Attainable Housing Planning

Who do I need to talk to? Where do I start?

Use this toolkit to gather more information on core principles and guidance as you address your communities housing challenges. Supported by our complimentary services this toolkit will provide insight into how others have addressed the critical housing challenge across the US.

Building a Strong Team

In the context of Public-Private Partnerships (P3s) for attainable housing projects, building a strong team is crucial for several reasons. P3s involve collaboration between public sector entities (such as government departments and agencies) and private sector partners (developers, contractors, investors) to deliver public infrastructure or services, including attainable housing. Here are some reasons why a strong team is essential to success:

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Expertise and Experience: A strong team brings together individuals and organizations with diverse skills and expertise. This includes professionals with experience in real estate development, design, construction, finance, legal matters, urban planning, and public policy. Their collective knowledge and experience help ensure the project is well-planned, embraced by the local community, efficiently executed, and compliant with all relevant regulations.

Risk Management: P3s can be complex and inherently involve shared risks between the public and private partners. A strong team can identify potential risks early on, develop risk mitigation strategies, and manage challenges effectively throughout the project lifecycle. This helps protect the interests of both parties and ensures the project’s successful delivery and long-term viability.

Innovation and Creativity: A strong team fosters a collaborative environment where innovative and creative ideas can be explored and vetted. This is particularly important for attainable housing projects, as they often require innovative approaches from both the public and private sectors to achieve cost-effectiveness, sustainability, and inclusivity. An engaged and experienced team can bring fresh perspectives and find unique solutions to address housing challenges.

Project Efficiency: With a strong team in place, tasks can be delegated based on individual strengths, which promotes efficiency in project execution. Each team member can focus on their area of expertise, ensuring that all aspects of the project receive the necessary attention and expertise, which in turn helps to  expeditiously advance the project.

Public Accountability and Transparency: Attainable housing P3s may involve public funds, government-owned real estate and/or other public resources. A strong team is better equipped to maintain accountability and transparency throughout the project’s development and implementation. A strong team can communicate effectively with stakeholders, including the public and specific community groups, to keep them informed about project progress and outcomes.

Effective Communication and Coordination: P3 projects involve multiple stakeholders, both public and private. A strong team ensures early and effective communication and coordination between all parties, reducing the chances of misunderstandings, conflicts, and delays.

Long-Term Sustainability: Attainable housing projects often aim to provide housing solutions for the long term. A strong team can focus on sustainable planning and design, ensuring the use of durable materials and systems and competent operations and maintenance so that the housing units remain attainable for their originally intended resident profiles and viable in the future.

In summary, building a strong team for attainable housing P3s is essential to maximize project success, manage risks, promote innovation, and deliver long-term, sustainable housing solutions. It brings together the expertise and capabilities needed to navigate the complexities of such projects while addressing the needs of both public and private stakeholders.

What are Stakeholder Roles?

Various stakeholders play essential roles in the successful development and execution of the project. Here’s an overview of the roles of the following key players:

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Developers: Developers are private sector entities responsible for designing, planning, financing, and constructing the attainable housing project. They bring expertise in real estate development, finance, construction management, and urban planning. Developers work closely with the public partners to ensure the project meets the requirements and objectives set forth by the public owner. The developer’s roles include securing permits, managing design and construction, arranging financing, and delivering the completed housing units. Prior to starting a procurement, as the public owner, it is important to reach out to the Developer Community to gauge their level of interest in your project and to understand the quantity, quality and relevant experience of those developers that have expressed  interest.

Financiers: Financiers, typically commercial banks, investment banks, private equity firms or other financial institutions, provide the necessary financing for the project. They evaluate the project’s financial viability, income streams, and counter-party creditworthiness before extending loans or other financial instruments to the development team. Financiers play a critical role in ensuring that the project is adequately financed and that the financial arrangements are sustainable for both the public and private partners. Knowing what type of financing is available, whether you utilize private debt financing, equity investments, public financing, public grants, or a combination of financing sources, are key to a successful project.

Legal Advisors:: Legal advisors, including legal firms specializing in P3 projects, provide legal advice and support throughout the project’s lifecycle. They assist in drafting and reviewing contracts, negotiating terms, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, and addressing any legal challenges that may arise during the project’s development, implementation and long-term operations and management during the term of the project. Legal advisors are integral to documenting  the agreements between the parties involved, keeping  the communication open and flowing and ensuring  the documents are suitable for the life of the project.

Additional Advisors: The term advisors refers to various consultants and experts who provide specialized knowledge and guidance during the P3 process. These advisors may include financial advisors, urban planners, sustainability experts, real estate and market analysts, and housing specialists. Advisors contribute to the project’s overall success by offering insights and recommendations to optimize the project’s design, financing, and social impact. Consultants that the owner chooses assist the public sector in not only forming the technical specifications of the project but are also crucial to the project by ensuring that the appropriate team is in place.  Experienced advisors are important to keeping the project focused and on track. Advisors provide overall project management services, technical services, crucial assistance in coordinating activities, tracking progress, managing timelines, and ensuring that all stakeholders are aligned towards the project’s objectives. Advisors help maintain a collaborative and efficient environment among the public and private partners.

Political Champions: Political champions are key public officials or influential public or community leaders who advocate for and support the attainable housing P3 project. To be effective, political champions need to be respected by those that they oversee and those that they report to, and they must be empowered to make important and timely decisions. Political champions play a crucial role in securing public support, funding, and necessary approvals for the project. Political champions help navigate the project through the political landscape and garner the necessary backing, including legislative support, to ensure its success. The public side political champion is a critical piece for a successful project.  Without a political champion in place, the project can get stalled or fail to get approved.

Overall, the successful implementation of an attainable housing P3 project requires strong collaboration and coordination among all stakeholders. Each stakeholder group has its specific responsibilities, and their collective efforts contribute to delivering attainable housing solutions that benefit the community while balancing the interests of the public and private sectors. 

What are some of the Community Challenges and Policy Tools available?

“Attainable housing” or “missing middle housing” refers to housing that can be afforded by middle-income households, often without the subsidies associated with low-income housing. It targets a segment of the population that earns too much to qualify for traditional affordable or low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) accommodations, but too little to afford market-rate housing in many areas. Set forth below are some policy tools and considerations  :

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Policy Tools:

Live Local: Policies that encourage or require a certain percentage of new housing to be set aside as attainable housing for people who work in the area, potentially reducing commute times and promoting local economies.

Public Facility Corporations (PFC): Non-profit corporations can develop housing with tax benefits, providing attainable housing without the usual financial constraints of traditional affordable housing models.

Non-traditional Subsidies:

PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes): Agreements where private entities volunteer to make payments equivalent to or near the taxes they would otherwise owe.

Sales Tax Exemptions: For housing construction materials, to reduce construction costs.

Property Tax Abatements: Reducing or eliminating property taxes for a certain period to incentivize attainable housing development.