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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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What’s Happening? Payday lending reform, federal budget, & trainings

A brief sample of our March 2018 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development? 

While you’re reading this, why don’t you just read the whole newsletter and subscribe?

FY 2018 1.3T Dollar Spending Bill Includes Increases for Housing and Community Development
As part of the bill signed into law recently, overall HUD funding increased 4.6 billion dollars over FY17, more than 12 billion dollars above the president’s FY18 request. The approximate 10% increase is in line with the 10% overall increase the bill provides to non-defense discretionary programs. HOME funding increased (412 million) as part of the agreement, as did the Community Development Block Grant Program (305 million). USDA housing and rural development programs also saw increases. The budget also included a new line item for 100M in social impact partnershipsView a list of expenditures compared with past years. This is certainly positive given the last eight years of austerity but there still is a long way to go to get to pre-2010 funding levels and beyond.

Source: NLIHC analysis of federal appropriations enacted by Congress

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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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Approaching partnerships between health care institutions and community development organizations

Amanda Abrams for Shelterforce:

The shift has been unmistakable: health care organizations are increasingly focusing on upstream factors that affect their patients’ health. To some degree, that shift is the result of state and federal legislation, particularly the Affordable Care Act, which regulates nonprofit hospitals’ preventive care activities. But it’s also just common sense. Addressing patients’ big-picture realities—that is, the social determinants of health like housing, job creation, and food security—can have deep impacts on their day-to-day health and the interventions that are needed.

That new mindset has been a boon to many community development organizations, whose target populations—low-income groups—often tend to be frequent hospital users. The result has been a wide range of collaborations between community development groups and health care institutions that have sprung up around the country. In many cases, the partners have jointly determined that the community’s health problems could be mitigated through the provision of safe, healthy, affordable housing, often making housing development and rehab a front-and-center priority.

It’s a win-win situation: health care institutions save money as patients’ chronic conditions and repeat visits are reduced, while community development groups locate new sources of funding that can further their missions.

Read more in Shelterforce (and subscribe while you’re there!). You’ll hear about OCDCA members LISC of Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation.

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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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A new revitalization model: demand creation

Guest article from Revitalization News:

“When you chat with your grandmother about urban revitalization, the words that you use and the images she has in her head are likely focused on brick, stone, or clapboard buildings; on tree-lined, brick-paved streets; or on walkable main streets teeming with local retailers, hung shingles, and small offices or apartments above.

It is all about saving places. And we do it for a host of good reasons, be they economic, emotional, or to take advantage of a particular underserved market that wants to move in, not out to the hinterland exurbs.

The strategies we have relied upon mirror those images and words that we use. We focus, and understandably so, on the buildings, streets, and public spaces that make up the neighborhoods we want to save. We wrap policies around these places like bubble wrap, hoping to stem the dis- or mal-investment that has plagued them for a half century.

Design codes and zoning overlays institutionalize the wisdom of previous eras that we seem to be losing, the intuition that allowed us to build great places for millennia. To bridge the gap between what a landowner can invest in a building and what she can reasonably expect in return through rents, we have created a competitive set of tax credits that can be swapped for cash to pour into repointing the brick, popping in new windows, restoring the tin ceiling, and patching the roof.

When successful, we do save the place. Blood, sweat, tears and years go into stabilizing and restoring the bricks and mortar. Retailers open up shop, people move back in, and selfies are taken with your restored neighborhood serving as the memorable backdrop.

But saving that street or adopting that overlay district does not automatically save the neighborhood and, even if it does, it does not necessarily jump the tracks to the next neighborhood even if it exhibits some of the same great buildings and streets that dot your newly revitalized district. The movement does not scale on its own. What is more, even as we have restored investment in the place, real and often valid concerns about how we are restoring investment in the people that for generations stuck it out in the that place grow.

Enter gentrification and displacement.

And when we ignore the movement’s ability to scale and resist the difficult conversations about racial, cultural, and economic inclusion, we expose the preservation movement’s broad side to criticisms about Disneyification and loss of authenticity while isolating the pursuit of revitalization to a narrowing class of advocates that have the resources to navigate the bureaucracy, planning, lending, and trade skills necessary to bring a place back from the brink. This threatens to slow and narrow the movement right when we need to accelerate and broaden it the most.

These shortcomings are due, in large part, to how we go about revitalizing places. In other words: the supply-only approach of property acquisition, tax credits, building stabilization and restoration, and protection policies limit the risks of doing it all. And its importance cannot be underestimated. But while doing all of that hard work with our right hands, it is critical that we do something just as important with our left.

That something is a strategy we’ve come to call Demand Discovery where, through targeted activation of overlooked spaces, programming, storytelling, and ongoing tweaking, we figure out where, how, who, and what to focus on while removing the market’s mental obstacles preventing it from coming to the place you are trying to save.

A central observation of demand discovery is that, over time, we have value engineered out of the building process two key steps. We are likely to still engage in some form of planning (be it in a church basement or in a boardroom) with the intended goal of sustained development and investment.

But the leap between the two is proving to be too vast. We are missing one step by which we test those planning ideas through quick, low-cost, low-risk activations of the idea. We miss another that makes permanent the early and most successful aspects of those activations through smart, small development of the amenities and other uses that virtually all plans wish to bring back to a place. This holds just as true for a coffee shop as it does for a walkable street and allows our bigger development to be more sophisticated, market-driven (ie smarter use of gap funding), and integrated into the fabric of a place.

It is not your grandma’s picture of revitalization but, in fact, more like how places grew when she was a little girl through small scale trial and error that incrementally evolves into an extraordinary place.”

Read the full piece here, which details work occurring in the Cincinnati member Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation.

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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.