Over the years, Virginia Housing has worked with communities across the state to encourage the preservation or rehabilitation of manufactured housing properties.
These properties, sometimes referred to as mobile home parks, are often one of the only sources of affordable market-rate housing options for lower-income families in many communities. However, deteriorating infrastructure and deferred maintenance threaten a number of these developments.
Recognizing the important role that these homes have in providing affordable housing, Virginia Housing has helped preserve or rehabilitate nearly 500 homes in various manufactured communities. One example of its approach is in Richmond, where the agency supported nonprofit project:Homes in the redevelopment of Bermuda Estates, a community that included 52 mobile home units of various ages and conditions.
Virginia Housing’s efforts recently earned a National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) Annual Award for Program Excellence in the rental housing: preservation and rehabilitation category.
“These award-winning programs demonstrate how the state housing finance agencies are rising to meet this most demanding moment in housing affordability, with resourcefulness and ingenuity,” said NCSHA Executive Director Stockton Williams.
Other Outstanding Programs
The Washington State Housing Finance Commission was recognized in the management innovation: financial category for reenvisioning its bond and 4% low-income housing tax credit program to have a greater focus on balance and equity. The commission implemented an updated point system prioritizing BIPOC developers and community involvement as well as a set of different “buckets” or lists with allocation targets. As a result, the new system was effective in creating more equitable distribution of the 4% credits, according to the agency.
The New York City Housing Development Corp. (HDC) won in the special achievement category for its NYC Housing and Planning Fellowship, a two-year rotational program designed to expose a diverse cohort of eight rising young professionals to city government specifically in the fields of affordable housing, city and neighborhood planning, and economic development. The fellows rotate through assignments at HDC, New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Department of City Planning, and the New York City Economic Development Corp.Officials said the newly expanded program was a direct response to a call for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace and communities.
Another winner was the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. (AHFC), which was honored for its COVID-19 response. About 99% of all eligible applicants in the state had received between 12 and 15 months of emergency rent and utility assistance, but the AHFC team wanted to do more; it harnessed the federal government’s once-in-a-lifetime funding and flexibility to build and expand its rental assistance program to bring homeless Alaskans into housing.
In additional to a significant emergency rental assistance program, the effort included the launch of the Housing Stabilization program, which had helped 588 people move from homelessness into housing at the time of the award nomination. “After a minuteslong intake process, clients can move into stabilized housing. From there, housing navigators help our clients find a rental unit. Every client gets stability services, moving expenses, deposits, and 12 months of rental assistance,” said AHFC.
For more about the annual awards and this year’s winners, visit the NCSHA website.