Friday, March 27, 2020

Housing Policy Ideas from the Presidential Platforms: Financing Affordable Housing

This post continues a review of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates housing policies.  The full review I conducted is available on SSRN here.  Today, I excerpt a portion of the review that looks at ideas for financing affordable housing:  

Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.  The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) continues to be a favored source for funding affordable housing.  Many candidates supported LIHTC, with all seeking to increase its funding levels, though some also seeking additional conditions for that new funding.  Castro sought to expand LIHTC by $4 billion, Steyer wanted to increase the program by 50% over the next 5 years, Bennet also wanted to increase allocations by 50%, and Hickenlooper would have doubled LIHTC funding.  In addition, using LIHTC to pilot local revolving loan funds was proposed (Castro), as was using incentives to extend the period before apartments converted to market-rate to 50 years and prioritizing new construction in high-opportunity areas (Castro).  A 4% credit for renovation projects was proposed (Steyer), as was prioritizing LIHTC projects that incorporate transit-oriented development, deep energy efficiency, and densification (Steyer).  Encouraging Live/Work projects that integrate work and affordable housing in projects was also proposed (Steyer).  Adjusting the minimum credit rate, and increasing incentives to target vulnerable communities and prevent NIMBYism was also proposed (Bennet).  Requiring all new developments receiving the more generous 9% credit be permanently affordable was also proposed (O’Rourke).

Housing Trust Fund.  The Housing Trust Fund was also a favored source of funding for affordable housing.  Proposals for increasing the HTF were generally in the same range, including: $40 billion a year (Klobuchar); $47 billion annually in the Housing Trust Fund (along with the Capital Magnet Fund), prioritizing projects with wrap-around services and climate goals (Steyer); $45 billion annually in the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund (Castro); $42 billion in additional funding for the Housing Trust Fund and CDFI (Inslee); $400 billion over ten years (O’Rourke); $445 billion (over an unspecified time) (Warren); $400 billion over next 10 years (Bennet); and $1.48 trillion over 10 years (with an additional $400 billion to build mixed-income social housing units) (Sanders).

There was also a proposal to reserve up to 10% of the National Housing Trust Fund towards down-payment assistance for prospective low-income first-time home buyers (Castro).

Capital Magnet Fund.  Similarly, the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) was a preferred mechanism for funding.  Increased funding proposals just to the CMF included $25 billion (Warren) and $60 billion per year (O’Rourke).  Proposals that included both the CMF and the HTF included $30 billion over next 10 years (Bennet); $45 billion per year (Castro); and $47 billion annually (Steyer).

Other proposals.  Other funding proposals included increasing the New Markets Tax Credits funding to $5 billion a year (Biden).  There was a proposal to raise the bond volume cap (Klobuchar), and there was a proposal to incentivize multi-family developments that help increase density in areas of opportunity by supporting new financing tools through Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Private Activity Bonds (Bennet).

March 27, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Housing Policy Ideas from the Presidential Platforms: Housing for Special Populations

This post continues a review of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates housing policies.  The full review I conducted is available on SSRN here.  Today, I excerpt a portion of the review that looks at housing policies geared at special populations, which are summarized below:  

Disabled housing.  In addition to the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, platforms made note of several housing issues related to disabilities.  This included the need to enforce the Olmstead Decision (Sanders).  Enforcement of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act was also mentioned (Sanders).  Others pledged to use the three major affordable housing funding sources—LIHTC, the National Housing Trust Fund, and the Capital Magnet Fund—to focus on constructing affordable housing for the disabled (Castro).  In addition, it was suggested that the disabled should always have priority for occupying affordable units designated for those with disabilities (Castro).

Senior housing.  Senior affordable housing was addressed in several ways.  This included a proposal to regulate reverse mortgages (Klobuchar) and created an up-to-$6,000 tax credit for retrofitting an existing home for senior living (Klobuchar).  Retrofitting existing affordable rental housing for seniors was also mentioned as a priority (Klobuchar).

Student housing.  Several candidates proposed increasing Pell Grants, which can be used for student housing (Klobuchar, Castro).  One proposal would raise the Pell Grant maximum to $12,000 per year and expanding eligibility to families making up to $100,000 per year (Klobuchar).  Microgrant programs that would help students cover rent or other necessary expenses were also proposed (Klobuchar), as was increasing student accessibility to existing affordable housing units and building new affordable units near campuses (Klobuchar).  In addition, McKinney-Vento funds, which typically focus on homelessness, were proposed for expansion to support housing-insecure students (Castro).

Domestic violence.  Eviction protection for victims of domestic violence was proposed (Sanders), as was stepped up enforcement of Violence Against Women’s Act and its 2016 amendments (Steyer, Castro).

Other proposals.  Increased funding for the Runaway and Homeless Youth Trafficking Prevention Act to ensure transitional living programs, particularly for youth who are aging out of the foster system, was proposed (O’Rourke).  Victims of trafficking (Steyer) and creative sector workers (Hickenlooper) were also noted as populations worthy of further housing policy consideration.

March 24, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Idaho Law seeks 3 visiting assistant professors for 2020-21

We are seeking three visiting assistant professors for the 2020-21 academic year here at Idaho Law.  The details are below:

Univ. of Idaho (Moscow location) Seeks Tax Visitor

The University of Idaho College of Law seeks entry-level or experienced faculty members interested in serving as a full-time, temporary faculty member for the 2020-2021 academic year at its Moscow location. We are specifically hiring for a professor to teach various Tax law courses and, possibly, courses on Estate Planning and/or Wills. For more information and to apply, go here: https://uidaho.peopleadmin.com/postings/28443 Questions can be directed to Associate Dean David Pimentel at dpimentel@uidaho.edu.

Univ. of Idaho (Boise location) Seeks Visitor to Direct Entrepreneurship Law Clinic

The University of Idaho College of Law seeks entry-level or experienced faculty members interested in serving as a full-time, temporary faculty member for the 2020-2021 academic year to direct the College’s Entrepreneurship Law Clinic at its Boise location. The Entrepreneurship Law Clinic is devoted to outreach to the startup and small business community in Idaho. For more information and to apply, go here: https://uidaho.peopleadmin.com/postings/28557 Questions can be directed to Associate Dean Wendy Couture at wgcouture@uidaho.edu.

Univ. of Idaho (Boise location) Seeks Visitor to Teach IP & Contracts

The University of Idaho College of Law seeks entry-level or experienced faculty members interested in serving as a full-time, temporary faculty member for the 2020-2021 academic year to teach first-year Contracts and several Intellectual Property Law courses (potentially including Introduction to Intellectual Property, Copyrights, Trademarks & Trade Dress, Patents, Internet Law, and/or Antitrust). For more information and to apply, go here: https://uidaho.peopleadmin.com/postings/28556 Questions can be directed to Associate Dean Wendy Couture at wgcouture@uidaho.edu.

March 14, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Housing Policy Ideas from the Presidential Platforms: Fair Housing

This post is part of an ongoing review of 2020 presidential candidate platforms on housing (full review available here).  Today's post focuses on fair housing proposals.  Here is an excerpt:

Broadening protections under the Fair Housing Act.  Many of the presidential candidates seek to expand the Fair Housing Act to under- or un-protected classes.  At present, the Fair Housing Act’s provisions prevent discrimination in various aspects of the real estate market on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, and national origin.

New classes proposed for protection under the Fair Housing Act by candidates include “veteran status” (Bloomberg, Klobuchar, O’Rourke) and “military status” (O’Rourke). 

A variety of other proposals focus on extending protection to sex and gender classes, which was expressed by various candidates as “sexual orientation” (Bloomberg, Klobuchar, O’Rourke), “LGBTQ+” (Sanders, Castro), “sex and gender identity,” “sexual identity” and “gender identity” (Steyer, Harris, O’Rourke).  Several platforms expressly voiced support for the Equality Act, which is proposed legislation intended to address discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer individuals in a variety of contexts, including housing.  

Other classes proposed for addition to the Fair Housing Act include “marital status” (Warren, Harris) and those with a “criminal record” (O’Rourke).

Source-of-income protection.  Protecting source-of-income under the Fair Housing Act was also popular (Bloomberg, Buttigieg, Sanders, Warren, Castro, Harris, O’Rourke).

Disparate Impact Rule.  In the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc., the court held that disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act.[2]  In October, 2019, HUD issued a proposed rule that offered an interpretation of the Fair Housing Act disparate impact standard that many commenters felt was restrictive and would limit the viability of such claims.  Several candidates expressly stated that they would seek to address this rule and make disparate impact claims easier to bring under the Inclusive Communities ruling (Bloomberg, O’Rourke).

Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule.  At the end of the Obama administration, HUD promulgated a rule that sought to give teeth to the Fair Housing Act’s statutory directive that “all executive departments and agencies” should operate their programs in “a manner affirmatively to further” fair housing.  The rule requires communities to submit plans outlining their efforts to fight segregation.  In 2018, the Trump Administration extended a key reporting deadline under the AFFH Rule, and in January, 2020, the Trump Administration issued a proposed rule that would roll-back many of the AFFH Rule’s major provisions.  A number of candidates propose to reinstate the rule as it was originally envisioned by the Obama Administration.  (Bloomberg, Sanders, Klobuchar, O’Rourke, Castro, Patrick).

Other proposals.  There was a proposal to ban landlords and rental agencies from discriminating against applicants based upon a of bankruptcy, if the individual could demonstrate current cash flow and stability requirements for occupancy (Steyer).

Another proposal would protect renters by preventing the blacklisting of people who have been to court over eviction, though specific mechanism for this protection were not mentioned (Klobuchar). 

Several candidates addressed discrimination on the basis of prior arrests or convictions (Klobuchar, Steyer, Castro).  Klobuchar would prohibit landlords from asking about prior criminal convictions on lease applications, a proposal that she calls “ban the box” (Klobuchar, Steyer, Castro).  Klobuchar proposes that background checks be permitted only after making a conditional offer of housing. 

Another proposal would ensure that new technology products, such as financing and placement algorithms, meet established civil rights standards (Steyer).

Several candidates proposed new agencies to address issues related to fair housing.  Sanders called for a new National Fair Housing Agency, which he envisioned operating like a Consumer Finance Protection Bureau for housing matters, while Bloomberg called for a new Housing Fairness Commission.

Enhancing enforcement of existing housing laws was also a priority for some candidates.  Harris proposed to utilize HUD, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency to enhance Fair Housing Act enforcement in conducting audits and fair housing tests to prevent discrimination at the point of sale.  Several candidates wanted to give more funds to the HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity for enforcement.

For those who want to read the entire review of the platforms, it is available here.  The review looks at candidates' takes on fair housing; housing development funding; home buyer and renter assistance; landlord-tenant; zoning reform; addressing the legacy of redlining; housing vouchers; homelessness; fair lending; rural communities housing policies; tribal communities housing policies; climate resilience and housing policy; and existing public housing policy.

March 4, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Deadline: March 6: ABA Student Writing competition on affordable housing

 

 
Forum on Affordable Housing‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Learn More
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March 3, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Housing Policy Ideas from the Presidential Platforms: Common Themes

Just in time for Super Tuesday voting, I just completed a review of housing policies in all of the 2020 presidential candidate platforms.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to highlight these policies focusing on a different housing issue in each post.  Today's excerpt is a section of the article that focuses on common themes in the presidential platforms.  Here is the excerpt:

There were a number of common themes among the platforms. 

In fair housing, many of the platforms encouraged broadening the protected classes under the Fair Housing Act, especially with regard to veteran status and sexual and gender identities.  There was also significant agreement in providing source-of-income protection, reinstituting the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule and broadening the availability of disparate impact claims under the Fair Housing Act. 

In development funding, there was broad support for increasing funding through the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the Housing Trust Fund, and the Capital Magnet Fund.

There were a number of proposals for a renters’ credit, with many of the proposals focusing on limiting low- and middle-income households’ exposure to rent to less than 30% of household income. 

There was overwhelming support for access to counsel in eviction cases.

There was significant interest in incentivizing local governments to reform exclusionary zoning policies.  A variety of proposals were made including linking transportation funding, Community Development Block Grant funding, and state and local tax deductions to eliminating exclusionary zoning.  Several policies were also made to address the legacy of redlining that would have significant impacts. 

There was significant support for Housing Choice Vouchers, with many candidates proposing to fully fund the program.  There was also general support for homelessness funding through the McKinney-Vento homelessness assistance grants and also through a variety of programs to assist homeless veterans.

Housing support in rural and tribal communities received consistent support but without proposals for significant policy innovation.  Integrating climate change and resilience to disaster into housing policy received only modest attention, though several candidates addressed it in detail.  Similarly, there was consistent support for increasing funds for capital repairs in existing public housing.

That's all for today.

For those who want to read the entire review of the platforms, it is available here.  The review looks at candidates' takes on fair housing; housing development funding; home buyer and renter assistance; landlord-tenant; zoning reform; addressing the legacy of redlining; housing vouchers; homelessness; fair lending; rural communities housing policies; tribal communities housing policies; climate resilience and housing policy; and existing public housing policy.

March 3, 2020 | Permalink | Comments (0)