|TCG Development Services, LLC
National HOPE VI Technical Assistance
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
The Communities Group serves as a technical assistance provider to awardees under HUD's HOPE VI program. In all, 79 authorities nationwide have received grants for comprehensive urban revitalization. Under a contract with EDTEC, Inc., The Communities Group assists grantees with planning and coordinating self-sufficiency and community building activities. In addition to providing training at regional conferences, the Group is providing direct on-site technical assistance for projects in Detroit (MI), Cleveland (OH), and Holyoke (MA).
HOPE VI grants provide the seed capital for major area revitalization such as: demolition of obsolete public housing; and development of replacement housing that is less dense, better integrated into the broad neighborhood, and supported with self-sufficiency services and economic development efforts. Homeownership is a key component to these revitalization efforts in that it provides a strong community base to anchor the redevelopment. Through case management, authorities work with the target families to help remove barriers to employment and to create economic opportunities.
The Communities Group supports the HOPE VI program with a range of services, including: urban planning for revitalization efforts; preparation of grant applications; training and technical assistance on how to integrate homeownership and economic development into the revitalization programs; feasibility studies; program management; program evaluation; and project implementation.
Homeownership Feasibility Study
The Communities Group conducted a feasibility study for the Housing Authority of the City of Calexico for the sale of 50 public housing homes to qualified resident purchasers. Following the study, the Group prepared a plan for HUD's approval under the 5(h) program. Calexico is an agricultural community in the Imperial Valley, on the California border with northern Mexico.
In a development known as Casas del Sol, the development will be sold for an average of $80,000. Under the 5(h) program, the Authority receives the property for $1 from HUD, and is therefore in a position to resell the units with a first mortgage that is affordable. In Casas del Sol, the average first mortgage will be $47,000. Since homes are sold at market value, the Authority needs to provide a second mortgage for the difference between the sale price and the affordable first mortgage. No payments need to be made on the second mortgage, and no interest need accrue. In most cases, these programs are designed so that these silent second mortgages are "due on sale."
Since the Authority does not want to sell these units without replacing them, work continued in 1997 to design a replacement program under the low-income housing tax credit program. The $2.4 million sales proceeds from Casas del Sol will provide the equity for development of replacement housing. In 1997, the Authority selected a developer, Chelsea Investment Corporation, and retained The Communities Group to serve as its advisor in overseeing the development of 100 units of replacement housing. Development will begin in early 1998, with the optioning of a site, and the filing of an application to the California Housing Finance Agency for an allocation of tax credits.
Planning, Evaluation and Grant Writing
In March 1997, the Las Vegas Housing Authority (LVHA) renewed its long-term indefinite quantity contract with The Communities Group to deliver a wide variety of technical assistance services:
* Prepare and submit grant applications to HUD and others
* Negotiate partnerships with local public, private and non-profit entities
* Coordinate and link all resident initiative programs
* Prepare updated job descriptions and departmental organizational chart
* Develop staff evaluation procedures and form
* Perform departmental and programmatic evaluations
* Streamline service delivery
In delivering these technical assistance services for the past three years, The Communities Group developed a thorough understanding of LVHA's staff, organizational structure, long-term goals and history. This understanding enables the firm to provide customized services tailored to the actual circumstances and preferences of LVHA. The Communities Group has designed and prepared grant applications that have raised over $3 million in HUD resident initiatives funding for the Authority.
Economic Development and Supportive Services Grant
In 1997, TCG assisted LVHA by preparing a $150,000 Economic Development and Supportive Services grant application to HUD to promote self-sufficiency and assist residents to transition from welfare to work. TCG negotiated formal partnerships and matching funding with the Community College of Southern Nevada and Nevada Partners to provide a continuum of services including basic life skills training, education, vocational training, job placement, business development, transportation, day care and case management services.
In 1997, The Communities Group and LVHA co-hosted a three-day, HUD-funded Homeownership Training Workshop at Harrah's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas that attracted over 50 housing and community development professionals from throughout Nevada. The workshop highlighted the technical aspects of HUD homeownership programs that generate significant re-sale proceeds and that public housing authorities can use to acquire and develop additional housing units.
and Implementation of a Program Evaluation Model
Currently, TCG is designing a computerized program evaluation model, funded by the Nevada Division for Aging Services, for LVHA's Howard Cannon Senior Services Center to use to track client progress and to precisely measure the impact and benefits of self-sufficiency and wellness services it delivers to senior citizens throughout Las Vegas. This model will enable LVHA to assess the viability of its programs, conduct trend analysis and perform long-term forecasting. Once tested and fully implemented at the Center, LVHA intends to use the program evaluation model to assess the benefits of its self-sufficiency and economic development programs for families and non-senior individuals.