- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 9, 2019

A National League of Cities task force is calling for a partnership among federal and local governments to resolve discrimination in housing policies, provide more affordable housing and boost cities’ goals.

The Housing Task Force, chaired by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, examined housing issues and issued a report that recommends tangible solutions than can be implemented at the local and federal level, said Clarence Anthony, executive director of the National League of Cities.

“In addition to the local examples of successful best practices, is looking at a really new and bold federal policy and federal initiatives,” Polly Donaldson, director of D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development said Monday during a presentation of the report. “Such as a 10-year plan for federal housing to reinvigorate the housing and federal responsibility both in policy and in resources.”

The 60-page report includes five federal and five local recommendations, each segmented into explanations for funding and success history.

“This gives us some backing when we are calling for policies that have already worked in other cities,” said Teresa Mosqueda, a member of the Seattle City Council. “When we have something like this in hand, it gives us the political backing to show us that it is possible.”

Ms. Mosqueda advocates housing as a human right, saying that women of color, those in lower income and members of the LGBTQ community are the first to suffer when there is a shortage of affordable housing

The report highlights case studies from 15 cities including Seattle; Boise, Idaho; Bozeman, Montana; Greensboro, North Carolina; and the District of Columbia.

“We have got to get [the report] in the hands of elected officials and their staff so that they can look at it and apply it to their local community,” Mr. Anthony said. “And the other step of this report is that pieces will go into deeper analysis. We didn’t get deep, deep into gentrification or displacement, so this is the beginning of a journey of dealing with a major crisis that really changed the lives of people.”

Mr. Anthony said that having a national housing policy is the biggest game changer and that having all of the information collected in the report is beneficial to streamlining conversations.

“We need a federal partner that is going to help us get a bipartisan, national housing plan that gives city leaders direct funding, and created programs that create policies and programs so that local leaders can address this housing,” he said. “That’s new, that’s different and it’s transformative. And get out of our way, because we are solving it.”

The reports federal recommendations include:

⦁ Immediately stabilize and stem the loss of public and affordable housing.

⦁ Follow emergency intervention with passage of a long-term, stand-alone federal housing bill that authorizes ten years of new funding for pilot programs that advance housing for all.

⦁ Support innovation and modernization of land-use and planning at the local and regional level.

⦁ Fix inequities in housing development and the housing finance system.

⦁ Support scalable innovation and financing for cities, towns and villages.

Its five local recommendations include:

⦁ Establish local programs by combining funding and financing streams to support housing goals.

⦁ Modernize local land use policies, including zoning and permitting, to rebalance housing supply and demand.

⦁ Identify and engage broadly with local stakeholders; and coordinate across municipal boundaries, to develop a plan to provide housing opportunities for all.

⦁ Support the needs of distinct sub-populations including the homeless, seniors and persons with conviction histories.

⦁ Prioritize equitable outcomes in housing decision as it is an essential component for success.


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