E-ffordable - August 16, 2019 Edition
Re-financing of Wedgewood Apartments
At its meeting on July 18, 2019, the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) approved the issuance of Revenue Refunding Bonds as part of a refinancing plan for Wedgewood Apartments in the Mason District. Prior to this action, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the FCRHA’s request to issue the bonds to achieve debt service savings at the property.
Wedgewood Apartments was purchased by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors on November 28, 2007. The 672-unit property in Annandale was purchased as part of the County’s affordable housing preservation initiative and has served households with initial maximum incomes up to 50 percent, 60 percent and 80 percent of Area Median Income (AMI).
With the refinancing of the property through the Revenue Refunding Bonds, it is anticipated that the annual debt service payments for the property will be reduced by approximately $780,000. This annual projected savings will remain in Fairfax County’s Penny for Affordable Housing Fund and will be repurposed for other affordable housing projects in Fairfax County.
The action help to fulfill critical items in Phase 1 of the Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan, which called for the development of strategies for the reinvestment of savings from the refinancing of Wedgewood and the Crescent property in the Hunter Mill District.
Board of Supervisors Transfers Autumn Willow site to the FCRHA
At its meeting on July 16, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (Board) authorized the conveyance of Board-owned property in the Springfield District to the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA). The property, approximately 11 acres located near the intersection of Stringfellow Road and Autumn Willow Drive, is expected to be redeveloped by the FCRHA for senior affordable housing.
The FCRHA is evaluating the possibility of partnering with a private developer pursuant to the provisions of the Public-Private Education Facilities and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) to construct up to 180 affordable senior housing units on the property. The creation of a new housing community for adults 62 years or older with low to moderate incomes anticipates a rezoning and a special exception. These applications would be reviewed at public hearings by both the Planning Commission and the Board. As part of the land use process, the public would be afforded several opportunities to comment on the design of the project and its possible impacts on the surrounding communities. Initial public outreach efforts are expected to begin as soon as the PPEA selection process is completed. Should the FCRHA decide not to move forward with an affordable senior housing community at Autumn Willow, the site will be transferred back to the Board of Supervisors.
Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Awards FCRHA $4 Million in Community Homeownership Revitalization Program (CHRP) Funds for First-Time Homebuyers
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) has been awarded an additional $4 million in Community Homeownership Revitalization Program (CHRP) funds for fiscal year 2020 by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA). CHRP funds increase the affordability of home purchases through lowering the interest rate by one percentage point. The new allocation of funds is immediately available to VHDA-designated lending institutions making mortgages to Fairfax County homebuyers. First-Time Homebuyers would apply and receive first mortgage CHRP funds through designated VHDA lenders. Eligible loans include Federal Housing Administration (FHA), FHA Plus, Veteran’s Administration (VA) and some Fannie Mae Loan products. The FCRHA successfully provided CHRP funds to first-time homebuyers through a similar $4 million grant awarded in June 2018.
Update on One University Project
In July of 2017, Fairfax County, on behalf of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA), received and accepted an unsolicited proposal under the provisions of the Public-Private Education and Infrastructure Act of 2002 (PPEA) to develop affordable housing and student housing on the site currently owned by the FCRHA (One University), located at 4348 Ox Road, 440 Saint Edwards Place, and 4500 University Drive in the Braddock District. In accordance with the procedures adopted by Fairfax County and the provisions of the PPEA, Fairfax County advertised for competing development proposals and ultimately selected one proposal to move forward for the potential redevelopment of the site, subject to an interim agreement authorizing the developers to pursue both the Comprehensive Plan amendment and the zoning necessary to permit the proposal.
On June 4, 2019, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted the Fairfax County Planning Commission’s recommendation to amend the Comprehensive Plan to add a development option to support up to 240 affordable housing units, up to 360 multifamily housing units envisioned to serve George Mason University (GMU) students, and limited space for community/public use.
The next step in the process for One University is a Rezoning Application that will be before the Planning Commission for decision on Thursday, September 12 at 7:30 pm at the Fairfax County Government Center (12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax VA). It is anticipated that a Public Hearing on the Rezoning Application will subsequently take place at the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, September 24, also at the Fairfax County Government Center.
Reminder: Approximately $2.4 Million Available in RFP for CDBG/HOME Affordable Housing Projects – Applications Due September 6
The Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) announces the availability of funds under the federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program. Project proposals are being solicited to acquire, develop or rehabilitate affordable rental housing.
Only multifamily rental projects consisting of 30 units or less and scattered site unit rental projects will be eligible under this request.
Additional points will be given to projects that include acquisition, development, and rehabilitation of affordable housing and meet one or more of the following special needs criteria:
Elderly persons ages 62 and up earning at or below 30% of AMI;
Youth transitioning out of foster care earning at or below 60% of AMI;
Homeless (or at-risk of homelessness) earning at or below 60% of AMI;
Persons with disabilities (physical, mental, or sensory) earning at or below 60% of AMI;
Veterans earning at or below 60% of AMI; and
Survivors of domestic violence earning at or below 80% of AMI.
The funding available under this request for proposal includes a total estimated $2,366,875 consisting of $877,797 in CDBG funds and $1,489,078 in HOME funds ($291,105 of which are reserved for Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs)). Funding awarded to successful applicants must be used within 24 months of approval by the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) of grant awards (i.e., project completion and fully occupied by beneficiaries).
An application is available online at the following links: Request for Proposals CDBG HOME Affordable Housing Projects For Permanent Housing FY 2020 and the FY 2020 CDBG HOME RFP Evaluation Criteria and Application - Corrected.
FCRHA Re-elects Chairman and Vice-Chairman
The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) re-elected Robert Schwaninger, Mason District, and C. Melissa Jonas, Dranesville District as chairman and vice-chairman respectively, at its meeting on Thursday, July 18, 2019.
Commissioner Schwaninger was appointed to the FCRHA in 2006. Mr. Schwaninger, an attorney, has been practicing before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) since 1982, and began his own firm in 1986. Since that time, he has represented hundreds of businesses, licensees, tower owners, and persons before the FCC, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and various federal agencies and offices. Commissioner Schwaninger became involved in community activities in 2001 when he joined with his neighbors to participate informally in local land use issues. In 2005, he became chairman of the Mason District Area Plan task force, guiding the task force to provide a forum for citizens to offer all levels of input related to future land development throughout the district.
Vice-Chairman Jonas was appointed to the FCRHA in 2013. Ms. Jonas is a seventeen-year resident of Herndon and has served on the Herndon Town Council and currently serves as the Chair of the Town’s Planning Commission. In 2009, she was appointed by Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust to serve on the Dranesville District Area Plans Review Task Force, a group that reviewed the proposed development surrounding the Route 28 Metro Site and its future impact on the town. In 2018, she served as the chair of the task force appointed to reevaluate to the Innovation Station North area to determine a second option for land use in the area. Commissioner Jonas’ community involvement has included membership in a steering committee to develop a partnership between Trinity Presbyterian Church and Herndon Elementary School; leadership within local Girl Scout troops; serving as a Sunday school teacher at Trinity Presbyterian; and volunteering for the Herndon Hammerheads swim team.
National Low-Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach 2019 Report Released
The Virginia Housing Alliance and the National Low-Income Housing Coalition jointly released Out of Reach 2019 report, which provides the housing wage for all states, counties, and metropolitan areas in the country. Each year, the data in Out of Reach informs housing policy makers and advocates at the national, state, and local levels. It also provides the average wages of renters, the number of hours minimum wage earners must work to afford rent, and the cost of rental homes across the country.
The report highlights the gap between what renters earn and what it costs to afford rent at fair market value. According to 2019 Out of Reach, Virginia is the 13th most expensive state in the nation. In Fairfax County, the annual salary needed to afford a two-bedroom apartment at the Fair Market Rent (FMR) of $1,665 was $66,600 A minimum wage earner would have to work four full-time jobs to afford a two-bedroom unit at the FMR in Fairfax County.
Out of Reach 2019 is available at: https://reports.nlihc.org/sites/default/files/oor/OOR_2019.pdf
September Affordable Housing Advisory Committee Meeting
The September Affordable Housing Advisory Committee (AHAC) meeting is scheduled for Friday, September 13, 2019 from 9:30 a.m. to Noon at the Fairfax County Government Center in Conference Room 4 and 5.
Fairfax County is committed to nondiscrimination on the basis of disability in all County programs, services and activities. Special accommodations will be provided upon request. For information call 703-246-5101 or TTY 711.
The next Board Health, Housing and Human Services Committee Meeting – Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019
The next Board of Supervisors Health, Housing and Human Services Committee meeting will be held on Tuesday Sept. 17, 2019 at 3 p.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center in Room 11.