October 10, 2018

Enterprise Sends HUD Ten Recommendations for Mitigation Funding

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Community Developments

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  • Enterprise has sent HUD ten recommendations for maximizing the agency’s investments in mitigation. Developed by Enterprise and other experts with experience in disaster recovery, mitigation and resilience planning, these recommendations are meant to focus on activities that might not already be explicitly permitted by the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Program. They include identifying and expediting activities known to mitigation risk; encouraging grantees to leverage their mitigation funds through loans, guarantees and creative financing vehicles; enforcing physical standards that meet or exceed those previously laid out by CDBG-DR Federal Register notices; and educating property owners of the importance of mitigation measures as a means of reducing the cost of flood insurance. HUD awarded nearly $16 billion of CDBG-DR funds for mitigation activities in April and will publish a Federal Register notice guiding these funds before grantees can begin implementing their mitigation programs. The recommendations are predicated on the notion that HUD’s mitigation dollars are a down payment on the full mitigation needs of communities nationwide.  
     
  • Yesterday Enterprise released a new paper that looks at the issues around defining and measuring gentrification and their implications for policymaking. Gentrification: Framing Our Perceptions, summarizes several approaches used in recent studies of gentrification and details the complications these create for identifying where it occurs. It describes how different definitions can lead to different findings about the consequences of gentrification, and how these inconsistencies affect policymaking. This paper includes a letter from Enterprise Community Partners’ President Laurel Blatchford, which notes that “this work is a first step in a larger effort by Enterprise’s Policy Development and Research team to better understand gentrification and its implications for policy…Future reports will also review the intersections of gentrification and education policy – specifically, how each impact the other, and with what results.” Through this work, Enterprise seeks to ensure that neighborhood change positively impact lower-income households.
     
  • Congress has passed a package of legislation that includes a pilot program that would provide housing assistance to individuals recovering from substance-use disorders, particularly opioids. The package, which would authorize Congress to provide funding for the pilot through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, would offer participants housing assistance for up to two years or until permanent housing assistance is available. It requires HUD to distribute the funds based on a formula that prioritizes states with high rates of overdose deaths and, to a lesser extent, high rates of unemployment and low rates of work participation. The bill will now go to President Trump for his signature. (NLIHC, October 9) 
     
  • Comments on amendments to HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations are due by Monday, October 15.  Earlier this year HUD published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking inviting public comment on amendments to its AFFH regulations. According to HUD, this notice seeks public comment on changes to AFFH that would: minimize regulatory burden while more effectively aiding program participants to meet their statutory obligations; create a process focused primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than analysis; provide for greater local control and innovation; seek to encourage actions that increase housing choice, including through greater housing supply; and more efficiently utilize HUD resources. 
     
  • Today HUD awarded $47 million in housing counseling grants designed to help more than 1 million households find housing, make more informed housing choices, or keep their current homes. HUD has also awarded $3.5 million to four national organizations to train and certify additional housing counselors. National and regional agencies distribute much of HUD’s housing counseling grant funding to community-based organizations that help low- and moderate-income families improve their housing conditions. These organizations also assist homeless persons in finding transitional housing, provide counseling for the rapidly growing number of elderly homeowners who seek to convert equity in their homes into income, and help borrowers avoid potential mortgage scams and other conditions that can result in a loss of equity. (HUD, October 10) 

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