A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Taxing threat: Local governments are leery of a provision in the U.S. House of Representatives tax bill that could intensify the housing crunch in cities around the country, wiping out a key tool that finances more than half of the affordable units built. Bloomberg reports on the advocacy to preserve these tax-exempt bonds:
If they’re not successful, the number of affordable rental units built nationwide over the next decade may be reduced by as much as 880,000, according to an estimate by Novogradac & Company LLP, an accounting and consulting firm specializing in real estate.
“We view this as a massive crisis," said K. Nicole Asarch, president of the Texas Affiliation of Affordable Housing Providers.
PABs [private activity bonds] are issued by state and local governments and other public authorities to allow developers to borrow in the municipal market, where interest rates are lower because bondholders don’t have to pay taxes on the income. They’re also used by hospitals, universities and other non-profit groups, as well as by airlines and power companies.
Vancouver’s turning point: Fifty years ago this month, Vancouver made what some consider the biggest city planning decision of its history: nixing a proposed urban freeway through downtown neighborhoods. That moment is considered the birth of “Vancouverism,” a philosophy emphasizing urban spaces where residents can live, work, and play. (CBC News)
The single-family home problem: As cities around the country respond to housing shortages with taller skylines, one inevitable casualty is the American institution of the single-family home. But as one battle in Berkeley shows, it can be nearly impossible to change the tide in neighborhoods where low-density living is sacrosanct. (New York Times)
The Weinstein effect: Even for big cities accustomed to dealing with celebrities—Los Angeles, New York, London—the recent wave of sexual assault scandals is putting new demands on local police agencies investigating dozens of cases, many dating back years. (KPCC)
Central Florida’s refugees: With about 1,800 Puerto Ricans estimated to be fleeing the island per day, the Orlando area of central Florida is seeing the largest spike of hurricane refugees, creating new challenges for health care, affordable housing, and education. (Governing)
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