December 19, 2018

Proposed Stopgap Measure Would Avert Partial Government Shutdown 

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  • The current continuing resolution funding many government functions, including key affordable housing and community development programs, expires this Friday, December 21. Earlier today Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) introduced a stopgap spending measure that would fund the government through February 8, averting a partial shutdown starting December 22. It would also extend to the same date authority for the National Flood Insurance Program. The passage of this measure would give lawmakers more time to negotiate a long-term spending deal for fiscal year 2019. Stay tuned to our newsletters and blog for updates on budget and appropriations. 
  • The Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) has released a summary report on New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) investments across the nation between 2003 and 2016. The report points out that through 14 application rounds of the NMTC program, the CDFI Fund has made 1,105 awards, allocating a total of $54 billion in tax credit authority to Community Development Entities (CDEs) through a competitive application process. The report shows that that nearly 69 percent of NMTC investments made through 2016 have been concentrated in single and mixed-use real estate, health care and social assistance, manufacturing and educational services. Finally, the report documents that CDEs go beyond the minimum statutory distress requirements of the NMTC program by committing to serve areas of higher distress, rural areas and targeted populations. The NMTC is set to expire at the end of 2019 unless Congress extends the program. Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY-29) has introduced the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Extension Act of 2017 (H.R. 1098), which would make the NMTC permanent and adjust it to inflation. 
  • The Miami Herald notes that the city of Miami is one of the first American cities to officially study “climate gentrification.” The city’s goal is to identify methods for stabilizing lower-income areas with higher topographic elevations that are at risk of accelerated gentrification because they are better protected from rising sea level and flooding. The city’s decision is considered a victory for activists who have been warning about this problem for years, arguing that scarce housing on high ground, which currently is predominantly owned or occupied by low-income communities of color, is generally seen as a safe investment with high demand. A researcher at Harvard has released a study that found that low-elevation single-family homes in Miami-Dade have gained value slower than their high-elevation counterparts. (Miami Herald, December 18) 
  • A new report by the Regional Plan Association (RPA) quantifies the importance of the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) public housing developments for New Yorkers. It predicts that that a closure of 10 percent of NYCHA’s properties due to continued deterioration could require upwards of 40,000 New Yorkers to compete for scarce affordable private housing or potentially be pushed into homelessness. The analysis shows that NYCHA residents play a critical role in New York City’s economy, pointing out that they hold jobs at roughly the same rate as the city’s total population and represent a disproportionate percentage of the workforce in fields such as education, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing. The report also points out that NYCHA developments are home to 121 senior centers, 126 preschools and childcare facilities, and nearly 200 acres of open recreational space. (RPA, December 18) 
  • Greater Greater Washington has released a land use snapshot of the Metropolitan DC region. The analysis shows that over 60 percent of the new housing built in the region over the past decade was developed in the District of Columbia, Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, although together they cover only 7 percent of the region's land area. This concentration has required a small number of jurisdictions to accommodate much of the region's growth. (Greater Greater Washington, December 17) 

In Case You Missed It 

  • In October, the IRS released a first round of proposed rules for Opportunity Zones and provided 60 days to submit comments. A new Enterprise blog post points out four main priorities we will be sharing with the IRS: 1) the need to track and report outcomes of opportunity fund investments; 2) prevention of predatory land-banking under the “substantial improvement” test; 3) requiring a higher “substantially all’ threshold for real estate projects; and 4) development of regulations that encourage pairing Opportunity Zone investments with other tax credits, such as the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit. The post notes that Enterprise “remains committed to working with the Administration and Congress to create the kind of accountability and transparency that will enable stakeholders to evaluate if this program is benefiting the residents and businesses in these lower-income areas.” We encourage all affordable housing and community development stakeholders to submit their comments to the IRS before the December 28 deadline. Read more about our main priorities in our blog

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