Affordable Housing Year in Review

Watch the Town of Chapel Hill's key affordable housing and community connections accomplishments over the past year.

In Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), the Town made more progress towards advancing Council’s affordable housing goals.  Highlights from the year include:

  • Approval of a bond referendum to provide up to $10 million for affordable housing that was overwhelmingly approved by Chapel Hill voters in the November 2018 election.

  • Deploying $1.2 Million to community partners for affordable housing development and preservation projects.

  • Supporting the development of over 80 new affordable housing units and the preservation of nearly 150 units of affordable housing in the community, surpassing our annual target by nearly 20%.

  • Completing phase two of Greenfield, the first low income housing tax credit project in over a decade in Chapel Hill, which added 69 units of affordable housing for low-income seniors.

  • Acquiring nine units to our Transitional Housing Program. Our portfolio of homes now serves 17 families transitioning out of public housing to work towards their family’s housing and financial goals.

  • Completing an analysis of Town-owned land to determine the feasibility of affordable housing development, and making progress toward developing a mixed-income affordable housing development on the Town-owned land on Homestead Road.

  • Establishing new programs to respond to community needs, including the Housing Displacement Assistance Program and the Employee Housing Program.

For more information about our progress, see our quarterly reports here

Now Accepting Applications to Create Affordable Housing Opportunities

The Town of Chapel Hill is accepting applications to create affordable housing opportunities in the community through noon Friday, August 30, 2019.

Awards will be made from the Town’s Affordable Housing Development Reserve (AHDR), established by the Town Council in March 2015. Since it’s creation, the Town has supported the development of 286 units of affordable housing with funding from the AHDR. 

The total funding available this fiscal year in the Affordable Housing Development Reserve is $688,395.

The Town of Chapel Hill will accept applications for the following priority project areas:

1. land bank and land acquisition
2. rental subsidy and development
3. homeownership development and assistance
4. future development planning

The Town’s Housing Advisory Board will evaluate applications and present a funding recommendation to the Town Council for final approval in September 2019. There will be up to two additional funding cycle this fiscal year (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020).

New this year, the Town is rolling out a streamlined application for all local affordable housing funding sources, including the AHDR.  To access the application and learn more, visit: https://www.townofchapelhill.org/town-hall/departments-services/housing-and-community/funding/affordable-housing-development-reserve

Recognized for Innovation: Chapel Hill’s Affordable Housing Data and Performance Measurement

A national organization focusing on innovation in local government has featured the Town of Chapel Hill’s use of data and performance measures to better understand the community’s complicated and growing affordable housing challenges.

Dashboard.JPG

Alliance for Innovation, a national network that connects local government thought-leaders through online discussion, in-person networking and events, hosted a webinar titled “How Performance Measures and Data Can Help Achieve Your Affordable Housing Goals.”

The Town of Chapel Hill’s Assistant Director for the Office for Housing and Community Sarah Osmer Viñas, and the Town’s Affordable Housing Manager Nate Broman-Fulks, focused on how Chapel Hill has turned to data and performance measures to better understand affordable housing challenges, inform decision making, track progress, and increase community knowledge about affordable housing. 

The Town collected and organized data from various data sources into a central database and then developed measurement tools to help monitor progress toward annual affordable housing goals. Data visualization tools like the Affordable Housing Dashboard and Affordable Housing Quarterly Report allow the Town to more clearly communicate its progress and make informed projections that assist in policy creation and investment for the future.

The Town will be presenting the most recent Affordable Housing Quarterly Report at the Town Council Business Meeting on Wednesday, May 22nd. 

For more information visit: https://www.chapelhillaffordablehousing.org/news

The full webinar can be viewed here: https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/6913689930036266755

Town Holds Housewarming to Celebrate New Affordable Housing in Chapel Hill

Before renovations

Before renovations

After renovations

After renovations

On Monday, April 29th, elected officials, affordable housing organizations, and community members gathered to hold a housewarming event and celebrate the opening of a new addition to the Town’s permanently affordable housing stock. This newly renovated quadraplex in the Northside neighborhood is the latest addition to the Town’s Transitional Housing Program stock.

The Town’s Transitional Housing Program is designed to assist low-income families working towards their housing and financial goals to transition from subsidized housing to homeownership or renting on the private market.

Collaborative Effort

This new 4-unit affordable housing property was created through a partnership between the Town of Chapel Hill and the Northside Neighborhood Initiative. In 2018, the Town acquired the quadraplex from Self-Help Credit Union through the Northside Land Bank and used Community Development Block Grants to conduct extensive renovations. With renovations complete, the first residents will be moving into their new homes at the beginning of May.

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We Can End Homelessness in Orange County

Join the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness for a two-part series to find answers to questions such as:

  • What does it mean to end homelessness?

  • What does data tell us about homelessness in Orange County?

  • What would ending homelessness in Orange County look like?

  • What do we need to take this important step?”.

Both presentations will be 3:30-5 p.m. in the theater at the Seymour Center, 2551 Homestead Rd in Chapel Hill. Please find a flyer about both presentations attached.

The Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness is a coalition that comprises service providers, local governments, and community members who work together to coordinate funding and bring best practices to the work of ending homelessness. It is funded jointly by the towns of Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Hillsborough; and Orange County. For more information, visit https://www.ocpehnc.com/

Download a flyer.

Town Council Approves over $450,000 in Funding for Three Affordable Housing Projects

The Chapel Hill Town Council has approved more than $450,000 in funding for three new affordable housing projects, including a new Habitat for Humanity development, a master leasing pilot program through Community Home Trust, and land acquisition assistance for Community Home Trust.

The Town is funding the projects through the Town’s Affordable Housing Development Reserve, a resource dedicated to the development and preservation of affordable housing. With the Town Council approval in February 2019, the Town has allocated all of its $690,000 reserve funds for the fiscal year.

Sunrise Road Project

Habitat for Humanity will use $266,797 to assist with land acquisition and predevelopment costs for the future development of 95 affordable homes off of Sunrise Road in Chapel Hill. This community is planned to be developed in partnership with Carol Woods, which is planning to build 128 units of assisted living and moderately priced market-rate homes for seniors. An additional $108,203 in funding is anticipated through the Town’s Affordable Housing Fund.

The project will target first-time homebuyers who earn less than 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI), have lived and/or worked in Orange County for at least one year, and live-in housing that is substandard, unsafe, unaffordable or subsidized. The planned vision is for a mixed-income, inter-generational neighborhood housing people of diverse ages, backgrounds, life stages and races. Construction is anticipated from 2022-2027.

Chandler Woods Acquisition

Community Home Trust will use reserve funding for two projects. One project is to acquire and resell townhomes being built in the Chandler Woods development. The other is to reduce costs of rental housing to households earning less than 30 percent of AMI through a master leasing pilot program in the Glen Lennox neighborhood.

The Chandler Woods project plans to use $90,000 in funding to acquire two three-bedroom units and four two-bedroom units, allowing Community Home Trust to sell the townhomes at affordable prices to qualified buyers. Three of the six units will be sold to buyers earning between 80 and 115 percent of AMI, while the other three will be sold to buyers earning between 65 and 80 percent of AMI. Each home will be sold using a 99-year ground lease, which will result in permanent affordability by limiting appreciation.

Master Leasing Pilot Program

The $97,324 awarded by the Town for Community Home Trust’s master leasing pilot program will assist with monthly rents, security deposits and utilities for families living in five Community Home Trust-subsidized apartments at reduced rates over a two-year time period. Employing a model that has not been used previously in Chapel Hill, Community Home Trust will lease near market rate apartments and sub-lease those apartments to program participants at lower, more affordable rent levels.

The project will target extremely low-income individuals and families earning less than 30 percent of AMI ($16,950 for a one-person household and $19,400 for a two-person household) who are either homeless, at risk of homelessness, or face obstacles to renting on the private market. Community Home Trust hopes to begin the rental process as soon as possible.

Chapel Hill's Manufactured Housing Work Featured in International Blog

An international blog has published a story about the Town of Chapel Hill’s efforts to use data-driven and community engagement solutions to address the redevelopment threat to manufactured home communities in Chapel Hill.

Esri, an international supplier of geographic information system (GIS) software, posted the Feb. 5 story at https://www.esri.com/about/newsroom/blog/maps-aid-affordable-housing-push-in-chapel-hill-north-carolina/  It offers a detailed picture of how the Town came together to use partnerships, engagement, and the ArcGIS mapping software to prioritize Town-owned land for new affordable housing development.

The use of immersive 3D maps helped staff visualize properties and possibilities to implement a Manufactured Home Strategy. One key component of the strategy is to identify Town-owned sites that could be used to develop new affordable housing and potential relocation options for manufactured home residents, if needed. An excerpt from the story: 

“In 2017, the residents and families living in a 33-unit mobile home park in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, received news from the property owner that within a year they would have to relocate so the property could be redeveloped. After the tight-knit community made an impassioned plea for help, the Chapel Hill Town Council mobilized a small team of Town employees to explore affordable housing options.”

Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Development Named a Winner

Nonprofit community developer DHIC, Inc. has been named a winner for the Greenfield Place affordable housing development completed in a unique partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill.

Nonprofit community developer DHIC, Inc. has been named a winner for the Greenfield Place affordable housing development completed in a unique partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill.

The 80-unit affordable apartment community is among the developments honored by the Triangle Business Journal (TBJ) for the Triangle market’s top developments in the 2019 Space Awards. According to TBJ, about 100 nominations were submitted for this year’s awards in a number of categories.

“Greenfield Place is the outcome of years of planning and partnership-building,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “It is truly representative of the Town’s commitment to expanding quality affordable choices for families, working parents, seniors and people with disabilities who live in Chapel Hill.”

Completed in late 2017, apartments at Greenfield Place are reserved for households who earn less than 60 percent of area median income, or $48,360 for a family of four in Orange County. Rents range from $271 to $870 depending on the number of bedrooms and household income. Occupations of current residents include child care workers, health care aides, food service workers and retail employees. 

 Affordable Rental Housing Strategy

The price and availability of developable land in this desirable university town have been escalating barriers to affordable housing development. Recognizing the need to solve this problem, the Town of Chapel Hill in 2013 adopted a community-informed affordable rental housing strategy and forged a path forward.

 A Unique Partnership

Among its strategies, the Town reviewed some of the vacant land that it owned to determine whether these underutilized properties could be developed into affordable housing.  This effort led to a unique partnership with non-profit DHIC, Inc. to pursue two Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) developments on Town-owned land on Legion Road, near public transit, schools, jobs and amenities.

The Town donated the land, facilitated entitlements, waived impact fees, expedited the permitting process, and provided $145,500 in grant funds from the Town’s affordable housing fund.

DHIC assembled the development team and secured $12.6 million in project financing, including $8.2 million in LIHTC equity; a $2.8 million loan from the SECU Foundation; a $1 million loan from the NC Housing Finance Agency, $154,500 from Orange County, and its own capital resources. DHIC committed to own and operate Greenfield Place for a minimum of 30-years per Town guidelines, but fully anticipates preserving affordability well beyond the required period.

 Coming Next

The second phase of this development partnership, Greenfield Commons, is currently under construction and will offer 69 apartments restricted to limited-income seniors. The Town provided an additional $700,000 from the Affordable Housing Development Reserve to support the second phase of this development.

 More Information

Since 1974, DHIC www.dhic.org has demonstrated the importance of connecting people with safe, affordable, and desirable homes in the Triangle region of North Carolina.

Find out more about the Town of Chapel Hill’s efforts increase access to housing for individuals across a range of incomes at https://www.chapelhillaffordablehousing.org/

THE TOWN OF CHAPEL HILL IS ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR THE 2019-2020 COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM

Applications are due by 5:00PM Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The primary objective of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program is the “…development of viable urban communities, including decent housing and a suitable living environment and expanding economic opportunity, principally for persons of low and moderate-income”.

The Town of Chapel Hill must certify that its overall program carries out this primary objective.  In addition, each Community Development Block Grant activity must:

1.   Benefit low- or moderate-income persons (80% of median income and below);

2.   Aid in the prevention or elimination of slums and blight; or

3.   Treat urgent needs posing an immediate threat to public health and welfare.

Eligible activities for Community Development Block Grant funding include:

·        Acquisition of property

·        Disposition of property

·        Public facilities and improvements

·        Clearance, demolition and removal of buildings

·        Site improvements

·        Some public services (subject to a cap)

·        Relocation

·        Housing rehabilitation, preservation and code enforcement

·        Economic development activities

·        Planning and administrative costs (subject to a cap)

Activities that are generally not eligible include:

·        Buildings used for the general conduct of government

·        New housing construction (allowed in special circumstances)

·        General government expense

·        Political activities

·        Purchase of equipment and personal property

·        Operating and maintenance expenses

Awards will be made from the Town’s allocation of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds from the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD). The total funds anticipated for the 2019-2020 program year are ~$418,000. HUD limits the amount of available funds allocated to public service activities to 15% of the overall grant (est. $62,700).

  • Applicants are invited to attend a Q&A session (one-on-one) 9-11 a.m. Tuesday, January 8, 2019, at the Chapel Hill Public Library in Meeting Room A and are invited to participate in a pre-application meeting, which is a 1-hour one-on-one session, during which applicants can discuss their funding proposal with Town staff (contact Town Staff below to schedule).

An Application Review Committee will evaluate applications and present a funding recommendation to the Town Council for final approval in March/April 2019.

Applications are due by 5:00PM Tuesday, January 22, 2019. Applications and additional information is available at http://www.tinyurl.com/TOCHcdbg.

For assistance and information, contact Renee Moye at 919-968-2877 or cdbg@townofchapelhill.org.

Chapel Hill Voters Approve Affordable Housing Bond

Chapel Hill voters expressed their overwhelming approval of an Affordable Housing Bond Referendum on Tuesday, November 6th.  The Bond was approved by 72% of voters. 

“We are grateful for our community’s support of this important effort to create a place for everyone in Chapel Hill,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. 

The referendum approves $10 million in general obligation bonds to help the Town achieve its strategic plan for developing 400 new affordable housing units and preserve 300 existing affordable units over the next five years. The Town anticipates using the bond funding to support several large-scale affordable housing projects including public housing redevelopment and development on Town-owned parcels.

Requests for Proposals will also be issued in order to fund projects developed by regional affordable housing partners. The priorities established in the Town’s Affordable Housing Plan will guide the selection of the bond-supported projects. The Chapel Hill Town Council will have final approval of all projects.

The Chapel Hill Town Council approved three eligible activities for use of Affordable Housing Bond Funds:

  • Acquisition

  • Home Repairs

  • New Construction

 The Council also approved the following priorities for use of funds:

  • Rental housing serving households less than 60 percent of the area median income (about $48,300 for a household of 4)

  • Rental housing serving vulnerable populations

  • Housing that achieves long-term affordability

  • Housing located near transit services

  • Projects that leverage other financial resources

More information about the Affordable Housing Bond Referendum and next steps for the Chapel Hill Affordable Housing Bond can be found here.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR THE BONDS AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING?

The Town has seven years from the date of the election to issue the bonds. The Town and the Council will follow a process established by the Local Government Commission prior to accessing affordable housing bond funds. The first step will be Council discussion and approval of a resolution certifying and approving the referendum results (January 2019),

Projects will be evaluated and approved by the Town Council.