3 Harvard seniors gain International Rhodes

first_imgThree members of Harvard College’s Class of 2018 have been selected to represent their respective countries, Zimbabwe, Trinidad, and Zambia, as Rhodes Scholars.The students expressed joy, relief, and appreciation for the help they received along the way from family, friends, and mentors at Harvard.Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerTerrens MuradzikwaFor Terrens Muradzikwa, the scholarship is an opportunity to continue pursuing his interest in melding the fields of economics and development.“I’m interested in development economics, and looking at how innovation is used to promote economic growth in developing countries,” he said. “I was really motivated by some of the classes I took at Harvard, in particular with Clayton Christensen, Kim B. Clark Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, and Efosa Ojomo, a research fellow at the Christensen Institute.”Muradzikwa, a Dunster House resident with a concentration in economics, hopes to join the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) after completing master’s degrees in development economics and in public policy, before eventually returning to his home country.“I really want to bring new ideas to the countries that the World Bank and IMF are working with. And long-term I would like to work for the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development in Zimbabwe, and contribute to the economic growth of my country.”Applying for the Rhodes required Muradzikwa to travel home, and the timing of the visit was decidedly unusual. He arrived on the ground in his home nation of Zimbabwe just hours after longtime President Robert Mugabe resigned under military pressure.“There was a real feeling of excitement in the air,” Muradzikwa said. “People were dancing and celebrating together in the streets. I was really happy to see people from different walks of life coming together — people of all different ages, races, socioeconomic backgrounds. I really hope we can continue and sustain that spirit of togetherness.”Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff PhotographerMandela PatrickHis interest in the intersection of technology and entrepreneurship has taken Mandela Patrick from Harvard to two summer internships at Facebook, and soon to Oxford, where he will focus on machine learning.“I felt a mix of relief and excitement,” he said of learning that he had been chosen for a Rhodes. “A lot of preparation went into this, between interview practice, securing recommendations, applications. It’s really about a six-month process.”Patrick, a Currier House resident with a concentration in computer science who grew up in Trinidad, credits Harvard with giving him platforms to succeed in areas that are major criteria for the scholarship: academics, leadership, volunteerism, and athletics. He has been a member of the varsity squash team since his freshman year. Among the volunteer projects he participated in was teaching computer code to Boston Public Schools students in Mission Hill.“I’m passionate about education, and in particular accessibility to education for people from low-income backgrounds. I really see the value in using technology to advance entrepreneurship for people,” he said.Patrick singled out several Harvard mentors, including Edwin Amonoo, Currier House tutor; Harry Lewis, Gordon McKay Professor of Computer Science; and Margo Seltzer, Herchel Smith Professor of Computer Science and faculty director of the Center for Research on Computation and Society. He also thanked his parents.Rose Lincoln/Harvard Staff PhotographerShaan DesaiFor Shaan Desai, studying in England is nothing new. He already had two years at UWC Atlantic College under his belt before arriving as a freshman at Harvard. But being selected for the Rhodes program was “a big relief,” he said. “It’s a lot of hard work coming to fruition, and a lot of tense moments building up to a lot of excitement and elation.”Desai, an Adams House resident from Zambia who is pursuing a bachelor’s of art in physics and a master’s of science in computational science and engineering, hopes to use his time in Oxford to study ways that these fields can boost renewable technology.“I’m interested in looking at how we can use tools from physics and computer science to aid the discovery of new materials for renewable technology,” he said, “and in particular how those materials could help us generate affordable electricity in Africa.”Desai credited  professors and peers at Harvard for helping him to grow both academically and socially.“Being at Harvard has been such a formative experience. I was able to work with and get to know professors at the leading edge of physics, and have made lifelong friends, not only in House life but in extracurricular activities.”His biggest aspiration is to improve science education in Zambia and throughout Africa. He cites Nigerian entrepreneur Iyinoluwa Aboyeji as a major inspiration. Aboyeji created Andela, a tech startup designed to “build a network of technology leaders on the African continent and bridge the divide between the U.S and African tech sectors.”“I was really inspired by Iyinoluwa,” Desai said, and earlier this year welcomed him to Harvard as a speaker for the Harvard African Business and Investment Club. “Speaking to him and learning more about his entrepreneurship was a clear indication to me that what might seem outrageous or impossible can actually be done.”In addition, four other members of Harvard’s Class of 2018 were among 32 Americans selected as Rhodes Scholars.last_img read more

Protestors clash with Seattle police in latest outcry over US feds

first_imgUS police used flashbang grenades, pepper spray and tear gas as protestors marched in cities across the country amid a wave of public anger over Donald Trump’s planned “surge” of federal agents into major metropolises.The demonstrations against racism and police brutality — sparked by the death in Minneapolis of unarmed African-American George Floyd — come as the US president faces an increasingly tough battle for re-election, and is campaigning heavily on a platform of “law and order”.Protestors marched in Austin, Texas, as well as Louisville in Kentucky, New York, Omaha, California’s Oakland and Los Angeles, and Richmond in Virginia — where riot police fired chemical agents at a Black Lives Matter march, according to US media. In Seattle the sounds of repeated small detonations rang out in some streets, and smoke rose from an area where demonstrators had set fire to trailers by a construction site for a youth detention facility, an AFP reporter observed. Protestors slashed car tires and smashed trailer windows.Police in riot gear faced off against the protestors, some holding umbrellas against falling pellets of pepper spray.Late Saturday, Seattle Police said 45 people were arrested in connection with the demonstrations, which they designated a riot, according to the force’s official Twitter account. Police Chief Carmen Best implored people to “come in peace to the city,” and castigated the demonstrations. “The rioters had no regard for the community’s safety, for officers’ safety or for the businesses and property that they destroyed,” local media reported her as saying.The latest violence came after police and federal agents fired tear gas and forcefully dispersed protestors further south in Portland early Saturday, also in anger over Trump’s heavily-criticized surge of security forces.The city, the biggest in the state of Oregon, has seen nightly protests against racism and police brutality for nearly two months, initially sparked by Floyd’s death. Portland is also a stage for the highly controversial crackdown by federal agents ordered by Trump — one that is not supported by local officials, and which many say smacks of authoritarianism.Saturday’s demonstration began peacefully, with crowds playing music and dancing, blowing soap bubbles and attaching red roses to the barricades.But it ended — like many before it — with tear gas fired after protestors attached ropes to barricades surrounding the city’s courthouse in an attempt to pull them down.Portland police declared the area a riot, ordering protestors to leave, before they were joined by federal officers to clear the area.An AFP reporter saw at least two men being detained and escorted from the scene by federal officers.Portland police earlier confirmed a man was stabbed, with the suspect “held down by protestors” before he was detained by officers and charged with assault, according to a statement.The victim was transported to hospital with a serious injury.Earlier, protestors who spoke to AFP complained of the federal agents in the city and voiced their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.”I don’t like what’s happening down here, what Trump is doing,” Mike Shikany, a 55-year-old aerospace engineer, said, adding he did not “want to get anywhere near the little green men,” meaning the federal troops.Portland retiree Jean Mullen, 74, said that without pressure nothing would change.”It’s time to become the country we always brag about being. And we can’t brag anymore, about anything. We aren’t first in anything and it’s a terrible, terrible thing to see at the end of my life,” she said.The inspector general of the US Justice Department on Thursday opened an official investigation into the federal crackdown, but an Oregon federal judge on Friday rejected a legal bid by the state to stop agents from detaining protestors.Trump last week announced a “surge” of federal agents to crime hotspots including Chicago, following an increase in violence in the nation’s third-largest city.Agents deployed there will partner with local law enforcement, not riot control forces as seen in Portland. Local officials have warned they would draw the line at any Portland-style deployment.Topics :last_img read more

Arsenal summer signing Willian accused of ‘disappearing’ against Liverpool by Frank LeBouef

first_imgFrank Lebouef was critical of Arsenal summer signing Willian’s performance against Liverpool (Picture: ESPN)Former Chelsea star Frank Lebouef believes Arsenal were architects of their own downfall against Liverpool on Monday as Mikel Arteta’s side surrendered their 100% start to the new season.The Gunners fortuitously took the lead at Anfield through Alexandre Lacazette, but the Premier League champions turned the match on its head before half-time courtesy of goals from Sadio Mane and Andrew Robertson.Arsenal have improved as a defensive unit under Arteta and shocked Jurgen Klopp’s side at the Emirates towards the end of last season while they also took the spoils following a penalty shootout win in last month’s Community Shield.AdvertisementAdvertisementBut the visitors were largely overwhelmed at Anfield last night, however, with Klopp’s relentless juggernaut pressing the life out of Arsenal and carving out numerous goalscoring opportunities. ADVERTISEMENTLebouef, however, felt Arsenal should have done better to prevent Robertson from scoring at the far post 10 minutes before the breaj, with summer signing Willian particularly culpable having failed to track the full-back’s trademark run. Willian struggled to make an impact as Arsenal were beaten 3-1 at Anfield by Liverpool (Picture: Getty)‘They can have regrets because they didn’t do what they had to do and that was my concern about Willian,’ the former France World Cup winner told ESPN. ‘I’m going to point the problem on him. ‘I think he touched the ball eight times in the first half and he was the guy who didn’t follow Robertson from the cross for Alexander-Arnold. And we all know around the world when Alexander-Arnold has the ball Robertson goes for the second ball at the far post and you should be there.‘That was the problem when he was playing fro Chelsea he could be the best player in the world and then disappear completely and not doing his defensive part of the job.’More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalArteta’s insistence on playing out from the back and inviting pressure was also questioned by Lebouef, who felt also couldn’t comprehend the decision to leave Dani Ceballos on the bench.He added: ‘In the defence with the crazy suicide passes that they made in the six-yard box from Leno to David Luiz and Holding where everyone starts sweating, just to take that risk. ‘I don’t know why Ceballos was on the bench, he has technique and finally gave good balls, the one he gave to Lacazette and some others. So there were some mistakes that they could correct and they didn’t, but they have to change to some stuff because it’s not the way that I see Arsenal playing.’MORE: ‘He’s turned the club around’ – Andy Robertson praises Mikel Arteta and Arsenal signings after Liverpool winMORE: Diogo Jota reveals Jurgen Klopp advice before scoring his first Liverpool goal against Arsenal Advertisement Comment Metro Sport ReporterTuesday 29 Sep 2020 11:30 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link86Sharescenter_img Arteta reflects after Arsenal are beaten 3-1 by LiverpoolTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 6:14FullscreenArteta reflects after Arsenal are beaten 3-1 by Liverpoolhttps://metro.co.uk/video/arteta-reflects-arsenal-beaten-3-1-liverpool-2258966/This is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Follow Metro Sport across our social channels, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.For more stories like this, check our sport page. Arsenal summer signing Willian accused of ‘disappearing’ against Liverpool by Frank LeBouef Advertisementlast_img read more

The ultimate Jameis Winston prop bet: Will Buccaneers QB lead NFL in passing TDs and interceptions?

first_imgThat makes this largely a single event prop. Lamar Jackson leads the league with 33 touchdown passes after tossing five touchdowns against the Jets in Week 15, but Winston is only three touchdowns behind him. Russell Wilson is five off the pace with 28 touchdowns, and three other quarterbacks have 26.Jackson is probably only going to play one more game as Baltimore will lock up home-field advantage with a win over Cleveland this week. The Ravens are double-digit favorites, per the NFL betting odds, on the road against the Browns, and they won’t want to risk the future MVP’s health in the season finale against a potentially desperate Pittsburgh.Winston will certainly play in Tampa Bay’s last two games barring injury. He missed games in 2017 and 2018, but he has been durable this season despite being sacked 43 times. Bruce Arians will give him the opportunity to surpass Jackson if possible, so “yes” is a great bet here. Who will lead the NFL in passing yards in 2019?Jameis Winston -1000Dak Prescott +500Since the quarterback with the third-most passing yards in the NFL (Philip Rivers) is more than 500 yards behind Winston, Prescott and Winston are the only two players with a real shot at being the NFL’s passing leader, barring injury. Winston put some distance between himself and Prescott over the last two weeks by becoming the first quarterback in history to throw for more than 450 yards in consecutive games. He averaged more than 10 YPC against Indianapolis and Detroit, and his performance last week was even more impressive considering Mike Evans was out and Chris Godwin was injured during the game. Winston hit journeyman receiver Breshad Perriman five times for 113 yards and three touchdowns, and sixth-round pick Scotty Miller had a career day, too. Although Winston is a massive favorite to lead the league in passing and is on pace to surpass 5,000 yards, he might be very shorthanded in the receiving corps for Week 16. Miller was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday, and both Evans and Godwin are questionable to play due to hamstring injuries. If neither Evans nor Godwin play, Tampa Bay’s passing game will suffer, as teams can only lose so much depth. Two mediocre games could be enough for Winston to win the title over Prescott, though. Dallas plays Philadelphia in the City of Brotherly Love this weekend, and a Cowboys victory would lock up the NFC East. Prescott would be highly unlikely to play against Washington in the season finale as Dallas would be locked into the No. 4 seed with the victory. While both Dallas and Tampa Bay play mediocre or worse defenses in their final two games, the Cowboys’ opponents are slightly better in pass defense as measured by yards per attempt. Philadelphia (7.0 YPA) and Washington (6.8 YPA) are both better in the back than Houston (7.2 YPA) and Atlanta (7.4 YPA), giving Winston an edge in this area, too.Given these factors, Winston should be a heavy favorite to win the passing title, but -1000 is a little much considering Tampa Bay’s injuries at receiver. Dallas is an underdog this week at Philadelphia, too, so Prescott will be gunning for him in Week 17 if the Cowboys fall to the Eagles.Will Jameis Winston lead the NFL in TDs and INTs?No -500Yes +300It’s hard to imagine any other quarterback catching Winston for the dubious honor of being the quarterback with the most interceptions. Only two players are somewhat close to Winston’s 24 picks: Rivers has 18 and Baker Mayfield has 17. The most exciting player in the NFL is Lamar Jackson, but the second-most exciting player in the league might be Jameis Winston. Winston is having a wild year. In a make or break season for his career, the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft is leading the league in passing yards and interceptions. His 4,573 yards are 239 yards more than Dak Prescott, and his 24 interceptions are six more than Philip Rivers. He also has a chance to catch Lamar Jackson and lead the league in touchdown passes, giving us some interesting props.MORE: Get the latest NFL odds & betting trends at Sports Insiderlast_img read more

Nelson Priority Concrete Cardinals take flight en route to West Kootenay Little League Minor crown

first_imgBV had a very good hitting team but left four runners on base and couldn’t get a hit on Forte.Nelson Priority Concrete, winners of the regular season title and the top seed in the nine-team tournament, finished undefeated with consecutive wins over the second seeded squad.The Nelson Overland West Tigers finished third, losing to Beaver Valley in the semi final.Nelson Fair Realty Giants finished fifth while the Nelson Hairy Productions took seventh.The tournament concludes the West Kootenay Little League season.Now the all star campaign begins with a West Kootenay select team wraps playing tournaments Washington State and Montana prior to the provincials in Vancouver.The West Kootenay All Stars have a U12 and U10 representing the area with kids from Nelson and Trail this year. The Nelson Priority Concrete Cardinals finished the minor baseball season as double-winners after capturing the West Kootenay Little League Minor Division title Sunday in Nelson.The Cardinals rode the late-inning pitching heroics of nine-year-old Kelton Forte to hold onto the 7-5 victory over Beaver Valley.Forte also doubled and singled to score four runs.Aggressive base running was the difference. A suicide steal of home in the fourth by Luca Fraedenich allowed Nelson to take back the lead for good.Forte then shut the door in the fifth inning. 
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CALCULATOR HEADS FIELD OF EIGHT IN SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $300,000 SAN CARLOS STAKES FOR OLDER HORSES AT SEVEN FURLONGS

first_imgSAN CARLOS STAKES FIELD, IN POST POSITION ORDERRACE 9 Approximate post time, 4 p.m. Calculator -Flavien Prat – 119Coastline – Tyler Baze – 119Wild Dude – Rafael Bejarano – 124San Onofre – Edwin Maldonado – 119Cautious Giant – Santiago Gonzalez – 119Mystery Train – Joe Talamo – 119Outside Nashville – Martin Garcia – 119Kobe’s Back – Gary Stevens – 124 ARCADIA, CA. (March 9, 2016) – With recency on his side, graded stakes winner Calculator will head a field of eight in Saturday’s Grade II, $300,000 San Carlos Stakes going seven furlongs on the main track.CALCULATOR: After a 13-month layoff, trainer Peter Miller’s Calculator returned to the track and the Winner’s Circle in impressive fashion winning by a neck in a seven furlong allowance at Santa Anita Feb. 13 as the even money favorite. A Kentucky Derby hopeful just last year after running second to American Pharoah in both the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes in 2014, he went on to win the Grade III Sham Stakes in January, 2015. Calculator was then sidelined due to a non-displaced fracture in his right front ankle before returning to training in November, 2015.A 4-year-old Florida-bred by In Summation, Calculator is owned by Richard C. Pell and will again be ridden by Flavien Prat, who was up for the win Feb. 13. He is 6-2-2-1 overall and has amassed earnings of $228,300.KOBE’S BACK: Trained by Peter Eurton, the 5-year-old horse by Flatter will look for his second win in-a-row Saturday following a half-length score with the addition of blinkers in the Grade II Palos Verdes on Feb. 7 in which he earned a 100 Beyer Speed figure. Notoriously slow out of the gate, Kobe’s Back won the Grade III, seven furlong Commonwealth Stakes at Keeneland by three quarters of a length in April, 2015 but was winless in five consecutive starts, including a third to San Carlos contender Wild Dude in the Bing Crosby Stakes in July and seventh to Eclipse Champion Runhappy in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint Oct. 31.Owned by Lee Searing of CRK Stable, he will retain the services of Gary Stevens Saturday. Kobe’s Back has won four races in 17 lifetime starts and has earnings of $772,250.last_img read more

SHAY HAS VILLA SUBS IN STITCHES AS HE TAKES BOSS’S SEAT BY MISTAKE

first_imgTHIS was the moment Shay Given had Aston Villa’s subs bench rolling around laughing on his first day as assistant to coach Paul Lambert.The Donegal man was taking his seat for the match at Villa Park against Southampton.But when he sat on Lambert’s seat in the dug-out, the rest of the staff were in stitches. And former Celtic great Lambert had a good giggle when he arrived.Villa drew 0-0 with the visitors, giving them a vital point in their bid to avoid being sucked into the relegation zone.Given was appointed a temporary assistant this week after two staff were suspended by the club.  SHAY HAS VILLA SUBS IN STITCHES AS HE TAKES BOSS’S SEAT BY MISTAKE was last modified: April 19th, 2014 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:Aston Villapaul lambertShay Givenvilla parklast_img read more

Arcata looks to take control of Little 4

first_imgWeek eight of the prep football season is here and with it comes a duo of games which will go a long way towards deciding which team will sit atop the Little 4 Conference at the end of the season. Hoopa and McKinleyville, both on the loosing end of last week’s action, will face off in McKinleyville tonight. On Saturday Arcata will head south to the Eel River Valley for a showdown with Ferndale.Hoopa (1-1, 3-3) at McKinleyville (0-2, 2-4)The Hoopa Warriors will aim to keep pace with Arcata …last_img read more

Hitting the Brakes on Canada’s Retrofit Program

first_imgWe’ve grown accustomed to complaining about the slow pace of implementation of government programs, but every now and then civic leaders address with lightning speed what they see as program successes and failures.Quick action, though, doesn’t necessarily mean folks still can’t complain.Take, for example, the Canadian government’s decision last week to end, on a few hours’ notice, bookings for the home-energy audits that the federal agency Natural Resources Canada requires before homeowners can participate in its ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes Program, which provides grants of up to $5,000 ($4,990 U.S.) for homeowners who make energy efficiency improvements to their properties. The rest of the program remains intact: those who managed to book an audit before the deadline, and those whose homes have already had pre-retrofit audits, have until March 31, 2011, to make the improvements and have their home audited a second time to confirm that the work was done correctly.Canada’s Conservative government announced that pre-retrofit audit bookings would end at midnight on Wednesday, March 31. But it was the timing of the announcement – at 5 p.m. Wednesday, seven hours before the decision was to take effect – that drew criticism from political opponents, homeowners, and companies that specialize in retrofit work.Feeling ambushed“They are saying they are not killing it since it still technically goes until March, 2011,” one member of the Parliament of Canada, Liberal MP David McGuinty, told the Toronto Globe and Mail. “But if you haven’t got your energy audit done by tonight at midnight, you are out of luck. There is no rebate for you. It’s a completely arbitrary date. We have never heard this date before.”The move was especially puzzling to many because, the paper noted, Canada’s federal budget promoted the program as recently as March 4, when the budget was officially released. “Due to unprecedented demand under the ecoEnergy Retrofit–Homes program, the Government is allocating a further $80-million to support additional retrofits by Canadian homeowners,” the budget documents said.Most Globe and Mail readers who commented on the story expressed disappointment in the quick cutoff. “This has got to be the sneakiest government I have ever seen in this country. Obviously (Prime Minister Stephen) Harper doesn’t believe in climate change and this is just another one of his ways to make sure nothing is done about it,” wrote one. “Turning off the lights on this program is a shame. There should be six months notice of cancellation. They cannot be serious about this,” wrote another.Audit and retrofit companies also were among those perplexed by the sudden end to audit bookings, CBC News reported.Stephen Farrell, owner of Calgary-based Verdatech Energy Management and Consulting, told the CBC that his company had been doing audits all over Alberta province but will now have to lay off about 25 of the 40 people who work for him.“This was funded by stimulus spending, which is about creating jobs. We did that, and now, we’re having to take away those jobs,” Farrell said. Added Nick Weran, owner of Edmonton-based City Furnace Replacement: “I’m sure that it will slow down business … I know some people who have been waiting to get the audits done. Hopefully, they had them booked.”last_img read more

The FHA Problem with PACE

first_imgFHA: Get out in front of the marketSecretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson stated, “Assessments such as these are potentially dangerous for our Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund and may have serious consequences on a consumer’s ability to repay, or when they attempt to refinance their mortgage or sell their home.” But this statement doesn’t match the data available about where true default risk lies. So far, customers with PACE financing have a lower mortgage default rate, while non-energy-efficient homes have a 47% higher default risk than efficient homes.We laud Carson’s concern about default rates, and agree that the industry should act fast to protect against defaults — but if that’s really the concern, then the industry needs to move to integrate energy use into the appraisal process so that homeowners understand the real cost of homeownership and can get better mortgages to support more efficient homes. In fact, much of the industry is moving toward improved models to address this, which FHA could support, rather than simply sitting back and being reactive.If FHA is serious about its concern with default risk, it should respond to the default risk posed by energy costs and join the conversation on further enhancing consumer protections for PACE, ones that are appropriate to its use and size in relation to home valuations. Let us work toward expanding safe options for consumers to upgrade their homes and decrease their monthly costs. Imagine a more energy-efficient housing stock that reduces default risk by 30%. RMI has worked to find nonpartisan, economically viable market solutions to better energy use for 35 years. If HUD and the FHA are interested in a solution, we are prepared to help. Setting the PACE for Consumer ProtectionWhat the Wall Street Journal Got Wrong About PACETransforming the Real Estate MarketCongress Weighs Changes to Rules on PACE LoansA Bipartisan Team Pitches a PACE RevivalThe FHA’s PowerSaver ProgramFannie, Freddie Hold Firm on PACE Program ImpasseScenes from PACE v. Fannie and Freddie Transforming Stimulus-Funded Weatherization into a National Industry The real risk of high energy billsThis new guidance from FHA is like telling someone to tie their shoes before running away from an attacker; it’s distracting from the real threat. Home energy costs present a material threat to the mortgage industry and to the financial health of homeowners, and yet FHA has not taken any steps to address this threat. Worse, by attacking PACE, it is removing an important tool for homeowners to improve their energy bills, making that threat worse. A study by the University of North Carolina’s Center for Community Capital analyzed actual loan-performance data obtained from CoreLogic, the lending industry’s leading source of such data. The study found that default risks are, on average, 32% lower in energy-efficient homes, controlling for other loan determinants. In other words, if we were to consider efficient homes the norm, then non-efficient homes have a 47% greater default risk, on average.Meanwhile, the Energy Programs Consortium reports that default rates for PACE customers are far lower than for typical customers. The burden of utilities is quite high for most American households. A 2017 study by ATTOM Data Solutions and UtilityScore found that the average U.S. household’s energy and water bills add 25% to the monthly cost of homeownership.Homes with poor energy performance are a much more significant threat to consumers than homes with good energy performance. Despite the fact that homeowners say that energy efficiency is the top unmet need for their homes (greater than safety concerns, school access, or kitchen upgrades), the real estate and mortgage industries have failed to provide information for consumers to make informed decisions. Worse yet, homes with poor energy performance often have a greater potential for moisture problems, pest infestations, drafts, and other problems that can contribute to asthma and other health concerns. Protecting consumersBy ignoring these consumer protections, the FHA is steering consumers who want to upgrade their homes toward far more risky options. A 2015 report published by BMO Harris Bank found that 58% of Americans pay for home improvements with savings, 18% pay with credit cards, and 17% use home equity lines of credit. With 76% of Americans financing their home improvements through savings or credit cards, it appears that the market for home improvement financing models that could simultaneously benefit consumers’ financial health is large.Especially important to note is that 37% of PACE financing is used to respond to emergency repair or replacement needs, while an additional 23% is used to repair something that “was likely to fail in the near future” according to a 2017 study by Research Into Action. These are situations where homeowners may not have been planning to make an upgrade, but in the face of a broken furnace, air conditioner, or roof had to protect their health, safety, and home investment. Therefore, relying on savings or credit cards may often be their only option in the face of an emergency, since traditional financing often takes too much time or may not be available to as many homeowners.The same BMO Harris report found that 45% of Americans undertaking improvements also intended to make their homes more energy-efficient, demonstrating the importance of lending models that enable homeowners to meet multiple home improvement goals.With the historical momentum and expansion of PACE, parties at the state and national levels have set and implemented robust consumer-protection guidelines. The Department of Energy’s “Guidelines for Pilot PACE Financing Programs” served as the basis for early best practices established in 2014 by PACENation, an organization focused on promoting PACE by providing leadership and support to a growing member base (then operating as PACENow).PACENation — in collaboration with industry leaders — developed and released Consumer Protection Policies Version 2.0 earlier this year. The policies were adopted by the California Statewide Communities Development Authority and the Western Riverside Council of Governments — both of which heavily informed California’s PACE policies — and now serve as an industry standard.Today, more consistent consumer protection standards upheld across local communities and states will help ensure the successful growth and scaling of residential PACE programs, while protecting the integrity of PACE as a public–private partnership. Standardization of operations across jurisdictional boundaries will reduce the need for customization and enable consistency, which will allow PACE programs to continue to streamline their operations, and thus provide lower costs to participating homeowners. About PACEPACE, founded in the early 2000s as an innovative way to finance home energy upgrades, tackles a significant market failure. It does so by increasing American households’ access to financial resources so they can afford cost-saving energy performance retrofits — a need which has largely been unfulfilled by any other financing instrument. RELATED ARTICLES By JACOB CORVIDAE and MARTHA CAMPBELLLast month, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced it will stop insuring new mortgages on homes with property assessed clean energy (PACE) loans. As to what motivated its decision —according to its letter to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development — the FHA is “concerned with the lack of consumer protections associated with the origination of the PACE assessment, which are far less comprehensive than that of traditional mortgage financing products.” This announcement directly contradicts guidance issued by the FHA in 2016.Rocky Mountain Institute feels this decision is misguided for three key reasons:The FHA overstates the risk of PACE to taxpayers while failing to acknowledge or account for the significant default risk that the excessive energy expenditures of inefficient homes can create for a homeowner.This will inhibit homeowners from making valuable home improvements, while curbing PACE’s job-creation potential in the construction and renovation industry.It undermines existing state-level consumer-protection standards that are in place and federal standards that are in development, and may in fact guide homeowners toward more risky financing solutions, such as high-interest rate credit cards, that lack such standards. PACE not only removes the upfront cost of energy-efficiency, renewable-energy, and water-efficiency investments for homeowners, but also provides them with a more affordable financing alternative by offering longer payback terms and low repayment costs that are transferable upon a home’s sale (along with the benefits of the home improvements). PACE, like any other assessment, is attached to the property — not the individual — which makes it an innovative and unique green financing instrument. It also serves the community-wide interest in improving the housing stock while correcting for the failure of the market to fully recognize the impact of energy profiles on housing valuations.To date, residential PACE (or R-PACE) has been used to finance $4.2 billion in home energy improvements, creating over 36,000 jobs in the states in which R-PACE is enabled, according to PACENation. R-PACE has been used successfully to finance over 158,000 retrofits in three states since 2008, which demonstrates its market acceptability, scalability, and potential as a transformational market-financing tool. It is worth noting that R-PACE has seen unprecedented growth in California that has largely been driven by enabling state legislation. This growth has now started to spread across other states like Florida and Missouri. Jacob Corvidae works as a manger in the Rocky Mountain Institute’s Building Practice. Martha Campbell is manager of the Residential Energy+ team in RMI’s Buildings Practice. © 2017 Rocky Mountain Institute. Published with permission. Originally posted on RMI Outlet.last_img read more