August 2, 2018
Community Developments: New Research Paper on Tiered-evidence Grantmaking
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- The Urban Institute has released a research paper that urges HUD to adopt a tiered-evidence framework that would help the agency better understand which interventions most effectively support access to high-opportunity neighborhoods. The paper notes that tiered-evidence grantmaking can identify effective interventions by allocating funding based on the strength of evidence tied to an approach or model, explaining that this growing grantmaking approach can build more evidence on interventions that increase access to opportunity, encourage innovation, and support local flexibility. The paper, which is part of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Collaborative, proposes a HUD “opportunity demonstration,” discussing evidence standards, criteria for grantees, examples from existing research and other key aspects of the demonstration. (Urban Institute, August 1)
- FEMA was ordered to once again extend its Transitional Sheltering Assistance (TSA) program for Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma, this time to August 30. Through the TSA program, FEMA provides direct payments to hotels and motels that house individuals and families who were forced to evacuate after the hurricanes caused severe damage to homes across the island. (NPR, August 1) As previously reported in Community Developments, nearly 1,800 Puerto Ricans were initially expected to be required to leave their hotel rooms on June 30, but a federal judge had previously ordered FEMA to extend the TSA program to August 7.
- Massachusetts’ legislature has approved legislation that implements taxes and regulations on short-term rental activity across the state. If approved by Governor Charlie Baker, the bill would extend the state’s current 5.7 percent hotel tax to most short-term rentals, as well as give municipalities the option of attaching an additional 6 percent to the tax, or 9 percent if an owner rents out two or more units in the same community. The bill would also make Massachusetts the first state to track short-term rentals through a statewide registry. (HousingWire, August 1)
- Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council voted to approve the Source of Income Discrimination Ordinance, which would prohibit landlords from discriminating based on source of income, such as subsidized housing vouchers. According to the San Diego Housing Commission, more than 85 percent of the nearly 36,500 San Diegans using federal housing vouchers are minorities, and Councilman David Alvarez notes that source of income discrimination amounts to a de facto “way of continuing to segregate our [the San Diego] community.” (NBC San Diego, July 31)
- On Monday, August 6, the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) will hold a webinar to discuss the status and outlook for the fiscal year 2019 federal budget and how advocates can effectively communicate with policymakers and the public about the need for increased federal investments in proven affordable housing and community development programs. Register here for the webinar.
In Case You Missed It
- Yesterday the U.S. Senate voted 92-6 to pass a four-bill “minibus” spending package that includes funding for HUD, Department of Agriculture (including the Rural Housing Service), and Department of Treasury (including the Community Development Financial Institution Fund). The package, which includes four of the twelve fiscal year 2019 appropriation bills, will still need to be reconciled with the House’s version of the bill. The passage of the package shows strong bipartisan support to allocating adequate funding for housing voucher programs and maintaining funding for vital housing and community development programs, including the Community Development Block Grant Program and the HOME Investment Partnership Program. See Enterprise’s updated budget chart for more information on program funding levels.