April 6, 2018

Community Developments: HUD and the VA Award $43 Million to Help Homeless Veterans Find Permanent Housing

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  • Today HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) awarded $43 million to 325 public housing agencies (PHAs) to provide permanent housing to more than 5,200 veterans experiencing homelessness. Granted through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, these funds will provide homeless veterans with vouchers that will enable them to attain decent, affordable housing in the private market. More than 87,000 vouchers have been awarded and nearly 144,000 homeless veterans have been served through the HUD-VASH program since 2008. (HUD, April 6)
  • Earlier this week the Houston City Council voted 9-7 to mandate that all new homes built in the 500-year floodplain be elevated two feet above the projected flood level. A 500-year floodplain describes an extreme flooding event that has a 2 percent chance of occurring in any year. Current city regulations stipulate only that homes built in the 100-year floodplain be constructed one foot above the projected flood level. (Next City, April 6) As previously reported in Community Developments, HUD has set stricter elevation requirements for construction and renovation efforts that use the agency’s funds in flood-prone areas, with the goal of reducing future flood risks to people and properties when rebuilding is funded with federal disaster recovery funds. Under the new rules, which govern $7.39 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds, the bottom floor of new or rehabilitated buildings must be at least two feet above the base flood elevation established by FEMA, and critical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes must be elevated at least three feet. (Building Green, April 4)
  • Today the Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent. Workers’ average hourly earnings rose by 8 cents, a 2.7 percent year-over-year increase. In addition, the department’s revisions in the January and February figures produced a net loss of 50,000 jobs. (The New York Times, April 6)
  • According to a new national survey by Bloomberg Philanthropies, U.S. mayors are increasingly listing issues that are typically national and state priorities as their top local policy concerns. According to the survey, which includes mayors and city managers from 156 cities, eight out of 10 mayors reported that climate change is very to somewhat important for their cities, and two-thirds of the surveyed mayors stated that infrastructure is a top concern for their constituents – some mayors believe it will be the biggest problem their cities or the nation faces in a decade. Among other top concerns for residents are affordable housing, the opioid crisis and traffic. (CityLab, April 5)

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