This past year has been an exciting one for University Neighborhood Housing Program. UNHP was able to build upon years of productive work with lenders, foundations and public institutions to create new sources of financing for affordable housing initiatives, strengthen local businesses, expand opportunities for high quality daycare and promote homeownership in the NWBronx. These new efforts have all reinforced our mission to create, preserve and finance affordable housing in the Northwest Bronx and to assist in community based efforts for neighborhood improvement.
Over the past year, UNHP’s major accomplishments have been achieved through making loans from our community development and low interest loan funds, marketing and packaging new affordable financial products and tax credits, promoting homeownership and assisting current homeowners, providing organizing and technical assistance to family daycare providers, tenant groups and community organizations. The highlights of our 1998/99 work is detailed below.
UNHP Affordable Housing Development and Loan Funds
Capitalized a new low interest loan fund in 1999. The UNHP Short Term Interest Rate Reduction (STIRR) fund was developed to assist financially troubled HDFC’s. The STIRR Fund provides low interest financing to distressed community controlled properties that are current in their operating payments and have open high interest back charges. This Fund was capitalized recently by the Fannie Mae Foundation and we are actively seeking additional investors to this initiative. To date, UNHP has assisted 5 buildings refinance their debt with lower interest STIRR money.
The Tremont Anthony HDFC, a UNHP Community Ownership Project, closed on the Low Income Housing Tax Credits in April 1999. The credits will finance the remainder of the renovation work and ensure long term affordability for the tenants in the building.
University Neighborhood Housing Program received national recognition from three sources in 1999. Tremont Anthony HDFC received an honorable mention award from the Maxwell Awards of Excellence for the Production of Low Income Housing and was singled out as an Honoree for Partnership Achievement for the 1999 Social Compact Awards. In addition to the two honors for this ownership transfer project, UNHP’s founding and current executive director was selected for the Fannie Mae Foundation’s James A. Johnson Community Fellowship Award. James Buckley was honored for his 25 years of work in community based affordable housing development and neighborhood preservation.
Working with Fannie Mae, Community Preservation Corporation and Chase as well as not for profit housing companies and landlords of small size properties UNHP developed the Fannie Mae Million Dollar mini loan program targeted for smaller buildings (5 to 25 units) in need of ,000 to ,000 in financing. UNHP has been working to help market this program in the NWBronx through mailings, a press conference and neighborhood workshops. Two of the three first deals closed in June of 1999. These properties are managed by the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation and the mini loan will replace expiring debt with a new 30 year fixed rate mortgage. UNHP will continue to promote and package this loan program next year.
Organizing and Economic Development
Proveedoras Unidas/Providers United, the group of family daycare providers organized by University Neighborhood, celebrated their first anniversary in April 1999. In one short year of working together as a group, Proveedoras Unidas has made great strides to achieve their goals. Working with UNHP and Fordham Bedford Children’s Services, Proveedoras Unidas has hired a full time coordinator and received funding and training support from the New York Women’s Foundation and the Home Based Day Care Training and Network Development Program created by The Enterprise Foundation, Child Care, Inc. and Bank Street College. Proveedoras Unidas is comprised of over 30 registered family daycare providers that are creating a formal daycare network and moving forward to improve their businesses and in turn increase affordable high quality daycare options in the under served NWBronx.
Our outreach efforts on lead poisoning and asthma prevention have continued as these two diseases are disproportionally high in the NWBronx. UNHP has reached over 200 families since January of this year through 10 locally held workshops. Working with the Board of Education’s AIMS Program, these workshops were held at local public school parents association and staff meetings as well as Tier II shelters for women and children. UNHP is seeking to obtain funding to expand our fruitful outreach efforts that have resulted in our current work on daycare and family health issues.
Moved forward with our work to promote homeownership in general and specifically develop a plan for vacant deteriorated homes in the NWBronx. Identified 15 vacant small homes and researched the title and open charges on the properties. Developed relationships with Neighborhood Housing Services of the South Bronx, Bank Of New York and Fannie Mae to identify a financial product; the purchase renovation mortgage, the secondary lender and individual one to one home ownership counseling services. Working with this team, UNHP has sponsored a series of home buyer workshops. In August of 1998 UNHP sponsored a workshop for buying the fixer upper home, which was attended by over 100 potential buyers. In April and May of 1999, the team sponsored 2 two-part homebuyers workshops. One in English and one in Spanish. These workshops were attended by 85 families, 40 who prequalified for a mortgage, and 15 who joined the homebuyers club series of NHS trainings.
On June 26th, UNHP sponsored a production of Repertorio Espanol’s Casa Propia at the Lovinger Theater in Lehman College. This Spanish language play is about the struggle of one family to buy their first home. The play was underwritten by the Fannie Mae Foundation and developed out of a play writing contest sponsored by the Foundation. Over 250 people attended this well received performance.
Thank you to our 1998-99 Supporters and Community Development Loan Funds Investors
Apple Bank for Savings, Arab American Bank, Bankers Trust Foundation, The Byrne Foundation, Edith C. Blum Foundation, Community Preservation Corporation, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citigroup Foundation, Catholic Campaign for Human Development, Dime Savings Bank of Williamsburgh, Emigrant Savings, Enterprise Foundation, Fannie Mae Foundation, GreenPoint Bank, Hanvit America Bank, IBJ Whitehall Bank and Trust Company, J.P. Morgan Charitable Trust, Mitsui Trust Bank(USA), Mitsubishi Trust, New York Community Trust, New York Women’s Foundation, Neighborhood 2000 Fund, Scherman Foundation, Taconic Foundation, Joyce Mertz Gilmore Foundation, Northfork Bank, Citywide Renewal, Society for the Divine Word, Sisters of Charity of Vincent de Paul.
...Preserving Affordable Housing
The Tremont Anthony HDFC Community Ownership Project is the 15th such project (47 buildings and over 1700 units) in which UNHP has acted as the lead organization; packaging the purchase and renovation loans, acting as a community lender, and providing extensive technical assistance throughout the process. The 31 unit building was developed against many odds, including cuts to Section 8 rental subsidies, a need to keep rents affordable to the low income families that lived in the building, an increased work scope due to lead contamination, and a price higher than the project could bear.
The Tremont Anthony Project was financed by a variety of below market and grant sources that allowed the project to remain affordable to the very low income tenants that lived in the building. Chase Manhattan Bank, Freddie Mac, The New York City Participation Loan Program, Sisters of Charity, Federal Home Funds and the NY State Weatherization Program together provided the financing to purchase and renovate the building.
In 1999, after two unsuccessful applications, the Tremont Anthony HDFC was awarded Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The credits will finance the remainder of the renovation work and ensure long term affordability for the tenants in the building. Marta Sanchez (pictured right) is one of the tenants who survived the extensive building renovation and now enjoys her newly renovated apartment and kitchen.
...Assisting Community Based Economic Development Efforts
Just one short year after coming together, Providers United/Proveedoras Unidas has formalized its family daycare provider network, established an office and training space and hired a full time coordinator. Pictured on this page is the family daycare resource center where many of the educational and safety trainings that the providers participated in during the past year were held. Providers United offers ongoing training for registered family daycare providers, trainings for new providers and a variety of social services, educational opportunities and networking links for providers.
UNHP organized the initial group of registered providers who were struggling to obtain clients and become financially viable independent businesses. Currently, the family daycare providers have all increased their skills, developed a group marketing plan, and obtained more clients. The group is also helping other providers get their businesses started which in turn increases local economic prosperity and provides high quality affordable childcare in our neighborhoods.