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Assessing Property Management for Affordable Housing

September 1, 2004

This research examines how nonprofit owners of affordable multifamily rental housing choose their approach to property management. The paper also presents findings that describe how third-party managers tend to bring economic advantages of efficiency, while nonprofit managers often better serve owners seeking to organize and empower resident communities.

Preserving Homeownership: Community-Development Implications of the New Mortgage Market

March 25, 2004

The recent rise in subprime mortgage foreclosures threatens to undermine the historic homeownership gains made by low-income and minority households during the 1990s.Particularly problematic is the fact that the wave of foreclosures sweeping the country is concentrated in low-income communities. Foreclosures have devastating financial and psychological impacts on borrowers, damaging their credit reputations and ability to secure credit in the future.Yet the negative impact of foreclosures extends beyond individual borrowers, lenders, and investors. Foreclosed properties often represent an eyesore, a site for illicit activity, and a drag on local house prices in vulnerable neighborhoods, and contribute to negative perceptions of these places. These factors can, in turn, generate a vicious cycle in which the presence of several foreclosed properties in a concentrated geographic area increases the likelihood that loans on neighboring properties will be defaulted on as well.Obviously, a run-up in foreclosures can impose unanticipated costs on mortgage industry participants. For investors and insurers of securities issues, foreclosures represent a direct reduction in cash flows and can reduce the market value of their securities. Foreclosure is also damaging to servicers, who incur significant expense pursuing and attempting to rectify problem loans. In addition, a servicer's bottom line deteriorates as the value of servicing rights must be written down as loans drop out of the pools backing securities issues.Funded by the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation and building on the work of Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS) of Chicago, this report seeks to chart new ways that community-based organizations -- working cooperatively with private industry and federal, state, and local governments -- can develop new national-scale foreclosure prevention initiatives. Through its Home Ownership Preservation Initiative (HOPI), the NHS of Chicago has forged a new partnership with the city of Chicago and key lending, investment and servicing institutions doing business in the city. The partnership seeks to preserve homeownership whenever possible and keep families in their homes through pre- and postpurchase counseling, prudent application of loan workouts, and in some cases by providing opportunities to refinance into more affordable NHS loans. When foreclosure is unavoidable, the partners seek to preserve the vacant properties as neighborhood assets.

Community Development in Dynamic Neighborhoods: Synchronizing Services and Strategies with Immigrant Communities

October 1, 2003

Community development organizations must be increasingly cognizant of and responsive to their changing neighborhoods. Major demographic factors related to the growth and influx of recent immigrants to the United States are having a notable impact on many communities. Through a review of current research and interviews with leading experts and practitioners of community development organizations, private lenders and governmental agencies, this analysis explores (1) the importance of immigrants in community development, (2) the response of community development organizations to recent demographic shifts, and (3) the challenges and opportunities practitioners face when connecting immigrants to their communities.Despite growing research about the implications of immigrant markets for the private sector, there is little research about the role and contributions of community development organizations in the integration of new immigrants. Immigration trends and characteristics are different today than those of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This research concludes that these new demographics drive much of the dynamic change in cities across the United States. CDOs can best address the changes at the local level, but need more data and market analysis of neighborhood trends. These organizations are in a key position to connect newcomers not only to long-term housing, but also to business development, jobs and leadership opportunities through strategic partnerships and planning.

Mixed-Income Housing Developments: Promise and Reality

October 1, 2002

This paper examines the rationale for mixed-income approaches to affordable housing development, as well as the record of such developments in meeting their objectives, from the perspective of housing developers and those responsible for designing housing programs and policies. The drivers of the recent, renewed emphasis on a mixed-income housing projects are also examined and analyzed. The potential benefits this mixed-income approaches are summarized based on existing literature and interviews with key informants. Overall, this paper finds mixed-income approaches can have an important role in getting additional affordable units built, ensuring high-quality housing, and deconcentrating poverty. However, mixed-income housing is not a silver bullet to overcoming the difficult challenges faced by families seeking to escape from poverty or the realities of housing markets. Because mixed-income developments are complex, present unique risks, and often house fewer needy families than other types of development, mixed-income approaches must carefully consider the local housing market, the population to be served, financing options, the scale of the project, and the community context. This paper concludes by discussing the implications of these findings and suggests guiding questions for developers and policy makers considering mixed-income projects and policies.

Aging in Place - Solutions to a Crisis in Housing and Care - An Issues Update

August 2, 2002

The issue of how people can age in place in a safe, healthy and dignified manner is a front-burner issue, especially for the poor, frail elderly who live in communities served by the NeighborWorks network and by other community-based housing and health-care entities. The Southern District office of Neighborhood Reinvestment convened practitioners in the fields of housing, healthcare and supportive services to address this issue.

Aging in Place - Coordinating Housing and Health Care Provision for America's Growing Elderly Population

October 1, 2001

Read this paper to learn how the challenges of the housing and health-care system as two separate entities reflects a disconnect that causes frustrations and unnecessary expenditures at the national level and what can be done to address this problem.

Community Development Corporations and Smart Growth: Putting Policy into Practice

October 1, 2000

Sprawling development patterns have had a direct impact on the neighborhoods that community development corporations (CDCs) seek to serve. While CDCs continue to work arduously to improve conditions for members of their communities, they are often swimming against a formidable tide that is pulling economic, social and political resources toward the fringes of their metropolitan areas. CDCs are not the only organizations concerned with the effects of job and population deconcentration on older parts of a region. Smart Growth advocates, also, seek to combat such patterns. They promote regional land-use planning, development around existing infrastructure, mixed-use and mixed-income development throughout the region, and investment in older-city and inner-suburban neighborhoods. The Smart Growth agenda has gained significant attention and political momentum in recent years. The rising importance of the Smart Growth agenda in shaping state and regional policy provides significant opportunities for CDCs to increase their impact, both from the more-focused perspective of production and organizational programming, as well as from the broader perspective of advocacy. In addition, CDCs have much to offer advocates of the Smart Growth agenda, particularly from the ways in which CDC development provides examples of Smart Growth production, from which Smart Growth advocates might learn.This paper will identify the opportunities for CDCs to participate in the Smart Growth movement, and strategies they might employ to do so. This report seeks to explore one facet of how CDCs might facilitate the rebirth of cities, by examining the potential relationship between community development and Smart Growth.

Employer-Assisted Housing: Competitiveness Through Partnership

September 1, 2000

With a long history in the United States and elsewhere, employer-assisted housing can be a cost-effective, corporate business strategy. This heavily researched paper examines how partnerships between employers and community-based development organizations can implement such a strategy effectively. The paper was written as part of Neighborhood Reinvestment's Fellowship Program for Emerging Leaders in Community and Economic Development.

Expiring Affordability of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Properties: The Next Era in Preservation

October 1, 1999

Affordability periods will end for the first 23,000 Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) units in 2002. Their expiration will launch a new round of preservation activity. The LIHTC portfolio now stands at approximately 750,000 units, increasing by 62,500 a year. By 2002, the portfolio will include almost one million units -- comparable in size to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) affordable-housing portfolio now facing its own preservation challenges. Thanks to the preservation awareness prompted by concerns over HUD's portfolio, Congress has promoted tax-credit preservation through a 15-year affordability extension passed in 1989, as have some states through a variety of allocation and financing tools. Yet for these efforts actually to result in preservation of affordable housing, a wide range of players -- including state and federal legislators, state housing agencies, local housing administrators, investors and owners -- still face the tasks of assessing the economics of preservation and implementing appropriate strategies.If continued affordability is a goal, it is now time to prepare. This paper outlines the issues -- including data availability, monitoring and enforcement needs, financial resources and response coordination -- surrounding preservation of tax-credit properties, with the aim of initiating discussion between the housing and policy communities prior to 2002.