The development of new sustainable, healthy communities for families, older adults and persons with disabilities is the ultimate vision of EAH Housing, yet preserving and enhancing existing properties remains a critical goal.
Responding to the growing national loss of affordable housing, EAH Housing initiated Stewardship activities in 1993. Eventually, several services were formalized as the Stewardship Program consisting of consulting, property management and development services.
To date, EAH Housing has worked with more than 60 organizations, companies and municipalities, providing a tailored solution to resolve complex housing issues. For these entities, the Stewardship Program offers a step toward long-term stability for a multifamily property in danger of market-rate conversion.
“We were finding that there was a need for guidance on varied issues. Some of these organizations didn’t have complete knowledge of housing compliance issues, asset management or how to secure funding that would enable upkeep of their property,” said Al Bonnett, EAH Housing Senior Vice President of Real Estate Development.
The Stewardship Program grew to address the evolving needs of the affordable housing industry. In that same vein, EAH Housing created guidelines to ensure that the organization constructs and maintains environmentally friendly properties company-wide. Launched in 2010, the Building Sustainable Communities Initiative (BSCI) promotes the development of multifamily housing that incorporates a combination of green sustainability technology such as photovoltaic systems, water-saving fixtures, dual-pane windows and native-plant landscaping.
While the BSCI had been developed to address new multifamily housing, EAH Housing understood sustainability enhancements must be adapted for existing communities. The BSCI would offer the Stewardship Program an additional means to extend the life of a community through green sustainability.
“EAH develops properties with smart growth and conservation by design. For the benefit of residents, EAH seizes opportunities to enhance and preserve the affordability of existing communities,” said Laura Hall, EAH Housing Chief Operating Officer.
By upgrading existing properties, EAH Housing extends the long-term affordability of a property for the benefit of working families, their children and a growing senior constituency. As utility costs for energy and water use decline, more resources are applied to enriching the lives of residents and more funds can be reinvested in the property.
“Stewardship and our sustainability initiative are fruits from the same tree,” said Hall.
More than half of EAH Housing properties have been reworked and upgraded to comply with BSCI standards. From 2012 to 2014, more than 70% of EAH multifamily and senior housing communities were slated to received green upgrades to revitalize the properties and the communities they serve. In 2014, EAH Housing also implemented Saving Through Sustainability, an initiative focused on measuring the outcomes of the green technology programs in water, gas, solar and electricity usage; staff and resident education and environmental advocacy; and water conservation efforts portfolio-wide.
Through the EAH Housing Stewardship Program and the Building Sustainable Communities Initiative, EAH supports the preservation of affordable multifamily housing while deploying the latest green innovations to new and older properties, helping to ensure and improve the quality of life for thousands of residents.