House Financial Services Subcommittee Chair Introduces Housing Assistance Reform Bill
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) introduced last week the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015, H.R. 3700. The bill incorporates several previously proposed policy changes to improve HUD assistance programs that enjoy bipartisan support and are relatively noncontroversial. In his press release announcing the bill, Luetkemeyer states that “these reforms will help to put our nation’s housing programs on a path to maximize effectiveness and deliver more opportunity for both people in need and the organizations that serve them.”
H.R. 3700 includes several provisions from the Section Eight Voucher Reform Act of 2011 (SEVRA), H.R. 1209, and a House Financial Services Committee discussion draft of the Affordable Housing and Self-Sufficiency Improvement Act of 2012 (AHSSIA). Notable items from these bills simplifying the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program included in H.R. 3700 are an increase in the maximum contract term for project-based vouchers from 15 to 20 years and streamlined physical inspection and income determination rules. H.R. 3700 also contains provisions to permanently authorize USDA’s Multifamily Housing Revitalization Program and delegate guaranteed rural housing loan approval authority to preferred lenders that meet standards to be set by USDA.
H.R. 3700 also incorporates two bills that passed in the House with bipartisan support this summer. The first, The Preservation Enhancement and Savings Opportunity Act of 2015, H.R. 2482, would amend the Low-Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRA) to make it easier for owners of properties preserved under LIHPRA to access the equity in their properties. Finally, H.R. 3700 incorporates The Private Investment in Housing Act, H.R. 2997, which would authorize a pay-for-success demonstration program to improve water and energy efficiency in HUD-assisted multifamily developments. HUD also proposed this idea in its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget and the Senate Appropriations Committee included it in the FY 2016 HUD appropriations bill it passed earlier this year.
H.R. 3700 was referred to the House Financial Services Committee and currently has no cosponsors. The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee will hold a hearing on the bill October 21.