Program Creates Affordable Housing for Home Buyers

 Sharon Ford got her the keys to her first home Friday afternoon. The home has been renovated from top-to-bottom and remained affordable, thanks to a project by the Port Authority and a loan from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

“I know. I was excited to finally say, ‘Wow, this was ours. We get to put our stamp on it,’” Ford said as she stood in the kitchen of her new home.

The house sits on Jonathan Avenue. Ford purchased it for $145,000. A second house two doors down is also pending for the same amount. Both homes were renovated by the Port Authority. Now Ford, her fiance and her 10-year-old son, Avery, will move into a house instead of renting an apartment, which cost them more than a mortgage payment.

“I’m excited to have a backyard. I’m going to put a standalone hammock back there,” Ford said.

A $1-million loan from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation has enabled the Port Authority to renovate the homes, bring them up to code and sell them at a price homeowners can afford. Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman attended the ribbon cutting for the Fords’ home.

Smitherman said Evanston used to have the highest rate of home ownership by African-Americans and this renovation is the “shot in the arm” the neighborhood needed. He said Jonathan Avenue connects the neighborhood to Walnut Hills and Xavier University.

“It’s a very important artery. So repopulating it and stabilizing it with affordable housing is awesome. So this is the beginning of building a solid community,” Smitherman said.

Evanston has had problems with crime in the past. District 2 police Capt. Aaron Jones remembers starting his career patrolling Evanston. He’s glad to see it improving.

“As a young officer, I went from robbery to robbery to gun run to shooting,” Jones said. “Twenty-one years later as the captain, I’m going to groundbreaking, ribbon cutting, social events. Just to see the landscape and everything in the community change, it’s amazing.”

Evanston’s a work in progress and still has some issues, but it’s getting better. And now Ford calls the neighborhood home.

“I’m ready to do everything in here. I’m ready to make some lemonade and give it to my friends and have a barbeque,” Ford said.

The Port Authority is renovating homes in Walnut Hills, Bond Hill and Roselawn. The Fords’ home is the 36th property the Port has rehabilitated or built in Evanston since 2013.

Source: local12

Mumbai: 90,000 affordable homes up for grabs as part of CIDCO’s ‘lucky draw’ housing scheme

As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Housing for All by 2022’ scheme, the City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra (CIDCO) plans to offer 90,000 homes under its mega housing scheme in Navi Mumbai, DNA reports. An online lucky draw by July-end or August this year will decide who gets their dream house in this round.

Chief engineer at CIDCO (special projects) Sanjay Chotalia told the newspaper that these flats, which will be constructed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), are meant for the economically weaker sections (EWS) and the low-income groups (LIG).

PM Modi’s flagship scheme, the PMAY was launched in June 2015 to ensure affordable housing for all by the year 2022 by providing financial assistance to the beneficiaries.

“We have all permissions in place. By June-end, the tender for construction of these 90,000 flats will be opened. And by July or August, these houses will be put up for sale through a lottery,” Chotalia said.

The flats are to be built at several locations in Navi Mumbai, some of which include Taloja, Kharghar, Panvel and Kalamboli. Of the 90,000 homes, 53,000 are to be constructed for the EWS category and the remaining 37,000 for the LIG category. These are expected to be offered at prices 20 percent to 30 percent lower than those offered by private developers in the market, taking into consideration the Rs 6,000 per sq ft price of a CIDCO house as against the Rs 9,000 per sq ft offered by a private developer.

Lottery winners will be able to pay as construction progresses. The initiative, industry watchers told the newspaper, ‘will restore some sanity to unit pricing and offer more options to needful buyers’.

similar offer by CIDCO for over 14,000 homes under its mega housing scheme in October last year received an overwhelming response. People, who missed out on October’s draw, participated in another round of lottery for 1,100 unsold flats that were part of the same scheme. Online applications for these 1,100 flats, which were open from January 1 to 31 this year, received an overwhelming response and saw over 57,000 valid applications.

Source: Moneycontrol

Trump Immigrant Housing Rule Will Increase Homelessness – Oregon Senator

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley on Thursday implored Trump administration officials to reconsider a housing rule they believe would worsen homelessness.

The rule, proposed by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, would ban families with at least one member in the country illegally from living in taxpayer subsidized housing. If approved, the rule would expand on an existing ban on those immigrants receiving subsidies directly.

A government assessment of the proposal found it would cause more than 100,000 people to lose their housing aid. About 70 percent are lawful residents and 55,000 of them are children.

Wyden and Merkley, both Democrats, panned the proposed rule, saying it would force people into homelessness.

“This misguided approach runs counter to HUD’s mission and breaks with the sensible policies the department has had in place for over two decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations,” the senators wrote in a letter, signed by 17 Senate colleagues, to Ben Carson, the HUD secretary.

They added in the letter: “This is nothing more than an attempt to advance a dangerous agenda that targets and scapegoats the immigrant community.”

The senators argued that rather than alleviating the affordable housing crisis, the rule would exacerbate it by pulling assistance “from eligible immigrants and citizens.”

Carson framed the proposed regulation as a way to help citizens get housing aid.

“Our nation faces affordable housing challenges,” Carson said in a tweet, “and hundreds of thousands of citizens are waiting for many years on waitlists to get housing assistance.”

Source: Oregonlive

Tackling Affordable Housing Crisis in Nigeria

Cost of renting apartments in major cities of Nigeria has continued to be on the high side. Prior to the Muhammad Buhari administration, those touted to have made money in questionable ways usually look at the real estate as where to dispense the money.

That helped to increase the number of housing inhabited and thereby reduce the deficits in the sector. Many experts, when they want to solve economic or sectoral problems, often take cue from how such problems are solved in other climes and try to match them with local situations.

Nonetheless, Nigeria’s case is not like that, rather the body movement of Mr. President has frightened the potential investors in real estate. The EFCC has been beaming its searchlight in their direction. This results in the unprecedented housing deficits that live with Nigerians in major cities.

This unprecedented rate of urbanization has led to increased demand for good and affordable housing. It has not only made house scarce in the cities of Nigeria but also added to the unaffordable apartments that litter the cities without occupants.

A recent survey revealed that of 200 cities polled around the world, 90 per cent of them were considered unaffordable when applying the widely-used standard of average house prices being more than three-times median income.

Addressing the housing affordability challenge in Nigeria, requires systematic changes. City governments must streamline their regulatory landscapes and enable transparent land acquisition, emphasize property rights over title, develop a rental regulatory framework to protect tenants as well as landlords, encourage mixed-income and mixed-use housing developments, enable more innovative financing models in developing new homes or upgrading existing homes and encourage skill-building in the construction industry.

The private sector must embrace innovative mechanisms to finance development and help establish the creditworthiness of those looking to improve their housing situation. Employers need to work with communities to provide affordable housing for employees, or help with housing costs through loans, subsidies or mortgage deals. Private developers need to invest in sustainable design concepts to create energy-efficient housing to improve productivity, prefabricating components and using alternative materials and advanced automated equipment.

The non-profit sector also has a key role to play in working with housing providers to implement alternative tenure models, while supporting advocacy efforts of government in formulating policy and providing technical support, information and know-how to developers and homeowners.

Affordability is not just about the ability to buy or rent a home, but also about being able to afford to live in it. This definition of affordability goes beyond meeting expenses related to operations and maintenance, taking into consideration transport, infrastructure and services.

If a home is economical enough to buy and maintain but located too far from work or school, it cannot be said to be affordable. In Nigeria for instance taking Lagos as a sample survey, there could be houses littering the environment of Lekki and Ajah but because those working in Alausa cannot live comfortably and meet going to and fro Alausa every day, it means the houses are not affordable.

The factors contributing to a lack of affordability vary from city-to-city, but broadly include housing costs rising faster than incomes, the supply of houses not keeping up with demand, scarcity of land, and demographic changes such as population growth, ageing and shifts in household composition.

To understand the challenge more holistically, the World Economic Forum (WEF) recently launched a new report it termed, Making affordable housing a reality for cities.  The report provides a comprehensive overview of affordable housing challenges across the housing value chain.

It identifies factors that affect housing affordability beyond the direct costs of purchase and maintenance to include but not limited to location, housing type, access to social infrastructure, the legal and regulatory environment and the state of financial markets. It also recommends a systematic approach to addressing the affordable housing crisis, while highlighting how a range of cities are finding solutions.

For the government of Nigeria to address the housing challenges in the country, it must be able to tackle land acquisition that has to do with tradeable quotes, a situation through which developers are permitted to construct new housing on the periphery of a city in return for opening up additional land for cultivation beyond city boundaries.

There is the Land Use Act which if pioneered well could give government the privilege to partner with the private sector and non-governmental and community housing groups to develop some social housing units in neighborhoods that need renewal. Proceeds could be re-invested in social housing, community facilities and public space. Housing assistance is linked to participation in education, training or local employment.

There is this another system which is called repurposing of vacant property which is prevalent in Los Angeles. Los Angeles recently passed a law allowing motels to be converted into “permanent supportive housing” for the homeless, regardless of current zoning requirements.

This is typically quicker and cheaper than new construction, as it involves only adding small kitchens to the motel rooms. The idea of improving housing supply by pooling publicly owned assets into an “Urban Wealth Fund” is also creeping into the country. This means government partnering with the private sector to deliver projects. Sharing risks and benefits aligns the interests of these stakeholders and can streamline infrastructure development, planning and land-use regulations.

Also if government can regulate construction productivity in the country and make labour cheaper through inflation control, then the few constructed housing will be affordable to people. Shortage of professionals and building materials to give construction sector the most necessary skill is also one of the factors that challenge the provision of affordable housing in Nigeria.

Government of Nigeria should review the activities of technical schools and accredit other training providers, strengthen coordination between training providers and construction employers, and provide funding to upgrade training equipment and premises.

By making the country’s skills training more useful to the construction industry, and more attractive for young people, they would have addressed some percentages of affordable housing problems. Government’s inability to use Polytechnics, Schools of technology for research into manufacture of building materials is one of the problems.

The Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI), has done a lot of things in the direction of providing some raw and some finished building materials in the recent past but it seems government did not latch on that to progress.

Source: sunnewsonline

Smart Havens Africa Is Using Eco-Friendly and Cost-Effective Technologies to Provide Affordable Housing

The Ugandan social enterprise Smart Havens Africa is helping vulnerable communities acquire homes affordably and sustainably. In this way, founder Anne Rweyora, one of the engineers short-listed for the fifth Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation, hopes to bring down housing poverty.

Anne Rweyora is the managing director of Smart Havens Africa. She has set up the company to build low-cost, sustainable houses for vulnerable and low-income households in areas where homes are predominantly owned by wealthy landowners. The idea is to make home ownership more accessible to African women in particular.

Her motivation to create accessible housing got her shortlisted for the Royal Academy of Engineering Africa Prize, along with 15 of her counterparts.

In an interview with BBC, Rweyora explained her motivation: “I lost my father and started experiencing how housing poverty affects all spheres of life when our relatives and my late father’s friends came to grab our property.”

“Over 69% of Ugandans are living in substandard housing. This is not only a Ugandan issue but an African issue. In South Sudan, where I worked, the issue was even worse. That’s where my energy and desire come from.”

Speaking on land accessibility, she said, “In Uganda the land tenure system is favourable. Smart Havens Africa gets this land, which is later sub-divided according to the home units. So, we are building these homes in communities where there are readily available facilities, health centres, accessible roads and water.”

The homes are equipped to use renewable energy and feature rainwater harvesting systems and bio-digestors. They build the houses using locally produced, green material, interlocking stabilising blocks.

“The design of the brick helps to cut the cost since our brick does not require plastering. This cuts the cost by almost 50%. The bricks do not require burning and firing, so it helps us to avoid air pollution and the deforestation of Africa’s forests,” Rweyora said.

The organisation seeks to lift up the communities it works in by providing skills and economic opportunities. They provide training and apprenticeship for women and youth who want to pursue a career in construction or real estate. They also support a local market where women, masons, apprentices, businesses and clients can operate.

Source: allafrica

How Ksh200 Could Earn You a Home in Affordable Housing Project

Owning a home in Kenya is expensive, hence one of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big four agenda that seeks to offer affordable housing that seeks to address the needs of citizens in different income brackets.

Kenyans willing to be part of the Affordable Housing Programme(AHP) can now begin contributing Ksh200 monthly towards owning homes.

Speaking to newsmen in Kenya  on Wednesday, Housing and Urban Development Principal Secretary Charles Hinga, highlighted that more than 225,000 Kenyans have registered to participate in the AHP. “Operationalisation of the voluntary contributions is a significant milestone in the implementation of AHP to interested Kenyans, we are now giving the ability and means to decide how and when they will start their journey towards owning a house,” confirmed the PS. “They can do this by regularly saving in then bomayangu wallet, the amounts that they can afford,” he added.

According to Hinga, the above activation was in response to Kenyans who have been registering on the boma yangu web platform, interested to be part of AHP and subsequently own decent and affordable homes.

He said the process of allocating 228 houses on Park Road in Nairobi will kick off soon. The houses are set for occupation by September this year.

The houses are suitable for individuals in the social bracket earning below Ksh 19,999, the low cost covering Ksh 20,000 to Ksh 49,999, the mortgage gap for those earning between Ksh 50,000 and Ksh 149,999 as well as middle to the high-income bracket of Ksh 150,000 and above.

The houses are to be provided at lower interest rates of between three percent, five and seven percent for social housing, low cost and mortgage gap segments respectively.

Savings for the houses can be made through various payment modes that will be convenient for the contributers, such as www.bomayangu.co.ke where one will need to log in and pay via M-Pesa, card payment or bank transfer.

Another option will be through the Huduma Life mobile App that can be downloaded from google playstore or accessed through www.hudumakenya.go.ke

Source: Kenyans.co.ke

MBA Launches New Affordable Housing Initiative

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) announced today the launch of a new strategic initiative to help develop stronger and more effective affordable housing partnerships in both the policy and business arenas. The objective of these partnerships will be to promote more sustainable, affordable homes for purchase and rental for underserved people and communities, especially minorities and low-to-moderate-income Americans.

“The lack of affordable housing is presenting significant challenges to families across the country. We need to explore how the lending community can better partner with public, private, and non-profit stakeholders to ensure more Americans have access to homes they can afford,” said MBA President and CEO Robert D. Broeksmit, CMB. “As the trade association representing the full breadth and depth of the mortgage lending community, MBA should, and will, be a leader in finding innovative solutions.”

Steve O’Connor, a 23-year veteran of MBA and currently its Senior Vice President for Public Policy and Industry Relations, will assume the new role as Senior Vice President for Affordable Housing Initiatives.

“Steve is uniquely qualified to lead this new initiative,” added Broeksmit. “He knows our members, he knows the issues, and he has strong relationships with a broad group of stakeholders, including affordable housing groups, consumer advocates, and civil rights organizations. Steve has a real passion and drive when it comes to addressing the needs of underserved markets.”

O’Connor currently leads MBA’s Consumer Affairs Advisory Council and serves on a number of industry boards, including the National Housing Conference, the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, the Homeownership Council of America, Quicken Loans’ Consumer Advisory Council, Freddie Mac’s Affordable Housing Advisory Council, and the National Urban League’s Business Solutions Council.

“Housing affordability is an issue facing millions of Americans, both those who rent and those who want to buy a home,” said O’Connor. “There is no easy solution. The only way we are going to solve this is by getting lenders together with policymakers, consumer advocates, community leaders, and other stakeholders, and using our collective knowledge and experience to find the answers.”

Under O’Connor’s leadership, MBA is developing a work plan set around a series of objectives designed to better understand the nature of the problem and why previous efforts have failed, and to build and nurture partnerships in support of affordable housing policy and business practices.

Source: Mba

Scotland sees 12% Increase in Affordable Homes in 2018-19

The Scottish government says it is firmly on track to hit its ambitious target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021. The latest official Scottish statistics published this week show there were more than 9,500 affordable homes delivered in 2018-19, an increase of 12% on the previous year.

As part of this rise, completions of social rented homes accounted for 6,573 of the properties, 25% more than the previous year. The statistics also show a record increase in the number of new build homes completed across all sectors, which reached more than 20,000 for the first time in ten years.

This rise is reflected in the Registers of Scotland property market report, also published this week, which shows that 12% of all residential property sales in the last year were new builds – the highest proportion since 2008-09.

Scottish housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “Everyone in Scotland deserves a safe, warm place to live, and I’m delighted that since 2007 we have delivered a total of 86,109 affordable homes including 59,131 homes for social rent.

We are also firmly on track to deliver our target of 50,000 affordable homes by 2021, backed by investment of £3.3bn. The statistics highlight more than half the homes are now completed, with approvals well on course.

“Providing more affordable homes is a crucial part of this government’s aim to create a fairer Scotland, and improve communities through inclusive growth. On my visits across the country, I have seen the real difference these new developments have made to people’s lives.

A home is more than just bricks and mortar – it’s about a sense of identity and belonging. It is also great to see a rise in the number of new homes across all sectors providing choice across all tenures.”

Source: infrastructure-intelligence

US: Redmond selling 2 seized drug houses for affordable housing

The city of Redmond is looking to create affordable housing in an unusual way. It’s selling two houses to the nonprofit Housing Works after the police department seized them back in 2012.

The seizure of two houses in southwest Redmond were the result of an investigation where a marijuana grow was discovered. The houses were used only to grow marijuana and ultimately were seized by the police department.

Police Chief Dave Tarbet said Tuesday evening he’s glad to see the homes be put to good use.

“It’s a humanitarian approach, in a sense, which our department tries to be about that and tries to help the community as much as possible,” he said. “And obviously we still enforce the law too, but we do try to help people overcome issues in their lives and make their lives better.”

“So I think the sale of these homes to Housing Works so they can be resold as affordable housing is a great opportunity to help two more families in the community,” he said.

Tarbet said it’s not all that unusual for the department to posses “personal property” as the result of an investigation. But he said it’s pretty uncommon to be in the possession of a house.

The money the Police Department will eventually receive from the sale of the homes will go toward drug enforcement and prevention.

Those houses will also be used for a good cause.

They have been used as part of a Housing Works home ownership tutoring program, where people move in and rent them while working to qualify for a loan to buy their first house.

Now, the agency intends to sell them as affordable housing.

Kelly Fisher of Housing Works said the key to their success is working with the city to create more affordable housing options.

“The partnership between Housing Works and the city of Redmond is critical for what we are trying to do,” Fisher said. “We wouldn’t be able to provide these homes for families that are experiencing low income without that partnership.”

Fisher also said the agreement with the city to buy the two homes include 35-year deed restrictions.

That means the houses will stay affordable for years to come, even if they are sold several times.

Fisher said based on the median income for the area, that means the houses will sell for a maximum of $180,000, at this point in time.

The city will wait another week for public comments on the sale of the homes, and if there are no conflicts, the sale will be made official on June 18.

Source: Jacob Larsen

Nonprofit MEND celebrates providing affordable housing for 50 years

The modest effort started by nine Moorestown churches on Beech Street in 1969 has led to the development of affordable housing for over 1,300 of South Jersey’s low- to moderate-income residents.

MOORESTOWN — One year before New Jersey Supreme Court’s landmark ruling that all municipalities must provide affordable housing, representatives from nine churches in Moorestown recognized the need and pooled their resources together to begin construction on an 18-unit affordable housing complex along Beech Street.

Five decades later, the effort started by those congregations has led to the development of housing for over 1,300 of South Jersey residents in need of safe, decent and affordable places to live.

The Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (MEND) is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2019, a testament to the foresight of the faith-based organization’s founders that every person deserves the chance to live in a home they can afford, no matter their income.

“This is a very big deal for us,” said MEND President and CEO Matthew Reilly. “For MEND and our founding churches to start in 1969 in Moorestown — not in an impacted urban area, but Moorestown — and just say we need to create some housing in this community so that people who can’t afford to live in the market-rate housing can still live here so we can have a diverse community … is really an amazing accomplishment.”

MEND was founded in 1969 by Boyce M. Adams along with C. Dixon Heyer, Clarence L. Baylor, G.S. Spohn, Warren D. Sawyer, Rev. Fred D. Tennie, Jr., Steward R. Maines and now-retired Superior Court Assignment Judge Harold B. Wells, III, before he was named to the Burlington County bench.

The nonprofit has never strayed far from its original vision and now works to develop, build, manage and maintain housing for low-to-moderate income families, seniors and those with special needs.

In its early days, the organization focused on developing affordable housing solely in Moorestown. From 1969 to the 2000s, it developed nearly 250 affordable housing units across 20 locations throughout the township.

However, when Reilly signed on to lead the nonprofit in 2001, he said, it was struggling financially.

Reilly, who had previously worked for the nonprofit affordable housing developer New Community Corporation in Newark and in commercial real estate lending, wanted to find a way to expand the organization’s portfolio.

“Conifer had larger financial role, and larger ownership, but MEND had meaningful ownership, meaningful control and a meaningful share in the fees that are generated by those projects. That I believe enabled the organization to kick start a new part of its life,” Reilly said.

Since then, MEND has not just developed 770 units across 30 locations throughout Burlington, Gloucester and Atlantic counties, but in the process it has preserved a number of historical buildings by repurposing them into residential complexes — a practice that was in place since its beginning.

MEND has repurposed the old Moorestown Fire Department Hose Company No. 1 building; the former Lenola Elementary School in Moorestown; the old Mitchell School at Springside in Burlington Township; and the 100-year-old Marcella Duffy School in Florence.

“A town being able to take one of these old buildings, save them and repurpose it to make a new contribution to the town, towns generally are really excited about it,” Reilly said.

The Marcella Duffy School is a special place for Melva Gilanyi. It was where she and her late husband graduated from high school in 1949, and where she would call home 46 years later.

“It’s brought good memories back,” Gilanyi said, who moved into MEND’s Duffy Apartments when they opened in 2015. “I’m happy here, it’s a beautiful place. Everybody is nice here, and it’s like a little community.”

MEND has also developed a 104-unit affordable housing complex in Evesham, a development for the elderly and disabled in Medford, along with other projects in Delanco, Deptford and Egg Harbor City. This year it broke ground on its newest project, a 54-unit affordable housing project for seniors at the former site of the Cinnaminson Home in Cinnaminson.

“We’ve been able to expand the mission and help more people, and it’s not easy for nonprofit housing development organizations to not only survive but to stay true to our mission and thrive,” Reilly said. “We’ve been able to do that.”

Gloria Titus, a resident of MEND’s Medford Senior Residence for nine years, moved there after a friend of her mother’s who had lived in another MEND development had praised the organization.

“I knew MEND had a good name behind it,” Titus said. “It’s been wonderful, and I couldn’t ask for a nicer place. It’s small, and you get to know everybody and you make good friends.”

In his time as president and CEO, Reilly has also formed the Friends of MEND — a group of professionals dedicated to fundraising and promoting the nonprofit organization.

“We have a responsibility to make sure people know about MEND and affordable housing and bring awareness to the issue,” said Friends of MEND member Daniel Caldwell, of Stout & Caldwell Engineers.

Caldwell has been a part of the Friends of MEND since its inception around 15 years ago.

“It’s an award-winning organization,” Caldwell said. “It’s a true need in our society, we need affordable housing for everyone. (MEND) is a perfect storm of all the right things: need and leadership that cares and loves what they do.”

Since its start, MEND has earned eight regional and national awards for its projects. Reilly said the key for the nonprofit’s success has been “the steadfast support of our founding churches.”

“The churches have helped maintain the moral compass of the organization,” Reilly said.

He added that as long as it sticks to what has kept it around for 50 years, MEND will continue to provide housing that is very much needed across the state.

“We’ve helped the towns where we are fulfill their obligations to produce and have some affordable housing, and we’ve helped the people in those towns and in the surrounding areas to have the housing that they need. And very unfortunately, the need for the housing that we provide is not diminishing, its growing,” Reilly said.

Source: By George Woolston

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