Below, you will find active Requests for Proposals (RFPs), Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and a convenient glossary of Terms. Current RFPs listed here are open for companies and organizations to complete and submit in response to upcoming project needs. New RFPs will be added here as they become available.
We passed the largest affordable housing bond in the history of North Carolina, almost twice as large as any other affordable housing bond, and we’re in the midst of what is going to be an enormous affordable housing program. It’s already started.
— Mayor of Durham Steve Schewel
- What is the goal of Forever Home, Durham?
Forever Home, Durham improves housing quality and affordability for renters and homeowners citywide. The program serves a range of individuals and families: those experiencing homelessness, renters, first-time homebuyers, and current homeowners. Too many renters and homeowners in the City of Durham are living in deteriorated conditions and unable to afford decent housing, and tragically, many have no housing at all. All of Durham is in this together. Forever Home, Durham will have a significant impact on housing affordability – and more. Catalytic public investments such as this program bring partners together, creating opportunities in the private sector, attracting funds and creating jobs, and accomplishing more than any single entity or program could do alone. The communal desire for a better Durham propels this vision. New issues will surely arise over the course of the multi-year Forever Home, Durham program, and each member of the community can play a role in understanding the larger vision and how the success of the program is in everyone’s best interest.
- Will Forever Home, Durham, solve the affordable housing crisis in Durham?
Forever Home, Durham will have a significant impact on housing affordability in Durham. The program expects to create and preserve 2,400 affordable rental homes, create 400 homeownership opportunities, house 1,700 residents experiencing homelessness and offer services and financial assistance to stabilize over 3,000 renters and owners in their current homes. Even with this investment, there is much more work to be done to address the large scale, complex challenges related to affordable housing in our city. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, there are over 12,000 renter households in Durham – most of them very low income – paying more than 50% of their income for housing. Addressing their needs, as well as the needs of low income homeowners and homebuyers and residents experiencing homelessness, requires a multiprong strategy. In addition to a continued commitment to housing security and affordability, there must also be a focus on the big picture, including racial and ethnic inequalities, economic development and creation of quality jobs. Forever Home, Durham is just one piece of the puzzle.
- Does this program focus on other areas in addition to the development of affordable housing?
Yes, in addition to supporting the development of affordable housing units, the City also plays an important role in providing services to low-income residents. The City of Durham serves as the coordinator for Durham’s homelessness system and provides funding for a range of emergency shelter and homeless housing programs. In addition, the City works with community-based partners to offer repair and rehabilitation programs for low-income, elderly, and disabled homeowners, down payment assistance for income-qualified homebuyers, and legal assistance for low-income renters facing evictions. These outcomes are tracked in the homeless assistance, home ownership, and neighborhood stabilization categories, and will also contribute to economic development.
- How will the City achieve the goals of Forever Home, Durham?
Partnerships are critical to the outcomes of this program, and the City works with a variety of affordable housing developers to achieve these goals, including the Durham Housing Authority (DHA), nonprofits, and for-profit developers as well a range of community-based organizations. The City also works with other housing funders, including public-sector agencies like the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), banks, credit unions, and nonprofit affordable housing lenders. Proportionally, the largest investment from the $160 million program is in multifamily rentals, which will achieve the new construction and preservation outcomes as well as contribute to economic development. These are visible outcomes with multi-step timelines, and the communications will show the steps – for example RFPs issued and contracts signed – that are indicators on the paths to completion.
- How does the $160 million spur $443 million in private funding for additional affordable housing support in the City of Durham?
The Forever Home, Durham investment significantly preserves and increases the quality and quantity of the City’s affordable housing stock and focuses on providing housing to low income Durham residents. City funding for affordable housing bridges the gap between the cost of development and the funding that can be raised through private debt and equity financing. This City gap financing is critical to making affordable housing construction and preservation projects feasible. The City’s $160 million investment is expected to spur $443 million in private funding, creating a total $603 million investment in Durham’s future. Notably, the program includes $130 million in contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned firms. Businesses and investments that are expected to arise alongside of, and because of, the $603 million total investment will support jobs, providing opportunities for residents to earn income and live in decent, affordable housing for many years to come.
- What progress has the program made so far?
The City is making real progress on the goals for housing and jobs through partnerships. FY2021 spending commitments are underway and progress can be seen in outcomes, particularly for direct services to low-income residents and in homeless services. Progress on longer-term housing construction outcomes is seen in key indicators, such as RFPs issued and contracts signed, in which partners are accountable to specific goals. The City of Durham does not develop affordable housing directly; it uses local and federal funds to fill gaps in a developer’s financing plan and is a differentiating factor in how an affordable housing developer attracts private capital. Both for-profit and nonprofit developers use City commitments to create financing packages for building or preserving affordable housing, thus bringing together a range of community partners to improve as much housing as possible.
- What is the role of the Durham Housing Authority (DHA) in providing housing in Durham?
DHA is a federally-funded quasi-governmental agency that owns and manages public housing, which is a form of affordable housing serving extremely low income households. DHA. It is the largest affordable housing provider in Durham, owning almost all of the housing serving extremely low-income households, as well as managing over 2,500 Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers that serve extremely low-income households. It is the City’s largest partner providing affordable housing for residents with the lowest incomes.
- How does the City work with DHA to create and maintain affordable housing options in Durham?
DHA is an important partner for improving and expanding affordable rental housing. The public housing that DHA owns represents the majority of the affordable housing in Durham for extremely low-income households. Because of shortfalls in federal funding over decades, public housing in Durham and nationally faces enormous backlog of capital investment, leaving many public housing residents living in substandard and functionally obsolete units.To address this challenge, the Durham Housing Authority developed the DHA Downtown and Neighborhood Plan (DDNP) in partnership with community stakeholders and the City and County to guide the redevelopment of the first phase of public housing properties as mixed income communities, preserving the extremely affordable public housing and adding affordable and market rate housing. The City’s $58.9 million commitment from the $160 million Forever Home, Durham investment program is a critical piece of DHA’s public/private financing strategy involving multiple other partners. The City’s commitment is currently directed to the DHA development plans for: JJ Henderson, 519 East Main/Liberty, Oldham, Forest Hill Heights, and a significant addition of residential and mixed-use development at what is now the DHA office site.
- What is the DHA Downtown Neighborhood Plan and what is its role in affordable housing?
The DHA Downtown and Neighborhood Plan lays out a 10-year strategy for nearly 50 acres in central Durham (including six DHA properties and two City-owned properties) resulting in 2,500 new units. The City’s multi-year investment in the DDNP from the Forever Home, Durham program is $58.9 million and currently allocated for DHA’s first set of projects: JJ Henderson, 519 East Main/Liberty, Oldham, Forest Hill Heights, and a significant addition of residential and mixed-use development at the DHA office site and County Criminal Justice Center.
- What will happen to the residents living at DHA properties that are slated for redevelopment?
All DHA residents who remain in good standing have a right to return to a redevelopment unit that meets their needs. If a resident needs to be relocated during construction, DHA will pay for all relocation costs.
- How did the City decide which activities are included in the Forever Home, Durham Program?
The Forever Home, Durham program was developed based on analysis of data about housing need in Durham and consultations with elected officials, affordable housing developers, homeless service providers, and community residents.
- How does the City decide which activities to work on when?
The City is committed to implementing all of the activities laid out in the Forever Home, Durham program. As part of Durham’s annual budget cycle, the City determines the activities to be carried out in the coming year based on an analysis of funding availability, organizational capacity and community needs. As conditions evolve, the allocation of funds and services will be directed as needed to provide the best possible outcomes over time.
- What else is the City doing beyond the programs funded by Forever Home, Durham?
Forever Home, Durham and its investments in affordable housing and housing-related assistance is part of City’s overall commitment to serving low-to-moderate income households and communities. The City actively supports other vital initiatives including job training, business assistance, recreation programs and infrastructure improvements. The goal is to have a measurable, positive impact both in the near term and over time.
- How will the City track the money being spent as part of this program?
The City will be producing spending reports on a quarterly basis.
- Was this program impacted by COVID-19?
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on both CDD and external partners, including the need to deploy federal emergency funding with short spending timelines, affected the implementation of the Forever Home, Durham program. COVID response included funds for emergency rental assistance, developing and supporting non-congregate housing options and service delivery for residents experiencing homelessness, and operating funding for nonprofit housing partners to preserve essential affordable housing development capacity. Progress continued on Forever Home, Durham goals during this period and CDD has adjusted the timeline for implementation by a year, through FY25.
- How does the City track activities that count toward Forever Home, Durham goals and progress?
Housing Units: All units associated with City-funded contracts executed on or after July 1, 2019, which is the beginning of the first City fiscal year of the Forever Home, Durham program, count toward the goals. For construction projects, final funding commitments will be made no later than FY25, with construction completion occurring in some cases after FY25. Services: All services delivered on or after July 1, 2019 count toward the goals. Services include programs such as eviction diversion, property tax assistance, minor repair and down payment assistance, and the goals will be achieved by the end of FY25.
- What is not included in Forever Home, Durham reporting?
The City and its partners had contracts for affordable housing activities underway prior to the Forever Home, Durham program start date of July 1, 2019; these are critical (and celebrated) but do not count toward the Forever Home, Durham program goals. Additionally, activities and funding associated with COVID-19 response and a newly launched HUD-funded lead remediation program are requiring significant CDD attention and staff capacity, but do not count toward the goals.
- How will the funds for Forever Home, Durham be collected and authorized?
The tax rate increase for City property owners that will repay the bonds: The timing and amount of tax rate increases for Affordable Housing Bond debt service will be determined year to year by City Council. The increase was not implemented by the City in FY2020. At this time, City Council budget guidelines indicate that the property tax rate increase will be 1.38 cents per $100 of assessed property value. The final amount will be determined during the FY22 budget process.The method by which the City commits the funds: City Council will approve annual budgets for the expenditure of bond funds and existing housing funds as part of the City budget process. In addition, City Council will approve the actual expenditure of City funds on a project-by-project basis, as part of the Council’s review and approvals of proposed contracts.
- How does Forever Home, Durham support jobs?
Based on economic models of housing development, Forever Home, Durham investments will support nearly 3,000 jobs as a result of construction, operations, and resident spending over the life of the housing created. The program will also create $130 million in contracting opportunities for minority and women-owned enterprises (MWBEs).
Affordable Housing: Homes that are safe and livable for low-income families.
- Affordable: Families shouldn’t spend more than one third of their income on living expenses. These costs can include rent, mortgage and insurance.
- Low Income: Income is below or around 80% of Area Median Income (AMI)..
Affordable Housing Implementation Committee (AHIC): A new volunteer committee brought on by the Durham City Council. It will communicate the goals of the program to Durham residents. A few other of its responsibilities will be to talk about the plan with government officials, provide spending accountability, help track goals and update City Council every six months.
You can learn more about the group here. This information includes the committee members.
Area Median Income (AMI): The median income value for a location. Families with income below or around 80% of the AMI typically can get affordable housing. Different programs have different levels of need to qualify. Affordable homeownership programs work with families in 60-80% range. Affordable rental programs work with families below 60% AMI. Public housing and housing choice vendors work with very low incomes, which is 30% AMI.
Income limits are released annually by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They are used to determine whether a family qualifies for some type of housing assistance. Durham falls within the Durham-Chapel Hill Metro Area. See the chart below for household size and AMI eligible income levels.
Durham-Chapel Hill Metro Area Income Limits by Household Size in 2020
Community Development Department (CDD): The Community Development Department coordinates the City’s community development and neighborhood stabilization and revitalization efforts. This includes financial empowerment and home retention, affordable housing, and homelessness services programs. The City provides these services by working with developers and community housing development organizations.
You can learn more about the CDD here.
Durham Housing Authority (DHA): The Durham Housing Authority is a federally funded group that owns and manages public housing. DHA is not a department of the City of Durham and does not receive money from the City to run and maintain its programs. DHA is the largest affordable housing provider in Durham and owns almost all of the housing that serves extremely low-income families. It also manages 2,500 Housing Choice (Section 8) vouchers that help extremely low-income families.
You can learn more about DHA here.
DHA Downtown and Neighborhood Plan (DDNP): The DHA Downtown and Neighborhood Plan is a 10-year redevelopment strategy for 50 acres in central Durham. The acreage includes six DHA properties, one county-owned property and two City-owned properties. The plan hopes to maintain and deliver 2,500 housing units.
The Forever Home, Durham program will invest $58.9 million in DDNP. Currently, money will be spent for DHA’s first set of projects. These projects include JJ Henderson, 519 East Main/Liberty, Oldham, Forest Hill Heights, and an addition of residential and mixed-use development at the DHA office site and County Criminal Justice Center.
You can learn more about the DDNP here.
Fiscal Year (FY): The City’s fiscal year begins on July 1st and concludes on June 30th. The City uses this time period for taxing and accounting purposes.
Gap Funding: a funding gap is the amount of money needed to build and run affordable rental or for sale homes that are not currently funded with cash, equity, or debt. The funding gaps can be covered by investments from different sources. The City of Durham is the provider of gap funding for many affordable housing construction projects.
Housing Cost-Burdened Households: Different levels of cost burden are explained below:
- Not cost-burdened: Total housing costs represent less than 30% of total household income.
- Moderately cost-burdened: Total housing costs represent 31-50% of total household income.
- Severely cost-burdened: Total housing costs represent more than 50% of total household income.
Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC): Tax credits are the most important tool for funding affordable housing nationally. The LIHTC program offers investors dollar-for-dollar reduction in their federal taxes in exchange for making investments in affordable rental housing. Investors also get tax benefits from losses. Generally, tax credits are received over the first 10 years of affordable housing operation.
In general, LIHTC is limited to rental housing that helps residents making at or below 60% AMI. The IRS does allow for builders to use income averaging. This can make rents can go up to 80% AMI, as long as the average is at or below 60% AMI. Higher AMI units are offset by units targeting households below 60% AMI.
Minority- and Women- Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE): Businesses that are owned and operated primarily by women or minority group members have this label. A company must be certified by the State of North Carolina as a historically underutilized business, the N.C. Department of Transportation as a minority-owned or women-owned business or the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program to be called a MWBE for a City of Durham contract. Forever Home, Durham will give at least $130 million in contracts to MWBEs.
Project Subsidy: Money provided by the public sector to fill gaps in affordable housing new construction and preservation projects. This money can be cash, grants, loans or equity. It can also be cash equivalents, which can be publicly owned land, fee waivers or property tax waivers.
Project subsidies are combined with private funds for new construction and preservation projects.
Public Housing: A form of affordable rental housing that is owned by housing authorities and funded directly by the federal government. This money is made possible by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Public housing typically helps extremely low-income residents.
Request for Proposal (RFP): A business document that provides details about a project and asks for bids from groups who are interested in helping complete the project.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD): HUD is federal cabinet level agency that is responsible for national programs that help America’s housing needs, improve and develop the Nation’s communities and enforce fair housing laws.
For an additional affordable housing glossary resource, please visit https://archives.huduser.gov/portal/glossary/glossary.html.