September 15, 2015
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) held a policy conference to commemorate the 50 year anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Among the conference materials is a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) which states the the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) oversight over compliance with the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) has been lax and proposes joint IRS/HUD oversight. The NMTC has been used to create affordable housing through Housing finance Agencies (HFAs). According to the GAO report the IRS has only conducted seven audits of the 56 HFA since 1986. The GAO report states, “Joint administration with HUD could better align program responsibilities with each agency’s mission and more efficiently address existing oversight challenges.”
- The U.S. Treasury has awarded awarded $202 million dollars to 195 Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) through the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). The CDFI Fund was established in 1994 to provide capital and access to credit in underserved communities through CDFIs. CDFIs are mission driven financial institutions which work on the local level to revitalize neighborhoods and create economic change. The CDFI Program invests in and builds the capacity of community credit unions, banks, loan funds, and other financial institutions serving rural and urban communities.
- The Seattle Mayor has proposed new legislation to build 6,000 new affordable housing units. The proposal has been dubbed a “grand bargain” between affordable housing advocates and real estate developers. This grand bargain will require all new development in Seattle pay for affordable housing creation.
- Not to be outdone, the Mayor of Denver has also been mulling over a policy (mentioned in his inaugural address) which would tax new development and also raise the property taxes. Both Seattle and Denver are reacting to a situation in which lower paid professionals including teachers, restaurant and healthcare workers are increasingly difficult to attract and recruit because they are unable to find housing they can afford.