Supportive housing developments following Housing First guidelines make homes available to the homeless

  • Iowa may not be the most expensive place to live, but for many people who do important work in the community like nurses, teachers, welders, retail workers and EMTs, housing prices are simply out of reach, write Chris Hensley, a Des Moines city councilwoman, and Eric Burmeister, executive director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) program has been the nation’s main tool for creating and preserving affordable rental housing in Iowa and across the country.Hensley and Burmeister urge Iowa members of Congress to support the bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017, which would expand and improve the Housing Credit, support affordable housing development and help create jobs. (The Des Moines Register, June 24)
  • Housing is a fundamental aspect of life, providing necessary shelter and serving as the gateway to communities and society at large, writes Ali Solis, CEO and president of Make Room. Today more than 11 million households in communities across the nation spend in excess of 50 percent of their income just on rent, forcing them to choose between paying for housing and other necessities like groceries and medical care. While there is broad bipartisan support for programs that address the shortage of affordable housing, such as the Housing Credit, it is important that members of Congress act to protect and expand them, writes Solis. (HousingWire, June 23)
  • Last week, 23 Republican members of Congress wrote a letter to Secretary Ben Carson urging HUD to drop its Housing First policy. The lawmakers argue that the policy doesn’t give homeless people enough of an incentive to end their substance abuse. Supportive housing developments following Housing First guidelines make homes available to homeless people without certain restrictions like drug or sobriety tests, allowing homeless individuals to deal with substance abuse or mental health problems while in stable housing. The Bush and Obama Administrations singled out Housing First as a key strategy in their push to end homelessness, and in recent years HUD increased funding for supportive housing using those guidelines. A growing evidence base shows that Housing First is effective in helping participants manage their addiction or illness while remaining stably housed. (The Real Deal, June 23)
  • A new study by a group of economists at the University of Washington found that Seattle’s policy to incrementally boost the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour over several years may not have helped low-income workers as it was meant to. Some employers have been unable to afford the increased minimums, subsequently cutting their payrolls, putting off new hiring, reducing hours and letting their workers go. The study estimates that the costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweigh the benefits by a ratio of three to one, contradicting the findings of many past studies. Experts caution that the effects of the minimum wage may vary according to the industries dominant in the cities where they are implemented along with overall economic conditions in the country as a whole. (The Washington Post Wonkblog, June 26)

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