Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

How can we allow valuable affordable housing to disappear?

Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing disappears as properties are sold for conversion to market-rate rental.

An Unrecognized Resource

A majority of America’s affordable housing operates without subsidy and is referred to as Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing (NOAH). These Class B and Class C multifamily rental properties (generally built between 1940 to 1990) provide housing at rates affordable to low- and moderate-income households.

Often located close to good schools, well-paying jobs, parks, and other amenities, NOAH properties are ideal workforce housing. However, many suffer from poor upkeep and neglectful management, making them unappealing, unfit and unsafe for occupation.

Preservation & Stabilization

The demand for NOAH is strong in a housing market with record low vacancy rates. In fact, with ever-growing demand for rental housing, many NOAH properties are under threat of conversion to market-rate units. This puts families and communities at risk for displacement.

BB Housing believes it is an utmost priority to preserve and stabilize NOAH properties, and has developed a successful strategy for doing so.

NOAH Advantages

The approach has numerous advantages to traditional heavily subsidized new-construction projects:

  • It keeps families and communities intact and in their existing homes.
  • It improves the lives of people who live in substandard, Class B and C properties through rehabilitation, improved management, and a long-term commitment to affordability.
  • Properties are placed back in service within a relatively short timeframe (generally 12–18 months).
  • The total project costs are much lower, making the funding easier to assemble and the predevelopment period much shorter.
  • Predevelopment requires a fraction of the time devoted to LIHTC projects and is completed in a few months.

BB Housing’s pilot NOAH project, Chester Estates, was a great success and had far-reaching positive impact on the community. Learn more >


"A key reason in supporting BB Housing is their community focus. They want to know their tenants by a first-name basis. They want to make sure they are pleased living in the house and are good tenants.”

- Linda Arnesen, Chair, Railroad Island Task Force, St. Paul, MN