March 29, 2017

Community Developments: Segregation Outcomes, Mixed-Income Housing

A daily roundup of news impacting housing and communities. Not receiving the Community Developments daily email yet? Sign up here. 

  • A new analysis by the Urban Institute, in collaboration with Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council, models how economic indicators in the country’s hundred largest commuting zones vary according to racial and economic segregation. The researchers find that economic and racial segregation are correlated with poor outcomes not only for segregated groups, but for regions as a whole. According to the findings, higher levels of racial segregation are associated with lower incomes for black residents, lower educational attainment for white and black residents, and lower levels of safety for all area residents. Philadelphia, Bridgeport, New York City, Milwaukee and Chicago are the five metropolitan areas with the highest levels of segregation. (Slate, March 28)
  • As part of a series of monthly columns on growth, housing, displacement and the future of neighborhoods in Nashville, The Tennessean looks at efforts to transform Nashville’s public housing complexes into mixed-income rental developments without displacing existing residents. According to this effort, which is already underway, Nashville’s public housing complexes will be redeveloped in phases and existing residents will be allowed to gradually move into their new units, in order to avoid displacement while construction is ongoing. Efforts to redevelop public housing into mixed-income developments will be completed by the end of this year, according to Jim Harbison, executive director of the Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency. (The Tennessean, January 29)
     
  • As Congress shifts its focus from health care to tax reform, the Trump Administration is reportedly weighing the idea of pursing an infrastructure investment package and tax reform concurrently. Infrastructure investment was a major campaign promise of President Trump; however, it has been a lesser priority for Congressional leadership behind health care and tax reform. It is unclear whether Congress will be open to tackling infrastructure together with tax reform. (U.S. News & World Report, March 28)
  • This week, a legal settlement that requires the state of Michigan to fund Flint’s efforts to replace at least 18,000 lead and galvanized water pipes by 2020 was approved by a federal judge. It has been nearly a year and a half since state officials acknowledged that Flint’s water was tainted with dangerous levels of lead, and more than two years since residents began complaining about problems with the water. Under the settlement, the state will pay $87 million to replace aging underground pipes and another $10 million will be kept in reserve. About $30 million of the state dollars will be covered by funds that were appropriated by Congress to Flint last year. (The Washington Post, March 28)
     
  • At an Urban Institute event last week, Representatives Ed Royce (R-CA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL) discussed the Credit Score Competition Act (H.R. 898), a bill that would require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to establish innovative, predictive credit scoring systems that would expand access to credit without increasing mortgage credit risk. Representatives Royce and Sewell, who cosponsored and introduced the bill last month, emphasized the importance of credit scores in determining whether a potential borrower’s loan application will be considered by a lender and what price will be offered. They also discussed the impact of credit scoring on potential first-time homebuyers who often struggle to qualify for starter home mortgages. (Urban Institute, March 28)

  • A new report by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) provides a status report on community eligibility implementation nationally and across states. The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), a key part of The Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, allows schools and districts with high concentrations of low-income students to offer free meals to all students and eliminates the need for household school meal applications. CEP helps to remove the stigma of receiving free lunch and ensures that all children who need nutrition assistance receive it. In just three years, CEP has reached more than half of all eligible schools, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (FRAC, March 2017)

Upcoming Event

  • Join the Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC) on Thursday, March 30th at 9:30 a.m. ET for a live webcast conversation on how collaborative, community-driven approaches to addressing poverty, racial equity, health and climate impacts can positively shape cities and regions. Tune in here and join the conversation on Twitter: #WeAllThrive.

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