Community Pulse

2016

Policy Challenges and Regulations

Are there any policy challenges or regulations that are preventing you from meeting the needs of your constituencies/clients or fulfilling your mission?

The word cloud below shows the word phrases used by respondents when asked to discuss the specific policy challenges or regulations impacting their line of work. Size of the word corresponds to the number of respondents who used it in their response.

Policy Challenges and Regulations: In Their Own Words

The selected quotes below represent policy challenges and regulations written verbatim by respondents. 

DC

“Too many to list. There are constant program improvements in both housing and small business development, which require regulatory adjustments and new legislation.”

—Trade Association

MD

“Department of Agriculture put in a work program for SNAP recipients that requires 20 hours per week of ‘workfare’ volunteering activities. Fair standard labor act (FSLA) says volunteering time can only be equal to benefit divided by minimum wage. Average monthly SNAP benefit is $150 divided by $8.75 equals a little more than 17 hours a month. How can I enforce a 20 hour a week workfare program when it is a violation of the FSLA rules?”

—Community College


“In the past year, Habitat for Humanity affiliates have had to become licensed mortgage lenders to allow us to grant our zero-interest loans to our home buyers. This has been an incredible hardship. While there have not been substantial changes to what we do or how we do it except for new government forms, we need to pay additional fees, have to buy new software just for the closing forms, and the cost of employees capable of being licensed is significantly higher than our previous staff. Just the time spent in ABA classes has been difficult! No funder will pay for this, no donor wants to give more to cover the cost of new government regulation, and we certainly can’t raise the amount families pay for mortgages — their income has not gone up. While we applaud the intent of the CFPB, the reality for us is extraordinarily challenging.”

—Community Development Corporation


NC

“In North Carolina, local governments are not allowed to own nor operate a broadband/internet system. Since many of the communities within the region provide electric service to their residents and businesses, having the capability to provide said service would enhance the broadband capacity within the region.”

—Planning District Commission and Economic Development District


“The lack of updating of existing housing policies is preventing us from addressing community needs in an effective way. Rules changes have been minimal or have only ‘benefited’ continuing existing housing programs without creating anything new in the way programs are delivered or families are assisted. Communities need flexibility in creating programs with the existing funding that can provide  assistance to families in their communities. Instead, we are all checking a box for HUD or USDA rather than getting at the core issues. Our community lacks enough housing and has poor housing stock. We have few ways to offer  families a way to better their situation in this community and landlords who see no need to do or provide better housing because of the overall lack of housing."

—Local Housing Authority


SC

“The community economic development field needs an incentive designed to attract significant private capital into poor communities. A federal community economic development tax credit will play a significant role in attracting private capital into organizations that serve low-to-moderate income communities.”

—Community Economic Development Trade Association


VA

“Lack of access to interstate highways remains an issue. For us, the answer lies in N[orth] C[arolina]. As a border region, our workshed covers parts of two states. Getting community colleges and WIA boards to cooperate and coordinate is an important policy barrier.”

—Philanthropic Organization


“I am concerned that the overemphasis on surgical targeting of CRA investment through the LIHTC program has the paradoxical effect of creating greater incentives to invest in the communities that have the least critical needs — said a different way, there are fewer incentives for bank investors to invest in areas of the state that have great needs because those areas are not the areas that contain the greatest concentration of bank branches and deposits. ... [M]any of the proposed changes to Virginia’s Qualified Allocation Plan that guides its distribution of LIHTC allocations is also moving away from smaller communities and rural areas at the expense of larger-scale developments in which the LIHTC is highly commoditized to favor high volume, opportunity-driven for-profit developers at the expense of developers more rooted in their local communities an focused on addressing local community needs.”

—Regional Nonprofit LIHTC Syndicator


WV

“When federal funds are made available to communities, the more strictly defined or detailed the parameters, the less opportunity for success. Even in the case of the POWER Initiative, designed to provide assistance to communities suffering job losses as coal mines and mining businesses close, some agencies made such a point of broad scale collaboration that many local opportunities will go unmet. In every instance of funding availability, the more open the opportunity the more likelihood of positive outcomes.”

—Regional Development Council

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