January 6, 2017

Beyond Bricks and Sticks

A weekly digest of current trends in housing and community development. The discussion examines topics from infrastructure to community fabric.

 Programs to bring investment capital to rural communities

(RECAP: The United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”) offers a variety of loan programs designed to spur investment in rural communities located throughout the United States of America. These loans are available to governments, nonprofit corporations and for profit entities. The USDA Rural Development programs can also be combined with other state and federal incentives, including the New Markets Tax Credit.)

Selling distressed loans to investors significantly cuts foreclosure rates

(RECAP: Despite skepticism by many advocates, the FHA and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac increasing rely on auctioning off severely delinquent mortgages to private investors to dispose of these distressed assets. In January, the Urban Institute showed that sales of distressed or nonperforming loans have been effective from the borrowers’ and taxpayers’ perspectives, but these conclusions were based on limited data. Over the past few weeks, the release of new and more complete data confirms this program significantly cuts foreclosures rates and is a win-win for borrowers, lenders, and investors.)

Zoning and land-use regulation offer potential for unlikely partnerships

(RECAP: Removing barriers related to land-use regulation could be very helpful for affordable housing. In an era of declining federal resources, forming new partnerships and exploring opportunities at the state and local levels are two increasingly important ways we can move affordable housing forward.)

The Overlooked Legacy of Pioneering African-American Architect Paul Revere Williams 

(RECAP: Paul Revere Williams (1894–1980) achieved a number of firsts during his lifetime: He was the first African-American architect to practice west of the Mississippi. He was part of the first Los Angeles Planning Commission in 1920. Williams designed over 2,000 buildings during his career; he was known for his Hollywood mansions but also designed affordable housing, conceptual transportation systems, experimental structural systems, and more.)

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