February 21, 2018

Community Developments: Section 4 + HOME Sign-On Letters, Study on Neighborhood Diversity

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

  • As previously reported in Community Developments, the President’s FY 2019 budget request proposes eliminating HUD’s Section 4 Capacity Building and Affordable Housing program, which is the only federal program exclusively focused on increasing the effectiveness of local community development organizations. Enterprise is co-sponsoring a nationwide sign-on letter urging Congress to provide at least $40 million for the Section 4 program in fiscal year (FY) 2019. The letter notes that the program has been funded at $35 million since FY 2012, but the demand for affordable housing and small business investments in low-income communities continues to grow. A modest $5 million increase in Section 4 funds will help local nonprofit organizations address the growing needs of the communities they serve. Sign your organization onto the letter by February 27.
     
  • The HOME Coalition is also circulating a sign-on letter urging lawmakers to increase funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) to $1.2 billion in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. Congress is currently negotiating the fiscal year (FY) 2018 Appropriations bills following the passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which raised the caps for discretionary spending, and lawmakers have an opportunity to address the urgent need for housing resources for low-income families and communities by adding more funds to proven programs. Earlier in this appropriations cycle, over 1,500 organizations signed on the HOME Coalition's letter supporting funding for the HOME Program in the FY 2018 Appropriations bill. Sign your organization onto the letter by COB (5PM ET) tomorrow.
     
  • An op-ed in Bloomberg View highlights recent research that American neighborhoods are becoming more diverse and Americans are increasingly open to living in diverse neighborhoods. A 2016 paper by the National University of Singapore finds that white flight has decreased and white Americans in recent decades have tended to move toward diversity rather than away from it. According to the paper, between 1990 and 2010, only one-fifth of multiracial neighborhoods became segregated, which is only half the rate of re-segregation that prevailed in earlier decades. The paper also notes that multiracial neighborhoods tend to be the most stable: once a neighborhood becomes multiracial, the paper found it had a 90 percent chance of remaining that way for at least 20 years. (Bloomberg View, February 20) 
     
  • Yesterday the Denver City Council voted 11-1 to adopt “Housing an Inclusive Denver,” a 5-year affordable housing strategy plan that expands on existing approaches and lays out potential new strategies to address affordable housing challenges. The plan, which was prepared in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, proposes strategies to spend a new $150 million local housing fund that will be raised over the next decade through property taxes and development impact fees. The plan also notes that the city and its partners aim to create and preserve at least 3,000 affordable units by 2023. (The Denver Post, February 21)
     
  • The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a motion yesterday asking the county to draft four ordinances to preserve and increase the number of affordable units in unincorporated areas. Ordinances in the proposal include requiring developers to make affordable homes a small percentage of all new projects, streamlining the process for developers who want to build more supportive housing, and allowing multifamily housing development in commercial zones. A recent report by the County Department of Regional Planning finds that the county needs to add more than 17,000 affordable housing units in unincorporated areas. (San Diego Union-Tribune, February 20)
     
  • Earlier this week, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal challenging the federal government’s capture of billions of dollars in profits generated by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Three lawsuits, consolidated into one, were brought by Fannie and Freddie shareholders, who sued the government after a 2012 decision directing the two companies to turn over their profits. Jaret Seiberg, an analyst with Cowen Washington Research Group, notes that "the Supreme Court's decision further weakens the political clout that investors have to try to negotiate a better outcome with Congress and the White House as part of GSE reform." (POLITICOPRO, February 20) 

Upcoming Event 

  • On Tuesday, February 27, Ballard Spahr LLP is hosting a webinar on the “Impact of Tax Reform on Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Transactions.” It will summarize recent legislative changes, delve into the key legal and business considerations facing both nonprofit and for-profit developers as a result of tax reform, and highlight additional opportunities to strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. The webinar will feature Amy L. Broadwater of RubinBrown LLP, Molly Bryson of Ballard Spahr, Emily Cadik of Enterprise Community Partners, and Darren Swanson of Red Stone Equity Partners. Register here for the webinar

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.