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International Lens: Championing Housing Preservation in the States

June 30, 2017

Bart Lloyd,

Ontario Non-Profit Housing Association

June 2017 — With operating agreements and mortgages soon coming to an end, social housing providers are beginning to think seriously about their next steps. As we plan ahead, our neighbours to the south have been dealing with this issue for years now. Many rent-affordability restrictions in America have expired or are on the verge, leaving much of the country’s stock of social and affordable rentals vulnerable.

As we wrestle with our own situation here in Canada, what can we glean from how this issue is being dealt with across the border?

In the States, one non-profit organization has emerged as an innovator and is leading the way in the affordable housing industry. Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) was created in 2001 as a response to expiring agreements. Their model is unlike anything that has yet to be seen in Canada. POAH handles all aspects of affordable housing, including the acquisition, preservation, redevelopment and management.

Championing the message of Housing Preservation

POAH’s ‘niche’ is their core vision of affordability out of existing or affordable rental buildings, not new construction. POAH identifies property owners of apartment buildings that have expiring affordability agreements in the hopes of negotiating a purchase, which, in many cases, has been supported by government subsidies that help non-profits like POAH purchase such properties and ensure ongoing affordability.

As leaders in the revitalization of properties and in some cases whole neighbourhoods, POAH is active in carrying the message of preservation over new construction. According to their most recent report, POAH has prevented the loss more than 9,000 affordable housing units, with rents remaining affordable long-term. Their portfolio of more than 80 properties is spread across 9 states and the District of Columbia.

What drives their success?

ONPHA spoke with Bart Lloyd, Managing Director of Acquisitions and General Counsel to find out... read more

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