Tag: Policies

Here’s Why Costa-Hawkins Repeal Would Be Revolutionary for Housing in California

Rent control is one of the foremost demands of grassroots movements organizing around housing justice today. To activists across the country, from Los Angeles...

Participatory Budgeting: Why Not Fix Everyone’s Sink?

Just like a focus group or any mechanism intended to give us a voice, participatory budgeting can offer a glimpse of how a more civically engaged society might work. But it’s also a distraction from the actual mechanisms of power, and can reinforce or even worsen existing inequalities.

The Not-So Hidden Truths About the Segregation of America’s Housing

Our conversation with The Color of Law author Richard Rothstein on uncovering truths about our not-so distant history of federally mandated racial segregation in housing.

Panacea or Problem? The Possibilities in Opportunity Zones

With Opportunity Zones, the potential is there for great benefit, but it is not yet clear where, how, and to whom any benefits will accrue. People who care about connecting residents and businesses in distressed communities with opportunities need to act now so they fulfill their promise.

California’s Endless Housing “Crisis”

In many ways, the recognition of the current “crisis” stems from middle- and upper-income Californians finally being impacted, and using their power to push for solutions that would address their situation. But their solutions ignore another population.

New York City Needs to Stop Negotiating Rezonings From an Uneven...

What is the underlying dynamic that leads so many council members in low-income communities of color to approve neighborhood rezonings, despite community opposition and the likelihood of increased displacement pressure on existing residents?

Homeowners Reap Profits While Fueling Housing Crisis

The widespread critique of California's SB 827 got me thinking about why nobody talks about those really profiting from land use decisions that inflate their property values: homeowners.

Ask Yourself: Who Do Anti-Rent Control Policies Serve?

Whenever you hear (or read) anti-rent control arguments, ask the question: who benefits from banning rent control? And who is hurt?

Dear Business School Professors: You’re Wrong, Rent Control Works

A university study on rent control makes three crucial mistakes in its assessment of the policy's effect on San Francisco's housing market. Housing advocacy organization Tenants Together sets the record straight on rent control's role, and who is actually to blame for the city's unaffordability.

The Important Deadline Coming Up for All Governors

States have a deadline to submit their Opportunity Zones nominations. What factors will be weighed in the decision process, and what will federal designation mean to distressed neighborhoods?

In California, a Victorious “Fix” for Inclusionary Housing

It’s time for more states to do what it takes to pass enabling legislation for inclusionary housing, adding this valuable policy tool to the fight for more affordable housing opportunities.

Equitable Tax Reform Begins at Home(ownership)

Talk of tax reform has reached a fever pitch, but most Americans don't realize just how high the stakes are and what impact the final legislation could have on their own financial security for years to come.

When Bad Names Get in the Way of Good Policy

Today, America is a place where symbols are often more important than the causes or deeds they describe. With social media and the 24-hour...

In Detroit, the Fight for Community Benefits Begins Anew

For equitable development activists, Detroit’s Community Benefits Ordinance may seem like major progress. And it is—just not how they may imagine it to be.

Meltdown: The Financial Crisis, Consumer Protection, and the Road Forward

In 2010, the scattered enforcement of consumer protection and fair lending laws across several agencies would end. The CFPB would have broad oversight over banks and non-banks, and though not perfect, this model has produced some impressive results.

Four Simple Fixes for Mandatory Inclusionary Housing

For the past two years I’ve worked as a housing lottery project manager for a small affordable housing developer and have found that, in spite of De Blasio’s bold initiative, the program often fails to efficiently and adequately serve the very people for which it has been designed.

Newly-Suspended HUD Rule Would Have Expanded Access to Neighborhood Opportunity

After years-long notice and comment periods, a final rule on using small area Fair Market Rents to determine housing choice voucher payment levels was supposed to take effect. However, the Trump administration has recently announced a two-year suspension of the rule.

Poverty Is a Choice—Says The House Budget

Tax brackets, tax breaks, and just how much more rich the rich will become are all important details, no doubt, but among those details runs a single, shining, unifying message: Some people are worth investing in, and some are not.

Which Agencies Should Pay to End Family Homelessness?

When families have stable housing, the benefits are widespread. And perhaps that has been the problem.

Despite Progress, States Have Work to do to Ensure Access to...

If expanding access to homeownership can reverse the trends of growing racial wealth inequality, why are we seeing so many states roll back the supports that make homeownership possible?

California Takes Historic Step Toward Affordable Housing for All

Amid a housing crisis in California, legislators last week approved a historic package of bills that will shape the future of housing policy in...

10 Ways to Talk About Inclusionary Housing, Differently

We need to talk about inclusionary housing in a different way that circumvents common misperceptions and creates a new narrative for policymakers in moderate markets and more conservative political climates. Here are 10 messages to help frame your conversations.

The Community Reinvestment Act at 40: A Careful Review of the...

A review of HUD's Cityscape issue, which is devoted to reviews and studies of the Community Reinvestment Act at its 40th anniversary.

Civil Rights Organizations on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Throughout what we know will be a long recovery over the coming weeks, months, and years, Shelterforce hopes to share the stories of the...

Sustainable for Whom? Large-Scale Sustainable Urban Development Projects and “Environmental Gentrification”

Absent a fundamentally new approach to redevelopment planning that places housing affordability at the center of the process, large-scale sustainable development projects are likely to become engines of what has been termed “environmental gentrification.”

Administration’s Assault on Workers Continues in Congress

A proposed 20 percent reduction to the Department of Labor's overall budget would make working people less safe, and will discourage them from speaking up when abuses happen.

Preliminary HUD Budget Shows Carson Lied in His Confirmation Hearing Too

The Washington Post reported today that a preliminary HUD budget cuts $6 billion—eliminating Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and...

Time for a Job Guarantee

In various economic pundit conversations on Twitter, the new target of scorn is Universal Basic Income (UBI). Supporters of...

GOP Tax Plan Takes Mortgage Interest Deduction Unfairness Off the Charts

Let's raise the standard deduction and lower tax rates to give everyone a tax cut!It should not surprise you that since this is a...

The Real Social Engineering Ben Carson Needs to Address

HUD is the nation’s primary enforcer of the Fair Housing Act. This is one obligation Ben Carson will assume...

How CRA Can Promote Integration in Gentrifying Neighborhoods

Gentrification—the process of neighborhood demographic and economic change in which middle- and upper-income people move into lower-income neighborhoods, increasing...

The Foreclosure King Ascends to Treasury

There is considerable unease in the housing and community development world about the future of federal policy, including support for vouchers, fair housing,...

No, Housing Policy Really Could Get Done Next Year

Housing didn’t feature prominently in the 2016 presidential campaigns, and while we might wish it had gotten more attention,...

Malign Neglect? Urban Policy in the Trump Era

To paraphrase physicist Niels Bohr, (or maybe it was Yogi Berra), “predicting is difficult, especially when it’s about the...

On Clinton, Obama, Trump, and the Failures of Liberal Urban Policy

In the closing days of the seemingly endless 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, it became increasingly clear to political observers...

The Real Reasons Affordable Housing Isn’t Being Built in California

The meager supply of affordable housing is a major contributor to housing's high cost, yet the policy tools to address the shortfall often seem to worsen the problem. But this is because they ignore the underlying infrastructure and financing to support growth.

The Costs of “Moving On”

In his recent New York Times op-ed, American Enterprise Institute president Arthur C. Brooks says declining mobility is a...

How to Make Housing Affordable for All the Working Poor

The headlines tell the story: “Half of all renters can’t afford the rent.” “Renters, get ready to take it...

Government on the Ropes—Nonprofits Step In

The loss of community development staff working at the City of Flint, Michigan, threatened the existence and continuity of...

How to Prevent the Next Mortgage Crisis

Yes, we need to finally achieve certainty in our housing finance system. But not the way most people are suggesting.

Vulnerable Workers

Anti-immigrant laws and the lack of a solid path to citizenship leave immigrant workers vulnerable to exploitation—and harm the whole community.

Harnessing Immigrant Entrepreneurship for Economic Growth

Last week’s release of Bread for the World’s new paper on immigrant small businesses was marked by racial tension...

Amidst Congressional Missteps, Housing Opportunities Remain

Here in Washington, Congress has finally done its primary job: that of funding the government. The process of last-minute scrambling and late-night bargaining is clearly no way to run a government—as members of Congress and their staff become harried, priorities don’t get properly vetted. This style of governance also offers an opportunity for special interests […]

Ferguson: No One Should Be Surprised

This op-ed originally appeared in the St. Louis Post Dispatch on October 8, 2014. Recent events in Ferguson constitute the logical outcome of forces spelled out in 1968 by the National Advisory Panel on Civil Disorders, better known as the Kerner Commission. The report warned of a “permanent division of our country into two societies: […]

2014 Elections: The Takeaway for Housing and Community Development Policy

Enterprise Community Partners created this quick yet comprehensive analysis of the implications of the election on housing and community development programs that we here at Shelterforce and Rooflines have found helpful. (Photo credit, Flickr user Carl CC BY-SA 2.0)

Congress Agrees: Collaborative, Comprehensive Care Needed For Rural Vets

Rural America has a strong history of protecting our country. In fact, as highlighted in a recent report on...

Can We Demolish Our Way to Revitalization?

While the answer to that question in the title of this piece is obvious, there’s a strong case to...

Bus Tour Fueled by Immigration Reform

One bus, four days, seven states, 11 cities, nine Congressional offices visited and 40 people riding a bus to...

New CDC Trade Association Lays Infrastructure

As sequestration takes hold and Congress wrestles with FY 2014 budget negotiations, the affordable housing and community development field is in a fragile state....

Commission Says End Fannie and Freddie, Make a Public Guarantor

The Bipartisan Policy Center's Housing Commission released its report, Housing America's Future, on housing policy this morning....

Data Says Inclusionary Housing Does Foster Economic Integration

Review of Is Inclusionary Zoning Inclusionary?, by Heather L. Schwartz, Liisa Ecola, Kristin J. Leuschner, Aaron Kofner. Rand Corporation, 2012.Long time advocates of inclusionary...

HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Launches

It took a few iterations, but HUD last week officially rolled out a demonstration project designed to showcase its plan...

The State of Vacant Property Registration

“Local Vacant Property Registration Ordinances in the U.S.: An Analysis of Growth, Regional Trends, and Some Key Characteristics,” by Dan Immergluck, Yun Sang Lee...

Fair Share Advocates Have to Keep Up Their Guard

“Repeal efforts never go away. Advocates need to remain organized and ready to launch a defense or counter-attack.”...

Protecting Domestic Violence Victims from Eviction and Homelessness

Imagine calling the police because you were in danger of your life. Now imagine getting evicted for doing so.

Rep. Keith Ellison

In the spring of 2008, as the country plunged into the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, Keith Ellison, a freshman Democrat...

Homeownership: Dream or Nightmare?

Politicians have told us for decades that homeownership is the American Dream. They do this because they get lots of...

Let’s Consider “Anticipatory Design”

Despite constant pressure to define and showcase our cities to celebrate their history and to showcase the “new,” cities...

Time for a Renters’ Tax Credit

It’s time to rethink the nation’s housing policy. We’ve focused for decades on policies to increase homeownership, and most...

Defining “Rural” for USDA’s Housing Programs

This part is simple: a property must be in a rural place to be eligible for USDA rural housing...

The Housing Crisis and the Landscape of Affordable Housing

As home prices continue to fall, the notion that the real estate market will allow for lower-income families to secure affordable housing increases. But it's not so cut and dried. How much a home costs is only one of many factors when determining affordability. In March 2012, Shelterforce hosted a roundtable discussion featuring leading research and policy experts to explore those various components of affordability looking at just how the housing crisis changed the affordable housing landscape in the United States.

Do As I Say, Not (Necessarily) As I Do

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency has issued some guidance to banks about the “obligations and risks related to foreclosed property.” The...

Nicolas P. Retsinas

Nicolas P. Retsinas, a senior lecturer in real estate at the Harvard Business School and director emeritus of Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies, talks with Shelterforce about his long service in the housing field.

New HUD Grants Will Help Communities Pursue Sustainability

This is exactly how the federal government should be supporting sustainability: helping communities who want to do the right thing...

Candidate (and Tenant) Perry’s Housing Record

In June, Rooflines published a piece by Kevin Jewell, a consultant for the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service outlining Texas Governor Rick Perry’s...

Study: NJ Land-Use Patterns Increase Exclusionary Zoning and Sprawl

All too often, we hear how sprawl development continues to eat up the last remaining open spaces across New Jersey,...

Conrad Egan

What do Saul Alinsky, Students for a Democratic Society, HUD, and the Housing and Community Development Department of Fairfax County, Virginia, have in common?Conrad...

Ron Sims: Retiring from HUD, Not from Public Service

Shelterforce caught up with the HUD deputy secretary on the precipice of retirement, nearly two-and-a-half years after joining the agency. Sims brought to HUD not only his political savvy, but also an unshakable commitment to equity and sustainability. In this exit interview, we talk about his accomplishments at HUD, plans for the future, and what he thinks needs to be done in order to stabilize the housing market.

Mortgage Resolution Fund Approved

In expected, but still very exciting, good news, Treasury has approved the Illinois Housing Development Authority’s application to apply Hardest Hit Funds to the...

House Subcommittee Votes to Eliminate Housing Trust Fund

A House subcommittee voted to stamp out the National Housing Trust Fund this week, signaling a very difficult road ahead for fund advocates. Of...

Want to Help Homeowners? Replace the Mansion Subsidy

I don’t think for a second that The New York Times is in bed with the real estate industry. It has done some excellent...

Texas Gov. Rick Perry Vetoes Low-Income Housing and Tenant Rights Bills

Last Friday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry vetoed several low-income housing bills recently passed by the Texas Legislature. How do those vetoes impact low-income housing...

State of the Nation’s Housing: 2011

New data from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies show that the Great Recession that has plagued all sectors of the housing market continues...

Mitigating the Impacts of the Current Foreclosure Crisis

NHI/_Shelterforce_ Associate Director and Editor Miriam Axel-Lute appeared at an event last Tuesday, co-sponsored by the New America Foundation and National Council of La...

Time to Move On: Families Facing Foreclosure Need Better Solutions than...

More than one million Latino families have either lost or will soon lose their homes. In California, Hispanic-owned homes account for nearly half of...

Interview: Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasviña

The Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity is dealing with an evolving set of discrimination challenges facing families, changes in the very definition of "family," and the political realities of the 112th Congress. Trasviña is no stranger to this balancing act.

House Votes Down NSP3

The Republican-controlled House voted to eliminate the $1 million allocated by the third round of Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds this week, and while the...

FHA Commissioner Stevens Heading to MBA

FHA Commissioner David Stevens, who announced last week that he would leave the administration effective March 31, will take over at the Mortgage Bankers...

Private Sector Funding in Public Housing Would Compromise Quality

Peter Marcuse, a professor emeritus at Columbia’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, and Shelterforce contributor, says that the infusion...

The Suburban Frontier Won’t Provide the Answers

There’s a clever term that gets thrown around in densely populated and densely developed areas like New Jersey, where all the land’s spoken for....

Preserving Communities: Live From New Jersey Future

Rooflines is reporting from the annual redevelopment forum held by New Jersey Future, a statewide research and advocacy organization today. The even highlights advancements...

Losing CDBG Funds

The House Appropriations Committee this week introduced HR 1 that funds all federal programs in the current fiscal year. Included in this bill is...

Shelterforce Interview: Ron Sims

HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims doesn't just want the 8,500 employees he oversees at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to do their jobs: he wants them to challenge themselves, even if there's a risk of failure.

Shelterforce Interview: Raphael Bostic, HUD Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and...

Bostic, now in his second turn at HUD, is known for his extensive work analyzing the roles that credit markets, financing, and policy play in furthering economic access for all.

Dragged Down by Regs

For an "emergency" measure, NSP came so loaded with ever-shifting regulations and restrictions it was hard to get any money out the door. It's getting better, but more could be done.

HAMP Is Not Enough

The federal government's Home Affordable Modification Program has a lot of mass appeal. But banks have been slow to act and HAMP was never intended to be the sole solution to the foreclosure crisis. HAMP needs backup.

Shelterforce Interview: Mercedes Márquez

HUD Assistant Secretary of Community Planning and Development Mercedes Márquez spoke with Shelterforce about NSP, technical assistance, and the importance of leveraging resources.

NSP at Halftime

The federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program is a welcome source of funds in struggling communities, and it has had a massive effect on the nature of the response to the problem of vacant foreclosed property. As NSP3 gets underway and the NSP1 obligation period comes to a close, Shelterforce looks back at NSP so far.

Next Target: Insurance Redlining

Bank reform offers a chance to address an under-the-radar form of redlining with the same sort of data disclosure HMDA requires about mortgage lending.

HMDA at 35

The improved Home Mortgage Disclosure Act can be a tool for fighting predatory lending, but it could and should go further.

Making NSP Work

Despite critiques, NSP is a powerful program that, with a few years under its belt and the help of "first look" programs, can move beyond its slow start and make a major difference.

Not Just Inclusionary Spot Zoning: Conference Portrays IZ As Essential to...

The 3rd biannual National Inclusionary Housing Conference, which wrapped up Friday in Washington, DC, had plenty of the expected workshops focused on details of...

Shelterforce Interview: Sandra Henriquez

HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Sandra Henriquez spoke with Shelterforce to discuss the administration’s Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance initiative and address some of the concerns regarding PETRA’s push to allow public housing authorities to leverage private investments. 

The Barney Frank Challenge

Barney Frank, the Massachusetts Democrat and chairman of the house Financial Services Committee, sits down with Shelterforce to discuss consumer protection, the future of Fannie and Freddie, the role of FHA, and rental housing and offers a challenge to advocates looking to effect change on the federal level.

HUD’s New Plan

When we conducted our interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, and the soon-to-be-published interviews with Sandra B. Henriquez, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Public and...

Finally Moving Toward Principal Reduction?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama administration is now considering, in some cases, encouraging banks to reduce loan principal as a...

Housing, Transportation, and Workforce Development: A Coordinated Attack

The Center for Housing Policy and the Metropolitan Planning Council released a pair of policy briefs this week that promote improved coordination as related...

Rivlin, SEIU’s Stern, Picked for Debt Commission

President Obama announced today that it had chosen SEIU’s Stern to serve on his deficit commission, formally dubbed the “National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility...

Interview with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan

Plucked from New York City's Department of Housing Preservation & Development, Shaun Donovan is leading the effort to make the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development into a relevant, powerful agency.

The Risk In The System Starts to Come Home

Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law professor who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel that watches over the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) has never been...