March 7, 2018

Community Developments: HOME + Section 4 + CDFI Dear Colleague Letters

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, President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget request calls for eliminating a range of housing and community development programs, including HOME Investment Partnerships, Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development, and the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) programs. Enterprise encourages housing advocates to reach out to their Representatives and urge them to sign ‘Dear Colleague’ letters that support robust funding for these programs:
    • Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH) is sponsoring a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter urging the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Subcommittee to fund the HOME Program at $1.2 billion in FY 2019. The deadline for Representatives to sign on is COB Tuesday, March 13. House offices can sign on using this link
    • Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT) and Rep. John Faso (R-NY) are co-sponsoring a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter urging the House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee to fund the Section 4 Program at $40 million in FY 2019. The deadline for House offices to sign on is COB Tuesday, March 13. House offices can sign on by contacting Matthew Colvin in Rep. Esty’s office at matthew.colvin@mail.house.gov or Remy Fortin in Rep. Faso's office at Remy.Fortin@mail.house.gov.
    • Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Don Young (R-AK) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter urging the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee to provide at least $248 million for the CDFI Fund programs in FY 2019 appropriations. The deadline for House offices to sign the letter is Thursday, March 15.  
  • Citing examples from St. Louis, Missouri, CityLab looks at how the threat of budget cuts impacts waitlists for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. In anticipation of looming cuts, housing authorities often preemptively cut costs by freezing their waitlists and/or reducing the payment levels of vouchers, which results in fewer households receiving assistance and increased rent burden for existing voucher holders. According to HUD, 35 percent of voucher holders spend more than three years on waitlists and 15 percent spend more than five years waiting. Furthermore, an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities points out that President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2018 would cut around 235,000 households from the Housing Choice Voucher program nationwide. (City Lab, March 6)
     
  • Yesterday the Senate voted 67 – 32 to pass legislation that would revise and eliminate key parts of The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill (S. 2155) would ease regulations on smaller financial institutions, as well as exempt financial institutions with assets between $50 billion and $250 billion from federal stress tests and stricter oversight – they would no longer be labeled “too big to fail” and automatically undergo a yearly federal stress test. If passed, the bill would mark the most significant revision of banking rules since Congress passed comprehensive legislation in response to the 2008 economic crisis. (The Washington Post, March 6) 
     
  • Washington state lawmakers have passed legislation that prohibits landlords from discriminating against prospective tenants who rely on housing vouchers, Social Security or veterans benefits. The legislation also establishes a mitigation fund to reimburse property owners for any damages or lost rental income caused by tenants who rely on federal housing assistance. Eleven other states and Washington, D.C. have similar measures that prohibit “source of income” discrimination in housing, but not all allow landlords to recover potential losses. (The New York Times, March 6)
     
  • Last week Chloe Arnow of Enterprise’s New York market presented at the Fifth Annual Yale Food Systems Symposium about Enterprise’s Food Access and Affordability Pilot, which is based on several recommendations outlined in the Enterprise report: “Food at Home, Affordable Housing as a Platform to Overcome Nutritional Challenges.” Enterprise has partnered with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) and the Fund for Public Housing to design this pilot, with the goal of testing the ability of collective and online purchasing to address the barriers to food access that low-income communities often face and to help NYCHA residents save time and money. Learn more about this pilot in an Enterprise blog

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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