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Examples database: affordable housing. (Municipal Reference Service).

These program descriptions show how cities across the country are creating affordable housing initiatives that address the specific needs of their communities. All were selected from NLC's Examples of Programs for Cities database.

Member cities and state municipal leagues may request additional research on this or other topics by calling the Municipal Reference Service (MRS) at 202-626-3130. They also may access the Examples database through CityNet on the Web for free (call MRS for details).

If your city has an innovative affordable housing program, please notify the MRS staff so that your program can be added to the database.

Coldwater, Mich.

Population: 9,607

Address: City of Coldwater, 28 West Chicago Street, Coldwater, MI 49036

Contact: Christine Thom, Planning Coordinator, (517) 279-9501


Coldwater developed affordable housing on a vacant 9.5 acre site acquired from the State National Guard. The city paid the appraised value of $59,000 for the lot then sold it for $1 to the developer with the winning proposal. A key feature of the 30-lot subdivision, which borders on an existing residential area, is that each home is customized based on the individual needs of the homebuyer. Each buyer selected housing model, size, amenities, and trim detail. Eighteen of the 30 homes were sold to low- and moderate-income families, with up to $35,000 in subsidies available for each. The remainder of the homes were sold at market rates, in the range of $90,000 to $130,000.

Source: Coldwater: affordable customized stick-built homes. by Christine M. Thom, Michigan Municipal Review, v74 n10 (Dec. 2001) p21, Ann Arbor, MI: Michigan Municipal League.

San Marcos, Calif.

Population: 54,977

Program Name: Paseo del Oro

Address: City of San Marcos, 105 West Richmar Avenue, San Marcos, CA 92069

Contact: Paul Malone, (760) 744-1050, ext. 3115


Paseo del Oro is a mixed-income housing and commercial development in San Marcos which replaces a rundown shopping center and brings retail services to a neighborhood that lacked them. The project contains 23,000 square feet of retail space and 120 apartments, of which 22 are rented at market rates and 98 are rented at affordable rates. The low-cost units are available to households earning 30, 45, and 50 percent of the median income for San Diego County. The focal point of the development is a pedestrian path between the stores, townhouses, and apartments.

Source: HUD Secretary's Opportunity and Empowerment Award. by James H. Andrews, Planning, v69 n3 (Mar. 2003) p17, Chicago, IL: American Planning Association.

Cambridge, Mass.

Population: 101,355

Address: City of Cambridge, 795 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

Contact: City Hall, (617) 349-4300

Cambridge Neighborhood Apartment & Housing Services (CNAHS) preserves affordable housing in a city with high rental prices. The organization purchases HUD properties that have been classified as affordable housing, but are in danger of losing rental restrictions after the final mortgage payment has been made on the property. Between 1995, the year rent control in ended Cambridge, and 2003, CNAHS purchased over 850 units in the city. The group finances the projects through Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the state of Massachusetts, which has a fund for preservation, and the city, which receives funding from the state's Community Preservation Act.

Source: Moving to protect families in an expiring-use property. by Peter Daly, Neighborhood Works, v22 n2 (Spring 2003) p12, Washington, DC: Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation.

Jackson, Miss.

Population: 184,256

Program Name: Affordable Housing Opportunities Auction Year Started: 1997

Address: City of Jackson, PO Box 17, Jackson, MS 39205

Contact: City Hall, (601) 960-1084

Jackson's annual Affordable Housing Opportunities Auction promotes neighborhood revitalization and increases home ownership opportunities for low and moderate-income families. In 1997, faced with deteriorating housing stock, declining home ownership, and increases in abandoned and vacant housing, the city and its business and community partners developed a comprehensive program and committed to specific program activities. The city provides funding to assist qualified purchasers and assigns a project manager to coordinate the auction. The city attorney helps handle closings. Some of the city's partners plan, publicize and conduct the auction, while others identify and prepare prospective purchasers. A targeted area approach helps the city to rehabilitate and restore vacant and blighted property. In its first three years of operation, the auction helped 50 low-income families to become first-time homeowners. This program won a 2000 Clarion-Ledger/Mississippi Municipal League Municipal Excellence Award in the category of city planning.

Source: The Clarion-Ledger/Mississippi Municipal League municipal excellence awards. Mississippi Municipalities, v49 n5 (Sep./Oct. 2000) p10-11, Jackson, MS: Mississippi Municipal League.

Guadalupe, Ariz.

Population: 5,228

Program Name: Mutual Self Help Housing and YouthBuild

Year Started: 1999

Address: Town of Guadalupe, 9050 South Avenida del Yaqui, Guadalupe, AZ 85283

Contact: Mary Hoy, Community Development Director, (480) 730-3080


Guadalupe's Mutual Self Help Housing and YouthBuild programs address youth concerns and lack of affordable quality homes. This predominantly Mexican-American and Yaqui Indian community utilized U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants to combat community blight and give high school drop-outs a second chance. Through the two programs, the students help families demolish their old, substandard homes and build new ones. These programs also provide support such as job training, homeownership counseling, after school programs and health services. Through donations, the community is able to install computers in the homes of each of the YouthBuild members. As well as funding from HUD and USDA, the town also receives funding from local businesses, city and county government and housing recipients programs.

Source: 2001 National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials City Cultural Diversity Awards Application

Rochester, N. Y.

Population: 219,773

Program Name: Anthony Square

Address: City of Rochester, Community Development Department, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY 14614

Contact: Thomas R. Argust, Commissioner, (585) 428-6550


Rochester transformed a troubled housing project into an economically diverse community of renters and homeowners called Anthony Square. In the 1970s, it was 149 units of low-income, high-density housing. Poorly designed, it experienced physical deterioration, high vacancy rates, and attendant crime problems. With help from the city, Housing Opportunities, Inc. (HOP), a nonprofit housing developer, acquired the property in 1998. Redevelopment entailed tenant relocation, building demolition, environmental remediation, street construction by the city, and construction of 45 rental units and 23 single-family homes. Upon completion in 2001, income-eligible buyers received a $22,500 subsidy from the city to purchase the single-family homes. The project was a team effort by the city, HOR the Rochester Housing Authority, the Enterprise Foundation, HUD, and several neighborhood associations.

Source: 2002 Howland Awards application

Wheat Ridge, Colo.

Population: 32,913

Address: City of Wheat Ridge, PO Box 638, Wheat Ridge, CO 80034

Contact: City Hall, (303) 235-2806

Wheat Ridge encourages low-income residents to become homeowners. The Wheat Ridge Housing Authority purchases rental units and renovates them, then sells them as affordable townhouses or condominiums. Units are sold at a base price of $125,000. Applicants must be first-time home buyers, and their annual income must not exceed 80 percent of the median income for the Denver metro region.

Source: Wheat Ridge to help first-time homeowners, by Jerry DiTullio, Colorado Municipalities, v78 n2 (Apr. 2002) p22-23, 25, Denver, CO: Colorado Municipal League.

East Palo Alto, Calif.

Population: 29,506

Program: Affordable Housing Program

Year Started: 2000

Address: City of East Palo Alto, 2415 University Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

Contact: Lisa Hamburger, Housing Services Director, (650) 853-3120


East Palo Alto passed an ordinance (No. 247) to establish the "Below Market Rate Housing Program." This program seeks to increase the city's housing stock without displacing residents. The legislation specifies that 20 percent of all new residential units constructed in the city be affordable and made available to households with less than 50 percent of area median income. New rental housing would target households with incomes as low as 35 percent of the area median income. The city conducted marketing and outreach to increase diversity in the applicant pool. The program introduced a lottery system because eligible applicants far exceeded the number of available units at any one time. This program won first place in the 2002 City Cultural Diversity Awards, 25,001-100,000 population category, sponsored by NLC's National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials (NBC-LEO).

Source: 2002 National Black Caucus of Local Elected Officials City Cultural Diversity Awards Application

Hartford, Conn.

Population: 121,578

Program Name: Grandfamilies Housing

Address: City of Hartford, 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103

Contact: City Hall, (860) 522-4888

Hartford's Grand families Housing development provides housing for older adults who are serving as parents for the second time in their lives. The $5.5 million 24-unit apartment complex was converted from a vacant school building in the city. The apartments offer low-rent housing and community support to grandparent-headed families who suffer from the financial and emotional stresses of raising children for a second time.

Source: City builds housing for grandparents raising their grandchildren. Connecticut Town & City, v30 n6 (Dec. 2002/Jan. 2003) p20, New Haven, CT: Connecticut Conference of Municipalities.

Reno, Nev.

Population: 180,480

Program Name: Riverside Artist Lofts

Address: City of Reno, 490 South Center Street, Suite 203, Reno, NV 89501

Contact: Robert B. Ryan, Redevelopment Administrator, (775) 334-2077

Reno's Riverside Artist Lofts project rehabilitated the historic Riverside Hotel into 35 live/work lofts for artists on floors two through five, and restaurant, retail and office space on the ground floor. The project added affordable downtown housing, became a catalyst for an emerging arts district along the Truckee River, preserved an historic property and helped revitalize the downtown riverfront economy. State support included amendments to existing laws to allow for the use of low-income housing tax credits for historic rehabilitation projects. This project was a 2001 Howland Awards Gold Winner in the 150,001 to 500,000 population category.

Source: 2001 Howland Awards application
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Article Details
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Author:Schroeder, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 7, 2003
Previous Article:Cities see return on housing investment.
Next Article:Brighton, Colo., builds its first affordable housing development.

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