ANN ARBOR, MI — The Ann Arbor Housing Commission has seen tremendous growth in its affordable housing programs over the past decade, says Executive Director Jennifer Hall.
And it plans to go even further, with more affordable housing developments in the works.
Hall spoke about where the agency has been and where it is heading in a recent budget presentation to city council, discussing plans to allocate the city’s Affordable Housing Tax funds to five projects over the coming year.
The city is entering the second year of the 20-year tax with estimated revenue of $6.5 million in the 2022-23 fiscal year as of July, Hall said.
The city funds are intended to help leverage other funding to create new affordable housing for people earning up to 60% of the region’s median income, furthering the city’s goal of socioeconomic diversity. town.
Hall proposes using more than $360,000 next year for three full-time staff working on housing development, plus $400,000 for pre-development work such as surveys and studies.
Of the remaining funds, she proposes to spend $3.2 million on an affordable housing development at 350 S. Fifth Ave. and $1.5 million to an affordable development at 353 S. Main St.
These are two city-owned parking lots on William Street, where the commission worked on redevelopment plans. About $200,000 of the funding for the Main Street site, known as the Palio Lot, would be for tenant support services.
Hall also proposes to invest an additional $1 million in three nonprofit Avalon Housing projects:
- $300,000 for services to apartments for artists and people leaving homelessness at 121 E. Catherine St.
- Over $432,000 for capital costs and services for Hickory Way Apartments, where another phase is planned.
- Over $304,000 for services at The Grove at Veridian next to County Farm Park.
The commission’s plans for two 14- and 20-story apartment towers at 350 S. Fifth Ave. are expected to be submitted to City Council for approval this month and next month.
After that, the commission plans to issue a request for proposals for a co-developer, and final design and funding could be completed in 2023, Hall said.
The Housing Commission is following a similar process for a six-story development at 415 W. Washington St.
As for Avalon’s project on the city-owned land at 121 E. Catherine St., Hall said it still has to go through plan approval and final design and then secure financing. His presentation showed a 2022-2023 timeline for it.
The Housing Commission is working with the Downtown Development Authority and city staff to coordinate improvements to the site’s underground infrastructure with the work the DDA will be carrying out on Catherine Street this year.
The commission has yet to select a developer for a potential 10-story development at 353 S. Main St.
The Housing Commission has several other affordable housing projects in the works, including at 123 W. Summit St., 2000 S. Industrial Highway, 1510 E. Stadium Boulevard, 404-406 N. Ashley St. and Platt/Springbrook, but it There’s no specific timeline for these, Hall said, indicating attention will shift to them as other projects progress.
Hall said the number of state-subsidized apartments the commission owns and manages has increased from 355 to 548 since 2011.
“The biggest increase was the acquisition of Lurie Terrace, but we also added 58 apartments through the redevelopment of our social housing,” she said.
From a development perspective, the commission has raised over $73 million from various sources over the past decade to reinvest in its buildings, including over $44 million in federal housing tax credits for low-income people, Hall said.
“We have an excellent leverage ratio for city contributions,” she said, noting that the city provided about 6% of the funds and the DDA provided 3%.
The commission now owns and manages 17 affordable housing units, as well as more than 2,200 housing vouchers that subsidize rents for low-income residents in the private sector, up from less than 1,500 a decade ago.
The number of combined apartments and vouchers has increased from 1,824 to 2,760 over the past decade. The agency also has a Family Self-Reliance Program with 99-130 participants and a Home Ownership Program with 10 homeowners.
Over the past decade, the commission’s annual operating budget has grown from $13 million to $31 million, while its number of employees has grown from 21 to 41 to more than $21 million.
The city plays a critical role in providing affordable housing and support services in the community and that job requires people to do it, Hall said.
“As we develop more properties, we will need to continue to increase our staff,” she told the council.
Hall said she was delighted that the Housing Commission was recently designated by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development as Getting around to work the public housing authority to design and explore creative ideas to increase landlord participation in the voucher scheme.
The goal of the five-year study is to increase rental success for voucher participants, especially given Ann Arbor’s tough housing market, Hall said, noting that the new designation allows for more great flexibility in using HUD funds – for example, for security deposits, application fees, and essential household items.
“On the landlord side, we can use our HUD funds to incentivize landlords to participate in our program and to mitigate potential losses such as payment for short-term vacant units while units are repaired between voucher tenants,” Hall added. “We’re super excited about it.”
Along with the 2022-23 city budget, Hall also proposes to use more than $600,000 of the city’s annual one-mile countywide mental health and public safety reimbursement for mental health services. and tenant support through nonprofit organizations such as the Community Action Network, Peace Neighborhood Center, and Avalon. , plus nearly $475,000 for other capital projects.
This includes housing renovations at 1504-1508 Broadway St. and new sprinkler systems and asbestos removal at Miller Manor, Baker Commons and Lurie Terrace.
The city council will vote on the 2022-23 budget in May.
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