October 19, 2018

Treasury Released Proposed Rules on Implementation of Opportunity Zones

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Community Developments

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  • The Treasury Department has released proposed rules and an accompanying revenue ruling for Opportunity Zones and provided a 60-day public comment period. Within the proposed rules Treasury states that it is working on additional published guidance, including proposed regulations expected to be published in the near future. Early this morning, the Wall Street Journal and New York Times circulated advance coverage prior to the proposed rules being made public. Enterprise remains committed to advocating for regulations that promote transparency, prevent abuse, and ensure inclusive and economic growth. Stay tuned as we complete our analysis of this initial round of guidance, and what potential impacts it may have on formation of Opportunity Funds and investment of capital in Opportunity Zones. 
     
  • U.S. Representatives Charlie Crist (D-FL-13), a member of the House Financial Services Committee that oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and Roger Williams (R-TX-25) have introduced the State Flood Mitigation Revolving Fund Act (H.R. 7037), legislation that would establish a low-interest, revolving loan program to help property owners better protect their homes and businesses from storm damage, ultimately driving down insurance premiums and reducing post-disaster claims. This bill, which Enterprise supports, would help states offer low-interest loans to the NFLIP participants for flood mitigation projects to better protect their properties, and FEMA would offer NFIP premium reductions in line with mitigation efforts taken.
     
  • An article in the Los Angeles Times looks at earthquake preparedness in California. It notes that even with at least one million California homes at risk of sliding off their foundations in an earthquake due to a structural defect, there is no mandate to retrofit single-family homes for earthquake protection, and only 10 percent of California homeowners have earthquake insurance — largely because obtaining insurance is generally not required by lenders. The article points out that the state has recently launched a new round of a grant program to offer homeowners up to $3,000 to retrofit their homes, as well as expanded the geographical areas in which homeowners can apply for this grant. The state also aims at reducing the cost of retrofitting homes by offering templates for several types of homes that can guide contractors and homeowners in the process. (LA Times, October 18)
     
  • Earlier this week Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced the appointment of Terri Lee as the city’s first chief housing officer. Lee was most recently the deputy commissioner of the city of Atlanta department of city planning, where she established the city’s $75 million Housing Opportunity Bond initiative. The primary responsibilities of the new officer include establishing policies and goals for the city’s affordable housing strategy, communicating with the community to fully understand their housing needs, and ensuring bold thinking, collaboration and accountability across city agencies as the challenge of affordable housing is addressed. (Pittsburgh Courier, October 18) 
     
  • A blog post by the Brooking Institute highlights recent economic research that looks at how rent control affects tenants and housing markets. According to the blog, these data analyses found that while rent control can boost affordability in the short run for current tenants, in the long-run it often decreases affordability and creates negative externalities on the surrounding neighborhood. Citing an example from San Francisco, the post argues that the adoption of rent control can encourage some landlords to convert their units to condominiums to exempt them from rent control, and others decide to neglect maintenance, which can lead to reduction in the supply of safe and affordable rentals. (Brookings Institute, October 18)
     
  • Enterprise Community Partners has announced that CEO Terri Ludwig will be leaving Enterprise at year-end to become president of Philanthropy at Ballmer Group. Read our statement.

Upcoming Webinar 

  • On Wednesday October 31, Enterprise Community Partners will hold a webinar on "Creative Placemaking: Filling the Void Between Development and Artists." This webinar will discuss with Kaziah Haviland, director of design and planning at Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation, and Lea Oxenhandler, Rose architectural fellow at People's Emergency Center, how they were able to bridge the connection between development and artists through identifying resources and making the case for including the work in the budget. Register here for the webinar.

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