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Four Questions and Tools to Help your Organization Develop a Preservation Plan

July 19, 2018

While insufficient funding can pose a challenge for affordable housing providers looking to expand or maintain their affordable housing stock, housers can develop a preservation plan to maximize the use of their limited resources. Here are four questions mission-driven affordable housing providers should consider when developing a preservation plan and tools that can help answer them:

  1. Do you have a lot of large families, students, elderly, or homeless individuals in your community?  

Understanding the needs of your community will help you target your preservation funds where investments are needed most. Properties should be prioritized for preservation if they target a population or are located in a neighborhood that is underserved. For instance, if there is a shortage of affordable rental housing that can accommodate families in your area, preservation funds can be targeted towards larger developments that cater to families. Resources like American Fact Finder can help you understand the needs of your community.

  1. What are the characteristics of the publicly supported rental stock in your community?

 Being cognizant of the characteristics of publicly supported rental housing owned by your organization and others in your area can help you better serve your community. Does your community have many low-income families in need, but only a few publicly supported rental units with three or more bedrooms? Or are there too few publicly supported rental units targeted towards the growing number of seniors in your community? Resources like the National Housing Preservation Database can help you analyze the target tenant type, bedroom unit mix, and construction date of affordable housing in your community.

  1. How will you build opportunity for residents?

 Preservation plans should consider how investments can help build opportunities for low-income families. By targeting neighborhoods with significant investments in assisted housing and building affordable housing in opportunity-rich areas, community stakeholders can help to reduce poverty and improve the sustainability of their communities. The Investing in Opportunity tool identifies neighborhoods with greater opportunities relative to their area and potential pathways for investing in opportunity based on trends in the distribution of the assisted housing portfolio.

  1. What are the financial needs of your properties?

Obtaining a Capital Needs Assessment (CNA) will help your organization evaluate each property’s current and upcoming capital replacement needs. Further, understanding your property’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) score can help you identify properties in need of immediate repairs. Documenting the current and future financial needs of each property can empower your organization proactively plan for preservation needs. HUD’s Preservation Workbook can help your organization get started on a CNA and preservation plan.

 Developing a preservation plan can ensure that affordable rental homes target those most in need and are available for years to come. To explore more resources to help your organization develop a preservation plan, please visit here.