CHARLESTON, WV – February 22, 2008 – U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (WV-2) today presented more than $1.5 million in grants for new affordable housing in West Virginia that will serve lower-income individuals and families including the homeless, the mentally disabled and victims of domestic violence.
Speaking at a statewide grants ceremony at Knollview Village, a housing project for the elderly in St. Albans, Congresswoman Capito said special needs individuals merit special attention when it comes to the creation of affordable housing.
“It’s important that we show a commitment to affordable housing and to West Virginians of all walks of life,” noted Capito. “The projects we’ve announced today will help provide a steady supply of housing and stable living environment for members of our community who face genuine challenges. These initiatives will have a real impact on the lives of West Virginians, and I’m grateful to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh for their commitment to the cause of affordable housing.”
Congresswoman Capito is the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity.
“As a country, we need to be doing much more to help provide our low-income families with the safe and affordable homes they deserve,” said Sen. Jay Rockefeller. “These grants represent an important step toward making sure that affordable homes are available all across West Virginia for those who need them the most.” A representative of Sen. Rockefeller’s office spoke on his behalf at today’s event.
The $1.56 million in Affordable Housing Program (AHP) funds awarded by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Pittsburgh (FHLBank), a wholesale bank created by Congress to support local lenders, will help create 56 units of housing across the state. The awards bring to $8.16 million the total amount of in-state funding released through AHP, enabling the construction or rehabilitation of 1,057 units of affordable housing at 64 projects since the program’s inception.
“Affordable housing has always been important, but it is even more so given the increasing cost of living and the recent tightening of credit that all Americans now face,” said John R. Price, FHLBank Pittsburgh’s president and chief executive officer, who also spoke at the event. “We are pleased to make these grants available and to also provide the nearly 70 community banks in this state who are members of our cooperative with a steady and reliable stream of low-cost funding – more than $1 billion in liquidity for a variety of purposes since we first began doing business here. In this way we will help keep West Virginia not only ‘wild’ and ‘wonderful’, but also affordable.”
Projects receiving today’s grants
Projects receiving funding announced today include:
Artisan Avenue Redevelopment Project, Huntington
Sponsor: Huntington Area Habitat for Humanity, Inc.
Lender: United Bank
Total units: 5
Total AHP grants: $72,084
Total development costs: $278,000
As a follow-up to its completion of 63 homes, Habitat is partnering with the City of Huntington to help stabilize a section of the city that has deteriorated into rampant crime and blight. Numerous houses have been abandoned or vacated and are in need of replacement. Habitat will construct five new homes in the 1900 block of Artisan Avenue through 2008. Partner families, who earn 30-60 percent of the area median income, will invest “sweat equity” in their or another purchaser’s project and enjoy zero percent financing. Three homes will be earmarked for first-time homebuyers, including a homeless family and another with a disabled family member.
Sponsor: Mingo County Housing Authority
Lender: First National Bank of Williamson
Total units: 4
Total AHP grants: $329,000
Total development costs: $548,849
Due to highway construction and flooding that has demolished 800 units of housing in Mingo County within the past five years, there is a critical shortage of affordable housing in the area, especially special needs housing. This project will help rectify that situation. The project will purchase land and build four two-bedroom units for homeless families, with first priority given to families that include a disabled person served by the Logan Mingo Mental Health Center, a project partner. Families will be taken off the streets or out of other undesirable living quarters and given an opportunity to start fresh and create stability in their lives. Williamson is one of FHLBank Pittsburgh’s Blueprint Communities.
FFC Community Housing-I, Williamstown
Sponsor: Foundation for the Challenged
Lender: United Bank
Total units: 7
Total AHP grants: $215,050
Total development costs: $587,050
Located in a rural setting outside Parkersburg, this project will provide safe and affordable housing for individuals who are transitioning out of state mental health facilities. Each occupant, 18 years or older, is a Medicaid recipient. Westbrook Health Services will provide a variety of onsite counseling services around the clock. This project will serve individuals who likely would be homeless without the facility.
Highland Meadows, Elkins
Sponsor: Highland Community Builders, Inc.
Lender: Mountain Valley Bank
Total units: 15
Total AHP grants: $270,000
Total development costs: $1,767,445
To be built on Wilson Lane in Elkins, Highland Meadows’ first phase will include 29 units, 15 of them dedicated to low- and very-low-income families including ten first-time homebuyers. The AHP grant will be used to help keep the units affordable.
New Beginnings, Weston
Sponsor: Mountain CAP of WV, Inc.
Lender: Citizens Bank of Weston
Total units: 8
Total AHP grants: $250,000
Total development costs: $1,046,989
New Beginnings will be the first transitional housing program available in central West Virginia for victims of domestic violence. Most residents will move out of two domestic violence shelters in Elkins and Fairmont. An advisory board of citizens will oversee implementation and management of the project. A full time social worker will remain onsite and services will encompass assistance with job skills, employment, parenting skills, education and drug and alcohol abuse recovery. The AHP grant represents the final 25 percent of project costs needed to bring this project to completion. Construction is expected to start in July 2008.
Rea of Hope Fellowship Home, Charleston
Sponsor: Rea of Hope Fellowship Home, Inc.
Lender: United Bank
Total units: 7
Total AHP grants: $275,000
Total development costs: $405,000
Working with the West Virginia Housing Development Fund and with a grant from the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, AHP funding will help create a safe haven for women 18 years of age and older who are in addiction recovery. With an estimated 15,000 women in the Kanawha Valley in these circumstances, this project’s need is immense. This new rental facility at 200 Beauregard Street, part of an existing program, will involve creating transitional living space for women, with or without children, who are graduates of the Rea of Hope program and who are in the final stages of fully reentering the community. The goal is to see these women resolve any financial problems, stabilize their employment and remain addiction-free before they depart.
South Fork Crossing-Phase II, Scattered Sites, Brandywine
Sponsor: Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity
Lender: Pendleton Community Bank
Total units: 10
Total AHP grants: $150,000
Total development costs: $804,000
Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity partners with very-low- and low-income families who are in need of decent, affordable housing. This project represents the second phase of home construction in the South Fork Crossing subdivision as well as the creation of four additional units of housing at scattered sites across Pendleton County. Almost Heaven Habitat employs the good works of volunteer community labor, in-kind contributions from business and financial donations to help families build their own homes. As with all Habitat purchasers, each family is required to contribute “sweat equity” during the construction process.
About St. Albans
Knollview Village, the site of today’s grants presentation ceremony, is a 48-unit community for seniors perched on a five-acre knoll. Sponsored by the Religious Coalition for Community Renewal and funded in part with a $288,000 AHP grant from FHLBank Pittsburgh, Knollview Village features an equal number of one- and two-bedroom units for low- and very-low-income elderly. Six units address special needs. Amenities include a community room, library and courtyard. A shopping plaza is located just down the hill.
St. Albans was one of ten FHLBank “Blueprint Communities” named at a ceremony at the State Capitol in March 2007. Each Blueprint Community team received extensive training in leadership and community development skills from the Bank and its program partners and is now pursuing a detailed strategy for sustainable community development. St. Albans Mayor Dick Callaway attended today’s event and gave an update on the progress his community is making as part of this initiative.
About FHLBank Pittsburgh
Created by Congress in 1932, FHLBank Pittsburgh currently serves the needs of 332 member-owner financial institutions in Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. It provides them with a steady stream of liquidity in all economic cycles for homeownership as well as community and economic development. FHLBank is wholly funded with private capital, not taxpayer dollars. At December 31, 2007, the Bank had approximately $101 billion in assets.