Number of low-income renters has soared in the past decade, JCHS report finds | How the Housing Partnership Network is changing <br>affordable housing | Commentary: Should those in subsidized housing benefit <br>from increasing values?
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December 12, 2013
Housing Matters SmartBrief

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Number of low-income renters has soared in the past decade, JCHS report finds
The number of renters with very low incomes rose by 3 million -- to 11.8 million -- between 2001 and 2011, while the number of affordable rentals has held steady, according to a report by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard. The report also found that a growing number of low-income renters are paying more than 30% of their income for housing. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (12/9), CNBC/Realty Check blog (12/9)
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Trends in Housing
How the Housing Partnership Network is changing
affordable housing

The Housing Partnership Network, which brings together about 100 affordable-housing organizations, is leveraging its size, its ability to share resources and its $25 million in assets to create more affordable-housing developments. "By joining forces, you come up with a better solution," said Tom Bledsoe, president and CEO of HPN. For example, HPN created its own insurance company to insure affordable-housing properties instead of having members buy coverage from insurers that didn't treat them competitively. Stanford Social Innovation Review (12/2013)
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Commentary: Should those in subsidized housing benefit
from increasing values?

Columnist Megan McArdle discusses the debate in Washington, D.C., over whether people in subsidized housing should be allowed to keep sale proceeds amid rising property values. The affordable-housing nonprofit Manna is pushing for a rule that would require owners to pay the city back when subsidized homes are sold. Bloomberg (12/10)
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Policy Roundup
Rep. Watt is approved
to lead FHFA

The Senate has approved the appointment of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Watt's appointment had been on hold since May, but a Senate rule change limiting filibusters paved the way for Watt's approval in a 57-41 vote. Reuters (12/10)
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HUD beefs up its
enforcement role

After decades of being out of step with the Department of Justice on investigating civil rights violations, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has increased enforcement in cases of apparent discrimination by cities that have received billions in federal funding from the agency. HUD's recent investigation into housing policies in Dallas that "subjected persons to segregation" is the latest in a series of actions, according to a ProPublica investigation. ProPublica (12/6)
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Location, Location, Location
Ill. to build, rehab 1,500 affordable-housing units
In a move to help ensure housing for working families, seniors and the disabled, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn recently announced plans to build or renovate 1,500 affordable-housing units statewide. The initiative will be paid for through a state program and federal housing tax credits. KSDK-TV (St. Louis)/The Associated Press (12/9)
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Conn. sees steady rise in homelessness
While the homelessness rate nationally has been in decline, Connecticut has seen increases in this population over the past three years. The cause, according to the Partnership for Strong Communities, is a lack of affordable housing for those who need it most. "We are creating a lot of affordable housing -- we just are creating more of it for people at the higher end of the affordable-housing range," said Alicia Woodsby, the group's deputy director. New Haven Register (Conn.) (12/11)
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Health and Housing
Affordable housing is especially important to victims of domestic violence
Domestic violence survivors make up nearly one-third of families in New York's emergency shelters, and most have nowhere to live after leaving these shelters. This opinion piece calls for city agencies to set aside units for such victims and to create programs to pull them out of homelessness for good. amNewYork (12/10)
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"Green House" aims to offer seniors a sustainable lifestyle
Florida is getting its first Green House Project nursing home, bringing the state into the fold of those embracing more homey designs for long-term care buildings. The Green House Project is a nonprofit with 150 nursing homes nationwide focusing on comfort and quality of life for residents. These designs, less like hospitals and more like homes, make for happier and healthier residents, supporters say. (12/10)
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The Economy and Housing
Average electric bill in the U.S. drops slightly
The average monthly bill for electricity service was $107.28 last year, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This is a reduction of $3.27 since 2010, but still significantly higher than a decade ago. Hawaii topped the list at $203.15 per month. New Mexico residents had the lowest bills in the U.S., at $74.62 per month. Builder Online (12/4)
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Fla. Realtors anticipate a buyers' market in 2014
Home sales in Florida should increase 10% next year, according to John Tuccillo, Florida Realtors' chief economist. Some fear that investors in Florida real estate have created a housing bubble, with values increasing 20% year-over-year, but Freddie Mac economist Frank Nothaft told the trade group that prices so far do not indicate overpricing. The Tampa Tribune (Fla.) (12/10)
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Housing Matters Spotlight
New Harvard Report Shows Rental Burden Has Reached Severe Levels
The Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its biennial rental study on Monday, December 9 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. Supported by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the JCHS report, America's Rental Housing: Evolving Markets and Needs, tracks the rental trends of the last two years and shows that moderate and severe rental burden on those with the lowest of incomes has only increased in the current economic climate. More information from the study can be found in the provided research brief, fact sheet and infographic. The release event included speeches by notable figures in the housing policy discussion, including Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper.
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Learn more about The MacArthur Foundation ->How Housing Matters | The MacArthur Foundation
About How Housing Matters
The How Housing Matters research initiative seeks to explore whether, and if so how, having a decent, stable, affordable home leads to strong families and vibrant communities. Research is showing that stable, quality housing has value beyond the provision of shelter; it improves school performance, diminishes health problems for children and adults, and decreases psychological stress. By illuminating the ways in which housing matters and highlighting innovative practices in the field, we hope to encourage collaboration among leaders and policymakers in housing, education, health, and economic development to help families lead healthy, successful lives. How Housing Matters is an initiative of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.
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