Responding to Community Housing Needs

Development Services Success Stories

"I have nothing but good things to say about NCALL. They really close the gap between what small agencies have the capacity to do and what needs to be done."

There is a disproportionate number of low income families on the Eastern Shore of Virginia compared to the state. In the Eastern Shore counties of Accomack and Northampton, approximately 20% of the population is below the poverty line, with 38% paying more than 30% of their income for rent and 21% of the homes were built in 1939 or earlier. There is a great need for affordable housing.

Accomack-Northampton Regional Housing Authority (ANRHA) is working to help create solutions for this problem. Upon completion, the new and improved Mill Run Apartments will provide 26 units of affordable rental housing to this impoverished community. Twelve of these duplexes are new and 14 are being renovated. The renovations are being done on the original Mill Run Apartments which were built in 1995. In addition, an expanded community room and a maintenance office are being added.

These units were originally developed to relocate people from a dilapidated neighborhood across the street called Duertown. Duertown lacked streets, sidewalks and indoor plumbing. The structures were cement block housing that offered no amenities for the residents. Duertown was demolished after the Mill Run homes were built.

When Mill Run was originally built, HOME funding was scarce and the units were basic. The renovation project will allow the units to be enlarged and to offer new amenities, such as small eat-in kitchens, washer and dryer and the addition of a bathroom in the three bedroom units which previously only had one full bath. Since more housing is needed, 12 new units are also being added.

The development has been funded by Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits, HOME funds through the state of Virginia and AHP funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. There will also be rental assistance from the local housing authority. The duplexes will serve families at 50% of median income and below.

According to David Annis, Director of Housing Development for the ANPDC, "There has been no question that this project is filling a desperate need. Families show up to the construction site to apply for housing. The units were rented up long before Mill Run was completed and we have a pretty huge waiting list."

He also sees NCALL’s help as invaluable, "Putting together a financial strategy to develop affordable housing is much more complicated these days than back when you could go to HUD or USDA for the whole package, and rely on those agencies for the technical assistance required to get through construction."

"Most all developments now require multiple sources of financing from different agencies and entities, all of which have their own regulations and their own rent and income restrictions. Many of the funding sources such as the Federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit program, and the Federal Home Loan Bank programs come with very specialized regulations and restrictions that require professionals who work with those programs on a daily basis in order to stay in compliance. NCALL provides the professional services and technical assistance that helps bridge the gap between what’s required by the funders to stay in compliance, and the capacity of many local, community-based nonprofits."

"NCALL has been such a valuable partner in this project"

The need for senior housing is significant, especially in Sussex County, with many retirees living on fixed incomes and an increasing rate of poverty. Even with 88 existing units of affordable senior rental housing in Seaford, DE, there is still a significant need for more units.

Better Homes of Seaford (BHS) will narrow that gap with the development of their new Hampton Circle community. NCALL is providing technical assistance to BHS on this three-story, 35 unit development that is currently under construction. Even though rent up is not scheduled until July 2012, already 70 households have expressed interest in the property.

Hampton Circle is completely handicapped accessible with seven designated handicap units, each has a balcony, washer, dryer, microwave, electric range, dishwasher and storage area within the unit. At a total cost of $6 million, the construction and permanent financing for this project was provided through the Delaware State Housing Authority’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Housing Development Fund and HOME programs along with the USDA Rural Development’s Section 515 program. Additionally, 100% of the apartments will have rental assistance, which allows residents to pay 30% of their income for rent and utilities.

“It is really a great looking building,” shared BHS Executive Director Bill Roupp. “The washers and dryers in the units are a big draw. I think the design of the building is ideal for security with all of the apartments being under one roof with common area space on each floor and a community room.”

Hampton Circle’s location is adjacent to three other BHS properties which provide 88 affordable senior rental apartments. The land was purchased by BHS from the City of Seaford. “This property is the perfect location, it has a nice buffer of woods and there is no through traffic. There will be sidewalks and paths to connect the different communities. I think of this as BHS’ Adult Housing Community with 123 units of affordable elderly housing.”

“NCALL has been such a valuable partner in this project and with all of the work that BHS has done. All of the members in the development team recognize NCALL’s experience and knowledge. That makes it easer. Also, packaging multiple financial applications is a burdensome task. I am the only employee of BHS. Having NCALL’s assistance reduces BHS’ need for additional personnel, reducing our overhead costs.”

Overall BHS has developed a total of 246 apartment units for families and elderly with the assistance of NCALL over the years. These efforts have benefitted the City of Seaford and western Sussex County with quality affordable housing choices.

"If it wasn’t for NCALL, this development might never have happened."

In 1992, local residents formed New Road Community Development Group of Exmore, Inc. on Virginia’s Eastern Shore. They began with the mission to revitalize this historic African American community. They had to start by bringing an essential sewer system to the area. Due to some NIMBY opposition, this first goal took over nine years to realize. 2009 saw their second goal come to fruition. New Road Village Apartments was completed this year and will provide 16 units of desperately needed multi-family rental housing to this area.

“We really wanted better housing for the people of New Road,” says Ruth Wise, Executive Director of New Road Community Development Group. “These units will make a tremendous difference in the lives of it’s residents. If it wasn’t for NCALL, this development might never have happened. They have been with us for years and years. They wrote the applications for funding and have given us various levels of technical support. We couldn’t have done it without them.”

According to Collin Kean, from East Coast Property Management, the response to the units has been overwhelmingly positive. They received many calls from interested households and finally took in 39 applications for the 16 units. Most applicants seem to be moving out of overcrowded conditions with other family members.

Given that the need was so great, New Road Community Development teamed up with Accomack Northampton Housing Authority and the Eastern Shore of Virginia Housing Alliance to bring more affordable housing to the New Road community. This partnership created another rental community. Crispus Attucks Apartments also opened this year, providing an additional 22 units of affordable rentals to this area.

When these two developments were completed, the sponsoring organizations held a grand opening celebration. Despite some dreary weather, the community came out to show their support. They enjoyed tours of the buildings, special music and food.

In addition to the technical assistance NCALL provided on this project, the Loan Fund participated with other lenders to provide construction financing for New Road Village. Permanent financing for these apartment communities has been secured from USDA Rural Development, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, FHLB of Atlanta, and Low-Income Housing Tax Credits purchased by Virginia Community Development Corporation. The units have rental assistance so that tenants pay no more than 30% of their monthly income for rent and utilities.

“NCALL stays with the development process all the way
through and gives us expertise we don’t have."

In 1972, when Better Homes of Seaford’s (BHS) Chandler Heights was developed, it was the first affordable housing complex in Seaford, Delaware. By 2004, the 12 buildings that make up the Chandler Heights community needed an update. Structurally, the 91-unit complex was still sound, but all of the systems were outdated. Another concern was maintaining the Section 8 rent subsidies for the future. That is when BHS’s Executive Director Bill Roupp turned to NCALL.

“NCALL is best at completing the detailed financing applications for our developments. They have been our partner since 1990 and have helped us develop each of our apartment communities,” said Mr. Roupp.

This undertaking turned out to be more extensive than originally planned. Construction began in 2005 and went to permanent closing on May 2008. All the buildings were completely gutted during the renovation. Highlights of the transformation include making all of the units handicapped accessible, adding 5 handicapped units, installing air conditioning and improving the buildings’ security and energy efficiency. One of the buildings that previously housed three apartments and a small office was converted into a much needed community center, complete with a library, computer room, kitchen and meeting space. The complex now has 88 apartments that range in size from one to three bedrooms. The residents are all 50% of median income or below and their rent is subsidized by HUD to be affordable based on their income.

According to Mr. Roupp, “NCALL stays with the development process all the way through and gives us expertise we don’t have. I am the sole employee of BHS; we are a lean organization. Working with NCALL keeps us from having to hire additional staff. They fill the void as far as development is concerned as well as following through on construction.”

This partnership has worked very well, as BHS is the largest nonprofit apartment producer in Sussex County.