The Painful Impact of the Housing Downturn on Low Income and Minority Families

The current downturn in housing has seized the markets, pushed home prices down further than any time in generations and has sparked the worst recession since the Great Depression. At the same time, nearly 18 million households are severely burdened with housing costs that consume over half their household incomes. While few have escaped the fury of the recent downturn in housing, tenant, low-income, and particularly minority, households have fared the worst.

The Nitpicker’s Guide to Foreclosure Mitigation

First, it was judges like Justice Arthur M. Schack of the New York Supreme Court, who made waves by tossing foreclosure motions because he found a rising level of errors in bank paperwork, largely due to banks’ slicing and dicing nature of selling mortgage loans to outside investors. But now, it’s the homeowner that has […]

Interview with Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Director for General Government Programs at the Office of Management and Budget

Xavier de Souza Briggs, Associate Director for General Government Programs at the White House Office of Management and Budget has a portfolio that includes HUD, Treasury, Commerce, Justice, Transportation, and Homeland Security departments, as well as the U.S. Postal Service and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. All of these make a direct and profound impact in the community development world.

A 21st Century Vision For Community Development

Today’s economic crisis is devastating neighborhoods and households across the country. Urban, low-income communities that were slowly recovering from the disinvestment of earlier decades are now falling back to where they were in the 1970s. Rural communities, walloped by the collapse of key economic generators, have suffered no less. Families that had begun to break the cycle of poverty and build small amounts of savings are now being plunged back into debt. Yet, at a time when the work of community development corporations is more needed than ever, there are growing questions about their long-term viability and efficacy.

What Does the Future Hold For Fannie & Freddie?

The functions of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — liquidity, stability, and access — remain important for the housing economy. Indeed, the two companies today are providing more than 70 percent of all the financing for housing even while under conservatorship. But their collapse into the federal government’s arms is causing a wholesale reevaluation of how best to provide those functions in the future.

In Pursuit of a Responsible Homeownership Policy

Despite current economic woes, families continue to aspire to own their own homes. For many, homeownership represents a path to stability, community, and long-term wealth building. But achieving these social and economic goals requires a new policy regime and regulatory framework that mitigates the inherent risks of the process. If done right — by matching buyers with appropriate mortgage products in a transparent and fair manner — we can make homeownership work for a broad range of American families, even those with low incomes and few resources.

Once a Landmark, Always a Landmark

The Winthrop, a grand hotel converted to affordable housing in the 1970s, was at the center of a conflict between the city’s hopes for a “revitalized” urban core and the residents of 190 low-income apartments who called the Winthrop home. At 6 a.m. on a Monday morning, most places in downtown Tacoma are still hours […]

Ruling A Step Toward A “Fully Integrated Society”

In August, New York State’s Westchester County entered an agreement that could result in dozens of towns and villages within its borders to aggressively promote fair housing. The agreement, the result of a suit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center, was brokered in part by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, stipulates that the […]

Tough Love for TARP

The Congressional Oversight Panel assembled a year ago when TARP was enacted in order to review the regulatory system and financial markets offered some encouraging words, but an overall sobering analysis, in October in examining the state of the administration’s efforts to stem foreclosures: Make your policies work for the crisis as it currently exists, […]

Livin’ Tiny in Texas

At this point, it’s a good thing that we’re getting used to the greening trend in development, as well as in land-use planning, that encourages more energy and economically efficient ways of living. But normally when we think of that, we think of more dense regions, where existing infrastructure, namely transportation, lends itself to increased […]

The Stimulus: Making Sense of it All

Between HARP, TARP, HERA, ARRA, TALF, NSP 1, NSP 2 and the rest of the alphabet soup of stimulus funding, there’s a lot of government money circulating around the country right now. How are communities using this money, and will the stimulus provide the springboard needed for equitable, sustainable change?

High Stakes Deal Turns Precarious

In 2006, Shelterforce reported on the $5.4 billion sale of two colossal apartment complexes — Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village — on Manhattan’s east side, representing the biggest real estate deal in U.S. history, as well as an era of loose credit and speculation. The deal was a triumph for the highest bidder, Tishman […]

More than Words

Over the past few months we’ve gotten a clear indication of how the Obama administration approaches community development. They have articulated a comprehensive placed-based strategy embedded in a regional framework — a way of working that says no single action by itself can change a community. Revitalization requires that decent jobs, schools, and homes must […]