January 31, 2019

Enterprise NY and FHJC Released Policy Agenda to Create Equitable, Inclusive and Affordable Communities

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Community Developments: Enterprise NY and FHJC Released Policy Agenda to Create Equitable, Inclusive and Affordable Communities

  • Enterprise New York and the Fair Housing Justice Center (FHJC) have released Closing the Divide: Creating Equitable, Inclusive, and Affordable Communities, a policy agenda that aims to address issues facing the affordable and fair housing industries across the New York City region. In 2017, Enterprise, in partnership with the FHJC, launched the Regional Affordable and Fair Housing Roundtable, a working group comprised of nearly 30 affordable housing, community development, fair housing, and for- and nonprofit organizations. Over a year-long process of discussion and cross-sector education, the Roundtable developed this policy agenda, which highlights recommendations to address the region’s affordable and fair housing challenges. These recommendations include: ending the vacancy allowance in the current law that allows an automatic rent increase of 20 percent when a rent-stabilized apartment is vacated; fixing the incentive structure around major capital improvement to mitigate consequences like high tenant turnover and displacement; and passing a statewide law, such as just cause eviction protections, applying it to all municipalities where rising rents threaten the housing security of families. Read the policy agenda on our website
  • In a statement released Tuesday, the White House said it will work with Congress to reform the nation’s housing finance system. As previously reported in Community Developments, Joseph Otting, the Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director, has made remarks to the agency’s employees about the Administration’s plan to end government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, noting that the Administration would not wait on Congress to move forward on these efforts. However, the White House’s statement explained that it “expects to announce a framework for the development of a policy for comprehensive housing finance reform shortly. At this time, no decisions have been made on any reform plan. As part of the process, however, the administration will work with Congress to formulate a plan that fully addresses the risks to taxpayers presented by the current housing finance system and that improves the ability of creditworthy Americans to buy a home.” (Housing Wire, January 30) Enterprise has released recommendations for housing finance reform that would expand support for affordable single-family and rental housing.
  • The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Coalition is circulating an organizational sign-on letter to show support for preserving the Credit as it approaches the end of its authorization in December 2019. The NMTC is a proven and effective tool for generating investment and job growth in low-income communities across the country. Between 2003 and 2015, NMTC investments directly created over one million jobs and leveraged nearly $80 billion in capital investment in credit-starved businesses in communities with high poverty and unemployment rates. It is critical that Congress act to extend NMTC authority before it expires at the end of 2019. Join the NMTC Coalition sign-on letter before February 8.
  • According to HUD and the Census Bureau, sales of new single-family houses in November increased 16.9 percent month-over-month, but dropped 7.7 percent year-over-year, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 657,000. The median sales price of new houses sold in November was $302,400. The seasonally adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of November was 330,000, which represents a supply of six months at the current sales rate. (HUD, January 31) 
  • Kansas City (MO) Housing Committee has voted unanimously to extend fair housing protections to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, advancing the ordinance to a full Council vote. The ordinance would extend existing protections – prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, marital status, familial status, sexual orientation and gender identity – to prohibit landlords from refusing to rent to tenants who have experienced domestic and sexual violence. The committee has removed a provision that would have extended fair housing protections to HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers’ holders, pointing out that members will continue to work on identifying ways to help voucher recipients access more housing options. (The Kansas City Star, January 30) 

Upcoming Events

  • The ULI Terwilliger Center for Housing will host its Housing Opportunity 2019 conference on February 4 – 6 in Newport Beach, California, to share lessons learned and best practices for addressing an array of housing challenges. The conference will cover several topics, including: homelessness and successful strategies to reduce it; tools for preserving and expanding affordable and senior housing; sustainable, healthy and equitable housing options; and investing in housing and new sources of capital. Online registration is available at: https://bit.ly/2FKyyng
  • On Tuesday, February 19, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) will hold an event titled “Is Opportunity Knocking: Can Opportunity Zones Aid Distressed Neighborhoods?” with a focus on whether and how this tax incentive could achieve its goals. This event will feature a presentation by Enterprise Community Partners President Laurel Blatchford, which will be followed by a panel discussion that will be moderated by JCHS Managing Director Chris Herbert and will feature Blatchford, Fireflower Partners President Maria Cabildo and Louisville Metro Government’s Director of Redevelopment Strategies Jeana Dunlop. It will be held at Harvard Kennedy School at 6:30 p.m. ET. Learn more about the event.

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