Piece by Piece Update

February 2016





Please take note of the following news and calendar updates:


Georgia to Receive Additional $30.8 Million in Hardest Hit Fund Dollars

Georgia to Receive Additional $30.8 Million in Hardest Hit Fund Dollars:
Treasury announced allocation of $2 billion in new Hardest Hit Fund (HHF) dollars through two phases.  Under phase 1, Georgia will receive an additional $30.8 million in new HHF funds with deadline of December 31, 2020 (this is an extension from initial HHF program deadline of December 31, 2017).  Under Phase 2, Georgia and other participating state have the opportunity to apply for additional funds (up to 50% of existing HHF allocation) by March 11, 2016.  Phase 2 allocations will be announced by Treasury in late April.  Release  FAQ
Vacant Houses Cost Atlanta Millions a Year
Solutions Not Easy or Cheap
(Courtesy of David Pendered; Saporta Report): Blighted and vacant properties in the city of Atlanta come at a great cost in terms of services such as police and fire, lost property taxes, and the way they pull down the values of neighboring properties, according to a new report by Georgia Tech professor Dan Immergluck.  MORE

FHFA Kicks Off HARP NOW Campaign
Effort to Alert Homeowners of December 2016 Deadline
(Courtesy of FHFA): The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is kicking off a new social media campaign, #HARPNow, to let more than 367,600 homeowners across the U.S. know that now is the time to take advantage of the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, before it expires on December 31, 2016. Beginning today, FHFA will use Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, to reach homeowners in the Top 10 states (Georgia ranks 5th) with the greatest concentration of borrowers who are eligible for HARP and stand to save money by refinancing through the program. FHFA estimates that there are 23,658 HARP eligible loans in Georgia. Georgia homeowners who have refinanced with HARP have achieved average annual savings of $1,923.

President Obama's FY 2017 Budget Proposal for Housing and Community Development

(Courtesy of Kaitlyn Snyder; NHC): HUD would receive $48.9 billion in gross discretionary funding and $11.3 billion in new mandatory spending over 10 years. Emphasis is placed on supporting 4.5 million households through rental assistance, increasing homeless assistance, supporting tribal communities and providing opportunities to Native American youth and making targeted investments in communities to help revitalize high-poverty neighborhoods and improve housing affordability. The FY 2017 budget shows a historic investment in homelessness with the goal of ending family and youth homelessness by 2020. MORE  |  HUD Budget Fact Sheet

Enterprise Releases New  Vision for Housing Policy in the U.S.

(Courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners): A new report lays out Enterprise's long-term policy platform, which offers a set of federal, state and local policy changes to address America's growing rental housing crisis and create communities of opportunity across the country. The platform includes 23 discrete policy recommendations built around four strategies for reform: (1) ensure broad access to high-opportunity neighborhoods; (2) promote comprehensive public and private investments in low-income neighborhoods; (3) recalibrate our priorities in housing policy and target scarce subsidy dollars where they're needed most; and (4) improve the overall financial stability of low-income households.  MORE 

Impact of Green Affordable Housing
(Courtesy of Southface): Southface and the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) at Virginia Tech University, conducted a year-long research project to collect and analyze data on the cost and efficiency impact of green building certification programs on affordable housing development.Overall, the research findings suggest that the green developments are performing better than the non-green developments in terms of construction and development costs, energy efficiency and utility costs, and satisfaction. 
Report Highlights include:
  • Green developments in this study save nearly $5,000 per year on owner-paid utility costs when compared to non-green developments.
  • Green developments spend 12% less on energy (common areas) per square foot than non-green developments. Residents of green developments use 14% less energy per square foot.
  • Green developments are nearly 5% less expensive on total construction costs per square foot and more than 13% less expensive on soft construction costs than the non-green developments.
Executive Summary | Full Report

More Low- and Moderate-Income Working Households Renting, Not Buying
(Courtesy of NHC): Housing Landscape 2016, a new report released by the Center for Housing Policy at the National Housing Conference, reveals that more low- and moderate-working households are renting as opposed to owning their homes, with the share of households who rent increasing from 50.8 percent to 52.6 percent from 2011 to 2014.

Investing in Housing Can Save on Healthcare

(Courtesy of NHC): NHC's latest research review, "How Investing in Housing Can Save on Health Care," evaluates some of the studies done on the effectiveness of housing interventions to result in achieving health care cost savings. The review shows that public spending on housing can be compensated for by health care savings, especially for high users of health care. MORE

Healthy Neighborhoods: Reducing Health Disparities in Atlanta
(Courtesy of Stanford Social Innovation Review): In Atlanta a person's ZIP code is often the biggest predictor of his or her health status. The region's staggering health disparities were made clear in a map released by Virginia Commonwealth University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2015 that vividly shows how short distances can translate into large differences in health. (See "Short Distances to Large Gaps in Health" below) In some Atlanta communities people are expected to live 84 years, while just a few miles away life expectancy is only 71 years. MORE

Market for Fixer-Uppers Traps Low-Income Buyers
(Courtesy of New York Times): 
Before the housing crisis, low-income buyers got too much of a house that they couldn't afford. Now, they are getting too little of a house that they can't afford to repair.  It is a scene playing out across the Midwest and the South, where many of the derelict houses have been sold to private investors by government mortgage firms at knockdown prices. The investors then make deals with low-income home buyers unable to get traditional mortgages.  Nationwide, more than three million people are estimated to have bought a home through a contract for deed. After the financial crisis, as banks retreated from lending to those with poor credit, this odd corner of the housing market began to draw interest from deep-pocketed investors who sometimes sell the homes for four times the price they paid. One of the larger firms in this market, Harbour Portfolio Advisors of Dallas has bought more than 6,700 single-family homes in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Pennsylvania and a handful of other states since 2010 - most of them from Fannie Mae.  MORE


Share your calendar items with us! Please email Susan Adams at with news of your upcoming events.

March 2- The 13th Annual GREFPAC Conference will be held at the Cobb Galleria. Featured speakers from the FBI, GA Department of Banking & Finance, Fannie Mae, HUD, among others.  Cost to attend is $50 per person and includes lunch and parking is free.  Details and sign-up are available on our website at    

March 8- Housing Day at Georgia CapitolRead Housing Georgia's Legislative Tracking Report here.  Register now to participate in Housing Day at the Capitol.  More than 100 people are expected. 

March 10 - The Atlanta Regional Housing Forum will focus on Equitable Transit Oriented Development. The Forum will include an overview of MARTA's TOD effort by Jason Ward, TOD program manager. Dillon Baines of Columbia Ventures LLC will speak about his company's two TOD projects currently underway. Rounding out the event will be a panel discussion with members of an Atlanta TOD collaborative TransFormation Alliance. Panelists include Odetta MacLeish-White of Enterprise Community Partners, Chris Appleton of WonderRoot, Deborah Scott of Georgia STAND-UP and Robert Reed of Southface. MORE

April 28-29- Gaining community acceptance for affordable housing has long been a sticking point in developing successful communities. NHC's Solutions for Housing Communications 2016 Convening will connect affordable housing developers, advocates, funders and government officials for panels, workshops and round-table discussions on challenges and opportunities in community acceptance. Together we will learn and engage, discovering best practices for countering community opposition and exploring creative new approaches to meeting this perennial challenge. MORE



Susan Adams

Piece by Piece Coordinator