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We are all stronger together
In this issue
Under One Roof

A look at the National Housing Conference, its members, and news and events from around housing.

Radiah Shabazz

Chris Estes
Ethan Handelman
Mindy Ault
Marice Fernando
Amanda Gold
Robert Hickey
Rebekah King
Radiah Shabazz
Lisa Sturtevant
Janet Viveiros

To pitch stories, submit event listings or share happenings in the housing world, or with questions,
email Radiah Shabazz at:
Organizations In This Issue 

AARP Public Policy Institute
Boston Housing Authority
Boston Private Industry Council
John F. Kennedy Family Service Center
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
Eden Housing
Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing
Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership
Children's Health Watch
American Planning Association
National Affordable Housing Management Association
People In This Issue
Dr. Debra Whitman
Bill McGonagle
Jim Kennedy
Joseph Villareal
Larry Keys, Jr. 

NHC and Center Events
Please mark your calendars for the upcoming NHC events: 

NHC Annual Gala 
June 11, 2015
Washington, D.C. 
NHC Policy Symposium
June 12, 2015
Washington, D.C.
Learn more + register 
Member & Partner Events
May 7, 2015 
San Francisco, CA


May 7-8, 2015
San Francisco, CA


May 18-19, 2015
Marina del Rey, CA


May 29, 2015
Washington, DC 

June 1-4, 2015
Los Angeles, CA 

June 4-5, 2015
Silver Spring, MD


HAND Annual meeting & Housing Expo

June 23, 2015

Washington, DC


NLHA Annual Membership Meeting

June 24-26, 2015

Washington, DC


NAHMA Public Policy Issues Summer Forum

June 25-27, 2015

Las Vegas, NV


2015 National Conference on Ending Homelessness 

July 15-17, 2015
Washington, DC


2015 NAHRO Summer Conference 

July 30-August 1, 2015
Austin, TX


PHADA 2015 Legislative Forum 

September 13-15, 2015
Washington, DC 
























































































































































































































































































































































MAY 2015

From the Front Porch Chris Estes
What it means to be a movement
NHC Gala honorees show us the way forward 


Last week I had the opportunity to speak at a unique conference in Columbus, Ohio.  Hosted by the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing, the Starting at Home Conference brought together researchers, developers, service providers, philanthropy and others involved in affordable housing and community development.  The focus was on the intersections between affordable housing and community revitalization, education and health.


This intersection is exactly where NHC believes the affordable housing field needs to more fully focus its work. Emphasizing the comprehensive outcomes our developments and partnerships produce for communities is a way not just to change how we communicate about our work with the public and policymakers; it's a best practice framework everyone in the business of affordable housing can use.  





Washington Wire
NHC's weekly housing news update from inside the Beltway

Congress reaches budget agreement; THUD appropriations move forward


by Rebekah King


Last week, House Republicans announced a budget agreement which the House passed on April 30.  The Senate is expected to vote on the agreement this week. The agreement includes no tax revenue increases and cuts more than five trillion dollars in spending over the next 10 years. The budget gives reconciliation instructions to the three committees with jurisdiction over the healthcare law, and these committees are tasked with producing deficit cutting bills by July 24. The agreement also requires the Congressional Budget Office to use fair-value accounting (which has the potential to overstate the cost of federal programs) in addition to traditional budget estimates. During the last week, the appropriations process also moved forward in the House. The House Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) and Related Agencies favorably reported the FY 2016 THUD budget out to the full appropriations committee. The bill does not fully fund renewals for Section 8 project-based rental assistance, deeply underfunds public housing capital needs, proposes a major cut to the HOME program and would direct all funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) into the HOME program. More information is available on NHC's Open House blog and in a recent Enterprise blog post





NHC's Connectivity Working Group submits recommendations for HUD's digital opportunity demonstration


by Rebekah King


HUD published advance notice of a digital opportunity demonstration program to accelerate broadband adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.  NHC convened its Connectivity Working Group to discuss the proposal and submitted comments, based on that discussion and the working group's previously drafted policy recommendations and research brief on the need among low-income renters for Internet access. NHC encourages HUD to broaden the eligibility criteria for communities to build on existing initiatives; include households of all types in rural, suburban and urban communities; focus on property-level shared broadband network solutions for multifamily rental housing and implement other policy actions in parallel to the demonstration. The full comment letter is available here.





HUD recruiting for Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee


by Amanda Gold and Rebekah King


HUD's Office of Housing Counseling is soliciting nominations for the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee (HCFAC) from agency officials, members of Congress, professional organizations and the general public. The Office of Housing Counseling's mission is to provide individuals with the knowledge they need to obtain, sustain and improve their housing. The HCFAC provides advice to the deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Housing Counseling. The HCFAC is seeking up to 12 individuals with experience in counseling, mortgage, real estate and consumer points of view. An application for the HCFAC may be obtained here and should be submitted by email to Applications are due May 14, and selection of members will be made by the secretary.  





U.S. Supreme Court denies HUD appeal petition on PBCA


by Amanda Gold


On April 20 the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review HUD's appeal petition, leaving standing a lower court's ruling that HUD cannot continue to use cooperative agreements with states and public housing authorities to run the project-based rental assistance (PBRA) program. The plaintiffs in the case were contractors that accused HUD of evading competition requirements in its administration of subsidized housing in 42 jurisdictions. The issue has been argued before the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which sided with the plaintiffs, and in the Court of Federal Claims, which sided with HUD, before being overturned by the Federal Circuit. Now, HUD will have to use the federal procurement process to administer funds under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. HUD has said it will need 18-24 months to implement the decision for project-based contract administration (PBCA). 




New guidance for Tenant Protection Vouchers


by Amanda Gold


HUD has issued Notice HUD 2-15-07, which provides guidance for applications for Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) for projects in low-vacancy areas where families are at risk of paying rents that exceed 30 percent of household income. Often, this occurs when HUD-assisted public housing projects undergo demolition/disposition or owners opt-out of Section 8 project-based contracts. In FY 2015, Congress appropriated $130 million for TPVs for tenants in HUD-assisted projects who are negatively impacted by these actions. However, assistance may only be provided for projects that are in low-vacancy areas and HUD has included a list of such areas in the notice. 





USDA Rural Development Revises guidance for loan payoffs

by Amanda Gold


The USDA Department of Rural Development has published an Unnumbered Letter (UL), which supersedes one issued on Jan. 15, 2015, addressing loans that are reaching their natural maturity date and loans that were repaid ahead of their scheduled maturity date. The UL provides guidance to Agency staff, owners and managers of Section 515 and Sections 514/516 properties reaching their maturity date on options to keep those properties affordable as well as provides sample notifications for borrowers and tenants for the first time. 




HUD announces eight additional Promise Zones 

by Amanda Gold


Six cities, one rural region and one tribal community have been designated as Promise Zones, an Obama administration program that aims to revitalize distressed communities. Promise Zones are high-poverty areas where the federal government partners with communities to create jobs, leverage private investment, increase economic activity, expand educational opportunities and reduce crime. President Obama announced the first round of designations in January. The eight second round Promise Zones are Camden, N.J.; Hartford, Conn.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Sacramento, Calif.; St Louis/St. Louis County, Mo.; Pine Ridge Indian Reservation of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, S.D. and the Low Country of South Carolina. 



Reanalysis of Moving to Opportunity finds positive effects for younger children moving to better neighborhoods 

by Rebekah King


In 1994, HUD began a 10-year demonstration and research project, the Moving to Opportunity (MTO) program. On May 4, Dr. Raj Chetty, Dr. Nathaniel Hendren and Dr. Lawrence Katz released their report, "The Effects of Exposure to Better Neighborhoods on Children." This study used HUD and Internal Revenue Service data to look at the long-term outcomes of children in the MTO program. The study found that children who moved to low-poverty neighborhoods while young did better as adults, achieving higher incomes and a greater likelihood of pursuing a college education. Adult women in the program who moved to low poverty neighborhoods experienced positive physical and mental health benefits. The study found stronger effects for younger children but negative mental effects for older boys and no significant improvement in school outcomes for older children. The overall findings are significant, because they show that children who move to low-poverty neighborhoods experience better life outcomes as adults. HUD will soon announce a new policy to increase the options for HUD-assisted families when seeking rental housing and lower poverty neighborhoods. The study is part of the Equality of Opportunity Project at Harvard University. 




NHC Family Room
news from NHC's family of members

AARP Livability Index helps people 50+ determine if neighborhoods are meeting their needs 


by Radiah Shabazz 


NHC Leadership Circle member AARP Public Policy Institute recently launched the Livability Index, a resource that allows people to determine how well their communities are meeting current and future needs of residents. The index identifies the most livable places around the country for people 50 and older.


The index was created with residents' needs in mind. Using findings from a national survey of 4,500 50-plus Americans, AARP determines neighborhood livability using several factors, including affordable housing, supportive services, access to public transportation and walkability, all of which create an environment in which residents can live an engaging and independent life. 





Boston Housing Authority awarded $3 million to increase economic independence of low-income public housing residents 

by Radiah Shabazz 


Last month NHC member Boston Housing Authority (BHA) was awarded $2 million from HUD and $1 million from the City of Boston to increase economic independence for families living in the Charlestown public housing development. The efforts of the Jobs-Plus grant will assist low-income residents to find higher wage jobs through job search and placement, financial literacy assistance and increasing education levels of public housing residents.


The place-based Jobs-Plus program addresses poverty among resident of public housing by enabling employment and a set of services designed to support work, like counseling, job placement and employer linkages. Boston Housing was one of 57 other applicants across the nation competing for the grant, which will develop job-driven approaches to increase earnings and advance employment outcomes for residents. 





Eden Housing celebrates grand opening of Monteverde Senior Apartments 

by Radiah Shabazz


NHC member Eden Housing recently celebrated the grand opening of Monteverde Senior Apartments in Orinda, California. Monteverde provides housing to extremely low-income older adults who earn at or below 30 to 50 percent of Contra Costa County's area median income. In partnership with the Housing Authority of Contra Costa County, Eden received a 15-year project-based voucher commitment for 100 percent of the units, which enables Eden to serve older adults who rely chiefly on social security benefits.


Monteverde features several community amenities for its residents, including an exercise room, a library and learning center, a courtyard and community garden and a community room. The development also incorporates solar hot water heating and photovoltaic electrical systems for sustainability, all of which contribute to residents' increased ability to age in place. These systems keep costs low for residents by providing lower utility costs. 






Briefing Room
news from the NHC and the Center

NHC's Annual Gala and Policy Symposium one month away!


by Radiah Shabazz


NHC's 43rd Annual Gala and Policy Symposium are just over a month away on June 11 and 12! Our Annual Gala, Moving Housing Forward: Creating Community, will honor The Community Properties Initiative, led by Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing and Piece by Piece Underwater Recovery Efforts, led by Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership, two comprehensive community development initiatives with affordable housing at the center of their success. Read more about our honorees and join us in celebrating them on June 11! Purchase your tickets to the Gala and spend an evening with housing leaders from around the country for the housing event of the year.


Be sure to also register for our Annual Policy Symposium, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Washington Marriott Metro Center. The event will focus on how housing can help individual and family success and feature a research presentation from Children's Health Watch on the health impacts of homelessness on children and expectant mothers. Two interactive panel discussions on the future of low-income homeownership and affordable rental housing as a platform for success are also scheduled for the information-packed half-day event. 


The latest research on the connection between affordable housing and health 


by Janet Viveiros


Affordable housing leads to better health outcomes than unaffordable, unstable and poor quality housing. The new report from NHC's Center for Housing Policy, The Impacts of Affordable Housing on Health, is an update to a 2011 report by the same name that reviews research on the various ways that housing influences health. The latest edition of this brief includes the most recent research on the connection between housing and health outcomes for individuals of all ages.


New research on the impact of housing costs, quality and stability on health reinforces the original 10 hypotheses in the 2011 report which trace the pathways through which affordable and stable housing supports positive physical and mental health outcomes. Much of the new research in the report focuses on the harmful effects of stress, caused by unaffordable housing or foreclosure proceedings, on mental health. Current research also confirms that a lack of affordable housing options can result in victims of domestic abuse returning to their abuser or struggling with housing instability. 



Upcoming webinar will examine how EPA's Clean Power Plan connects to affordable housing  

by Rebekah King


States will soon begin drafting their compliance plans to meet the greenhouse gas reduction targets required by the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) upcoming Clean Power Plan. States have a lot of flexibility in choosing strategies to address emissions, and as they discuss which strategies to include in their state implementation plans, states should consider the growing evidence that energy efficiency is a very low-cost way to reduce emissions.  Many states already have strong state- and utility-sponsored efficiency programs.


However, multifamily housing has been underserved by energy efficiency programs in most states, so there is incredible potential to reduce emissions and save money by pursuing energy efficiency in the affordable multifamily housing sector. Every dollar invested in multifamily energy efficiency generates over three dollars in benefits, according to an upcoming report from Efficiency for All. Reducing operating costs of affordable multifamily buildings also helps ensure their long-term affordability. As states draft their implementation plans, they should include programs and policies that target the affordable multifamily sector.


To learn more about how you can get involved and advocate for more resources for energy efficiency investments in multifamily affordable housing, plan to attend NHC's webinar on the Clean Power Plan on May 12 at 3 p.m. EST.


APA Conference shapes future planning for affordable housing nationwide

by Robert Hickey

Housing and equity were major themes of last month's American Planning Association (APA) conference in Seattle, attended by a whopping 6,400 planning professionals, most of whom influence local land use decisions and shape future planning for our towns and cities. I was thrilled to have a chance to contribute to the discussion in two workshops. On the second day of the conference I moderated and presented research on how localities are addressing local housing needs through "

inclusionary upzoning," which links height increases, increased densities and other significant zoning changes to the inclusion of affordable housing. The session was timed to coincide with APA's latest issue of Zoning Practice, titled "Practice Inclusionary Upzoning," which I authored this month. Planning leaders from New York City and Arlington County, Virginia, joined me in describing the different ways that local jurisdictions can link zoning changes to affordability. One of the main takeaways of the session was that zoning incentives have to be meaningful in the context of existing zoning and local development economics, and generally this means maintaining low base zoning permissions before linking affordability to height or density bonuses. 



Access to broadband internet low for low-income renters

by Mindy Ault

Our new research brief, The Connectivity Gap: The Internet Is Still Out of Reach for Many Low-Income Renters, discusses the high numbers of low-income households lacking access to broadband Internet. Internet access is an important element of our daily lives. From searching for job opportunities and applying for positions to staying in touch with friends and family, doing schoolwork and accessing health insurance information, Internet accessing plays an important role in our day-to-day activities. For low-income households this is often not the case. More than half of very low-income renter households do not have internet access at home, and of those that do, 11 percent rely on a smartphone or other handheld device, compared to nine percent of all renters. The proportion of households without computer or Internet access is even higher for senior renters and those with disabilities: more than 60 percent of very low-income disabled renters do not have home Internet access, and for very low-income senior renters, that share is 74 percent.


In addition to the research brief, we have set forth six policy recommendations toward the goal of connectivity for all. The policy recommendations are the product of a diverse Connectivity Working Group convened by NHC to recommend policy changes. Endorsed policies include the setting of a national goal for connectivity in all HUD and USDA properties as part of a national connectivity strategy, treating broadband as an eligible expenditure in affordable rental housing and providing federal funds to support broadband connectivity in affordable housing. Read the full document here.


Larry Keys, Jr. named NAHMA Government Affairs Director 

by Radiah Shabazz

Larry Keys, Jr. via LinkedIn

Larry Keys, Jr., joined the National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) last month as its new government affairs director. He joins NAHMA from HUD, where he worked as a policy analyst in the office of Policy, Programs and Legislative Initiatives for Public and Indian Housing. In his new role, Keys will be the primary advocate for NAHMA's policy positions and meet with congressional staff and federal agency staff to convey them.

Prior to his work at HUD, Keys worked as a project manager on the Office of Multifamily Housing in Jackson, Mississippi for three years.


"As a passionate affordable housing supporter, I am very excited to join NAHMA. I look forward to working with members to advance NAHMA's mission," Keys said in a press release announcing his new position.


A graduate of Mississippi State University, Keys began his time at NAHMA on April 20. Congratulations!


Have an achievement you want to share with the housing community? Contact NHC communications associate Radiah Shabazz  to share news of an award, promotion or other professional milestone. 


Policy Workshop
what we're building
Putting homeownership into perspective
by Ethan Handelman 


The homeownership rate always garners headlines.  Recent versions include the "22-year low" to clumsy attempts to connect homeownership to presidents' policy. There are some more thoughtful takes, too, but most naturally converge on the recent boom and bust in housing. The boom and bust focus, however, obscures the basic fact that about a third of us rent homes and about two-thirds of us own homes. That's been true as long as we've been counting.


For a recent talk I did at a Women in Housing and Finance conference, I put together two charts of the same data. Here's the first one, of the homeownership rate as measured by the Census Bureau annually, in essentially the default graph that you can generate from the Commerce Department website.  It illustrates the boom and bust focus:








Research Lab from the Center for Housing Policydeveloping solutions through research
How housing supports the well-being of children 

by Lisa Sturtevant, Ph.D.


Housing, which includes the neighborhood we live in and the quality of the home environment we create, touches everyone's life and has a big impact in particular on the lives of children. Many of our family milestones and celebrations are centered around home. Memories from our childhood often are set in the house or neighborhood in which we grew up. Parents strive to provide a safe and nurturing environment for their children. NHC's Center for Housing Policy has recently completed research that highlights the importance of safe, stable and affordable homes to the well-being of our nation's children.


Millions of households, including many with children, continue to face staggering affordability challenges. The Center's Housing Landscape 2015 shows that 9.6 million low- and moderate-income working U.S. households spend more than half of their income on housing each month, which means for many families there is not always enough left over to provide adequately for a safe and stable home environment for their children. 






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