee and Chairman, Jamestown Housing Authority, along with Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) and Rick Leco of D&V/MainSale Partners, enjoying Jamestown Housing Authority’s golden anniversary celebration.
By Matt Wunsch, The Jamestown Press.
Now celebrating 50 years of fitting low-income residents with a comfortable place to live, the Jamestown Housing Authority celebrated its golden anniversary with a cake and some kind words. The ceremony at Pemberton Apartments coincided with the annual commissioner’s cookout for tenants of the 35-unit complex, which is for senior citizens and people with disabilities.
“It’s a chance to give back to the residents,” said Brian Anthony, operations manager of the housing authority. “This year it was even more special with the 50th anniversary.” The town’s state legislators, Rep. Deb Ruggiero and Sen. Dawn Euer, spoke alongside U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, who lives on Bow Street. He applauded the authority for five decades “of quality, safe, affordable housing opportunities for our citizens.”
Established in 1968, Anthony said the housing authority has a storied history of meeting high standards. Evidenced by the event, tenants enjoy their quality of life at Pemberton, he said.
“Generally speaking, once people get in here, they tend to stay awhile,” Anthony said. “Jamestown is a beautiful island to live on. Our tenants take advantage of activities happening at places nearby like the senior center and Jamestown Arts Center. They enjoy the arts and culture here.”
The waiting time for most affordable housing applicants, Anthony said, is about 18 months. Because the authority doesn’t receive sky-high checks on a monthly basis like most landlords in town, he said maintaining the apartments requires continuous effort. The authority relies on Community Block Development Grants, which is state money applied for through the town. It pays for a bevy of upgrades and repairs, from new fire escapes to extended patios.
Anthony said the organization received close to $30,000 from that grant program in 2018. Like most housing authorities in Rhode Island, Jamestown also receives money annually from the U.S. Housing and Urban Development. For this fiscal year, Anthony said his authority received $48,310 of the $19.9 million allocated to the Ocean State for capital improvements.
These federal grants offer aid to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities across the nation to build, repair, renovate and modernize public housing. Examples include replacing roofs and upgrading old systems to become energy-efficient.
This year, Anthony is asking for money to replace bathrooms and kitchens, and update walls and attics. The housing authority receives input on Pemberton’s specific needs from tenants during the authority’s meetings at 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month.
While Reed, who serves as the ranking member on an appropriations subcommittee for housing and urban development, saluted the Pemberton authority for 50 successful years, he said more needs to be done in the bigger picture.
“It is great to hear about the accomplishments of the dedicated, hardworking staff and residents,” he said. “They have come a long way. As we celebrate this milestone, we must recommit to preserving our public and affordable housing, and ensuring accessibility for our most vulnerable residents, including seniors and those with disabilities. I am a firm believer that a stable home environment is a platform for success and we must continue working together to support investments in housing programs to help Rhode Islanders in need now and in the future.”
Reprinted with permission.
Member Spotlight: Keene Housing
Keene Housing Gets Federal Money for Housing Assistance
By Sierra Hubbard, SentinelSource.com
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Keene Housing $131,803 as part of a nationwide disbursement. The money equates to 19 vouchers through HUD’s Section 811 Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program, which targets people between 18 and 62 years old with physical or developmental disabilities or lifelong mental or emotional impairment. The program is also meant to assist those people who are or are at risk of becoming homeless, as well as those who are transitioning out of or at risk of entering an institutional setting, similar to an assisted living situation for people with disabilities.
Joshua R. Meehan, Keene Housing’s executive director, explained that these are called tenant-based vouchers “in HUD speak,” which means they help recipients obtain market-rate housing at affordable prices.
“They’re going out into the community just like everybody else and looking for rental housing,” Meehan said.
A third of Keene Housing’s clients have disabilities, he explained, and a majority of those on the waitlist for housing are either elderly or disabled.
“So this (funding) allows us to make a dent in the waitlist for those who are disabled,” he said.
Keene Housing already had 50 of the Mainstream Housing Vouchers, Meehan said, but the additional 19 will allow the organization to help more people in the region. The organization applied for the funding earlier this year, and Meehan described the process as highly competitive.
“It’s very rare for Congress to appropriate moneys for new vouchers, so when this opportunity arose, we jumped all over it,” he said.
In total, HUD handed out $98.5 million to 285 housing authorities across the country, according to a news release on its website. Keene Housing was one of four agencies in New Hampshire to receive funding, along with housing authorities in Manchester, Nashua and Bedford.
Meehan explained that Keene Housing has a few community partners in this program that will help find recipients for the vouchers: Monadnock Family Services, Hundred Nights Inc. and Southwestern Community Services, all in Keene.
“Our partners will refer families that they’re working with to us to get them housed, to get them vouchers, and our partners will help the voucher-holders find and maintain housing,” he said.
Melinda L. “Mindy” Cambiar is the executive director of Hundred Nights, which operates a cold-weather homeless shelter on Lamson Street. In a statement, she lauded the Mainstream Housing Voucher program and its potential to help people with disabilities, adding that Hundred Nights is eager “to get, and keep, people in this situation housed.”
Reprinted with permission.
Member Spotlight: Montgomery County Housing Authority
Crest Manor was originally built in 1963, as part of the Montgomery County Housing Authority’s (MCHA’s) effort to construct and maintain over 615 quality, affordable homes for some of Montgomery County’s most economically challenged residents. Today, Crest Manor celebrates the end of a $17.7M redevelopment project that added critical functional and aesthetic improvements to the community, to maintain long term viability. To execute the redevelopment, the MCHA competitively procured Pennrose Properties, LLC to comprehensively redevelop and revitalize Crest Manor.
The redeveloped community now includes 46 affordable homes ranging from one to five bedroom twins and apartments, as well as units designed to meet the needs of individuals and families with physical, visual and auditory disabilities. The work included the gut rehabilitation of 30 twin units, demolition of 10 twin units and reconstruction of 16 units, as well as a new community building and open space.
The redevelopment of Crest Manor had a positive impact on the local economy. More than $100,000 was spent at businesses in the Willow Grove and Abington area and more than $1M was spent at businesses in Montgomery County. Of the total subcontracted work, Minority Business Enterprises received 17.7% of total subcontracted dollars, Women Business Enterprises received 9 percent, and Section 3 subcontractors or suppliers received 12.8 percent. Nearly $200,000 was paid to local Section 3 workers from the community.
The improvements to Crest Manor now serve to positively impact the long term quality of life of current and future Crest Manor residents including: LEED certified green construction and resulting energy savings, central air-conditioning, in-unit washer and dryers, dishwashers, re-designed open and modern floor plans, and a new community building including computers. Additionally, residents are benefiting from a supportive service program designed to support them in attaining their personal economic and self-sufficiency goals.
Facade upgrades, including siding, roofing, windows, porches and landscaping have further integrated Crest Manor into the surrounding Crestmont community, benefiting both residents and neighbors alike.
The MCHA and Pennrose would like to thank the many partners, stakeholders, neighbors and Crest Manor residents for their support and assistance in making today’s grand opening a reality.
Member Spotlight: St. Paul Public Housing Agency
“Rethink Your Drink” Project
The St. Paul Public Housing Agency’s City Wide Resident Council received a mini-grant from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) to focus on community engagement at McDonough Homes. Youth from McDonough Homes were recruited to serve as Youth Champions to educate their peers about the negative health impact of sugary beverages and promote drinking water instead. The youth were trained in “Sugar Shock” and became active in training others. Below are links to the short videos of “Rethink Your Drink” that starred PHA’s McDonough youth. These videos were made possible with the partnership of SHIP, Ramsey County Public Health, PHA, and the City of St. Paul.
Basketball – https://youtu.be/jEZRaRDFYQo
Garden – https://youtu.be/YsW4Pr5pVMM
Home – https://youtu.be/HvpXntd0ip8
Library – https://youtu.be/zSQYawuKH60
Affordable Grocery Delivery Program
The PHA and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation (Wilder) have partnered to provide affordable grocery delivery service to public housing residents through Wilder’s Twin Cities Mobile Market (TCMM) Program. The TCMM is a mobile grocery store on wheels that brings affordable, healthy food to seven PHA locations each week. Residents with limited mobility or transportation options, or who live in neighborhoods with limited food access, can step out their front door and onto the bus to find a variety of quality, low-cost nutritional options.
Walk with a Doc
“Walk with a Doc” is a partnership between PHA and Allina Health United Hospital designed to improve community health and social well-being by inviting residents to come together for monthly group walks. A guest healthcare provider joins each month to chat about a current health topic and walk with the group. These 30 minute walks are for all ages and all abilities. Participants walk and roll through the neighborhood – feet, strollers, canes, wheelchairs, and walker – all are welcome to join and move more! The walking event rotates to a different public housing site each month.
Member Spotlight: Oklahoma City Housing Authority
Pictured from left to right: Samuel Eagleson, Oklahoma City Metro Area Director, Central Employment Opportunities; Frank Miller, Assistant Director of Public Housing/Family, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; Charles Parks, Assistant Director of Leased Housing, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; Matt Mills, Director of Public Housing, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; Margaret diZerega, Project Director, Vera Institute of Justice; Bryon Kline, Senior Program Associate; Michael Figgins, Executive Director, Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc.; Suzanne Williams, Employment, Housing, and Homeless Initiatives, Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Laura Gregory, Resident Services Manager, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; Melanie Buckley, Assistant Executive Director, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; and Richard Marshall, Director of Leased Housing, Oklahoma City Housing Authority
Oklahoma City Housing Authority Joins Vera Institute of Justice in Initiative to Increase Access to Public Housing for Formerly Incarcerated People
Funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the initiative will implement reentry programs and improve admissions policies for people with conviction histories
Access to safe and affordable housing is a right often not afforded to formerly incarcerated people – challenges such as affordability, restrictive housing policies, lack of employment and credit history, and the stigma of having a criminal conviction may hinder one’s chances of securing a place to live. Yet, for more than 600,000 people leaving prison and the nearly 11 million cycling through jails annually, research shows that safe, affordable housing is essential for them to succeed after they are released. At present, admissions criteria across much of the country’s public housing restricts people with conviction histories from either moving back in with their family members or obtaining their own housing on release.
On August 31, Oklahoma City Housing Authority announced a new partnership with the Vera Institute of Justice (Vera), with support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), to join the Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative, a national project that aims to substantially change public housing admissions policies and reduce barriers that prevent people from safely and successfully reentering their communities once released from prison or jail. Oklahoma City Housing Authority joins a cohort of public housing authorities (PHAs) and consortia of agencies selected through a competitive application process, including: Lafayette Housing Authority (LA), Housing Authority of the County of San Diego in collaboration with five housing authorities (CA), and a state consortium of five agencies led by the Delaware State Housing Authority.
“Increasing access to public housing for formerly incarcerated people or those with conviction histories improves safety in all our communities. Securing safe, decent housing is often a prerequisite for employment, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and managing a successful transition to becoming a contributing member of society. With Vera’s assistance, we can work collaboratively on reviewing policies and implementing programs to better serve the justice population.”
William Citty, Chief, Oklahoma City Police Department
“Having partnerships with local reentry stakeholders provides a great opportunity for the Oklahoma City Housing Authority to provide affordable, decent, and safe housing assistance to justice-involved individuals. The positive effects of strengthening family relationships cannot be overstated as they relate to maintaining a safe and peaceful community.”
Dan Flanagan, Chief of Security, Oklahoma City Housing Authority
The eight lead PHAs vary in geography, the number and types of units managed, metropolitan population, and resident diversity. All of the PHAs have demonstrated a commitment to partnering with local law enforcement and other stakeholders.
Member Spotlight: Houston Housing Authority
Located north of downtown Houston, the close-knit Independence Heights neighborhood puts residents in close proximity to big-city amenities and ample green spaces. Easy access to I45 and the 610 Loop makes it convenient for locals to commute to jobs within the city or the suburbs.
Houston Housing Authority Celebrates Long-Awaited Mixed-Income Housing Development
Mayor Sylvester Turner and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee scheduled to join HHA on May 31 to commemorate its first new development in 10 years
Independence Heights Apartments, a newly constructed multifamily housing development built by the Houston Housing Authority (HHA), is opening its doors to provide affordable housing options for mixed-income families, elderly, disabled and veteran citizens.
“Over 100,000 Houstonians are on the waiting list for public housing, which means it could take decades for hardworking families to have access to a safe and affordable place to call home,” HHA President and CEO Tory Gunsolley said. “Independence Heights Apartments is an example of how we can work together to support more Houstonians on their path to economic self-sufficiency.”
Ranked as the fifth most severe metropolitan area in the country when it comes to affordable housing shortages, Houston currently offers 19 affordable rental units for every 100 low-income households, according to a report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
“Independence Heights Apartments is a stunning development and I commend HHA for constructing the mixed-income property,” Mayor Turner said. “Houston needs more affordable housing options and Independence Heights is a step in the right direction. As I have said previously, I am committed to working with HHA to accomplish the important mission of providing quality affordable housing in safe neighborhoods near great schools throughout all of Houston.”
The apartment community features one, two and three bedroom homes and amenities such as a business center, fitness center, two playgrounds and common area WiFi. Independence Heights residents will also have access to a host of HHA’s educational programs to promote healthier lives and reach economic goals.
Leasing eligibility is designated for renters with incomes below the area median income (AMI), which is $61,000. 76 percent of the units at Independence Heights are dedicated to households earning no more than 60 percent of the AMI, and the remaining units are dedicated to those earning no more than 30 percent of the AMI.
“We finally have an apartment community that serves the needs of our neighbors and attracts new families,” Executive Director of the Independence Heights Redevelopment Council Tanya Debose said. “Independence Heights Apartments is the great equalizer because it gives people an affordable, high-quality place to live.”
The Houston Housing Authority provides affordable homes and services to more than 58,000 low-income Houstonians, including over 17,000 families housed through the Housing Choice Voucher Program and another 5,700 living in 25 public housing and tax credit developments around the city. HHA also administers one of the nation’s largest voucher program exclusively serving homeless veterans. More information about the Houston Housing Authority can be found at: www.housingforhouston.com
Member Spotlight: Housing Authority of Champaign County
Manor at Prairie Crossing.
The Manor at Prairie Crossing open on November 10, 2017. The residential units at the property offer 920 square feet of living space including one bedroom, one bath, den, living room, kitchen, and laundry. Amenities include attached one-car garages and all appliances including dishwasher and in-unit washer and dryer.
The property was developed under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Moving to Work Program and is owned by MGDC Mahomet, LLC, a non-profit affiliate of the Housing Authority of Champaign County. The total development costs for the project were $3,680,352.
Moving To Work: MTW Improving Lives.
The Housing Authority of Champaign County (HACC) is part of an elite group of Public Housing Authorities as 1 of only 39 agencies, or less than 1 percent, of all PHA’s in the country that have successfully received a Moving to Work Designation.
Created by Congress in 1996, Moving to Work (MTW) is a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) demonstration program that allows housing authorities to design and test innovative, locally-designed strategies for providing low-income families with affordable housing and new paths to economic independence. MTW is currently the only mechanism through which public housing authorities can wholly transform housing delivery, programs and operations.
MTW has three statutory goals:
- Reduce cost and achieve greater cost effectiveness in federal expenditures;
- Give incentives to families with children where the head of household is working, is seeking work, or is preparing for work by participating in job training, educational programs, or programs that assist people to obtain employment and become economically self-sufficient; and
- Increase housing choices for low-income families.
The broad flexibility to waive statute and regulations allows HACC to better serve and house residents while streamlining internal operations.
HACC has been designated an MTW agency since 2010. In 2016 HACC signed a new agreement with HUD that ensures our participation in the program until 2028. Since our inception in the program, we have partnered with the University of Illinois to conduct an ongoing evaluation of our MTW Program. This evaluation will continue through 2028.
Member Spotlight: Manchester Housing Authority
Green Energy Projects in Manchester.
Siemens to Help Manchester Housing Authority Achieve Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Goals
The Manchester Housing Authority (MHA) has begun working on infrastructure improvements with Siemens. Valued at almost $2.7 million, the 20-year performance contract is projected to generate annual energy savings through use of solar photovoltaic as well as other energy efficiency measures. The project is part of a comprehensive modernization plan for approximately 60 percent of the Authority’s portfolio of housing units and developments.
“This project means a great deal to Manchester Housing Authority. We’re excited to make these energy efficient and sustainable improvements to our developments,” says Joseph D’Ascoli, Executive Director of the MHA. “We’re proud to be one of the first housing authorities in the Northeast region to begin using solar energy for consumption.”
MHA had also considered fuel cell electrical generation as an alternate renewable energy source. But in researching it further, the Authority discovered that the smallest fuel cell would far exceed its power need. The designed solar field can fit in a community meadow, and will be able to provide power to all 199 apartments and MHA’s office building, which will reduce the power they are purchasing from the utility. Solar photovoltaic (PV) will also allow MHA to claim more than $12,000 annual credit for 15 years in Connecticut’s Zero Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) program.
In addition to solar PV cells, other energy efficient improvements include boiler replacements and LED exterior and interior lighting upgrades in parking lots, community rooms, and individual units. Water conservation improvement efforts will also be addressed with new toilets, aerators, and showerheads. All energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades are expected to be completed in September. “It’s incredibly rewarding to be a part of MHA’s plans for increasing energy efficiency and sustainability in its developments. Modernizing the MHA by leveraging solar energy is an exemplary method of generating significant savings,” says Joseph Peters, Zone Vice President, Siemens Building Technologies Division. “Performance contracting is a proven and cost-effective way for organizations like MHA to address these types of expensive improvements without extensive impact to the budget.” MHA’s performance contract team includes local energy provider Eversource as well as project funding providers Connecticut Green Bank and Crews & Associates (Little Rock, AR).
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development energy performance contract program provides incentives to public housing authorities across the country to implement energy and water savings improvements to their housing units. By leveraging energy performance contracting, this cost-effective solution pays for infrastructure upgrades with guaranteed energy savings over time.