General executive Summary




НазваниеGeneral executive Summary
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Specific Housing Objectives




  1. Describe the priorities and specific objectives the jurisdiction hopes to achieve during the next year.




  1. Describe how Federal, State, and local public and private sector resources that are reasonably expected to be available will be used to address identified needs for the period covered by this Action Plan.


Program Year 3 Action Plan Specific Housing Objectives response:


As has been described in the previous sections, the State of Alabama has a seemingly unattainable challenge to meet the affordable housing needs of tens of thousands of households, primarily those with limited incomes, including some with special needs. Despite these large numbers, the State will fully utilize all available funding sources to meet the greatest number of those needs.


The “Sweet Home Alabama” report and data developed through a contract with the Alabama Housing Finance Authority and Dr. Donald W. Bogie was used in developing the specific housing objectives. As clearly outlined in the Five-Year Consolidated Plan, the State faces a myriad of housing needs with very limited funding sources. However, the provision of affordable housing is the State’s primary objective. More specifically, the State’s objectives regarding affordable housing focus on areas which have proven to be successful in the past.


  1. Provide new and rehabilitated rental housing for extremely low-, low-, and moderate-income households.

  2. Provide rental assistance for extremely low-, low-, and moderate-income persons and families.

  3. Provide rehabilitated housing for existing homeowners of extremely low-, low- and moderate-incomes.


The HOME Program will prioritize affordable rental housing for extremely low-income (0% to 30% MFI), low-income (31% to 50% MFI) and some moderate-income (51% to 80% MFI) households. There are thousands of Alabamians within these income ranges who could benefit from the creation of new or rehabilitated rental units. Additionally, the HOPWA Program will provide affordable rental housing options and rental assistance programs to low-income, HIV-positive individuals and families. CDBG will continue to prioritize the rehabilitation of homeowner units, but rental units are eligible for rehabilitation grants as well.


Based on previous program experience, the State anticipates funding two housing rehabilitation grants with CDBG funds.

Needs of Public Housing





  1. Describe the manner in which the plan of the jurisdiction will help address the needs of public housing and activities it will undertake during the next year to encourage public housing residents to become more involved in management and participate in homeownership.



  2. If the public housing agency is designated as "troubled" by HUD or otherwise is performing poorly, the jurisdiction shall describe the manner in which it will provide financial or other assistance in improving its operations to remove such designation during the next year.


Program Year 3 Action Plan Public Housing Strategy response:


The State of Alabama does not have a Public Housing Authority; therefore, this Action Plan item has not been addressed.


Barriers to Affordable Housing


  1. Describe the actions that will take place during the next year to remove barriers to affordable housing.


Program Year 3 Action Plan Barriers to Affordable Housing response:


The following section is an outline of strategies to overcome barriers to affordable housing. The strategies remain largely the same as those for the previous Action Plan. The state has reviewed well over a thousand locally produced Analyses of Impediments constructed by local governments. In doing so the State has had a chance to learn more about what local communities believe are the most important barriers to housing opportunity.


Land Use Restrictions

Land use regulations have been recognized for sometime as a possible impediment to affordable housing. Landmark cases addressing “exclusionary zoning” were undertaken where suburban cities were cited for in engaging in land use practices that would effectively eliminate the poor, and thereby disproportionately minorities, from their jurisdictions. Thus the potential for misuse of land use regulations is usually on any list of items to be scrutinized for negative impact on housing affordability or accessibility.


Generally the most important land use regulations are the zoning ordinance and the subdivision regulations. Land use regulations in Alabama can impose additional cost to housing in a variety of ways. While in the poor principally rural state like Alabama, land use regulations are unlikely to be adopted and/or enforced, the State strategy will be to:


~~~ Encourage land use practices that maximize housing affordability and accessibility for low and moderate persons.


~~~ Research the feasibility of establishing zoning and minimum housing standards for Alabama’s rural areas.


~~~ Implement intelligent and strategic expansion of the level of infrastructure to serve suitable development, especially that which expands housing opportunity for lower and moderate income persons.


Building Codes

Similar to land use regulations, over the years a number of builders and advocates of affordable housing have stated that building and housing codes were housing affordability impediments. The codes are often lumped together with zoning ordinances and other land use regulations and it can be unclear to some as where one begins and the other ends. Governmental building codes are often expressed in terms of rigid specifications that can be difficult or costly to comply with. New or different construction techniques and architectural innovations would be satisfactory in terms of safety, comfort, and other measurable standards but are not in compliance unless they meet strict code specifications. Arbitrary and inconsistent building code enforcement has also been cited as a source of additional expense for builders who can be unduly delayed in their construction and/or forced to undertake costly redesigns.


As with the land use regulations, building codes in Alabama are adopted and practiced for the most part in the entitlement communities and much of the rural areas in the state are devoid of building code adoption and enforcement. Nevertheless, given the opportunity, the State will:


~~~ Modify or improve building codes where appropriate with an emphasis on affordability and energy conservation.


~~~ Encourage the development of new building technologies and methods where feasible.


Absence of Land Use Regulations

The absence of certain land use regulations or codes can be as big a problem for those seeking affordable low cost housing as the existence or misapplication of certain codes and regulations. The State will:


~~~ Promote the development of planned mobile home parks, particularly in rural and small town areas.


~~~ Take actions to remove substandard structures that are eyesores and which deter development in moderate income neighborhoods.


Credit Environment

Except for the “bubble” years of recent past, historically lending institutions have been conservative and restrictive in their lending practices. While this practice may have been vindicated by the housing crisis resulting from loose lending practices, the strategy should be to:


~~~ Ease down payment burden in cases where other credit qualification factors are strong and the down payment appears to be the only difficulty in facilitating the applicant’s purchase of a home.


~~~ Encourage Alabama banks to pursue Community Reinvestment Act activities.


~~~ Maintain a certain amount of flexibility and creativity in mortgage lending practices where possible and appropriate.


~~~ Promote in-kind services by lenders.


~~~ Promote lending practices that balance the interest of financial institutions versus those of people seeking affordable housing.


Fair Housing Issues/Discrimination

Some Alabama counties and cities have continued to note discrimination as a barrier to affordable housing but there are fortunately many signs of progress on this front.


~~~ Continue to monitor financial institutions for possible discriminatory practices.


~~~ Promote and legitimize quality education and advocacy efforts whose objectives are to overcome impediments or barriers.


The NIMBY Syndrome

The NIMBY barrier can be viewed as a classic “haves versus the have-nots” situation where low and moderate income households suffer due to an instinctive response from established communities and neighborhoods. Neighbors affected by the proposed development often have fears and concerns about their property values, crime, traffic congestion, loss of open space, new neighbors and design compatibility.


~~~ Prevent the proliferation of poorly planned developments that tend to perpetuate stereotypical images of lower income housing.


Land Ownership Patterns

Much of the suitable land for development is owned or controlled by a few owners or developers. In these areas owners can generally dictate the extent of housing activity to be carried out on their land. They can also be more selective in dealings to ensure maximum profitability, usually diminishing or precluding affordable housing opportunities for lower income households.

~~~ Take measures to impact local land ownership patterns when possible.


~~~Support local code enforcement programs that put pressure on negligent landlords but also weigh the costs of mandated repairs.


Costs Associated With Accessibility Compliance

Accessible housing units can be more costly to construct and the required renovations to existing structures can be especially costly for older structures.


~~~ Continue present policy and enforcement.


~~~ Monitor changing regulations, realities, and technologies that affect this issue.


Fire Protection Costs

Due to a lack of fire protection in some rural counties, a homeowner’s insurance rates are much higher than typical urban areas thereby causing an overall increase in the cost of housing, or at least negating the usual lower monthly mortgage cost found in most rural areas.


~~~ Consider revenue enhancements, when needed to upgrade rural fire protection.


~~~ Consider use of HUD program funds when eligible and feasible to address fire protections needs of rural areas which improve quality of life, safety, health, and help lower housing costs.


~~~ Maintain awareness of potential partner programs that might help the State address the needs of rural areas.


Transportation Costs

The cost of and availability of transportation to work, shopping and services is a factor that most definitely affects housing choice and affordability. Outside of urban areas, there has traditionally been very little readily available public transit in Alabama and that which is accessible has often been irregular in the times and patterns of service. As the population continues to age and as fuel consumption issues become more crucial this will be an issue that will likely impact housing opportunity more and more.


~~~ The State continually reviews options to use programs to help address transportation costs such as strategic funding of street and road improvements, rural transit systems, and funding of local or regional studies to enhance economical rural transit.


~~~ The state plans to pay particular attention to rural and small town options that allow elderly persons to have a more viable option of remaining in the affordable dwelling they have instead of having to move to managed care housing.

Conclusion


While so many of the priorities that form barriers to affordable housing are essentially local practices, the State will take the steps that it can to encourage and promote this goal. The State will continue to work to upgrade its Fair Housing Law to one that is equivalent to the national law. The State will use its programs (such as the CDBG Enhancement Fund), when possible, to address factors like transportation that often hamper the cause of affordable housing.


The State will emphasize that down payment assistance programs are an option under the Community Enhancement Program as well as through the other programs indicated under the preceding Institutional/Financial Constraints section.

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