August 9, 2018

Community Developments: A New York State Program Aims to Address Blight and Create Affordable Rental Housing 

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Community Developments

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  • An article in Next City looks at the Neighbors for Neighborhoods program, which was established two years ago to provide financial support to residents of New York State to renovate abandoned properties of up to four units and reactivate them as affordable rental housing. The program, which is administered by Enterprise, requires recipients of funding – who must live near the vacant properties – to rent out the apartments for at least 20 years at rates that are affordable to tenants earning up to 80 percent of area median income. Elizabeth Zeldin, a director in Enterprise’s New York office, points out that the program aims to mitigate blight in struggling neighborhoods across the state, as well as provide stable affordable housing and a source of equity for committed local owners. Zeldin also explains that recent research suggests that landlords with lots of properties are more likely to file evictions than small-time landlords. (Next City, August 9)
  • The City of Denver Safety, Housing, Education and Homelessness (SAFEHOUSE) Committee has passed Mayor Michael Hancock’s proposal to double the city’s Affordable Housing Fund from an annual allocation of $15 million to $30 million. Part of the increased funding would come from raising the city's retail marijuana tax rate from 3.5 to 5.5 percent. The Committee has also passed two separate ordinance requests that would establish an agreement between the city and the Denver Housing Authority to generate an estimated $105 million funding surge for affordable housing over the next five years and an amendment to the Affordable Housing Fund that would remove its sunset provision. (Denver Business Journal, August 8) 
  • Earlier this week, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors authorized county staff to enter into negotiations and award up to $25 million from the Innovation Housing Trust Fund to seven affordable housing developments. Construction of the housing developments, which will create nearly 500 affordable units, is expected to be completed by December 2021. The units in the seven housing developments will serve homeless families and veterans, seniors and older adults with extremely low incomes, individuals with mental illness or a history of substance abuse and domestic violence survivors. (CBS8, August 7)
  • St. Tammany Parish in Louisiana has adopted a model subdivision ordinance that aims to enhance the resilience of its coastal zone to storms and flooding events. Flooding events resulting from heavy rain or tropical storms often trap St. Tammany Parish residents in their neighborhoods and deny access to emergency vehicles providing help. Therefore, a team of planning and permit staff members, engineers, coastal program staff members and department heads has developed an ordinance that requires all new roads in subdivisions to be constructed at a minimum of six feet above sea level to increase the resilience of new development in the Parish’s coastal zone. (NOAA Office for Coastal Management)

Upcoming Events

  • On Monday, August 13, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and PolicyLink, will host a half-day event on “Understanding Opportunity Zones in the Bay Area.” Enterprise Loan Fund’s President Lori Chatman will participate in a panel discussion on “What do we know about how Opportunity Zones and Funds will work,” which will take place at 9:45 a.m. PT. This event will be live streamed on Twitter and Facebook.
  • On Wednesday, August 15, the GreenHome Institute will host a webinar on “Increasing Water Efficiency and Reducing Cost in Affordable Housing”. This webinar will feature Juan Sebastian Arias and Carrie Wagner of Enterprise Community Partners – who will be sharing the results of our “Sustainable by Design: Increasing Water Efficiency and Reducing Cost in Affordable Housing” case study, as well as Jasmine Gunn of Claretian Associates and Jessica Miller of Elevate Energy. Register here for the webinar

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