Lowel on the bus to
visit the LBJ Library
during the NAHRO Summer Conference
What does community mean to you?
Does it mean providing a home for someone who does not have one? Is it a place where your basic needs (education, health care, farmer's market, etc.) are taken care of? Does it mean more than that? I believe that community means something different to each of us.
The summer conference, "Building Communities Together: Innovation and Inspiration" held in Austin, Texas, made me think about what community means to me. As part of the Housing America Committee, I toured a Boys & Girls Club sponsored by the Austin Housing Authority and met wonderful kids doing amazing things. By engaging the children, the Housing Authority was able to involve the parents in building stronger communities throughout Austin.
During the next several months, you will be hearing from PNRC regarding the Housing America poster contest for 2016. I encourage you to work with your Boys & Girls Clubs, early childhood learning centers, or other outreach programs to encourage our children in expressing what housing (or community) means to them. I certainly came away with a greater understanding and appreciation for what community means to me.
Thank you for reading and I look forward to your feedback,
Lowel Krueger, President
Regional Winners Selected for
Housing America's Poster Contest
As part of NAHRO's Housing America campaign, a poster contest is held each year for children residing in affordable housing and community developments owned or administered by NAHRO member agencies. Posters reflect the national theme of "What Home Means to Me." The contest is a collaborative effort of NAHRO's chapter/state, regional, and national organizations. National honorees are selected from chapter/state-level winning entries.
At the Annual Regional Meeting one winner from each age category was selected and their artwork was forwarded to the National contest which will be judged at the NAHRO Annual Meeting in October.
Elementary School Grades K-5 Winner
Hannah from the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority
Hannah's explanation of her poster:
"Home is a place of shelter and care, homes is a place your always welcome there. Home is a bed with dark or bright colors. Home is a family to be shared with each other. Home is a life long treasure, home is where the heart lives its measure."
Middle School Grades 6-8 Winner
Tiffany from the Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority
Tiffany's explanation of
"My home is that one place in the whole universe that I can go to when I am scared, lonely and or upset. I'm so glad I have a home that brings such good memories. I'm super happy that every day after school I can come to a warm home with a loving Family. And a super comfy couch. I love my home and I hope you do too."
High School Grades 9-12 Winner
Quyanna from the Cook Inlet Housing Authority (Anchorage)
Quyanna's explanation of his poster:
"It is demonstrating what I'm thinking of home as many things. And what I enjoy of it. Home is where it all begins it is a special place to start with your family.
It is very unique I love it. It's a place to relax have fun and get away from the social real life and to hang with your precious loved ones."
Groundbreaking at Sunset View Apartments
The Housing Authority of Washington County (HAWC), working together Pedcor Investments and several partner agencies, broke ground today on a project to significantly increase the availability of affordable housing in Washington County. Officials took part in a brief ceremony to launch construction of the Sunset View Apartments, a 236-unit multifamily rental project on 13 acres formally used as a golf driving range that will now be dedicated to serving those with low-incomes.
Multifamily rental housing is in short supply in Washington County, with an average vacancy rate of less than 2 percent. The 2015-2020 Washington County Consolidated Plan estimates an affordable housing gap of 14,000 to 23,000 units for county residents living at 50 percent of the median family income or roughly $36,750 for a family of four. With one out of four households in Washington County earning less than $35,000 a year, the current supply of regulated affordable housing falls far short of the need.
"This one project -which will be paid for over time with rental payments and important Section 8 vouchers from the federal government -would more than double the supply of affordable housing units that we typically bring to the market in a single year," said Andy Duyck, chair of the Washington County Board of Commissioners. "The quality of development we can expect from Pedcor should continue our reputation of building affordable and public housing that looks and feels like any other housing available in the community at full market rates."
"Given the increasing uncertainty and history of federal funding cuts to core Housing Authority programs, this non-federal funding source will grant greater financial sustainability to the Housing Authority to perform our mission," said Val Valfre, executive director of the Housing Authority of Washington County.
For the rest of the story, click here.
Housing Authority of the City of Pasco & Franklin County
Completes Affordable Housing Project
for Agricultural Workers
Front row ribbon cutters (left to right): HACPFC Executive Director, Andy Anderson; HACPFC Board Chair, Isa Quintanilla; Pasco City Council Members Saul Martinez and Rebecca Francik.
Back row (left to right): Scott Barken, Beavon Development; Rod Butler, Sarah Brede, Jon Barter and Mark King, ZBA Architecture; Matthew Flickinger, Beacon Development;Brian Loyd, Beacon Development
The Housing Authority of the City of Pasco & Franklin County (HACPFC) opened the region's newest affordable housing development for agricultural workers in June 2015. The 38 unit complex named Varney Court is comprised of 7 buildings that encircle a central courtyard and playground with apartments and landscaping designed for families. Two, 3 and 4 bedroom units are available, including 3 handicap-accessible units. A community building is onsite and houses a communal kitchen and computer lab.
ZBA Architecture designed the community and Walker Construction served as the general contractor. Development services were provided by Beacon Development Group. Other engineering and design team members include AHBL, Coffman Engineers, Fulcrum Environmental Consulting and Baer Testing. Cascade Management has been contracted to provide property management services.
Funding was provided by:
Washington Housing Trust Fund: $5M
Wells Fargo (construction financing): $4.5M
Impact Capital (pre-development funding): $200K
City of Pasco CDBG funds (street improvements): $50K
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission provided 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits purchased by the National Equity Fund (NEF) for nearly $3M.
The Pasco Housing Authority was created in 1943 and continued to operate until 1981 when HACPFC was formed to provide a wide range of housing and shelter services to low-income individuals and families within the city of Pasco and Franklin County. HACPFC currently administers 318 Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and owns and manages 280 units of public housing, as well as 68 units of affordable housing.
Renton's Sunset Area Transformation Project is Finalist for Federal Choice Neighborhoods Grant
Renton, WA-Renton's Sunset Area Transformation Project is among the finalists selected to compete for a federal grant worth up to $30 million that would help transform the Sunset Area neighborhood in northeast Renton.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced that Renton's Sunset Area Transformation Plan was selected as one of nine finalists to compete for a 2014/2015 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) Implementation grant. The project was selected from a pool of 33 applicants. HUD has $155 million in 2014/2015 CNI funds available to award this year with a maximum of $30 million per applicant. HUD will conduct site visits of the finalists in the coming weeks and plans to announce the CNI grant awards in September.
"We are very excited to be a finalist for HUD's Choice Neighborhoods Initiative grant," said Mayor Denis Law. "Our vision for a renewed Sunset neighborhood is finally becoming a reality. When completed, the Sunset community will be transformed and include new housing units for low-income families, a new, state-of-the art library, quality market-rate multi-family housing complexes, a new inclusive playground and a 3.7 acre community park. The Sunset Area plan shows how public funds help spur private investment creating jobs and a beautiful, livable neighborhood with equal amenities for all. Receiving the grant will be a game changer for Renton." To read entire press release, click here.
Housing Authority of Island County
Opens 26 Unit Tax Credit Project
The Housing Authority of Island County just opened its first 26 unit tax credit project, located in Freeland, WA. This is a 4%/bond/HTF/HOME project that has 7 units set aside for homeless families. The project serves working families that earn 50-60% of area median income. The project has been in progress for over 7 years. Building in a rural community without the basic infrastructure of sewers, municipal water systems, and other amenities normally found in cities, the project survived many challenges.
The Certificate of Occupancy was received May 18
, and all of the one bedroom units
were leased by June 1. Island County is in desperate need of affordable housing, and this particular area of the island did not have any. This project is serving working families that are primarily employed in the local service industry positions. The official grand opening celebration will be held August 5.
Receives Art Grant for Yessler Terrace
The Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has received a $678,000 grant from The Kresge Foundation to support an art master plan as part of the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. SHA will use the funding to retain artists to infuse the new, mixed-income community with multiple works of art, and to support collaborative artistic projects and programs, working with community members and teams involved with design of streets, pathways, parks and other public spaces. The grant will also enable SHA to work with artisans living in the Yesler Terrace community to enhance their skills and translate them into works for public display or available for sale locally.
"The generosity and vision of The Kresge Foundation allows us to incorporate art into a community redevelopment on a scale few other housing authorities have been able to take on," said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of SHA. "This grant is a gift to the Yesler Terrace community, and to all citizens of Seattle, and represents an opportunity to showcase the importance of art in creating healthy communities. We look forward to working with Yesler Terrace residents, community partners and our region's artists as we bring a vibrant neighborhood to life."
For more information about the Yesler Terrace Art Master Plan, please go here.
Ridgeline Terrace Project
to be Completed Later This Year
The housing and rental market in Anchorage, Alaska, is tight. Making affordable housing accessible is a top priority for the city. Some ease will be provided later this year when Alaska Housing Finance Corporation completes construction of Ridgeline Terrace in its Mountain View neighborhood. The $24 million development consists of 14 buildings with 70 units for seniors and mixed income families, and includes an on-site community center with project management by Cook Inlet Housing Authority.
Construction features solar powered hot water and electricity systems that will deliver at least 10 percent of total energy demand.
Photo credit: Ash Adams
Another welcome addition to the Anchorage's affordable housing stock is AHFC's $5.4 million Susitna Square development in a nearby neighborhood. It opens September 1 with 18 one- and two-bedroom apartments. It applies the same energy efficient technologies used in the Ridgeline Terrace project. Susitna Square will work closely with Catholic Social Services that will provide case management to residents.
This letter begins a month-long effort to preserve and produce critically needed affordable housing. August is here, and it is time for us to up our advocacy game -to educate and inform members of Congress who will be home with you throughout August and on into early September. This is the longest Congressional recess of the year and we need to take advantage of this district "work period" to make the case for responsible housing and community development funding and the pragmatic, cost-effective policies needed in your communities.
During each of the six weeks in the upcoming August recess period, we will focus on a key issue important to you by providing a message in the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center that you can send to your members of Congress. Additionally, we will provide resources and tools you can use on a weekly basis to educate and inform on the topic of the week.
NAHRO's issues this recess will be:
- Week of Aug. 3: Act now on a new budget agreement
- Week of Aug. 10: Increase funding for the HOME program
- Week of Aug. 17: Pass the NAHRO/PHADA SHARP proposal and expedite regulatory reform
- Week of Aug. 24: Extend and make permanent the Low Income Housing Tax Credit 4 percent and 9 percent rates
- Week of Aug. 31: Expand MTW and extend existing MTW agreements
- Week of Sept. 2: Act now on a new budget agreement
We know that you face a variety of challenges. Though August is a long recess period, we must focus specifically on these timely issues. We will be there to help you throughout the month, but what we cannot do is deliver the message best delivered by you, the constituent and voter.
This August, we need to be change agents who exemplify the balance between reforming overwhelming regulatory burdens in an impossible budget situation with the needs of our residents.
We hope that you will join us in standing up and speaking out for affordable housing in quality communities for those in need. We thank you in advance for your efforts. Contact John Bohm or Tess Hembree on the NAHRO staff if you need assistance.
Best wishes for a productive August 2015 recess.
Saul N. Ramirez, Jr., CEO and Preston Prince, President
August Recess Advocacy:
Take Action Today on a Budget Deal
August recess has begun! Take action today during the first week of NAHRO's August advocacy campaign to fight for a budget deal to restore responsible funding levels to housing and community development (HCD) programs.
Click here to send a letter to your legislators urging them to agree to a deal.
Once again, the appropriations process has broken down. A major contributor to the failure of regular order is the artificial cap placed on spending for the upcoming fiscal year by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA). This BCA cap for FY 2016 is not high enough to maintain critical programs and services upon which all Americans depend. A deal is needed to raise spending for the upcoming fiscal year, but so far Congressional leadership has refused to begin budget discussions.
The FY 2016 House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) 302(b) allocation demonstrates this problem. Irresponsibly low funding levels allocated to fund the T-HUD bill required appropriators to make steep cuts to housing and community development programs that help pull many of American's most vulnerable citizens out of poverty.
This low funding level led to massive cuts to HCD programs in the House and Senate FY 2016 T-HUD bills -- particularly the devastating 93 percent cut proposed in the Senate's bill.
Unfortunately, if spending levels aren't increased, this would be yet another year of cuts after several years of austerity that has gutted spending on many critical housing and community development programs.
As administrators of these services, you are in a unique position to tell the story of how budget cuts to T-HUD have impacted your residents and your community, especially those who you are unable to serve because of decreased funding. You have front-line knowledge and experience, and are the best-equipped to tell your decision-makers why increased investment in these programs is needed. Please take the time to edit the letter with the story of your community so your legislators know the true extent of the problem.
If you've sent the letter and are still looking for other ways to get involved, you can:
- Sign the Non-Defense Discretionary United national letter to replace sequestration with balanced deficit reduction. Click here to read the letter, click here to sign the letter, and click here to learn more about the coalition.
- Visit the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding's advocacy website for other tools and tips on how to fight the BCA caps this summer.
NAHRO tools available to you on budget and appropriations:
Thank you so much for your participation in week one of this critical August recess advocacy campaign!
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation
Skagit County Housing Authority (Burlington, WA)
Spokane Housing Authority (Spokane, WA)
PNRC-NAHRO would like to be your "go to" professional development provider. Please send an email to Regional Service Officer, Kristen Damazio, with the type of training that you or your staff would like to receive by the end of this year. We are currently considering UPCS Trainings in Salem, OR and Eastern Washington as well as a HCV Training (most likely in Western Washington). Also, if you or your staff need to take Certification Exams, they can be proctored by the RSO.