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November Housing Update
November 16, 2017

By Dennis Sanders

Here are some housing links for your perusal for November 2017.

1. Anne Mavity was head of New Projects at Beacon until August when she accepted the Executive Director position at the Minnesota Housing Partnership, filling the shoes of longtime MHP head Chip Hallbach.  The Minneapolis Star Tribune interviewed Anne about affordable housing here in the Cities and statewide.

2. There are different communities of people experiencing homelessness and this includes veterans. The good news is that homelessness among veterans in Minnesota has decreased by 60% since 2010.  A new housing complex opened recently to make a dent in the veteran homeless population.  A recent issue of Housing Finance describes the Richard A. Burstad homes, located near Fort Snelling:

Named after the late Dick Brustad, the founder of CHDC and a leader in providing affordable housing in the Twin Cities, the development is helping to provide access to health care, education, and job training for the veterans, who range between the ages of 35 and late 70s or early 80s. 

 

3. Have you ever heard of NOAH?  I'm not talking about the guy who built the ark, but Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing.  This is housing that is considered affordable but is not subsidized by any federal housing program. In Minnesota, the NOAH Impact Fund is a public-private partnership created to help housing developers preserve NOAH housing.  The Fund, along with Aeon, the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF) and Enterprise Community Investment recently completed the acquistion of nearly 800 affordable apartments found througout the Twin Cities and valued at $77 million. In a recent edition of Affordable Housing Finance, you can get a picture of the need for affordable housing in the Twin Cities and how this purchase will help:

Since 2000, the number of Minnesotans considered cost-burdened by housing—paying more than 30% of their income for housing—has increased 69%. Nationally, nearly one-third of all households are cost-burdened. This situation forces lower- and middle-income residents to choose between rent or groceries, medical bills, and child-care expenses, according to Aeon.

“That’s why Aeon was determined to keep these properties affordable,” says Alan Arthur, Aeon president and CEO. “This purchase with GMHF, Enterprise, and our other partners is a model for how communities can work together to preserve affordable homes. Saving our existing stock of affordable homes is as important—if not more urgent—than developing new ones.”

The properties are in Bloomington, Brooklyn Center, New Hope, and St. Paul and were purchased from the same owner, Hillaway Investments.
All of the acquired apartments are NOAH properties and did not have restrictions on them prior to the sale. However, AEON plans to place rent and income restrictions at 60% of the area median income on the homes to ensure their long-term affordability.

4. Homelessness is on the rise in Ramsey County and that is forcing people to use motels as a way to keep off the streets. From the Associated Press

Ramsey County has seen a 22 percent spike in people who are homeless this year, the Pioneer Press reported . The number of families who've stayed in hotels long-term has doubled. There are at least 85 families waiting for space at the county's emergency family shelter and another 180 families on the permanent housing wait list.

The St. Paul Pioneer-Press interviews one woman as she struggles to keep her family from homelessness by staying at a local motel:

It’s Alicia May’s third week in a motel. A single room with four kids.

“You microwave food, fast food all the time. I can’t cook anything; you just stay in the motel all day,” said May. In the corner of her room off White Bear Avenue in St. Paul sit two portable coolers, drinks in one, leftovers in the other. Still, she added, “it’s better than staying in a car.”

In Ramsey County, there’s been a surge of homeless people calling motels home. For months. It’s just one drop in the flash flood of what front-line homeless advocates are calling a perfect storm.

 

5. In the last five years, Beacon created three housing properties geared towards youth and young adults. The need is still there and it's growing as an article in Governing Magazine shows.

6. Congress is working on the Tax Cut and Job Act and the versions working through both houses of Congress will have an effect on affordable housing.  The House version eliminates  private-activity bonds  which could have a grossly negative effect on affordable housing.  The Senate version retains the private-activity bonds.  The cut in corporate taxes could also have an affect on the ability to produce affordabe housing:

Both the House and Senate bills cut the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent, although the Senate bill delays this change until 2019. Novogradac & Company, an accounting firm that specializes in the real estate sector, previously estimated a corporate tax cut could result in as much as $2.2 billion less in equity raised by LIHTCs and as many as 16,000 fewer new or preserved low-income housing units each year.

 

That's all the housing news for this month. See you in December.

 

Dennis Sanders
Dennis Sanders is the Content Specialist for Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative.