NRHA Endorses Housing America 2007 Campaign Before Virginia Housing Commission

For More Information: 

Kelly R. Williams
kwilliams@nrha.us
757.314.1645

For Immediate Release
Release Date: 
Tue, 04/03/2007

Norfolk, Va (April 3, 2007) – In a statement before the Virginia Housing Commission on April 3 in Richmond, the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) indicated its support for Housing America 2007. Housing America 2007 is a national affordable housing awareness campaign conceived by a coalition of the nation's housing industry leaders. This coalition includes the National Association of Realtors, National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), National Association of Mortgage Brokers, National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and U.S. Conference of Mayors.

The campaign, which runs through April 9, aims to inform and educate decision makers and the general public about the state of the nation's housing, reestablish housing as a national priority and promote the sustainable development of affordable housing so that every community can provide it citizens with a wide range of housing opportunities.

In a new poll released by the coalition, nine of 10 Americans agree that providing affordable housing in their communities is important. However, according to a poll conducted by Zoby International, fewer than half of all Americans believe the nation's current housing policy is on the right track.

The poll also found that Americans want the government to more actively address affordability issues. In fact, 75 percent of survey respondents said that presidential candidates' ideas for creating more affordable housing were important in determining for whom they would vote. Nearly seven in 10 said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who articulated a detailed plan to provide affordable housing.

“Sustaining and increasing the supply of affordable housing is severely jeopardized by declining federal funding for housing programs, such as Community Development Block Grants and Hope VI,” said NRHA Executive Director Shurl Montgomery. He noted that average market-rate apartment rentals in Hampton Roads are over $830 per month and new single family homes are averaging over $400,000, with re-sales of existing homes averaging more than $220,000.

“These prices are simply out of reach for many hard working families,” Montgomery said.

“Affordable housing is a critical national objective that can only be met through an unwavering federal commitment; an ongoing ability on the part of state and local government to fill in the gaps created by the limits of federal assistance; a dedicated mission-driven not-for-profit community and a forward-thinking private sector,” he said.

Locally, Montgomery noted the following affordable housing initiatives.

Two members of the above coalition, NAHB and NAHRO, honored NRHA's Broad Creek development with national awards in 2006 as a national model for public private partnerships. Broad Creek is the Hampton Roads regions first mixed-use, mixed-income development. An Inside Business editorial (November 20, 2006) said, “All projects should be developed like Broad Creek with housing for lower income residents along side those of the wealthy.”

The lack of quality design has long been an obstacle to public acceptance of affordable housing. To overcome this stigma NRHA created and implemented a Builders and Designers Guild, a cadre of the region's best builders, architects and qualified designers who design and build a wide range of houses, to maintain the character of traditional neighborhood design, as well as enhance public investment in these neighborhoods. With over 40 members, the Guild received a NAHRO 2006 Award of Merit.

As a model for evolving public housing to quality mixed-income communities, Grandy Village renovations are underway in 341 units, as well as 22 new duplex units. Additional amenities and wetlands restoration is expected to attract private investment at the 44-acre site on the Elizabeth River.

Through NRHA's HomeNet Homeownership Center, homebuyer training and counseling are offered to prospective first time homebuyers. HomeNet placed 87 low-to-moderate income families into first-time homeownership, including 19 public housing families.

NRHA incentive grants and technical expertise leveraged private investment to enable the first of five condominium conversions of historic buildings in Park Place. The affordable units priced under $150,000 are selling to a diverse group ranging from single young professionals to empty nesters. NRHA also developed 21 new and renovated single family homes in Park Place East at Broadway, with 19 more homes under construction. “This is a real success story for this proud turn-of-the century neighborhood, and one that will continue to unfold in the months ahead,” said Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim.

NRHA will be partnering with Portfolio Weekly and the 35th Street Merchants Association to showcase Park Place Spaces and Places on June 16 in conjunction with National Homeownership Month.

About NRHA: 

Founded in 1940, NRHA is a national leader in community revitalization and fostering sustainable mixed-income communities. As the largest redevelopment and housing authority in Virginia, NRHA plays a key role in making Norfolk the city of choice to build, work, live and play.

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