December 12, 2018

President Trump Signs Executive Order on Opportunity Zones

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  • Today President Trump signed an Executive Order on Opportunity Zones, creating the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council with the goal of aligning federal agency priorities with the new tax incentive. According to a White House press release, this interagency council, which will be chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson and comprised of 13 federal agencies, will work on: engaging with all levels of government on ways to better use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities; improving revitalization efforts by streamlining, coordinating and targeting existing federal programs to economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones; considering legislative proposals and undertaking regulatory reform to remove barriers to revitalization efforts; and presenting reports on ways to encourage investment in economically distressed communities. Stay tuned to our blog for further information on this Executive Order. 
  • Enterprise has submitted comments to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on proposed amendments to its regulations on “public charge,” the term by U.S. immigration officials use to refer to a person who DHS considers primarily dependent on the government for subsistence. These changes would significantly expand the definition of a public benefit to include Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), as well as any federal housing assistance such as the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program, the Section 8 Project Based Rental Assistance Program, or residency in any HUD-funded public housing development. Our comments point out that as a partner in the community development process, we oppose the amendments to the current public charge, since they could lead to higher application denial rates for noncitizens seeking admission to the U.S., noncitizens applying for lawful permanent resident status and those seeking an extension of or changes to their non-immigrant status. This comment letter notes that “the unintended consequences of this rule change will be deeply destabilizing to these communities, prompting some to forgo their legal right to benefits out of fear of hindering the entry and change of status applications of their family members.” Read our comment letter on the Enterprise website
  • In a continuing effort to help end veteran homelessness, HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) yesterday announced a second round of funding to help veterans experiencing homelessness and their families access permanent affordable housing. Provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program, those funds will help public housing agencies across six states and the District of Columbia offer an additional 424 vouchers to veterans experiencing homelessness. The HUD-VASH program combines rental assistance vouchers from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. (HUD, December 11) 
  • An article in City Lab looks at the first-ever nationwide assessment of urban flooding, which can be caused by flash flooding, coastal flooding, river floods or rapid snow melt. Researchers at the University of Maryland and Texas A&M University found that between 1993 and 2017, more than 3,600 urban flooding incidents took place across the country. The study explains that urban flooding is the country’s “hidden challenge,” pointing out that when flooding happens in a small part of a city or urban region, the incident typically does not get examined for its economic and social damages. Researchers also note that urban floods disproportionately impact lower-income communities that have the least resources, creating challenges like loss of hourly wages when a flood prevents low-wage workers from getting to work. (City Lab, December 12)
  • An analysis by CoreLogic shows that 4.4 percent of home mortgages in September were delinquent by 30 days or more, down from 5 percent a year earlier. Between September 2017 and September 2018, the national foreclosure inventory rate – the share of mortgages in some stage of the foreclosure process – declined slightly to 0.5 percent. (CoreLogic, December 11)

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