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December 22, 2020
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities is a national non-profit organization that works to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education. CLPHA’s 70 members represent virtually every major metropolitan area in the country. Together they manage 40 percent of the nation’s public housing program; administer more than a quarter of the Housing Choice Voucher program; and operate a wide array of other housing programs. Learn more at clpha.org and on Twitter @CLPHA .
About CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative
The Housing Is Initiative, led by the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, helps build a future where sectors work together to improve life outcomes. Housing stability is a critical first step to improve life outcomes for low-income children, families, and seniors; CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative is based on the premise that sectors can better meet needs when they work together. Housing Is establishes, broadens, and deepens efforts to align affordable housing, education, and health systems to produce positive, long-term results. Learn more at housingis.org and on Twitter @housing_is.
For Immediate Release
December 11, 2020
(WASHINGTON, D.C.) December 11, 2020 – The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) called on the incoming Biden-Harris administration to address poverty, homelessness, and racial injustice by investing in public and affordable housing. These recommendations are among 52 proposals that CLPHA provided in a transition document to the incoming Biden-Harris administration.
“The Biden-Harris ticket’s decisive victory is a moral mandate to address the chronic problems of poverty, racial inequity, and housing insecurity,” said Sunia Zaterman, executive director of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. “CLPHA’s 52 recommendations are a roadmap to achieve these goals.”
Expanding the Housing Choice Voucher program is one of CLPHA’s top-line recommendations and a key plank in the Biden-Harris plan. Currently only one in four low-income households that are eligible receive housing assistance due to limited funding. We know that housing stability is central to economic mobility for low-income Americans, even more so during the pandemic and economic downturn.
Recapitalizing the public housing portfolio is also a top priority for CLPHA. "A capital backlog of $70 billion is putting the health and wellness of low-income seniors and children at risk," Zaterman said. “We call on the Biden administration to develop and implement a 10-year roadmap to ensure the long-term sustainability of this public asset.”
CLPHA also calls for expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and increasing operational flexibilities to better meet local housing needs. “These recommendations would result in significant investment in eradicating poverty and dismantling systemic racism,” said Zaterman.
CLPHA founded the Housing Is initiative to develop cross-sector resources of education and health five years ago. The Housing Is Initiative is calling for expanded coordination between federal agencies including the departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Housing and Urban Development, and increased funding for research and data sharing.
Over the past four years, the Trump administration has proposed or enacted egregious rules that disenfranchised marginalized people, such as immigrants and transgender Americans. CLPHA urges swift reversals of these dangerous rules.
“The Biden-Harris administration has a real opportunity to improve the lives of low-income Americans. CLPHA looks forward to working with the administration to make it happen," Zaterman concluded.
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
About CLPHA’s Housing Is Initiative
For Immediate Release
December 10, 2020
(Washington, D.C.) December 10, 2020 – The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) is proud to support the nomination of Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio) to be the 17th Secretary of the Housing and Urban Development Department. CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman released the following statement:
"Congresswoman Fudge is a longtime champion of affordable housing, urban revitalization, and infrastructure investment. She has demonstrated her leadership as a mayor, as a Member of Congress, and as the head of the Congressional Black Caucus. She understands that racial and economic inequities are deeply rooted, particularly in our housing systems, and that working across sectors is imperative. Her many years of work on economic justice issues such as food insecurity and education access can bring much-needed leadership to aligning systems and services to better meet the needs of low-income Americans. We look forward to working with Congresswoman Fudge in her role as HUD Secretary to address the growing need for COVID emergency rental assistance and safe, affordable housing."
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
Today, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman was quoted in Affordable Housing Finance discussing how the shutdown threatens the stability of low-income households. Though HUD has prepared payments for housing vouchers and the public housing operating subsidy through February, Zaterman notes that the “existential threat” for voucher holders looms given the uncertainty of when the shutdown will end. If housing authorities cannot utilize HUD funding after February, there is a risk that that they will not be able to pay landlords and that landlords will subsequently begin to evict voucher-holding tenants.
Zaterman added that as HUD funding remains suspended due to the shutdown, local housing authorities are growing increasingly concerned about how they will maintain properties, make repairs, and pay employees.
CLPHA will continue our advocacy in support of PHAs and will provide members with additional news about the shutdown as we learn it.
In this December 27, 2018 article by Bruce Japsen for Forbes.com, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman discusses the importance of cross-sector collaborations between housing and health care to improve life outcomes for low-income families and seniors.
“We’re housers with expertise in the management and operation of affordable housing for low-income families and seniors, but we are not experts in the complexities of health care service delivery,” Zaterman said. “That’s why nearly all of the public housing authorities we surveyed work with a partner to provide health services. Most would do more if they had the funding and resources to commit to their health partnerships.”
Anthony Scott, CEO of Durham Housing Authority (left) and A. Fulton Meachem, President & CEO of Charlotte Housing Authority (right) in Durham, NC.
CLPHA is pleased to see that our members are visiting each other’s communities to share knowledge, ideas, and best practices for preserving and strengthening their public housing portfolios and resident services.
In August, the Charlotte Housing Authority (CHA) hosted the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) and Durham city officials on a bus tour of Charlotte public housing properties. The Durham delegation also met with CHA staff, board members, and residents to discuss how Charlotte is transforming its housing portfolio and resident services through entrepreneurial efforts in real estate development, bond programs, property management, and family self-sufficiency programs. You can watch a video slideshow of the Charlotte & Durham meeting here.
In October, residents, staff, and board members from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) traveled to Cambridge, MA to meet with Cambridge Housing Authority staff and tour public housing communities. MPHA learned from Cambridge about their ongoing, comprehensive public housing transformation financed through the RAD program, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and other funding tools. In a post-trip recap, MPHA said their residents expressed the importance of seeing and hearing for themselves that these programs did not result in displacement. In fact, said MPHA, “CHA residents were often able to simply move units and continue living in their building even as the work proceeded around them.” You can watch a video about MPHA’s trip to Cambridge here.
Representatives from the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority on a bus tour of Cambridge Housing Authority properties.
From Columbus Business First:
A new initiative designed to increase homeownership among minority communities in Columbus is launching next week.
The effort, dubbed Convergence Columbus, is being spearheaded by the Mortgage Bankers Association, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, and Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Columbus-based nonprofit housing developer Homeport will provide financial education to homebuyers as part of the program, and the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Agency is also working closely with the initiative.
“The goal is to create a set of messages that will help us reach the residents in the community, those who are ready to be homeowners but aren’t aware that they’re ready or those who want to get ready,” said Steve O’Connor, senior vice president for affordable housing initiatives at the Mortgage Banking Association.
According to the association’s findings, the homeownership rate for non-Hispanic white people in the U.S. is more than 70%. In 2016, the homeownership rate for Black people in the U.S. was 41.7%. Hispanic homeownership remains below 50% and is trending upwards.
Sonja Nelson, vice president for resident initiatives for the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority, said the initiative is focusing on the disparities and racial inequities responsible for that disparity.
“It’s not just taking what was already out there and repackaging it, and introducing it to the community,” Nelson said. “It’s actually taking a look at some of our current practices, lending practices, really unraveling ‘How did we get here in the first place?’ and then seeing how we can fix what those issues were.”
Read Columbus Business First's article "New initiative aims to increase minority homeownership in Columbus," featuring the Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority.
From Real Estate Business Online:
Evergreen Real Estate Group, Synergy Construction Group and the Chicago Housing Authority have completed construction of Ravenswood Senior Living, a 193-unit affordable seniors housing community in the Ravenswood neighborhood on the north side of Chicago. The property was previously the Ravenswood Hospital, which was built in 1974 and fell vacant in 2002. The redevelopment project cost $81 million and took a year-and-a-half to complete.
Located between Damen and Ravenswood avenues, Ravenswood Senior Living is a 10-story building that is situated close to public transit, including the Damen and Montrose Brown Line stations and the Ravenswood Metra stop.
The seniors housing property has 74 one-bedroom independent living apartments for Chicago Housing Authority residents, as well as 119 units for participants in the Illinois Supportive Living Program, an alternative to nursing home care that is administered by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
In addition, the supportive living community has an onsite doctor’s office, which is staffed by a physician up to two days a week and offers 24-hour care provided by trained medical professionals. Applications are currently still being accepted for both the supportive living and independent living apartments. Residents of the independent living section must be 62 or older and residents of the supportive living section must be 65 or older. Also, there is an income restriction of 60 percent of Area Median Income for all apartments.
“Ravenswood Senior Living is the first facility of its kind in Illinois and will provide a pathway for low-income seniors to age in place while maintaining a high quality of life,” says Tracey Scott, CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA).
Read Real Estate Business Online’s article “Evergreen, Synergy, Chicago Housing Authority Complete $81M Affordable Seniors Housing Community.”
From the Baltimore Sun:
The more than 3,000 residents in Baltimore’s largest public housing complex will be offered leftover produce and training in urban farming under a deal allowing the Cherry Hill Urban Community Garden to remain on Housing Authority of Baltimore City property through the end of the year.
Housing Authority President and CEO Janet Abrahams said the agency’s six-month postponement of the farm’s eviction from the property at 900 Cherry Hill Road “responded to our residents’ needs.”
The 3,042 Cherry Hill Homes residents “will now receive produce from the farm and be offered the opportunity to volunteer there,” Abrahams said in a statement Wednesday. “We look forward to having the Black Yield Institute [the farm’s steward] view our residents as partners for the remainder of the year, as the group looks for a permanent location.”
Read the Baltimore Sun's article "Public housing residents will receive food, training at Cherry Hill Urban Community Garden in deal with Housing Authority of Baltimore City."
From the Louisville Courier Journal:
Wearing a mask and disposable gloves, Makeeba Edmund approached an apartment door and looked for the best place to leave her card.
On it was her contact information and title: eviction prevention specialist for the Louisville Metro Housing Authority.
Edmund hoped the tenant inside would call.
If they did, she could help them figure out how to get caught up on rent or even how to temporarily reduce their payments.
She could connect them with rent assistance, if they qualify, and let them know "the housing authority is here for you. You're not in this alone."
For hundreds of public housing residents, that hasn't always been the case.
The housing authority — which manages 3,000 federally subsidized units citywide — has long operated as a typical landlord, regularly filing evictions against tenants who failed to pay rent or violated their leases, executive director Lisa Osanka said.
In 2019 alone, the authority filed evictions against more than 700 tenants, with judges ruling against 478 renters, according to a Courier Journal analysis of court records.
In the first two months of 2020, the housing authority was on track to again file hundreds of evictions against tenants. But since the coronavirus pandemic began last March, the authority has enacted several eviction-prevention measures, including creating Edmund's position, paying one month of rent for all tenants and partnering with the Legal Aid Society to hold mediation sessions with people who've violated their leases.
Over the past 12 months, the authority hasn't filed a single eviction.
"We have thrown everything at this," said Osanka, who's led LMHA since 2018. "... We've tried to not be part of the eviction problem. Whereas in other times, before the pandemic, we have behaved more like a landlord."
Read the Louisville Courier Journal's article "How Louisville's housing authority went from hundreds of evictions to zero."
From WCNC Charlotte:
Greater Steps Scholars, formerly known as the Charlotte Housing Authority Scholarship Fund, is hosting a summer-long dorm room and school supply drive with the goal of providing the organization's scholars with the essential items they need to pursue a college education.
Greater Steps Scholars fights poverty by helping Charlotte's most vulnerable students — those living in INLIVIAN-managed subsidized housing — access higher education by providing scholarships, mentorship, and guidance. The organization believes that financial access to a post-secondary education, combined with emotional support and social capital, will create viable paths to self-sufficiency and economic mobility for under-resourced students.
“Tuition, housing, textbooks and computers — these are the essentials we tend to think about when a student goes to college, but the true needs are often more basic than that,” Aisha Strothers, Executive Director of Greater Steps Scholars, said. “We’ve found that our scholars often struggle their freshman year due to the lack of school supplies, bedding, and toiletries. Our Dorm Room & School Supply Drive will ensure these students have all the tools they need to succeed.”
Read WCNC's article "This Charlotte company is providing students with essential items they need for college," featuring INLIVIAN (the Charlotte Housing Authority).