Monday, June 1, 2009

Guest Blogger Dvora Lovinger: A Brief Look at Three New Programs in the FY 2010 HUD Budget

At a recent briefing, Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan provided details on the President’s Fiscal Year 2010 HUD budget. The budget contains several new housing initiatives that Enterprise Community Partners is closely following. Here’s a brief look at a few proposals:

  • $250 million for Choice Neighborhoods
Choice Neighborhoods builds on the successes of HOPE VI, which demolished the worst public housing projects and replaced them with mixed income, better designed, less dense housing with supportive services

Recognizing several additional challenges of fighting poverty, this proposal would expand the eligible uses and recipients of funds, and link community investments with both work incentives for residents and intensive school reforms. The broadened scope of activities envisioned in this proposal is matched with a call for $130 million over last year’s appropriation for HOPE VI.

  • $150 million for a Sustainable Communities Initiative
An important component of housing affordability is access to transit, jobs, retail, and other necessities. Too many low-income families live far away from these amenities, and have to spend their scarce resources on transportation. The Sustainable Communities Initiative aims to lower transportation costs (which now exceed housing costs for many families), create energy savings, and enhance access to employment and educational opportunities.

Under this proposal, funds would go towards regional planning that integrates transportation and housing goals, assistance for localities that implement zoning and land use reform, and to research the program’s efficacy and share best practices.

  • $100 million to create an Energy Innovation Fund

This program is designed to help catalyze the retrofit market by accelerating private investment in cost-saving residential energy-efficiency retrofits. These innovative strategies will lead to reductions in energy consumption, operating costs, and a smaller carbon footprint for both affordable and market-rate housing.

Before these proposals become law, they must first be vetted by Congress and funded through the annual appropriations process. For more information visit Enterprise’s Public Policy Web-site.

Dvora Lovinger is the Senior Director of Government Affairs for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. where she leads the development and implementation of a national affordable housing and sustainable community development federal policy agenda. Prior to working at Enterprise, Dvora was a senior advisor to U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD). As Senator Mikulski's Legislative Director, Dvora advised the Senator on all legislative strategy and policy, including her committee work on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Committee on Appropriations. Before becoming Legislative Director, Dvora served as the Senator’s Legislative Assistant for education and labor policy and was her Research Director on her 2004 re-election campaign. Prior to working on the Hill, Dvora worked at several non-profits focusing on women’s issues. Dvora has a bachelor’s degree in English from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a master’s degree in political science with a concentration on Women, Politics, and Political Leadership from American University.

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