May 31, 2018

Community Developments: Scarcity of Housing, THUD Appropriations

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  • A blog post by the Urban Institute, which looks at the state of the housing market and how new challenges have emerged since 2008, suggests that the most pressing issue facing the housing market today is the low inventory that drives up home prices. The blog explains that over 1 million new households are created every year, but the housing market is adding only about 800,000 units per year. The post also highlights other challenges, such as tight access to mortgage credit – which makes it difficult for responsible borrowers to get loans – and the rising cost of originating and servicing loans. (The Urban Institute, May 30) Enterprise has led research efforts that aim to identify innovative solutions for expanding the supply of affordable homes, including utilizing publicly owned parcels for creating affordable homes and preserving and increasing the supply of the small and medium multifamily housing stock
  • 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.
  • An analysis by Zillow shows that between 2011 and 2017, the share of homeowners with underwater mortgages – those who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth – declined 21.9 percent to 9.1 percent, the first time it has fallen below 10 percent since the Great Recession. It notes that this share means that 4.4 million U.S. mortgage holders still owe more than their homes are worth; of those, 16.3 percent (713,000 people) owe at least twice as much as their homes’ value. The analysis points out that the metros with the highest shares of underwater mortgages are: Virginia Beach (16.7), Chicago (15.5 percent), Baltimore (14.2 percent), and Cleveland (13 percent). (Zillow, May 30) 
  • New York City has announced a new $9.5 million investment that aims to prevent and address homelessness among LGBTQ youth across the city. This effort includes funding for the city’s first-ever shelter for young people up to age 24 and an expansion of hours at the city’s youth drop-in centers, with the goal of ensuring that every borough has a 24-hour drop-in center that serves LGBTQ youth. This investment is part of the NYC Unity Project, an effort that aims to increase the visibility of LGBTQ youth in the city and to connect them with supportive services. (Curbed New York, May 30)

In Case You Missed It

  • Yesterday 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.
  • Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter asking his House colleagues to co-sponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), bipartisan legislation to strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). In the letter, Curbelo notes that the legislation “will make the Housing Credit more flexible, simplify program requirements, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets and for hoard-to-reach populations, and institute other modifications to make the Credit an even more effective program.” Enterprise encourages all affordable housing stakeholders to share the Dear Colleague letter with your representatives and ask them to support the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. Visit the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for resources to contact your member of Congress.

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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