THE SKY’S THE LIMIT FOR SOLAR ENERGY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING

Photo by Ross Solar Group

Photo by Ross Solar Group

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

 

Portland, ME – Wishrock Housing and Investment Group, a national developer and investor in affordable housing, commits to bringing renewable energy to low-income communities.

 

Today, Wishrock unveils plans for its first combined solar rooftop and solar carport development at three multifamily affordable housing properties in Bridgeport, Connecticut. The properties – Bridgeport Elderly Apartments, Laurelwood Place Apartments, and Sycamore Place Apartments – just received Zero-Emission Renewable Energy Credit (ZREC) awards from the United Illuminating Company.  In partnership with solar developer, MSL Group, Wishrock will soon break ground on this innovative, multi-site solar project.

 

In January, Wishrock completed its first on-site solar development at Laurelwood Place Apartments. This 102-unit apartment community is home to seniors and disabled residents.  As part of Laurelwood’s green renovation, Wishrock and its development partner, National Housing Trust-Enterprise Preservation Corporation, added a 15kW rooftop solar array. The solar system is already stabilizing electricity costs and offsetting nearly 5,000 pounds of carbon since its installation.

 

“Wishrock and NHT-Enterprise are embracing a clean energy future,” says President Rick Wishcamper. “Today’s announcement reflects our broader commitment to sustainability and lowering energy costs for our affordable housing communities.  As solar energy becomes more competitive with conventional sources of electricity, we will continue to expand our solar footprint in Connecticut and across the country.”

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CONTACT:

Trisha Miller, Sustainability Director

trisha.miller@wishrockgroup.com

202-470-5190

ABOUT WISHROCK:

With nearly 100 years of combined experience developing affordable housing, the principals of Wishrock have successfully and creatively created and maintained safe and supportive affordable housing communities using many different funding programs in 10 different states. We focus our work on acquisition and rehabilitation of existing affordable housing communities, often in difficult settings and challenging markets. We take great pride in preserving the affordability of the communities we purchase and redevelop and in our commitment to doing so with great emphasis on improving the quality of the lives of our residents through dedicated empowerment services and on our commitment to operating at the forefront of sustainability. Wishrock and its principals have preserved over 10,000 units of affordable housing, have never removed the affordable component from a project, and have never defaulted on an obligation to a lender or investor.

Creating An Inclusive Jackson

Creating An Inclusive Jackson

photo

Aisha Nyandoro

Jackson, Miss., has a rebellious draw. It is a city with an underdog spirit and a big heart—complicated but optimistic. It is a place many of us have called home our whole lives and a place where newcomers can quickly attach themselves to movements, organizations or groups, and feel connected. Jackson is a place where we feel like we know our neighbors and have a loyalty to the city, to its dream of addressing inequality and becoming part of a better Mississippi.

There is a problem, however, that we too often ignore. While we freely talk about the potholes covering our streets, our new businesses and exciting developments, and our place in history in the Civil Rights Movement, as a community we don’t often speak about the socio-spatial segregation that divides our city. We ignore the gates, walls and barriers, both mental and physical, that create many Jacksons instead of one.

Our city is not a unified community largely because we divide and differentiate our space by class and race. It is a reality we know but greatly ignore as we take the same streets and turns each day, rarely venturing to new neighborhoods, creating shadow areas in our knowledge of the city.

When you think about the Jackson community, you might think about Fondren’s First Thursday, the growing downtown business district, your child’s school or museums celebrating our shared heritage, but you probably do not think of the affordable housing communities and the families living in that setting who share our city.

When we support our neighbors in Jackson, we cannot forget that the city includes people in Fondren, midtown, Belhaven, and west and south Jackson. Poverty does not have to divide our community. Families are families. We share summers filled with humid conversations on front porches, although our porches might be on opposite sides of the city.

To be a better Jackson, we need to work toward becoming a united, whole Jackson. We must redefine community to be inclusive and intentionally work toward redefining our understandings of building our community.

In my work with Springboard To Opportunities, a nonprofit organization based in Jackson that works with families living in the setting of affordable housing communities to help them succeed in life, school and work, I recognize this deep need to change the narrative about how we view people living in poverty and who we welcome into our community. The children I work with, young and inspired, also see this divided city and seek to change it.

The young people of two of our communities, Lincoln Gardens and Commonwealth Village, in west Jackson, have created the space to make a change, to build a unified Jackson one (literal) step at a time. Becoming increasingly disgruntled with the negative narratives regarding their neighborhoods, the middle- and high-school student residents have organized the second annual Run For Our Community 5K in partnership with Leadership Greater Jackson and United Way of the Capital Area. These young Jacksonians have been hard at work organizing this service-learning event where they raise money to use within their communities. They have written letters, designed T-shirts and fliers, identified marketing avenues and dreamed of a city that comes together in joyous celebration.

We invite you, readers of the Jackson Free Press, to join us, walk and sponsor the youth who have been hard at work organizing this event. You can find detailed race and sponsorship information as well as a portal to directly donate and register at springboardto.org.

We believe a unified Jackson is possible, that we can address inequality and make a better Mississippi when we work together. It is within our reach if we step off our streets and take to different ones, shake hands with new hands, spend time in spaces of the city and with families we might not have met before, and support each other as we build a new community.

We hope to see you April 2!

Aisha Nyandoro is the executive director of Springboard to Opportunities in Jackson. Donate and register for the walk at springboardto.org. Springboard to Opportunities is affiliated with Wishrock as a non-profit partner.

Portland / Missoula – based real estate firm invests $12.7M

Portland / Missoula-based real estate firm raises $12.7M

BY Lori Valigra

5/19/2014

Timbercroft Housing LLC has raised $12.74 million for an affordable housing project in Owings Mills, Maryland, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Listed on the equity filing is Bryan Shumway, who is a principal with Wishrock Investment Group. Wishrock in turn is a managing member of the Timbercroft Housing project. Shumway told Mainebiz that Wishrock buys and renovates low-income, multi-family housing throughout the country using the federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. “We are one of a half dozen companies like us in and around Portland that do the same thing,” he said. Among the other, unrelated Portland-based companies are The Eagle Point Properties, Silver Street Development Corp., SHP Acquisitions and Housing Initiatives of New England Corp. Shumway said Wishrock is based in Portland and Missoula because its principals like living in Maine and Montana. Wishrock employs 20-25 people, though it does most of its business, some 95%, outside of Maine and Montana, he said. The $12.74 million in equity will go toward developing and managing the 284-apartment complex in Maryland. It is primarily Section 8 housing, which in that state means occupants must not earn more than 60% of the area’s median income, Shumway explained. Enterprise Community Investment Inc., a syndicator of tax credits, also put money into the Timbercroft deal. Wishrock also invests in and develops affordable projects across the country. Wishrock Chairman Lyndel Wishcamper also is CEO of Wishcamper Properties and an owner of The Wishcamper Group and Preservation Inc., an affiliated company that manages 10,000 of Wishrock’s units in 18 states. Wishrock has acquired or developed more than $220 million worth of affordable housing in 10 states in the past 18 months, according to its website. Among Wishrock’s investments in Maine are Loring House and North School Apartments in Portland, Applewood in Camden, Academy Green in Bath, Baywood in Yarmouth, Follis Place in Eastport and Quarry RIdge Apartments in Freeport. Shumway says Wishrock also has joined President Obama’s Better Buildings Challenge to reduce energy use by 20% by 2020. The group committed 8 million square feet across 8,000 multi-family housing units.

© 2014 Mainebiz (Maine’s business news source)

Senator Jon Tester Announces $700,000 in Housing Grants for Great Falls Area

November 23, 2015

(Great Falls, Montana) — Senator Jon Tester announced today that the community of Great Falls has been awarded $700,000 from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB Des Moines) for an affordable housing rental rehabilitation project. Ninety-six families in the area will benefit from the FHLB Des Moines Strong Communities Fund housing grant.

“NeighborWorks Great Falls is delighted to play a part in preserving and renovating 96 apartments of workforce housing, which is so desperately needed in our city.” said Sheila Rice, executive director, NeighborWorks Great Falls. “We thank the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, our development partners, Wishrock, and Bank of Montana for their sponsorship.”

NeighborWorks Great Falls, in partnership with Wishrock Housing Partners and Investment Group, received the $700,000 award for a rehabilitation project that will provide safe housing to low-income families and individuals. FHLB Des Moines member Bank of Montana supported the grant.“Bank of Montana is proud to be involved in the preservation of much-needed affordable housing for low income families and individuals throughout our state and to help deliver critical financing that makes projects like this a reality,” said Tom Swenson, president and CEO of Bank of Montana. “Through Bank of Montana’s role as a FHLB Des Moines member bank and the only HUD MAP lender based and operating in Montana, along with the untiring efforts of the outstanding FHLB Des Moines staff, Bank of Montana was able to secure a $700,000 grant that will go towards vital resident safety and property improvements that will directly benefit individuals in our community. Bank of Montana cannot adequately describe in words how grateful we are for the opportunity to facilitate this life changing grant for our fellow Montanans and for our relationship with the FHLB Des Moines, who truly made this possible.”

Since the inception of its affordable housing program in 1990, FHLB Des Moines has awarded nearly $20 million for housing in Montana through partnerships with its member financial institutions.

Each year, FHLB Des Moines returns 10 percent of its net income to communities throughout its district. As part of FHLB Des Moines Strong Communities Fund, the 2015 Competitive Affordable Housing Program awarded more than $19 million to help create over 2,300 homes across the Bank’s district, consisting of 13-states and three U.S. Pacific territories.

“Through these grants, our members and non-profit partners are providing families and individuals in need with stable, affordable housing,” said Mike Wilson, president, FHLB Des Moines. “That housing, in turn, lends strength to the communities in which they live. These housing needs are met through the work of local lenders who partner with FHLB Des Moines to provide these important dollars without taxpayer funding.”

Strong Communities Fund dollars are an important form of gap funding for a variety of projects as the grants are often combined with other federal and local dollars.

http://www.fhlbdm.com/homepage-news-feed/senator-jon-tester-announces-700000-in-housing-grants-for-great-falls-area/

Wishrock Announces Environmental Leader Trisha Miller As New Sustainability Director

Wishrock Housing and Investment Group, a national developer and investor in affordable housing, announced the appointment of Trisha Miller, a leader in the energy efficiency and green building movement, as Director of Sustainability.

Trisha Miller is an experienced national nonprofit leader and former Presidential appointee at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Her accomplishments include managing sustainability efforts, developing innovative energy finance programs, and implementing the President’s Climate Action Plan for HUD. In partnership with the Department of Energy, she expanded the Better Buildings Challenge to the multifamily sector and launched a successful campaign to triple the amount of on-site renewable energy in federally assisted housing.

“Wishrock is deeply committed to its residents and the communities in which it owns and operates affordable housing properties. As a natural extension of those core values, sustainability has become an ever increasing area of focus and curiosity for our company,” said Rick Wishcamper, President of Wishrock Housing and Investment Group. “Miller will bring her extensive experience in community development and social justice to Wishrock. She will help the company continue to grow their energy-efficient portfolio, and explore new ways to expand green affordable housing and clean energy across the country.”

Miller’s commitment to energy efficient and healthy housing builds on her previous role leading the Green Communities initiative at Enterprise Community Partners and serving as Board Chair of the Healthy Building Network. Miller has testified before the U.S. Senate and frequently delivers keynote addresses and lectures on green housing. She also practiced law at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, where she launched the Community Development Initiative to bring legal resources to nonprofits and thousands of individuals across the southern United States.

Trisha Miller participates on the Advisory Board for NH&RA’s Preservation Through Energy Efficiency Initiative.

Wishrock Announces Environmental Leader Trisha Miller As New Sustainability Director

 

$13 million investment proposed for high crime Edgewood neighborhood

BY DAVID ANDERSON, daanderson@baltsun.com

9:47 a.m. EDT, July 14, 2014

The Windsor Valley neighborhood has been the scene of a fatal shooting and four nonfatal stabbings during the past two weeks, part of a larger recent pattern of violence in the Edgewood area of Harford County, but that could change with an investment of millions of dollars by its new owner to revitalize Windsor Valley.

In addition, top police officials said they will start ridding the community of known troublemakers and will continue to monitor two convenience stores next to the community where raids last month resulted in the seizure of suspected illegal synthetic drugs and drug paraphernalia.

“We’re going to be able to regrow a strong community in Windsor Valley,” said Bryan Shumway, vice president of Wishrock Housing Partners & Investment Group.

Shumway spoke during Thursday night’s monthly meeting of the Edgewood Community Council, which was mostly taken up with a discussion about recent serious crimes in the community, especially the fatal shooting followed by four nonfatal stabbings in late June in neighborhoods along Hanson Road that all have a history of violent crime.

Sheriff Jesse Bane and his top commanders, plus State’s Attorney Joseph Cassilly, spoke with residents about their concerns. A half dozen Windsor Valley residents also attended, along with a number of religious and civic leaders in Edgewood. The meeting was held at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Southern Precinct in Joppa.

New ownership

Wishrock, which has offices in Portland, Maine, and Missoula, Mont., purchased 283 out of the 574 townhouse and apartment units in Windsor Valley last week, and company officials plan to eventually purchase the remaining units.

Shumway said company officials plan to invest $13 million in “restoring the dignity of the homes” with major retrofits to parts of the units such as the kitchens, bathrooms and lighting.

The rental housing community, originally called Meadowood, dates to the late 1960s/early 1970s, and has a succession of owners, as well as a long history of criminal activity, including murders, muggings and gang activity. A man was found fatally shot on one of Windsor Valley’s sidewalks on June 25.

Capt. James Eyler, commander of the Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division, said the stabbings, which occurred in three separate incidents over two nights, are not related to the homicide, when he was asked about the crimes by one resident. He said he could not provide more details since all the incidents remain under “active” investigation.

“The short answer would be, ‘No,’ on that,” Eyler said of any relationship. Prior to Thursday, the Sheriff’s Office had said it was looking into any possible relationships between the homicide and the stabbings, the latter which may have involved robberies in at least two instances, investigators have said.

Capt. Jon Krass, commander of the Southern Precinct, noted nearly all Part 1 crimes for the Edgewood sector that took place in the first half of 2014 have declined compared to the same period of 2013. Police agencies classify murder/manslaughter, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny/theft, motor vehicle theft and arson as Part 1 crimes.

‘Progress’ cited

There have been two instances of murder or manslaughter in 2014, compared to three for 2013, three rapes for 2014 compared to eight for 2013, 36 burglaries for 2014 compared to 69 in the first half of 2013, according to crime statistics provided by Krass.

He said the only Part 1 crime that has increased from last year is larceny/theft, which increased by 3 percent from 126 to 131 thefts.

Krass said law enforcement officials do not take recent violent events “lightly.”

“We are making progress,” Krass said. “I think that the deputies and troopers that work in this area are striving to make Edgewood a better community.”

Maj. Jack Meckley, who was recently promoted to bureau chief for police services, meaning he oversees the northern and southern precincts, special operations and patrol services, spoke about how resources have been deployed to Edgewood based on detailed analysis of crime data.

He and Krass stressed the need for community assistance in preventing and solving crime, and they lauded those who have helped with investigations and people who call the police when they see or hear something wrong.

Meckley said law enforcement is working with the community and property managers in Windsor Valley. Lynette Barmer, resident services manager for Windsor Valley, noted a private security firm is also keeping watch.

Active enforcement

Meckley said law enforcement officials plan to “start identifying some of the troublemakers, and we’re going to start getting rid of them.”

“I do feel we are in the right track, and I do feel like we are going to have a good summer,” he said.

Cassilly addressed raids by the Harford County Task Force on two convenience stores on Hanson Road in June that netted a major haul of drug paraphernalia and the components of synthetic marijuana, or Spice. The raids were announced Tuesday.

The owners of those businesses have not been charged, and the state’s attorney stressed they are not guilty unless proven so, but investigators are still monitoring the businesses, and the properties could be seized if there is evidence they were involved in the sales of the merchandise.

“That sent a message all across the county to other merchants,” Eyler added.

Shumway said his company will work to augment the “human” security in Windsor Village by installing a high-tech security system with remotely-monitored cameras and loudspeakers, through which security personnel can order people loitering outside at 3 a.m. – a common issue for residents – to move along if they are violating a curfew put in place by the property managers.

Shumway said the security company can alert local law enforcement if there are further problems.

Community building

He said the property owners and managers also plan to pursue “a soft approach to building a community” with community events and forums. He also highlighted the Harford County Boys and Girls’ Club’s Edgewood center in Windsor Valley.

Tim Wills, executive director of the Boys and Girls’ Club, said later that the club has had a presence in Windsor Valley’s community center for about two years.

Community groups are also working to end crime. Mike Perrone Jr., who runs The Sharing Table coalition of church groups, said the group Mothers of Murdered Sons & Daughters of Maryland has been staging marches against crime this month and plans to hold more. Perrone is running for the Edgewood area seat on the Harford County Council.

“I think the goal here is that we all have to work together,” Lawrence Montgomery, acting chairman of the Edgewood Community Council, said.