COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

Affordable Housing for Working Poor

 

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Proposal to Create a Joint City/County Task Force to Address Gaps in Affordable Housing Initiatives

 

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Elliott, Davis, White

 

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

 

AGENDA DATE:

August 1, 2007

 

      ACTION:     X               INFORMATION: 

 

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

      ACTION:                       INFORMATION: 

 

 

ATTACHMENTS:      Yes

 

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

 

BACKGROUND:

On July 12th, 2007, representatives from the Albemarle County Housing Committee and Charlottesville Housing Advisory Committee met with City and County staff, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ken Boyd, and Charlottesville Mayor David Brown to discuss the proposal put forth by IMPACT to create a joint committee to address affordable housing issues.  Representatives from IMPACT also attended and reiterated their concern that existing programs are not serving the working poor and affordable rental housing is not sufficient to meet the needs of the working poor.  IMPACT also stated its position that the private sector will not and cannot address this need and proposed that the City and County jointly build 150 rental units affordable to the working poor (generally, those households with annual incomes below $20,000).

 

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

By June 30, 2010, working in partnership with others, increase affordable housing opportunities for those who work and/or live in Albemarle County.

 

 

DISCUSSION:

Although the July 12 meeting had an agenda to include a review of what each locality and existing committees are doing to attempt to address the issue of affordable housing, there was little discussion of these efforts and programs.  The Countyís Housing Committee is still working to improve and clarify the intent of the Affordable Housing Policy adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 2004 and has discussed plans to begin focusing on rental housing needs particularly for the lower income.  The City Housing Advisory Committee is working on process and procedures for allocating new housing funding approved by the City. 

 

Three potential options were advanced during the July 12th meeting to address IMPACTís proposal.  The first was to combine the two existing housing committees, to meet on a quarterly basis, to work on some of the tougher housing issues.  Staff and current Committee members did not believe this would be practical given the size of the combined group (approximately 25 members).  The second option was to create a new committee with representatives of the existing committees and others.  There were concerns expressed about the roles of a new joint committee when two committees already existed and are working on a variety of housing issues. However, IMPACT suggested that neither of the two committees were focused on the working poor.  The third option suggested was to create a short term task force consisting of two representatives from each of the existing committees, a City Councilor, a member of the Board of Supervisors, one member from each Planning Commission, a representative from the TJPDC (non-City/County), and a representative from the University of Virginia.  A seat on the proposed task force was offered to IMPACT but the invitation was declined by its Head Organizer. 

 

Assuming a decision is made to create a task force in response to IMPACTís request, the third option was deemed more appropriate by the group.  To this end, the group agreed to task staff with working with their respective elected officials and committee members to determine if there is support for the proposed task force.  However, the group did not develop a charge for the proposed task force other than to review existing housing policy and programs and identify gaps.  It was further
suggested that the proposed task force would report its findings to both existing committees which would in turn make recommendations to their respective governing bodies.

 

Should this task force be established by the City Council and Board of Supervisors, it is recommended that both bodies work collectively to appoint a person to be the facilitator for the group with the understanding that the group will commence its work by September of this year and will provide an interim report to the Council and Board by the end of this calendar year.  The report would include a projected timeline/work plan for the groupís report/recommendations to include sufficient time for the two appointed Housing Committees to review and comment on the report/recommendations.  

 

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

The creation and convening of the task force will not have a direct budget impact, however it will require the time of the Countyís Chief of Housing and the Cityís Neighborhood Planner to staff additional meetings.

 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

This proposal to create a joint City/County Task Force on Affordable Housing is presented for discussion and possible action by the Board at the request of the ad-hoc group that met on July 12, 2007.  If the Board supports this approach, staff recommends that a task force be created only if the charge is specific and not in conflict with the current work of the existing housing committees.  Therefore, a suggested charge could be as follows:

 

Identify and quantify the need for affordable rental housing for the "working poor," generally defined as those households earning below $20,000 annually; and provide recommendations on resource development (may include identifying available land) necessary for local government(s) to promote the development of x units over a five-year period.  The task force should request information from developers/builders including nonprofit housing providers in order to create financial models for scattered site and multiple-unit, same site approaches.  The task force shall produce a report to be distributed to the County's Housing Committee and the City's Housing Advisory Committee by    date    outlining the feasibility of providing affordable housing to the identified population, the number of units/timing of demand for the units, and resources identified to address this need.  The report should also include the feasibility and advantages/disadvantages in coordinating efforts between the two localities for addressing identified gaps in housing programs.   

 

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