To fight poverty, start with housing

HiResAs the national economy continues to heal, the recovery is uneven and many Americans are being left behind. Almost 14 million people are still looking for a job or forced to take part-time work because they can’t land a full-time job. Home-ownership levels are a 30 year low and housing affordability for renters and homeowners continues to be under great pressure. In the below piece I argue that a growing economy and a compassionate society require a robust housing agenda.  I would welcome any comments and suggestions about the language that the housing advocate community should be using to persuade top policy makers that the time is now to push for an anti poverty agenda that has housing at its core.;
Published in May 26, 2016 on



NMTC Updates

The Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) issued its NMTC Qualified Equity Issuance Report. Since program inception, a total of $43.5 billion has been allocated by the CDFI Fund, $41.7 billion has been finalized and $1.7 billion remains to be finalized.

The CDFI Fund recently announced that it intends to combine allocation authority for calendar years 2015 and 2016, resulting in a total NMTC allocation amount of $7 billion for the current round. Demand for NMTC allocation continues to exceed available allocation evidenced by the fact that 238 applicants requested a total of $17.6 billion in allocation in the current round.

Toni Jackson Presents at NALHFA

AntoinetteJW 105 BIO rd8.indd M. “Toni” Jackson presented at the annual conference of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (“NALHFA”) held in Dallas, Texas. Toni was on the panel entitled “How New Fair Housing Rules Impact Local Affordable Housing Activity”. She spoke about last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the TDHCA vs. ICP lawsuit and how the requirement to build in areas of high opportunity have caused developers to see an increase in NIMBYism and public opposition to affordable housing. For more information, please contact Toni Jackson.

Rents are too high, but candidates duck the issue

Given that 20 million families are spending more than 50% of their income on housing in America and the silent affordable housing crisis grows each day, I’m greatly disappointed that the topic of affordable housing has been absent from the presidential debates. Not one question. This is the time when we must challenge our candidates for the highest office in the land to lay out a credible agenda for meeting the challenge. This past week, during an interview on CNN, I pointed out that New York State has one of the worst housing problems in the nation and suggested that candidates from both parties ought to be talking about this. We hear about a lack of growth, fewer opportunities and income inequality. Fair enough. But what about one of the underlying reasons for poverty and inadequate growth: housing insecurity. Workers building a career can’t thrive when they can’t find a home they can afford or are forced to move repeatedly. Children can’t meet their potential in school if they have a new address every few months. We have both a supply and a demand problem. When it comes to supply, few federal programs are more effective than the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. And new ideas are popping up to address the demand side. What we need is political will to meet the need. Sunday published my opinion piece calling on the presidential candidates to speak up on affordable housing. I hope you will share any comments with me.

An Issue of Choice

The Houston Housing Authority recently held a public meeting where hundreds of people attended to oppose a proposed development in a high-end neighborhood. The newspaper described the audience of this neighborhood as often yelling and booing at the Authority’s staff. Unfortunately, this scene is not unique. It is a scene that many in the affordable housing world have heard about or experienced. The proposed development is a mixed-finance development that will be financed with 4% tax credits, bonds and CDBG-Disaster Recovery funds. Although there will be some market rate units in the development, 70% of the units will be for persons earning 60% of the area median income (AMI) and 10% of the units for those persons earning 30% AMI. The reason for the opposition is because the Authority is proposing this development near a high-end community or an area of high opportunity – a neighborhood which has access to jobs, better schools, closer grocery stores, public transportation and more retail.

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De Blasio Housing Plan – Opportunity or Illusion?

Dollar house isolated over white.
Brian Lawlor authors article regarding the new affordable housing plan proposed by NYC Mayor Bill De Blasio in the latest edition of the Commercial Observer. While a plan for affordable housing in New York City should be a reason to celebrate, there are many critics ready to argue the faults in his plan.

Please click here to read more about the plan as well as some of the criticism:

Jones Walker Attorney, Toni Jackson, participates in Civil Rights Symposium

Jones Walker housing attorney, Toni Jackson, served as a panelist during a symposium sponsored by the Texas Southern University Thurgood Marshall School of Law on February 19, 2016. The title of the symposium was The Civil Rights Agenda, The Roberts Court, and the last Three Years of Challenges: What Now? This panel was very timely as it was held just days after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The symposium covered Supreme Court decisions in the areas of Housing, Voting Rights, Education and Affirmative Action. The panels also discussed the impact of the recent vacancy on the Court, the impact of Justice Scalia’s influence and the importance of the upcoming nominee.

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Alysse Hollis Presents on the ABA’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law Webinar

MoneyJones Walker LLP Affordable Housing Team Member Alysse Hollis presented on a panel for the American Bar Association’s Forum on Affordable Housing and Community Development Law webinar, ‘Multiple Challenges of Multiple Building Projects” on March 1, 2016. The webinar focused on the challenges and opportunities that are posed by affordable housing transactions involving scattered sites and/or phased developments on multiple parcels. The panelists covered issues and guidance on topic ranging from Form 8609 elections to reallocation of tax-exempt bond proceeds and the 50% test. For more information on these topics, please contact Alysse Hollis.