April 20, 2017

Community Developments: HUD Budget Calculator, Rent Growth Slowdown

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  • As previously reported in Community Developments, President Trump’s “skinny budget” for fiscal year 2018 proposed eliminating HUD’s HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program and others as part of an overall $6.2 billion cut to HUD’s budget. An online tool by Affordable Housing Online estimates the amount of HUD funding that would be lost by each state if these proposed cuts were enacted, focusing on the HOME, CDBG and Housing Voucher programs, as well as the Public Housing Capital and Operating Funds. (Affordable Housing Online, April 2017)
  • Rents rose at a 0.7 percent annual rate in March, marking the slowest pace since November 2012. According to Zillow, slower growth may take some heat off renters thinking of buying a home just to escape the volatility of steep annual rent hikes. They may still choose to transition into homeownership, but may feel like they have a bit more time to save for a down payment or to be more patient about finding a home that is right for them. This in turn, could lead to a small softening in home buyer demand. (Zillow, April 20)
  • Yesterday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously passed new legislation that will strengthen city rules that govern the demolition of rent-controlled apartments, with the goal of preventing the loss of affordable units. The legislation requires building owners to replace all rent-controlled units that are eliminated with new affordable units or ensure that 20 percent of the new units are affordable, whichever number is higher. In addition, the new rules apply to vacant units to ensure that landlords do not try to evade these rules by pressuring tenants into leaving their units. (Los Angeles Times, April 19)
  • A new study shows that high-quality child care during the earliest years can influence long-term outcomes for mothers and children, such as better income and educational attainment. The study also shows that after calculating the cost of unemployment, crime and poor health to communities, providing free, full-time child care returned $7.30 for every dollar spent. In addition a new report reveals that the average cost of child care in the U.S. is $16,514 per year. The Department of Health and Human Services says that child care should be 7 percent of family income; however, 42 percent of families who use child care spend considerably more than that. (The New York Times, April 20)
  • According to a growing body of research, exposure to constant stresses, like those experienced by people living in poverty, actually changes people’s brains, making it more difficult to solve problems, set goals and complete tasks in the most efficient ways. Everyone experiences stress at some point regardless of social status. However, people in poverty have the added burden of ever-present stress as they constantly struggle to make ends meet, and when brain capacity is used up on these worries and fears, there is simply less bandwidth for other things. (The Atlantic, April 19)

  • An analysis by The Brookings Institution looks at the reach of the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program. According to Brookings, the vast majority of EITC-eligible taxpayers do not have a bachelor’s degree and just over half have no more than a high school diploma. In addition, about half of all EITC-eligible taxpayers are white and 40 percent are black or Hispanic. The most common occupations for EITC-eligible taxpayers include traditional blue-collar jobs in transportation, material moving and construction, as well as service-sector jobs in industries like retail, food service and health care. (Brookings, April 18)

  • A new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) looks at the role Medicaid plays in schools. Medicaid provides health coverage to over 30 million children, helping to cover special education services as well as health services in schools. According to the CBPP, Medicaid also helps schools by reducing special education and other health care-related costs, freeing up funding in state and school budgets to help advance other education initiatives. (CBPP, April 18)

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