About the Housing & Real Estate Development Program
Catching the Wave…
The Housing and Real Estate Development Team seeks to revitalize Mon Valley communities by providing safe, affordable housing options and by strengthening its commercial districts. We have a multi-pronged approach to comprehensively address the redevelopment needs of the Mon Valley. Though we are widely known for our Rehab for Resale Program, we also develop rental and commercial properties in the communities we serve.
MVI, in strong partnership with our CDC members, has implemented a place-based planning and development strategy to strengthen real estate markets and reaffirm value while serving low and moderate-income families and individuals. There are three overarching goals for the program:
1. Providing Quality Housing Products for Low/Moderate Income Buyers/Renters
2. Ensuring that MVI Housing Serves as an Economic & Community Growth Catalyst
3. Creating Additional Community Value by Planning for Today and for the Future
Our community members keep a close watch on their neighborhoods. They know which houses and areas are in need of care or renovation, they know what needs to be done to improve the areas in which they live, and we encourage and value their input.
By establishing a strong connection to our communities through our CDCs, we are able to assess the unique needs of a community and approach each of our real estate projects with a commitment to a community-driven process.
We generally target our for-sale housing products to families making less than 80% of area median income (80% of median income is $46,900 for a family of 3), although we also encourage mixed-income communities and include the development of non-income restricted homes, when possible.
By building homes focused on design quality, long-term maintenance ease and operating affordability, including using green technologies and exceeding Energy Star standards, our lower-income homebuyers can comfortably afford their mortgage payments and energy costs.
We primarily focus on restoration (in comparison to new construction) to limit total development costs, reuse building materials, and to maintain the character that makes our Mon Valley communities so unique.
Adding to our program’s reputation is the education process we provide for first-time homebuyers through our Housing Counseling Program. Potential MVI homeowners are required to attend our classes and personalized counseling sessions to learn about every step of buying and maintaining a home.
Due to conditions of the grant funding invested into these homes, buyers must generally agree to stay in the home for a minimum of 10 years or sell to another owner occupant. This encourages long-term residency and strengthens neighborhood stability.
Our rental developments provide high-quality apartments to low and moderate-income working families in our member communities (usually those with incomes between 50-80% of the area median income). These attractive community assets play an important role in our redevelopment strategy by preserving formerly-blighted multi-family buildings and revitalizing those structures to positively influence the community environment.
Our current rental portfolio includes 94 completed units mixed within the larger neighborhoods. We have three small-scale rental developments funded that will be added to our unit mix in 2014-2015, and we continuously investigate other opportunities.
After years of decline, the Historic Main Streets of many of our communities are in danger of disappearing altogether. In an effort to reverse that decline, our Real Estate Team works with building owners, developers, and downtown merchant associations to build strategies for revitalization in their market districts.
With the assistance of a local foundation and PNC Bank, we created a revolving loan pool in Homestead that assists building owners with mid-term financing to renovate their buildings and attract tenants. We hired a national consulting firm to develop market assessments that provide a blueprint for revitalization in West Newton and Charleroi by evaluating the current conditions and demographics, determining the strategic areas to focus resources, and identifying a list of businesses that would be successful in each market. In addition, we assist business owners in securing other funding sources, such as historic tax credits, low interest loans, and facade grants to improve the market economy of their community’s Main Street.