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The unnatural occurrence of cheap housing

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
In This Issue: Terrorism in Charlottesville. Your Town Next? ● Dealing a Better Hand to African-American Entrepreneurs ● Measuring What Really Matters in CBDOs ● The Unnatural Occurrence of Cheap HousingAlso: Resources ● Opportunity You Said It! ● In Case You Missed It ● Jobs ● More
Steve King, Oakland Community Land Trust
The term NOAH, or “naturally occurring affordable housing,” has quickly become an accepted phrase used to denote unsubsidized rental housing, generally more than 30 years old, that happens to be relatively affordable compared to housing in adjacent, more desirable neighborhoods or newer, more amenity-rich buildings.

From my perspective, there are two major issues with NOAH: one is semantic, and one is practical.

First off, there is nothing . . .
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Dedrick Asante-Muhammad, Prosperity Now
America consistently hails the iconic entrepreneur: we perpetuate a lofty yet myopic standard of entrepreneurial success defined by trendy inventions, fast-paced growth, and billion dollar profits. But by painting this whitewashed picture of entrepreneurism, we delude ourselves about the reality of American business ownership.

Most entrepreneurs’ firms don’t grow quickly, employ people, or earn much money. And more importantly, entrepreneurial success has far less to do with exceptional skill than with one’s ability to weather repeated failure and financial loss. It starts with the cards you’re dealt—and for many African-American entrepreneurs, the deck is stacked against them long before they even begin. 

Most entrepreneurs rely on . . .
Given the events of the past weeks—and months—it’s looking quite possible that the Trump-era increase in widespread racial terror is going to affect community developers’ work as much as his legislative and funding agenda. The proposals of the administration, from HUD budget cuts, to increased immigration arrests, to killing the Affordable Care Act, to tax reform to line the pockets of the rich, are truly horrible, with the potential to have far reaching and devastating effects on so many people. But at least they are meeting resistance in Congress, the courts, and from the voting public. Though it has been too close too many times, and we cannot relax, we are also winning at least some of the time.

On the other hand, what we saw in Charlottesville last weekend reinforces the fears of those of us who believed that the greatest danger from this administration would come not from its legislative agenda, but from . . .
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Developing a road map for performance improvement within community-based development organizations (CBDOs) can be a daunting task. Over the past several years, I’ve had the opportunity to talk with CBDO managers across the United States about the metrics used to track their performance. A common theme among them is the continued reliance on metrics that range from the number of clients served to dollars raised, and while these indicators are important, they don’t measure the real impact these organizations have on creating sustainable communities.

Last year, I conducted a national survey of nearly 400 executive directors and chief operating officers of CBDOs about the current state of the field. I asked respondents to identify the strategies they used to enhance performance and capacity. While CBDO missions are sometimes nebulous, I wanted to know if they were making a difference—it matters! I have devised some ways to measure them:
Incorporating Health into Physical Needs AssessmentsA new tool called the Integrated Physical Needs Assessment from Build Healthy Places Network provides affordable housing owners with a comprehensive protocol to assess the range of options available to upgrade their buildings with a health focus.
David C. Lincoln Fellowships in Land Value TaxationThe Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is accepting applications for this fellowship until Sept. 1. The goal of this program is to develop academic and professional interest in land value taxation through support for major research projects. The fellowship comes with research funding of up to $30,000/year.
You Said It!

Author Reply:
Thank you [Jerry Rioux] for your thoughtful response, and for pointing out the additional income supports available to some low-income households. I took your information and made revisions to my calculations. But while the numbers are a little better, it doesn’t really . . . —Richard Heitler, more

It’s crazy that there are people trying to rid themselves of a community that has been there for awhile. However, if the land was owned by the Atlanta Braves and they left, it makes sense that . . . —Robert Coombs, more

Great article Shelterforce! It was able to feel the pain of the residents; the pain of the people to keep affordable housing instead of . . . —Emeka, more

In Case You Missed It
Senior Housing Developer
The person in this role is engaged in activities which lead to the successful completion of affordable housing development contracts and projects, improve client capacity, and meet local community development objectives. The Senior Housing Developer plans, coordinates and manages, leading project teams, supervising . . . Read Full Listing
Housing Developer
The person in this role completes real estate development functions, including taking the lead on affordable housing and community facilities developments. The position requires experience in many aspects of housing development, as well as capacity for good time management, and to be self-motivated and use independent . . . Read Full Listing
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Featured Bloggers
Bob Annibale, Citi ● Laura Barrett, Interfaith Worker Justice ● Murtaza Baxamusa, Sol Price School of Public Policy, USC ● Michael Bodaken, National Housing Trust ● Bill Bynum, HOPE Credit Union ● Steve Dubb, Democracy Collaborative ● Jamaal Green, Portland State University ● John Henneberger, Texas Low Income Housing Information Service ● David Holtzman, newspaper reporter and former planner ● Josh Ishimatsu, National CAPACD ● Rick Jacobus, Street Level Advisors ● Daniel Kravetz, freelance writer ● Alan Mallach, Center for Community Progress ● Jonathan Reckford, Habitat for Humanity ● Doug Ryan, Prosperity Now ● Josh Silver, NCRC ● James Tracy, San Francisco Community Land Trust ● Eva Wingren, Baltimore Community Foundation