E-ffordable - November 26, 2019 Edition
For Your Calendar:
November 28 - 29, 2019: Offices closed for Thanksgiving Holiday
December 4, 2019: Special Meeting of the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (5:30 p.m. at 4500 University Drive, Fairfax)
December 10, 2019: Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Health, Housing and Human Services Committee Meeting (9:30 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center, Room 11)
December 12, 2019: Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority Meeting (7 p.m. at 4500 University Drive, Fairfax)
December 24, 2019: Offices close at noon for Christmas Eve Holiday
December 25, 2019: Offices closed for Christmas Holiday
January 1, 2020: Offices closed for New Year's Day
Reminder: Request for Proposals for New Construction Project-Based Voucher Units Deadline Nears - December 16, 2019
The FCRHA has announced the availability of up to 150 Project-Based Vouchers for new construction housing projects serving low income families and individuals. Project-Based Voucher Housing Assistance Payments Contracts are available for an initial period of twenty years with potential extensions up to an additional twenty years.
Applications will be accepted beginning Thursday, November 14, 2019, until 2:00 p.m. on Monday, December 16, 2019, at the Fairfax County Department of Housing and Community Development (3700 Pender Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030). Successful applicants will be notified in writing by January 31, 2020.
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Approves $6.5 Million Loan for One University Development
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has approved the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) to make loans totaling $6.5 million to One University Family, LLC and One University Senior, LLC to finance the development of One University Apartments in Fairfax, Virginia.
The project will include the construction of a total of 240 affordable housing units—120 units for individuals and families with incomes between 30 and 60 percent of the area median income (AMI) which equates to approximately $36,390 to $72,780 for a family of four. The project will also include the construction of 120 units for seniors ages 62 and older with incomes at 60 percent AMI or below.
“The Apartments at One University project is a forward-thinking and vital investment in an area of our county with a significant need of affordable housing options – both for low to moderate income families and seniors as well as for students of George Mason University,” said FCRHA Chairman Robert Schwaninger. “Located in one of the county’s major activity centers with access to public transit and amenities, One University is a prime example of how affordable housing can successfully be enhanced not only in Fairfax County but throughout the Washington Metropolitan Region.”
FCRHA to Provide Boost in Facilitating Redevelopment of Historic Building to Fill Community Needs in Southern Fairfax
At the November 19 meeting of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, the Board approved several actions involving the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) to provide a major source of financing to support the redevelopment of the Original Mount Vernon High School in the form of Virginia Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits (VHRTC).
In order to be eligible for VHRTCs, an entity such as a limited liability company must be formed in order to acquire a legal property interest in the project – a power not specifically granted to county government under Virginia law. The FCRHA, however, does have this authority to form such a structure. By forming a limited liability company structure, the FCRHA will enable approximately $55 million of the $80 million in anticipated project costs to be eligible for VHRTCs – yielding an anticipated $13 million. Under the structure of the deal, the financial, construction, and management obligations to redevelop OMVHS will ultimately fall upon the County either directly or indirectly.
“This is an excellent example of the creativity and flexibility the FCRHA affords Fairfax County in redeveloping county assets in order to better meet the diverse needs of a growing and evolving community,” said Tom Fleetwood, Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.
The vision of the project is to leverage the historic former high school structure to build communities of opportunity, create career pathways, connect different generations and better integrate residents into the economy.
FCRHA Receives 41 New Housing Choice Vouchers as HUD Awards More than $130 Million Nationwide to Provide Affordable Housing to People with Disabilities
On November 20, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded $131.3 million to 325 local public housing authorities across the country to provide affordable housing to approximately 15,363 additional non-elderly persons with disabilities. The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCHRA) received 41 new Mainstream Housing Choice Vouchers totaling $619,409 as part of this action.
HUD’s Mainstream Housing Choice Voucher Program provides funding to housing agencies to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities, particularly those who are transitioning out of institutional or other separated settings; at serious risk of institutionalization; currently experiencing homelessness; previously experienced homelessness and currently a client in a permanent supportive housing or rapid rehousing project; or at risk of becoming homeless.
Chairman Sharon Bulova Highlight’s Fairfax County’s Work Towards Regional Affordable Housing Goal
In the November 8 edition of the Washington Post, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Sharon Bulova, contributed an article highlighting Fairfax County’s commitment to enhancing affordable housing opportunities within the county and across the region. On September 11, Chairman Bulova moved a resolution, which received unanimous support among the region’s elected leaders in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, to establish targets for affordable housing and committing all governing bodies to act with purpose.
In Fairfax County, this process began more than two years ago with the formation of the Affordable Housing Resources Panel and has included several key milestones and actions taken by the Board of Supervisors to move the work of development and preservation of affordable housing forward – not least of which was the Board’s adoption of the first Communitywide Housing Strategic Plan. Read as Chairman Bulova points out some of the highlights in her Washington Post editorial – “We all need to adopt the same shared goal on home affordability”.
With Affordable Housing, Great Things Can Come in Small Packages
With an enormous need for 15,000 net new homes for low- to moderate-income families over the next 15 years, two things are clear: 1) collaboration and partnerships are critical to filling this need; and 2) solutions come in all shapes and sizes. Fairfax County and Habitat for Humanity of Northern Virginia met to commemorate a unique project that proved both these axioms true as they celebrated the completed rehabilitation of a 995 square-foot home in the Woodlawn section of Alexandria.
In December 2018, The Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority (FCRHA) awarded $107,000 in federal HOME Investment Partnerships Program funding to support an extensive rehabilitation of a deteriorating structure in order to provide an affordable home to a displaced senior citizen—and armed forces veteran with special needs—living on an extremely low income level (below 30 percent of area median income).
While only encompassing a mere 995 square-feet, this diminutive home in Alexandria provides an enormous example of partnership, thoughtful and strategic planning and of the value that even one affordable unit can bring to a community, a family and an individual.
Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) Accessibility Grants
The Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) offers grants for up to $6,000 per rental unit, which may be used to help people with disabilities make their rental homes more accessible. The grant is available to tenants who earn 80 percent or less of the area median income (AMI). Landlords are required by fair housing laws to permit modifications to an apartment to make it barrier-free – but tenants usually bear the cost. VHDA offers two types of accessibility grants:
Rental Unit Accessibility Modification Grant (RUAM) - provides funds to make rental housing more accessible. For details and eligibility requirements, visit vhda.com/RUAM.
Granting Freedom - pays for accessibility modifications for Virginia veterans who have service-related disabilities. Learn more at vhda.com/GrantingFreedom.
For more information, please visit: https://www.vhda.com/renters/pages/accessiblerentalhousing.aspx#.XdRaq4WcEYA
Fairfax County’s Hypothermia Prevention Program
People can die from hypothermia, a condition brought on when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Warning signs include uncontrollable shivering, memory loss, disorientation, incoherence, slurred speech, drowsiness and apparent exhaustion.
To help ensure no one has to sleep outside during the winter months, a collaborative effort by the county, nonprofits and faith communities created the Hypothermia Prevention Program more than a decade ago. Last winter, the program provided almost 1,100 people experiencing homelessness in our county with a warm, safe place to sleep and a healthy meal.
What can you do? If you see someone who is unsheltered and you think he or she could be at risk of hypothermia, call the county’s non-emergency policy phone line at 703-691-2131. A police officer will go out and do a wellness check and offer transportation to a hypothermia shelter site. If you see someone who appears to be in distress, call 911.
FHA Releases 2019 Annual Report to Congress
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has released its 2019 Annual Report to Congress on the economic condition of the agency's Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund (MMI Fund). FHA reports that at the end of Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, The FHA MMI Fund Capital Ratio for FY 2019 was 4.84 percent, the highest level since FY 2007.
The MMI Fund supports FHA's single-family mortgage insurance programs, including all forward mortgage purchase and refinance transactions, as well as mortgages insured under the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), or reverse mortgage program, since FY 2009. The HECM portfolio continues to show a negative stand-alone capital ratio, but improved substantially from a negative (-) 18.83 percent capital ratio in FY 2018 to negative (-) 9.22 percent in FY 2019. The HECM portfolio also showed an improvement in MMI Capital, increasing $7.7 billion.
To view the report, click here.