Housing As Economic Development Tool
Accelerating housing production in the low income neighborhoods,
as part of the "Neighborhood Development Zone" concept, would accomplish
New Business Opportunities for Construction Trades: Increasing housing production
would create opportunities for small businesses based in low income neighborhoods
that are engaged in the construction trades (plumbers, electricians, carpenters,
masons, landscapers, etc.).
At Present the vast majority of new construction projects take place in distant
suburban areas and, as a result, inner-city based businesses are at a competitive
disadvantage in competing for the subcontracts.
Increasing Community Wealth: By increasing the percentage of home ownership
in a community you simultaneously increases the overall "equity" capital
generally available to community residents. Such equity would then be available
for use as collateral for new obtaining business and other loans.
Summary of How Housing Production can be Greatly Accelerated: The expansion
of production could be accomplished by utilizing ideas summarized in other parts
of this proposal. These would include: expanding the funds available to the "Surtax"
program through new state legislation: leveraging HOME and Surtax dollars; streamlining
the construction approval process; making available more predevelopment funds; maintaining
the level of CDBG and HOME administrative funding for CDCS; County assistance with
the land assembly puzzle, etc.
Focus Economic Development Assistance to Take Advantage of the New Market Opportunities:
Economic development assistance should be specifically targeted towards eliminating
the barriers preventing subcontracting firms in the Zones from participating in
the new market opportunities.
Unless such assistance is connected to actual market opportunities county funding
technical assistance and loan programs alone will not produce the desired result.
Such assistance should include "accounts receivable" financing, new mechanisms
to help firms meet any bonding requirements, programs to provide equity injections
into subcontracting businesses, effective hands-on assistance with the bidding and
contract management process. etc.