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WASHINGTON (April 28, 2017) – Affordable and workforce housing policies and initiatives put in place by the governments of Washington, D.C.; Boston; Denver; and New York City have been selected as finalists for the 2017 Urban Land Institute (ULI) Larson Housing Policy Leadership Award. The annual award, provided by ULI’s Terwilliger Center for Housing, recognizes innovative ways the public sector is addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis.
The winner will be announced during the Terwilliger Center’s Housing Opportunity Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, September 10-12. The 2017 Larson Awards finalists are:
- Washington, District of Columbia: Department of Housing and Community Development: Washington has taken a multi-pronged approach to tackle issues related to housing DC’s residents: production, preservation, homeownership, and development of vacant properties. Production is being increased due to a housing trust fund that will provide up to $100 million annually for affordable housing development. The city has also streamlined the processes for the disposition of vacant properties which is enhancing efficiency. It has improved programs to encourage homeownership and facilitate attainment for those who would otherwise remain renters; and it has established a Housing Preservation Strike Force to strategize how to maintain affordable units where they already exist.
- Boston, Massachusetts: Department of Neighborhood Development: Boston’s Neighborhood Homes Initiative offers a creative solution to offering middle-income housing on city-owned parcels of land that are too small for high density developments. The program emphasizes a high level of community outreach, incorporating residents into the design process — architects develop prototypes that complement the existing street context, and the prototypes are presented in community meetings for feedback.
- Denver, Colorado: Office of Economic Development, Housing Development Division: Denver’s Regional Transit-Oriented Development Fund incorporates affordable and workforce housing into transit-oriented development through a public-private partnership. The program aims to preserve existing affordable housing along transportation corridors, placing special emphasis on units that may be lost due to gentrification. The program leverages the fund with over $500 million in local economic development activity, through construction and permanent job creation, serving economically challenged neighborhoods.
- New York, New York: Housing Development Corporation: Experiencing some of the highest rents in the nation and facing affordable housing needs that far outstrip available public subsidy, New York City has created a financing approach that substantially stretches the amount of available funding to support more development than would otherwise occur. The city’s novel approach also allows for mixed-income development and simplifies the local compliance process for developers.
“With workforce and affordable housing needs growing more severe across the country, state and local governments are rising to the challenge with creative, substantive solutions, said ULI Terwilliger Center Executive Director Stockton Williams. “This year’s Larson Awards finalists are excellent examples of leadership in addressing one of the most pressing issues faced by our communities – an issue that could undermine their ability to grow and thrive in the decades ahead.”
The Larson Awards recognize exemplary state and local programs, policies, and practices that support the production, rehabilitation, or preservation of workforce and affordable housing. The program was created in 2011 to honor the legacy of the late Robert C. Larson, a former ULI Foundation chairman and longtime ULI trustee. The Larson Awards are 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 people with a mix of incomes, including families earning up to 120 percent of the area median income.
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 allowing higher densities and waiving 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 finalists were chosen by a jury of national housing industry leaders. Members of the Larson Awards jury are Victoria Davis, president, Urban Atlantic; Hal Ferris, principal, Spectrum Development; Gadi Kaufmann, managing director and chief executive officer, RCLCO; Alazne Solis, president and chief executive officer, Make Room USA; Margaret Wylde, chief executive officer, Pro Matura Group; and J. Ronald Terwilliger, founder of the Terwilliger Center and a former ULI chairman.
NOTE TO REPORTERS AND EDITORS: Courtesy images of the Robert C. Larson Housing Policy Leadership Awards finalists are provided by ULI for use by legitimate members of the press upon request. For more details on the awards and previous winners, visit the Larson Awards webpage.
About the ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing
The ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing conducts research, performs analysis, provides expert advice, and develops best practice recommendations that reflect the residential land use and development priorities of ULI members in all residential product types, with special attention to workforce and affordable housing. The center was established in 2007 with a gift from longtime member and former ULI chairman J. Ronald Terwilliger.
About the Urban Land Institute
The Urban Land Institute 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 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, please visit uli.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.