Focus: This week, we’re breaking down the 2022 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report: Part 1 (Point-in-Time Count) which was released in December 2022 – w/ NC Coalition to End Homelessness Executive Director Ryan Fehrman. HUD requires that Continuums of Care conduct an annual PIT count each January of people experiencing homelessness on a given night. Coincidentally, today and tomorrow are the data collections period for the 2023 Point-in-Time Count.
Ryan Fehrman’s Bio
Ryan has a B.A. in Political Science and Psychology and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. Ryan has spent his entire career in the nonprofit sector with agencies working on issues related to the environment, higher education, and human services. He worked at Families Moving Forward (formerly Genesis Home) for over 19 years and served as the executive director from March of 2005 to July of 2021. In that time, the agency adopted a two-generation approach to target services to children experiencing homelessness, adopted a “housing first” orientation to get families into permanent housing more quickly, and launched an aftercare program to prevent returns to homelessness within one year of exiting shelter. He is the former chair of the Council to End Homelessness in Durham and is an active supporter of the United Way of the Greater Triangle. He is the chair of the Durham local Emergency Food & Shelter board, a member of the NC Interagency Coordinating Council for Homeless Programs (ICCHP), and sits on the State Set-Aside Committee for the Emergency Food & Shelter Program. Ryan is married to Robyn Fehrman who is the CEO of Enactus, a global nonprofit that promotes social entrepreneurship with students in universities across the globe. They have two children and are residents of Trinity Park in Durham. Ryan enjoys spending his free time with his family, cooking, fishing, hiking at the Eno River, and cheering for the Tar Heels’ many sports teams.
- On Thursday, HUD released a newly proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. The new rule builds off of the Obama administration’s 2015 AFFH rule, which was later rescinded by the Trump administration. The Obama era rule required jurisdictions receiving HUD funding to evaluate their community’s fair housing landscape and work to address housing discrimination against protected classes. The new rule builds on this and aims to “simplify the required fair housing analysis, emphasize goal-setting, increase transparency for public review and comment, foster local commitment to addressing fair housing issues, enhance HUD technical assistance to local communities, and provide mechanisms for regular program evaluation and greater accountability.” HUD participant communities will be required to:
- Draft and submit 5-year Equity Plans that outline issues of housing discrimination in their community, goals, and strategies to reach these goals;
- Submit annual progress evaluations, and;
- Members of the public can submit complaints to HUD about jurisdictions failing to fulfill their commitments to affirmatively further fair housing.
There will be a 60-day public comment period. More information and resources on this will be published in the call notes.
AFFH Rule Resources:
- Alliance for Housing Justice’s short clip
- HUD Fact Sheet and Quick Reference Guide
- Biden Revives Housing Rule That Trump Derided as ‘Abolishing the Suburbs’ | Bloomberg
- Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing | PolicyLink
- Earlier this month, HUD also announced that the agency is creating a process through which homeowners refinancing through FHA-insured mortgages can request a review of their appraisal if they believe it may have been impacted by racial bias.
- HUD published the Request for Information (RFI) for HUD’s Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Rules, Waivers, and Alternative Requirements (87 FR 77864). HUD seeks public input to strengthen and improve requirements for entities receiving and implementing CDBG-DR funding. Public comments are requested on or before February 21, 2023. Late-filed comments will be considered to the extent practicable. Please refer to the details outlined in the Federal Register for guidance towards submitting comments by this deadline.
This RFI is to solicit feedback to inform how the Department can modify, expand, streamline, or remove CDBG-DR rules and requirements with the goals of:
- Expediting long-term resilient recovery
- Reducing, or eliminating barriers for impacted beneficiaries
- Ensuring equitable community recovery
- Simplifying compliance for CDBG-DR grantees within its statutory authority
HUD is also seeking public comments on HUD’s allocation formula in a separate RFI titled Request for Information Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Formula (87 FR 77855). All interested parties are encouraged to participate in both RFIs.
State & Local Updates
- Stein announced 2024 gubernatorial bid
Last week, Democratic Attorney General Josh Stein announced his plans to run for Governor in 2024. Stein has long been the anticipated candidate to replace Governor Roy Cooper, who is term-limited. While Stein may face a challenger in the primary, it is anticipated that the November 2024 race will be Stein vs. Republican Lt. Governor Mark Robinson.
- NC Homeowner Assistance Fund speeds up mortgage relief payment process
Recent data published by the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency indicates NC Homeowner Assistance Fund mortgage relief payments for people impacted by Covid-19 are being processed more efficiently. Last fall, the agency responded to frustrations that the payment timeline was taking longer than originally anticipated. The program dashboard indicates that over 6,000 households have received assistance from the program and about 4,900 applications are under review. NCHFA reports that the number of applications that are over 100 days has reduced dramatically since December thanks to the state’s contractor hiring additional staff and partial payments speeding up the process.
- Haywood County approves $7M for rental and homeownership opportunities
Last week, Haywood County Board of Commissioners approved more than $7M in CDBG-DR funds that will go towards rental and homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income families. NCORR awarded the funds to the County in response to the severe damage and loss of houses experienced in August 2021 from Tropical Storm Fred. Funds can be used for a variety of activities, including first-time homeowner downpayment assistance, renovations and repairs, preservation of affordable housing, property acquisition, and LIHTC multifamily construction.
- Charlotte mixed-income housing community secures $84M needed for construction|
Charlotte’s public housing authority, Inlivian, and development company Urban Atlantic have secured $84M for the construction of Trella Uptown, a Class A mixed-income housing community that is expected to have 104 units for families earning between 30-80% AMI, in addition to 247 market-rate units. The community will offer support services such as child literacy classes and family counseling, in addition to a coworking cafe, rooftop recreation area, pool, dog park, and fitness studio. Mecklenburg County ($6M) and the City of Charlotte ($3.2M) are among the financers of the project, in addition to health insurance company Aetna ($16M), who will serve as the LIHTC equity investor.
- ARPA funds for affordable housing in Mecklenburg & Cumberland County
Last week, Mecklenburg County approved a new spending package that includes almost $40M for 19 affordable housing projects. The funds allocated are from the 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and will promote senior housing, workforce housing, and efforts to mitigate gentrification. Also last week, Cumberland County’s Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary plan to use $1.4M in ARPA funds to assist people at risk of or experiencing homelessness and people fleeing domestic violence.
- TMLS Data Highlights slipping affordability across the Triangle
A recent report from Triangle MLS (TMLS) indicates that a median-income family in the Triangle only earns 70% of what they need to comfortably afford to purchase a house. In an effort to show just how much housing affordability has slipped, this is the first time that TMLS has released an affordability index for each of the counties it covers. As a News & Observer article explained last week, the issue is compounded by the fact that many renters are unable to save money for a downpayment because of rising rents.
- [in-person] Understanding Unsheltered Homelessness Public Presentation and Report of Findings | City of Asheville & Buncombe County, 1/25 from 1 – 4 p.m. @ Harrah’s Cherokee Center – Asheville
- The National Alliance to End Homelessness conducted a needs assessment and provided recommendations to address unsheltered homelessness in the area.
- [virtual] Homeownership Assistance Program bilingual webinar | 1/26, 6 – 7 p.m. The Housing Coalition is teaming up with Hispanic Federation and North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) to host a webinar in English and Spanish for prospective homebuyers to learn more about the Homeownership Assistance Program. The program helps eligible first time and first-generation homebuyers with up to $30K in down payment and closing cost assistance. The program is limited for people from the 16 counties that were the most affected by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence: Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Edgecombe, Jones, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Robeson, Scotland, and Wayne.
- [virtual] Innovative Local Efforts to Improve the Housing Choice Voucher Program | Bipartisan Policy Center, 1/26, 1-2 p.m.
- [virtual] Policymaking for Housing Justice: Unpacking the Equity Challenges of Housing Code Enforcement | ChangeLab Solutions, 1/31 @ 2 p.m.
- [virtual] Our Housing Futures: Proposed AFFH Rule 101 | Policy Link, 2/8 @ 2 p.m.
- [in-person] Affordable Housing Seminar: Tools, Strategies, and Case Studies for Local Government Leadership | UNC School of Government, 2/28 @ the New Bern Convention Center
- [in-person] NC Rural Summit | NC Rural Center, 3/20-21 @ the Raleigh Convention Center
- [in-person] Housing Policy Forum 2023 | NLIHC, 3/21-23, 2023 in Washington, D.C.
- Features a conversation with Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Keynote speakers include Matthew Desmond (author of Evicted and leader of Eviction Lab) and Rev. Dr. William Barber II.
Reports & Resources
- The Surge in Household Growth and What It Suggests About the Future of Housing Demand | Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
- Benchmark Update Significantly Boosts Remodeling Market Size Projections | Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University
- How to Engage Landlords to Strengthen Renter Stability Programs | Urban Institute
- Rising Sea Levels Are Threatening Affordable Housing. What Can Local Governments Do? | Urban Institute
- MHN Special Report: How Policy Will Shape Affordable Housing in 2023 | Multihousing News
- The Relationship Between Poverty and Homelessness Among Older Adults | National Alliance to End Homelessness
In the News
- Debt payment program aims to help Black families become homeowners | The Seattle Times
- Algorithms allegedly penalized Black renters. The US government is watching | WIRED
- Evictions are picking up across the U.S. Here’s what at-risk tenants can do | CNBC
- Mayors: Affordable housing demand is crushing us | POLITICO
- Could a 54-year-old civil rights law be revived? | Vox
- Church community seeking solutions in the affordable housing crisis | wcnc.com