Community Investment News

Fall 2009

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20 Years: 46,000 Homes | FHLBNY Marks 20th Anniversary of AHP


Stone Hill, a 104-unit senior housing community in Washingtonville, New York, is one of the more than 1,100 affordable housing initiatives the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York has supported in 20 years of the AHP. In 1999, the Home Loan Bank and Walden Federal Savings and Loan Association provided the development with a $778,000 AHP grant. Today, it is one of the premier senior housing communities in the region.


Over the past two years, non-profit organizations have felt the impact of the strains that the credit crunch has placed on the nation’s economy. Institutions that could previously be relied on to provide millions of dollars in grants annually disappeared overnight and those that remained cut back significantly on giving; city, state and federal funds were needed elsewhere. However, as other sources of funding have dried up, local non-profits continue to look to the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Affordable Housing Program for housing grants. And the FHLBNY has responded with consistent, continued and growing support. 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Affordable Housing Program (“AHP”), a competitive grant process created by Congress in 1989. Since the AHP’s inception, the FHLBNY has supported more than 1,100 projects with grants totaling more than $320 million, creating more than 46,000 units of affordable housing and generating nearly $6 billion in total development costs in New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In August, the FHLBNY awarded $16 million in grants to support 38 affordable housing initiatives, creating or rehabilitating more than 1,500 units of housing across the District.

Across the nation, the Federal Home Loan Bank System’s Affordable Housing Program has continued to be a stable source of funding and a driver of community development. In total, the Federal Home Loan Banks have provided more than $3.6 billion to facilitate more than 15,000 affordable housing projects across the nation, creating nearly 670,000 units of affordable housing, placing the AHP among the largest private sources of grant funding for affordable housing in the nation.

The AHP has been acknowledged as one of the nation’s most successful housing programs since its inception. In fact, the AHP served as a model for a program proposed for the secondary market GSEs as part of the GSE reform legislation that ultimately became the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. In July 2008, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), one of the architects of the AHP, stated: “[The AHP] has worked so well that it is now the model for the affordable housing program we are currently moving to establish.” The AHP has been so successful because of the partnership between the Home Loan Banks, our members, community leaders and local non-profits.

“For 20 years, the Home Loan Bank of New York has been given the tremendous opportunity to work hand-in-hand with our district’s esteemed elected officials, its locally-focused hometown banks and its terrific community organizations to bring safe, stable and affordable housing to New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and beyond,” said Alfred DelliBovi, president and CEO of the FHLBNY. “It is an opportunity, and a partnership, for which we are most grateful.”

A Family-Focused Affordable Community

Sharp Road Family Apartments has created an affordable, family-focused community in Evesham Township, NJ. 

There is a new community growing in Evesham Township. In June, state, county and local officials gathered in the New Jersey town for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the completion of the Sharp Road Family Apartments, a 104-unit family-focused affordable housing community. Columbia Bank partnered with The Federal Home of New York to provide a $200,000 Affordable Housing Program (“AHP”) grant to the development.

Sharp Road Family Apartments welcomed its first tenants last December. By May, the remaining units were occupied. The complex, located on 48 acres, was built as a family community, with dozens of two- and three-bedroom units. The community features an exercise room, laundry facilities, on-site parking, and bike and pedestrian paths. Many of the buildings in the development feature solar panels, and the apartments were built with energy-efficient appliances. Each apartment has received an Energy Star rating from the New Jersey Clean Energy Program. The community also maintains a significant amount of open space; only about one fourth of the 48-acre site has been developed. In addition to these amenities, Moorestown Ecumenical Neighborhood Development (“MEND”), which developed and manages the property with Conifer Realty LLC, will hold on-site workshops on topics such as educational training, employment opportunities, credit counseling and healthy lifestyles. 

The Sharp Road Family Apartments increased the supply of affordable housing in Evesham Township and is a major component of Evesham Township’s state-mandated Council on Affordable Housing obligations. The response MEND received from families looking to live in the development showed that there is still a significant need for affordable housing in the area. The organization stated that it had received more than 2,000 applications for the 104 apartments. “The need for these apartments is simply overwhelming,” Matthew A. Reilly, MEND president and CEO, said in a press release. 

MEND has been a driving force in providing affordable housing in Burlington County for the past 40 years. Created in 1969 after nine Moorestown churches looked into the impact of providing affordable workforce housing opportunities, the private, nonprofit, faith-based organization has since developed and now owns 365 residential units in more than 20 locations throughout the county. 

In late September, the Sharp Road Family Apartments were recognized by the Governor’s Housing Conference as an Outstanding Affordable Development Project of the Year. 

In promotional materials, MEND states that “The housing we provide helps build stronger, more productive communities.” Over the summer, one such community began in Evesham Township.

Homes in Transition: Revitalizing a Community

AHP grants are used not only to create new affordable housing units but also to rehabilitate existing housing. The Spinney Hill Homes, seen here before and after AHP-supported renovations, are a prime example of how affordable housing improvements can revitalize a community.

A monumental housing project is currently underway for more than 100 low-to-moderate income individuals and families in North Hempstead and Nassau Counties. 

The Spinney Hill Homes public housing complex, originally constructed in 1950, was in an advanced state of deterioration. The complex has provided many families with a permanent, affordable place to call home over the past six decades. However, if the units are not repaired in the near term, they will be deemed uninhabitable, thereby forcing the current occupants to face the complexities of finding new affordable homes, and further depleting the supply of affordable housing in the area. 

However, due to the efforts of a number of organizations, including the developers Whitney Capital Company and the North Hempstead Housing Authority, the Spinney Hill Homes are undergoing a rehabilitation that will improve the complex through a substantial number of changes, from the most basic apartment upgrades to large-scale, complex-wide renovations. These efforts have been supported by a $1.5 million AHP grant from Signature Bank and the FHLBNY. 

Too often, when existing affordable housing developments undergo renovations it is then re-sold at a higher price, pricing out former residents and reducing the available supply of affordable housing in the process. However, the Spinney Hill Homes will remain affordable for an additional fifteen years due to retention mechanisms required by the AHP grants made by the FHLBNY as well as the legislation that permitted the sale of Spinney Hill Homes. These mechanisms ensure that the units will remain affordable to low- income individuals and families, providing safe, affordable quality homes for years to come.

CIN Q&A: Highlighting the Drivers of Community Development | Southern Tier Independence Center

The Federal Home Loan Banks are commonly recognized as providers of discounted home mortgage loans. However, the Home Loan Banks are also a provider of community credit for small business, rural, agricultural, and economic development projects. Recently, the FHLBNY provided member Tioga State Bank with an Urban Development Advance for financing related to renovations at the Southern Tier Independence Center (“STIC”). Community Investment News spoke with Maria Dibble, the Executive Director of STIC, a non-profit organization located in Binghamton, New York. 

CIN: What is STIC and what is its mission? 

STIC was established to provide comprehensive services to the disabled residents of Broome and surrounding counties, who strive to live more independently. The organization accomplishes its objectives by planning, creating, implementing and evaluating programs serving the needs of such individuals and their families. Through the combination of community involvement and coordination with established agencies, STIC helps eligible program participants achieve independent living and self-esteem. 

STIC is an Independent Living Center located in Binghamton, New York, serving Broome, Chenango and Tioga Counties with most of our programs, and the entire state with one. We promote the independence and inclusion of adults and children with all disabilities in education, employment, recreation, housing, civic responsibility and all other aspects of community life. We also serve their families and friends, as well as businesses and agencies in our service area. By law, our board of directors must be at least 51 percent people with disabilities, and approximately 40 percent of our staff is comprised of individuals with some type of disability. Thus the policies and procedures governing the organization are made and delivered by peers of those receiving the services. 

We provide counseling, peer mentoring, skills development, job placement, education advocacy, service coordination, sign language interpreters and other services for the Deaf, equipment loan, technology assistance, personal care, advocacy, early childhood services, benefits and housing advice, and information on a wide range of issues. 

We are proud to be celebrating our 26th anniversary this year. We began as a very small agency in 1983, with a grant of $100,000 from the State Education Department and only four staff. Today we have more than 250 employees, 30 funding sources and a budget hovering around $5 million.

Our growth is due to the demand and need for our services, as we advocate to change the laws, regulations, and systems that serve people with disabilities to increase access to integrated services in the community, heighten public awareness, and promote the equality and civil/human rights of people who are disabled. 

CIN: How has Tioga State Bank, a Home Loan Bank member, supported STIC? 

Last year, STIC conducted a much-needed renovations project, concluding with a move into our newly remodeled building in late September. This more than doubled the usable space available to us to about 62,000 square feet. This new location has extensive parking (120 spaces in four lots) several large meeting areas (including one of about 7,000 square feet), office space for all of our staff on one floor, rooms for demonstrating technology and displaying items, and great potential for expansion and growth. We raised approximately $1.1 million dollars in grants and the sale of our former building, and were granted a construction loan/mortgage with very favorable terms from Tioga State Bank for the remaining $1 million. 

CIN: What will the new building mean to STIC and the community?

People using our services benefit in many ways. They have greater access to STIC (with the ability to park); our staff is all on one floor (instead of spread over four); we now have individual instead of shared offices (which are attractive and more comfortable); and there are several meeting areas of varying sizes and capacity. Additionally, we have already loaned or rented our large conference room to many agencies and organizations in the community, who benefit from the use of a fully handicapped accessible facility, restrooms and parking. Overall, the building has a more warm and friendly atmosphere, which is commented upon by almost everyone who visits.



Southern Tier Independence Center, located in Binghamton, New York, promotes the independence
and inclusion of adults and children with all disabilities in education, employment, recreation, housing, civic responsibility and all other aspects of community life.

 

 


CIN Q&A

Through our Community Investment activities, the FHLBNY, our members, and local non-profit organizations support a wide range of affordable housing initiatives across New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In this new Community Investment News feature, we will highlight some of the organizations and individuals that drive community development. Is there a nonprofit organization or member institution that you would like Community Investment News to highlight? Please contact the newsletter’s editors for more information: Brian Finnegan at brian.finnegan@fhlbny.com or Rosemary Robinson at rosemary.robinson@fhlbny.com

 

Critical Grants Strengthen Rochester


At an event in Rochester, New York, Congresswoman Louise M. Slaughter joins with M&T Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York to present a $196,000 AHP grant to Habitat for Humanity of Flower City. At the same event, the Congresswoman joined Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company in presenting a $300,000 AHP grant to the NCS Community Development Corporation.
 


This Spring, Rep. Louise M. Slaughter (NY-28), joined with the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York (“FHLBNY”), M&T Bank and Canandaigua National Bank & Trust Company to announce nearly half of a million dollars in affordable housing grants for the city of Rochester, New York. The two grants, made through the FHLBNY’s competitive Affordable Housing Program (“AHP”), will support the efforts of both Habitat for Humanity of Flower City and NCS Community Development Corp. to create or rehabilitate 44 units of affordable housing in Rochester.

“This critical funding will help us revitalize and strengthen neighborhoods across Rochester,” Rep. Slaughter said. “I'm proud to partner with community banks and organizations as we work to provide Rochester's families with access to safe, affordable housing.”

Habitat for Humanity received a grant of $196,000 to provide homeownership opportunities for 14 low and very low-income families through homes built on vacant lots owned by the city of Rochester. The homes will be constructed in close proximity to each other to enable the prospective homeowner families to work together and form a strong bond, creating a new and safe community. To ensure success, homeowners must contribute “sweat equity” by helping to build their home and others, and participate in a mandatory education program that covers budgeting, maintaining a good credit rating, the closing process and the importance of property insurance. Habitat for Humanity of Flower City stated that the grant was one of the largest the organization had ever received.

The $300,000 grant to the NCS Community Development Corporation will be used toward the financing of rehabilitation costs of the NCS Rehab Program, which will offer home improvement grants to 30 very low-income homeowners. These grants will bring homes up to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Housing Quality Standards. The targeted neighborhood lies within two targeted Enterprise Community Zones, and this project is a critical component of the revitalization plans. 

Since the inception of the AHP 20 years ago, the FHLBNY, working with the strong support of Rep. Slaughter and our local member banks, has been very active in the Rochester area. In Congresswoman Slaughter’s District alone, the FHLBNY and its members have supported more than 115 projects with grants totaling more than $22 million. This partnership has created more than 3,300 units of affordable housing and has served to drive community development in Rochester and across New York’s 28th District.

Program Spotlight: Community Investment Program

The Federal Home Loan Bank of New York’s Community Investment Program (“CIP”) provides financing for targeted housing activities through a continuous source of low-priced, long-, medium-, and short-term funds available to our members as advances or loans priced below the Home Loan Bank’s regular advance rate. The CIP is a flexible program that New York Home Loan Bank members have used to finance a wide range of targeted single- and multi-family and special-needs housing initiatives. 

CIP Housing Criteria 

CIP funds may be used to finance the purchase, construction, rehabilitation, refinancing, and/or pre-development of housing for: 

    • Individual owner-occupied housing units, each of which is purchased or owned by a family with an income at or below 115% of the area median; 
    • Projects involving multiple units of owner-occupied housing in which at least 51% of the units are owned or intended to be purchased by families with incomes at or below 115% of the area median; 
    • Rental housing where at least 51% of the units in the project are occupied by, or the rent is affordable to, families with incomes at or below 115% of the area median; 
    • Manufactured housing parks where at least 51% of the units are occupied by, or the rents are affordable to, families with incomes at or below 115% of the area median or located in a neighborhood with a median income at or below 115% of the area median.

Building Hope | FHLBNY supports homeownership with grants, sweat

In May, FHLBNY employees put in “sweat equity” while volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity build site. Both locally and nationally, the Federal Home Loan Banks have been significant supporters of Habitat for Humanity through the Affordable Housing Program.

Through its Affordable Housing Program, the Federal Home Loan Bank System is the largest single funding provider to Habitat for Humanity, one of the world’s premier affordable housing organizations. Over the past two decades, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York has contributed more than $6.3 million in AHP grants to support nearly 90 Habitat for Humanity projects, helping to create 625 homes across the district. But earlier this summer, FHLBNY employees donated something else to support Habitat’s efforts: their time. 

In late May, FHLBNY employees donned jeans and work boots and traveled to Edgewater, New Jersey to volunteer at a build site. By sanding, plastering and painting, these employees contributed the “sweat equity” that is key to Habitat’s philosophy. The organization requires potential homeowners to contribute a certain number of hours building their home and others. The FHLBNY employees were more than happy to help. 

Over the past decade, dozens of Home Loan Bank employees have volunteered at various Habitat for Humanity sites across New York and New Jersey. The teams have raised building frames, put up roofs, and installed siding and flooring, working hand-in hand with other Habitat volunteers and program participants to help people realize the dream of homeownership.
 

 

FHLBNY Awards $16 Million for 38 Affordable Housing Initiatives

In August, the Federal Home Loan Bank of New York announced that the Bank had awarded $16 million in subsidies to fund 38 affordable housing initiatives throughout New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Pennsylvania through its Affordable Housing Program. These awards will result in the creation or rehabilitation of 1,525 affordable housing units in our district and drive community development. It is anticipated that $378 million in development costs will be generated from development of these initiatives. The AHP is a competitive grant process made available to Home Loan Bank members. Each AHP subsidy award is specified below, as well as the logos of our members who sponsored award winners in this round.


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