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Revised FAQs on Emergency Rental Assistance Provide Guidance on Implementation of Second Round of Funding

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has updated its guidance on the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program, provided in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document. The updated guidance includes some policy modifications impacting both the first round of ERA funding authorized last December under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 (ERA 1) and the second round of ERA funding authorized in March under the American Rescue Plan Act (ERA 2), as well as certain new policies that relate only to ERA 2 implementation. The guidance applying to ERA 2 only is reflective of the more flexible statutory language authorizing the second round of funding.

Lowering Bond Financing Threshold for 4 Percent Housing Credit Developments Could Result in Nearly 1.5 Million More Affordable Homes Over 10 Years

NCSHA released a report that found lowering the bond financing threshold for Housing Credit properties — often referred to as the “50 percent test” — to 25 percent could result in the production of nearly 1.5 million more 4 percent Housing Credit units than would otherwise be produced between 2022 to 2031. Based on research conducted on NCSHA’s behalf by Novogradac, “Analyzing the Impact of Lowering the 50% Test for 4% Tax-Exempt Bond Financed Properties” is an update to previous analysis by Novogradac, also sponsored by NCSHA. The update was necessary to account for the minimum 4 percent Credit rate set in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and significant changes in the Congressional Budget Office’s inflation projections since the first version of the report was published in May 2020.

Congressional Housing Credit Champions Introduce Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2021

Today, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Todd Young (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Rob Portman (R-OH) and Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Don Beyer (D-VA), and Brad...

Biden Releases FY 2022 Budget Outline

Today, the Biden Administration submitted to Congress the president’s priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2022 discretionary spending. The administration seeks $68.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and $27.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, an increase of $9 billion (15 percent) and $3.6 billion (16 percent) over the FY 2021 enacted levels, respectively.

White House Releases $2 Trillion Infrastructure and Jobs Plan

Today, ahead of a speech President Biden will make in Pittsburgh, the White House released the American Jobs Plan, which is intended to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, including building, preserving, and retrofitting more than two million homes along with investments in transportation, clean drinking water, the electric grid and broadband, schools, and Veterans Affairs hospitals; create jobs for and raise the wages of home care workers; and revitalize manufacturing. In each of these areas, the White House looks to accomplish its goals with a focus on addressing racial injustices, climate impacts, and clean energy and infrastructure.

NCSHA Testifies at IRS Hearing on Housing Credit Average Income Test

On March 24, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) convened a public hearing on the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Average Income Test (AIT) proposed regulations published in October of last year. James Tassos, deputy director of tax policy and strategic initiatives, testified on behalf of NCSHA, one of 15 organizations represented at the hearing. Housing Credit allocating agency officials from California, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Virginia, and Washington joined NCSHA and numerous industry partners to express significant concerns with the proposed rule.

Congress Sends President Biden $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan Act for Signature

Today, the House of Representatives passed the final $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, following Senate passage of the bill early Saturday morning. No Republicans in either chamber voted for the measure. President Biden is expected soon to sign it into law. In addition to comprehensive COVID-19 relief, including stimulus checks, extension of unemployment insurance, funding for schools and vaccine distribution, and direct aid to state and local governments, the legislation includes more than $42.5 billion in funding for affordable housing programs.

HUD Publishes Data on Housing Credit Tenant Characteristics

On March 2, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published demographic data on tenants living in Housing Credit properties as of 2018. This data, collected annually from state Housing Credit allocating agencies as required by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, includes details on tenant race, ethnicity, family composition, age, income, use of rental assistance, disability status, and monthly rent burden. Note that, while in the past HUD has published a formal report on Housing Credit tenant data, this year it has simply made the data available in table format with a separate background document that also provides a brief explanation of each available table.

House Passes American Rescue Plan Act; Senate Could Act This Week

Early Saturday morning, the House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, H.R. 1319, providing the COVID-19 relief sought by President Biden. The bill, which is moving through Congress under procedural rules allowing it to pass the Senate with a simple majority, passed the House without any Republican support.

Treasury’s Revised Emergency Rental Assistance Guidance Addresses Nearly All NCSHA Recommendations

On February 22, the Treasury Department released a revised Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document providing guidance to grantees administering the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program established late last year by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. NCSHA and other housing groups had raised concerns about aspects of a prior Treasury FAQs document released before the current administration took office. In a January 25 letter to Treasury, HUD, and the White House, NCSHA urged Treasury to make modifications to some of the positions taken in the original FAQs and to issue additional guidance in areas not covered by those FAQs. The revised FAQs document is consistent with nearly every recommendation NCSHA made.

House Financial Services Committee Portion of COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes Assistance for Homeowners and Renters

House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) has released the text of legislation providing COVID-19 relief that her committee will mark up on Wednesday, February 10, and an accompanying memorandum about the bill. The legislation the Financial Services Committee marks up will be combined with the work of other committees into the larger package Congress will consider soon, pursuant to the recently passed FY 2021 Budget Resolution’s reconciliation instructions, allowing the bill to pass with a simple majority vote in the Senate.

HUD Secretary Nominee Marcia Fudge Pledges to Work with Congress to Address Affordable Housing

The Senate Banking Committee yesterday held a hearing on the nomination of Representative Marcia Fudge (D-OH) to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Fudge’s written and oral testimony highlighted that she understands and is ready to address the housing challenges facing HUD and the country, including the lack of housing affordability and the instability of renters and homeowners exacerbated by COVID-19.