A bill is expected to be introduced to the West Virginia Legislature this week to eliminate the state’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF).
The bill would consolidate the AHTF into the West Virginia Housing Development Fund, and comes at the request of the Governor’s Office which is seeking to identify and consolidate repetitive programs.
Nonprofit and affordable housing groups, including CommunityWorks, the Housing Policy Coalition, and the Abandoned Properties Coalition are voicing their opposition to the elimination of the AHTF, and are working with majority and minority leaders to preserve the program. They have stated that they consider the AHTF to have an important separate function from the Housing Development Fund. Advocates for the AHTF tout its flexibility, responsiveness and creativity in helping nonprofit and affordable housing groups address housing challenges.
The Abandoned Properties Coalition has identified abandoned and dilapidated properties as one of the most consistent community development hurdles in the state. Community efforts to mitigate dilapidated properties are constantly hampered by lack of access to funding and technical assistance. Groups supporting the AHTF have stated that eliminating the fund would negatively impact access to funding for communities seeking to address dilapidated properties.
The AHTF operates a program that provides grants and low-interest, easily accessible loans to nonprofits and affordable housing developers for pre-development costs, demolition or deconstruction to rehabilitate a lot for housing construction, and technical assistance including market studies, architectural plans and structural evaluations.
If you have an opinion about whether the Affordable Housing Trust Fund should be eliminated or preserved, consider contacting your legislators and the offices of the House Speaker, Senate President and House and Senate Minority leaders. Contact information for all legislators is available on the Legislature’s website.