Housing News Roundup: October 6, 2016
Opinion: How to Apply the 10-20-30 Poverty Concept for Effective Practice
Initially implemented for rural development activities in the Recovery Act in 2009, the 10-20-30 plan focuses federal investment on areas of long-term and concentrated poverty by requiring certain federal programs “to direct at least 10 percent of total investments to counties where at least 20 percent of the population has lived under the federal poverty line for at least 30 years.” With growing bipartisan support, the 10-20-30 plan could expand, but Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution identifies three areas where the concept may need modification to be effective in new contexts. First, by focusing on counties, the program is effective in rural areas but may not be the right geography for viewing urban poverty. Second, the 10 percent rule may not be appropriate for all programs. When the rule is applied to reallocate resources, Kneebone urges thoughtful consideration about whether other disadvantaged groups may suffer, while the threshold may be inappropriate for other reasons elsewhere. Third, some high-poverty communities need support to grow the capacity to effectively make use of new funds. Despite these challenges, “Addressing the issues raised here can help policymakers translate a worthy idea into effective implementation,” states Kneebone.
Source: Brookings Institution
Class Divide Documents Gentrification in New York City’s Chelsea Neighborhood
In an interview about the new documentary Class Divide, director Marc Levin describes the lessons learned from examining gentrification in New York City’s Chelsea neighborhood adjacent to the High Line, an elevated park along a former rail line. Class Divide follows the lives of two groups of young people separated by a single street: young residents in public housing and students who attend an elite private school, Avenues. “As much as there is potential for conflict and reinforcing stereotypes when you have two different worlds so close together, there is also the potential to break down some of those barriers and bridge some of these gaps at a young age,” says Levin. After seeing the community effects of the High Line, Levin urges greater community engagement and policies that ensure development benefits all residents, such as requiring affordable housing units in new high rises.
The Every Student Succeeds Act Improves Support for Homeless Students
New provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 (ESSA) will provide better support in schools for homeless students. ESSA increases funding for the McKinney-Vento program, mandates consistent training and job requirements for staff members who support homeless students, and requires the reporting of homeless students’ graduation rates as accountability measures. Before the measures took effect, Michigan was already creating an online training course for school liaisons who work with homeless students, which other states are now attempting to draw from as they conform to ESSA’s training requirements. Additionally, Spokane County in Washington State continues to pilot its Homeless Student Program in which the Spokane County Community Services, Housing, and Community Development Department (CSHCD) partners with the county’s highest-poverty schools. As part of the program, the CSHCD provides rental assistance for homeless families as long as the students meet certain requirements that include attendance and homework completion. This past spring, the state legislature allocated new funds to enact similar measures around the state to help families acquire stable housing. Erin Ingram, an author of a report on homeless students released by Civic Enterprises, said, “Schools are stretched so thin. They’re not equipped to do things like find kids a home, but they can act as a convener for these community resources.”
Developers Build Workforce Housing without Subsidies
After attempting to develop affordable rental units with grants and low-income housing tax credits, developers in Franklin, Tennessee, chose to forgo subsidies but still construct workforce housing. According to Derwin Jackson, executive director of the Franklin Housing Authority, “Franklin’s challenge is creating affordable housing for people whose incomes are under $50,000 or $60,000 a year. People even making that much are having trouble finding affordable housing.” The median home price in the county is $441,000. The new development will provide one-bedroom condos at prices ranging from $152,950 to $166,950. The Community Housing Project of Williamson County (CHP), a nonprofit developer, will bring the prices within reach of moderate-income buyers by offering smaller units and taking limited mark-up. Stephen Murray, CHP’s executive director, says, “We’re trying to create some options in the market.”
Source: The Tennessean
New Jobs will Accompany Neighborhood Rehabilitation
With a new state funding plan to revitalize West Baltimore, the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood needs not just demolition and housing redevelopment, but also jobs. Prior efforts to transform the Sandtown neighborhood through focused housing investments, without an emphasis on jobs and businesses, have not met community members’ needs. To pair their housing efforts with an employment emphasis, Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake will soon expand its Sandtown efforts to include job training in carpentry. Local resident Elder C. W. Harris, founder of Newborn Ministries, has partnered with Ted Rouse, son of the founder of Enterprise Community Partners, to use an urban farm as a job training program for residents returning from the prison system. According to Harris, the resident-led revitalization efforts in Sandtown “might be a drop in the bucket, but it’s a significant drop in the bucket.”
Source: Next City
New Investment Fund Seeks $1 Billion for Single-Family Rentals
With mortgage credit tight and rents high, the real estate investment firm Pretium Partners LLC is starting its third single-family rental fund. The fund is seeking $1 billion from institutional investors under the premise that single-family rental demand will stay strong. Rents paid by new tenants in single-family homes grew 4.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016, compared with 4.1 percent, the prior year. While Pretium’s first two single-family rental funds were able to buy homes or nonperforming loans at deep discounts, the latest effort will need to focus on buying homes on the open market and identifying burgeoning neighborhoods with promising trajectories. “We’re still buying some homes. But it’s harder to buy in the volume that we once did,” says Tony James, president of Blackstone Group LP, another major Wall Street firm with a single-family rental presence.
Source: The Wall Street Journal