HUD recently posted a letter the General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing sent to Tribal Leaders on February 14. The letter, issued in accordance with HUD’s Government-to-Government Tribal Consultation Policy, requests feedback on regulatory changes HUD has been planning to issue for some time on using downpayment assistance in conjunction with FHA single-family mortgage insurance.
Trump Administration’s FY 2021 Budget Proposes Significant Cuts to Federal Housing and Community Development Programs
On February 10, the Trump Administration sent Congress its Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Budget request, “A Budget for America’s Future.” The $4.8 trillion budget outlines the Trump Administration’s fiscal priorities for the coming year, including eliminating several key federal affordable housing and community development programs and arguing that states and local governments are “better positioned to comprehensively address the array of unique market challenges, local policies, and impediments that lead to housing affordability problems.”
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has been joined by other progressive House members — Representatives Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) — in releasing a framework for addressing the affordable housing crisis, which the authors call the People’s Housing platform. The platform contends that housing is a human right and federal affordable housing policy has been insufficient to address housing needs. It prescribes numerous steps the federal government should take to invest in affordable housing.
On January 31, Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released its 2020 edition of “America’s Rental Housing” report. The new report shows that, despite slowing demand and continued strength of new construction, rental markets in the United States remain extremely tight. According to JCHS, vacancy rates are the lowest in decades, the number and share of cost-burdened renters are again on the rise, and the number of people experiencing homelessness is also increasing. These conditions mark significant market changes since the Great Recession, including an influx of higher-income households, constraints on new supply, and substantial losses of low-cost rental units.
On January 31, NCSHA submitted comments to the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing recommending specific steps the Departments of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, and Treasury can take to streamline and improve federal housing programs. These actions would lead to more affordable housing production with reductions in cost and administrative burden.
HUD Rule Takes New Approach to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, Faces Criticism from Fair Housing Advocates
Yesterday, HUD released a proposed rule that would reform its regulations relating to the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s requirement that HUD grantees affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). The proposed rule, once finalized, would replace the AFFH rule published in 2015 under the previous administration.
Just before midnight last night, congressional leaders released the text of a tax package intended to advance this week along with FY 2020 spending legislation released yesterday afternoon. NCSHA, HFAs, other Housing Credit industry allies, and our Senate and House Housing Credit champions had mounted a remarkable campaign to include provisions from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, S. 1703/H.R. 3077, and the Save Affordable Housing Act, S. 1956/H.R. 3479, in the legislation. Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the final bill does not include Housing Credit provisions from these bills.
House and Senate leaders have agreed to a deal to provide full-year Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations for all federal agencies, including HUD and USDA, split into two “minibus” spending packages. The spending deal will fund HUD and USDA housing programs at or above levels proposed by the Senate earlier this year, though not as high as levels proposed by the House prior to the adoption of the bipartisan budget agreement this summer. The HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) is funded at $1.35 billion ― less than the $1.75 billion provided in the House version but more than the Senate version which would have flat-funded the program at $1.25 billion. The House this afternoon approved both minibuses and will now send them to the Senate. President Trump is expected to sign both spending packages before the current continuing resolution expires on Friday. Affordable housing program highlights from the spending packages are listed in the blog.
Nearly two-thirds of Qualified Opportunity Funds plan to invest in affordable housing and community development in Opportunity Zones, according to the latest edition of NCSHA’s Opportunity Zone Fund Directory, released today. A total of 196 funds representing nearly $45 billion in anticipated investment ― including 17 new funds ― are listed in this edition. Sixty-four percent (126) of the funds plan to invest in affordable or workforce housing or community revitalization. One year ago, just 22 of the 53 funds in the directory (42 percent) planned investment in this sector.
The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs confirmed Brian Montgomery’s nomination to become Deputy Secretary of HUD earlier today. The committee approved Montgomery, who is HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner and currently also serving as Acting Deputy Secretary, by a voice vote of 20–5.