July 2, 2018
Community Developments: Federal Court Temporarily Halts the Termination of FEMA’s Transitional Shelter Assistance Program
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- Earlier this week, a federal judge in Massachusetts issued an injunction barring FEMA from terminating its Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) program, which provides short-term lodging assistance to families displaced by natural disasters. Nearly 1,800 Puerto Ricans were expected to leave their hotel rooms, but the temporary injunction ordered FEMA to extend the program until midnight on Tuesday, July 3. The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition, which comprises of more than 700 local, state, and national organizations, commends the decision made on June 30, which came after national civil rights groups LatinoJustice PRLDEF and Faith in Action filed a class action lawsuit, and urges Congress to enact longer-term housing solutions to ensure that no disaster survivor faces the increased risk of homelessness. (NLIHC, July 1)
- The NYU Furman Center has released a fact brief on the state of New York City’s subsidized housing, which reviews major programs used to develop and preserve affordable housing in the city and provides the number and location of properties that benefited from a subsidy or incentive in 2017. The report finds that there were over 1,900 properties containing nearly 116,000 units in New York City in 2017 that were developed using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), with the majority of these units in Manhattan (37.7 percent) and the Bronx (35.6 percent). It also notes that of the 2,663 properties in the city with HUD and Mitchell-Lama subsidies in 2017, 11 percent could age out of affordability restrictions by 2023 unless renewed by the owners or the housing agencies. (NYU Furman Center, June 28)
- Last week the Austin City Council voted 8-3 to add a $925 million bond package that includes $250 million for affordable housing to the November general election ballot. The bond package would also allocate $184 million for flood mitigation and open space and $160 million for transportation. Under the proposed bond package, the average Austin homeowner would see their property tax rate increase by 2 cents per $100 of valuation. (Austin Business Journal, June 29)
- On Thursday, July 12, Enterprise Community Partners will host a webinar on “Creative Placemaking: More than Murals” to discuss lessons learned from delivering the Enterprise Climate and Cultural Resilience grant program over the past year. This webinar will feature Nella Young, senior program director at Enterprise, and Meghan Venable-Thomas, cultural resilience fellow at Enterprise, and will be moderated by Mia Scharphie, founder of Creative Agency. Register here for the webinar.
- As part of Enterprise’s 9th annual Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI), on Tuesday, July 17, a keynote presentation on “Putting Design to Work” will discuss how design can and should help achieve equity and promote social, health and economic outcomes. This presentation, which will be held at 6 p.m. at the Seattle Art Museum, will feature Steven Lewis, urban design director for the city of Detroit's central region. Earlier this year AHDLI won the American Institute of Architects’ Collaborative Achievement Award, which recognizes the excellence that results when architects work with those from outside the profession to improve the spaces where people live and work. Register here for the event.
In Case You Missed It
- In a blog post, Enterprise’s Vice President for Policy Development, Andrew Jakabovics, looks at the Administration’s recent proposal to make major changes to the nation’s housing finance system under the umbrella of reform. Jakabovics explains that the proposal, which was nestled within the Administration’s sweeping proposal to reorganize the Federal Government, calls for ending the conservatorship (and charters) of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (collectively, the Government Sponsored Enterprises or GSEs), creating a paid-for guarantee of catastrophic risk on mortgage-backed securities, and establishing other fully private guarantors. Using previous Enterprise policy recommendations for housing finance reform as a guide, Jakabovics evaluates the new proposal pointing out that it is largely in line with the mainstream, bipartisan consensus that there is an appropriate role for a paid-for government backstop that would limit investor losses on mortgage-backed securities without guaranteeing the entities issuing them. However, the proposal is entirely silent on the future of rental housing finance and the GSEs’ multifamily business lines, and makes a critical mistake in assuming that affordable housing objectives and traditional underwriting are mutually exclusive and therefore would shift primary responsibility for serving low- and moderate-income borrowers to HUD and FHA. Enterprise will continue to remain engaged on this critical issue and work towards a future system that is structured to protect taxpayers while broadly serving the needs of homeowners and renters. Learn more about the proposal in Enterprise’s blog post.