• Last week, President Trump signed an executive order overturning an Obama-era directive that required new housing and infrastructure projects receiving public money to be elevated two to three feet above their local 100-year flood height. While the Trump Administration says undoing the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard is part of a broader effort to make it easier to build new infrastructure by cutting red tape, others argue that revoking the rule will cost the taxpayers more in the long-run as devastating storms like Harvey become more frequent. According to Laurie Schoeman and Marion McFadden from Enterprise, the rule’s repeal puts billions of dollars of property at risk. “Whether you think sea-level rise, river flooding and the increased severity of hurricanes are the result of manmade or natural changes,” says McFadden, “we have a common financial interest in preventing the federal government from footing the bill for poor planning.” (Architect Magazine, August 28)
  • Harvey’s devastating effects on the Texas coast have affected households and neighborhoods of all income levels. Harris County, which includes most of Houston, has 2,500 miles of channels – so everyone in Houston lives near a bayou. However, when the state moves into recovery, it’ll be the lowest-income households and neighborhoods that bounce back the slowest. “The pain is greater in low-income neighborhoods because they don’t have insurance and have no place to go,” said David Crossley, founder of the nonprofit Houston Tomorrow. (Slate, August 29) Being poor is more expensive than being rich, writes Washington Post columnist David Von Drehle. Without insurance or savings, it costs a poor family more to make home repairs and replace necessities. Additionally, low-income workers often don’t have paid vacation days, resulting in lost wages. (The Washington Post, August 29)
  • On Tuesday, HUD announced it is changing the requirements around its reverse mortgage program, raising premiums and tightening loan limits. The Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program, created for seniors aged 62 or older and still living in their home, allows them to withdraw a portion of their home’s equity if they need additional income. However, the program has faced scrutiny due to the high risks associated with it. (HousingWire, August 29)

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