Housing News Roundup: March 14, 2019
Trump Administration Proposes Cuts to 2020 Federal Housing Budget
The Trump administration’s 2020 budget proposal includes $44.1 billion for the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a 16.4 percent decrease from the 2019 HUD budget. The most drastic cuts are proposed for public housing and federal block grant programs. The Public Housing Operating Fund would face a 38 percent cut, while no funds are budgeted for the Public Housing Capital Fund. The Community Development Block Grant program, the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, and the Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program would also be eliminated.
Proposed Legislation Would Require Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Public Housing
A recent investigation revealed the carbon monoxide threat to public housing residents across the United States. In response, Senator Kamala Harris and Congressmen Joe Cunningham and Jesus Garcia put forward bills requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all federally subsidized public housing. “We must act now […] to protect the health and well-being of the millions who reside there,” Harris said in a statement. Based on HUD standards, her bill would require all public housing to have at least one detector on each floor of each unit.
Source: NBC News
Colorado Communities are Being Squeezed by Housing Pressures
Rising housing costs in Summit County, Colorado, home to the high-end resort community of Breckenridge, are forcing residents to move to and commute from neighboring Park County. As both counties struggle with a growing affordability challenge, more than half of the housing stock sits empty for most of the year. The prevalence of second homes and the allure of vacation rental options like Airbnb are preventing both counties from tapping into their housing stock, leaving low- and middle-income families with limited housing options. Park County Commissioners have labeled housing as a top issue for the county.
Source: Colorado Public Radio
Growing Momentum for a Renewed Public Housing Movement
In response to rapid gentrification and proposed legislation to increase zoning density in areas near transit, community organizers in Los Angeles coined the term Public Housing in My Backyard (PHIMBY), calling for renewed investment in public housing and other non-market-based housing development mechanisms. Despite a longstanding federal shift away from government-owned-and-operated public housing, PHIMBY advocates believe that municipally run projects are the most direct way to build and preserve the housing needed to prevent displacement for low-income communities.
Kaiser Plans to Fight Chronic Homelessness
Yesterday, Kaiser Permanente announced a $3 million investment to fight chronic homelessness in communities across the country, in addition to the $200 million it is investing in low-interest loans for affordable housing. The company said it will partner with local social service agencies to provide health care in addition to housing. “Not only does the health of the patient improve, the outcomes are better, but we all benefit because the cost of health care goes down,” said Robert Friant of the Corporation for Supportive Housing.