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Housing Call: January 11, 2022

Federal updates

  • The Build Back Better Act did not make it to the Senate floor before the holidays and negotiations with Senator Joe Manchin went south just before Christmas. In mid-December, Sen. Manchin sent the White House a $1.8 trillion counteroffer to the Build Back Better agenda with substantial funds for climate, health-care and education initiatives. Several key provisions were excluded in Sen. Machin’s version of the bill, including affordable housing.
    Since then, he announced that he’s no longer interested in negotiating and his counteroffer appears to be off the table as well. Sen. Schumer said he plans to bring the bill to a vote despite Manchin’s opposition, but every Democratic vote will be needed to move the legislation through the reconciliation process.
    Democratic Senators must continue to hear from advocates that Build Back Better’s affordable housing provisions are critical and must remain in the final package.
  • Also in the Senate, Democrats are working to pass voting rights legislation. Consideration of proposals has been blocked by Republicans and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to initiate a vote on changes to the Senate’s filibuster rules, which would enable the chamber to pass a voting rights bill with fewer votes. However, up to this point, there is not consensus within the Democratic caucus on making changes to the filibuster.


North Carolina updates

  • Last week, housing advocates urged the U.S. Department of the Treasury to make changes to the guidelines on State Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) provided through the American Rescue Plan Act. In North Carolina, the state budget allocates $170 million in these funds to the Workforce Housing Loan Program (WHLP) to provide gap financing for LIHTC developments. However, Treasury issued final guidance last week that requires all funds to be expended by December 31, 2026. This makes loans with maturities after 2026 infeasible.
    The National Council of State Housing Agencies sent a letter to the Treasury urging modifications that provide more flexibility in the use of these funds for developments financed with the Housing Credit program. Stay tuned for more, as this is an evolving story.
  • The Treasury has approved North Carolina’s plan for the state’s Homeowner Assistance Fund, which is a federal program that provides direct assistance to homeowners at risk of foreclosure during the pandemic. North Carolina is the fifth state to receive Treasury approval. The program will be administered by the NC Housing Finance Agency. Homeowners can contact 855-MY-NCHAF (855-696-2423) to get information or to sign up to be notified when NCHFA begins accepting applications.
  • The North Carolina Department of Commerce has awarded 21 Community Development Block Grant – Neighborhood Revitalization (CDBG-NR) requests to local governments totaling $14.9 million. The requests will provide housing and public improvements for low- and moderate-income North Carolinians: North Carolina Approves Nearly $15 Million Of Neighborhood Revitalization Grants For 21 Communities | NC Commerce
  • Rising construction costs are impacting North Carolina’s disaster recovery efforts and the state is looking to shift nearly $48 million in federal recovery funds to allow it to grant unexpectedly high contracts for home repairs more quickly: Higher construction costs, pricier mobile homes impact NC hurricane recovery effort | Charlotte Observer
  • The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) has $11 million in funds available for eligible organizations to rehabilitate owner-occupied homes in selected counties. These funds are available through the 2022 cycle of the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool (ESFRLP). Completed applications must be received by the Agency by 5:00 p.m. Friday, January 21, 2022. Details and application materials are available on NCHFA’s website.
  • Winston-Salem is considering loosening restrictions on Accessory Dwelling Units (aka “granny flats”). The City Council has postponed a decision until after a public forum can be held: Neighborhood groups win delay on ‘granny flat’ rule changes in Winston-Salem | Winston-Salem Journal
  • Braswell Properties, a Durham apartment building with affordable units, is up for sale and residents were notified to move by the end December. Households that remain past the deadline could face eviction. Residents and other advocate groups are asking for help from the City of Durham and have proposed a Tenants Bill of Rights to strengthen protections throughout the city: Durham tenants lose leases, face possible evictions after landlord sells building | News & Observer



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