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.
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.
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.
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.
Treasury Guidance on Emergency Rental Assistance Requires Third-Party Documentation of Income, Hardship
Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published a Frequently Asked Questions document providing guidance on the $25 billion Emergency Rental Assistance program enacted under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. Despite the seemingly unanimous urging of NCSHA and other organizations representing both grantees and low-income households, Treasury is requiring applicants for assistance to provide third-party source documentation evidencing income and their experience of unemployment or financial hardship due directly or indirectly to COVID-19.
On January 15, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued Notice 2021-12 which extends all COVID-19 relief measures originally provided under Notice 2020-53 and provides further relief not included in that original COVID-19 relief notice. The deadline extensions and waivers provided under Notice 2020-53 expired at the end of 2020.
President-Elect Releases COVID-19 Response Plan with Additional Housing Assistance, Foreclosure Prevention
President-elect Joe Biden announced his American Rescue Plan, an ambitious $1.9 trillion COVID-19 recovery platform including a national vaccination program, assistance to households, and other supports for communities struggling due to the pandemic. The announcement today includes proposals that are part of the first step in what will be a two-step plan. The second step will be an economic recovery plan focused on job creation, combating the climate crisis, and building “back better than before.”
Treasury Launches Rental Assistance Web Portal; Grantees Must Submit Signed Terms Forms by January 12
On January 6, the U.S. Department of the Treasury published a new web portal with information about the Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) program enacted in late December under the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021. As NCSHA has previously reported, this critical program will allow states, localities, and Indian tribes to provide rental assistance to households earning no more than 80 percent of area median income who have faced hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting economic fallout. This Treasury web portal is a critical step towards implementation of the program, which must be expedited under the time constraints set by the statute.
On December 22, HUD published a final rule in the Federal Register amending existing regulations for the Section 542(c) Housing Finance Agencies Risk-Sharing Program. The final rule adopts without substantive changes the March 8, 2016, proposed rule HUD developed after dialogue with NCSHA and a working group of HFAs. The rule is intended to better align the Risk-Sharing program regulations with current industry and HUD policies and practices and provide greater flexibility for program participants.