Housing News Roundup: October 26, 2015
Proposals in Congress Cut Federal Housing Programs
A federal housing program credited with funding high-quality affordable housing in New Orleans could be cut from next year’s budget if a U.S. Senate proposal is passed. Under the proposal, 93 percent of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program’s budget would be cut. In New Orleans, this would amount to a decrease from $1.85 million to $130,000. Alternatively, a U.S. House proposal would cut the National Low-Income Housing Trust Fund but would not reduce funding for the HOME program. In places like New Orleans that use the HOME funding to leverage other tax credits and private dollars, the cuts would be catastrophic for low-income housing production, says Ellen Lee, the city’s housing czar. Because of the looming federal budget crisis, which so far has been addressed only through continuing resolutions, experts are concerned that the HOME program is more likely to be cut than more politically sensitive programs like Section 8.
Source: The Times-Picayune
Editorial: Manhattan Should Combine Two Public Schools
Administrators at public schools 191 and 199 on Manhattan’s Upper West Side have a rare opportunity to join together to tackle segregation, the New York Daily News notes in an editorial. The student population at Public School 199 is largely white and wealthy, with only 8 percent on free or reduced lunch and only 2 percent being black. Only nine blocks away at Public School 191, 71 percent of the students qualify for a free lunch and 90 percent identify as either black or Hispanic. The editorial board contends that the two schools, because of their proximity, should be zoned together and a lottery set up to mix the two student populations for next year’s kindergarten class. The move would improve economic and racial integration in the city’s schools and lower the achievement gap between the two schools and their students.
Source: New York Daily News
Senator Pushes for Funding for Youth Homelessness
Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (Dem.) of Pennsylvania is speaking out at a youth shelter in Philadelphia about his support for more federal funding to combat youth homelessness. The appropriations bill would increase funding for homeless youth by $40 million in areas such as transitional and permanent housing. In 2014, it was estimated that in the U.S. almost 200 thousand youth age 24 and under were homeless. Advocates including NFL player Tim Massaquoi and staff from Youth Emergency Services’ Teen Shelter in Philadelphia will join Senator Casey.
Source: NBC 10 Philadelphia
Los Angeles Mayor Proposes Fees to Fund Affordable Housing
Los Angeles’ Mayor Eric Garcetti is planning to impose new linkage fees on developers to subsidize affordable housing in Los Angeles. The proposed fees were recently announced and have the potential to generate $40 to $100 million a year if approved by the city council. Cities levy linkage fees on developments that they have deemed will generate increased housing demand, and are generally charged based on the size of development. Similar fees already exist in San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago and Boston, but few other cities have knowledge of this potentially lucrative source of affordable-housing funds. Real-estate developers have opposed linkage fees in the past, but Garcetti remains optimistic as the city moves forward with developing a comprehensive proposal.
Source: The LA Times
Seattle Committee Releases Affordable Housing Recommendations
Seattle’s booming economy and skyrocketing rents are forcing middle- and low-income renters into the city’s margins and beyond as the tech industry continues to grow. In September 2014, Mayor Ed Murray introduced the Housing Affordability and Livability Agenda (HALA) and pulled together a professionally diverse 28-member committee to explore policy ideas that would dramatically increase Seattle’s housing supply. HALA made 65 recommendations that are comprehensive and varied, with eight recommendations considered the most pressing. Among them are that the entire city upzone, build bigger buildings near transit corridors, and allow more duplexes, triplexes, and mother-in-law apartments in existing neighborhoods. Supporters of the proposed regulations believe the recommendations will greatly improve housing affordability, whereas critics believe their scope is too limited and could destroy the character of the city.
Source: Next City