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Chapter 5: Opportunities and Strategies for Non-Profit and Quasi-Governmental Agencies

Opportunities for Non-Profits and Quasi-Governmental Housing Agencies

This chapter contains information and ideas for non-profit organizations and quasi-governmental agencies such as housing authorities. It is also meant to give local community groups an understanding of the possibilities should they decide to partner with a housing authority or a non-profit to prevent blight and to engage in the re-development process. Some community groups may want to start their own development corporation, however, having an experienced partner is very highly recommended.

1. Prevention: Non-profit Community Development Corporations (CDC), non-profit agencies that have home repair and housing development programs as well as quasi-governmental agencies like housing authorities can be instrumental in the prevention of blight. Find prevention resources here.

2. Nonprofit Capacity for Housing Development: Learn more about building partnerships and assessing capacity for housing development here.

3. Stages of Property Development:

Most Development Projects have these four main stages:

I. Pre-purchase Stage
- Assemble the development team
- Consider the design and marketing issues
- Check for utilities. (Is there city water and septic? What is the proximity to fire hydrant for insurance affordability?)
- Purchase Agreement
- Survey
- Check Flood Plain Maps
- Cost/Feasibility Analysis
- Financing (Consider construction and permanent financing as well as holding costs during the marketing period.)

II. Pre-Construction
- Purchase of Property
- Bid Construction
- Permits, fees, water tap, electric hook-ups
- Site preparation
- Construction Financing in Place

III. Project Construction
Interim Inspections by Building Inspectors

IV. Marketing for sale or for rent.

4. Demolition and New Construction: Read about important steps to take during the pre-purchase phase here.

5. Sources of Financing:

Sources of Construction Financing for Rehabilitation of non-owner-occupied single family and multi-family housing:

- Local Banks (loans)
- WV Affordable Housing Trust Fund:
     Grants and Loans
- West Virginia Housing Development Fund:
     Home Program (grant)
     Low Income Housing Tax credits
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh:
- CommunityWorks in West Virginia:
- Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises: 

6. Managing Vacant Lots and Protecting Vacant Buildings:

Non-profit organizations and housing authorities have a vested interest in the lots and buildings they own and are holding for development. One way to protect their interest is to get to know the neighbors and support local activities. Work with the community on developing a Neighborhood Watch Program.

Here are some suggestions to keep the properties safe. Consider enlisting some help from the neighborhood:

For homes:
• Temporarily install solar powered lighting that is movement activated.
• Install curtains
• Remove old mail and newspapers
• Mow lawn
• Hang holiday decorations
• Plant flowers
• Tastefully board up windows and doors. (This can be done by cutting the boards to fit the space rather than overlap. On a brick house, paint them brick red. Invite art students to paint the boards so that they look like real windows and doors.)

For vacant lots:
• Plant flowers
• Create a container flower/vegetable garden
• Plant a community garden
• Make sure the lawn is mowed

7. Policy Considerations: Find recommendations for amendments and new policies here.

Good Practices

The Randolph County Housing Authority, a recipient of the Housing Preservation Grant, encountered houses that needed more work than could be accomplished within the limits of the grant. North Central Community Action is contacted to see if the family and the work will fall into their guidelines. Working together, the two agencies can bring a house up to code that would otherwise have been passed over for lack of funds.

The Fairmont/Morgantown Housing Authority (FMHA) created the Morgantown Homeownership Preservation Initiative in 2005. This was to save neighborhoods that were becoming blighted by rental housing that was not being maintained. This program facilitates the purchase, rehabilitation and resale of dwellings in targeted areas, in an effort to increase the mix of owner-occupied housing and to improve housing quality. Properties are acquired on the open market by the Housing Authority, who then improves the property. These properties are then sold to persons committed to maintaining the property as owner occupied. There are no buyer restrictions, houses are resold on the open market. The property must be maintained as owner occupied and must not be leased at any time. A Deed Restriction will be placed on the property to ensure owner-occupancy.