Public Policy

Public policy, advocacy and lobbying to end homelessness and expand supportive housing in NJ.

Fact sheet on the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008

The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has issued an important fact sheet on the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 which will reform HUD’s Section 811 program. This is an important legislative initiative that “by enacting the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008, Congress can ensure that a reinvigorated Section 811 program is ready to create thousands of new permanent supportive housing units every year without needing to double or triple appropriation levels.” The fact sheet provides an excellent overview of the benefits of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008.

To read the full legislation click here. To read the full fact sheet click here.

To read our previous post on the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2008 click here.

This is a summary from the CCD Fact Sheet.

H.R. 5772 will “fast-track” and sustain the creation of thousands of new permanent supportive housing units every year by:

Authorizing a new and innovative Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) Demonstration program to create thousands of new Section 811 units each year without substantially increasing Section 811 appropriations levels by leveraging new set-asides of supportive housing units in federal Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties and HOME-funded projects. The PRAC Demonstration program will provide the essential rental subsidy to reduce rents to affordable levels for people receiving SSI in a small but significant percentage of the hundreds of thousands of units that are routinely created every year through the LIHTC and HOME programs administered by states and local jurisdictions.

Reforming the existing Section 811 production program to better leverage other capital funding and reduce barriers to “mixed-finance” Section 811 projects. These reforms will also increase the number of units created each year through the current 811 production program;

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Perfect storm leaves cupboards bare at NJ food pantries!

The Star-Ledger printed a front page article today entitled “Food pantries’ cupboards are closer to bare.” It highlights the perfect storm that is impacting the ability of emergency food providers in New Jersey. It is as the Star-Ledger stated “a two-way crunch — rising prices are making it tougher to keep the shelves stocked at the same time more people are coming in the door for help.”

The article highlights our fiends at Elijah’s Promise and CUMAC/ECHO. To read the full article click here.

The article notes these dramatic increase “CUMAC/ECHO, a Paterson food pantry run by the Rev. Pat Bruger, the client base has grown close to 30 percent since January, raising the monthly average of people served from 2,000 to 2,600. The number of senior citizens has grown by more than 30 percent, the number of children by 11 percent.” They quote Rev. Pat Bruger of CUMAC/ECHO “Pantries were serving people who were in emergency need, and they were mostly on welfare. Now they’re … working families and people on fixed incomes. We did not foresee this. Not at this level.”

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NAEH to hold audio conference May 2nd on McKinney-Vento Reauthorization

This audio conference that NAEH will hold on McKinney-Vento Reauthorization is both timely and exceedingly important. We encourage all parties who are interested in ending homelessness to sign up to be part of this audio conference.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness invites you to participate in a national audio conference on reauthorization of HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance programs. The audio conference will be Friday May 2 at 2:00 PM Eastern and will last 90 minutes.

Congress is working on the first major change to HUD’s homeless assistance programs in over a decade. The House Financial Services Committee is planning to consider the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act along with an amendment. The audio conference will cover the proposals and what they would mean for homeless assistance as well as the outlook for reauthorization.

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Exurbia seeing greater home price drops than urban areas

A subject we have posted on previously – Is Suburbia Doomed? – received supporting evidence in a report on Morning Edition this morning. In an article entilted – Home Prices Drop Most in Areas with Long CommuteKathleen Schalch reported that with falling housing prices “the ones with short commutes are faring better than places with long drives into the city. Some analysts see a pause in what has long been inexorable – urban sprawl.”

The story reports on areas around Washington where prices have fallen an average of 11 percent. However, in areas with commutes greater than an hour prices have fallen even more. Neighborhoods closer to Washington have in some cases had modest increases.

To listen to the story click here.

The following is a portion of the transcript. To read all of the transcript click here.

Home Prices Drop Most in Areas with Long Commute
by Kathleen Schalch

Morning Edition, April 21, 2008 · Economists say home prices are nowhere near hitting bottom. But even in regions that have taken a beating, some neighborhoods remain practically unscathed. And a pattern is emerging as to which neighborhoods those are.

The ones with short commutes are faring better than places with long drives into the city. Some analysts see a pause in what has long been inexorable – urban sprawl.

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has been hit hard. Prices tumbled an average of 11 percent in the past year. That’s the big picture. But a look at Ashburn, Va., about 40 miles from the center of town, finds a steeper fall.

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Can Preston save HUD?

On Friday April 18, 2008, President Bush selected SBA Administrator Steve Preston to take over as head of the government’s housing agency at a time of deep crisis in the industry. To say the least this is a difficult time fro someone to be appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It is not simply the sub-prime and foreclosure crisis but the rising gap of affordability that keeps a larger and larger number of people out of reach of affordable housing. It is also the failure to provide adequate funding as well as the pending crisis that could result in more than 6,510 rental vouchers in New Jersey that was detailed in the Center for Budget Policy and Priorities report entitled “HUD BUDGET CONTAINS MAJOR FUNDING SHORTFALLS: Congress Needs to Add $6.5 Billion to Administration’s Request to Avoid Cuts In Assistance for Low-Income Families.”

In his announcement, according to the NY Times, Bush called “Steve Preston, a ‘consensus builder’ and ‘experienced manager’ while head of the Small Business Administration, to be the nation’s new housing secretary. In a White House ceremony, the president praised Mr. Preston as ‘a reformer who would act aggressively to help Americans obtain affordable mortgages’ and so be able to keep their homes.”

The Times reported that Mr. Preston said, “Our solutions must restore confidence in our markets while not erecting barriers to future entrepreneurs, investors and home buyers.”

We understand the importance of addressing the foreclosure crisis but we believe HUD needs a leader who can insure that the department insure affordable housing for all of our citizens, increase supportive housing for those wit unmet needs and provide funding to end homelessness.

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Housing Network to hold Lobby Day 2008 on June 5th

We received this important notice form our friends at the Housing and Community Development Network. We encourage our readers to attend this important event. Click here for a flyer with more details. Taking our Policy Priorities to the State House Come to Trenton and educate your representatives about the need for foreclosure prevention, rental assistance and housing reform. Date: Thursday,…

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New Jersey affordable housing remains “Out of Reach”

Out of Reach

As the Monarch Housing Blog! reported on April 4, 2008, New Jersey remains the fifth most expensive state for affordable rental housing. The post last week announced the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s release of Out of Reach 2007-2008. Although we were disheartened again today with the release by our friends at the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey of the details about New Jersey we were pleased that they were taking the lead on making the case about the continued decline in affordability in New Jersey. As they note in their fact sheet “The hourly housing wage in New Jersey for a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in 2008 is $22.25. This wage has risen 42.6 percent since 2000.

To read the full report click here.

To read the Housing and Community Development Network’s fact sheet click here.

To read the Housing and Community Development Network’s four pages of data click here.

The following is their full press release.

Affordable rental housing still “Out of Reach” in NJ
Network says report shows need for action in fifth worst state

The release of the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s “Out of Reach 2007-2008,” the annual report documenting the need for affordable housing in every state in the nation, takes on an amplified importance for New Jersey this year, according to the Housing & Community Development Network of New Jersey.

“The NLIHC’s report, which once again places New Jersey among the most difficult states in which to find affordable places to live, points up the necessity and the urgency of taking meaningful action,” said Diane Sterner, the Network’s executive director.

In the 2006-2007 NLIHC report, New Jersey was the fourth most expensive state in which to rent. According to this year’s report, things haven’t changed much, with the state in fifth place. To afford a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent in New Jersey the tenant must have an hourly wage of at least $22.25, an almost five-percent increase from last year. Social workers, dental lab technicians, police dispatchers, home health aides, child care workers and school bus drivers, among a host of other occupations, make under $22.25 an hour in New Jersey. Only in Hawaii, California, New York and Massachusetts, is renting more expensive.

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How do you spell housing crisis?
How do you spell housing crisis?

In New Jersey the housing crisis has always been self-evident. However, this weeks release of new census data the answer is now crystal clear. According to the data as reported today by the Star-Ledger, “Fully 17.1 percent of all New Jersey homeowners used half or more of their income to pay mortgages, property taxes and utilities in 2006, the Census…

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