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I have sure heard and read a lot of negative rhetoric about the people served by our programs over the last few months. It only seems to be increasing. What isn't increasing, however, is support and funding for our programs. I know that we are all concerned that as the negativity amplifies, the decreases will only continue. The timing has never been more critical for us to ramp up our efforts to educate and advocate and August is the perfect time to that!
What can you do during the August recess? Work to get time with your elected officials who are home from DC. Are there town halls? Attend them and ask housing questions. Do you have events at your agency? Invite them. Even if neither of these options are available, you can still schedule a meeting with him/her at their office or invite them to come tour your properties. Granted, you may not always get the Member to attend, but you may get a staffer. That's okay, too! Advocacy is about relationship building and you want to build relationships with anyone that can help get your message delivered.
Take advantage of August recess. I look forward to hearing about your events and how it went!
Sunny Shaw, PNRC President
Little Free Library Survey
The Commissioners Committee needs your help in determining regional/chapter participation in theLittle Libraries campaign.
Little Free Library is a nonprofit organization that inspires a love of reading, builds community, and sparks creativity by fostering neighborhood book exchanges around the world. Through Little Free Libraries, millions of books are exchanged each year, profoundly increasing access to books for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
For more information about the Little Free Libraries, click here.
The committee's task is to successfully encourage and identify before the committee's last meeting in October, 100 Housing Authorities who participate in the campaign. Please help us by placing the link below in your newsletter and on your website -
Response deadline is September 4.
My Turn: Kitsap County Should Consider a Housing Levy
by Kurt Wiest, Stuart Grogan, Daryl Daugs, Larry Eyer, Guest columnists June 26, 2017
Kitsap County is in a housing crisis for rentals and purchase of single-family homes by first-time homebuyers.
Rents have increased more than 30 percent in the last two years and show no signs of slowing down. Those seeking homeownership opportunities, particularly first-time homebuyers, are seeing prices escalating to the point they cannot compete in bidding wars.
Local supply of rental housing is down, demand is up, and those with the lowest financial resources are being squeezed to the point of homelessness. Wages remain stagnant and newly-built market-rate rental and owner-occupied housing in Kitsap County remains out of reach for many.
Those priced out of the Seattle metro area market are looking to the west, in Kitsap County, for housing they can afford. What appear to be bargains for them add to the distress of those currently living and seeking housing in Kitsap County.
Renters are particularly hard-hit. The average rent in Kitsap County is now $1,195 per month. The hourly wage necessary to afford an apartment in our area, $19.98, is nearly double the current minimum wage of $11.00 per hour.
Kitsap County is not alone. In fact, there isn't a single state in the U.S. where someone working a full-time minimum wage job can afford to rent a two-bedroom apartment.
Compounding this situation has been serious reductions in federal support over the last two decades for rental assistance programs like Section 8 and Public Housing.
The highly successful Self-Help Ownership Program, which makes it possible for lower-income homebuyers to use sweat equity to build and purchase their first home, is on the chopping block in the president's proposed budget. Clearly, we can no longer look to federal or state government for support in meeting local affordable housing needs.
So what can be done? In Bellingham, Vancouver, and Seattle, a housing levy has been used to raise locall revenue to expand the supply of affordable rental housing and to provide assistance to first-time homebuyers.
This solution has made it possible for families and individuals to live in housing that is safe, decent, and affordable, while at the same time stimulating the local economy through job creation.
Could it be done here? Should it be done here? We believe it's a potential solution to a housing affordability problem that won't be solved unless we all step up to solve it ourselves.
We look forward to continuing the earnest and sincere discussion on this and other ways to address the housing affordability crisis in our community.
Kurt Wiest, Bremerton Housing Authority
Stuart Grogan, Housing Kitsap
Daryl Daugs, Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County
Larry Eyer, Kitsap Community Resources
Aging Mastery Graduates
Providence Alaska Foundation donors helped establish a new program designed to help seniors improve health, financial well-being, social connectedness and overall quality of life. It's called the Aging Mastery Program (AMP), offered in conjunction with the National Council on Aging, and the very first program conducted in Alaska was offered to Cook Inlet Housing Authority's (CIHA) residents at Centennial Village through a partnership between CIHA Resident Engagement and Providence Hospital.
Residents who attended the 10-week program learned more about topics important to their lives including exercising, sleep, healthier eating, financial fitness, advance planning, healthy relationships, medication management, community engagement and falls prevention.
Residents who "graduated' from the program were pleased with the program and happy about what they learned.
Some feedback includes:
"The presenters were very knowledgeable and had many ideas to be a master of aging"
"More consistently aware of my health and financial and engagement need"
"Self esteem is a change I made due to the Aging Mastery program"
Groundbreaking on New High Rise
In mid-June, the Portland Housing Bureau (PHB) broke ground on a 93-unit high rise located on City-owned property in Portland's amenity-rich Pearl District neighborhood. The completed project will provide 92 affordable housing units, including homes for as many as 44 families facing homelessness, in one of the city's highest opportunity areas.
A 2015 report on homelessness in Portland and Multnomah County showed a growing number of unsheltered families with children. Families with children also accounted for a disproportionate percentage of the estimated 12,000 people who were "doubled up" in housing or living in motel rooms on any given night.
In addition to dedicating 44 family-size units to the lowest income families with children (those at or below 30 percent of the area median income), the project will provide another 62 units for households up to 60 percent of the median income. Ground-floor common areas will feature a community room, indoor and outdoor play areas, a laundry facility, and on-site resident support services.
PHB acquired the vacant property in 2015 at a discount from private developer Hoyt Street Properties (HSP) as part of a longstanding affordable housing agreement between HSP and the City of Portland. PHB selected Innovative Housing, Inc to develop the site later that year.
This month PHB also celebrated the grand opening of the Hill Park Apartments, a 39-unit apartment building located near transportation, parks, and shopping in the Lair Hill neighborhood on the edge of downtown Portland.
The three-story building includes 17 studios and 21 one-bedroom apartments. Eight of units will be designated for people living with mental illness and residents will receive on-site supportive services provided by the project's owner Central City Concern - a non-profit serving Portlanders impacted by homelessness, poverty, and addictions since 1979.
City of Portland Awarded More Than $3M to Address Lead Hazards
The City of Portland has been awarded more than $3,000,000 in federal funding to address lead hazardsin 195 housing units, providing safer homes for low-income families with children.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced more than $127 million in grants to 48 state and local government agencies, including the City of Portland, in a continuous effort to keep families and their children safe from lead-based paint and other home health and safety hazards. The grants direct critical funds to communities to eliminate dangerous lead paint and other housing-related health hazards in privately-owned, low-income housing units.
The Portland Housing Bureau's Lead Hazard Control Program aims to reduce cases of children with elevated blood lead levels by providing no-cost lead testing and remediation in homes occupied by low- and moderate-income families with young children.
To date, more than 3,486 children under the age of six, in more than 1,800 Portland homes, have been protected from the harmful, long-term effects of lead paint and dust thanks to federal funding support. Beyond providing no-cost lead hazard remediation to renters and owners, the program also educates property owners and tenants about how to identify lead hazards, and how to clean and maintain their home to minimize harmful exposure to young children.
As part of the award, Portland will also receive $400,000 in Healthy Homes supplemental funding to help mitigate multiple health hazards in high-risk housing simultaneously, in conjunction with their lead hazard control activities. Housing improvements such as these help prevent injuries and illnesses, reduce associated health care and social services costs, reduce absentee rates for children in school and adults at work, and help to improve quality of life.
House Appropriations Releases FY 2018 THUD Bill,
Makes Numerous Small Cuts
July 11, 2017 ~ Tess Hembree
The House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee released the text of its FY 2018 bill late last night. Overall, the bill makes numerous small cuts to many HUD programs, continuing a trend of disinvestment in already chronically underfunded programs. However, considering the low top-line level for non-defense programs proposed by the House Budget Committee, the cuts could have been significantly worse.
The full T-HUD bill received $56.5 billion, which is $1.1 billion less than the current fiscal year, but a whopping $8.6 billion above the President's request. The cuts are evenly split between DOT and HUD.
Housing and Community Development Highlights:
The subcommittee will mark up the bill tonight at 7:00 pm EDT (sadly, that time is not a typo). You can watch what is likely to be a very quick voice vote here. The bill will move to full committee next week (where amendments will be considered), but it is unlikely to be brought to the floor of the House. The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee could move on its THUD spending bill as early as next week.
- Public Housing Capital Fund - $1.85 billion, $92 million less than FY 2017
- Competitive Lead-Based Paint Grants - $0, $25 million less than FY 2017
- Jobs Plus - $15 million, level funded
- Public Housing Operating Fund - $4.4 billion, level funded
- Choice Neighborhoods Initiative - $20 million, $118 less than FY 2017
- Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals - $18.71 billion, $35 million higher than FY 2017
- Ongoing Administrative Fees - $1.55 billion, $90 million less than FY 2017
- Family Self-Sufficiency - $75 million, level funded
- Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance - $10.682 billion, $134 million less than FY 2017
- Community Development Block Grant - $2.9 billion, $100 million less than FY 2017
- HOME Investment Partnerships - $850 million, $100 million less than FY 2017
- Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS- $356 million, level funded
- Homeless Assistance Grants- $2.383 billion, level funded
Your advocacy efforts have worked to oppose the President's devastating budget proposal, but your members of Congress need to continue hear from you about the impact that budget cuts have had in your community and the impact further cuts will have.
August recess is just around the corner and is a perfect opportunity for you to voice those concerns- watch
for NAHRO's August Advocacy agenda coming soon.
Upcoming Training Opportunities
Bring NAHRO Training to Your Agency - Including e-Learning!
Did you know that you can bring almost any NAHRO seminar and certification product to your agency? If multiple members of your agency's staff require professional education, contracting with NAHRO for an on-site training can be a smart - and affordable - investment. The on-site approach allows instructors to devote more time to issues that are specific to your organization.
The on-site approach also reduces or eliminates travel time along with lodging and transportation costs for your staff. And, depending upon the number of staff members that participate in the training, the per-person cost for the training product can be significantly lower than our regular registration fee. We can also make many of our e-Learning sessions available to your agency through our on-site model.
Whatever your training needs, NAHRO will work with you to design an on-site program that meets your budget and is scheduled with your agency's calendar in mind. For more information, please contact Regional Service Officer, Kristen Damazio.
Schedule a Salary Comparability Study!
If your agency is in need of an updated salary and compensation comparability analysis, NAHRO Professional Development is here to help. Using the latest tools and technology, our highly regarded consultants will give your agency a complete picture of pay levels, salary increases, market-based salary ranges, average salary information for al positions within your agency, merit salary ranges and salary research for comparable jobs. Whether you're looking to stay in compliance with HUD requirements, conducting salary negotiations, or hiring new executive staff, NAHRO Professional Development is ready to assist. For more information, please contact Regional Service Officer,
Nominate Your Colleague for a NAHRO Award!
NAHRO offers a variety of awards and recognition to persons who have made outstanding contributions to the housing and community development field.
M. Justin Herman Memorial Award
- NAHRO's most prestigious award,
honors an exceptionally qualified person who has made outstanding contributions to the quality of life through service in the field of housing or community development. Deadline:
August 15, 2017
Emerging Leader Award -
an individual who has been involved in NAHRO at the national level for six years or less and has distinguished him/herself as an Emerging Leader.
Deadline: August 15, 2017
Roll of Achievers - showcases residents who have made noteworthy efforts to improve as an individual or as a member of the community.
Winners of the Herman, Lange and Wells awards will be honored at NAHRO's National Conference in Pittsburgh, PA: October 27-29, 2017.
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