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III. ALABAMA’S HOME PROGRAM
AHFA has developed and implemented this HOME Action Plan for the State of Alabama in compliance with the rules set forth in Title II of the Act, the final rule published by HUD (collectively hereinafter referred to as the “HOME Regulations”). AHFA is required by the HOME Regulations to:
Develop selection criteria to be used in determining housing priorities for the State. The selection criteria includes ranking each project in accordance with its location, fulfillment of housing needs, project and applicant characteristics, participation of local tax-exempt organizations, and the targeting of tenant population with supportive housing needs;
Develop an evaluation process whereby preference is given to projects, which serve:
(1) the lowest-income tenants, and (2) qualified tenants for the longest period(s); and
Develop compliance monitoring procedures to test for noncompliance with HOME regulations and for notifying the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) of noncompliance.
A. Development of Selection Criteria
AHFA has been responsible for preparing a housing needs assessment and strategy for the State of Alabama since the HOME Investment Partnerships Program was created. In 1992, AHFA prepared the first Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (or CHAS) as a prerequisite for Alabama to receive millions of federal dollars for housing. Prior to submitting the CHAS to HUD, AHFA prepared an extensive list of interested relevant parties from which to gather information and mailed letters of inquiry, questionnaires and surveys to various state agencies, service providers, housing directors and individuals. Based on the information gathered, along with data from the relatively new 1990 U. S. Census, AHFA then compiled a blueprint document for creating affordable housing across the State.
Beginning in 1995, HUD abandoned the CHAS and created the Consolidated Plan; an effort to blend the four Community Planning and Development programs - Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Home Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) - into a single submission process. AHFA, as administrators of the HOME Program, was deemed responsible for writing the housing portion of the new document. The Consolidated Plan provided a detailed overview of how the State planned to utilize some $50,000,000 annually in HUD funding to meet economic development objectives, provide affordable housing, and address other special needs. As a contributor, AHFA offered a detailed analysis of the current status of housing in Alabama with special attention devoted to the condition of housing and housing affordability.
The State Consolidated Plan relied on figures from the 2000 U. S. Census. While Alabama, like all states, has experienced ups and downs in population, income, and other critical census-tracked data between 1990 and 2000, one realization has not been altered- our State is still poor and thousands of Alabama families and households need a safe and affordable place to live. A great many unmet needs still exist and AHFA will use available resources to address them.
The Consolidated Plan, in addition to providing an overall assessment of housing needs for the State, identifies the housing needs associated with special needs groups (minorities, single-parent families, the elderly, people with disabilities, mental illness, or AIDS/HIV and homeless persons).
A demographic analysis performed for the first Consolidated Plan (and still true today) concluded “that a significant number of individuals in all parts of the state are in need of housing assistance. Those with the greatest needs are, predictably, concentrated at the lowest levels of the income hierarchy, wherein the housing cost burden is also the most severe. The largest numbers relative to housing needs are found in the state’s most populous urban and metropolitan counties, but the greatest concentration of need is observed in the rural counties located in the southern portion of the state, the Black Belt in particular.”
Additionally, the Consolidated Plan continues to be updated with historical AHFA data, including a list of HOME and Housing Credit projects placed in service and/or committed by AHFA since those programs began. The new Census data did not dramatically alter the state’s affordable housing priorities. While state HOME funds provide hundreds of traditional affordable housing units across Alabama each year, the overwhelming majority of beneficiaries have been families and, in some cases, the elderly. Meeting those needs is consistent with Consolidated Plan findings and the need for additional family units and elderly units should remain strong.
B. Establishment of Housing Priorities
AHFA has established certain housing priorities to be used in the distribution of HOME funds. In establishing these housing priorities for the 2012 allocation cycle, AHFA seeks to promote:
Projects that add to the low-income housing stock;
Projects, which, without HOME funds, would not likely set aside units for low-income tenants;
Projects which use additional assistance through federal, state, or local subsidies; and
Balanced distribution of HOME funds throughout the state in terms of geographical regions, counties, and urban/rural areas.
C. Project Selection Criteria
AHFA is required to evaluate each application to determine which projects should receive HOME funds. Applicants must complete the following basic steps:
Residential rental projects must be on a single site or contiguous sites. Sites may be considered contiguous if separated only by one neighborhood street. Single-family homes are not allowed. Mobile homes do not qualify. Intermediate care facilities, group homes, and congregate care facilities are not allowed. In addition, any residential rental unit that is part of a hospital, nursing home, sanitarium, lifecare facility, or intermediate care facility for the mentally and physically handicapped is not for use by the general public and is not eligible for HOME funds. Projects must contain no fewer than 12 units and no more than 56 units.
All residential rental units must be under common ownership, deed, financing and property management.
The market study must demonstrate an adequate market for the proposed units and that the proposed project would not adversely impact any existing AHFA projects or create excessive concentration of multi-family units.
AHFA is entitled to amend this HOME Action Plan, including compliance monitoring provisions, as required by the promulgation or amendment of HOME Regulations from time to time. Such amendment(s) are expressly permitted and the making of such amendment(s) will require a public notice.
E. Uses of HOME Funds
HOME funds will be allocated primarily toward the production of residential rental housing for low-income households and for other uses deemed necessary by AHFA, as long as the use is consistent with the Consolidated Plan.
A portion of the funds allocated to the State of Alabama is required to be reserved for Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs). Fifteen percent of HOME funds will be reserved for investments in housing developed, sponsored or owned by CHDOs. This is the percentage required by federal regulations for use by specific organizational types or activities. These HOME funds will be set aside for use by CHDOs in the form of loans for project construction and development. AHFA reserves the right in its discretion to award a sufficient number of projects to CHDO applicants, regardless of point scoring, to meet the 15% set aside of HOME funds. AHFA will make efforts to identify and assist eligible organizations in using HOME funds to meet the housing needs of the state. These organizations must meet the criteria identified by the Act and demonstrate the feasibility of their proposed endeavors. Alabama’s HOME Program will utilize loans to promote the production of affordable housing in an effort to meet the needs as identified in the State’s Plan. A general outline of the HOME Program is as follows.
Anticipated Uses of HOME Funds:
AHFA estimates the following uses of 2012* HOME funds for the State of Alabama:
Loans $ 12,585,606
CHDO Loans $ 2,517,010
Administration $ 1,678,068
2012 HOME FUNDS ALLOCATED $ 16,780,684
*NOTE: Exact funding amounts for Program Year 2012 have not been determined.
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