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The San Francisco Chronicle looks at the insufficiency of family housing in San Francisco. According to the San Francisco Planning Department, less than 10 percent of the city's housing units built during the past 10 years are large units with three or more bedrooms, and only 30 percent of those units are occupied by families with children. Housing advocates emphasize the importance of having a clear definition of family housing that would guide conversations between city officials and developers. (San Francisco Chronicle, January 17)
On Wednesday, the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed suit against JPMorgan Chase, accusing the bank of discriminating against minority borrowers by charging them with higher rates and fees on home mortgage loans between 2006 and 2009. (Reuters, January 18) Also this week, the DOJ officially reached settlement agreements involving residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) with Deutsche Bank and Moody's over activities leading up to the financial crisis. The settlement with Deutsche Bank totaled $7.2 billion (the largest RMBS settlement for a single entity), $4.1 billion of which will go toward relief for distressed borrowers, underwater homeowners and their communities. Moody's settlement totaled $864 million. (DS News, January 17 & DOJ, January 17)
An investigation by HUD finds that the city of Houston has perpetuated segregation by allowing neighborhood opposition to affordable housing developments dictate where they are built. The investigation was initiated after Mayor Sylvester Turner rejected an affordable housing proposal by the Houston Housing Authority that faced fierce opposition from neighbors. In addition, HUD has issued a list of remedies and corrective actions it expects from the city, including providing funds to supplement the construction costs of the proposed affordable housing building or relocating it to another low-minority, high-opportunity neighborhood. (Houston Press, January 16)
Today, HUD published an implementation notice for several of the provisions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), which passed Congress and was signed into law by President Obama in July 2016. The provisions specifically impact the Housing Choice Voucher and Project-Based Voucher programs. HUD's notice seeks additional public input on the proposed implementation requirements and future changes to these programs. Comments are due March 20, 2017. (Federal Register, January 18)
The New York City Public Housing Authority (NYCHA) is seeking developers to buy stakes in some 1,700 public housing units in Brooklyn and the Bronx under the federal Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. NYCHA officials say the buildings need $350 million of maintenance and will receive upgrades including new elevators and boilers and renovated kitchens, bathrooms and lobbies. By working with private investors through RAD, NYCHA can perform needed repairs that it otherwise could not afford. (The Wall Street Journal, January 18) In a press statement from NYCHA, Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader at Enterprise, says, "This expansion of NYCHA's preservation plan through the creative use of public-private partnerships will change its financial trajectory, bring much-needed renovations, and improve the quality of life for thousands of residents, all while maintaining affordability and resident rights." (NYCHA, January 18)
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