Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS®
Workforce Housing Fund
Congratulations Brandy & Charlie!
First Applicant to the CAAR Workforce Housing Fund
Affordable housing is like the weather…everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it…at least until now. After almost a year of study and planning, the Charlottesville Area Association of REALTORS® (CAAR) Board of Directors created a plan that will have a major impact on affordable housing in the Charlottesville area.
The plan is to establish a special fund to aid key members of our work force (police officers, fire fighters, nurses and teachers) to live in the communities in which they serve, a distinct benefit to the whole community. The CAAR Work Force Housing Fund will be administered by the Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) and will be available for use in the entire Charlottesville region.
How the Fund Works
PHA will identify qualified candidates through their Regional Home Ownership Center and work with CAAR and other funding organizations to make home financing possible. Qualifying candidates will need to meet the VHDA income requirements, be employed in a key public service sector, such as healthcare, safety, or education, and purchase a home in the same jurisdiction in which they work. (For instance, a Fluvanna police officer is eligible for assistance for a home in Fluvanna.)
The funds provided to these key community members are not a gift, but a no interest second mortgage that can be used to make the purchase price affordable. The loan will be repaid to the fund upon the sale of the home (including interest) so that those monies can be made available to future buyers. Over time, this fund will be self-sustaining.
Show Me the Money!
As initial seed money, the trustees of the David Rothwell Foundation donated approximately $10,000, and CAAR contributed $25,000. While CAAR is
taking the lead in raising funds, investment in the Work Force Housing Fund will come from a variety of businesses, organizations, and individual members of the public. CAAR has already secured $1,000 per year pledges from a dozen corporate donors as well as several REALTORS® who have agreed to give $100 per year for the next five years. The goal is to have a minimum of $250,000 invested in the fund over the next five years.
Return on Our Investment
Since the funds will be distributed as loans, this program should be viewed as a long tern investment. Of course, the most significant return is the difference this fund will make in building stronger communities where key members of the work force can live and work. The true measure of success of this long-term strategy to tackle affordable housing will not be realized until the second and third generations of loans are made. As the Fund and the number of workers we help grow over the years, we will know we are successful.
While it is a real challenge to establish a new program of this magnitude, CAAR will subject it to its classic process of planning, implementation, evaluation and adjustment so CAAR along with others in the community will continue to support this significant initiative to address our affordable housing problem.