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AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Housing that costs an owner or renter not more than 30% of household income. (See also Cost burdened)

AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY (ACS)

U.S. Census Bureau survey conducted in every county, American Indian and Alaska Native Area, and Hawaiian Home Land. The ACS provides critical eco­nomic, social, demographic, and housing information to this country’s communities every year. The 2010 Census will focus on counting the population. The ACS will provide communities every year the same kind of detailed infor­mation previously available only when the U.S. Census Bureau conducted a population census every 10 years.

AREA MEDIAN INCOME (AMI)

See Median Income.

ASSISTED HOUSING

Housing in which the monthly costs to the tenant are subsidized by federal or other programs.

ASSUMPTIONS

Assumes a mortgage with qualifying amount based on 33%/38% debt-to-income ratio at 5% for 30 years and $125/month for taxes and insurance. An estimated “other debt” of 12% is added (school loans, credit cards, etc.).

CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS

In order to meet the definition of chronically homeless one must meet the regular homelessness guidelines as well as be an individual who has a diagnosed disability that is of long duration and limits their ability to live on their own.

COMMUNITY LAND TRUST

A private nonprofit corporation created to acquire and hold land for the benefit of a community and provide secure affordable access to land and housing for community residents. Community land trusts develop housing through renovation or new construction, and sell (or sometimes rent) the units to low-income families; the CLT leases the land to the families, who agree to restrictions on how the house can be transferred in the future. As a result, CLTs are able to produce high-quality affordable housing, and keep it affordable in perpetuity. (Institute for Community Economics)

COMPREHENSIVE PLAN

A vision of the community including physical, social, and economic dimensions. It provides a framework to guide decision making goals and objectives, strategic implementation steps, and ensures efficient and orderly development. It serves as a policy document that forms future ordinances and a guide for public investment.

CONDOMINIUM

A type of ownership in real property where all of the owners own the property, common areas and buildings together, with the exception of the interior of the unit to which they have title. Often mistakenly referred to as a type of construction or development, it actually refers to the type of ownership.

CONSOLIDATED PLAN

The Consolidated Plan, or ConPlan, combines all of the planning, application, and performance requirements previously required separately for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME, Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG), Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS (HOPWA), and programs such as HOME that require Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS).

COOPERATIVE

Organization owned by its members.

COST BURDENED

Households paying more than 30% of income to housing costs (including utilities) are said to be “cost burdened.” Households paying more than 50% of income for housing are said to be “severely cost burdened.”

DELINQUENCY

Failure to make payment when it is due. The condition of a loan when a scheduled payment has not been received by due date, but generally used to refer to a loan for which a payment is 30 or more days past due.

DENSITY BONUS

A mechanism that allows developers to build in specified areas densities that are higher than normally allowed.

EXTREMELY LOW INCOME

Household income below 30% of area median, as defined by HUD.

FAIR MARKET RENTS (FMR)

HUD’s estimates of the actual market rent for a modest apartment in the conventional marketplace. Fair Market Rents include utility costs, (except for telephones). Every year, HUD develops and publishes FMR’s for every MSA and apartment type.

FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION (FHA)

Federally-sponsored agency that insures lenders against loss on residential mortgages. It was founded in 1934 in response to the Great Depression to execute the provisions of the National Housing Act. FHA is a division of HUD.

FISCAL YEAR (FY)

The accounting period for the budget. The fiscal year for the federal government begins on October 12 and ends the next September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, FY06 begins October 1, 2005 and, and ends on September 30, 2006.

FORECLOSURE

Process by which a homeowner who has not made timely payments of principle and interest on a mortgage loses title to the home. The holder of the mortgage, whether it be a bank, a savings and loan, or an individual, must go to court to seize the property, which may then be sold to satisfy the claims of the mortgage.

GOVERNMENT SPONSORED ENTITIES (GSE)

An enterprise established by the federal government but privately-owned and operated. These are excluded from budget totals because they are classified as private entities. However, financial information concerning them is included in the budget. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are GSEs, as are the Federal Home Loan Banks.

HOME PRICE TO INCOME RATIO

Ratio of housing price to income: This compares housing price to income by dividing the house price by annual household income. A ratio of 2.5 to 3 times income is considered affordable housing. See also Moderately Unaffordable and Severely Unaffordable definitions.

HOUSING COSTS

Essentially, the costs of occupying housing. Calculated on a monthly basis, housing costs for renters include “contract rent, utilities, property insurance, mobile home park fee.” For owners, monthly housing costs are “the sum of monthly payments for all mortgages or installment loans or contracts, except reverse annuity mortgages and home equity lines of credit. Costs also include real estate taxes (including taxes manufactured /mobile homes, and manufactured/mobile home sites if the site is owned), property insurance, homeowner association fees, cooperative or condominium fees, mobile home park fees, land rent, utilities.” Utilities include “electricity, gas, fuels (oil, coal, kerosene, or wood), water, sewage disposal, garbage and trash collection.” (2001 AHS, Appendix A, www.census.gov/hhes/www/ahs.html.)

HOUSING FINANCE AGENCY

State agency responsible for financing housing and administering assisted housing programs.

  • HOUSING PROBLEM: This term refers to one or more of the following: lacking complete kitchen facilities, lacking complete plumbing facilities, having more than 1 person per room, and having a cost burden over 30%.

    HOUSING STARTS

    Indicator of residential construction activity monitored by the Department of Commerce. Housing starts represent the start of construction of a house or apartment building, which means the digging of the foundation. Other categories are housing permits, housing completions, and new home starts.

    HUD-VASH

    This funding will provide local public housing agencies with rental assistance vouchers specifically targeted to assist homeless veterans in their area. Public housing authorities, that administer HUD's Housing Choice Voucher Program, work closely with Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Centers to manage the program. In addition to the rental assistance, VA Medical Centers provide supportive services and case management to eligible homeless veterans.

    INCLUSIONARY HOUSING

    Inclusionary housing policies are designed to achieve several public purposes: Increasing the stock of quality ownership and/or rental housing that is affordable to low- and moderate income residents; Promoting home ownership and wealth accumulation among those populations; Creating mixed-income communities, thus counteracting economic segregation and its attendant ills; and Creating a better spatial match between jobs and workers, with the attendant economic and environmental benefits. * These policies can be implemented in Moderately priced housing unit programs (MPHU’s) which mandate or provide incentives for builders to include moderately priced housing in developments according to a formula in order achieve inclusionary zoning goals.

    INVESTOR OWNED COMMUNITIES

    A manufactured home community – or “mobile home park” – is generally defined by state jurisdiction as a single parcel of land on which sit two or more manufactured homes. In most instances, manufactured home communities are owned by investor landlords and the homes are owned by their occupants. The rental relationship between community owner and homeowners is generally a matter of state law or local ordinance and generally is not incorporated in an actual lease.

    LEVERAGING

    The maximization of the effect of federal assistance for a project by obtaining additional project funding from non-federal sources.

    LOW INCOME

    As applied to most housing programs, household income below 80% of area median, as defined by HUD, is classified as low income. See also Extremely Low Income, Very Low Income.

    LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDITS

    The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program is run by the IRS and allows companies to invest in low-income housing, while receiving 10 years of tax credits. This important program works with state housing finance agencies to administer the program on a state level. Housing credit units are privately owned by developers and are run at a profit.

    MANUFACTURED HOUSING

    Manufactured home means any dwelling covered by the Federal. Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, 24 CFR part 3280. (HUD)Manufactured housing is regulated by the HUD Code, which was established in 1976 and is the only federal building code. The HUD Code sets standards for heating, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning and electrical systems, design, construction, transportation, energy efficiency, wind resistance and fire safety. Every manufactured home that leaves a factory bears a metal plaque certifying its compliance with the HUD Code. Another characteristic distinguishing manufactured homes from modular homes is that each manufactured unit is built on a metal chassis (CFED). The term does not include pre-fabricated buildings, modular homes, travel campers, boats, or self-propelled vehicles like motor homes. (Census)

    MEDIAN INCOME

    Median income is the midpoint in the income distribution within a specific geographic area. By definition, 50% of households earn less than the median income, and 50% earn more. HUD calculates levels for different communities annually, with adjustments for family size. The measure is used to determine the eligibility of applicants for both federally and locally funded housing programs.

    METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA (MSA)

    The basic census unit for defining urban areas and rental markets.

    MODERATE HOUSING PROBLEMS

    As used in the National Low Income Housing Coalition guide and by HUD, moderate problems consist of cost burden above 30% but not more than 50% of income, occupancy of housing with moderate physical problems, or overcrowding (more than one person per room).

    MODERATELY UNAFFORDABLE

    A ratio of 3.1 to 3.5 times home price to annual income is considered moderately unaffordable housing.

    MORTGAGE

    Debt instrument by which the borrower (mortgager) gives the lender (mortgagee) a lien on a property as security for the repayment of a loan. The borrower has use of the property, and the lien is removed when the obligation is fully paid. A mortgage normally involves real estate and is commonly used to purchase a house.

    NIMBYism

    Coming from “Not in my back yard,” shortened to “NIMBY,” the term refers to the tendency by residents of a local community to oppose new and unfamiliar development near their homes, based largely on misunderstanding. More on NIMBYism...

    PAYMENT STANDARD

    The amount used to determine how much rent a housing authority will pay monthly to subsidize a voucher holder, expressed as a percentage of the Fair Market rent. The payment standard must be at leave 80% of the FMR.

    PHYSICAL PROBLEMS

    According to the definitions used for the 2001 American Housing Survey, “a unit has severe physical problems if it has any of the following five problems:

    1. Plumbing: Lacking hot or cold piped water or a flush toilet, or lacking both bathtub and shower, all inside the structure (and for the exclusive use of the unit, unless there are two or more full bathrooms).
    2. Heating: Having been uncomfortably cold last winter for 24 hours or more because the heating equipment broke down, and it broke down at least three times last winter for at least 6 hours each time.
    3. Electric: Having no electricity, or all of the following three electric problems: exposed wiring, a room with no working wall outlet, and three blown fuses or tripped circuit breakers in the past 90 days.
    4. Hallways: Having all of the following fours problems in public areas: no working light fixtures, loose or missing steps, loose or missing railings, and no working elevator.
    5. Upkeep: Having any five of the following six maintenance problems:
      1. water leaks from the outside, such as from the roof, basement, windows, or doors;
      2. leaks from inside structure such as pipes or plumbing fixtures;
      3. holes in the floors;
      4. holes or open cracks in the walls or ceilings;
      5. more than 8 inches by 11inches or peeling paint or broken plaster; or
      6. signs if rats in the last 90 days.”
    A housing unit has moderate physical problems “if it has any of the following five problems, but none of the severe problems:
    • Plumbing: On at least three occasions during the last 3 months, all the flush toilets were broken down at the same time for 6 hours or more
    • Heating: Having unvented gas, oil, or kerosene heaters as the primary heating equipment.
    • Kitchen: Lacking a kitchen sink, refrigerator or cooking equipment (stove, burners, or microwave oven) inside the structure for the exclusive use of the unit.
    • Hallways: Having any three of the four of the six problems [considered severe physical problems under Hallways}.
    • Upkeep: Having any three of the four of the six problems listed [considered severe physical problems under Upkeep].

    PRESERVATION

    A program (enacted in 1987 with the Emergency Low Income Housing Preservation Act (ELIHPHA) and later amended into the Low Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) that (a) prevented owner of what are called older assisted properties from prepaying their mortgages and converting the buildings to market rate use, and (b) compensated them with financial incentives available through extension or continuation of ownership, or sale to a nonprofit buyer. While neither ELIPHA nor LIHPRHA are currently in effect, their preemption provisions may threaten state and local laws regulating the preservation of federally assisted housing.

    RESIDENT OWNED COMMUNITY

    Resident-ownership refers to community ownership by the homeowners. In most instances, homeowners form a corporation (or a “cooperative”) to acquire the community as a whole and operate it for the benefit of the homeowners. Support for this model of ownership exists because it also helps the broader community preserve an affordable community. Homeowners can also achieve resident-ownership through sub-division, although local zoning regulations generally have posed a significant barrier to sub-dividing existing communities.

    RURAL

    Areas that are not urbanized. The Census Bureau defines an urbanized as “an incorporated place and adjacent densely settled (1.6 or more people per acre) surrounding area that together have a minimum population of 50,000.”

    SEVERE HOUSING PROBLEMS

    As used by HUD in defining priorities, severe housing problems are homelessness, displacement, housing cost burden above 50% of income, occupancy of housing with serious physical problems. Data on severe housing problems drawn from the American Housing survey measures only cost burden and physical problems.

    SEVERELY UNAFFORDABLE HOUSING

    A ratio of greater than 3.5 home price to annual income is considered severely unaffordable housing.

    SUBPRIME MORTGAGE

    A type of mortgage that is normally made out to borrowers with lower credit ratings. As a result of the borrower's lowered credit rating, a conventional mortgage is not offered because the lender views the borrower as having a larger-than-average risk of defaulting on the loan. Lending institutions often charge interest on subprime mortgages at a rate that is higher than a conventional mortgage in order to compensate themselves for carrying more risk. (Investopedia)

    TEMPORARY ASSISTANCE FOR NEEDY FAMILIES (TANF)

    Block grant to states administered under the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996, which established a new welfare system. The TANF block grant replaced Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC).

    VERY LOW INCOME

    Household income above 30% but below 50% of area median, as defined by HUD.

    VOUCHER

    A government payment to, or on behalf of, a household to be used solely to pay a portion of the household’s housing costs in the private market.

    WORST CASE HOUSING PROBLEMS

    Unsubsidized very low income renter households with severe housing problems. HUD is required to submit a periodic report to Congress on worst case housing problems.