The Ministry of Works and Housing has urged Shelter Afrique to increase the funds it planned to invest as part of efforts in addressing Nigeria’s housing deficit.
African Housing News reports that Shelter Afrique, an International Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has earmarked 181 million dollars credit facility to provide affordable housing for Nigerians over a period of five years. The Minister for State, Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu made the appeal in Abuja on Thursday when Mr Andrew Chimphondah, the Managing Director of Shelter Afrique paid him a visit in his office. Aliyu commended the institution for its efforts in trying to address the housing deficit in the country. “The institution is doing a great job but we need you to do more, the loan you want to invest in the country to address housing deficit should be increased, more employment position should be given to Nigerians because at present, you have only one Nigeria as staff, ” he said.
African Housing News reports that Shelter Afrique, an International Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) has earmarked 181 million dollars credit facility to provide affordable housing for Nigerians over a period of five years.
The Minister for State, Works and Housing, Mr Abubakar Aliyu made the appeal in Abuja on Thursday when Mr Andrew Chimphondah, the Managing Director of Shelter Afrique paid him a visit in his office. Aliyu commended the institution for its efforts in trying to address the housing deficit in the country.
“The institution is doing a great job but we need you to do more, the loan you want to invest in the country to address housing deficit should be increased, more employment position should be given to Nigerians because at present, you have only one Nigeria as staff, ” he said. FG, States, LGs share N693bn for Sept. 2019 ― FAAC Aliyu said that the country expected to see more changes in terms of opportunities for Nigerians, adding that the government was determined to do its part. Speaking earlier, Chimphondah said that Nigeria was a strategic market for the Institute, adding that the outfit’s shareholders included 44 African countries and two financial institutions.
According to him, the institution provides loans, grants and credits for the development of the environment as well as the provision of houses for Africans.
“We are looking at the demand and supply side of housing. For the supply side, we will enter into Public-Private-Partnership with government, with the government providing land and subsidised infrastructure.
“We will commit and dedicate all the expertise to ensure that quality houses are delivered, we will also ensure that the houses are energy-efficient, environmentally friendly and comfortable,” he added. Chimphondah said that the Institute was the only Pan African Housing Development and Finance Institution committed to facilitating and financing affordable housing delivery across Africa.
Again, stakeholders comprising real estate developers, builders, engineers, estate surveyors and town planners are mounting pressure on the National Assembly to expedite action on the outstanding housing bills before it.
The housing bills,it was gathered, are yet to be passed by the National Assembly since 20O4.
They include the passage of Foreclosure Bill into law to legally resolve default issues in the housing sector; Review of Land Use Act of 1978; Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Bill 2018; Review of Federal Government Housing Loans Board Bill (FGHLB); Review of the National Housing Fund (NHF) Scheme Act 1992; Review of Mortgage Banks Act 1989 ( subsumed in BOFIA); Review of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) Act 1993; and Review of the Trustee Investment Act 1962.
Others are Review of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Act 1993; Review of the Insurance Act 2002; Review of the Investment and Security Act 1999; Review of the Federal Housing Authority (FHA) Act 1990; Climate Change Adaptation Policy; Policy Creating the National Council on Housing for Sector Regulation; and Securitization Bill and otheraffordable housing policies.
Commenting on the bills, a former General Manager of Aso Savings and Loans Plc, Mr. Fonahanmi Idris, said that the various Acts should analyzed into areas of interest in the sector, adding that he was optimistic that if seen, they could be reviewed in line with current dictates.
It was also gathered that the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN) was also putting the bills into priority.
Another affordable housing advocate, David Gamvwa, said it was sad that eight of the bills were initiated, prepared and sent to the National Assembly since 2004 by Professor Akin Mabogunje-led Presidential Technical Committee on Housing and Urban Development.
In his agenda setting for government, Adebayo reminded the Minister of Work and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, that urgent passage of the outstanding bills would facilitate rapid investment in the real estate sector and drive the economy.
Besides, he called on the minister to urgently partner with the Mortgage Bankers Association of Nigeria (MBAN), Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others to see that these critical bills are passed by the National Assembly.
Adebayo noted that funding has remained one of the most critical challenges for Nigeria’s housing sector, urging the minister to consider approaches that would ease access to funding low-income housing in the country.
Whether in terms of partnerships, policy developments or securing alternative finance models, Adebayo said that if access to funding could be guaranteed, a lot could be achieved in record time in the sector.
He lamented that mortgages and project constructions were stalled by limited access to funding.
He said: “Another critical mandate for the minister is to partner with relevant stakeholders in the sector to create standard data system in Nigeria that can be universally accepted to collate data, identify data gaps, integrate, optimise and expand knowledge set to meet current demands.”
This, he said should also included the adoption of high impact training that supports research and data generation by major stakeholders within the industry.
“Any plan or investment in the sector ought to be based on dependable data,” he said, quoting the stakeholders.
Adebayo urged government to facilitate process to tackle the backlog of issuance of consent and Certificates of Occupancy on Federal Government lands.
“There is the need to do more in terms of creating enabling policies around land title documentations, with government playing a larger role in assisting investors and supporting local building industries and materials,”he said.
· Minister commends the innovativeness of promoters as he unveils Prefabricated Assembly and Installation Building Facility in Abuja · Says objective is to use cooperatives as a driving force in the country’s Housing programme · Pledges government’s support for initiatives that promote national housing · Urges caution over the repetition of a housing deficit figure that is unfounded
The Federal Government plans to initiate a National Cooperative Housing Scheme in the country as a provision to bring the informal Sector into the nation’s Housing Programme, the Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola SAN, has said in Abuja.
Fashola, who spoke at the unveiling of Karmod Nigeria Limited’s Pre-Fabricated Assembly and Installation Building facility in Abuja, said the objective was to use cooperatives as a driving force in the country’s Housing programme adding that their success in markets, in transportation and Agriculture, among other areas of the economy would be an incentive to achieve success in the sector.
The Minister, who said the government would also leverage on the successes and numerical strength of the cooperatives manifested in the many unions and associations they have in every state of the country, added that they would be mobilized under the aegis of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria to obtain loans to develop their own houses according to their tastes and preferences.
Cooperatives which would be eligible to participate in the scheme, the Minister said, would be those “who are properly registered, who have their trustees and leaderships to act for them, who have their own lands and who convey an approval of the type of house they want so that they won’t be stranded”.
“We will tell them to get a planned approval for land in which ever state so that it won’t become a slum. We will work with that state’s government to ensure that access roads are built; we will give them development loans to give Real Estate developers so that you build for yourself and contribute the counterpart fund to finish. In this way we will achieve the scheme”, he said.
Fashola said the Next Level Agenda of the present administration encompasses policies and programmes that are people oriented and are meant to consolidate and sustain the achievements made in the last four years in all sectors of the economy adding that policies like the Eligible Customer and the Off-Grid initiative have enabled private businesses to source their own power either directly from generation companies or independent of the national grid as done by Messrs Karmod Nigeria Limited.
“If you follow the trajectory of government plans, Housing and Consumer Credit, this is one of the major objectives of this government in its Next Level Agenda; Agro development, food production, processing, manufacturing and transport infrastructure – Roads, Rail, Airports and Seaports, Education and Healthcare. These are the major focal areas of this government”, the Minister said.
He commended the Chairman of the Company, Mr. Hakeem Shagaya, for investing in Housing saying in so far as it seeks to boost housing development in the country, the investment “sits appropriately within the focal area of the government which is Housing and Consumer Credit”.
“In the past, government has made policies that support direct access for small , medium and large agencies to take their own power directly from generating companies under the policy of Eligible Customer”, he said adding that the decision by the company to adopt Off-Grid supply was also a major policy shift of the Buhari Administration in the last three years; “promoting direct and independent power development so that business clusters can come together, develop their own grid, share it subject to licensing by the regulator; and so also can market clusters”.
Also congratulating the Chairman of Karmod International, Mr. Mesut Cankaya from Turkey “for bringing the investment to Nigeria”, Fashola, who told him that as government, from local, state and federal government, “Nigeria is ready to do business”, assure him of government’s support, not only at the Federal level but also at the municipal level “to enable you plant your foot and expand your business”.
Describing the investment in pre-fabrication method of building houses as “an innovation into Housing development”, which, according to him, “proposes an alternative method of building houses”, Fashola said the innovation was welcome; adding , “innovation is the driver of growth; it is the driver of prosperity and we are ready to partner with you”.
The Minister, however, tasked the Chairman and his team to engage in aggressive marketing “to persuade the end users to change what has become an acquired taste” adding that this would be expedient because taste and preferences in the choice of houses differ from country to country, from community to community and even from culture to culture.
“In some countries you see people building with timber; in other places they prefer burnt brick and in some other places they have adopted container type buildings. In all of this and at the end of the day no one can successfully prescribe that this is the method of Housing that people must all adopt”, he said adding that the transformation or acceptability was often slow and informed by culture, experience and other social indices.
He recalled some places where government had suddenly tried to move people from mud houses and the project had been developed but with no consultation and preparation adding that the people chose to ignore those houses and refused to move. He told the Chief Executive, “So it is now where the product can meet the market and that will be the challenge to you and your team how to make this an acceptable method of building”.
The Minister noted, however, that with the growing population of young people who, according to him, “are ready to go and who do not require too much space to operate in”, it would not be too burdensome to find a market for the type of building, adding that the young people would more readily accept such innovation than the older generation.
“We must accept that we have a growing large population of young people. We will also accept that we cannot live the same way. Their needs have changed, they do not need too much space. Their world is reduced to their laptops. They want to get up and go”, he said adding that all of the planning in infrastructure development must take cognizance of the need of the young generation.
Fashola promised that if the company could find ready market, government was positioned to respond. He declared, “But whatever you do, if the rubber (product) meets the road (market )and you close the deal, again, apart from infrastructure, government is positioned to respond”.
“We have the Federal Mortgage Bank that is managing the Housing Fund. The director is here; and every month they disburse a substantial amount of money from contributions made by contributors to help people access housing, to help people develop estates”, he said adding that it would be in the common interest of every Nigerian to open an account with the Federal Mortgage Bank because, according to him, “once we do, we will very likely benefit from it”.
Dismissing the much touted 17 million as Nigeria’s housing deficit, Fashola, who said he had investigated all the quoted sources of that figure, including the World Bank, declared, “Where did the 17 million figure come from”, adding that according to the Nigerian Bureau of Statistic survey, the actual figure of Nigeria’s households stand between 35 and 40 million households nationwide.
“Let us assume that one family lives in one house and you are saying that 17 million is the deficit; that means that more than half of Nigeria’s population is homeless. Is it a reality?”, he said adding that there was need to think through the issue and plan with the correct numbers so as to get the market right while the investment would also be sustainable and could deliver from the profit returns.
Maintaining that the 17 million housing deficit was unfounded, Fashola disclosed that the Ministry of Works and Housing has set up a team, and is hiring research companies to go round major urban centres to do an audit as a sample of how many houses have been virtually unoccupied for six months and above. “That will tell us whether we should be producing more or change strategy”, he said.
During a short interaction with newsmen after inspecting the Karmod Prefabrication facility, Fashola, who reiterated that it was an innovation in the Built Industry, declared, “It is innovation by young people; it’s innovation that brings investment into Nigeria, it is innovation that brings business and progress. And, therefore, government recommends it as part of its business expansion along with the economic opportunities that it brings”.
“So it sits very well with one of the key objectives of the government in terms of housing development and consumer credit. Every house creates a demand for finance. And potentially every mortgage being signed deepens our access to credit for people”, the Minister said.
Noting that the framework of the prefabricated building he just commissioned within the company’s premises was made from 12 shipping containers and finished with cement boards and other materials, the Minister reiterated that if the product found acceptability and the company was able to roll it out, government would give support through the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria.
“To my right here is one of the directors of the Federal Mortgage Bank who is saying that if they find buyers who are ready to off-take and there is a market and those buyers are willing to bank with the FMBN that will elicit for them an opportunity to get mortgage finance credit”, he said, adding, “So, we are, in a sense as government, with policies and programmes, taking demand to the market and enabling entrepreneurship flourish”.
Earlier, in his welcome address, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company, Mr. Hakeem Shagaya, said the company was established five years ago in partnership with a Turkish company with the objective of helping to bridge the nation’s housing deficit which he put at about 17 million adding that in order to address the problem the company has adopted the simple philosophy of fast production, fast execution and fast assembly.
Also present at the occasion which took place at the company’s premises at Plot 3075, along Kubwa Expressway, included Chairman, Karmod International, Mr. Mesut Cankaya and renowned entrepreneur Alhaja Bola Shagaya, among other Stakeholders in the Built Industry as well as top officials from the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing.
HAKEEM BELLO SPECIAL ADVISER, COMMUNICATIONS TO THE HON. MINISTER
The House of Representatives Committee on Housing and Habitat has decried the housing deficit in Nigeria, especially for retirees.
At the inaugural meeting of the committee in Abuja on Tuesday, the Chairman, Mr Mustapha Dawaki, said it was unfortunate that Nigerians could retire after many years of working without having their own homes.
Members of the committee, therefore, suggested amendments to relevant laws to make mortgage more accessible to low-income earners.
Dawaki said, “I believe that in the housing sector, we also have a chunk of money especially the initiative that President Muhammadu Buhari came up with; that is the National Housing Programme. Under the NHP, the first year, the appropriation was about40- something billion naira and the second year was about NN36bn. I don’t know what is proposed in this (2020) budget.
“We all know that based on statistics, we have housing deficit in Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that you see somebody has spent the whole of his life working and at the end of the day, he doesn’t have a roof over his head – he doesn’t have a house.
“So, I think it is the work of this committee to ensure that this is corrected. Even if it is the Housing Act that has a problem, then, we will need to revisit it and see how we can make some amendments to make sure that those that really sacrificed their entire life working for the country – not only them, even in the other sectors of the economy – at the end of the day should have a roof over their head; not that at the end of every year, a landlord will come and start asking them to bring money.”
Dawaki pointed out the need for the country to have a functional housing system. “Even though we have a National Housing Fund, that contribution is very insignificant,” he stated.
The lawmaker added, “That is why we need to revisit the National Housing Fund Act to ensure that what is deducted from employee as contribution and the employer’s contribution should also be a substantial amount that, at the end of the day, when you want to acquire a house from the Federal Mortgage Bank, it should be able to get you at least two or three-bedroomed flat.
“We should also use our legislative power to ensure that whatever that will bring progress to the sector should be done.”
Meanwhile, the House Committee on Ecological Fund has said there were indications that about 50 per cent of environmental crises were caused by humans.
Chairman, Committee on Ecological Fund, Ibrahim Isiaka, said based on the mantra of the 9th House, ‘Nation Building, A Joint Task,’ and the recently released Legislative Agenda of the House, the time has come for the lawmakers to reflect on the ecological challenges facing Nigeria.
At the committee’s inaugural sitting in Abuja on Tuesday, Isiaka stated that the panel, together with its counterpart in the Senate, would “strive vigorously” to work with the Executive and every other stakeholder to improve on the existing reforms, including legislative backings.
Stakeholders in the construction and real estate industry have said Nigeria needs a sustainable action plan to address its housing shortage.
They noted that if properly regulated, the sector had the potential to create jobs and promote economic prosperity.
The Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said it had become necessary to take a holistic look at housing at all levels of government.
He stated that most government housing projects in the past had focused mainly on the elite, neglecting the middle and low-income earners, who he said needed housing more.
According to him, when housing projects are completed, they are often unaffordable for the middle and low-income earners.
El-Rufai who was a keynote speaker at the Nigerian Chapter of Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors’ group conference in Lagos, said there was a need for social housing, which must be led by the government.
The governor, who was represented by Kaduna State Commissioner for Housing and Urban Land Development, Mrs Fausat Ibikunle, said Nigeria’s homeless statistics had become increasingly worrisome.
He said, “Many poor Nigerians do not have a decent roof over their heads. Coupled with the growing urban population and housing policy summersaults, millions resort to makeshift tents in slums and ghettos that have now spread across the country’s urban skylines.
“Social housing is required, and this must be led by government. But the federal housing budget is declining. Only N30bn was budgeted in 2019, from N35.4bn and N141bn in 2018 and 2017, respectively.
“It is open to question if the Federal Government should be directly involved in housing provision, as a builder or giver of contracts. But there is no doubt that it can do a lot through its agencies, especially in promoting long-term mortgages at single-digit interest rates.”
He said the government should explore public-private partnerships, adding that no government could provide all the affordable housing its population needed without a strong working partnership with the private sector.
The Managing Director, Eximia Realty, Mr Hakeem Ogunniran, said one of the greatest challenges in housing remained land acquisition.
He said several state governments had imputed revenue generation to every step of land acquisition and called for a review of such processes including governor’s consent.
A Senior Partner, Ubosi Eleh and Co, and former President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Mr Emeka Eleh, said the Land Use Act which was expected to make things easier in the housing sector had become a problem.
According to him, there has been no transparency in the system and the scheme has not been working the way it was meant to be.
A former President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr Agele Alufohai, said Nigeria lacked specific policies on housing, adding that this had created problems.
“To be able to boost the real estate sector, we should look at some models that have worked in some other places, such as having a construction bank for a functional mortgage system,” he said.
The Managing Director, Family Homes Fund Limited, Mr Femi Adewole, said there had been no decisive effort to address housing problems in the country.
“We need to raise our voices for housing as a significant issue or it will not get the attention it deserves,” he said.
The Chairman, RICS Nigeria, Mr Gbenga Ismail, said the group aimed to determine practical pathways that would lead to a clear and transparent real estate sector.
President Buhari has mandated the Federal Capital Territory Administration, FCTA to build at least 5,000 affordable housing units for workers and other Nigerians residing in the Federal Capital Territory.
Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Bello, who made this disclosure in Abuja during an inspection visit of the ongoing NLC/TUC Mass Housing Estate at the Apo District of the Federal Capital Territory, said the provision of affordable housing for workers was one of the cardinal objectives of the Buhari administration.
The FCT Minister, accompanied on the inspection visit by the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Ayuba Wabba, restated the commitment of the FCT Administration towards the provision of affordable housing for workers in the Federal Capital Territory.
He said the prime location of the 3,600 unit Civil Service Housing Estate, was carefully selected by the FCDA to ensure accessibility via a proposed 10-lane ultra-modern expressway that would pass near the estate, going all the way down to Gwagwalada.
“I am speaking the mind of Mr. President that housing, especially for workers, is a very important cardinal objective of this administration and this kind of project will meet that objective.
“President Muhammadu Buhari all his life has always been a man of the people and most of those that voted for him were the workers, the farmers and the petty traders. So, I came in here this morning with the President of the NLC to come and see the NLC/TUC Housing Estate under construction,” the minister said.
“Obviously you can see it’s in a very prime location. Substantial work has been done and I’m very confident that the challenges will be surmounted. Even my humble self as Minister, part of the mandate given to me is to ensure that we build 5,000 houses and we are working towards that. So, this is good and is commendable. There are challenges but by the grace of God, we will surmount the challenges,” he added.
The NLC President, in his response said Nigerian workers were very passionate about the provision of shelter, noting that the desire of every worker is to have a roof over his head before retirement from the service.
“So, this project is very dear to us and also all Nigerian workers. It’s a concept that was developed to make affordable housing possible to Nigerian workers. It’s not like any other project. It’s tagged affordable and that’s why the prices were actually set from the beginning. We are not leaving it to market forces.
“I am extremely happy that when we approached the Honourable Minister, he said that he wanted to personally visit and inspect the ongoing work and I think this is a demonstration of commitment”.
“I can say that Nigerian workers that subscribed to this project, if they see this today, they will be extremely happy because they want these houses to be completed and they want also to be part of this historic process of making sure that those houses are actually delivered,” he said.
The Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) and iBUILD Global have signed a significant MOU to adopt the iBUILD SaaS technology in order to increase efficiency and transparency across FMBN business processes for large scale Housing Construction projects.
Speaking on the partnership during his meeting with his iBUILD counterpart, Lew Schulman, the Managing Director of Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa said; “The iBUILD system is exactly the type of technology solution that we seek to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our business processes. The integration and transparency that the platform provides promises to significantly enhance efficiency in the delivery of our affordable housing services to Nigerians.”
With this partnership, iBUILD technology will be used to facilitate the distribution of FMBN Home Loan Funds to help administer developer loan funds, to enable more transparency on construction through geotagging, and to establish a transparent Digital Platform for improved collaboration and connectivity across all housing and construction stakeholders within Nigeria.
This partnership is significant for many reasons. Key among this is how it will advance the much needed transparency in the mortgage sector especially as it concerns the FMBN.
Since the coming of Ahmed Dangiwa as the MD/CEO of FMBN, stakeholders have noticed an increasing desire on his part to address perennial problems especially the lack of transparency in the management of the National Housing Fund (NHF).
One of foremost attempts to solve this was the introduction of the short code *229# to enable contributors to the fund have access to their contribution via their mobile devices.
While this is getting a lot of recommendation, FMBN has gone further to sign an MOU with an international organisation known for transparency – iBUILD Global – to see how they can bring more transparency into mortgage transactions involving FMBN and its clients, in order to enhance housing development.
In recent times, many stakeholders have also called for the digitalisation of FMBN. It is now likely that that call may be heeded with the way the new board and management of FMBN is working towards transparency in their operations.
Curbing corruption and ensuring transparency will go a long way to build the confidence of their clients, enable them deliver on their mandates and establish them as a distinguished organisation poised to delivering affordable housing for Nigerians through mortgages. No stone should therefore be left unturned in ensuring corporate governance, accountability and transparency.
FMBN functions include to provide long-term credit facilities to mortgage institutions in Nigeria; encourage the emergence and promote the growth of viable primary and secondary mortgage institutions to service the need of housing delivery in all parts of Nigeria; mobilizing both domestic and offshore funds into the housing sector; link the capital market with the housing industry’ establish and operate a viable secondary mortgage market; collect and administer the National Housing Fund in accordance with the provisions of the NHF Act; do anything and enter into any transaction which in the opinion of the Board is necessary to ensure the proper performance of its functions under the FMBN Act.
Its latest partner, iBUILD has also collaborated with other prominent African housing institutions including Shelter Afrique.
The iBUILD mobile application is a citizen-to-citizen (C2C) housing market disruption tool that empowers people to build, reversing their housing plight through small-scale construction based on each individual’s unique needs. iBUILD empowers a citizen-focused, virtual marketplace where consumers directly engage with: architects, lenders, artisans, material suppliers, and certified contractors.
iBUILD equips small scale construction markets in developing nations to scale up and to meet their exponentially growing housing demand.
The iBUILD mobile and web application is designed to lower the transaction costs of construction by providing citizens direct access to a dynamic ecosystem of competitive housing construction services and by creating transparency of transactions across all stakeholders throughout the entirety of a project. Citizen- initiated housing construction to meet unique individual needs, leveraging a local ecosystems of contractors and laborers, lenders and suppliers in a competitive marketplace, is the most cost-effective and expedient solution to stimulate construction at scale in order to address the acute affordable housing shortage.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced today that there is a combined $112 million available to expand the supply of permanent affordable housing for very low-income persons with disabilities. Funding is available for the two components of the Section 811 Program – traditional Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities and Section 811 Project Rental Assistance. The available funding includes $75 million in capital advances for the development of new supportive housing for this vulnerable population. This is the first time HUD is offering funding for both programs in nine years.
“Very simply, we need more permanent supportive housing to assist persons living with disabilities,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “The funding we offer today will support existing developments and, for the first time in nearly a decade, help to produce new affordable housing at a time we need it the most.”
Brian Montgomery, Federal Housing Commissioner, added, “We’re seeking to fund innovative and efficient housing models that combine form and function—a pleasant and safe place to live, with the appropriate supportive services. Our goal is to support affordable housing developments that allow persons with disabilities to live as independently as possible in their own communities.”
Section 811 Capital Advances
HUD is offering up to $75 million in capital advance funding to eligible nonprofit organizations to fund innovative permanent supportive housing models that will be at the forefront of design, service delivery, and efficient use of federal resources. Applicants are encouraged to establish formal partnerships with health and human service agencies or other organizations with a demonstrated capacity to coordinate voluntary services and supports for persons with disabilities to enable them to live independently in the community.
To encourage development within Opportunity Zones, HUD will award two preference points to applicants seeking to construct or rehabilitate developments in qualified Opportunity Zone census tracts. Read HUD’s Section 811 Capital Advance funding notice for more information.
Section 811 Project Rental Assistance
HUD is making up to $37 million in rental assistance available to eligible housing agencies working closely with State Health and Human Service/Medicaid Agencies. Eligible applicants include any housing agency currently allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC); participating jurisdictions administering affordable housing programs assisted through HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program; and/or housing agencies operating similar federal or state affordable housing programs. Eligible applicants are encouraged to align their Project Rental Assistance Programs with state or local initiatives that will directly increase development of permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Read HUD’s Section 811 Project Rental Assistance funding notice for more information.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Michael Bennet is angling to get voters’ attention—and boost his idling presidential campaign—by taking on one of Americans’ most visceral concerns: the rent is too dang high.
Bennet, the U.S. Senator from Colorado, unveiled a plan Thursday that would tackle the national housing shortage, saying he would invest in building millions of new affordable housing units across the country and expand a housing assistance program for poor Americans. Nearly half of renters in America currently spend more than 30% of their income on housing, and many of them have no alternative as the country faces a national shortage of 7 million affordable homes.
“A home is a platform for stability and upward mobility in America, but for too many families, owning a home is out of reach and the high cost of paying rent has pushed them to a breaking point,” Bennet said in a statement.
Bennet’s plan comes just a week before the next Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio on Oct. 15. He has been polling around 1 percent and did not qualify for either the Ohio debate or the previous one in Houston, Texas on Sept. 12. He has said he plans to stay in the 2020 race until at least the New Hampshire primary in February.
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Bennet’s housing plan includes a collection of ideas aimed at helping people low- and middle-income families pay for homes and creating more affordable housing in neighbourhoods with opportunities for job growth, good schools and transportation.
Just one out of every four people eligible for housing subsidies from the federal government currently gets assistance, Bennet’s campaign said. His plan would slowly expand the federal voucher program over 15 years to fully meet the need.
Bennet’s plan also aims to help those who want to buy homes by creating a refundable mortgage down payment tax credit and expanding credit access for small mortgages, which could help families in smaller or high-poverty areas.
A central component of Bennet’s plan is the creation of new affordable housing units so that people have more choices on where to live. It would invest $430 billion in creating nearly 3 million units over the next 10 years through the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, the Colorado Senator’s plan says. Some of Bennet’s fellow Democratic candidates, such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, also include these investments in their housing plans — but both Warren and Sanders would invest more money in creating new housing.
Bennet would also launch pilot grants for regional housing budgets, increase funding for rural housing and increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to encourage communities to build more affordable housing in desirable areas.
The Colorado Senator’s plan would cost significantly less overall than what other candidates have proposed on housing, according to his campaign. This stands in particular contrast to Sanders, who last month announced a housing plan that called for spending nearly $2 trillion on new housing and proposed a national rent control standard.
But Bennet is still banking on his brand of more moderate reform.
“As a former superintendent, I know how important it is for kids to have a stable home so they can show up to school ready to learn and succeed. Slogans like national rent control won’t solve the problem,” Bennet said, referencing Sanders’ plan. “We need to build more homes near good jobs and good schools and ensure people can actually afford them. That’s the bottom line for creating opportunity for all Americans.”
Other candidates such Sen. Cory Booker and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro have emphasized racial justice when introducing their housing policies, and Kamala Harris aimed her plan specifically at fixing the racial home ownership gap. Bennet’s plan also addresses housing segregation by creating a $10 billion grant program to aid communities to eliminate exclusionary zoning laws or other regulations that have historically kept people of color from accessing housing.
The Senator has also released plans addressing climate change, education and healthcare, all of which have yet to deliver that much-needed boost to his campaign.