May 5, 2017

Community Developments: Senate Passed Omnibus, Denver Groups Push for Housing

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

  • Community groups in Denver are gearing up for a new push on housing issues, which include tenant protections for renters and a housing bond on the 2018 ballot that would give more buying power to the $150 million affordable housing fund approved by the City Council last year. As previously reported in Community Developments, a new survey commissioned by Enterprise and All in Denver shows that housing remains a top concern among Denver residents. According to Tiana Patterson, state and local policy program officer for Enterprise, building new affordable housing is necessary, but people also need help staying in their homes and building economic security. (Denverite, May 4) The poll revealed at least four major themes that Denver civic leaders should consider, writes Melinda Pollack, vice president and Denver market leader for Enterprise, and Kimball Crangle, Colorado market president for Gorman & Company. The results show that voters support the city’s housing fund, rate affordable housing as a top issue, support common sense policies to protect renters and support bolder solutions to affordable housing. Pollack and Crangle are both co-founders of All in Denver. (Denver Business Journal, May 5)
  • According to the monthly report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 211,000 jobs in April, providing a reassuring economic snapshot after weak numbers in March. The report shows that the average hourly wage rose by 0.3 percent, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.4 percent, hitting a 10-year low. In addition, the March payroll number was revised down to 70,000 jobs, down from last month’s estimate of 98,000 jobs. (The New York Times, May 5)
  • Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee voted 34-26 along party lines to pass the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10), which was introduced by Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) to replace the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The Financial CHOICE Act would allow banks to opt-out of many rules set by Dodd-Frank as long as they maintain a sufficient level of capital. As previously reported in Community Developments, the Financial CHOICE Act would also reduce the supervisory powers of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The legislation now heads to the House floor for a full vote. (DS News, May 4)
  • Today, the California Housing Partnership released reports describing the affordable housing challenges facing lower-income renters in four Bay Area counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo and Sonoma. The reports describe a rapid escalation in rents that in combination with a dramatic decline in state and federal funding has led to a shortage of more than 134,000 affordable homes in these four counties. The report also offers concrete steps that state and local representatives should take to help lessen the burden on low-income families in these counties. (California Housing Partnership Corporation, May 5)

  • A report from Washington, D.C., public radio examines the unique challenges LGBTQ people face as they age. LGBTQ seniors are more likely to be single, less likely to have children and more likely to live in poverty than their heterosexual counterparts. They also often face discrimination in centers and housing for older adults, making it difficult for them to find a safe, affordable home to live. As the population of older Americans continues to grow, the need for housing that is welcoming to LGBTQ individuals, particularly those who are low-income, has become more urgent. (The Kojo Nnamdi Show | WAMU 88.5, May 4)

  • A new report by the Urban Institute provides policymakers with clear and simple criteria when considering pay for success (PFS) projects. A popular benefit of the PFS model is its potential to finance programs that, if successful, will save governments more than they cost. Though, according to the authors, in practice this limits the number of programs eligible for PFS and incorrectly assumes that most governments place little value on non-fiscal benefits. With that in mind, this report outlines a holistic framework that integrates potential fiscal and non-fiscal benefits of PFS projects. (Urban Institute, May 4)


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