Affordable, Workforce Housing Policies of Connecticut and South Florida Selected as Finalists in National ULI Awards Competition
June 11, 2015
For more information, contact: Robert Krueger at 202-624-7051
WASHINGTON (June 10, 2015) – The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Terwilliger Center for Housing has announced the finalists of this year’s Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award, an annual program that recognizes exemplary state and local programs, policies, and practices that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of affordable and workforce housing.
Both the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority’s (CHFA) Small Multifamily Rental Development Strategy and the Palm Beach County Workforce Housing Program (WHP) were selected by a jury of renowned housing experts. Later this year the jury will select a winner, which will be announced at the ULI Fall Meeting in San Francisco on October 5-8, 2015.
“These finalists are making a positive difference in the lives of people who live and work in their communities by encouraging the much-needed development of housing that is affordable to the workforce,” said ULI’s Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “We are pleased to recognize their efforts through the Larson Award program.”
“Local governments can and must be at the forefront of addressing the worsening shortage of affordable homes and apartments in the country. This year’s Larson Award finalists are each leading the way in their regions,” added Stockton Williams, executive director of the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing.
The CHFA Small Multifamily Rental Development Strategy is designed to help meet the needs of small multifamily developments in Connecticut, which make up a substantial share of the affordable housing stock but often struggle from lack of access to technical expertise and financial resources. CHFA conducted an assessment of the market and identified that nearly 10 percent of housing units in Connecticut are in structures with 5 to 19 units. CHFA’s strategy centers on a partnership with the state’s Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), which provide the knowledge and capacity to serve smaller properties and their owners with both financing and technical assistance. Since the formation of the partnership, the CDFIs have financed over 2,200 units of affordable and mixed-income housing in Connecticut.
CHFA’s other strategies to serve small multifamily properties include an innovative partnership designed to revitalize small underutilized properties in downtowns, and a new fund to support the creation of affordable housing as part of transit-oriented development around rail and bus rapid transit lines within the state. Together, these efforts to meet the needs of small multifamily properties are seeking to increase the affordable housing stock in the state, bring vacant and blighted properties back into productive use, and help revitalize downtowns and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.
Palm Beach County’s WHP is an inclusionary zoning program created to help counter the effects of Palm Beach County’s dramatic rise in median housing prices between 1995 and 2005. The WHP, which was developed through a task force with representatives from the building, economic development, and advocacy communities, calls for a percentage of units in certain new residential developments to be affordable to households earning between 60 and 140 percent of area median income (AMI). These households earn too much to qualify for typical housing assistance programs, but still struggle to afford the high cost of housing in the area. A total of 36 development approvals with an affordable component associated with WHP have been completed since the program was initiated.
The goals of WHP are to provide affordable housing opportunities to meet identified needs with limited public expenditures; create economically diverse communities; reduce the impact of over-concentrated areas of affordable housing; and allow for housing near dispersed employment opportunities.
The Larson Award program was created in 2011, with the purpose of honoring the legacy of the late Robert C. Larson, former ULI Foundation Chairman and longtime ULI trustee. The program recognizes states and localities that undertake a broad range of policy and administrative initiatives to support housing affordability. This can take the form of regulatory or administrative changes such as higher densities and waivers of fees, or programs that provide grants or financing assistance. Policy programs are judged on a number of factors, including impact on the supply of workforce housing, comprehensiveness of the tools and programs employed, involvement of public-private partnerships, and the ability to leverage private and nonprofit funds, among other criteria.
The Larson Award competition is part of the ULI Terwilliger Center’s housing awards program, which honors developments and programs that provide affordable, well-designed and accessible housing choices for a mix of incomes, including families earning up to 120 percent of the area AMI. The Center’s other awards competition – the Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Awards – honors outstanding developments while the Larson Award recognizes exceptional public policy.
Members of the Larson Award jury include Paul Freitag, managing director, Jonathan Rose, Co.; Patrick Nash, managing director, JP Morgan; Dionne Nelson, principal and chief executive officer, Laurel Street Residential; and Linda Mandolini, president, Eden Housing.
NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Courtesy images of the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award finalists are provided by ULI for use by legitimate members of the press upon request. For more details on the award and previous winners, visit the Larson Awards webpage.
About the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing
The ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing was established in 2007 with a $5 million endowment to ULI from former ULI Chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger, chairman emeritus of Trammell Crow Residential and chairman of the ULI Terwilliger Center. The mission of the Center is to expand housing opportunity by leveraging the private sector and other partners to create and sustain mixed-income, mixed-use urban and suburban neighborhoods that incorporate a full spectrum of housing choices including affordable and workforce housing.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute (uli.org) is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the Institute has more than 34,000 members representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.