Housing Commission Blog

Apr. 10, 2013

Home Value Highest Since ’07 as U.S. Houses Make Cash

By Kathleen M. Howley

Bloomberg

"An expanding group of homeowners is able to get cash from their properties as banks show more willingness to make home equity loans with the market’s recovery. Originations for the mortgages should rise 10 percent to almost $83 billion this year, from about $75 billion in 2012, said Shaun Richardson, a vice president at Icon Advisory Group, a mortgage analytics firm in Greensboro, North Carolina." Read more here.

Apr. 8, 2013

Performance-Based Management: An Important Tool in Tight Budgetary Times

By Barbara Sard

Among the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report, the highest priority for immediate action should be to evaluate the performance of administrators of all federal rental assistance programs based on outcomes. Why highlight something so seemingly bureaucratic? Because a shift to outcome-based performance measurement — if accompanied by real consequences for poor performance — is the most potent tool to ratchet up the effectiveness of current programs that is relatively low cost and largely within HUD’s control.

Counseling can help families decide whether they are prepared for the obligations of homeownership
Apr. 8, 2013

The BPC Housing Commission believes that counseling and education must be a central part of a more responsible approach to homeownership, particularly for first-time buyers.

I first learned about the benefits of housing counseling from NeighborWorks America, one of our country’s leading community development organizations. In 2007, then-Senator Dodd and I sponsored legislation supporting NeighborWorks’ efforts to help forestall foreclosure for struggling families.

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

BPC’s proposal to increase funding to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) by 50 percent presents an exciting opportunity to preserve and improve even more housing for low-income populations across the nation. For every new affordable apartment created, two are lost due to deterioration, abandonment or conversion to more expensive housing. Without preserving existing affordable housing, we fall two steps back for every step we take forward. The LIHTC saves homes while simultaneously creating jobs and tax revenue. Increasing its funding merits the highest priority among BPC’s recommendations.

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here. Habitat for Humanity congratulates the Housing Commission for its extraordinary work embodied in Housing America’s Future: New Directions for National Policy. It is particularly encouraging that the report highlights the continuing value of homeownership to American households at all income levels as well as the benefits of stable housing to the health of neighborhoods and communities. Habitat strongly endorses the commission’s position that federal policy should strike “a balance between support for homeownership and renting, and prioritizing such support to help those with the greatest needs in both sectors.” This recommendation closely aligns with the conclusions of Habitat’s recently released 2013 Shelter Report, Keeping Faith: Affordable Housing and Strong Communities.

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

The Commission's recommendations include ambitious efforts that would entail significant new or redirected resources, and those are critical to meeting the long-term housing needs of the very poor and those with special needs. But we should not downplay the importance of the recommendations that call upon our housing institutions inside and outside of government to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our ongoing assisted housing programs. In short, the Commission should push not just the visionary steps but also those that need not wait for an overarching consensus in Congress on major new initiatives.

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Among its comprehensive package of prescriptions for addressing America’s housing challenges, the BPC Housing Commission report offers one powerful, low-cost, readily implementable recommendation which could quickly and measurably improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal rental assistance programs now serving some 5 million Americans: Refocus from process to performance.

Historically, most federal rental programs have emphasized housing providers’ compliance with prescriptive, often burdensome regulations, with very little reference to the programs’ actual impacts on residents’ lives. The BPC report suggests this old compliance model should be traded in for “a new performance-based system for delivering federal rental assistance that focuses on outcomes for participating households, while offering high-performing providers greater flexibility.”

Apr. 8, 2013

Which of the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report should receive highest priority?

View the full forum here.

Among the recommendations in the BPC Housing Commission’s report, the highest priority for immediate action should be to evaluate the performance of administrators of all federal rental assistance programs based on outcomes. Why highlight something so seemingly bureaucratic? Because a shift to outcome-based performance measurement — if accompanied by real consequences for poor performance — is the most potent tool to ratchet up the effectiveness of current programs that is relatively low cost and largely within HUD’s control.

Such a cultural transformation would benefit low-income families and help the programs in the “survival of the fittest” competition for funding that will result from the 2011 Budget Control Act’s (BCA) tight ten-year caps on discretionary funding.

Apr. 3, 2013

Reduce Uncertainty, Preserve Tax Incentives

By Angela Antonelli

There is little doubt that we have not yet seen the bottom of the housing market. The private sector is already working to correct the market imbalances and has the ability to do much more. Unfortunately, the constantly changing policy landscape creates uncertainty that impedes progress in solving the housing crisis. The federal government needs to stop experimenting with new programs or changing programs that have actually worked well and outline a decisive plan for the return of private capital to replace the dominant role government has played in housing finance. No plan will be perfect or entirely fair. But we must decide.

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