Continuing work on LIHTC reform: While Congress is considering larger changes to the corporate tax rate (that may affect the value of LIHTC subsidies), reform efforts are continuing, both in the Treasury Department and in the Senate Finance Committee. Last week we submitted input on both of these fronts, including coalition comments recommending content for the “Concerted Community Revitalization Plan” requirement, which is supposed to accompany LIHTC investments in high poverty neighborhoods (but often does not) and suggestions for improvement in a draft Senate Bill that would rewrite portions of the LIHTC statute to include deeper income targeting and eliminate the so called “local veto” courtesy that many states extend to local municipalities – a step that does not exist in the LIHTC statute itself. (We will also be releasing a version of our “Concerted Community Revitalization Plan” recommendations as a best-practices document for use by state policymakers and advocates.)
New threats to civil rights: The past four weeks have displayed an executive branch seemingly unbound by the usual rule of law principles of constitutional restraint and separation of powers, and unfortunately we do not expect this trend to abate. The processes of evidence-based, reasoned decision-making, also fundamental to our work, are similarly under threat. We are trying to do our part to assist in the larger effort of civil rights defense, in some of the following ways:
▪ We are closely watching a pending bill that would threaten civil rights data collection and AFFH and we are assisting other civil rights groups in efforts to keep it contained. See our messaging tips on the bill here.
▪ We have been working with the American Constitution Society and the Brennan Center to develop a small training conference on the Administrative Procedure Act, a federal law which can serve as a bulwark against executive branch regulatory actions that are contrary to congressional authority or evidence-based decision-making.
▪ We joined with other groups on a comment letter opposing the Interim Guidance implementing the absurd “2 for 1” Executive Order on regulation elimination. The EO is also subject to litigation by NRDC, Public Citizen, and the Communications Workers of America, represented by Earthjustice. As both the letter and the lawsuit point out, the EO violates both the Constitution and the Administrative Procedure Act, and would cause severe harm by rescinding regulations without consideration of their benefits as well as their costs. The National Low Income Housing Coalition also submitted a letter recording the impact this would have on several housing regulations. The EO itself can be found here, and the Interim Guidance here.
▪ We will be working with the National Housing Law Project to explore strategies for advocates and local public housing agencies (PHAs), in case new immigration policies develop in a way that would attack HUD-subsidized tenants who may have family members subject to deportation in their units. (We are particularly wary of the draft Executive Order portending deportation of immigrants using vaguely-defined categories of public assistance).
Scott Pruitt’s EPA Nomination: We joined a wide group of organizations opposing the appointment of Pruitt, who has consistently and aggressively worked against the EPA, and specifically its environmental health mission and its authority to regulate.
Resources and job opportunities:
Housing mobility in the MTW demonstration: A new Urban Institute report looks at the ways that some “Moving to Work” public housing agencies are taking steps to promote wider housing mobility and choice for their public housing and Section 8 tenants.
New Deputy Director position at the Baltimore Regional Housing Partnership, one of our partners in the Mobility Works Technical Assistance group
Environmental and Food Justice Lawyer Position at the Public Interest Law Center in Philadelphia
Enforcement Project Specialist at the National Fair Housing Alliance
PLUS – still time to join us tomorrow night:
The Fight for a Route Across the Hidden Boundaries of Privilege: The Kirwan Institute’s feature-length documentary film, “Free To Ride,” will make its world premiere at the D.C. Independent Film Festival tomorrow night. The film follows the story of a relentless grassroots coalition from Dayton, Ohio that overcame a suburban municipality opposed to public transit, and the system of checks and balances that allowed justice and reason to prevail. The film will premiere at the DC Independent Film Festival on Friday, February 17th (Navy Memorial Center, 701 Pennsylvania Ave.). The Screening begins at 5:20pm, followed by a panel discussion and reception (cosponsored by PRRAC). Tickets for the event can be purchased for $5 here – please come and show your support!