Emerald Cities Collaborative Launches at White House

It was standing room only at the White House for the official launch of the Emerald Cities Collaborative (ECC) on January 18th. ECC is a national non-profit representing a consortium of business, labor, community, social justice and other organizations committed to advancing energy efficiency and sustainable development while creating high-end jobs; CLPHA sits on the board of directors.  

Denise Fairchild, President of ECC, opened the event, remarking on the tremendous progress ECC had made in its two years – and reminding attendees of how much remained to be done. Phil Thompson, Associate Professor of Urban Politics, MIT, and an ECC co-founder, said the collaboration was about “making hope real.”  “It is possible to create green jobs during an economic downturn,” he said. “We need to reduce our carbon footprint and energy efficiency in building stock is the best way to do that.”

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Congressional Committees Taking Shape

New House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-AL) recently announced the full committee and subcommittee assignments for Republican members. In a glimpse into his thinking in making those assignments, he said "Committee Republicans are ready to work together to fulfill our promise to Americans by protecting taxpayers, ending the bailouts, and ensuring government policies do not hinder job creation." Bachus' counterpart, Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-MA), also announced subcommittee assignments for Democratic committee members.

Their assignments indicate that reforming Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the troubled Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), will be at the top for the House Financial Services agenda. The issue is one that the new chair, Spencer Bachus (R-AL), has repeatedly addressed.  Democrats' subcommittee assignments also indicate the importance GSEs are anticipated to have. Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), sponsor of last year's Rental Housing Revitalization Act,  is no longer on the housing subcommittee but is a member of the GSE subcommittee; Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) remains on the housing subcommittee, but is now ranking member on the GSE subcommittee. Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) will serve as Chairman, and Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) will serve as Ranking Member of the renamed subcommittee handling housing authorization issues and legislation, the Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunities.

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CLPHA Working with HHS on Independent Living

CLPHA is continuing to work with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to find ways to bridge gaps between housing and services. Earlier this month, CLPHA staff met with HHS staff about the specific needs of people who rely on Medicaid for community-based long-term services and supports.

Among those at the meeting were Henry Claypool, Director of the HHS Office of Disability and Melissa Hulbert, Director of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Division of Advocacy and Special Initiatives. 

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New Industry-Led Conversion Research Project Announced

CLPHA and industry partners NAHRO and PHADA have agreed to work on a comprehensive research project examining the actual costs and financing opportunities related to public housing conversions. Converting the way public housing is financed is the centerpiece of HUD's "Transforming Rental Assistance" initiative, and the subject of legislation introduced in the last Congress by Rep. Keith Ellison, "Rental Housing Revitalization Act." (PDF)

The study, which expands on work started by CLPHA last year, is being generously funded by the Housing Authority Insurance (HAI) Group.

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HACLA First to Lease BYD Electric Fleet

The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) has been in the news lately for its partnership with Chinese Automaker BYD Co.  "We are delighted with the quality and performance," said HACLA President & CEO Rudolf Montiel. The agency is the in the U.S. to lease the fleet of 10 F3DMs. “The dual-mode vehicle doesn't require expensive charging stations or pedestals. The housing authority simply had to install 220 volt outlets -- the same kind of outlet used for large home appliances like clothes dryers.” He said the vehicles have cut fuel costs for the housing authority by 73 percent.

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PHA Sustainability Network Webinar

Join the PHA Sustainability Network for a January 26th webinar presenting an overview of the 2011 updates to the Enterprise Green Communities Criteria, a set of criteria for affordable housing developments across the country. The criteria -- the foundation of the Enterprise Green Communities program -- focus on smart land use, energy and water conservation, environmentally sustainable materials, and healthy living environments. The session will also provide a brief overview of the online Enterprise Green Communities Certification process.

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