Community Developments: Mayors’ Poverty Priorities, Infrastructure History
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- The findings of the 2016 Menino Survey of Mayors show that mayors rank socioeconomic issues, such as poverty, affordability and income disparities, as their top policy priorities, regardless of party affiliation. According to the survey, which is based on interviews with 100 mayors from 41 states, mayors are deeply concerned about urban poverty and the economic challenges facing their low-income residents, including unequal transit access, racial wealth gaps and the lack of middle-class jobs for those without a college degree. (Boston University Initiative on Cities, January 2017)
- Through his campaign and in the wake of his victory, President-elect Donald Trump pledged to rebuild America’s infrastructure. In the weeks since his election, infrastructure has emerged as a potential bipartisan meeting ground for the president-elect and Democratic lawmakers. An article in The Atlantic looks back on previous efforts to rebuild infrastructure, focusing on the intended and unintended impacts on city populations. Public works have expanded access to essential goods and to economic opportunities, but they have also conferred advantages on privileged parts of American society at the expense of the marginalized. (The Atlantic, January 7) Read about the importance of public investment in housing infrastructure in Enterprise’s blog post.
- A report by the Center for American Progress examines the strong connection between economic stability and social justice. According to the report, millions of individuals continue to be excluded from equal access to housing and high-opportunity neighborhoods due to discriminatory barriers in the housing market, including unequal treatment in the mortgage market. The report emphasizes that housing is deeply intertwined with individuals and families economic and social well-being, and poor access to decent and affordable housing and the wealth-building opportunities associated with it can negatively impact upward economic mobility. (Center for American Progress, January 9)
- In an interview with NPR, HUD Secretary Julián Castro discusses the ongoing transition process to the new administration and his thoughts on HUD’s work moving forward. Secretary Castro talks about the importance of funding rental assistance programs to help low-income families make ends meet, the possibility of future infrastructure spending in cities and his concerns that the final rule to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing could be rolled back. (NPR, January 9)
- According to CoreLogic’s latest National Foreclosure Report, completed foreclosures in November 2016 declined 25.9 percent year-over-year and 14.1 percent month-over-month. Between November 2015 and November 2016, the top five states with the highest rates of completed foreclosures were Florida, Michigan, Texas, Ohio and Georgia. The report also reveals that the number of homes in some stage of foreclosure declined 30 percent between November 2015 and November 2016, indicating a decline in the number of households facing the threat of foreclosure. (CoreLogic, January 10)
As of October 31, 2016, the U.S. Department of the Treasury had allocated $22.6 billion in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds to three housing programs (the Making Home Affordable program, the Housing Finance Agency Innovation Fund and the Federal Housing Administration Short Refinance program). In a new report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides an update on the status and condition of these TARP funded housing programs. GAO is making no new recommendations, yet five out of the 29 recommendations that GAO has previously made regarding the TARP funded housing programs remain open or not fully implemented. (GAO, January 9)
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