Birmingham is the seat of Jefferson County in the north central part of the state. Located in Jones Valley, its lies at the southern tip of the Appalachian Mountain range. Birmingham was incorporated in 1871. Its location was chosen because of the nearby availability of all the resources necessary for steel making as well as other industries. Today in addition to the steel and iron and other metal products, the city's products include freight cars, waxes, lumber products, electronic equipment, acetylene, feed, food products and construction materials. Birmingham remains a center of commerce, banking, insurance and research as well as culture.
The Birmingham Consolidated Plan presents a strategic vision for housing and community development. It includes a One-Year Action Plan for spending $10,732,000 (including program income) in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, $2,137,000 in HOME Investment Partnerships funds and $344,000 in Emergency Shelter Grant Program funds.
The HUD regulations require that a consolidated strategy and plan must result from an effective citizen participation process. The City has used its adopted citizen participation plan in the development of its consolidated plan submission and 1995 action plan. The City of Birmingham has undertaken throughout the development of its consolidated strategy and 1995 action plan an open, credible, and broad-based effort to involve and solicit the participation of the community and neighborhood leaders and residents of their needs and the types of services that they would like to see established or improved throughout the City.
In accordance with the City's current citizen participation plan and the
citizen participation requirements, the City conducted two public hearings to
obtain comments and proposals for the potential use of the Fiscal Year 1995
consolidated formula allocation and to obtain views of citizens, public
agencies, and other interested parties on housing and community development
needs. Also, citizens were afforded an opportunity to: 1) identify housing and
community development needs; 2) review proposed uses of funds; and 3) comment on
and review the City's program performance.
In the 1980's, the nation and its cities including the City of Birmingham, experienced five broad housing inventory trends, each of which evidenced a downturn in the living conditions of millions of American families-middle class, working class and poor. First, there was a decline in home ownership such that the percentage of Americans able to buy a home of their own has fallen every year since 1980, after 35 years of steady increase - a trend particularly marked among young families and first-time home buyers.
Second, a dramatic increase in homelessness took place.
Third, there occurred a diminution in the affordability, availability, and quality of the nation's rental housing stock, to the point where a majority of America's tenants now live in dwelling units acknowledged by government to be inadequate, overcrowded, or cost- burdened.
Fourth, for the poor, the shortage of affordable housing reached crisis proportions as more poor people, with less money, sought fewer available apartments, of declining quality, at sharply rising rents.
Finally, a pattern of stagnation and decline in the quality of our existing
housing stock emerged, consigning 10 million American families to inadequate or
overcrowded dwelling units, and 24 million families to units which the federal
government classifies as having " a housing problem".
Although the housing supply is expected to remain relatively low for the immediate future because of the overall stagnation of the nations's economy, housing demand will continue to rise as the number of households within the City increases and as the need to accommodate normal market turnover occurs. As new housing construction costs continue to rise as the number of households within the City increases and as the need to accommodate normal market turnover occurs.
The City's priority housing need is to provide housing assistance to low and very low income renters by upgrading the existing stock of affordable housing and by providing a human service component for maintaining stability and longevity of improved housing conditions. The second need identified is to provide rehabilitation assistance to low and very low income homeowners by upgrading the existing stock of housing affordable to low and very low income households through rehabilitation of structures classified as substandard but suitable for rehabilitation. Providing affordable housing opportunities for first-time homebuyers is the third housing need identified by the City.
There are currently 57,241 vacant rooms in the City averaging 4.7 rooms per unit. Of these, 9,510 are available for sale and 7,442 are either to be rented or sold. The 1990 Census also indicated that the City has a total of 12,254 vacant units of which 11,367 (92.8%) are not boarded up and 887 (7.2%) are boarded up. Of these vacant units, 373 are vacant because the owner's home is elsewhere.
In 1980, the median household income was $11,951 which should support approximately $300 per month in rent. In 1990, the median household income was $19,151 which should support approximately $480 per month in rent. In 1980 there were 16,699 households with incomes less than $10,000 paying more than 30% of gross income for rent. The 1990 Census figures show that there are now 14,980 households with incomes less than $10,000 paying more than 30% of gross income for rent.
HUD defines families in need of housing assistance as those that are low income (below 80% of median income), pay more than 30% of income for housing and/or live in housing that is substandard or over crowded or homeless persons who do not have any permanent place of residence. Persons who fall into this category are those who are experiencing real housing needs.
The total very low income renters is 23,897. The total owners are 13,909 and the total households are 37,806. 65.4 percent of all very low income renters have MFI 0% to 30%. 51.8 percent of all owners have income of 0% to 30% MFI. 60.4 percent of all very low income households have an MFI of 30% or below.
The largest number of very-low income owners in need of housing assistance is very-low income elderly 0% - 50% MFI. This group makes up 57.2% of total owner population who are in need of assistance.
The University of Alabama in Birmingham conducted a study on the nature and extent of homelessness in the City. Results show that Birmingham's homeless population increased by 62% between 1987 and 1993. During this period the shelter population rose by 80% while the street population appeared to decline. The census suggests that on any given night we may conservatively expect that 1,389 persons would be found homeless in the Birmingham area.
The face of the homeless population has changed substantially since 1987. There are proportionately larger numbers of homeless African-Americans, women and children in 1993 then in the earlier census. The percentage of African-American homeless rose from 38% in 1987 to 60% in 1993. The percentage of women increased from 21% to 34%, while homeless children rose from 13% to 18%. These trends are similar to those being found nationally.
Beyond the simple need for shelter, the vast majority of homeless persons have great need for assistance in a wide range of areas, all of which may be integrally related to their homelessness. These needs include nutrition, medical/dental care, counseling, substance abuse counseling and assistance, clothing, hygiene, transportation, etc.
There are a variety of existing facilities and services available for the homeless. For example, outreach and assessment services are conducted by the New Pilgrim Bread of Life Ministry Inc., Birmingham Health Care for the Homeless Coalition, various churches, Boy Scout Troops, Civic Organizations, Cooperative Downtown Ministries, Salvation Army, Jimmy Hale Mission and the Brother Bryan Mission. The City also supports homeless shelters and transitional facilities and permanent housing for homeless persons with disabilities. The Activities are also conducted to prevent low income individuals and families with children from becoming homeless.
The Housing Authority of the Birmingham District operates 6,910 public housing units in 18 developments within the City. There are 549 units vacant as of June 30, 1993 and the Authority has a waiting list for 2,224 units. During fiscal year 1994-95 the Authority invested over $500,000 to update its computer systems in order to improve the management and operation of its fifteen on-site management offices. In addition, during fiscal year 1995-96, the authority will implement the following:
In conjunction with the Birmingham Police Department, the authority will conduct criminal background checks on all public housing applicants ( and members of their household aged 18 or older) through the Alabama Crime Information Center.
Applicants on the approved waiting list for public housing will be required to attend a Pre-housing orientation session prior to being housed.
The Authority will continue to contract with the Birmingham Police Department to operate the police department's High Intensity Community Oriented Policing Program whereby off duty police officers are assigned to patrol several of the Authority's public housing communities.
The Authority has over sixty million dollars in modernization and renovation work either in progress or under contract to complete comprehensive modernization and/or major renovation to several of its housing developments over the next three years.
The Authority provides through its Housing Counseling Program "Home Buyer Education Seminars" to residents and to consumers in the private sector.
The Authority is in the process of implementing a Family Self-Sufficiency Program. The Family Self Sufficiency program is designed to assist participating families in moving up and out of the public assistance system.
The costs of new single-family houses have risen sharply in the past few years, and some prospective buyers are having a difficult time finding a house they can afford. Today, unless a family already has a home to sell, it is unlikely that they will be able to afford to buy a home. Only 15% of potential first-time home buyers can now afford the average home compared to 50 percent of potential first-time home buyers 10 years ago. Without using the equity in their homes, 61 percent of those who own a home could not afford to buy the same house today.
Many factors influence the cost of housing and economic development, such as the national economy and interest rates over which local governments have little influence. However, costs associated with local land use regulation are under local government domain and have an effect on land and construction costs.
Through the creative use of regulatory controls, local governments can demonstrate their ability to reduce development costs and find more efficient regulatory procedures to also cut local governments' administrative costs. The City will assess the negative effects of public policies, rules and regulations impacting the availability of affordable housing and has set forth a plan to ameliorate their negative effects.
In furtherance of the City's commitment to non-discrimination and equal opportunity in housing, the City of Birmingham will conduct an affirmative marketing plan for all housing containing five or more units. The affirmative Marketing Plan is designed to provide information to and attract eligible persons from all racial, ethnic and gender groups in the housing market to the available housing . All non-profit organizations, owners and other prospective partners of the City will be required to enter into an agreement with the City confirming their participation in the affirmative Marketing Plan.
The City will inform all potential prospective housing partners of its policy on affirmative marketing. Additionally, the City will use the Equal Housing Opportunity logotype or slogan in all press releases, pamphlets, solicitations for owners, and other written communication to fair housing and other groups.
All non-profit organizations, owners and other prospective housing partners of the city will be required to provide written confirmation that they will comply with all applicable fair housing laws including the City of Birmingham's Fair Housing Ordinance. The City will review and assess the affirmative marketing actions of housing partners semiannually for a period of five years following the completion of rehabilitation.
A Request for Proposals to perform an analysis of the impediments to fair housing choice with the City has been developed and a contract will be let for this service as soon as the RFP is advertised and proposals are received and evaluated.
For estimating the number of housing units with lead-based paint, the age of the housing stock is the key variable. Starting in 1978, the use of all lead-based paint on residential property was prohibited. It is estimated that a significant number of all residential property built prior to 1978 contain lead-based paint. Based upon the City's analysis, it is estimated that 31,884 very low income households and 23,357 low income households may contain lead-based paint.
In an effort to alleviate lead-based paint hazards, the Jefferson County Department of Health - Bureau of Disease Control tests children form age 1 to 7 for lead content in the blood stream. During the past year, the Jefferson County Health Department reported approximately 52 cases of children testing at 20 micrograms per deciliter. In all those cases, all homes were tested and 99% were found to have lead-based paint present which is the HUD threshold or level for abating lead-based paint.
The City will undertake a number of activities to evaluate and reduce lead-based paint hazards. Such activities include: support the routine testing for lead toxicity developed by the Jefferson County Health Department, provide educational material to neighborhood based organizations and support the Public housing Authority's participation in HUD's lead- based paint abatement program for subsidized housing.
The City's major community development need is to strengthen the economic base and business climate and to increase economic development opportunities for low, very low, and low-moderate income persons. This includes the need to develop incentives to invest in the Enterprise Community area. There is a need to create new markets, business opportunities and increase outside investment.
The City has determined that there exists over 31,900 households classified as non- homeless in need of supportive housing and services. Such services include, self-help support groups, child care assistance, training, educational assistance, drug prevention services and emergency food services.
There is also a need for improved public facilities and improvements. This includes infrastructure improvements, public parks, recreation facilities and neighborhood centers.
In developing its consolidated Plan, the City has consulted with certain
units of Government, nonprofit organizations and private industry regarding the
contents of its strategy. A Consolidate Plan Task Force was established to
implement the Plan's completion schedule and coordinate the planning of
meetings, gathering of data and preparing narratives for the 1995 Plan.
The City's community development objectives are to foster neighborhood stability, to utilize Consolidated formula allocation funds for physical improvements and housing rehabilitation, to encourage business development and jobs, to foster increased housing production and home ownership for families at all income levels, and to provide support for the homeless and special needs populations.
To increase the supply of standard, affordable housing through the acquisition or rehabilitation of existing housing units and where possible, the construction of new units. The City through it's existing housing programs will continue it's efforts to promote and expand the supply of standard affordable housing.
To promote homeownership opportunities in all areas of the City, particularly for first time homeowners. The City views homeownership as a key strategy to alleviating many crime related problems experienced in Birmingham. Particular emphasis will be place in continuing the use of federal housing programs such as the HOME Program to promote homeownership opportunities for first time homeowners.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs for the provision of rental assistance to alleviate rental cost burden, including severe cost burden, experienced by lower income families and individuals. The City will continue it's efforts to administer the Section 8 rental assistance program. The City recognizes that the demand for such programs currently exceeds available resources, and supports legislative efforts to increase available funding. The City also recognizes the need to mainstream Section 8 efforts to increase available funding. The City also recognizes the need to mainstream Section 8 tenants into communities and will continue to work with the HABD to promote the mainstreaming of Section 8 tenants.
To work with the Housing Authority of the Birmingham District (HABD) to ensure no net loss in the assisted housing inventory as a result of public housing demolition or conversion to homeownership, prepayment or voluntary termination of a federally assisted mortgage, or any other actions.
To reduce lead-based paint hazards.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs or special initiatives to achieve lower overall housing costs by reducing energy costs.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs designed to meet the housing needs of large families, elderly persons, and persons with disabilities.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs to alleviate overcrowding.
To minimize displacement (involuntary, permanent move).
To encourage the development/implementation of programs to provide for increased housing choice and opportunity both within and outside of areas of minority and low- income concentrations.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs that address the unmet supportive housing needs of persons other than the homeless with special needs including, but not limited to the elderly, frail elderly, severe mentally ill, developmentally disabled, physically disabled, persons with alcohol/other drug addiction, and persons with AIDS and related diseases.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs designed to assist low- income families in public and assisted housing who could benefit from participation in a homeownership program or an organized program to achieve economic independence and self-sufficiency.
To encourage the development/implementation of programs designed to address the needs of homeless individuals and homeless families with children, and preventing low-income individuals and families with children from becoming homeless.
To encourage the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation or installation of public facilities and improvements in areas of low and moderate income concentration.
Promote and strengthen the economic base and the business climate through the creation and retention of livable wage jobs in Birmingham and support a healthy and diversified economy.
Provide public services (including labor, supplies, and materials) which are directed toward improving the community's public services and facilities, including but not limited to, those concerned with employment, crime prevention, child care, health, drug abuse, education, fair housing counseling, energy conservation, welfare, homelessness, or recreational needs carried out by the city or other public or private non-profit entities.
Provide support to Public Facilities and Improvements including, but not limited to, acquisition, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, or installation of public facilities and improvements carried out by the City or other public or private nonprofit entities.
Low/moderate income residents of Birmingham are confronted daily by housing issues/problems that are the products of contemporary urban conditions. These problems and the need to address them is not a new issue. The development of an Annual Anti- Poverty Plan offers the City a unique opportunity to evaluate and seek solutions to the poverty-related issues facing the community. Possible factors limiting coordination and/or duplication among service providers, contrasting approaches to problem solving and oversimplification of the problems of the poor. The positive aspect of the plan's development is the expressed willingness of the City to work collectively with service providers to formulate a strategy that will address poverty in the community.
Basic conditions that contribute to the problems faced by the low/ moderate income population include: a lack of adequate housing, economic dependency, inadequate job training and a limited supply of jobs, transportation, congestion, health care delivery to children and the chronically ill and conflict over expenditures for services. The by-products of these conditions include disease, ignorance, delinquency and crime alienation and indifference. The City in collaboration with local service providers, identified and reviewed the elements including, labor force participation, economic development opportunities, health care needs, child care/child support, self-sufficiency/determination, crisis management, transportation, housing, and crime prevention that are possibly within its power to address and formulate into an anti-poverty strategy.
The City has identified the following objectives:
The City has identified the resources from private and public sources, including those amounts allocated under HUD formula grant programs, that are reasonably expected to be made available to carry out its five year strategic plan. The City has indicated how funds made available will leverage those additional resources and has identified, where appropriate publicly owned land or property that may be utilized to carry out the plan.
Such programs include: CDBG, ESG, HOME, HOPWA, John Heinz Neighborhood Development Program, Early Childhood Development Program, Section 108 Loan Guarantee, Section 108 Economic Revitalization Grants, Family Investment Centers, Youthbuild, HOME, JTPA, Fair Housing Initiatives Program and HUD's Homeless Programs.
The City has developed a structure to carry out it's strategic plan and
assess existing strengths and limitations in the delivery system which includes
private organizations, non- profit organizations, and public institutions.
Administration - $1,292,000
Planning and Management - $75,000
Section 108 Payment - $90,000
Housing Rehabilitation - $4,506,385
Rebate Grant Program
Deferred Payment Loans
Non-Profit Sponsor Program
Multi-Family Loan Program
Variable Loan Program
Housing Program Costs
Non-Profit Organization Housing Service Provider Agreements
Relocation - $50,000
Demolition - $30,000
Acquisition - $200,000
Commercial Revitalization/Economic Dev. - $188,000
Public Services - $1,583,850
Community ResourcesPublic Facilities/Improvements - $2,718,765
Homeless Shelter Services
Other Public Services
Engineering Design Street/Storm Drainage Activities
Homeless Shelter Improvements
Administration/Community Housing Dev. Organizations Operating Costs - $213,700
CHDO Activities - $310,550
First-Time Homebuyer Activities - $801,375
Rental Rehabilitation Activities - $801,375
Essential Services - $103,200
Maintenance/Operational Expenses - $209,840
Homeless Prevention Activities - $30,960
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
Mr. Robert Land
Community Development Block Grant Director
PH: (205) 254-2309