January 3, 2019

Partial Government Shutdown Enters 13th Day

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  • The partial government shutdown has entered its 13th day, making it the fourth-longest in U.S. history. The House under the new leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is set to pass a spending package this evening aimed at ending the shutdown. The package would fund six of the closed federal departments and agencies – including the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture and Treasury – through September 30 and the Department of Homeland Security through February 8. According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the Senate will not vote on any bill until the President has indicated that he will sign it. Yesterday congressional leaders of both parties met with the President to discuss an agreement that would end the budget impasse over funding the proposed border wall, but this meeting did not produce any tangible progress. Stay tuned to our newsletters and blog for updates on budget and appropriations.
  • In an op-ed, Terri Ludwig, former CEO of Enterprise Community Partner, and Tyler Norris, chief executive of Well Being Trust, note that the twin challenges of housing and health care affordability have a deep impact on our nation’s health and well-being. The authors point out that “there can be no good health without good housing―and so the housing and health-care sectors must partner closely to help ensure the most vulnerable have access to a stable, healthy foundation to succeed in life.” The op-ed highlights a study by the Center for Outcomes Research and Education and Enterprise, which found that affordable housing paired with health-care services “transformed the health-care experiences of Medicaid-covered residents―increasing use of primary care services, reducing emergency department visits and lowering health-care expenditures.” Enterprise is partnering with the health-care industry to explore innovative investment models and other strategies that address the housing challenge to improve health outcomes. (MHN, January 2) 
  • The Metropolitan Council (Metro), the legislative authority of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County, has introduced an ordinance that would require the Metro government to contribute the same amount to the local Barnes Fund for Affordable Housing that it grants to a qualified company in economic and community development incentives. Mayor David Briley has offered a $15 million incentive package to Amazon for the new Operations Center of Excellence the company plans to develop in downtown Nashville, and the proposed bill would require Metro to make an equal contribution to the Barnes Fund. The bill now heads to the Council for the first round of votes. (The Tennessean, January 2)
  • Utah State Senator Jake Anderegg (R-Lehi) has proposed a bill, SB34, that would boost affordable housing across the state. The bill would allocate an initial $20 million to the Olene Walker Housing Loan Fund, followed by an annual allocation of $4 million. It would also encourage the construction of high-density housing near transit lines, permit accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and eliminate or reduce parking requirements in certain areas. Under the proposed bill, housing plans submitted by cities must include an analysis of “how the municipality will provide a realistic opportunity for the development of moderate income housing within the next five years.” (The Salt Lake City Tribune, January 1)  
  • The Oakland City Council has approved the Public Land Policy with the goal of boosting affordable housing development across the city. The policy clarifies that the city intends to: allocate 100 percent of proceeds from future sales of city-owned land to an affordable housing trust fund, give the first right of refusal to developers that agree to sell at least half of their units at below-market rates, and require that all construction projects on city parcels give priority to local workers. The policy is expected to yield at least 800 below-market-rate units. City staff will work on developing an ordinance that would codify the policy. (The Mercury News, January 1) Read our report on "Public Benefit from Publicly Owned Parcels: Effective Practices in Affordable Housing Development.”

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