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Courtesy of DESIGN x RI
The 90-day determination period for designating Opportunity Zones began in late December when the Opportunity Zones Program was created in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
Governors in each state and U.S. territory (and the Mayor of Washington, D.C.) are now tasked with identifying a certain number of census tracts which will be eligible to receive private investment through the Opportunity Zones Program over the next decade. Every state or territory can designate up to 25% of its census tracts that meet qualification requirements as Opportunity Zones, and the enacting legislation outlines criterion, exemptions, and considerations for identifying those census tracts.
Which Census Tracts can be Designated as Opportunity Zones?
Timeline for Designating Opportunity Zones
The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is currently working with the National Governors Association and Conference of Mayors on outreach, raising awareness and providing information about the new Opportunity Zones Program.
Governors have 90 days (Determination Period) from the date of enactment to submit a list of designated census tracts for approval. Treasury must approve or provide feedback within 30 days of the Governor’s submission (Consideration Period). The Determination Period and Consideration Period can both be extended by 30 days. Once approved by Treasury, Opportunity Zone designations will remain in place for a period of 10 years (Designation Period).
If this timeline follows without extension, Governors will submit recommendations prior to March 31, and designations will be finalized no later than April 30.
Currently, Governors are awaiting guidance from Treasury regarding the process for submitting recommended designations. It's anticipated that this guidance will be delivered in the coming weeks (late January/early February 2018).
What States Should Consider When Designating Opportunity Zones
Requiring states to nominate Opportunity Zones for approval was intended to help ensure local needs and opportunities are being met as well as to encourage concentration of capital in targeted, geographically contiguous areas in each state.
As Governors begin to consider which census tracts are primed to receive private investment over the next decade, there are a great number of factors they will need to consider. To maximize the benefits of this program and protect against unintended negative consequences, Governors should keep the following in mind.
The capital that will flow from Opportunity Funds will never replace subsidy or act as credit enhancement, but the nature of investing in rural and low-income urban communities almost necessitates these types of resources. Opportunity Zones should align with mutually reinforcing state resources or federal programs such as promise zones, empowerment zones and renewal communities, as well as local economic development initiatives in order to maximize the benefit of this new source of capital.
Courtesy of Enterprise
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Jul 25, 2018 Updated Jul 25, 2018
WEST WARWICK –– The West Warwick Town Council is considering placing signs at popular panhandling areas throughout town to discourage drivers from participating.
“We had someone come before us about a year ago about panhandling,” he said at a council meeting. “It seems like it’s eased up a little bit in West Warwick, but we still have a couple of problem areas.”
He specifically referenced the corner of New London Ave and Centerville Road near On the Roch’s, probably the most popular panhandling location in town, and said just a small number of signs in those spots might help deter the problem. Gosselin saw signs in another town discouraging drivers from giving money rather than discouraging individuals from collecting it.
“It doesn’t discriminate against panhandling, but it strongly advises not to support it,” said Gosselin. “I know it’s ramping down but I don’t think it’s a bad idea to purchase some signs and put them up in problem areas.”
West Warwick Zoning Solicitor Albert DiFiore said that in Orlando, Florida, the city draws blue boxes on street corners indicating that specific location is allowed to be used for panhandling. He suggested the town council first create a resolution for creating the signs before actually installing them. Gosselin said the town still needs to get price estimates.
“This cannot be challenged,” said Gosselin. “You’re only telling the drivers not to participate. You’re not saying no panhandling.”
The city of Cranston had implemented an anti-panhandling ordinance that was deemed unconstitutional by a U.S. District Court judge in 2016, leaving other local municipalities to find alternatives for discouraging the practice.
The homeless population in West Warwick appears to have reduced some in the last year. In 2016 members of the local homeless community situated around the Pulaski Street section of town asked the town council to give them more time to better their circumstances and find permanent housing.
A year later many of the same individuals were re-housed thanks to the work of councilor Jason Licciardi and a number of agencies and social workers who took interest in helping the small group. Though the number of panhandlers on the streets has decreased since then there are still a handful of problem areas.
The signs the town is looking into, according to Gosselin, would ask drivers “not to contribute to the problem,” and instead consider giving to a local charity that helps the homeless.
Follow Kendra Port on Twitter @kendrarport
Courtesy of The Kent County Daily Times
The NLIHC-led Hurricane Housing Recovery Coalition drafted a new sign-on letter this week urging Congress and HUD to ensure that Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) resources be targeted towards housing for the lowest income people who have the greatest recovery needs.
Specifically, it urges that HUD:
These recommendations are in keeping with current CDBG-DR regulations, but some have encouraged HUD to waive the requirements. Doing so would make the recovery process even more difficult for low income individuals and families who have already been disproportionally impacted by recent disasters.
Please sign your organization onto this letter calling for equitable disaster recovery and the continuation of current regulations around the use of CDBG-DR funds.
The deadline to sign is Thursday, October 19.
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