Friday, July 20, 2007

HUD ROLLS OUT GREEN INITIATIVE FOR SOME PROPERTIES

Section 8 pilot to reduce consumption of resources, lower utility costs, and improve indoor air quality

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(
HUD) today rolled out a nationwide pilot program to encourage owners of multifamily Section 8 properties to rehabilitate and operate their buildings using "green building" principles that embody a combination of sustainability, energy efficiency, recycled materials, indoor air quality, and incorporate the healthy housing approach pioneered by HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative.

Green building practices are designed to lower utility costs, thereby benefiting taxpayers, property owners, and the residents of the buildings themselves. When rehabilitation is performed in a manner that meets both green and Healthy Housing principles, residents can also benefit through improved indoor air quality, lower risk of pest infestations, lower levels of allergens, and reduced risk of mold-related illness.

The Green Initiative will be implemented on properties within HUD's Section 8 portfolio, specifically properties in the Mark to Market (M2M) Program, administered by HUD's Office of Affordable Housing Preservation (OAHP). Participation in the Initiative will be voluntary for eligible-property owners.

HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary Theodore K. Toon announced the initiative today in San Francisco at the "National Symposium on Green Affordable Housing" sponsored by the Enterprise Foundation and the Institute for Professional and Executive Development.

"The Mark-to-Market Green Initiative recognizes that the affordable housing industry can make a significant impact in reducing energy consumption and enhancing tenants' living environments." said Brian Montgomery, Assistant Secretary for Housing - Federal Housing Commissioner. "I appreciate the hard work of our Office of Affordable Housing Preservation team that launched this Initiative, and I look forward to seeing the impact(s) of this and similar Green Programs throughout the HUD affordable housing portfolio."

The M2M Program is a unique platform for establishing HUD's Green Initiative because it can be implemented within existing statutes, regulations, and current budget authorities. M2M affords HUD the opportunity to fund these efforts in a representative sample, which is already undergoing rehabilitation.

M2M provides an opportunity to test the impact of green and Healthy Housing principles in the existing HUD-subsidized multifamily inventory, by providing modest incentives to owners and purchasers to perform needed rehab and maintenance using Green alternatives, and to collect ongoing data to validate impacts on utility consumption and indoor air quality.

Currently, under M2M, HUD finances 80 percent of most rehab items, and 97 percent of certain significant additions to the property. Under this initiative, HUD will designate substantially greener materials, appliances, systems, etc. as "significant additions."

As one of HUD's primary housing preservation tools since its creation in 1997, OAHP has restructured over 1,600 projects nationwide through M2M. These projects are privately owned, HUD-subsidized (through Section 8), multifamily properties, with approximately 100 units each, on average. In addition to rehabilitation of properties, M2M also resizes and restructures property debt to account for market rent levels, to pay for rehabilitation and 20 years of estimated repairs and replacements, and to establish a financially viable project for the long term.

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HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities, and people living with HIV/AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation’s fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.




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