December 10, 2018

Climate Change Disproportionately Affects Low-Income Communities

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Programming Note: Community Developments will not run on Tuesday, December 11 due to a team retreat. We will return Wednesday, December 12.

  • In a blog post, Enterprise Community Partners’ President Laurel Blatchford applauds the Fourth National Climate Assessment’s emphasis on the disproportionate impacts of climate change on low-income communities, communities of color and other vulnerable populations unprepared to cope with these disruptions. She notes that low-income communities and communities of color are less likely to have the resources and capacity to prepare for and recover from extreme climate events. Blatchford highlights some of Enterprise’s efforts to address climate change and resiliency challenges. We are updating our Green Communities criteria to incorporate disaster resilience and a Net Zero Energy (NZE) target for buildings certified under the criteria starting in 2020, so that all people live in energy-efficient homes that have air-conditioning, are free of toxins and mold, and are away from pollution sources. Read the blog post on our website
     
  • An article in BisNow notes that in response to high demand for information on the Opportunity Zones tax incentive, a number of organizations and stakeholders have released tools to help potential investors understand how the tax incentive works, identify neighborhoods that qualify for it and locate assets within the designated areas in need of investment. One of those tools is Enterprise Community Partners’ Opportunity Zones Explorer, an online mapping tool that helps potential investors identify which tracts in their states qualify for the Opportunity Zones incentive and shows if those tracts qualify for any other federal place-based programs. Visit our blog and Opportunity Zones webpage for additional information. 
     
  • Last week the Minneapolis City Council passed Minneapolis 2040, a comprehensive plan to: permit duplexes and triplexes in single-family home zones; eliminate parking minimums for all new construction; and allow for higher density along transit corridors. While it may be a year before the city’s zoning regulations and building codes reflect those changes, this plan makes Minneapolis one of the first major American cities to address the effects of single-family home zoning, including higher housing costs and racial segregation. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey noted that “large swaths of our city are exclusively zoned for single-family homes, so unless you have the ability to build a very large home on a very large lot, you can’t live in the neighborhood.”  (Slate, December 7) 
     
  • NPR notes that California’s Building Standards Commission has approved a standard that will require new homes to use solar panels. Set to take effect in 2020, the new standard will offer homebuyers the option of either paying for solar panels outright, leasing them, entering a power purchase agreement with developers, or pooling community resources instead of installing solar on individual homes. According to NPR, while there have been concerns about the potential impact of this standard on real estate prices, it has been largely supported by industry groups. (NPR, December 6) 

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