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Housing Call: March 7, 2023

NCHC Updates

Samuel, Adrienne, & Anna visited the NCGA last Wednesday, 3/1.

We met with elected officials about the state budget, and getting the temperature about the enabling statute for NCHFA, and getting intel on other bills that would impact housing.

  • Regarding the enabling statute NCHFA – we are not done yet – but it appears that leadership on the House side are very on board with protecting this. So our next step is explicitly writing into the budget the protection of this statute to allow NCHFA to conduct business accordingly.
  • We will be back at the general assembly tomorrow talking with elected officials around appropriations.
  • We do know that there are going to be several significant land use bills this session – they are currently in drafting mode. We will be shifting our energy to doing education around some of the land use issues that we will be facing this session and the impacts they have on housing.
  • The House is moving with intention – initially to be done by Easter, but now it seems like the deadline has moved to May 1st.

Federal Updates

  • Advocate for Investments in Affordable Housing for the FY24 Federal Budget
  • Bipartisan legislation to expand eligibility for the Historic Tax Credit was introduced last week in the Senate. The bill was filed by Sens. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), & Susan Collins (R-ME). The Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity Act (HTC-GO) is similar to legislation filed by similar names in 2019 and 2021. The bill would expand credit for smaller projects by creating a 30% HTC. It would also eliminate the basis-adjustment requirement and decrease the substantial rehab test threshold.
  • Last week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced 7 bills geared towards improving affordable housing. Most of the bills focus on the health and safety of residents in public housing and Section 8 units.
  • 17 Democratic Senate Chairs and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) signed onto a letter urging Pres. Biden to “utilize a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to address our nation’s housing needs.” The letter named housing as a critical piece of infrastructure that “is a sector that remains in crisis” and although many decisive steps have been taken to address other infrastructure deficiencies across the nation, “more must be done to address the challenges facing the housing sector”, the letter went on to cite lagging production, aging housing stock, and rising housing costs as just a few of the challenges that face the housing sector and called for this critical issue to be invested in accordingly. 

State Updates 

  • Governor Roy Cooper delivered his final State of the State last night. In his speech, he highlighted investments in education, infrastructure, the economy, and the workforce, and bipartisan efforts to reach an agreement last week on state Medicaid expansion. Part of the agreement was that Republicans wanted it to be tied to the state budget, which means it won’t be finalized for a while and will be used as a bargaining chip.
  • HB 208: Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, filed Monday, 2/27
    • This piece of legislation would reenact the state housing tax credit, which expired in 2015, for projects receiving 9% federal LIHTC awards. Depending on the set-aside, between 10-30% of the developer’s qualified basis would be eligible for the credit. Primary sponsor is Rep. Abe Jones (D-Wake).

Local Updates

  • Pisgah Legal Services is recruiting for its first class of housing fellows. The fellowship provides WNC lawyers with free training on landlord/tenant law and 5 hours of continuing legal education credits. Upon completion of the program, housing fellows are able to take pro bono cases in small claims and district courts where they are licensed to practice. The program’s creation is in response to a rising demand for housing-related assistance. Last year, Pisgah Legal received over 3,000 applications from WNC residents seeking assistance with housing-related matters.
  • Duke Energy is asking state regulators to approve a 17% rate hike. This request, in addition to a 10% rate hike request filed in January, brings Duke Energy’ requested rate increase to 27%. While unlikely to be granted in full, a 27% rate hike would increase a typical household’s monthly bill by about $32. Duke Energy Progress is expected to file a similar request over the summer.
  • In the city of Washington, NC, the Neighborhood Revitalization Program plans to complete construction of its first house soon. The program is a partnership between the Washington Housing Authority and the City of Washington that increases homeownership opportunities for low to moderate income families in Beaufort County.
  • A property manager in Onslow County is threatening to evict tenants who do not pay requested utility increases that were instated to cover the property owner’s outstanding utility debt to the City of Jacksonville. The City has spoken out against the property manager’s actions and tenants are working with the Onslow County chapter of the NAACP, Onslow Community Outreach, and U.S. congressman Greg Murphy’s (R-NC-03) office to reach a resolution.
  • The City of Wilmington will hold a hearing on March 7 about plans to use $2.5M in HOME-ARP funds to support affordable housing development, tenant based rental assistance, supportive services, and the creation of non-congregate shelter units.


Reports & Resources

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Housing Call: February 28, 2023

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