April 7, 2017

Community Developments: HOME + ACTION Sign-On Letters, March Jobs Report

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  • Today is the last day for communities, organizations and businesses to sign on to the HOME Coalition’s letter urging Congress to fund the HOME Investment Partnerships Program at $1.2 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018. As previously reported in Community Developments, the White House has proposed eliminating HOME as part of an overall $6.2 billion cut to HUD’s budget in FY 2018. Enterprise is encouraging housing and community development advocates and stakeholders to sign on to the HOME letter by close of business today. The HOME Coalition’s similar effort in 2015 played a large part in saving the program because Congress heard from so many stakeholders.
  • Today is also the last day to sign on to the ACTION Campaign’s letter in support of bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), recently introduced by Representative Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) and Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.). Read the letter and sign on to support the Tiberi-Neal legislation. Enterprise urges affordable housing and community development organizations to sign on to the ACTION Campaign’s letter by close of business today.
  • According to the monthly report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy added 98,000 jobs in March, marking a sharp 58.2 percent decline compared to February. However, the hourly wage rose by 0.2 percent and the unemployment rate dropped by 2 percent to 4.5 percent, marking the lowest level in a decade. (The New York Times, April 7)
  • At a time when 83 million millennials are approaching the age to buy their first home, there is a severe shortage of affordable homes for sale. Due to demographic shifts, a building industry still in recovery and laws discouraging development, homeownership is being pushed further out of reach for young people. With supply and demand out of balance, the cost of buying a home has increased significantly. According to the National Association of Home Builders, local zoning rules and other building requirements accounted for 24 percent of the cost of a new house last year. As a result, many builders are simply opting to build bigger homes rather than more homes. (Politico Pro, April 6)
  • A new poll from the Strong, Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge (SPARCC), an initiative to bolster local economies, finds that Americans are skeptical of the narrative connecting wealth with personal agency. SPARCC found that 74 percent of those surveyed believe that most people work hard, but aren’t able to work their way out of poverty due to the lack of economic opportunities. The SPARCC report points to research showing that economic mobility and health outcomes are greatly affected by geography, as evidence that individual hard work won’t always guarantee success because opportunities are not distributed evenly. (The Atlantic, April 6) SPARCC is an initiative of Enterprise Community Partners, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Low Income Investment Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, with funding support from the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.

  • A new report by researchers at Michigan Technological University and University of New Hampshire offers key insights into the ways in which migration is influencing the racial and ethnic composition of counties. According to the research, the movement of young adults contributes to the biggest increases in county-level diversity. From 1990 to 2010, those between the ages of 20-39 accounted for the biggest changes in black-white and Hispanic-white diversity in counties. Moves by older adults tended to decrease racial and ethnic diversity. (City Observatory, April 5) While this information is important for policymakers, the findings do not account for racial segregation patterns within counties.

  • A new analysis compares the cost of living in the 50 most populous metros, using the median income by city and the amount needed to cover necessities, such as rent, groceries, utilities, transportation and health care. According to the analysis, San Francisco is the most expensive metro and El Paso is the least expensive. The study also shows that even in El Paso, many residents are still short of the income they need to live comfortably, as many consumers cut back on their discretionary expenses or put less towards savings, in order to afford rent prices. (HousingWire, April 6)

In Case You Missed It

  • Last week, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) released its updated national and state housing fact sheets. These fact sheets include data on federal rental assistance by state, showing the demographics of who benefits from federal rental assistance programs, the most used types of federal rental assistance and the shortfall in federal rental assistance funds. (CBPP, March 31)

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