January 17, 2019

Update on Partial Government Shutdown, Microsoft Pledges $500 Million to Support Affordable Housing 

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  • Yesterday the House passed a bill that would reopen the government through February 8 and provide $12.1 billion in federal disaster aid. Its passage comes on the 26th day of the budget impasse, which started on December 22 over funding the Administration’s proposed border wall. Senate Republican leaders are not expected to take up the measure for a floor vote, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains opposed to voting on any bill until the President indicates he will sign it. Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus met with the President yesterday to discuss ending the partial government shutdown, but the negotiations did not produce any tangible progress. (The Hill, January 16) Currently, 800,000 federal workers are furloughed, including nearly 450,000 who are being required to report to work without pay. (ABC News, January 17) The President has signed legislation that ensures that essential and furloughed federal workers will be paid once the shutdown is over. In addition, Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA) have introduced legislation that would “prohibit landlords and creditors from taking action against federal workers or contractors who are hurt by the shutdown and cannot pay rent or repay loans.” (Vox, January 16) Enterprise calls on Congress and the Administration to end the government shutdown and pass full-year spending bills that provide strong funding for affordable housing and community development.
     
  • Microsoft Corporation – which is based in Redmond, WA – has pledged $500 million to support affordable housing construction and preservation efforts across the Seattle area. Microsoft will invest $225 million to subsidize the preservation and construction of middle-income housing in six cities east of Seattle and Lake Washington, $250 million to support low-income housing across the King County region, and $25 million in philanthropic grants to help address the Seattle region homelessness challenge. (Microsoft Corporate Blogs, January 16) The Wall Street Journal reports that at a meeting with journalists this week, Microsoft Chief Executive Satya Nadella and President Brad Smith “emphasized affordable housing as one of the issues tech companies need to address to strengthen trust in their industry and ensure the health of their communities.” In the Seattle area, where Microsoft employs nearly 50,000 people, median home prices have risen 96 percent over the past decade, and there is an estimated shortage of about 305,000 housing units for middle- and low-income families. (WSJ, January 16) |
     
  • As part of Enterprise’s emerging economic mobility initiative, the Urban Institute has released a research report, Economic Mobility Services for Affordable Housing Residents: Exploring Resident Services as a Vehicle for Economic Success. Enterprise seeks to make housing a platform to economic mobility to help children born in low-income families and adults experiencing poverty move out of poverty and become more economically successful and secure. Therefore, we partnered with researchers at the Urban Institute to do a scan of efforts linking housing and economic mobility interventions. This research identified four promising practices that housing providers and/or service providers working with affordable housing can employ to promote economic mobility among residents: 1) paying residents for training and work, 2) integrating property management and resident services, 3) individualizing services and supports to match residents’ goals, and 4) extending the time frame for services and supports. The study points out that regardless of how services are delivered, even the highest-quality programs cannot move the needle on economic mobility without changes across multiple systems that expand opportunities for residents.
     
  • Mayor de Blasio of New York City announced yesterday that his administration financed 34,160 affordable homes last year, marking a new record for both new construction, with 10,099 new homes financed, as well as for preservation, with 24,061 units. This new record brings the total number of affordable units financed to date under the Housing New York plan to nearly 122,000. Last year the city invested $1.73 billion in affordable housing creation and preservation, leveraging more than $1.84 billion in bonds issued by its Housing Development Corporation. Enterprise Community Partners’ VP and New York Market Leader Judi Kende stated “we congratulate the City on this achievement and look forward to furthering our shared commitment to ensure every New Yorker has access to a safe, affordable home…We are proud to partner with HPD [the Department of Housing Preservation and Development] and HDC to create homes that meet the diverse needs of New Yorkers, including seniors, people with disabilities, formerly homeless families, and many others.” (NYC.gov, January 16) 

In Case You Missed It

  • Enterprise and Kaiser Permanente, a national leader in health care innovation, have announced two ventures that elevate homes as essential to health and well-being. Kaiser Permanente has invested $15 million in the Enterprise-managed Housing for Health Fund, which will preserve affordable homes in the Bay Area, and will match up to $35 million in additional funds raised by Enterprise. This equity fund has already made an initial $5.2 million commitment to help a local nonprofit acquire and preserve the affordability of a 41-unit apartment complex in a gentrifying neighborhood in East Oakland. The second collaboration is a $100 million national loan fund, comprised of a $50 million loan from Kaiser Permanente to the Enterprise Community Loan Fund and $50 million in capital from Loan Fund. Over the next decade, the fund will create and preserve 3,250 affordable homes in Kaiser Permanente’s nationwide service areas. Both of Kaiser Permanente’s investments are part of its $200 million Thriving Communities Fund. 

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