February 16, 2018

Community Developments: Section 4 Sign-On Letter, New Enterprise Mapping Tool for Opportunity Zones Designations

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
     
  • Governors must submit their recommendations for Opportunity Zone designations to the Treasury Department by March 21, unless they request a 30-day extension. Once approved, these designations will remain in place over the next decade. A new mapping tool developed by Enterprise helps states and other stakeholders determine which tracts in their state or region are eligible for Opportunity Zone designation, and how eligible tracts relate to other federal programs and designations. For more Opportunity Zone information, visit opportunityzonesinfo.org.
     
  • In an op-ed in The Hill, Community Preservation Corporation President Rafael E. Cestero looks at the potential impact of eliminating the Public Housing Capital Fund – which is proposed in the President’s budget request for FY 19 - on New York City’s public housing stock. The op-ed explains that eliminating the fund would abdicate the federal government’s responsibility to ensure that local public housing authorities have the funds they need to repair, maintain and upgrade the buildings and homes they oversee. Cestero also points out that the New York City Housing Authority - which is the largest public housing authority in the nation, overseeing 176,000 units that serve nearly 600,000 tenants -- already faces an estimated $25 billion backlog in capital needed to repair and upgrade its homes. (The Hill, February 15)
     
  • According to newly released Commerce Department data, building permits rose 7.4 percent and new housing starts surged 9.7 percent in January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.32 million, the highest level since October 2016. The data also show that single-family starts increased 3.7 percent to 877,000 units, and multi-family homebuilding rose 23.7 percent to 449,000 units. In addition, single-family home permits fell 1.7 percent, but permits for the construction of multi-family buildings increased 26.5 percent. (CNBC, February 16)
     
  • New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that the state has purchased 172 distressed mortgages in high-foreclosure areas, with the goal of helping the owners of those 172 homes avoid foreclosure and preventing abandoned properties from entering the market. The distressed mortgages were purchased through the state’s Community Restoration Fund, which has invested nearly $10 million and purchased 570 distressed mortgages. (DSNews, February 12)
     
  • According to a blog post by the Urban Institute, a historic funding boost to the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program could help it realize its potential. Congress's bipartisan budget agreement passed last week included a $5.8 billion funding increase for the program over the next two years. The CCDBG program, which has been on the decline in recent years, allows states to support low-income families in paying for child care, which enables parents to work or attend jobtraining and educational programs. According to the post, the new funds could serve up to 230,000 additional children.  (Urban Institute, February 15)

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.

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