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Community development and housing news: June 6, 2019

Posted by NMA on Jun 6, 2019 1:32:12 PM

Community development and housing news for June 6, 2019

House Appropriations Committee approves 2020 HUD funding bill, Congress passes disaster relief package including $900 million for Puerto Rico, HUD announces new PIH inspection protocol, and other stories we're following this week.

Breaking newscongress-2

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday advanced a $137.1 billion spending bill covering transportation and housing, about $6 billion above current levels.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development would receive most of the increase, bringing its funding to $50.1 billion. The bill would also block a public housing rule on undocumented immigrants from the administration that Democrats say would “threaten the housing tenure of 55,000 children who are citizens or legal residents.” Read more

A long-delayed $19.1 billion disaster aid bill is headed to the president for his expected signature, overcoming months of Congressional infighting.

Lawmakers gave the measure final congressional approval on Monday by 354-58 in the House’s first significant action after returning from a 10-day recess. It was backed by all 222 voting Democrats and 132 Republicans, including the GOP’s top leaders and many of its legislators from areas hit by hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and fires. Read more

Last week HUD requested comments on a planned two-year continuation of the UPCS-V demonstration.

According to the notice, the extension is necessary in order to meet congressional instructions to implement a single inspection protocol for public housing and voucher units. This new physical inspection model will be NSPIRE, intended to improve upon the current UPCS protocol by prioritizing health, safety, and functional defects. Read more

Landlords participating in a new Virgin Islands disaster relief program could receive up to $50,000 per unit to repair their damaged apartments.

One of the most daunting problems facing locals looking for permanent housing is the cost of rent in the U.S. Virgin Islands, which shot up following the 2017 storms when rental units became short in supply and demand increased. To help with the situation, the local government is unveiling in July a new program using CDBG-DR funds to provide up to $50,000 per apartment to landlords to repair damaged rental property. Read more 

FEMA announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Kansas to supplement state and local response efforts to the emergency conditions in the area affected by flooding beginning on May 9, 2019.

The assistance will be provided to Anderson, Butler, Chautauqua, Cherokee, Coffey, Cowley, Crawford, Elk, Franklin, Greenwood, Harvey, Montgomery, Neosho, Osage, Reno, Sumner, Wilson, and Woodson counties. Read more

In California, PG&E received approval to set up a $105 million wildfire assistance fund.

PG&E Corp may set up a $105 million housing fund for victims of 2017 and 2018 wildfires in California, which were blamed on the utility’s equipment. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali approved a motion by PG&E seeking permission to establish the fund for people who lost homes in the fires and were uninsured or have used up or will exhaust their insurance. Read more

Communities in the Greater Miami area banded together to create a regional resilience strategy.

The plan contains more than 50 actions focused on issues such as the environment, infrastructure and economic prosperity. Some of the measures address mobility, housing options, energy efficiencies, financial stability and advancing public health priorities. Read more

 

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Topics: appropriations, UPCS-V, CDBG-DR, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience, NSPIRE

Community development and housing news: May 23, 2019

Posted by NMA on May 23, 2019 4:13:05 PM

Community development and housing news for May 23, 2019

FY20 funding starts moving forward, how cities are encouraging owners to accept vouchers, and other stories we're following this week.

Breaking newscongress-300px

Yesterday the House THUD subcommittee released the text of their bill prior to today's markup.

Overall, the bill would raise HUD program funding by $3.8 billion (or 7 percent) over the nominal (not inflation-adjusted) 2019 level and increase funding for the HCV program by $1.9 billion. Read more

The bill also proposes a $25 million grant program for installing carbon monoxide detectors and remediating other health hazards in public housing.

Under the newly proposed program, local public housing authorities will be able to apply for federal grants to install carbon monoxide detectors, combat mold and remove asbestos, among other environmental health hazards Read more

The Atlantic Council and Rockefeller Foundation announced the launch of a new initiative to enhance the resilience of 1 billion people worldwide by 2030.

It is the successor of 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), the Rockefeller Foundation’s former resilience effort. The news came on the day that the city of Washington, DC unveiled its first resiliency strategy, built in partnership with 100RC with an emphasis on fostering inclusive growth, fighting climate change and transforming technology. Read more

 

What we're readingapartments

Portland is trying to help its low-income residents with a renewed push toward a type of housing that fell out of favor decades ago.

Single-room-occupancy hotels, or SROs, were once ubiquitous in the central city, an affordable haven for people who otherwise would land on the street. Read more

There is no federal law requiring landlords to accept vouchers, but almost a dozen states and more than 50 cities and counties have enacted legislation to prevent "source of income" discrimination.

Proponents of income anti-discrimination legislation such as a proposed measure in St. Louis say these laws can increase the likelihood that voucher-holders will find housing in stable, safe neighborhoods instead of in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty. Read more

However, fair-housing advocates in Baltimore are worried that an amendment attached to a similar bill introduced last year could set a dangerous precedent.

Under the amendment, buildings would be exempt from the ban if at least 20 percent of their units are already rented to tenants using vouchers. Read more

And in Los Angeles, a new project aims to finance backyard homes for Section 8 tenants.

After California enacted amendments making it easier to build accessory dwelling units, applications skyrocketed. Now a new partnership in Los Angeles is looking to maximize the impact of the more permissive rules for ADUs by offering financing, design and construction services for homeowners who agree to rent their new units to voucher holders. Read more

 

Articles to bookmarkconversation

Core strategies for having conversations on homelessness.

When having a conversation about homelessness, there are several techniques that can help steer the conversation in a productive way. Read more

 

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Topics: fair housing, indoor air quality, climate and disaster resilience

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 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

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