April 17, 2017

Community Developments: Promoting Economic Growth, Retaining Workers in LA

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

  • On April 14, Enterprise submitted testimony to the Senate Banking Committee responding to a call for “legislative proposals that will promote economic growth and/or enable consumers, market participants and financial companies to better participate in the economy.” Enterprise’s testimony makes the case that investments in affordable housing must be part of any federal strategy to promote strong and inclusive growth. It then lays out six specific proposals for the committee, including expanding support for low-income renters as part of housing finance reform and attracting private investment to repair America’s crumbling public housing. Learn more about Enterprise’s testimony in our blog post.
  • The findings of a survey by the University of Southern California (USC) and the Los Angeles Business Council show that high housing costs in LA are leading to higher costs in recruiting and retaining employees. According to the survey, high housing costs are burdening major employers, who increasingly have to develop special hiring packages or subsidize transportation and relocation costs, making it harder to compete with more affordable markets. (Los Angeles Times, April 13)
  • In recent years, many small U.S. cities have tried an arts-based urban-renewal strategy by designating rundown neighborhoods as cultural and art districts, and inviting artists and developers to help lead the way in their revitalization. Some offer incentives like tax abatements and credits, while others offer marketing help and grants. It is estimated that there are between 250 and 300 official arts districts scattered across the country. (The Wall Street Journal, April 16)
  • At a time when rents in high-cost cities are growing and evictions of low-income households are prevalent, cities are having difficulty providing shelter for the growing homeless population, particularly families. In Washington, D.C., the shelter admission rate is just 22 percent due to the significant rise in family homelessness. While the city is struggling to prioritize those most in need and help connect families with alternative options to shelters, sometimes those options can lead to greater instability. According to Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, eligibility rules and tactics for diverting homeless families into other housing options are valuable tools for cities, but they have to be applied with care. (The Washington Post, April 15)
  • An article in CityLab looks at the impact millennial home-buying behavior has on the expected baby boomer home sell-off. Millennials generally prefer urban housing, such as condos or townhouses, over the detached suburban homes that were the baby boomers’ preferred living arrangement, which could have an impact on baby boomers ability to sell-off their homes in order to downsize. According to the article, the sell-off of baby boomer homes is still expected, but will likely occur in the mid- to late-2020s, which is later than some housing experts expected. (CityLab, April 14)

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