Archive for category: Industry Highlights

Need Support With BEPS Compliance?

April 10, 2022
April 10, 2022

 


With only one year left until the first major DC’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS) deadline, the Building Innovation Hub recently released a new suite of tools to support you with BEPS compliance! HAND is proud to share the Building Innovation Hub’s resources below, which will help you navigate the regulations and enable easier building upgrades.

  • BEPS Compliance Pathway Wizard. This will help you understand which BEPS Compliance Pathway is most appropriate for you and your building.
  • BEPS Compliance Pathway Timelines. This will inform you about interim deadlines and major milestones associated with each BEPS Compliance Pathway.
  • Energy Audit Scopes of Work. Building Innovation Hub offers one version specific to the requirements outlined in the Prescriptive Pathway and another to help you choose a BEPS Compliance Pathway.
  • Find-A-Vendor Portal. This simple notification system will share project opportunities with local service providers and contractors via an email distribution list. The portal is now open and ready for building owners and representatives to submit their BEPS or energy-related projects to Building Innovation Hub’s list of vendors.
  • Request a BEPS Presentation. The Building Innovation Hub is in the process of training local experts in all the details of the BEPS regulations. If you’re interested in holding a presentation at your office or building about BEPS, please request one.
  • Contact the Building Innovation Hub. If you have any questions or need additional support, please contact the Building Innovation Hub directly at info@buildinginnovationhub.org.

 

From “Cradle to Career” | APAH’s Mission to Support the Next Generation Fund

March 28, 2022
March 28, 2022

Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) has received an exciting leadership gift from Tim and Diane Naughton, which was matched by AvalonBay Communities, to directly impact children and youth living in APAH communities from “cradle to career”. This combined $500,000 gift is part of a holistic strategy around youth programming called the Next Generation Fund. 

This initiative seeks to foster the expectation and provide support to enable every child living in an APAH community to graduate from high school and pursue college, or vocational training, to achieve a family-sustaining job that allows them to thrive. 

Check out the official press release here.

Five Minutes With Christy Zeitz

March 15, 2022
March 15, 2022

The HAND network is hard at work to address the growing housing affordability challenge across the Capital Region. Five Minutes With is a series highlighting these members and other stakeholders. This informal conversation delves into their recent projects, the affordable housing industry, and more. In honor of Women’s History Month, we are excited to share this special edition of Five Minutes With. In this edition, we had a conversation with Christy Zeitz the CEO of Fellowship Square. Check out our dialogue below to learn more about Fellowship Square’s farewell tour, Christy’s advice on how to make affordable housing projects work, and her words of wisdom for the next generation of female leaders!

HAND: As CEO of Fellowship Square, you bring extensive leadership experience in management, fundraising, marketing, and program development. Can you tell us about your journey to this point?
CZ: I do my best work when interacting with others, so I’ve always sought opportunities to meet new people, learn from them, and take the next step forward in my career. Along every step along my way to my current position as CEO of Fellowship Square, I’ve proactively learned from others, embraced challenges, and worked hard to attain stretch goals. Those priorities have served me in every position I’ve ever had – across all the organizations I’ve worked with and functions that I’ve had. The guiding focus of my professional life has been to make a measurable difference in the lives of others, and this is truly the most rewarding part of my journey.

 

HAND: What strategic financing and collaboration strategies can you share to ensure that affordable housing providers like Fellowship Square can continue to serve vulnerable residents with dignity over the long term?
CZ: To make affordable housing projects work, it takes smart, creative people working collaboratively. Fellowship Square is one of the leading providers of affordable housing and services to low-income seniors in the region, operating 670 units and serving roughly 800 residents. We’ve put structures in place so that the rental cost is never more than 30% of a resident’s annual income – making our communities some of the most affordable in the region for seniors. The key strategies that underly our work: collaboration, creativity, and openness to new approaches. Whether for the benefit of an owner, investor, residents, or the community as a whole, there are news ideas and options that must be uncovered and teased out in some way. If we go into a project thinking we are going to do it the way we’ve always done affordable housing projects, there will be a missed opportunity somewhere. Openness to new ideas is key. We and other housing nonprofits like us have the unfortunate challenge of competing against the for-profit developers for things like land and construction costs. These costs can be staggering – and create major barriers to building more affordable housing. We must be open to new ways of thinking, new partnerships and the unexpected twists and turns that get our projects done. Sometimes the “right” approach requires writing a new playbook.

 

HAND: Fellowship Square has launched a “farewell tour” of the 1970’s Lake Anne Fellowship House in preparation of moving 300+ residents from the original 50-year-old building to a brand-new state-of-the-art residence across the street. Can you tell us more about this undertaking, why it’s important and any challenges you may foresee?
CZ: Lake Anne Fellowship House, originally built in 1970, was the first senior housing and first affordable housing developed in Reston. Over the past 50+ years, the property has provided housing to more than 1,300 low-income seniors. Yet the building was showing its age and upkeep of the property was exceeding the amount residents pay in rent and the subsidies received from HUD. About seven years ago, our Board decided that the best path forward was to replace the existing 240-unit building with a new facility. 

This is where creativity and openness to new approaches came in. We embarked on a joint venture with Enterprise Community Development with whom we were able to craft a novel solution: instead of relocating the residents temporarily until a new building was built on the existing footprint, we would construct a new building on an underutilized portion of the current site. This would substantially reduce logistical demands as well as the number of relocations our residents would need to make. Under this creatively structured deal, once our residents are moved into the new building this spring, Fellowship Square will demolish the original building, market rate townhouses will be developed, and the land sales proceeds will be reinvested as part of the overall financing package. 

Of course, financing for affordable housing is never simple. The development team needed to secure project based rental vouchers for 100% of the units and create the right mix of financing for such an ambitious goal. In addition to our partnership with ECD, financing also came from diverse arrangements with Virginia Housing and the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, Virginia Community Capital, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity provided through Enterprise Housing Credit Investments by Capital One, Enterprise Community Loan Fund, Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority, and, of course, HUD. In fact, much time and effort were expended convincing HUD as to the critical need to preserve the deep subsidies for the existing very low-income residents and making sure they would be eligible to move to the new building so that all residents who wished could be accommodated.

All of this was accomplished. We broke ground in 2020 (in the middle of the pandemic!) and residents will relocate this spring to the newly built Lake Anne House. The property comes with some of the best amenities, services, and environmentally sustainable features. Residents will appreciate its gym, arts room, game room, wellness clinic, beautiful outdoor terraces, wifi throughout the building and more. We will also continue to have a full time Service Coordinator onsite to serve our residents.

But the grand finale is bittersweet – for the residents who have lived at Lake Anne Fellowship House for many years, for long time staff who have worked in that building for years, and for Reston community members who have visited the property, strolled through the hallways, and visited friends and family there. This is a major change, and I know there will be some tears shed. Sometimes it’s hard to say good-bye even when a bright new future lies ahead. We have a ”farewell tour” of programs to communally and collectively celebrate our community, this building, and our memories here as we prepare for the move to the new residence.

 

HAND: Do you believe there is a “secret sauce” to addressing housing affordability and creating more equitable communities in our region? If so, what do you think that is? What do you think is the largest obstacle?
CZ: There’s no “secret sauce” to housing affordability. In my mind, it’s more like a “Las Vegas buffet” of options, opportunities, considerations, and collaborations – and the plate for each region may be filled quite a bit differently. In the Washington DC Metro area, our housing needs span the spectrum of price points, amenities, services, and financing. The affordability factor is a core fundamental part of supporting the local workforce. As such, creating more affordable housing has to be a community effort – it can’t just be left to the housing advocates to fight for. The community as a whole has to come together to embrace housing affordability for all.  The more collaborators at the table, the more varied our buffet of options and the more success we can have.

The type of affordable housing will vary community to community, but collaboration across organizations will always be key.  For example, very low-income residents, especially those below 30% AMI, require significant subsidies.  Beyond rental assistance, this often includes the need for the provision of services including transportation, healthcare, food assistance, healthcare, mental health services, and more.  This means that affordable housing management must also be able to access public and private resources to augment standard housing management activities.  Fellowship Square accomplishes this by building a deep network of resources within our local community to plug into. Our vulnerable residents can access care managers who can provide or refer the residents to appropriate services in our community. This is important to build and foster.

 

HAND: In March we celebrate Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Given your extensive leadership experience, what advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders? What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership, and how have you overcome those barriers?
CZ: Few things make me prouder than to see young women asserting themselves and stepping up when they have an opportunity to lead. There are so many valuable traits and perspectives that we all benefit from when women are in leadership positions. For today’s emerging female leaders, they cannot sit by and wait to be asked to lead – it’s much more important that they seek out and even create those opportunities.

Sometimes the biggest barrier to reaching the next level in our careers is how we hinder ourselves. Whether through self-doubt or even other commitments, it comes down to priorities and having a vision for our own professional futures. Nothing will be handed to us on a silver platter – nor should it. Working hard and getting ahead is where you learn to grind it out and become a true inspirational leader. Leadership comes from experience, it comes from perspective, and those both come from hard work. But hard work that results in great leadership cannot be achieved in the shadows!

Women must always put themselves at the table – and in my experience, there’s always a way to have your voice heard in those circles, whether directly or indirectly. Regardless of someone’s position on a staff flowchart, each individual person can be a leader in some respect. Young women who may feel they aren’t in a position of leadership can still have an important impact on the trajectory of projects, assignments, teams, and workplace culture. Show initiative and you will be rewarded.

As you can tell, I’m very much an optimist. I always believe that what I want to happen can happen, it’s up to me to figure out how to make it happen. And the only thing holding me back is my own ideas of what I can and cannot accomplish. I hope other women can learn from this.

HAND: What is your “why”? What keeps you motivated to continue your work in this space?
CZ: Working in the affordable housing space is a little like making dreams come true. For too many people today, having a safe, affordable, and stable home can seem out of reach. Being a part of helping to make this dream of housing happen is a daily motivator for me. Nearly every week, I get at least one call from one of our 800+ residents who wants to tell me about what’s going on in their life. They never hesitate to say how thankful they are that they live at Fellowship House. This is what keeps me motivated every day. I am so proud of the work my organization does, and really appreciate the time and effort the Board and staff put into our mission.

 

HAND: If you weren’t working in this industry, what might you be doing?
CZ: I’d be living in the Caribbean, working on my side hustle as a fiction writer…and helping anyone who asked!

 

 

 

ATTN Developers | Prince George’s County DHCD Request for Qualifications

January 6, 2022
January 6, 2022

 

Request for Qualifications: Right of First Refusal

The Prince George’s County Department of Housing and Community Development is seeking responses (“Qualification Statements”) from qualified non-profit and mission-oriented for-profit developers (“Developers”) with strong affordable rental housing track records and demonstrated experience in acquiring, owning, operating, rehabilitating, and developing quality rental housing with affordability covenants who are interested in serving in a pool of qualified parties to serve as assignees or designees (the “Roster of Responders”) to exercise DHCD’s Right of First Refusal (“ROFR”). For more information on the ROFR and to respond to this request, please review the ROFR developer bench application. The proposal closing date is January 31, 2022.

 

 

Didn’t Meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards? Help is Available

December 13, 2021
December 13, 2021

 

Didn’t Meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS)? Help is Available.

The DC Sustainable Energy Utility, in partnership with the District Department of Energy & Environment and the DC Green Bank, launched an Affordable Housing Retrofit Accelerator program offering enhanced technical and financial assistance to owners and managers of qualifying District affordable multifamily buildings that do not meet the District’s Building Energy Performance Standards (BEPS). Apply today to find out if your building qualifies for the program, for the program, and join the DCSEU and DOEE for a webinar on December 15 to find out more.

 

 

Build Back Better Act Update

November 4, 2021
November 4, 2021
Last month, President Biden announced a final framework for the Build Back Better Act. The once $3.5 trillion plan now $1.75 trillion, outlines $150 billion in affordable housing investments including: 
  • $25 billion in rental assistance
  • $65 billion to preserve the public housing infrastructure
  • $15 billion for the national Housing Trust Fund to build and preserve over 150,000 homes affordable to extremely low-income households
Last week, an amended version of the Build Back Better reconciliation legislation was released. Despite pressure to bring down the cost of the legislation, the amended version proposes a historic investment and key measures to strengthen the Housing Credit. The following Housing Credit production proposals were included in the updated version:
  • Lowering the bond-financing threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent for five years, from 2022 to 2026,
  • Increasing the annual Housing Credit allocation at a rate of 10 percent per year plus inflation from 2022 to 2024, which amounts to a roughly 41 percent increase over current levels in 2024, followed by inflation adjustments after 2025,
  • Providing a permanent 50 percent basis boost for properties serving extremely low-income (ELI) households, along with an 8 percent minimum set-aside for properties taking advantage of the ELI basis boost, as well as a limitation on the amount of allocation and volume cap that can be used for properties receiving the ELI boost, and
  • Providing a permanent 30 percent basis boost for properties in Indian areas.
Read the NLIHCEnterprise and AHTCC e-blasts for more details. 

DC Green Buildings: The 2021 Market Leaderboards

November 2, 2021
November 2, 2021

Building Innovation Hub Released its 2021 Market Leaderboards 

Lowering building energy use is a key component to meeting local and global climate action goals. DC’s housing development community has produced some of the country’s most sustainable buildings and continues to model what’s possible. With support from Yardi Matrix, the Building Innovation Hub (Hub) took publically available benchmarking data and information from private industry to identify which buildings and companies lead in performance based on their ENERGY STAR score. The Hub’s team used that data to create the 2021 Market Leaderboards and identified the top 10 performers in each of the following categories: Top Office Buildings Overall, Top Office Buildings Class B & C Office, Top Office Buildings Built Prior to 1970, Top Office Buildings Larger than 400,000 Square Feet, and Top Multifamily Residential Buildings.

The full 2021 Market Leaderboards are now public at www.buildinginnovationhub.org/local-leaders/market-leaderboards. All the data is from 2020 and this information will be updated annually or as required.  It is an accomplishment to be recognized for being a contributor in helping the District’s buildings lead the way in improving their building energy use and reducing associated emissions. Congratulation to the HAND members who were recognized by HUB for having the highest performing buildings in DC:

  • Bozzuto Group
  • JBG Smith Properties

For additional details, view Hub’s press release. To view an interactive map of all buildings in the District’s benchmarking program, visit EnergyBenchmarkingDC.org. An array of additional benchmarking resources for property owners and operators is available on the Hub website at www.buildinginnovationhub.org

You’re invited to attend! Rent Reporting Implementation 101

October 19, 2021
October 19, 2021

As you know, unlike homeowners, renters don’t typically get credit for their largest bill: rent. Rent reporting, the reporting of resident’s rental payments to one or more of the main credit bureaus, addresses this disparity head on. Gaining traction across the country, affordable housing providers are well poised to offer rent reporting as an impactful economic mobility strategy for their residents, yet, many don’t know where to start. That’s why Kaiser Permanente and Credit Builders Alliance (CBA) are partnering to share the fundamentals of rent reporting. Join them for a 45-minute interactive informational session about rent reporting. They will cover:

  • The benefits of rent reporting
  • Indicators that your agency could be a good fit
  • Initial steps needed to undertake a rent reporting program
  • Future funding opportunities for affordable housing providers seeking to offer rent reporting to their tenants

Learn more about rent reporting and CBA’s why here. Register to join one of two info sessions linked below:

  • Monday, November 8 | 2:00pm – 2:45pm ET | Register here
  • Wednesday, November 10 | 3:30pm – 4:15pm ET | Register here

 

Richmond Racial Equity Essays

October 6, 2021
October 6, 2021

Richmond Racial Equity Essays is happy to announce the content of the Richmond Racial Equity Essays project. Richmond Racial Equity Essays is a multimedia project focused on advancing racial equity in Richmond, Virginia.  Click HERE to take a look.

Inspired by The Just City Essays, DEI consultant and urban planner, Ebony Walden teamed up Meghan Gough from VCU’s Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs and urban farmer and activist Duron Chavis, to create The Richmond Racial Equity Essays, a multimedia project comprised of a collection of 24 essays, 7 video interviews and an 8-episode podcast series focused on racial equity in Richmond, Virginia. The project captures nearly 50 voices from all walks of life and sectors that explore what an equitable Richmond would look like, especially as it relates to racial equity, and highlights the strategies that will help us get there. The hope is for this project to lead Richmond (the former capital of the Confederacy) toward a solid framework for how to advance racial equity and be a model for discussion in other cities.

Visit www.richmondracialequityessays.com for more information. Sign up for the newsletter and follow us on Twitter, FacebookInstagram and YouTube as well.

Housing Finance Professionals, Developers, Policymakers, Academics, & Other Affordable Housing Stakeholders: The NHP Foundation & Enterprise Wants You to Participate in Their Survey

September 28, 2021
September 28, 2021

 

The NHP Foundation & Enterprise Needs You!
The NHP Foundation and Enterprise invites you to participate in their survey. The goal of the survey is to offer a comprehensive look at lessons learned over the last 10 years of affordable housing policy challenges, starting from the Great Recession, up until now. Findings will be presented this fall at the NHP Foundation’s 5th Annual SymposiumA Decade of Rental Housing Vulnerability: Lessons Learned from Financial Crisis to Coronavirus. The survey should take only 15 minutes and is available hereThe survey deadline is September 24.