"Promoting housing affordability by combating exclusionary housing policies"

 

CFC # 41863 (Combined Federal Campaign) 

Projects

Housing advocacy in governmental proceedings

 

Through its hands-on advocacy before local governmental bodies in its home area, EHI has been a catalyst for major improvements in local planning for housing in numerous, new transit-oriented developments (TOD’s), since EHI’s founding in 2008.

 

For example, more than 15,000 additional housing units—including thousands of units made affordable to low- and moderate-income people—have been included in plans for new Metrorail (commuter rail) stations in western Fairfax County (EHI is headquartered in that county), since EHI got involved. For more, click on EHI's FIRST FIVE YEARS (“Local Projects”).

 

Similarly, in neighboring Loudoun County, there has been a major advance in the number of housing units under consideration by county planners for new Metrorail station areas, since EHI got involved. (Metrorail’s Silver Line will connect the region-wide system to Dulles International Airport and beyond, within a few years.)  For more, click on Loudoun Metrorail-area planning update--June 2016.

 

EHI’s advocacy has contributed to the trend of the last several years of substantially lower rent increases in EHI’s Local Emphasis Area (the Washington, DC, region), than in comparable housing markets generally, across the United States. For more, click on EHI REPORT ON DC REGION'S IMPROVING RENTAL HOUSING COST RECORD.

 

According to Inside Philanthropy magazine, EHI “holds one of the keys” to “the goal of more integrated communities and schools.” With EHI’s “detailed research on housing law, and its ability to help municipalities take a hard look at their assumptions and priorities, EHI has an important role to play in the fight for fair housing.” For more, click on Inside Philanthropy urges funders to support EHI

 

EHI wants to expand its hands-on advocacy to other regions of the United States. All it will take is money for the needed staff and facilities! (EHI’s accomplishments to date have come with a tiny staff that is all-volunteer!)

 

Published reports and letters

 

EHI has explained to the public the problem of exclusionary housing policies, and remedies for such policies, in letters published by newspapers such as the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. For more, click on EHI LETTERS IN WASHINGTON POST; WSJ on new exclusionary policies.

EHI also has published numerous reports on both national and local aspects of exclusionary housing policies. Links to those reports are included below. EHI reports on national issues include:

  • An analysis of the final rule promulgated in July 2015 by the U. S. Dep’t of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), entitled Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)—requiring greater evaluation and corrective action by federal housing grant applicants, regarding exclusionary and other discriminatory housing conditions in their jurisdictions. HUD issues AFFH Rule. (2015)
  • A summary of how exclusionary housing policies aggravate housing problems that have been linked to increased developmental problems among low-income children, such as their health (physical, mental and emotional), safety, educational achievement, and general cognitive and behavioral development. CHILDREN'S DEVELOPMENT & XHPs. (2015)
  • An analysis of  whether Congress has Constitutional authority to prohibit unwarranted state and local regulatory restrictions on housing supply, if those restrictions affect interstate commerce—as a number of recent studies indicate they now do. INTERSTATE EFFECTS OF RBHAs (2014).
  • Documentation of the role that governmental land use planning plays in housing shortages and excessive costs (using Fairfax County, Virginia, as an illustration). EHI ANALYSIS OF JOBS-HOUSING REPORT(2013).
  • A report to minority group members on the importance of monitoring and participating in their local government’s land use and housing planning and zoning, due to the often disproportionate, adverse effects of exclusionary housing practices on minority groups. MINORITY GROUPS ADVISORY (2011)
  • A summary of compelling economic evidence that housing prices have become excessively high, compared to construction costs, in a large and increasing number of major metropolitan areas across the United States. ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF EXCLUSIONARY HOUSING POLICIES (2010).

EHI's reports focused on its Local Emphasis Area (the Washington, DC, region) include:

  • An analysis of the housing needs of low- and moderate-income residents and workers in Loudoun County, Virginia, where massive new development is being planned near future Metrorail stations. Loudoun County’s Metrorail-Related Housing Needs. (2015)
  • Documentation of the role that governmental land use planning in Fairfax County, Virginia, has played in housing shortages and excessive costs there. EHI ANALYSIS OF JOBS-HOUSING REPORT (2013)
  • A summary of somewhat exclusionary plans adopted by the Town of Herndon in western Fairfax County, for their side of the future Herndon-Monroe Metrorail station area. HERNDON METRORAIL-AREA PLAN (2012) 

 

Legislative Reports

 

EHI is preparing a comprehensive report on best practices for effective control of regulatory barriers to affordable housing (exclusionary housing policies) through legislation. Effective legislation will be crucial to the general elimination of those barriers, statewide or nationwide, in the foreseeable future. (Litigation, though important, generally does not have such widespread effects.)

EHI law clerks have drafted extensive analyses of the limited number of state statutes on the subject. Although no state has devised a statute that effectively controls those barriers, EHI believes it can be done. EHI will call on a wide range of housing affordability experts nationwide for comment, and it will publish the final versions of those reports.

 

General projects

 

Generally, EHI:

  1. educates the public about equitable housing policies that federal, state and local governments can adopt,
  2. monitors governmental housing policies, investigates exclusionary policies, and works to correct them;
  3. identifies jurisdictions in which rights of lower-income people to opportunities for affordable housing are unfulfilled;
  4. determine the bona fides of lower-income people in those jurisdictions who claim to have been deprived of those rights;
  5. interact with legislative, rulemaking and policymaking bodies to promote adequate opportunities for affordable housing.