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Preserve & Expand

Preserving and Expanding Affordable Rental Housing is a fair housing issue because protected classes are disproportionately tenants in affordable rental housing.

What do we mean when we talk about Preserving and Expanding Affordable Housing.
1. What is the need for affordable housing in your community?
2.  What demographic groups are most in need (ie. paying more than 30% of income for rent?)
3.  What is the prevalence of substandard housing conditions?
4  Where in the community are households over housed or under housed?
  • In many rural communities seniors are overhoused in homes that they own and can't sell because of a lack of affordable senior rentals to move to...
  • Young families are under housed (over crowded) because they can afford to buy or rent into larger units.

BasicChallenges Outlast Housing Crisis in Rural America

2. What makes housing 'affordable'?

Low income households can't pay enough rent to cover the costs of building or rehab and operating expenses.  Government provides subsidies can pay the difference between owner/developer costs and what low income households can afford
  • public housing-conventional public housing
  • public housing-housing choice vouchers
  • mortgage subsidies (see PWG overview of subsidy programs attached at the bottom of this page.)
  • rent subsidies-project based section 8, 202/811,
  • financing subsidies: tax credits

3. Why does accessiblty matter Increasingly as communities are more accepting of persons with disabilities and as institutions that housed people with disabilities are shutting down and as an older population becomes more frail, the need for accessible housing grows. Two ways to address this barrier to fair housing.

  • assisting residents (owners and tenants) to use Fair Housing Laws to remove barriers in existing housing, and
  • developing housing that uses universal design principles principles so that residents, visitors & guests have access to the premises.

4. What makes housing sustainable?  A key element is preserving affordable housing is to help owners save energy.  Energy costs, whether paid by the owner or the tenant are the biggest single controllable factor in housing affordability.  Start promoting three strategies.

  • Utility Company sponsored conservation measures.  More links coming
  • Green refinancing-here's one example
  • Conservation cost sharing  More links coming
  • Avoid utility reselling schemes which simply shift costs to tenants without conserving.
 Where to start
5.  build your preservation and expansion team

  • elected officials
  • development officials (both community and economic development interests)
  • fair housing officials (there's one in almost every county in Ohio)
  • local business owners and managers and employee representatives (housing and jobs go hand in hand)
  • your local public housing director

6.  document the need:  a housing needs assessment will be a primary marketing tool that you will use to bring in a developer.

7.  Identify your existing stock of affordable housing.  What properties are at risk?  which ones could be preserved through refinancing to remodelling to improve energy efficiency and accessibility?  Preservation funding for older HUD and USDA properties can bring new housing resources into your community to preserve valuable assets.  (PWG's overview of Federally assisted housing is attached at the bottom on this page.)

8. find a developer who knows your community (nothing beats a local connection) and who can be convinced that there is an opportunity to make some money.  Use your economic development staff to reach out to housing developers in the same way they reach out to businesses.  Start sending representatives to meetings that affordable housing developers attend.  Examples include Ohio Housing Conference, Ohio Preservation Network.  This is especially important if your community is traditionally underserved.  (Ohio Housing Finance Agency's manual on Housing Development which is attached at the bottom of this page.)

9. support the development: what local tools do you have to support development, comprehensive plans; needs assessments? market studies (HOME funds), zoning, a developable location, Infrastructure development (CDBG), assisting with site control: eminent domain; weatherization

10. use Housing Choice Vouchers to preserve and expand rental housing opportunities for protected classes.  In cases where there is a supply of housing stock that is unaffordable or needs upgraded Housing Choice Vouchers can be "project based" to provide affordability and a cash flow that can support accessibility or utility savings improvement.  Project basing Housing Choice Vouchers can also be used in the development of new housing resources through the low income housing tax credit program.

 Thanks to:

the Inclusion Partners in communities around ohio

Joyce Hill, Civil Rights Specialist, Ohio Development Services

Kelan Craig, Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio

David Brainin, David Brainin and Associates

Robert Snow, Bob Snow and Associates

 Notes & Links

Spencer Wells,
Apr 26, 2013, 10:53 AM
Spencer Wells,
Apr 26, 2013, 10:57 AM