Friday, November 12, 2010

The Face of Housing Post Election

National Housing Conference will host the second Housing Communications Forum on November 16 in Washington, DC. The focus of this forum will be on the outcome of the midterm elections in relation to housing since many election campaigns featured the housing and financial crises in their messaging, but to what purpose?

The forum features a dynamic panel:
Jacquie Lawing Ebert, Partner, GMMB (moderator)
Bill Greener, Founding Partner, Greener and Hook
Glenn W. Richardson, Professor, Kutztown University
Ben Waxman, Senior Executive, AFL-CIO
This week we asked several state housing advocacy organizations what the election results mean to them.

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), a non-profit umbrella organization for affordable housing and community development activities in Massachusetts, is anticipating fending off housing cuts. CHAPA also expects to see a halting of progress on affordable housing.

Connecticut a state which has already experienced crippling job growth and the largest school achievement gap in the nation, David Fink, Executive Director for Partnership for Strong Communities, believes all is not lost for affordable housing in CT. Democratic Governor-elect Dan Malloy, has a fine track record on housing and a critical understanding of TOD, sustainability, and the core proposition that housing affordability and security is the foundation for opportunity – a winning equation which points to positive movement for affordable housing. However, with a $3.4 billion projected deficit in the state budget there will be little housing creation. Malloy has made it clear that he is committed to preserving the support of affordable housing, supportive housing services, Rental Assistance Payment certificates, and the like. Connecticut has been fortunate enough to receive three Sustainable Communities Initiative grants totaling about $8.25 million and one challenge grant of $2 million which will allow for some significant planning and creative initiatives. There are still major hurtles Connecticut must overcome including the loss of 7,000 rental units over the decade and a housing wage rise to $23/hour from $15.40/hour, a state median income which doesn’t qualify a resident to buy a home in 94 of the state’s 169 cities and towns, homeless shelters are at a 108% capacity rate, and the state has over 85,000 units at risk either from expiring use or physical deterioration.

Coalition for Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHIO) helped sum up Ohio’s thoughts on housing after the midterm elections. Bill Faith, Executive Director for COHIO, quoted Cushing Dolbeare’s, federal housing policy expert and founder of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, “we never won any major federal housing legislation without Republican support.” This is reflected at state level with Republican’s former Governor Bob Taft, Bruce Johnson, Doug White and John Carey are among those who deserve credit for helping to pass legislation that led to the Ohio Housing Trust Fund’s (OHTF) in 2003. Faith noted it is especially important to remember the housing successes of bipartisanship while continuing to work to protect the OHTF as it celebrates its’ 20th year “Keeping a Good Thing Going!”

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