The Connecticut Housing Coalition (CHC), an NLIHC State Coalition Partner, recently launched the Affordable Housing Academy, a four-month customized training course for owners and developers of affordable housing. Its purpose is to provide expert guidance and advice to housing authorities and private housing developers and aid in the success of projects serving people with low incomes. The National Development Council and Local Initiatives Support Corporation have partnered with CHC in this effort.
CHC has been pleased with its state’s recent commitment toward affordable housing programs, bolstered by Governor Dan Malloy’s pledge to invest more than $500 million in housing production and preservation programs through 2020 (see Memo, 3/1). Given diminishing federal funds due to sequestration, advocates believe it is more important than ever to ensure that state-financed projects are well positioned to maximize available funds. CHC learned that many affordable housing developers were slow to respond to the improved state funding environment. Advocates hope the academy will help create a housing development and revitalization project pipeline that meets the state’s goals and provides high-quality housing options for low and moderate income residents.
The academy engages housing development teams composed of a project’s owner, sponsor, developer, architect, property manager, development consultant, resident leadership, and community partners. The teams develop locally-tailored projects in response to their own set of challenges, assets, and opportunities. The training and technical assistance encompasses the project concept, site selection, budget development, community process, program design, and coordination of operations. The academy also helps participants develop local partnerships needed to create and manage quality, resident-focused housing.
Additionally, the academy offers specialized training on meeting Connecticut’s financing requirements for such programs as the state-sponsored housing portfolio, Competitive Housing Assistance for Multifamily Properties, 4% and 9% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, Permanent Supportive Housing, and programs supporting Superstorm Sandy relief.
Following the training course, participants will have the opportunity to present their project plans to a review panel of potential funders, including the State Department of Housing and Connecticut Housing Finance Authority. They will encourage funders to invest in their projects and receive honest feedback about their plans, including elements that would prevent their projects from being approved during an actual application review.
As Connecticut requires including Public Housing residents in the revitalization plans of their buildings, CHC strongly encouraged academy-involved housing authorities to include residents on their development teams. CHC was successful in getting most of them to include at least one resident.
Current academy participants have given positive reviews to CHC for its ability to make the trainings useful for both experienced and new developers and to provide technical project-by-project assistance.
“We are very excited about the prospects of the Affordable Housing Academy,” said CHC Executive Director Betsy Crum. “We are not just providing training; we are developing projects and building the capacity of the entire industry to do more.”
For more information, please contact Betsy Crum, CHC, email@example.com.