the nation is transfixed by pictures of Louisiana Sweet Crude gushing into the
Gulf, forces are beginning to coalesce around a very different topic that could
ultimately have a greater national impact: the nation's housing crisis.
statement is not as obtuse as it seems in a country which has been obsessed with
real estate for the last 20 years. Housing goes beyond a fascination with the
rapid increase in the value of the neighbor's house or how many people are
defaulting on their mortgages; these are factors, symptoms, causes of something
much larger. We see indications that players in Washington and
elsewhere know that the nation need to pay attention to where and under what
conditions Americans take shelter.
topic is daunting. How a society
provides housing for its citizens has implications far beyond bricks and
mortar. The impact of a misguided
housing policy and the rules, regulations, greed, fraud, and profiteering that arose
from it have been playing out across the entire economy for the last three
years and that is only part of the picture.
Housing impacts individuals and communities in other ways - social and
educational; its health, employment, and environment - to name just a few.
know that stable housing has a strong positive impact on a single individual or
family and that, in its absence, the problems can be profound. An adult without a permanent address has
difficulty finding employment, maintaining a healthful lifestyle, or a medical
regime. A family without stable and affordable housing cannot access many
social and health related services, or provide adequate clothing and nutrition;
its children become transient students, frequently with social and
psychological problems. Imagine how
those individual small human problems impact the schools which must educate the
transient and troubled students, a health system that must cope with crisis
rather than prevention, an increase the burden on law enforcement and the
to this list the effect on whole cities of the vacant and deteriorating
properties that have been or soon will be foreclosed and the problem of housing
their dispossessed former homeowners and renters, not to mention the lost
property tax revenues. Banks are closing at rates not seen since the
depression, largely because they took unholy risks - on housing.
is beyond time to take a holistic look at the entire housing universe, and we
see hope that is beginning to happen. In
the last few weeks MND has featured articles a possible shift in public policy from
one that favors home ownership to an acceptance that rental housing should be
encouraged and accommodated. Recently
the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development stepped
up their involvement in housing the nation's veterans.
The nation's first "comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness" will be released by the U.S. Interagency Counsel on Homelessness (USICH). The council is an independent agency composed of 19 cabinet secretaries and agency heads dealing with aspects of homelessness. The report is designed to serve as a roadmap for joint action by the agencies represented on the council in the formation of programs and budget proposals toward the council's goals.
The report, titled "Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness," is the result The HEARTH Act, signed into law in May, 2009 and subsequent meetings USICH has held with stakeholders, input from organized federal working groups, public comment, and experts throughout the country, all focused on developing an action plan to solve homelessness for veterans, adults, and families.
After the plan is released in a formal White House presentation which will be broadcast live on the White House website, USICH and the member agencies plan to work with Congress, mayors, legislatures, advocates, community organizations, and other stakeholders to implement the proposed programs.
Housing agencies and
lenders are still fighting an endgame on the foreclosure front, but it
that some policymakers are moving on. We
believe that the complicated situation we have just outlined contains
lot of problems and some of the solutions.
Over the next months MND is going to examine the scope and significant
of many issues under the broad heading of housing, including
affordable housing, and housing policy, and some possible approaches and
As always, we welcome and value your input.
Interagency Government Council Unveils Strategic Plan to End Homelessness. READ MORE
HUD & DOT Partner To Support Community Development. READ MORE
HUD Homeless Report: More Families In Shelters. Fewer People On Street. READ MORE
Who Is Homeless? How Many Are Homeless? Why Are They Homeless? READ MORE
Gimme Shelter: Homelessness Rate Climbing. Low Income Rental Units Needed. READ MORE
The Dearth of Affordable Housing. READ MORE
HUD Allocates $58 Million To Help Homeless Veterans. READ MORE
HUD Chief Looks To Simplify Home Rental Assistance Program. READ MORE
Special Servicers More Motivated to Mitigate Housing Losses. READ MORE
HAMP Running Out of Qualified Borrowers to Rescue. READ MORE
Home Repossessions Rising As Banks Convert Shadow Inventory to Real Inventory. READ MORE
FDIC: More Attention Must Be Given To Affordable Housing and Borrower Education. READ MORE
FHFA Publishes Framework To Establish FHLBank Housing Goals. READ MORE
HUD Secretary Outlines Strategic Approach Toward Sustainable Housing Recovery. READ MORE
Homeownership Rate Hits 10 Year Low. Youngest Demographic is Biggest Drag. READ MORE