April 14, 2017

Community Developments: Housing Credit Data, CDBG Impact, HOME Elimination

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  • A new report released by the Urban Institute takes stock of what HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program has accomplished, and also makes recommendations for how to improve it. The report finds that between 2005 and 2013, CDBGs created or retained 330,546 jobs, assisted over 1.1 million people with homeownership and improvements, benefited more than 33 million people nationwide through public improvements and provided public services to over 105 million people. CDBGs were designed to provide maximum flexibility for state and local governments, which means that the funds are used in dozens of different ways. “It’s based on this fundamental idea that cities are different and towns are different and states are different,” says John Griffith, national director for state and local policy at Enterprise. “Providing a source of funding that has broad mandates is particularly useful.” President Trump’s “skinny budget” for fiscal year 2018 proposed eliminating CDBG program funding. (Next City, April 13)
     
  • This week, HUD Secretary Ben Carson continued his listening tour, visiting several affordable housing complexes in the Miami-Dade area. During one of the tours, Stephanie Berman, president of Carrfour Supportive Housing, explained that the building would not have come to fruition without the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program. President Trump’s “skinny budget” for fiscal year 2018 proposed eliminating funding for the HOME program. Secretary Carson did not address the pros and cons of HOME or other funding, but cautioned against reading too much into reports on the president’s proposed budget. “What you need to concentrate on is: The parts of these programs that are functioning well – and that are maintaining people – are going to be preserved,” said Secretary Carson during a press conference. While the White House can propose a budget and veto a budget bill, ultimately it is Congress that decides on agency and program funding levels. (Miami Herald, April 13)
  • On Thursday, Enterprise was part of a panel of experts who briefed staff from the Senate Banking Committee on multifamily housing finance reform. Enterprise provided an overview of the multifamily market and offered specific recommendations for reform, building on Enterprise President and CEO Terri Ludwig’s 2013 testimony before the committee on the same topic. To learn more about past efforts to reform America’s housing finance system, see our issue brief.
  • An analysis led by Richard Florida at CityLab examines the connection between the “back-to-the-city” movement and some of the challenges cities are facing today. The analysis developed a “New Urban Crisis” index, which combines factors such as income inequality, economic segregation and the unaffordability of housing, to illustrate where the impact of the New Urban Crisis is more substantial. According to the study, the New Urban Crisis is most severe in Los Angeles, New York City and San Francisco. (CityLab, April 13)

  • A blog post in City Observatory argues that recent analyses suggesting that demand for cities is decreasing miss the long-term pattern of city growth. According to Joe Cortright, city growth has decelerated from the past year or two; however, city growth this decade looks different than it did a decade ago. Between 2001 and 2015, growth rates in suburbs have declined sharply, while growth rates in urban counties rose. Cortright suggests that the decline in city growth could indicate a mismatch between the low supply of housing in cities and the high demand for urban living opportunities. (City Observatory, April 10)

  • According to data by the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, one in six K-12 students were chronically absent, or missed 18 or more school days, over the past year. The data show that chronic absenteeism rates are particularly high for students who live in poverty or are homeless, indicating that housing stability has an impact on chronic absenteeism among K-12 students. The data also show that chronic absenteeism rates are especially high among American Indian or Alaskan Native students, both of whom suffer from particularly high poverty rates. (The Seattle Times, April 14)

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