Community Developments: Dr. Carson as HUD Secretary, Expanding Homeownership
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- If confirmed as HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson is in a unique position to spearhead a national effort to better integrate health care and supportive services with housing, writes Anand Parekh, chief medical advisor at the Bipartisan Policy Center, and former HUD Assistant Secretary Dennis Shea. According to Parekh and Shea, there are four steps Dr. Carson can take as HUD Secretary to help bridge the policy gap between health and housing: educate the public that access to affordable housing is a health issue; highlight the need to transform homes and communities to enable “aging in place;” launch a supportive-services initiative for Medicare beneficiaries in publicly-assisted housing; and promote the use of telehealth and high-speed broadband in HUD-assisted housing. They also write that Dr. Carson can be a powerful advocate for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, a program that has bipartisan support. (HousingWire, January 10)
- As previously reported in Community Developments, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs will hold the confirmation hearing for Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary on Thursday, January 12. An article in The New York Times looks at how Dr. Carson’s upbringing has shaped his views on government policy and how he might run HUD. (The New York Times, January 11)
- In an effort to overcome barriers and open up homeownership opportunities to traditionally underserved groups, the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at University of California at Berkeley has launched a new policy brief series that explores innovation models. The first brief, entitled “Expanding Access to Homeownership through Lease-Purchase,” examines a lease-purchase model in which a household rents for a period of time before taking on the mortgage and ownership of the property. The model is specifically intended to help bridge the financial and credit gaps that many young families face when seeking to buy a home. (Terner Center for Housing Innovation, January 10)
- A study by Zillow reveals that the negative equity rate in predominantly black communities is at least double the rate in predominantly white communities. It stands at 20 percent for black communities, reflecting very different experiences through the housing boom, recession and recovery. According to the study, the gap can be partially explained by the slower pace of home price recovery in predominantly black communities, which has prevented many homeowners in these areas from regaining home equity at the same pace as their peers in predominantly white communities. (Zillow, January 11)
- An analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that 15 weather events occurred in 2016 that caused more than $1 billion in damage. The study also finds that there has been an average of 10.6 such weather events per year over the past five years. The analysis suggests that climate change, as well as population growth and infrastructure projects in vulnerable areas, are contributing to the rise in costly weather events. (The Atlantic City Lab, January 10)
A report by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the U.S. Department of Agriculture reveals that child-rearing expenses increased by 3 percent between 2015 and 2016, partially due to rising day care and housing costs. The report shows that housing expenses, as a proportion of total child-rearing expenses, accounted for the largest share (one-third of total spending) across income groups in 2015. According to the report, housing expenses (calculated as the average cost for an additional bedroom) amounted to about $3,900 per child in U.S. cities and $2,400 in rural areas. (The Washington Post, January 10)
A new study by SmartAsset, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau, ranks the 200 largest U.S. cities based on their under-35 homeownership rate in 2015 and the change in the under-35 rate between 2006 and 2015. According to the study, the cities that attract the highest percentage of millennial homeowners are: Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Elk Grove, California; Bakersfield, California; Roseville, California; and Peoria, Illinois. (HousingWire, January 10)
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