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NMA announces opening of new office in Houston

Posted by NMA on Apr 24, 2019 12:03:12 PM

Today Nan McKay & Associates celebrated the opening of a new company office in downtown Houston. The Texas office joins the NMA team as the eighth location nationwide, with other offices currently in San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Frankfort, Kentucky; Georgetown, Kentucky; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Louisiana office, located in Jefferson Parish, is the most recently opened office preceding Houston. NMA began administering the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish (HAJP)'s housing choice voucher program last autumn.

The new Houston office will serve as a base for NMA's community development team, which is assisting Harris County with their Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery plan. Catherine Ures, NMA's vice president of professional services, has been instrumental in helping the county establish and implement a response to the Harvey storm in 2017, which inflicted $125 billion in damage in the Houston metropolitan area and Southeast Texas.

"The hardworking people at the Harris County Community Services Department have done an incredible job in getting Project Recovery off the ground, and we're so excited to be a part of this huge initiative," Ures said. “We want Harris County to be a global model for disaster recovery and resilience."

Project Recovery includes an extensive group of disaster recovery programs for which Harris County has so far been allocated $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding from the federal government.

Founded in 1980, NMA has led disaster recovery programs in Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The company also administers more than 75,000 vouchers at housing authorities nationwide. With offices in across the United States, the San Diego-based, woman-owned company is a leader in program administration and community development strategies, including resilience planning. For more information, visit www.nanmckay.com, or call (800) 783-3100.

Learn more about resilience planning

Topics: disaster programs, CDBG-DR, company news, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience

Community development and housing news

Posted by NMA on Apr 18, 2019 8:21:00 AM

Community development and housing news for April 18, 2019

Breaking news

HUD announces disaster aid for storm victims in Nebraska and Iowa

Late Friday HUD posted two press releases announcing that it will speed federal disaster assistance to the states of Iowa and Nebraska and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters forced from their homes due to severe winter storms and flooding. Presidential disaster declarations allow HUD to offer foreclosure relief and other assistance to certain families living in impacted counties.

According to the press release, the disaster assistance will:

Click here for more information about disaster resources.

Kamala Harris revives tax credit push to help people pay for housing costs

"Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is reviving her proposal to provide new tax credits to help families with high housing costs. The California senator on Tuesday will reintroduce the Rent Relief Act, which would establish refundable tax credits in cases when rent and utilities exceed 30 percent of a household’s income. She first introduced the legislation last July, with a handful of Senate Democrats as co-sponsors, including New York’s Kirsten Gillibrand, who is also running for president..." Read more

More money for Berkeley area, Sandy-impacted homeowners

"Berkeley area homeowners could benefit from the Murphy administration's plan to remove the cap on access to Sandy-related funds, allowing homeowners who have long been in limbo to complete construction on their primary homes. Additionally, those still impacted by Sandy will be able to get additional months of rental assistance, according to press release from the Murphy administration..." Read more

U.S. House passes five-year reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act

"On April 4, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Reauthorization of 2019 (H.R. 1585) on a 263 to 158 vote. The legislation would reauthorize VAWA for five-years and improve the program by expanding eligibility for assistance and increasing funding for grant programs utilized by state and local VAWA service providers..." Read more

House committee discusses permanently authorizing disaster recovery program

"On March 26, the U.S. House Financial Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Reform heard testimony on draft legislation to permanently authorize the Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019 would permanently authorize CDBG-DR as a part of the yearly appropriations process and bring clarity to how the program should be administered. CDBG-DR is used by state and local governments to address unmet needs for housing, infrastructure and economic development recovery in the wake of a presidentially-declared disaster..." Read more

What we're reading

Reversing the residual effects of redlining

"While systemic barriers still exist, local governments can play a pivotal role in reversing the effects of historical redlining and creating opportunity for their residents. Here are four ways local leaders can begin to map residual inequity and start healing processes in their communities..." Read more

Fighting bias, block by block

"The residue of those discriminatory practices lingers today, fueling stereotypes that seed the stigma attached to black people and black places. Research has shown the power of those stereotypes to shape one of the most fundamental decisions of our lives: where we make our homes. African Americans are more likely than any other group to live in segregated neighborhoods. That residential isolation persists across the social and economic spectrums, in cities large and small. And it is reinforced by prejudicial associations that are shocking to document..." Read more

Not trusting FEMA’s flood maps, more storm-ravaged cities set tougher rules

"In flood-prone regions of the country, a growing number of cities have lost confidence in the ability of the federal government's flood maps to recognize the increasing risks that come with global warming. From Houston to Baltimore to Cedar Falls, Iowa, and now Mexico Beach, Florida, local officials are going beyond the federal standards and have started to require homes in a much wider area—beyond the usual 100-year floodplain—to be built to higher flood-protection standards..." Read more

The crushing cost of rent should be 2020’s big issue

"It’s hard to remember the last time affordable rents received consistent national attention, but the tide is finally turning. In recent months, prominent presidential contenders — Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren — have proposed ambitious solutions, and are speaking substantively about the issue on the campaign trail. They shouldn’t be alone in this: According to the numbers, all 2020 presidential hopefuls would be wise to make it a top-tier priority..." Read more

The neighborhoods where housing costs devour budgets

"More than 10 percent of U.S. households spend at least half their total income on housing costs—far more than the one-third that financial experts advise as a maximum limit. These severely housing-burdened households can be rich or poor, but around half of them are located in neighborhoods where at least one neighbor in three is facing a similar housing burden, according to a CityLab analysis of U.S. Census data obtained from the National Historical Geographic Information System..." Read more

The history of redlining

"The history of redlining is best demonstrated in a map prepared by the United States Home Owner Loan Corporation (HOLC), one of the Roosevelt administration’s most successful programs designed to refinance Americans into sustainable mortgages. Millions of white Americans took advantage of the program and most saved their homes from foreclosure as a result. Black Americans who needed the program lost their homes, along with those white homeowners who lived in integrated neighborhoods..." Read more

Why high rents are a health care problem

"Commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners Inc., a national affordable housing nonprofit, the survey found that more than half of renters surveyed delayed health care because they couldn’t afford it, and 100 percent of medical professionals surveyed said they had dealt with patients in the past who expressed concerns and anxiety about affordable housing. When these doctors and nurses advised patients to reduce stress, 92 of them percent said financial issues were their biggest stress trigger..." Read more

Rural America faces a housing cost crunch

"The problem of housing affordability, long a concern in popular big cities, has moved to rural America.Nearly one-fourth of the nation’s most rural counties have seen a sizeable increase this decade in the number of households spending at least half their income on housing, a category the federal government calls 'severely cost-burdened.' Those counties, none with towns of more than 10,000 residents, have experienced housing cost increases significant enough to force families to scrimp on other necessities..." Read more

Doing the math on housing the homeless

"Housing prices are chronically unaffordable in many American cities. Most prominently, mega-cities like San Francisco and New York feature home prices that effectively price out poor and middle-income people from vast swathes of their environs; however, there are also plenty of mid-size cities that have less extreme affordability problems. Several strategies are frequently on the table to make housing more affordable to those of moderately low incomes. These include: (1) increasing allowed residential construction, (2) incentivizing housing by offering additional air/development rights, (3) subsidizing housing, (4) requiring the mandatory provision of affordable housing alongside market-rate development, and (5) increasing the amount of government-run housing..." Read more

How disasters wreak havoc on financial health and what we can do about it

"Natural disasters like Hurricane Florence lead to broad, and often substantial, negative impacts on financial health. In a new report, we find that these impacts vary by the magnitude of the disaster and affected populations and that negative impacts extend across most measures of financial health, including credit scores, debt in collections, bankruptcy, credit card debt, and mortgage delinquency and foreclosures. In many instances, these effects are substantial..." Read more

BangorHousing shows how small housing authorities can be more than property managers

"For more than a decade, the Urban Institute’s HOST Initiative (Housing Opportunities and Services Together) has partnered with housing authorities—mostly large, well-resourced agencies that serve thousands of households—to develop and test strategies for using housing as a platform for delivering wraparound services for their residents. Through this work, we’ve learned about the value of building on people’s strengths and using approaches that are trauma informed..." Read more

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Topics: fair housing, CDBG-DR, multifamily

Community development and housing news

Posted by NMA on Apr 2, 2019 12:51:20 PM

Community development and housing news for April 2, 2019

Landmark decision in Connecticut fair housing case, new UPCS requirements for inspecting carbon monoxide detectors, VAWA reauthorization bill, and other stories we're following this week.

Breaking news

In a landmark civil rights decision, the Connecticut federal District Court established for the first time that consumer reporting agencies must comply with the Fair Housing Act when conducting tenant-screening services for landlords.

The decision in Connecticut Fair Housing Center et al. v. CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions, LLC, which the Center filed with the National Housing Law Project after CoreLogic’s tenant screening product, CrimSAFE, disqualified a disabled Latino man with no criminal convictions from moving in with his mother. CrimSAFE provides landlords with an accept or decline decision based on CoreLogic’s assessment of an applicant’s criminal record. The lawsuit alleges CrimSAFE discriminates on the basis of race, national origin, and disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Read more

HUD will begin requiring federal inspectors to check public housing apartments for carbon monoxide detectors.

Under the new requirements, which took effect yesterday, federal inspectors must check for the detectors in any public housing units that contain fuel-fired appliances or have an attached garage, and determine if they are working, according to a HUD notice issued last week. The new requirements will apply to properties owned and operated by public housing authorities, as well as privately owned developments under contract with HUD, according to HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan. But they will not apply to privately owned apartments rented to people with Section 8 housing choice vouchers. Read more

U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) have introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585.

The bill is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives this week. It retains the baseline housing protections in VAWA 2013 and includes amendments that would strengthen VAWA’s emergency transfer and lease bifurcation remedies; address the need for proper VAWA implementation and compliance; as well as protect VAWA survivors’ right to report crime and support effective law enforcement.

Importantly, VAWA 2013’s housing protections continue to be in effect. These safeguards did not expire when Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA last year. Therefore, VAWA 2013’s statutory housing provisions and related implementing regulations and guidances by HUD and RD are still in force. Read more

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published their annual analysis of recent data, and the results are stark.

Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. Rents have risen faster than renters’ incomes over the last two decades, and while more people are renting than ever, the supply of housing has lagged. Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 deeply poor renter households nationwide. As a result, record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford decent homes. Read more

HUD announced that the Federal Housing Administration is expanding its low-income housing tax credit financing program for multifamily properties.

Back in 2012, the FHA rolled out a LIHTC pilot program that dealt specifically with applications to refinance mortgage debt under FHA's Section 223(f) program. Under the new expansion, FHA will begin to support "new construction and substantial rehabilitation" under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 programs. Read more

What we're reading

In a study that raises alarms about an increasingly tattered safety net for low-income seniors in America, researchers have found that just short of half—44 percent—of all homeless people older than 50 years old hit the streets for the first time after they were 50.

The study’s finding speaks to the danger of a shrinking ability of people to adequately save money and make other arrangements for retirement and indicates that there is too little help in place to catch them before they fall into homelessness when hard times hit. Perhaps most disturbingly, it reflects society’s ambivalence toward the plight of the elderly. Read more

A number of housing groups and state representatives are making another push to reform the scoring process for federal LIHTC applications in Texas.

If those pushing to change that process are successful, they say, the credits will be allocated more fairly and with less political influence, racist NIMBYism will lose some of its leverage, and affordable housing developers will have a better chance of serving residents who are the most in need. Read more

Climate change is getting harder to ignore, from alarming new reports about its impacts to debates around a Green New Deal.

Yet for all this attention, individual places—from the biggest cities to the smallest towns—are still struggling to do something about it. An unpredictable climate should serve as a strong motivator for every community to better maintain its man-made and natural stormwater infrastructure to be more flexible and responsive. Read more

When Sonoma County’s pilot project to build tiny homes for more than a dozen homeless veterans ran into one, then two, then three major roadblocks, it was fitting that the response was to just work around it and get the job done.

After all, the county's veterans have demonstrated their resilience throughout their lives, during their service and after. Thanks to the HUD-VASH (VA Supportive Housing) program, 15 formerly homeless veterans, including one couple, will have rental assistance and case management on a plot of county-owned land. Read more

How New Orleans reduced its homeless population by 90 percent.

New Orleans faced a major crisis in homelessness following Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, two years after the storm, there were more than 11,600 homeless people in the city. The strategy to tackle the "unprecedented explosion" of homelessness in the city following Katrina was threefold. Read more

Housing policy is on the presidential campaign agenda for the first time in decades.

The rising cost of housing has become an issue on the presidential campaign trail for one of the first times in living memory, thrilling advocates who are hopeful that tackling housing affordability can merit inclusion on a crowded 2020 Democratic policy agenda. Read more

Elizabeth Warren took aim last week at another pillar of Wall Street's empire: the rental housing market.

In a portion of her updated version of her ambitious 2018 housing bill, Warren proposed a check on the unregulated takeover of rental housing by the country's biggest investment firms. Instead of allowing Wall Street-backed developers to flip any distressed and foreclosed mortgage into a single-family rental unit, her bill would require the government to help keep the majority of these homes in the possession of individuals, community groups, and affordable-housing developers by setting aside a supply of mortgages that Wall Street can't touch. Read more

Articles to bookmark for later reference

Five ways to prepare your city for next year's census.

Now is the time for cities to lay the groundwork for a successful census. Small steps your community takes today can go a long way in ensuring it is accurately counted next year. Read more

How state and local governments can assume a greater role in disaster recovery.

State and local government leaders are increasingly responsible for shouldering the disaster recovery burden. FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan says recovery should be "federally supported, state managed, and locally executed." Read more

Local tools to address housing affordability.

The fifth annual research collaboration between NLC and the State Municipal Leagues examines interactions between cities and states on tools to improve housing affordability, including inclusionary housing, rent control, housing vouchers, housing trust funds, and tax incentive programs. Read more

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Topics: fair housing, indoor air quality, LIHTC, UPCS, VASH, VAWA, persons with disabilities, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience

Housing and community news: Mar 29, 2019

Posted by NMA on Mar 29, 2019 12:09:39 PM

What we're reading now: the latest housing reports and analysis

National Housing Law Project: President directs Treasury and HUD to develop housing finance reform plans

The president issued a memorandum on March 27, which ordered "federal agencies to develop proposals for reforming various aspects of the housing finance system."

The Treasury, in particular, was directed to create a plan for removing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from conservatorship. In the memorandum, HUD was encouraged to make changes to the housing finance programs that are supported by the Federal Housing Administration (FAH) and Ginnie Mae.

Both the Treasury and HUD will submit their plans to the White House at their earliest convenience.

 

In other news:

Multi-Housing News Online: POAH’s Aaron Gornstein on affordable housing

  • Multi-Housing News sat down with Aaron Gornstein, an industry leader and president/ CEO of Preservation of Affordable Housing, to talk about the poignant affordable housing issue happening in America.

Saporta Report: Atlanta’s home prices are soaring. Can a new model keep some affordable forever?

  • The Saporta Report dives into Atlanta's housing past and looks at a new model to see how the plan might fit into Atlanta's current affordable housing climate and the impact it could have.

Next City: Small cities feel the clock ticking on Opportunity Zones

  • Next City looks at Opportunity Zones, which is a new federal tax incentive that encourages investment in low-income census tracts, and how it could be used for residents and small business in small cities.

City of Minneapolis: City Council approves Renter-First Housing Policy prioritizing renter protections

  • Minneapolis's City Council approved a Renter-First Housing Policy. The policy is to provide protection and stability to the city's renters.

 

Urban Institute: Dismantling the harmful, false narrative that homelessness is a choice

  • The Urban Institute talked with Mental Health Center of Denver's supportive housing provider Takisha Keesee about common misconceptions around people experiencing homelessness

 

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Topics: Industry News

Housing and community news: Mar 16-22, 2019

Posted by NMA on Mar 23, 2019 9:20:00 AM

What we're reading now: the latest housing reports and analysis

HUD: HUD approves plan to support southern Georgia counties in their recovery from 2017 disasters

In a press release, HUD announced it had approved the State of Georgia's disaster action plan and will award the state $38 million in federal recovery funds through HUD's Community Development Block Grant - Disaster Recovery Program.

This fund will be used to support the state's recovery from January 2017's deadly tornadoes as well as damages from Hurricane Irma, which include seriously damaged housing, businesses, and infrastructure.


In other news:

KQED: Forget YIMBY vs. NIMBY. Could PHIMBYs solve the housing crisis?

  • The acronyms YIMBY (Yes in My Backyard) and NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) rose from the housing crisis and the battle over new developments. But now there is a new acronym: PHIMBY (Public Housing in My Backyard) whose supporters believe municipally-run affordable housing is the best way to solve the housing crisis.

Multi-Housing News Online: Affirmed Housing Breaks Ground on LA Supportive Housing

  • Work on Aria, a 57-unit community dedicated to formerly homeless individuals, has now begun. This five-story structure, located in Los Angeles' Westlake South submarket, will include studios and one-bedroom apartments with more than 1,000 square feet of common space.

Multi-Housing News Online: Boston affordable housing project to add 135 units

  • The third phase of a redevelopment project in Boston has broken ground. The project will take The Anne M. Lynch Homes at Old Colony, one of the oldest federal public housing properties in America, and convert it into a 135 affordable unit housing.

NACo: Smarter Counties workshop uses ‘Design Thinking’

  • In a two-part Smarter Counties workshop at the 2019 NACo Legislative Conference, participants learned how to use design thinking to solve problems from a person first approach.

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Topics: Industry News

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