January 31, 2018

Community Developments: Affordable Housing and Economic Mobility, Improving Health through Housing

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

  • A statement by the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), a coalition of more than 70 national organizations including Enterprise Community Partners, explains that the infrastructure proposal unveiled by President Trump yesterday in his State of the Union Address “misses an opportunity to address one of the greatest barriers to America’s economic growth: the lack of affordable rental homes for people with the lowest incomes.” CHCDF urges the President and Congress to expand federal investments in communities and affordable rental homes that help connect low income families to opportunity and promote economic mobility. Enterprise’s President and CEO Terri Ludwig notes that “Housing is fundamental to our national infrastructure and must be part of any infrastructure plan. Opportunity for Americans begins with affordable, well-designed homes in thriving communities – a must to promote equitable outcomes for working families and reach our full potential as a nation.” (NLIHC, January 31)
  • Enterprise and the Catholic Health Association (CHA) have released “Housing and Community Benefit: What Counts?,” guidance for tax-exempt hospitals on what housing-related activities they can report as a community benefit to the IRS.  The paper provides helpful examples to inform hospitals on their current activities and to identify future opportunities, such as offering home environmental assessments for patients who present to the ER with asthma and creating housing programs for formerly incarcerated individuals. Learn more about the guidance in Enterprise’s blog post. Furthermore, Enterprise and CHA will co-host a webinar examining the evidence base that connects health and housing and the specifics of the guidance on February 8 from 1 to 2 p.m. ET. Register here for the webinar.
  • A blog post by the Urban Institute explores the potential consequences of expanding work requirements for recipients of housing assistance. The blog highlights that there is insufficient evidence to support expanding work requirements for able-bodied adults who receive housing assistance, including uncertainties regarding policy structure, costs of implementation and potential impact on families. It also notes that moving forward with insufficient information could harm families and result in the inefficient use of public funds. The post also points out that even if such requirements were enforced, an estimated 81 percent of households would not be affected because they are either elderly, disabled or already working. (Urban Institute, January 30)
  • According to Bloomberg, a draft of a proposed Senate bill that aims to overhaul the mortgage finance system includes billions of dollars for affordable housing. The bill, drafted by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Mark Warner (D-VA), would levy a "market access fee" on new loans, which would provide an estimated $5 billion to build affordable rental housing and make buying homes cheaper for low- and moderate-income borrowers. However, the proposal would also abolish the affordable housing goals that stipulate how mortgage companies must lend to less affluent borrowers. Though discussions about the provisions the bill should have continue, some housing advocates are concerned that the proposal could lead to less aid for lower-income borrowers than the current system. (Bloomberg Politics, January 30)
  • Enterprise and the Supportive Housing Network of New York have developed the Joint Venture Guidebook, a resource for organizations interested in developing affordable and supportive housing through a joint venture. As the housing market has become more competitive and complex, developers and community-based organizations are forming joint venture partnerships to better leverage their strengths and address critical housing needs. The guidebook provides tools to help organizations understand different joint venturing options based on case studies and navigate the process of establishing a partnership. Learn more about the guidebook on the Enterprise website.
  • The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding is calling on housing advocates to join the Our Homes, Our Voices National Housing Week of Action between May 1 - 8. This event aims to bring more attention to the severe shortage of affordable homes and urge increased investments in solutions. The event’s website includes guides for planning different types of activities and sample materials, including talking points, tweets, op-eds, press releases, social media images and posters. Last year, advocates hosted more than 60 rallies, press conferences, letter writing campaigns, and other events across the country.  

For the latest housing and community development news and notes, follow the Enterprise policy team on Twitter: @E_Housing Policy and subscribe to the Capitol Express Newsletter. The Enterprise Public Policy team works to safeguard, expand and improve programs that end housing insecurity. Learn more about our public policy efforts.