Project Based housing

Somerville, Massachusetts

NLIHC works on the preservation of public and assisted housing through a range of initiatives, including a ground-breaking National Housing Preservation Database. NLIHC engages in data collection and management in an effort to catalog and preserve housing resources. Learn more about our National Housing Preservation Database.

NLIHC also works to ensure:
• Full funding to renew all project-based contracts for 12 month terms within the HUD appropriations bill.
• No increases to the mandatory monthly minimum rent charged to project-based tenants.
• Legislation and regulations that minimally will include the following:
1) a required unique identifier for each federally assisted housing property,
2) establishment of a national preservation inventory,
3) full resident participation, enhanced voucher protections, and resident first right to purchase their buildings;
4) alternatives to converting to market rate for properties with expiring contracts or maturing mortgages;
5) tools and resources for residents and advocates to work on preservation of assisted housing; and,
6) prohibition of involuntary displacement.

From the mid‐1960s to the mid 1980s, the federal government encouraged the development of affordable rental housing through a variety of programs. The government provided financial incentives for the private sector to build and maintain rental housing affordable to low income households. The largest such program is the project‐based Section 8 program. This assisted, privately‐owned rental housing is located in every part of the country and is critically important to the families that call it home. As these affordable properties age and their restricted use periods come to an end, the federal government needs to take steps to preserve these properties. Since 1995, about 360, 000 project‐based Section 8 units have been lost to conversion to market rate housing. Annually, another 10, 000 to 15, 000 units leave this federally subsidized, affordable housing inventory.

Of the nation’s 1.4 million units of multifamily assisted housing stock, 450, 000 units are at risk of leaving the affordable inventory because of owners opting out of the program, maturation of the assisted mortgages, or failure of the property under HUD’s standards. Preserving this housing is good policy; it is a cost effective way to invest in our communities. According to the National Housing Trust, it costs approximately 40% less to preserve existing housing than to construct a new one.

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What is your opinion on queensbridge housing projects based on life there and the people?

The built environments in projects usually tend to cause the opposite of what they are trying to help solve.