ESTABLISH HOUSING PRESERVATION FUND | Recommendation
A one-time funding contribution from the City will be required to launch a housing preservation fund. The remainder of the fund should be primarily raised from philanthropic entities, wealthy individuals, responsible corporate citizens, banks and other institutions, and the fund administrator. The City can use local funding from the Housing Bond or sources of federal funding to invest in the preservation fund. Federal funding is less effective than local funding because it brings additional regulatory requirements that are cumbersome and raise the cost of rehabilitations. Dedicating a portion of the existing housing bond or a new local housing funding source will likely be more effective. Greensboro should combine initiatives to improve public health by addressing housing quality with the preservation fund . The City can replicate its past success working with philanthropic funders, local developers and community advocates to acquire and rehabilitate the Avalon Trace complex to improve the health of residents and preserve affordability.
Greensboro will need to select a fund administrator to manage the fund and service loans to developers . This will ensure the fund can act quickly and leverage private dollars efficiently. While the administrator will be responsible for granting loans, the City will establish detailed criteria to define eligible projects, in line with their established policy goals of housing preservation. This 176-unit complex in East Greensboro had fallen into disrepair. Residents suffered from health problems associated with substandard housing, including asthma and respiratory diseases. Invest Health, a team of stakeholders that included members of the City, Cone Health, UNCG Center for Housing and Community Studies, and the Greensboro Housing Coalition worked with a new buyer to purchase the property in 2017 and finance needed repairs. The new complex, renamed Cottage Gardens, was made possible via collaboration between non-profit, philanthropic, and municipal stakeholders. The project’s financing relied on support from the City, the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro, and the Reinvestment Fund, a
The fund administrator should be a local CDFI, bank, or philanthropic organization with the ability to underwrite NOAH projects. Greensboro will need to build these capacities to operate a successful housing preservation fund. The City will also need to build capacity and interest among local developers, which could include incentivizing their participation in the fund and attracting new developers to the market.
Rehabilitation of Avalon Trace Apartments: Effective Collaboration to Preserve Affordability national CDFI. The successful rehabilitation project represents the type of preservation the City should continue to pursue.