Building and Maintaining Homes in Underdeveloped Areas

Jill Washington

7 August 2017

Housing is one of, if not the biggest issue facing underprivileged populations both in the US/Europe and around the globe.  Finding affordable, sustainable and quality housing for the masses has proven both a difficult and worthwhile challenge to governments, NGO’s and aid agencies around the world.  There are many challenges, such as regulatory red-tape, natural resources and political climates.  Today, however, we are going to talk about a more tangible issue facing us, the actual building and maintaining of homes and buildings.

Home and Builing Construction in Under-Utilized Areas

The U.S. Government has different benefits and designations for under-utilized areas, such as the “Historical Under-Utilized Business Zones”, or “Hub Zones“.  Given that there are many incentives in developing in these areas, it can make financial and regulatory sense to go that route.  However, you will need to make sure you are using contractors that can handle these regulatory requirements and/or are already certified hubzone contractors.  This is covered below when we talk about sourcing contractors for your projects.

“Going Green” with LEED Certification

Another ting to keep an eye on for construction initiatives are the incentives associated with building “Green” buildings.  No, not the color green, but the environmental kind.  “LEED” certification has been used in the US and elsewhere for years to classify and certify buildings that follow green practices, and there are government tax incentives for following them.

It makes sense to follow these practices not just for the short term financial benefit, but also for the longer term maintenance costs.  A green building will likely cost 30% less then a non-green buildings when it comes to energy costs.  When building for underprivileged populations, the energy costs often fall on the owners, so it makes sense to try and reduce this as much as possible.

Low-Income Tenant Tax Incentives

While perhaps obvious to most people undertaking these initiatives, be sure not to leave any money on the table regarding potential tax incentives for providing low-income housing and resources.  Remember, local, city and national governments can all provide tax credits or other incentives for this, so make sure to contact an experience tax professional in your country for the best possible opportunities.

Sourcing Contractors for Building Initiatives

Sourcing contractors can be difficult but there are many tools available to help handle this.  Make sure to include in your RFQs all necessary certifications (both quality and diversity) along with any other governmental regulations that might be necessary.

Be sure to get explicit confirmation surrounds these requirements.  Don’t assume anything.  As we all know, when it comes to red tape, the letter of the law is very stringent, so make sure you have everything in writing, including certificates/etc.