Public Housing Challenges in 2018

The industry went through quite a few shocks in 2017 and will need to be resilient as we move into the new year.  As the calendar turns, here are some of the key challenges public housing might be facing in 2018.

Political Climate

With a republican lead house, senate and presidency, affordable housing is not the leading agenda item.  In fact, much of what is happening in Washington right now is downright destructive to those who care about the provision of affordable housing.  It is one of those years where people working in public housing will have to simply hold on to their seats and hope that the cuts are not that bad and we can reach a homeostasis point.

Lowering of Corporate Tax Rate

How does less taxes hurt affordable housing?  Tax credits of course.  If corporations are paying less taxes, there might be less incentives for them to buy tax credits which in turn support the development and rehab of affordable housing.   This is something we will simply have to monitor over the next year to see how it truly affects the development of housing.

Rising Housing Costs Steady Voucher Funding

We are not seeing funding to the voucher program that keeps up with the rising costs of living. As many cities throughout the USA continue to see housing costs increase, congress is not giving enough money to allow PHAs to subsidize in a way that keeps up.  This could very well lead to the loss of more affordable housing units in the USA.

Administrative Costs

Housing Authorities are also fighting through increased regulations and attention from HUD and other governing agencies while seeing decreases in funding for staffing.  This is a double edged sword as regulation seemingly keeps increasing but the money to hire staff to keep up on it decreases.  It can feel like a hit job sometimes.

Capital Needs

The public housing and affordable housing stocks continue to age and need repair and major renovation.  The continuing cuts to the public housing operating and and capital funds dollars will make keeping up on upkeep very tough.

Conclusion

While this article is highlighting challenges, we must remember that the dedicated staff in the field have dealt with these challenges for many years and have found a way to overcome.  The industry must be aware but should never be frightened.

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