GUEST ARTICLE – Massive new flows of funding to local governments accelerate efforts to build affordable housing all across America

This Guest Article for REVITALIZATION is by Mary Scott Nabers.

Billions of dollars in public funding and tax enrichments are currently available to support the construction of affordable housing throughout the U.S.

The impetus behind these incentives is the country’s affordable housing shortage which has reached near-crisis stage.

A recent report notes that all 50 states have an inadequate supply of housing for low-income families. The current shortage represents a total of at least 7 million affordable housing units.

A recent ultimatum issued by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires local governments to submit a plan for addressing local housing shortages by August 16.

Failure to comply will render the governmental entity ineligible for future HUD funding, including the coveted Community Development Block Grant program funding.

As city and county officials scramble to maintain eligibility for future funding grants, their plans offer a detailed first look at upcoming housing development projects.

To help fund housing projects, the federal government has made billions of dollars, along with tax incentives, available. The goal is to attract private-sector firms to help with construction of thousands of new housing options.

The federal government appropriated $5 billion for urban construction and allocated $1.9 billion for rural construction.

In Austin, Texas, a combination of low-income housing tax credits, local private activity bonds, and $38 million in bond funding is available. Interested parties should contact the Travis County Housing Finance Corporation for details to participate.

The Hawaii Housing Finance & Development Corporation has $192 million to encourage construction of new affordable housing units in Kahului. One upcoming project includes construction of a large mixed-use complex with housing for 300 affordable housing units. The project will include a parking deck for 414 vehicles.

City officials in Saint Paul, Minnesota, will develop a 112-acre site and construct a modern urban village that will include 1,000 new affordable housing units. The plan is to leverage a $10 million plot of land into $250 million of housing-oriented developments.

Cities and counties throughout North Carolina have launched numerous affordable housing projects, and more are planned.

The city of Raleigh is working on additional development sites so affordable housing units may be constructed. The goal is to have 550 new housing units available for citizens by 2023.

Public officials in Durham County will convert two county-owned parking lots into locations for affordable housing complexes. Later this fall, construction will begin on another 105 new affordable housing units. A new childcare center also will be constructed nearby. A second housing development project will include an additional 195 affordably priced units.

Decatur, Georgia officials will spend $42 million to deliver 550 new rent restricted rental units to families. The permitting phase will be completed by the end of this year and construction will begin shortly afterward. Tax incentives and funding will be available for private-sector construction firms selected to do the work.

Federal incentives and funding also are available in California for new affordable housing developments. The state has allocated $1.45 billion in grants and loans to local jurisdictions.

In Los Angeles County, planning officials recently approved a permit for a mixed-use development with 7,828 square feet of commercial space and 193 residential units with some set aside for low-income households.

Another project will launch construction on a seven-story housing development project. At least 36 new housing units are planned, many for price-restricted units. Construction is scheduled for 2024.

Officials in Hood River, Oregon, announced a housing initiative that will result in 129 new affordable housing units. The city is collecting citizen input to incorporate into a conceptual design. Then, the city will select a developer and begin construction as soon as possible.

Local officials in Berkeley, California have approved zoning regulations that will enable the city to proceed with a budget of $53 million to construct affordable housing facilities on sites adjacent to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) stations. As the project’s design standards are being finalized, the city will develop a solicitation document so the selection of a construction partner may begin soon.

In Dallas, a recently launched program will fund new partnerships with private developers for projects that preserve or develop mixed-income housing. Shortly after the selection is made, work will begin to renovate or build new mixed-income housing facilities for Dallas residents.

Officials in Salem, Massachusetts will address shortages in affordable housing as $89 million from the city budget is allocated to boost its supply. A total of $69.5 million is earmarked for replacement of 50 obsolete public housing units. Preliminary plans for the replacement project involve construction of a new facility to accommodate 124 affordable housing units. Construction is planned for spring 2023.

Hundreds of other examples of construction projects are in the planning stages. Construction firms interested in affordable housing will be in high demand throughout the country for the next several years.

This article first appeared in SPI Insights. Reprinted here (with minor edits) by permission.

About the Author:

Mary Scott Nabers is President and CEO of Strategic Partnerships, Inc.

She has decades of experience working in the public-private sector.

A well-recognized expert in the P3 and government contracting fields, she is often asked to share her industry insights with top publications and through professional speaking engagements.

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