April 11, 2017

Community Developments: Housing Prescriptions, Green Infrastructure

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

  • An article in The New York Times looks at the movement of health care providers who use federal housing and tax programs to prescribe housing along with medications to treat patients. Some hospitals and health care providers have brokered deals with local housing authorities to obtain housing vouchers, while other hospitals have created housing units themselves. However, the looming threat of federal budget cuts to housing programs and tax reform has health care providers worried that housing prescriptions may not be possible in the near future, which would hurt the health of the people who currently benefit. “When we talk about solutions to health care spending,” said Dr. Megan T. Sandel, associate director of the Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center and member of the Enterprise Board of Trustees, “we don’t talk a lot about the fact that because we haven’t invested enough in helping people afford where they live and creating places for them to live in, we end up paying for the other side of it in terms of physical health care costs, mental health care costs, and other things.” Dr. Sandel further explained about a quarter of the patients admitted to Boston Medical Center are homeless. (The New York Times, April 10)
  • A new online, interactive tool showcases how communities across the country have mitigated climate threats by relying on green infrastructure. The Naturally Resilient Communities tool features 30 case studies of communities that rely on nature-based solutions to mitigate climate threats, such as flooding and coastal erosion, and provide an effective green infrastructure guidebook for city planners, engineers and community leaders. (CityLab, April 10)
  • Citing an example from Portland, a blog post in City Observatory looks at the role of increasing housing supply in moderating rent inflation. Between 2015 and 2016, rents in Portland rose by 20 percent. However, the rate of rent inflation has dropped to effectively zero this year. The blog post suggests that a surge in housing supply can partially explain the drop, as it is estimated that there are 25,000 apartments in the city’s construction pipeline. (City Observatory, April 11)
  • Yesterday, Enterprise announced a Request for Applications (RFA) for the new Cities for Responsible Investment and Strategic Enforcement (Cities RISE) program, a collaboration between Enterprise, Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the New York State Office of Attorney General Eric Scheiderman. Cities RISE will provide cities, towns and villages in New York State with technology that will coordinate, map out and analyze disparate sources of data with the goal of facilitating effective, equitable strategies to spur housing revitalization and enforce housing code. Applications are due by close of business May 5, 2017. Enterprise and LISC will host a conference call to answer questions about the initiative on April 18, 2017. Learn more about Cities Rise in Enterprise’s blog post and in Next City’s article.
  • The number of homeless people living in New York City shelters who have jobs continues to grow. The combination of soaring rent costs and stagnant family incomes have squeezed New York’s working poor. Of the roughly 40,000 families with children living in New York shelters, 34 percent have earned income, and thousands more single adults and adult families in the system also have paying jobs. Other high-rent cities across the nation are also seeing increases in the number of working homeless people. (The Wall Street Journal, April 10)

  • Most regions in the U.S. are experiencing very slow progress at desegregation, explains an op-ed from authors of a recent report from the Urban Institute and Metropolitan Planning Council. “The Cost of Segregation” shows that racial and economic segregation comes at a significant cost and that everyone in a metropolitan area can gain if decision-makers and residents enact policies and practices that desegregate. Among its many findings, the report shows that a single strategy is not sufficient to counteract segregation in established communities – that a portfolio of approaches is needed. (Next City, April 7)

  • An analysis by CoreLogic shows that 5.3 percent of mortgages in January were delinquent by 30 days or more, marking a 1.1 percentage point decline since last year. However, the analysis shows that the national foreclosure inventory rate and early-stage delinquencies (defined as 30-59 days past due) dropped by 0.3 percent, respectively, between January 2016 and 2017. (CoreLogic, April 11)

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