Keys to Stability
Community Housing Partners (CHP), a leading provider of affordable housing and homeownership education and counseling in Virginia and Florida, applauded the recent release of a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center's (BPC) Housing Commission that offered bold recommendations for strengthening the availability of homeownership and rental housing choices at all stages of a person's life. The report follows the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression that has affected the housing future of young and old alike.
"The BPC’s four main policy proposals around sustainable homeownership, an improved housing finance system, stronger rental housing assistance and performance measurement, and a comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of our nation's seniors, make broad sense for the many families in the Southeast who are struggling to achieve homeownership or obtain affordable rental properties," said CHP Director of Homeownership Kamilia Lawson.
In particular, Lawson underscored the importance of quality housing counseling that is included in the BPC report. "Quality housing counseling is extremely important to the stability of the housing market, both ownership and rental. We've seen in our own business that housing counseling provided by trained and certified professionals--such as those we have on staff at CHP--can help consumers make sound financial decisions for the long-run," said Lawson.
In 2012, CHP provided housing counseling to 615 individuals, and expects demand for quality housing counseling to continue in 2013. As a member of the NeighborWorks network CHP contributed to the more than 121,000 people provided housing counseling by NeighborWorks organizations last year.
The BPC report also emphasizes data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) which states nearly half of renters at all income levels pay more than the federal standard of 30 percent of their income for rent.
"The Housing Commission's rental recommendations go far in helping families obtain quality, affordable rental housing where current markets and assistance do not meet the need," said CHP President and CEO Janaka Casper. "It’s important to be aware, however, that much more work and coordination has to occur to help ensure that as many households that need assistance receive the quality, affordable housing that they deserve."
Casper noted that CHP owns and/or manages 6,428 rental homes in across Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Florida. Overall, members of the NeighborWorks network own or manage nearly 100,000 rental homes, the majority of which are affordable to families with very low and low incomes.
"While a lot has to happen before the Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission report recommendations are implemented, I believe that this is a big step forward for making all types of housing more affordable and accessible for not only families in the Southeast, but for families all across the country,” added Casper.
About NeighborWorks America
For nearly 35 years, NeighborWorks America has created opportunities for people to improve their lives and strengthen their communities by providing access to homeownership and to safe and affordable rental housing. In the last five years, NeighborWorks organizations have generated more than $19.5 billion in reinvestment in these communities. NeighborWorks America is the nation’s leading trainer of community development and affordable housing professionals. For more information, go to www.nw.org.