Policy Bits ~ 3 Things to Know & Watch This WeekPolicy Bits 6-13-2016
June 13 – 19, 2016
~ Karly Malpiede Andrus

Denver’s Affordable Housing Fee: How High Will it Be?

  • Denver ascertained a study to demonstrate what fee amount would be legally justified in order to create a 10 year $150M fund for affordable housing. The study found they could charge $56.74 per square foot but even advocates know that cost would demolish any new development. The City will leverage whatever linkage fee is decided with an increase in property taxes to build out the fund. Different use buildings could be charged different costs, a retail center which is more likely to produce many low paying jobs could get charged more – according to the study perhaps as high as $119.29 per square foot. Discussions are now underway at City Council and they hope to have an ordinance approved by late summer or earlier fall. http://goo.gl/AAJzmJ
  • This effort is long overdue and many have advocated strongly for a dedicated affordable housing fund although, it is important to note how much more difficult these well-intentioned policies can actually make it to realize affordable housing development. Affordable housing isn’t being built because the market is booming and construction costs are high, if we further artificially inflate the development costs of everything within Denver it could result in a higher bar for getting affordability levels in new projects. It might also result in commercial projects that are not intended to meet market or community needs but pushed into types that would garner less development cost.


17 Yrs of Olmstead in Action: Celebrate Community Living – Share your Stories!

  • Seventeen years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C.(Olmstead) that under the Americans with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities cannot be unnecessarily segregated and must receive services in the most integrated setting possible. The Olmstead decision is at the core of the Administration for Community Living’s mission to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults, people with disabilities across the lifespan.  June 6 through June 24 use social media and the hashtag #OlmsteadAction to share individual stories of transition into the community and/or what your organization does to promote independent and community living for older adults and people with disabilities. http://goo.gl/oHiGZP
  • This effort shows how truly community led policy interventions can be the most powerful.


Rent Payments Can Now Be Used to Build Credit

  • Experian RentBureau teamed up with Yardi to launch an interface that will allow renters to build credit history by having their rent payments reported. The new program allows yardi property management clients to seamlessly report rental payment data. Experian is looking to broaden opportunities for consumers to gain access to the credit marketplace and this follows announcement of Fannie Mae’s new Desktop Underwriter version 10.0 which will take a much deeper look at consumer’s credit profile before lending on a mortgage. There is also a new federal bill that would greatly shift how credit scores are reported and tracked. http://goo.gl/1K1CCx
  • This tale form the field should matter to those who think deeply about the relationships of affordable housing and working poor communities. It offers both a fantastic opportunity for renters to gain access to the credit market, it also could stand to weaken the credit profiles of many who are working full time but simply not making enough to pay their bills, everyone wants good credit but if you cannot afford your bills and you get tagged with bad credit you are virtually set up for further economic failure and increases in these reporting facilities can help quicken a working families fail into economic quicksand.