February 28, 2018

Community Developments: Section 4 Sign-On Letter, California Housing Bill

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

  • Tomorrow is the deadline for organizations to sign onto a letter urging Congress to fund the Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development Program at $40 million in fiscal year (FY) 2019. President Trump’s FY 2019 budget request proposes eliminating funding for Section 4, even though the program leverages more than $20 in other funding for every $1 of Section 4 money invested. In addition to its cost-effectiveness, Section 4 is the only federal program exclusively focused on increasing the effectiveness of local community development organizations so they can expand their work in affordable housing and community development. Sign your organization onto the letter by COB (5PM ET) tomorrow. 
  • As previously reported in Community Developments, California State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) has introduced a bill (SB 827) that aims to expand the supply of new housing near the state’s core transit stations by eliminating density maximums and parking minimums and by imposing minimum height requirements in those areas. Yesterday Wiener announced a series of amendments to the bill to address potential negative impacts like displacement and spikes in home values. These amendments include preserving local demolition controls and limitations, protecting rent-controlled housing, prohibiting the demolition of all renter-occupied housing unless a “Right to Remain Guarantee” is granted for existing tenants, and applying local inclusionary zoning requirements to all developments. (Medium, February 27) 
  • The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has published the latest edition of its Community Developments Investments newsletter. This month’s issue, titled “Expanding Housing Opportunities: Single-Family Rehabilitation Financing Programs,” describes how banks can make home renovation loans in distressed areas, highlights significant revitalization efforts in neighborhoods in Detroit, Baltimore and other cities, and explains how federal and government-sponsored enterprise loan programs and tax credits are supporting community and bank rehabilitation financing initiatives. It also addresses how community development-related home rehabilitation efforts can qualify for consideration in a bank’s Community Reinvestment Act evaluation. (OCC, February 27)
  • A new blog by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) highlights four papers that examine the potential for HUD's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule to meaningfully increase inclusion, including the implications of HUD's decision to suspend for at least two years the requirement that jurisdictions submit the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH). The AFFH rules requires local governments that receive HUD funding to examine their local landscape and set fair housing priorities and goals by conducting an AFH. These publications were originally presented at “A Shared Future: Fostering Communities of Inclusion in an Era of Inequality,” a national symposium hosted by JCHS in April 2017. (JCHS, February 28) 
  • A blog by the Urban Institute examines the racial disparities in homeownership in the U.S. by mapping the gap between the white and black homeownership rates in the 100 cities with the largest number of black households. The post highlights that the gap between black and white homeownership rates persists in all analyzed cities, even in the ones where black households are the majority. It also notes that northern cities tend to have larger gaps than those in the South and on the West Coast. The blog suggests that these gaps are directly connected to challenges facing black households, including having less savings, retirement funds and access to educational opportunity than white households. (Urban Institute, February 23)

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