June 21, 2018

Community Developments: Recessions Bill Stalled in the U.S. Senate

Community Developments

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

  • Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted down “The Spending Cuts to Expired and Unnecessary Programs Act,” a bill that would have rescinded $15 billion in previously approved funding. The bill, which passed the House on June 7, includes cuts of $40 million in funds that support residents of public housing, $40 million from rural rental assistance and $141 million from the Capital Magnet Fund. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the recession bill specifically targeted funding for: the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS) program, leading to cuts that would have damaged efforts to hire service coordinators to help public housing residents access resources in their communities; the rural rental assistance program, which would have prevented USDA from fully renewing all existing contracts; and the Capital Magnet Fund, leading to reduced private-sector investments in affordable housing and community development. (NLIHC, June 20)
     
  • Enterprise’s Home & Hope initiative catalyzes the transformation of underutilized public and tax-exempt sites into affordable homes and early learning centers. In partnership with Futurewise, support from the King County Assessor and funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Enterprise is creating a Home & Hope mapping tool to help stakeholders search for public and tax-exempt sites throughout King County. The tool includes filters for: location, site attributes, proximity to other uses, eligibility for financing tools like Opportunity Zones, and owner agency types. The mapping tool is scheduled to be finalized and ready for use by this fall. Learn more about this upcoming mapping tool in Enterprise’s blog post, and read our report on “Public Benefit from Publicly Owned Parcels: Effective Practices in Affordable Housing Development”
     
  • According to a report by the National Association of Realtors, U.S. existing home sales in May declined 0.4 percent month-over-month and 3 percent year-over-year to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.43 million. The median seasonally adjusted price of existing homes sold in May fell 0.3 percent to $255,300, but remains 4.9 percent higher than it was in May 2017. The report also points out that sales of both single-family homes and condos/coops continue to trend upward in the South, but have now begun to trend downward in the West, noting that single-family sales have been trending downward in the Northeast and Midwest since the start of 2018. (Zillow, June 20) 
     
  • King County’s Executive Dow Constantine has proposed a plan to bond against future hotel-motel tax revenues to generate $100 million for affordable housing for households earning between 30 percent and 80 percent of the area median income (AMI), with a likely focus on 30-60 percent of the AMI. According to Curbed Seattle, this plan is similar to a 2016 effort that bonded $87 million for affordable housing, which is projected to fund the preservation or construction of nearly 1,700 units. The bill, which is still being drafted, will be sent to the King County Council for consideration. (Curbed Seattle, June 20)
     
  • Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston has signed an ordinance that regulates short-term rentals across the city into law. The ordinance bans investors – defined as people who do not live on or near the property -- from renting out units through platforms like Airbnb and HomeAway, creates a short-term rental data-collection system and allows homeowners to rent out rooms or a whole home that they live in, or adjacent units in two- or three-family buildings. While Airbnb claims that the new ordinance creates a system that violates the privacy of its hosts, housing advocates maintain that short-term rental platforms contribute to the city's rising housing costs and challenges like displacement. (NextCity, June 18)

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.