MReport January 2018

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54 | TH E M R EP O RT O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST GOVERNMENT Janet Yellen: A Look Back Yellen's resignation cuts short a term as Fed Governor which would have extended to 2024. F ederal Re- serve Chair Janet Yellen is set to resign from the Fed - eral Reserve Board in February 2018. The resignation comes after President Trump's nomination in early November 2017 of Jerome Powell to succeed Yellen as Fed Chair. Yellen could have continued to serve out the remain - der of her term as a Fed governor, which would have run through 2024. However, Yellen will instead resign after Powell is sworn in. Nominated by President Obama in 2014, Yellen succeeded Ben Bernanke and was the first wom - an to serve as Fed Chair. Trump's nomination of Powell marked a break with longstanding tradition: since G. William Miller's stint as Fed Chair under President Carter, typically Fed Chairs have been reappointed for a second term. Yellen's resignation marks the end of nearly three decades spent serving at the Fed, beginning with her appointment to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in 1994. She served in that role until 1997, when she became Chair of President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. Prior to her nomination under President Obama, she served as Vice Chair of the Fed Board of Governors under Bernanke. Yellen's resignation letter to President Trump made the case that the economy is now stronger than it was a decade ago, citing 17 million net jobs produced over the past eight years. The U.S. unemployment rate also dropped from 6.7 percent to 4.1 percent during her stint. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, Yellen earned controversy among Republicans for taking on $3.5 trillion in Treasury and mortgage- backed securities. In more recent months, Yellen and the Fed had begun trying to shrink the organi - zation's balance sheet, allowing some of its assets to mature with- out being replaced. Yellen defended her policies dur- ing a speech in October, saying: "While I believe that in- fluencing short-term interest rates should continue to be our primary monetary policy lever in normal times, our unconven - tional policy tools will likely be needed again should some future economic downturn drive short- term interest rates back to their effective lower bound." Yellen's resignation adds to several vacancies currently wait - ing to be filled on the Fed board. President Trump has the opportu- nity to significantly shape the Fed for decades to come, with a vice chair position and three governor slots now vacant. The U.S. Senate Banking Committee is set to begin con - firmation hearings for Powell on November 28. If confirmed, he is widely expected to follow in Yellen's footsteps and gradu - ally raise interest rates, a process Yellen began in late 2015. In her resignation letter, Yellen said: "I am enormously proud to have worked alongside many ded - icated and highly able women and men, particularly my predecessor as Chair, Ben S. Bernanke, whose leadership during the financial cri - sis and its aftermath was critical to restoring the soundness of our financial system and the prosper- ity of our economy." HUD Secretary Vows to "Ease the Pressure" of Homelessness Secretary Carson is making greater efforts to reduce homelessness across the board. O n a single night, 553,742 people experience homelessness in the U.S. According to the latest national estimate by the Department of Housing and Urban Develop- ment (HUD) 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, this number represents an increase of .7 percent since last year. Despite the overall increase, homelessness across the country is varied. In fact, many places continue to experience a drop in homelessness—with 30 states and the District of Columbia reporting decreases in homelessness between 2016 and 2017. However, challenges in some major metropolitan areas have had a significant impact on the national numbers. The most troubling area is the city and county of Los Angeles. Last January, the area counted a total of 55,188 individuals living in sheltered and unsheltered set - tings—an increase of nearly 26 percent over January 2016. "In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets," said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. "With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neigh - bors into our shelters and onto our streets. This is not a federal problem—it's everybody's problem." The severe lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles County is also affecting the level of vet- eran homelessness. Only in Los Angeles, veteran homelessness increased 64 percent since January 2016, which largely accounts for the 1.5 percent increase of veteran homelessness nationwide. New York City is the second area of concern, with a reported 4.1 percent increase, principally among families in emergency shel - ters and transitional housing. To put the impact of both major met- ropolitan areas into perspective, if the findings were to exclude the two areas, the estimated number of veterans experiencing homeless - ness in other parts of the nation actually experienced a decrease by 3.1 percent since 2016. Additionally, since 2010, veteran homelessness declined nationally by 46 percent. Regardless of the national increase, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin said he believes VA's joint community-based homeless - ness efforts are working in most communities across the country. "Despite a slight increase in overall Veteran homelessness, I am pleased that the majority of com - munities in the U.S. experienced declines over the past year," said Shulkin. "VA remains committed to helping Veterans find stable hous - ing. We will continue to identify innovative local solutions, especially in areas where higher rents have contributed to an increase in home - lessness among Veterans." Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council of Homelessness, also expressed that the reduced home - lessness in the majority of the country provides confidence that the strategies and dedicated efforts in place have been working. "At the same time," Doherty said, "we know that some communities are facing challenges that require us to redouble our efforts across all levels of government and the public and private sectors, and we are committed to doing that work."

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