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Housing and community news: Mar 2-8, 2019

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

HUD: HUD announces disaster assistance for Alabama tornado victims

On Wednesday, Mar 6, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide mortgage relief and other support to homeowners and low-income renters of Lee County, Alabama in the wake of the deadly tornado that hit the county earlier this week. This mortgage relief follows a presidential major disaster declaration, which allows HUD to offer relief to families living in impacted counties.

This assistance includes:

  • The ability to grant a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured homes

  • To make mortgage insurance available under HUD’s Section 203(h) program

  • To make insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation under HUD’s Section 203(k) program

  • Allows information to be made available on federal and state housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties

In other news:

Mercury News: Here’s how presidential candidates want to help solve the housing crisis

  • Several 2020 presidential candidates have already proposed bills to address the affordability crisis in states, such as California, who experience dramatically rising rent and home prices.

National Association of Counties: HUD secretary: Opportunity Zones can lift distressed areas out of poverty

  • On Tuesday, Mar 5 at NACo's 2019 Legislative Conference, HUD Secretary Ben Carson told county officials two ways they could help create more affordable housing is through utilizing Opportunity Zones and streamlining regulations. Carson also urged county officials to align transportation, land use plans, and infrastructure projects, as well as looking at any "archaic" rules, regulations, and zoning restrictions.

Strong Town: 8 things your town can do to add more housing (without spending a dime)

  • Strong Towns researched ways communities can expand their housing beyond simply increasing funding or using housing vouchers. Strong Towns shares different ways any city, big or small, in America can add more housing to their towns.

CityLabHow to design a better city for deaf people

  • How a room is designed will impact individuals who use that space and their ability to communicate. CityLab talks with DeafSpace Design about "universal" design choices and the impact it has on communities such as the Deaf community.

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