NHT and NHT-Enterprise, NHT’s nonprofit housing developer affiliate, are working together on a 2-year initiative to promote energy efficiency and financial stability in multifamily low-income housing located in the Washington, D.C. market. This work was made possible with support from of Citi Community Development.
Utility Investments in Multifamily Housing
The first component of the Citi Innovations work is headed by the Energy Efficiency for All (EEFA) Team at NHT, and focuses on utility investments in multifamily housing. NHT provides research, data and expertise to help affordable housing and energy efficiency stakeholders at the local level secure funding from utilities for energy efficiency investments in multifamily housing. NHT has been working with Energy Foundation, Elevate and NRDC on EEFA in 12 states, securing over $230 million of private utility funding for retrofits in affordable housing. This new grant ramps up NHT’s EEFA engagement here in Washington, D.C., northern Virginia and Maryland.
Scaling up demand for efficiency investments in affordable multifamily housing requires well-designed programs specifically targeting the multifamily sector. This is a core focus, where NHT is identifying and partnering with the energy and affordable housing organizations that have the most credibility and the best relationships with the key stakeholders—electric and gas utility companies, public utility commissions, housing finance agencies and building owners.
In the Washington, D.C. market, NHT along with national and local partners, is employing the following strategies to achieve new capital for affordable multifamily housing:
- Bring diverse stakeholders together
- Develop innovative program designs, including one stop shops, that are key to successfully deploying new funding
- Hone a message focused on developing demand for these newly available funds by residents and owners in affordable housing
- Develop resources and guides for the expenditures of such funds
The second component of the Citi Innovations work, headed by NHT-Enterprise in partnership with Capital Area Asset Builders (CAAB), is to promote greater financial stability in affordable housing communities. We know that energy costs and potential utility cut-offs are a significant burden on low income residents. If we lower those energy costs by retrofitting their homes, how can we assure that these savings are productively invested? CAAB conducts financial capability training for property managers, program coordinators, and social workers supporting residents in multifamily housing. This training is designed to work “upstream” to provide front-line workers with the tools and resources needed to help low-income families:
- Access resources to prevent utility cut-off;
- Manage energy use, and;
- Achieve financial stability by accessing low-cost services and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
The initiative with Citi allows us, for the first time, to offer mini-grants to residents to encourage responsible energy usage and to prevent utility cut-off. Residents will have to complete a budgeting class to be eligible.
NHT and NHT-Enterprise are excited to collaborate with both Citi Community Development and CAAB on this innovative dual approach to energy efficiency and financial stability for low-income families in affordable homes.