April 5, 2017

Community Developments: Fair Housing Month, Undocumented Tenants

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

  • Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter urging appropriators to provide $3.6 million to support the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH). The deadline for Senators to sign on to the USICH Dear Colleague letter is Thursday, April 6 at 9:00a.m. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is also circulating a Dear Colleague Letter that requests $39.2 million in funding for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) for fiscal year 2018. The deadline for Senators to sign on to the FHIP Dear Colleague letter is close of business today, April 5. Enterprise encourages affordable housing advocates and organizations to contact their Senators and urge them to sign the letters.
  • As previously reported in Community Developments, this week marks the start of Fair Housing Month and the 49th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. HUD kicked off Fair Housing Month yesterday and announced this year’s theme, “Fair Housing Equals Opportunity.” (HUD, April 4) A blog post by Trulia examines housing trends since the signing of the Fair Housing Act. While some metropolitan areas have seen the racial gaps in housing narrow, racial and ethnic minorities still have fewer housing opportunities than all other households. According to Trulia, households of color own homes at a lower rate, spend more of their income on rent and continue to contend with residential segregation. In addition, the Great Recession disproportionately hurt black and Hispanic households. “Identifying where progress has been made and where Americans continue to face impediments to securing safe and affordable housing is the first step to further housing opportunities for communities and ensuring they remain economically resilient,” writes Cheryl Young from Trulia. (Trulia, April 5)
  • California housing lawyers and advocates report that some landlords are exploiting the growing fear of immigration authorities and the threat of deportation to evict their undocumented tenants, raise rents or avoid maintaining units. In addition, some landlords in gentrifying neighborhoods are threatening to report undocumented tenants or mixed-status households to immigration authorities in order to evict them and draw more affluent renters. (CiyLab, April 5)
  • A new analysis performed by ProPublica and Consumer Reports finds that car owners in minority neighborhoods often pay higher auto insurance premiums than people in white areas do, even with similar payouts on claims. The analysis examines auto insurance premiums and payouts in California, Illinois, Texas and Missouri and finds that many of the disparities in auto insurance between minority and white neighborhoods are wider than differences in risk can explain. It isn’t completely clear if disparities persist because of outright discrimination or proprietary algorithms used by insurers inadvertently favor white over minority neighborhoods. Regardless of the reason, such disparities put drivers living in communities of color at a financial disadvantage, forcing them to pay a greater share of their income on transportation with less to pay for housing, food and other necessities. (ProPublica, April 5)
  • An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which looks at the connections between educational attainment, student debt and homeownership, finds that homeownership is positively associated with educational attainment, in terms of both degrees pursued and degrees completed. The analysis also finds that for any given level of educational attainment, individuals holding more than $25,000 of student debt are less likely to own a home in their early thirties than individuals who completed their education with smaller amounts of debt or without any debt. Since homeownership represents an important means for wealth accumulation, these findings have important implications for the housing market and the distribution of wealth. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York, April 3)

  • Last week, Bergen County, N.J., was officially certified by HUD as the first community in the nation to effectively end chronic homelessness. In 2009, the county invested $11 million in the Housing, Health and Human Services Center, a place where homeless individuals could access temporary shelter, receive help with health and behavioral issues and seek permanent housing assistance. Since May 2016, the county has counted less than three individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. Bergen County was also certified as the first community to end homelessness among veterans in August 2016. (NJ.com, March 28)

  • Today, CoreLogic released its Home Price Index (HPI) data for February 2017, which show that home prices are up both year-over-year and month-over-month by 7 and 1 percent, respectively. The CoreLogic HPI Forecast indicates that home prices will increase by 4.7 percent on a year-over-year basis between February 2017 and February 2018. (CoreLogic, April 4)

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