January 22, 2019

Update on Partial Government Shutdown, Mayors See Housing Costs as Obstacle to Social Mobility

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  • The Hill reports that as the partial government shutdown carries into its fifth week, the House and Senate are heading in opposite directions. The President has proposed an immigration deal to end the budget impasse, asking for $5.7 billion for the proposed border wall in exchange for a three-year extension of protected status for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is expected to bring up a spending bill that includes the President’s proposal to a floor vote this week, but Democratic leaders have already dismissed the proposed deal, restating their desire to reopen the government before negotiating specifics on border security. House Democrats are expected to vote later this week on another spending package, which does not include border wall funding, to reopen the closed nine federal departments through the end of the fiscal year. (The Hill, January 22) The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) has published an updated factsheet highlighting the shutdown’s impacts on low-income residents and federal housing programs. Enterprise is a member of the CHDF and joins with affordable housing stakeholders and partners across the country in calling 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.
  • According to Boston University’s 2018 Menino Survey of Mayors, which is based on interviews with a representative sample of 110 mayors from 37 states, municipal leaders believe that insufficient living-wage jobs (32 percent) and high housing costs (27 percent) are the top two obstacles to achieving social mobility for residents. While mayors generally want to increase the supply of housing in their cities, the survey shows that most are only aiming for relatively modest increases over the next decade -- half of the mayors want a maximum increase of only 10 percent. More than half of the surveyed mayors reported that cities should encourage increasing housing density in more popular, established neighborhoods, and nearly all surveyed mayors (91 percent) stated that decisions regarding housing development should be made at the city level, not the neighborhood, state or federal levels. (Menino Survey of Mayors, January 2019) 
  • Last week the United Way Worldwide announced the United for U.S. Coalition, a joint effort by corporate partners, organized labor, nonprofits and the United Way network, to help furloughed federal workers and others impacted by the ongoing government shutdown. As a United Ways corporate partner, Wells Fargo has pledged $250,000 in grants to help federal employees meet their basic needs, including food, bill assistance and shelter. Bank of America has also pledged $10,000 to the United Way National Capital Area (NCA) Emergency Assistance Fund, which will be directed to organizations in the Washington, D.C., area to help affected employees with food, rent and utility assistance programs. United Way NCA, which has made available $50,000 through its Emergency Assistance Fund to meet basic needs, is calling on corporate partners and individuals in the region to join this effort by contributing, including matching its pledge. 
  • Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) has announced her plans to run for President in 2020. Last year Harris proposed legislation that would provide refundable tax credits to renters who earn less than $100,000 a year but spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent and utilities. Harris’ policy agenda also includes a proposal aimed at enacting a $2.8 trillion tax plan that would provide tax credits to middle- and working-class families, a Medicare-for-all health-care system, and legislation that would encourage states to reform or reduce their cash bail systems. (The Washington Post, January 21) As previously reported in Community Developments, Julián Castro, the former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Obama’s administration and former mayor of San Antonio, has announced that he intends to run for President in 2020 outlining his support for universal healthcare, prekindergarten and higher education. Also, Senator Elizabeth Warren, who introduced the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act in 2018, has formed an exploratory committee for 2020 presidential run. The legislation would invest billions of dollars in the National Housing Trust Fund, strengthen the Fair Housing Act, and offer down payments to first-time homeowners in formerly redlined neighborhoods.

Upcoming Event

  • 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

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