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Obama Administration Releases Housing Development Toolkit

The White House released the “Housing Development Toolkit” which highlights actions state and local jurisdictions can take to encourage housing development. The white paper, released on September 26, argues that restrictive zoning contributes to high rents, exacerbates wealth inequality, and slows the U.S. economy.

According to the white paper, local barriers to new housing development, particularly affordable housing, include local land use restrictions, parking requirements, residential conversion restrictions, and slow permitting processes. The white paper provides a description of actions taken by jurisdictions to reduce these barriers. These actions include:

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Collaboration between Housing Nonprofits and Local Government: Join the Webcast

Across the nation, both nonprofits and local governments are grappling with how to meet their communities housing needs with fewer or decreased resources. Recognizing this shared endeavor, Habitat for Humanity International commissioned the Urban Institute to examine what tools are necessary to "build strong, sustainable collaborations to meet communities' post-recession challenges."

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U.S. General Accounting Office releases report on Foreclosure Review Process

The "robosigning" controversy that came to light in 2010 caused foreclosure practices across the nation to come under close scrutiny, and millions of foreclosures to be halted. Ultimately, 14 mortgage servicers entered into consent orders, which required reviews by third-party consultants of their loan files for errors in servicing and foreclosure practices.

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Congressman Langevin to discuss sequestration

Congressman James Langevin this week will visit Omni Development Corporation's Turning Point II development, where he will talk about the impact of sequestration on housing programs. The Congressman will also gather feedback from members of the affordable housing community regarding their concerns about cutbacks in affordable housing.

Turning Point II is proposed to be rehabilitated as 13 efficiency apartments for homeless veterans. The Congressman will discuss how the sequestration, on top of other cuts to Federal Housing programs, will make it more difficult for developments such as these to move forward.

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Using Census data in Grant Writing and Community Needs Assessments

The U.S. Census Bureau offers free training opportunities to give participants a jump-start on getting the statistics needed for writing business plans, grants, research papers, community revitalization proposals, and many other important purposes. Courses are available online, through webinars and in person around the Washington, D.C. area, or in a location near you.

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Commission releases recommendations: Webcast

On Monday, February 25th from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission will release their recommendations for future United States Housing Policy via live webcast.

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Housing and the 'fiscal cliff'

This week, Ethan Handelman, Vice President for Policy and Advocacy for the National Housing Conference (NHC), outlined several important actions for housing that have come from the recent 'fiscal cliff' discussion. The American Taxpayer Relief Act (also known as HR 8) includes:

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Population loss in Rhode Island linked to affordable housing

Rhode Island has experienced an unprecedented loss of residents – 24,000 people since 2004 according to United States Census Bureau estimates. Figures show that 'Rhode Islanders moving to other states' is the main reason for the loss – a statistic some experts say is linked to the search for more affordable housing.  

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Hardest Hit Fund RI Launched - $80M in foreclosure prevention help available

On December 1, 2010 the Hardest Hit Fund of Rhode Island (HHFRI) had its official launch and was made available to Rhode Islanders at risk of losing their homes.

In response to the staggering economic crisis, the U.S. Treasury awarded Rhode Island $80 million to help those homeowners most affected.

Rhode Island Housing has been designated by the Treasury to oversee the Hardest Hit Fund Rhode Island (HHFRI), and the agency will be processing, approving and administering HHFRI submissions from lender/servicers and U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) approved and HHFRI certified counselors.

For a complete listing of counselors, and to learn more, visit www.HHFRI.org.

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U.S. Census reveals the affordability gap in Rhode Island widens despite price drops

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Rhode Islanders face a widening gap between their income and their housing costs despite decreased home prices. The Bureau released the 2009 American Community Survey (ACS) today. The survey collects and produces population and housing information annually.

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September 28, 2010 in Federal News