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Congressman David Joyce learns about importance of HUD funding

OCDCA is working with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) to make the long-term case to key Ohio congressional officials about the importance of adequately funding community development and affordable housing in the HUD budget.

Congressman David Joyce (R – Geauga County) recently attended an educational convening with COHHIO and OCDCA members at the offices of Extended Housing in Painesville and learned about how housing is foundational to success and how federal programs work together to leverage resources to uplift the community.

From L to R – Gina Wilt (COHHIO), Karen McLeod (Extended Housing), Congressman David Joyce, Nate Coffman (OCDCA), Bill Faith (COHHIO)

Our organizations will continue to make the case in DC and throughout Ohio. We greatly thank Representative Joyce for spending the day with us, and our members who helped demonstrate their critical work.

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Advocates and congressional champions secure increased affordable housing funding for 2018

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

The final fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending bill – released yesterday, March 21, by Congressional leaders – includes a significant increase in funding for affordable housing and community development programs at HUD and USDA, along with an increase in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and an important reform to the tax program. This successful outcome is due to the hard work of advocates across the nation and strong Congressional champions, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and David Price (R-NC) – the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees – as well as Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and others.

The bill provides HUD programs with $4.6 billion in additional funding overall compared to FY17, or more than $12 billion above the president’s FY18 request. With a 10% one-year increase to HUD, many programs were funded at levels significantly above what was proposed in either the House or Senate draft bills. The spending bill renews all Housing Choice Vouchers and provides new vouchers to veterans and people with disabilities, allocates nearly $1 billion in additional funding to repair and operate public housing, and boosts funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) to the highest level in seven years. Moreover, the final bill includes none of rent increases proposed by the president in his budget request. See NLIHC’s updated budget chart for more details.

The final FY18 spending bill is a clear repudiation of the president’s budget request, which would have cut funding for HUD by nearly 15%, or $7.4 billion, compared to FY17 levels, provided the HUD secretary with the authority to increase the financial burden on current and future tenants, eliminated 250,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, and slashed or zeroed out funding for public housing, the national Housing Trust Fund, HOME, and Community Development Block Grants.

The House is expected to vote on the bill as soon as today, March 22, followed by the Senate soon thereafter. Congress must enact the spending bill before the current stop-gap spending measure expires on Friday, March 23. Congressional leaders could turn to a short, day-long continuing resolution to provide enough time to overcome procedural hurdles. Once the bill is enacted, NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development will turn our full attention to defeating the president’s FY19 budget request, securing the highest allocation possible for affordable housing and community development programs, and defeating harmful benefit cuts.

Read and learn more on the NLIHC’s website.

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Community Development Week starts April 2nd

Please find below information from the Ohio Development Services Agency regarding Community Development Week April 2 – 6.

The week is an excellent opportunity to highlight the successes of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investments Partnerships program (HOME), and other critical community development resources.

Each year, you, our community development professionals are asked to do more with less. Through your collaborative efforts, we’ve been able to help many low- and moderate-income individuals in communities across the state.

This year marks the 32th anniversary of National Community Development Week. It is an opportunity for you to showcase your communities’ accomplishments and projects. It is an excellent opportunity to educate residents, business owners and elected officials about the CDBG, HOME and other community development programs through ODSA and how they improve the quality of life for all.

The work you do locally helps to strengthen communities across Ohio. We encourage you to participate in in Community Development Week this year. The Council of State Community Development Agencies (COSCDA) has a planning guidebook for the week. The National Community Development Association also has resources and ideas for events and outreach you can do locally.

If your community is planning any activities or events during the week, please contact Deauna Gibbs at deauna.gibbs@development.ohio.gov or 614-752-9556 with more information. We would like to highlight the change you’re making in the communities where you live and work.

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Building a Successful HDGF Deal: No Credits, No Problem!

Looking to build or renovate a modest affordable housing deal but not sure where to start?

Want to master the application process for OHFA’s non-tax credit Housing Development Gap Financing program?

Are you a development pro but want a refresher on this dynamic program?

Join OHFA on April 5th for an interactive training with their experienced staff!

Registration is open through March 22, but seating is limited, so save your seat now.

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Call for nominations! HUD’s fourth annual Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes

HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, in partnership with the National Environmental Health Association, offers this call for nominations for excellence in four categories:

1. Public Housing/Multifamily Housing;

2. Policy and Education Innovation;

3. Cross-Program Coordination,

4. Research.

Nominations accepted online until Feb. 28.

More information about submission requirements.

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Azul restaurant to anchor senior citizen development and neighborhood in Maineville

Polly Campbell of The Cincinnati Enquirer:

An intergenerational development is coming to Maineville that’s a first of its kind in Ohio.

Hopkins Commons will be a neighborhood designed to help senior citizens age in place and stay connected to the larger community. It includes both market-rate and subsidized housing and amenities for people older than 55.

It will be anchored, and partly funded, by Azul, an American comfort-food restaurant open to the public. Chef Nat Blanford will co-own it with Warren County Community Services, which is building Hopkin Commons. They hope to open by April 1, 2018.

Blanford says that the restaurant, open to the public, will be all about comfort.

Read more about this really cool and innovative project.

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Yellow Springs fourth-graders eye affordable housing

A heart warming story out of Yellow Springs, Ohio, a small, rural village in West-Central Ohio. Fourth graders at a local school working on a big project that really affected the community. They surveyed local residents about pressing issues, and decided to focus on affordable housing, which is a major challenge for the town – one that resonated with many of the students.

“Zoe Siemer, 10, said her family also lives in Xenia, and her father drives her to school each day.

“It took like three years before my family found a home here,” said Kiernan Anderson, 10 this month.

“My grandma and grandpa always wanted to live here,” Jonah Simon, 10, said.”

The semester-long study culminated in a visit from OCDCA member, YS Home Inc, where students shared their learnings and engaged in conversation with the Home, Inc. staff about affordable housing and their organization. One student asked Home, Inc. Executive Director and OCDCA board vice president Emily Seibel if she was proud:

“I’m proud of our mission,” she said. “It’s incredibly humbling to do this work. It’s food for the soul to help people get a home.”

Read the full article by Carol Simmons in The Yellow Springs News.

Photo by Carol Simmons

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WSOS, Liberty Center get grants to help homeless

Daniel Carson of The News-Messenger:

The WSOS Community Action Commission and Liberty Center of Sandusky County have each been awarded two year-grants by the state to help the area’s homeless populations.

The Ohio Development Services Agency in December awarded WSOS $1,007,100 and Liberty Center $173,200 through the state’s Homeless Crisis Response Progam.

In Port Clinton, Ottawa County Transitional Housing received a $75,400 grant through the state’s Supportive Housing Program.

Across Ohio, the Ohio Development Services Agency provided grants to 72 local organizations to support homeless prevention, emergency shelters and permanent housing initiatives.

More than $25.8 million will support shelters for the homeless and help homeless Ohioans find permanent housing, according to an ODSA release.

Ruthann House, President/CEO at WSOS, said her organization was pleased to receive the state funding for the group’s region, which includes Sandusky, Ottawa, Wood, Seneca, Erie, Huron and Richland counties.

“The program will provide homeless prevention and rapid re-housing services for more than 400 households facing homelessness in these communities,” House said.

Read the whole article here.

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Fix a house, learn job skills in this Middletown program

Ed Richter of The Journal-News:

Starting Feb. 12, the newest Build-Up Academy will start its next class to rehab a house in Middletown.

The Build-Up Academies is a program operated by the nonprofit Supports to Encourage Low-Income Families that provides job training for people looking to get into a construction trade by rehabbing or flipping property.

John Post, SELF’s housing coordinator, said the program is a natural outgrowth of the nonprofit’s other activities and programs, which include various volunteer work camps in the summer, and community blitzes throughout the year helping low-income people with home repairs and other maintenance issues.

Post said the Build-Up Academies, now in its third year, provides free construction skills training to classes of nine to 18 students, ages 18 to 40, who meet for nearly four hours a night, four nights a week for nine weeks on the project.

The students also receive construction technology or construction management certificate through an agreement with Cincinnati State. The program offers opportunities to network with local employers or apply for apprenticeships in the construction field upon graduation. In addition there are incentives, employment and life skills training, emergency supports and even steel-toed boots and a starter tool set upon graduation from the program.

“It’s been a great program for us,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of great success stories.”

Read the whole story here.