Saturday, February 24, 2018

A New Start Truly Affordable Housing Approach for Burlington and Vermont

Have figured out a possible formula for a State/Burlington approach which at much lower cost than feds Section 8/vouchers/etc. will make a real difference and provide confidence among legislators/city councilors that the money really helps make a difference.

First, it marries the non-profit housing engine in the state which knows they cannot reach the lowest income where the crisis sits—and that lots of folks in non-profit housing still suffer from an extraordinary amount of income going to rent—but know they are better off than thrown to the lions in the private rental “market” where they once were either as an owner or renter.

HUD programs cost in Vermont $700+ month or about $9,000 a household. (Remember we want to help low income homeowners and mobile home owners which the feds do not allow.) So, in a collaborative carefully worked out City/State program(s) “affordable housing assistance” tied to the recipient to the degree possible gets allocated to non-profits for a portion of their “tax credit” units which already are a few hundred below market but neither enable the lower income to pay less than 25% of their income nor are rents adjusted with a household has a sharp drop income. So, instead of 10 units of “livable housing” units per $100,000 using a strictly HUD approach, we get more, perhaps 15-17 units—and this makes a real difference. HUD should even give us $1 million (or more) to try a 10 year demo to be the first to do it. Variations are infinite, so to speak—co-op, student, senior, mixed, etc.

We can sell the $2 a night fee if we can involve all elements of the concerned groups and actors. Right now there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm. Must change. $15 for wages and $2 for truly affordable housing!