South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities

affordable housing development, Local News, Switchyard Park Apartments, Uncategorized

Announcing Switchyard Park Apartments

SCIHO is pleased to announce an important new affordable housing development now in the works: Switchyard Park Apartments, at 1901 S Rogers St, Bloomington, Indiana, adjacent to the new city park now under development.

Mayor John Hamilton’s administration has requested approval of a 99-year lease at the cost of $1 for City-owned land for the development of 16 affordable housing units adjacent to Switchyard Park. South Central Indiana Housing Opportunities (SCIHO) is the project developer.

The high cost of land is one reason that housing is often expensive in the City of Bloomington. The city’s dedication of this land for affordable housing development makes Switchyard Park Apartments, feasible—rather than impossible.SCIHOSitePlan_051717

Below is an excerpt of remarks from Deborah Myerson, SCIHO executive director, at the city’s May 17 news conference announcing the City of Bloomington’s partnership with SCIHO on this project. Full remarks are here.

Cooperation with HAND and Parks

Since the city proposed the allocation of this site for affordable housing development in March, SCIHO has had the pleasure of working with Doris Sims, director of Housing and Neighborhood Development and Paula McDevitt, director of Parks and Recreation, to consider how to make this idea a reality.  Their collaboration and support has been invaluable to navigate the admittedly complex process of affordable housing development.

Switchyard Park Apartments

Affordable housing development demands attention to design, affordability, finance, and community engagement.

Design

Our proposal is for Switchyard Park Apartments to be developed in two phases of 8 units each. We have worked with Springpoint Architects to produce a site plan for the project, with a community room, laundry, parking, and a courtyard with a community garden between the East and West buildings.

Affordability

Rents will be targeted for low-income households, ranging from $550-$650 for one-bedroom units to $655-$850 for the 2-bedroom apartments. However, truly affordable housing is not only about cost—it is also about location and proximity to amenities. Simply put, this site is an outstanding location. Not only does it share a backyard with Switchyard Park, which will soon be the newest gem of among our city’s parks, but it is in a walkable location on a bus line and near the B-line Trail, with easy access to employment, groceries, educational resources, and more.

Financing

Affordable housing development always requires multiple layers of finance, and this $1.2 million project is no different. We are pleased to have a $400,000 loan commitment from BloomBank for Switchyard Park Apartments. The City is reviewing a commitment of up to $200,000 to assist in the construction of the units through HOME Investment Partnership funding, including CHDO set-aside funds for such projects. SCIHO has also applied for funds from the competitive Affordable Housing Program with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis.

Community Engagement

One of our next big efforts on this project is community engagement—particularly with neighbors and low-income households. We are seeking feedback from low-income potential residents each stage of the project development, including project concept, site location, design and property management. This input is extremely important to ensure that the project best meets the needs of potential residents as well as the neighborhood. We will invite neighbors and potential residents to participate in community meetings or complete surveys.

We have also initiated prospective partnerships that can support residents’ financial empowerment, with local institutions such as MCCSC’s Adult Education program, Monroe County Head Start, Old National Bank, WorkOne, and Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. In addition, we have committed to a partnership with LIFEDesigns to designate accessible units for people with disabilities.

We are only at the beginning of this journey, but are grateful to have gotten off to a strong start in collaboration with the City. And if all goes well, when Switchyard Park Apartments is completed we will have not only 16 new apartments for low-income households—but a new and replicable model for affordable housing production in the City of Bloomington.

Uncategorized

What is the Future of Affordable Housing Production Under Trump’s Budget Proposal?

The prospects of affordable housing development may be in for some major cuts in the Trump administration.

Trump’s Promises and Proposals

Within the recently released federal budget proposal by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) faces an over $6 billion, or 13%, budget reduction in fiscal year 2018. Further, it seems like the administration is shifting to tax reform as its next major initiative after the failure to pass the American Health Care Act last week. If it follows the promises made during the campaign, the reforms could see United States businesses paying as little as 15% in corporate taxes. Tax reforms could have large implications for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and the near future of affordable housing development.

Will HOME Funding Vanish?

With the proposed budget cuts to HUD, HOME funds are in danger of being completely zeroed out in fiscal year 2018. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is a HUD program that works to provide affordable housing to low and very-low income Americans. HOME funds are often used to finance affordable housing building construction and rehabilitation, site acquisition, and Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), nonprofit organizations committed to developing affordable housing within the communities in which they operate.

The City of Bloomington uses HOME funds to provide decent, affordable housing to lower-income housing and to expand the capacity of nonprofit housing providers. Recent projects assisted with the city’s HOME funds have included development of Crawford Apartments at 2440 S. Henderson, and the condominium property at 3090 E. Covenanter Dr., among several others, according to HUD data. In the City’s 2015-2019 Consolidated Plan, the City anticipates receiving $400,000 per year in HOME funding. These budget cuts threaten the city’s ability to support affordable housing projects as well as SCIHO’s ability to produce new affordable housing units.

Will Low Income Housing Tax Credits Decline in Value?

Calls to reduce the corporate tax rate, which stands to lower the value of the Low Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) would effectively slash the number of affordable housing units being produced around the country, —undermining a program HUD cites as “the most important resource for creating affordable housing in the United States today.”

Each year, the LIHTC provides state and local agencies the equivalent of nearly $8 billion in budget authority to issue tax credits to fund affordable housing construction and development. The credits to investors allow for a matched credit against federal taxes in exchange for funding affordable housing and ensure the equity needed to fund development for development nationwide. If corporate tax rates fall by such a large rate, however, demand for these tax credits could fall as well, as investors have less reason to use them to reduce their tax bills.

 

Local News

Needed: Stable Housing for Children and Youth

Very grateful to The Herald-Times for their editorial this week calling for new solutions to support children and youth needs for stable housing.

Our Opinion: Solution needed urgently to help homeless students

The Herald-Times Editorial staff

Dec 21, 2016

It was an awesome effort by generous donors, allowing the PTO to put together holiday-break packages as well as care packages of basics and essentials that will be given to the students monthly until summer.

Donations included a wide variety of personal care items, including soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste; school supplies; nonperishable food items; and cold-weather clothing such as hats and gloves. The outpouring was an example of people helping people, a shining illustration of the spirit of the season.

 Homelessness among the Monroe County Community School Corp. student body is not a seasonal issue, however. And Templeton is not the only elementary school affected.

As the story noted, in the 2015-16 school year, the MCCSC reported to the Indiana Department of Education a total of 245 students who were homeless. This doesn’t mean they were living on the streets, but rather that they lived with friends or extended family members; in a shelter or transitional housing; or in a hotel or motel. They didn’t have a home to call their own.

Strategies to address the homelessness issue must continue to stress moving families as well as individuals toward self-sufficiency. Jobs and job training are important components, as are affordable housing, health care, transportation and food security.

 We know we’re not exactly breaking new ground here. Community members and leaders are well aware of the serious issue of homelessness, but often lost in the discussion is the impact being felt by children and young adults trying to get an education.

These numbers should be shocking and unacceptable to a caring community. Bringing them front and center will hopefully provide a needed new perspective and urgency to finding solutions.