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Monday Morning Cup of Coffee: HUD staff shuffle comes to a confusing end

Plus, more on Amazon HQ2 and affordable housing problems in Charlotte

Monday Morning Cup of Coffee takes a look at news across the HousingWire weekend desk, with more coverage to come on bigger issues.

We begin with an update: On Wednesday last week, there was news of a confusing personnel shuffle at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Hill reported that Secretary Ben Carson announced in an email that Assistant Secretary for the Office of Administration Suzanne Israel Tufts would be leaving the agency to become acting inspector general at the Interior Department, overseeing four investigations into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s conduct, a move that raised questions of corruption and unwholesome partisanship.

The next day, new details emerged that the appointment was allegedly false. Interior Department officials told the Washington Post that Tufts’ job change was not approved and that the announcement was false. Interior Department Press Secretary Heather Swift rebuked the HUD secretary's email, saying it was “100% false information.”

On Friday, Tufts resigned from her role altogether, the end of what has been a topsy-turvy story with little  explanation. 

According to the Charlotte Observer, the city of Charlotte has spent or committed to spend at least $124 million on affordable housing during the last 16 years, and next month the city will ask voters to cough up $50 million more.

Despite all this money, the dearth of affordable housing in the city continues to worsen.

According to the Observer's reporting, Charlotte is short 34,000 affordable housing units, roughly twice the shortage the city had a decade ago. The usual affordability damaging suspects, like rapid population growth, rising land costs and NIMBYism are at play in Charlotte’s rapidly deepening affordability crisis, but in addition, the city has made poor decisions with its affordable housing funds.

From March 2002 through March 2018, the city provided money to developers for the construction of 4,500 “affordable” units. The problem is only about 1,300 were actually affordable for households making less than 30% of the median income; 30% of the median income equates to $25,100 per year for a family of four.

According to the Observer, most of the officials in charge of the funds are satisfied with their efforts.

The Observer’s reporting on this issue is quite thorough. If you want to read more, click here to read the full report.

Next up, Ginnie Mae’s securities portfolio recently surpassed the $2 trillion mark.

“The fact that Ginnie Mae has reached $2 trillion in outstanding principal underscores the corporation’s role and highlights our responsibilities as a pillar of America’s secondary mortgage market,” Ginnie Mae EVP and Chief Operating Officer Michael Bright said in a statement.

“Ginnie Mae’s explicit, transparent and paid-for government guaranty has set our MBS apart as one of the most reliable fixed-income securities in the world,” Bright added.

The portfolio grew $1 trillion dollars back in 2010. Ginnie Mae has been in operation for the last 50 years.

And, in case you forgot, Amazon is due to give out the biggest gift of the holiday season to one lucky city by the end of the year: HQ2.

According to The New York Times, Amazon officials have been taking second looks at cities on the shortlist to be the home of its $5 billion HQ2 and as many as 50,000 new jobs.

Amazon’s potential decision has been turned every which way and the possibilities have been considered from nearly every direction. 

Once Amazon hands down its final decision, it will dominate the news cycle and have wide-ranging implications for the nation and change the face of the city it chooses. The company has said it will choose the site for its second headquarters by the end of the year.

Have a good week, everyone! 

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