June 1, 2018

Community Developments: Report on the Estimated Cost of Hurricane Storms in 2018, May Jobs Report

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  • A report by CoreLogic, which examines risk from hurricane-driven storm surge for homes along the coastlines of 19 states, shows that more than 6.9 million homes along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast are at risk of damage from hurricane storm surge in 2018. It points out that reconstruction of all these homes would cost more than $1.6 trillion, up 6.6 percent from 2017 due to higher construction, equipment and labor costs. (HousingWire, May 31) Earlier this year 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, released a report, Safer and Stronger Cities: Strategies for Advocating for Federal Resiliency Policy. This report, which was prepared by Enterprise Community Partners in collaboration with Climate Resilience Consulting, Georgetown Climate Center and HR&A Advisors, offers a menu of federal policy recommendations that can help cities become more resilient in the face of changing conditions, focusing on infrastructure, housing, flood insurance, economic development, and public safety. These policy recommendations have been endorsed by 22 mayors from across the country. Read the report on the Enterprise website.
     
  • According to data released today by the Labor Department, the U.S. economy added 223,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since early 2000. The data also show that worker’s average earnings rose by 8 cents an hour, up 2.7 percent year-over-year. (The New York Times, June 1) As previously highlighted in Community Developments, a blog post by the Center for American Progress notes that since the employment recovery began in February 2010, the U.S. economy has added more than 18 million jobs and the labor market has started to deliver modest wage growth for workers, with wages increasing 2.4 percent over the past year. The blog also explains that although the unemployment rate — the percentage of people actively looking for a job — is at prerecession levels, the employment rate — the percentage of the whole population that is employed—remains below prerecession rates, which indicates that many people have exited the labor market due to long-term unemployment. It also points out that the number of workers who are employed only part time because they are unable to find full-time work remains high compared with prerecession levels.
     
  • Yesterday Governor Charlie Baker of Massachusetts signed a bill that authorizes $1.8 billion in housing bonds over the next five years. The measure will renew and expand funding for a variety of housing programs and initiatives, including the redevelopment of public housing, the construction of affordable housing, and the preservation of historic buildings. (The Boston Globe, May 31) As previously reported in Community Developments, the bill is expected to help create at least 17,000 new housing units over the next five years.
     
  • According to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority January's annual count, the number of homeless individuals in the Los Angeles County decreased 3 percent year-over-year to 53,195, the first drop in four years. The count also shows that the number of homeless individuals in the city of Los Angeles declined to 31,516. Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles suggested that the overall decrease shows that strategies to reduce homelessness are working. The count came as funds started coming in from two ballot measures that are aimed at addressing homelessness: one that allows Los Angeles to issue $1.2 billion in bonds to construct housing, and another that makes $355 million in sales tax revenue available for services across the county. (U.S. & the World News | AP, May 31)
     
  • Today HUD Secretary Ben Carson announced Protect our Kids! campaign, an agency-wide enforcement campaign that aims to get landlords and sellers of older homes to fulfill their responsibilities to disclose lead-based paint hazards in their properties, as well to work on ensuring that all federally assisted homes are lead-safe. HUD estimates that nearly 30 million homes in the U.S. have indoor environmental hazards such as lead-based paint, mold, pests, water leaks, and many others. Through its Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, HUD promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead paint and other housing-related health hazards from lower- and moderate-income homes; stimulates private sector investment in lead hazard control; supports research on methods for assessing and controlling housing-related health and safety hazards; and educates the public about hazards in the home. (HUD, June 1)

In Case You Missed it

  • The Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee will markup its FY 19 spending bill next week. Enterprise urges stakeholders to reach out to Senate Appropriators to voice their support for robust funding for essential programs like the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Community Development Block Grant Program, the Section 4 Capacity Building Program, and Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers. The Senate’s FY 2019 THUD bill follows the House version, which provided mostly level funding for housing and community development programs. For more information on the House bill and the appropriations process, see Enterprise’s blog post.
     
  • Earlier this week Enterprise hosted a two-part webinar on Opportunity Zones: Part 1 of this webinar, State and Local Policies to Prevent Displacement, discusses anti-displacement policies that help ensure existing residents and businesses can benefit from, and participate in, the growth and economic development that occurs in a community; and Part 2, State and Local Policies to Attract Investment, discusses policies that can be pursued at the state and local level to attract investments to specific communities or projects through the creative use of incentives. Access the webinar’s recording on the Enterprise website and visit our Opportunity Zones webpage for more information and updates. 

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.