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New Harvard Housing Study Highlights Affordability Challenges Amidst Post-Pandemic Economic Recovery

On June 16, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies released its 2021 State of the Nation’s Housing report. The report finds that, as the economy recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, some households are taking advantage of historically low interest rates to purchase homes with savings built during the health crisis, while others have been locked out of opportunities to own as prices increase to meet demand. Moreover, renters and homeowners are grappling with billions of dollars in back rent owed, unpaid mortgages, and the growing risk of eviction and foreclosure.

HUD Interim Rule Reinstates Aspects of Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Requirements; Does Not Yet Require Specific Fair Housing Planning

Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published an interim final rule and request for comments repealing the Trump Administration’s Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice regulation and reinstating aspects of the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule in effect under the Obama Administration. The 2021 AFFH interim final rule reinstates relevant definitions that had been rewritten under PCNC and the certifications that incorporate those definitions, including the requirement that HUD program participants certify “they take meaningful actions that, taken together, address significant disparities in housing needs and in access to opportunity, replacing segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns, transforming racially or ethnically concentrated areas of poverty into areas of opportunity, and fostering and maintaining compliance with civil rights and fair housing laws.” The provisions reinstated by the 2021 AFFH interim final rule include only those HUD believes have previously undergone sufficient notice and comment processes.

White House Announces Proposals to Reduce the Racial Wealth Gap

Earlier today, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a set of proposals designed to help narrow the racial wealth gap and reinvest in distressed communities, focusing on expanding access to homeownership and small business ownership. The administration says it will launch an interagency effort to address inequity in home appraisals and publish next week in the Federal Register a proposed rule on countering housing practices with discriminatory effects (disparate impact) and an interim proposed rule on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. The administration plan also includes using the federal government’s purchasing power to grow federal contracting with small disadvantaged businesses by 50 percent.

Biden Releases FY 2022 Budget, Proposes Increased Investments in Housing

Today, the Biden Administration submitted to Congress the president’s budget request for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The budget request totals $6 trillion, the largest increase in federal spending in decades. The Biden Administration seeks $68.7 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and $27.8 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), an increase of $9 billion (15 percent) and $3.6 billion (16 percent) over the FY 2021 enacted levels, respectively.

White House Previews Housing Investment Proposals with Significant Increases for the Housing Credit, HOME, and Housing Trust Fund

Today, the White House released a fact sheet providing further detail on the housing investments it is proposing in the American Jobs Plan. In total, the administration is proposing $213 billion in direct housing funding and more than $100 billion in new and expanded tax credits to modernize existing and produce more than two million affordable and sustainable homes. The proposals include significant investments in NCSHA’s top housing priorities, including the Housing Credit, HOME, and Housing Trust Fund, and enactment of the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act.

NCSHA Publishes Top Policy Priorities for Infrastructure Legislation

As three key congressional committees with jurisdiction over affordable housing activities — the Senate Finance and Banking Committees and House Ways and Means Committee — hold hearings this week on infrastructure investment, and the White House continues discussions with congressional leaders and other key members of Congress about the size, scope, and funding for infrastructure legislation, NCSHA is releasing its policy priorities for affordable housing investment as part of the infrastructure discussion. This memorandum outlines NCSHA’s position on how Congress can best target affordable housing infrastructure investments by stabilizing the existing stock of affordable owner-occupied and rental homes and stimulating the creation of new affordable homes and apartments, in particular for people and communities of color and in ways that are both energy efficient and environmentally sustainable. 

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.