(518) 458-8696

2020 Conference Plans Set!

The Rural Housing Coalition is having a conference this Fall!  The Stronger Together Housing Conference registration site is now live at www.conference.habitatnys.org

We are pleased to be collaborating with Habitat For Humanity of NYS on this year’s virtual conference, and you will find a wealth of workshops available on the registration website, with content geared for anyone working on affordable housing development, housing counseling, community investment, construction management, fair housing, rural homelessness, Board governance, and much more.  The   conference workshops are scheduled over a much-longer  period of time than our conferences in the past, with only one workshop going on at a time.

The Stronger Together conference is sponsored by:

Federal Home Loan Bank of NY

NBT Bank

Ulster Savings Bank

Enterprise Community Partners

NeighborWorks Alliance of NYS

Levitcus Fund

NYS Association of Realtors

2019 Conference Pics

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2019 Conference Workshop Tracks

Click on this link to see the workshop agenda of the 2019 Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference.  See you in September in Saratoga Springs!


To register for the Conference, visit http://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/event?oeidk=a07eg9n44hxf6ce8a94&llr=87dbbwfab&showPage=true


2019 Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference to Celebrate 40 Years of Success!

The 40th Anniversary of the founding of the Rural Housing Coalition will be celebrated at the 2019 Annual conference, which will be held on September 9th, 10th, and 11th at The Saratoga Hilton, in downtown Saratoga Springs.  Mark your calendar so that you can join us in this beautiful city for our special celebration. We will have training for Housing Counselors, OSHA information for construction sites, information on rental housing development, and an introduction of a new pilot program from USDA.  If you are interested in the promotional opportunities available as a conference sponsor or exhibitor, call the Coalition today at (518) 458-8696×114. We look forward to seeing you in Saratoga Springs in September!  Book your hotel room at https://book.passkey.com/gt/217444891?gtid=e0d99111abbd166b37564f2eb8c0eeb1.

2018 Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference, Liverpool, New York

September 24, 25, and 26

For nearly 40 years, the Rural Housing Coalition has brought together affordable housing professionals, funders, lenders, architects, consultants, planners to learn the latest information on how to respond to the affordable housing crisis in New York, and to create vibrant local economies in rural parts of New York.  Over this period, the Coalition conference has become one of the biggest training events in rural community development.  In 2018, we will be hosting the annual conference at the Holiday Inn in Liverpool, NY, a huge conference facility that can comfortably accommodate all of our attendees in two connected hotels.  If you are interested in attending this year’s conference, mark your calendar to save the dates.  If you are interested in the promotional opportunities available as a conference sponsor or exhibitor, call the Coalition today  at (518) 458-8696×114.  We look forward to seeing you in Liverpool in September!

The Holiday Inn is now taking room reservations for our conference!  Our discounted room rate is $103 per night.  When making your room reservation, be sure to mention our room block code: NHC to secure our discounted rate.  Call (315) 457-1122 to make your room reservations.

The conference workshops are still being developed. We will have trainings for housing rehabilitation coordinators, affordable rental property managers, program administrators, and developers of new projects.  There will be networking opportunities in the area of project financing, insurance coverage, environmental compliance, and more!  This is a training event that you don’t want to miss. The conference agenda a/o July 30, 2018 is below. This agenda will be updated as more workshops are confirmed.

September 24, 2018

Track 1: Homeless Housing

One of the longstanding challenges of developing housing for homeless families or individuals has been the difficulty in making projects work financially on marginal rents, while addressing the health, mental, social, and other needs of populations that often carry multiple diagnoses.  The ESSHI program has been providing a solution to those concerns, and creative use of ESSHI is even opening up new opportunities to finance supportive housing development outside of the traditional competitive grant cycles.

Rural Supportive Housing Works! [1:30-3:00 PM]

The Empire State Supportive Housing Program is entering its third year of providing robust operating and services funding. There are several examples of rural projects under construction as well as currently-operating Supportive Housing programs in rural parts of the state, including the Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks and the Finger Lakes.  This workshop will explore the sources of capital available to develop rural Supportive Housing, as well as the collaborations and service provider partnerships needed for success.

So You Got Your ESSHI Award. What Now? [3:15-5:00 PM]

New York State is unique in committing to services and operating funding in ESSHI projects, often before capital funding is secured.   The state offers a variety of capital funding resources to move a project from a conditional award to a permanent one.  This will review some options and answer questions about ESSHI and capital development.

Special Policy Discussion

Neighborhood Homes Investment Act [3:15-5:00 PM]

A growing national coalition is proposing new federal legislation to create a tax credit for the development and rehabilitation of single-family housing to help transform struggling, low density neighborhoods across the country. This new financing tool will not only drive much-needed resources to investment-starved communities, but it will also enlarge and elevate the nascent affordable, single family housing development industry that was catalyzed by events like Hurricane Katrina and the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Learn more about this proposed legislation, and provide input on how it can best be used to serve your community’s needs.

Offsite Tour:  The NYSWDA Training Center, East Syracuse, NY [2:00 -5:00 PM]

Weatherization professionals in New York are blessed to have access to a state of the art training facility developed by the New York State Weatherization Directors Association.  If you have a passing familiarity with the energy audit process, this is your opportunity to learn how that magic happens.  The tour is limited to 54 persons, and prior registration is required.


September 25, 2018

Track 2:  Housing Rehabilitation

The success of any housing rehab program depends on the hard work and commitment of the staff that goes on site to inspect the home to be repaired, prepares the rehab workscopes, negotiates the construction contracts, oversees and the workmanship and inspects the project for satisfactory completion, all the while managing the difficult relationships between homeowners and contractors. It’s not an easy job, and it has changed over the years.  This track is designed for rehab coordinators, and the administrators that oversee their work.

Best Practices in Home Rehabilitation Management  [9:00-10:30 AM]

Housing rehabilitation specialists fill an important role in the housing redevelopment process. They serve as facilitators between the Local Program Administrator (LPA), contractors, and the homeowner to ensure the health, safety, code compliance, energy efficiency, sustainability, and affordability of 1-4 bedroom family dwellings. this session provides an overview of the housing rehabilitation process, including standards of practice and training.

Tier 2 Without Tears  [11:00 AM – 12:30 PM]

Running a home repair program within a two year timeframe can be challenging and stressful. Having projects bog down in the pre-construction/approvals phase can be maddening. The environmental review process is a classic bottleneck for many rehab programs, and it doesn’t help that the terminology can be very confusing. This session will help you understand the background of the environmental review process so that you understand how to submit your paperwork for approval in as efficient a format as possible. In addition, the workshop will provide an overview of Tier 2 best practices.

Stress Management for Housing Rehab Coordinators  [2:30-4:00 PM]

By their very nature, housing rehabilitation coordinators are caught in the middle, between the interests of the homeowner and the contractor- a relationship that can easily become contentious.  Couple that with regulatory compliance, limited contractor pools, code enforcement surprises, and meeting MWBE goals, and a rehab coordinator can’t be blamed for buying antacids in bulk.  How do you practice self care? How can you bring balance back to your job?

Inspecting Mobile and Manufactured Housing  [4:15-5:45 PM]

Mobile homes remain a significant portion of rural New York’s housing stock, and many older units require repairs.  A mobile or manufactured housing unit is constructed quite differently than traditional homes. As a consequence, if you do not know what you are looking for, or where to find it, your inspection may overlook some critical issues.  This session will provide practical tips for how to approach the inspection of a MH unit to make sure that you find the source of the problems, as well as spec the repairs correctly.

Track 3:  Nonprofit Leadership Issues 

Being in charge can be extremely stressful.  This track focuses on some of the things that trip up the most well-meaning non-profit executive.

Planning for Budget Shortfalls [9:00-10:30 AM]

No one is perfect at predicting the future, and every budget eventually requires modification.  Bids come in higher than expected, while anticipated funding disappears, or comes in late.  What are the effective cash management strategies for keeping your organization afloat, filling the funding gaps, and bridging periods of tight cash flow? This workshop will cover techniques of proper cash flow planning, building reserve accounts, and creation of emergency systems for filling the holes.

HR: It’s More Than Just A Compliance Poster [11:00 AM – 12:30 PM]

Human resources management may be one of the biggest headaches of business leadership. The laws are complex, and the penalties painful. And the world is changing as telecommuting creates a whole new class of Human Resources concerns, including accountability, sharing of work on joint projects and other issues. What are the practical, effective and legal staff management techniques that you need to be aware of when managing your staff in our brave new world?

[2:30 – 4:00 PM]

Watch this space!

 Executive Directors In The Real World  [4:15 -5:45 PM]

Running a nonprofit agency is not for the faint of heart.  It’s not all glamorous board meetings and galas.  There are toilets to be unclogged, 990s to sign, funds to be raised, and staff.  Yeah, just staff. Sigh. This session is designed to help you develop a thick skin and a sense of humor.

Coffee Talk:  10:30-11:00 AM

Nonprofit Insurance Legislation at the Federal Level.

Current federal law limits the ability of nonprofit insurers to directly issue property coverage to nonprofit agencies that own and manage real estate.  Ongoing efforts in Washington, DC hope to change that and open up the savings opportunities of nonprofit insurers to nonprofit housing owners.

Track 4:  Management Landmines

Sometimes, you don’t get a heads up about policy changes, new expectations, or basic reporting requirements before they go into effect.  We found a couple of recent policy changes that can make management of rental apartments a challenge.

 Re-Entry of Convicted Persons [9:00-10:30 AM]

Some county officials are looking at affordable housing as an alternative to construction of expensive new jail facilities.  In other neighborhoods, housing designed for persons re-integrating into the community are providing opportunities to rebuild relationships and strengthen communities moving forward. This workshop will explore issues related to housing for persons re-entering the community from the criminal justice system.

VAWA: The Violence Against Women Act [11:00 AM – 12:30 PM]

The Violence Against Women Act imposes some very specific management requirements on managers and owners of rental housing covered by regulatory agreements. These requirements are designed to ensure that women facing abusive living situations can move from those homes to safe units. This workshop will review manager responsibilities under the Act.


Luncheon  12:45 – 2:15 PM:  Join us for a delicious luncheon and featured speaker, Lynn Patton, Administrator of the New York Regional Office of HUD.


Track 5:  Community Revitalization

Upstate New York communities have been in economic decline for well over a generation, so it will take a lot of hard work and creativity to counter the inertia, disinvestment and dust that have left so many of our once proud communities questioning their relevance in the 21st Century.

Community Identity as an Economic Development Tool  [2:30-4:00 PM]

Every community has something that makes it unique – its history, its people, their traditions and way of life. These elements contribute to the formation of your community identity, which can be a source of pride, nostalgia, intrigue, and excitement. This presentation will explore opportunities to leverage your community’s greatest asset, its identity, as a means of promoting community revitalization and economic development. Attendees will learn about how local projects that foster stewardship of your community’s natural and cultural heritage, can provide for sustainable economic growth. Details will be provided about regional initiatives as well as federal and state funding sources.


Track 6: Project Development:  More Than Just Groundbreakings

Why is it that the Photo Op of a bunch of local officials with hardhats and shovels are the only visuals we see of new development projects until the ribbon cutting?  Why aren’t there photos of the third iteration of closing documents coming out of the printer; or managers re-certifying tenants whose income has changed; or tax credit file monitoring reviews?  There are some parts of housing that just aren’t sexy.

Construction Finance 101 [9:00-10:30 AM]

What is a construction loan, and why is it so expensive?  This workshop will cover the basics of construction financing, including how a construction loan is underwritten, the risks associated with construction loans, and tips for how to secure the best rate and terms from your construction lender.

Negotiating PILOT Agreements [11:00 AM- 12:30 PM]

Assessors can make or break the financial viability of an affordable rental housing complex.  Tax assessments based on the construction or development cost of a project will inevitably overtax units, making it impossible to support subordinate financing or building proper reserves.  Tools such as the 581a provision and Payments In Lieu Of Taxes agreements are tools that affordable housing developers can use to bring the tax bill to a more reasonable level that is predictable for the long term.

Purchase/Redevelopment Of Expiring 515 Projects [2:30 – 4:00 PM]

Since the 1980s, the USDA Section 515 program has financed a large portfolio of affordable rental housing projects in rural New York.  These were developed both by non-profit housing agencies and private developers.  Many of these privately-held projects now have mortgages that are either maturing or eligible for pre-payment, which means that in some cases, the apartments will no longer be affordable to the current tenants. This workshop will explore how your agency can step in to purchase at-risk 515 projects, protecting the tenants and helping to build your management portfolio.

Dissolution of Expired Limited Partnerships [4:15-5:45 PM]

All good things come to an end. Is it necessary to keep your limited partnership in existence forever? When the 15 year tax credit regulatory period expires, how do you eliminate that extra layer of business to streamline the operation of your agency?

Track 7:  Energy Efficiency

Out of control heating and energy costs can destroy a family budget, resulting in bankruptcy, foreclosure, or eviction.  Making affordable housing as energy-efficient as possible is the best way to control budget volatility and make housing costs affordable.

Retrofit NY [9:00 – 10:30 AM]

As part of its RetrofitNY initiative, NYSERDA commissioned six innovative design-build teams to develop retrofit solutions that approach or achieve net zero energy performance for six affordable housing multifamily buildings throughout New York State.  This workshop will update attendees on program progress, the successes of the European model that inspired it, preview the solutions being developed, and discuss its benefits for the Rural Development portfolio as the program reaches scale.  We will outline upcoming solicitations and funding opportunities in 2019 and invite input from attendees about such critical points as resident engagement, utility allowance strategies and financing projects through energy and operational savings.

USDA Section 538 and Energy Efficiency Programs [11:00 AM -12:30 PM]

USDA has built several Farm labor and Section 538 projects which have been awarded the net zero Leed designations, many of these projects have received National Recognition. Our programs allow for the financing of such retrofitting as long as the project can support the debt.


Safe and Efficient Homes:  The Rochester Experience [4:15-5:45 PM]

Collaboration is in the air in Rochester, with a goal of doing more than just rehabbing the housing stock.  Multiple agencies focused on health, energy conservation, as well as housing are working together to ensure that renovated homes are high quality and support healthy residents. . This workshop will share how, working together, these agencies are achieving greater, measurable positive outcomes.

Banquet and Keynote Presentation 7:00 – 9:00 PM: Our evening will conclude with a banquet and keynote presentation.  Join your friends at 6:00 PM at a reception for convivial talk.  Our keynote will be delivered by Ruth Ann Norton, CEO of Green and Healthy Homes Initiative.

September 26, 2018

Track 8: AHC and SONYMA Roundtables

Now housed with the umbrella of NYS Homes and Community Renewal, the programs of the Housing Finance Agency are strong complements to federal programs used by housing agencies across New York. 

AHC Programs For First Time Homebuyers And Owner-Occupied Rehab [9:00-10:30 AM]

Over the years, Advocates have encouraged policy makers and state officials to make modifications to the AHC  program to make it more user-friendly, and to mesh efficiently with federal resources such as CDBG and HOME.  How is it working for you?  Are there further modifications needed?

SONYMA’s Suite of Home Ownership Products [11:00 AM-12:30 PM]

SONYMA is introducing some exciting new financing tools that hold promise for housing and community development professionals.

Coffee Talk:  10:30- 11:00 AM 

The Affordable Housing Program (AHP) of the Federal Home Loan Bank

The Federal Home Loan Banks across the US have been working with their regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, on proposed changes to rules governing the operation of the AHP.  Learn more about the potential changes to the program to prepare yourself for future application rounds.

Track 9: Mobile and Manufactured Housing Roundtables

Mobile and Manufactured housing represents a huge portion of the housing stock in New York State, particularly in rural areas upstate.  These two roundtables will focus on the issues that housing agencies face when serving residents of mobile and manufactured housing. Join the conversation with your colleagues and policy-makers to find the fixes that are needed to improve the lives of many rural New Yorkers.

Brainstorming Manufactured Housing Solutions 1: 

Park Residents [9:00-10:30 AM]

Residents of manufactured home communities exist in a state of legal limbo, owning a major asset, but not the land underneath, limited by law in some cases so that they can not move their units, unable to access many standard housing rehab programs because traditional liens don’t work.  So, what does work, what regulations are barriers that need to be changed, what tools are we overlooking?

Brainstorming Manufactured Housing Solutions 2: 

Individually-Owned Units [11:00 AM-12:30 PM]

Residents of scattered site mobile and manufactured housing have been on the policy radar for a number of years now.  Repair and replacement programs have been springing up around the state to address condition issues.  What else can we do with these strategies to get the maximum bang for the State’s investment in the rural mobile and manufactured home stock?

Closing Luncheon 12:30-2:00 PM

The 2018 Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference is made possible through the generosity of:

Federal Home Loan Bank of New York



Nonprofits Insurance Alliance Group

NYS Homes and Community Renewal

Five Star Bank




2017 Affordable Housing and Community Development Conference, Lake Ontario Conference Center, Oswego, New York

September 11th-13th, 2017

            This year, we have included content for a wide variety of the staff of your agency, from those who handle intake, to housing counselors and rehabilitation coordinators/ construction specialists, there is something for just about everyone.  We have seen quite a bit of staff turnover in housing agencies cross the state in the past year, so there are a number of classes being offered at the introductory level. The first day of the conference offers a staff development academy with certification courses as well as skills-building training for those staff who want to develop their career path in the profession.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Certification Trainings:

Dust Sampling Technician

Lead Dust Sampling Technician certification course is required for those who conduct non-abatement lead dust clearance testing. Lead dust clearance testing may be performed on non-HUD funded jobs by contractors to find out whether lead dust remains after renovation, repair, or painting. This Lead Dust Sampling Technician course provides information on conducting a visual inspection, collecting lead dust samples, methodologies and reporting requirements. Although program staff may not conduct in-house clearance testing for HUD funded programs, program staff, including Rehabilitation Specialists, will benefit from learning how clearance testing is conducted. Contractors who complete this course may perform their own clearance testing on non-federally funded projects in lieu of using the RRP Cleaning Verification Card method. This is a full-day training, beginning at 9:00 AM.

RRP Initial

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule (RRP Rule) requires home improvement contractors and their crews to have this certification when working on any project funded through HUD.  This requirement also applies to maintenance and repair crews working on affordable rental projects to protect the health and safety of tenants. This is a full day training, beginning at 9:00 AM.


RRP Refresher

RRP certification must be renewed periodically with a half day refresher course. This class is open to contractors, crew members, agency staff, and any other workers who are covered by the EPA requirement.  This is a half day training, beginning at 9:00 AM.

Non-certification Training:

Public Speaking

Can you depend on your staff to back you up when you have a public presentation scheduled and your child gets sick?  Are you or your line staff paralyzed by the thought of getting up in front of a crowd and telling the story of your agency?  Can you rely on your other staff to speak clearly and make all of your best arguments, properly representing your organization in your absence? If the answer is no, then you or they need to learn public speaking skills.  The training will be conducted by staff of the Department of Communications at SUNY Oswego. This training begins at 2:00 PM.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Track One:      New Opportunities

In an era of potential federal program cuts, finding resources to develop affordable housing, assist low income families to balance their budgets to prevent foreclosure, or to rehabilitate an existing single family home becomes increasingly difficult, so the staff of the Rural Housing Coalition went on a scavenger hunt to locate alternative resources that you may never have considered including in your tool chest. This track will introduce you to some new programs that you may have never heard about, as well as re-acquaint you with some existing funding sources that you may want to consider using once again.

Workshop A:  Community Solar for Rural Low/Mod Residents

Community Solar offers an opportunity for residents of rural communities to access the benefits of locally produced clean renewable electricity without having to install solar panels on their own property.  This workshop will cover how the community solar model works, and how participation in community solar to reduce energy burden for lower income households may be supported by local and statewide efforts.

Workshop B:   Affordable Solar PV Incentives for Lower Income Households

A farmhouse situated in an open field can offer an ideal location for   an array of solar photovoltaic (electric) panels.  Often overlooked in developing budgets for housing rehab programs is a doubled incentive for rooftop solar on homes of low-to-moderate income households offered through NYSERDA.  This workshop will discuss how to incorporate solar installations into your housing rehabilitation workscopes, with the help of available installation incentives.


Workshop C:   Affordable Housing Program Life Cycle/FHLB NY

The Federal Home Loan Bank of NY provides assistance for housing rehabilitation and development of new affordable rental housing through its Affordable Housing Program.  Learn about using the AHP as important tool in your community development toolbox, as well as understanding how AHP processing and payment works, and other tips to improve efficient operation of FHLBNY-funded programs.


Workshop D: Appalachian Regional Commission and the Northern Borders

The Department of State operates two community development funding programs serving regions of persistent poverty.  The Appalachian Regional Commission covers much of New York’s Southern Tier.  The Northern Borders Regional Commission covers counties along the Canadian border, as well as interior counties in the Adirondacks, and along Lake Ontario.  Funding programs are available to support a variety of community development activities, including business development, renewable energy, and public infrastructure development.

Track Two:      USDA Development and Finance Products.

Rural Development, an agency within the Department of Agriculture, has an array of housing and community development programs that answer community development needs in rural New York.

Workshop A: Home Ownership Finance 101

Rural Development offers two important programs to promote home ownership in rural communities- the Section 502 Direct mortgage loan for very low income home buyers, and the Section 502 mortgage loan guarantee for moderate income home buyers.  This workshop will cover the current budget status of these two programs, as well explore the basics of how a housing counseling agency can use these programs to strengthen the local real estate market and get renters on the track to home ownership.

Workshop B:  Multifamily Rental Operation and Preservation

Section 515 and other affordable rental programs offer unique challenges for the property manager, including reduced income streams to meet current expenses as well as funding reserves.  Managing tenants with economic or special needs can test the site manager’s patience while maintaining regulatory compliance.  And keeping a project in good repair so that it continues to be a resource for the community in the future can  require creative or nimble responses.  This workshop will cover best practices in managing USDA-financed rental housing.


Workshop C:   Section 538 Multifamily Loan Guarantees and State Housing Programs

In recent years, USDA Rural Development has gotten away from direct financing of affordable rental housing in rural communities. An increasingly important financing tool for these projects is the loan guarantee.  This workshop will explore using Section 538 guaranteed loans in conjunction with New York State capital financing tools to make projects a reality.


Workshop D:  Farmworker Housing:  A Different Model of Multi-family Housing

USDA’s farmworker housing finance program (Section 514/516) differs from other affordable rental housing finance tools to address differing housing needs in the agricultural worker community, both on-and-off farm.  Section 514/516 housing allows for accommodating seasonal farmworkers. This workshop will introduce successful Section 514/516   projects developed in rural areas of the state.


Track Three:    Multi-Family Housing Development

Development of affordable rental housing projects is an ever-evolving art form.  New expectations of tenant populations, new priorities of funders and lenders, and changes in design standards combine to make rural rental development a new animal in the 21st Century.

Workshop A:  Development 101

This workshop is designed for staff who have never undertaken a capital development project before. This session will cover the basics of how to assemble a development team, select a site, identify appropriate funding/financing programs, and prepare the financial analyses to demonstrate that the project will be financially feasible.

Workshop B:   Universal Design

The design phase of any housing project that will serve senior citizens as they age in place is critical in ensuring that the seniors are able to continue to reside their independently as their sight, hearing, and physical strength begin to fail.  Being aware of how to design for future tenant frailty will enable your tenants to remain happily in your project, and avoid premature nursing home placements.  Universal design concepts also apply to making your projects friendly and visitable for handicapped residents and visitors.

Workshop C:   NYSERDA Affordable Solar Pre-Development (and Technical Assistance) Funding Program

NYSERDA offers funding to support existing and new construction affordable multifamily housing with incorporating solar photovoltaics. The program may also be used to develop community solar projects serving low-to-moderate income households, which can include affordable multifamily housing.  This workshop will cover the nuts and bolts of applying for this NYSERDA pre-development program.

Workshop D: The Future of Rural Tax Credits

Beginning prior to the Great Recession, most of rural New York was unable to utilize the low income housing tax credit, due to a collapse of the credit pricing.  For over a decade, rural applications for tax credits have struggled with pricing at historic lows, and the recovery of this market has not been as robust as in more urban or suburban locations.  This workshop will explore the future of the tax credit as a vehicle for financing multifamily development in rural areas of upstate.


Track Four:     Program and Project Compliance.

Operating your state or federally-funded projects and programs within the rules is key to avoiding headaches, and ultimately getting your next program funded.  With some programs, such as the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, failure to comply with the rules can come with heavy penalties for your investors.  This track is intended to make sure that you and your staff stay abreast of recent changes and new requirements for maintaining your good standing.

Workshop A:  Implementation of SDVOB Requirements In State-Funded Projects

In 2014, Governor Cuomo signed into law the creation of the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Business program.  This program is phasing in requirements to have a 6% utilization goal of SDVOBs in state contracting for all state agencies. This program will eventually cover NYS HCR-funded programs.  Still in its infancy, the SDVOB is recruiting eligible contracting firms to participate in the program.  This workshop will cover available resources, how to find currently-certified SDVOB firms, current and anticipated compliance requirements, and how you can help to build a roster of certified firms in rural areas of New York State.

Workshop B: Lead Based Paint Compliance for Rehab Professionals

HUD and EPA both have fingers in the pie that is certification of safe work for home repairs and renovation.  This workshop will update you on the current requirements for compliance, the difference between HUD and EPA regulations, and the penalties for noncompliance.

Workshop C:   Section 3 Compliance

Section 3 is a provision of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968 that helps foster local economic development, neighborhood economic improvement, and individual self-sufficiency. Section 3 seeks to provide employment and training opportunities to low and very low-income individuals and contracting opportunities to those businesses that employ them.

The session will provide a definition of Section 3, the Triggers and Thresholds, Contracting Goals, Best Practices to Engage Section 3 Residents and Business Concerns, Reporting Requirements followed by a Question and Answer period.

Workshop D:  Eligibility 101- Who Gets Helped?

Housing finance programs vary in terms of their target beneficiaries. As the affordable housing industry works to increase the level of income and social integration in our housing developments, it becomes ever more complex to make sure that the right family is living in the right unit.  This workshop will cover processes and procedures necessary to accurately assign applicants for assistance to programs or properties for which they are truly eligible.

Tuesday Luncheon Speaker

RuthAnne Visnauskas


New York State Homes and

Community Renewal


We are pleased to be joined for the first time by Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas.  She was appointed Commisioner in spring of 2017.

Ms. Visnauskas previously served as Executive Deputy Commissioner for Housing Development, where she was responsible for strategic leadership and oversight of all housing and finance programs for New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Ms. Visnauskas led efforts to recover from Hurricane Sandy in the New York City area.

Prior to joining HCR, RuthAnne was Managing Director of the Housing Advisory Board for the Robin Hood Foundation, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. Previously RuthAnne Commissioner of New York City Housing Preservation and Development. HPD is the nation’s largest municipal housing agency, in charge of the development and preservation of affordable housing and the enforcement of the City’s Housing Maintenance Code.


Tuesday Banquet Presenter

Richard Berkley

Executive Director

Public Utility Law Project

Energy advocates have been mounting a fierce battle to protect lower income households in New York from the predatory marketing of ‘Energy Services Companies’ or ESCOs.  The Public Utility Law Project has been at the forefront of the legal challenges to the practices of these energy resellers, suing bad actors and challenging the Public Service Commission rulings that have allowed these marketers to ruin credit ratings and blow up family budgets. This is an issue that should be closely watched by housing counselors, who may find clients in financial trouble in the aftermath of an ESCO transaction. Richard Berkley has headed the Public Utility Law Project since 2015.  Most recently, Berkley was Chief of Staff and Counsel to Senator Kevin L. Parker, Ranking Member of the New York State Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications.  In that position he was responsible for drafting and negotiating legislation regarding energy and telecom utility service.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Track Five:      NYS HCR Roundtables

Workshop A:  The State Housing Programs

Recent changes to the administration of programs like HOME, Access to Home, and newer programs such as Manufactured Housing Replacement all offer opportunities to discuss roadblocks, best practices, new challenges in the field, and success stories.

Workshop B:  Environmental Assessment Unit

When HCR funds a project or program, environmental protection becomes a major element of the administrative workload. This roundtable will offer the opportunity to discuss ways to increase the efficiency of the environmental review process, and ensure compliance with federal and state regulations.


Track 6:           Housing Rehabilitation

Workshop A:  Pellet Heat Options

Heating with wood is a long-standing tradition in rural New York, either with woodstoves, wood-fired furnaces, or wood-fired boilers.   Unfortunately, wood heat can be extremely detrimental to the environment. In addition, for homeowners aging in place, carrying logs to stoke the stove physically becomes a major challenge over time, reducing the chances of the home owner continuing to live independently in their own home.

NYSERDA has several programs under the Renewable Heat NY program to assist lower income households to utilize recent improvements in the efficiency and delivery mechanisms of wood pellet/biomass to heat with wood more cleanly and efficiently, while built-in auger systems remove the need to manually feed the stove/furnace/boiler. NYSERDA programs include incentives and rebates that can reduce the overall cost of installing heating systems in homes during rehab projects.


Workshop B:  Home Performance Match

Some NYSERDA contractors have established excellent working relationships with local housing improvement agencies that allow efficient coordination of NYSERDA investments under the Home Performance Program with HOME or CDBG program investment, where the federal dollars count as required match towards the NYSERDA investment.  This workshop will cover how a NYSERDA contractor works with local CDBG administrators to maximize the value of the federal investment in assisted homes.

Closing Luncheon and Annual Meeting of the Rural Housing Coalition

   The closing luncheon of the Conference will feature a brief annual meeting of the Rural Housing Coalition, including election of new board members.  All members of the Rural Housing Coalition are encouraged to attend this meeting.  The annual meeting will be followed by a presentation from the Chair of the Housing Committee of the New York State Senate.


Luncheon Speaker

Hon. Elizabeth O’C. Little

Chair, Housing Committee

New York State Senate

Rural New York has been fortunate to have Senators representing very rural areas of the State lead the Senate Housing Committee in recent years.  This means that rural housing issues don’t get totally lost in the drama over New York City’s and other urban housing issues, such as rent control, NYCHA, and the 80/20 program.

Senator Betty Little has served in the New York State Senate since her election in 2002. She represented her district for 7 years before that in the Assembly.  She serves the 45th Senate District, which includes all or part of Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Warren and Washington Counties. The district represents a significant portion of the Adirondack Park.  Little was born in Glens Falls, and currently resides in Queensbury.

Since 2015, Senator Little has Chaired the Senate Housing Committee, and in this role has taken a particular interest in the many issues surrounding mobile and manufactured housing.  She ensured the inclusion of funding for manufactured home replacement in the most recent New York State budget.


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