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Housing Matters: 2017 Legislative Session Ends

Samuel Gunter, Director of Policy and Advocacy

In the wee hours of the the morning, the General Assembly put a wrap on this year’s legislative session (for now… they plan on coming back in August and September for two special sessions). This session we saw continued growth in the State’s overall investment in affordable housing in spite of the legislative climate dominated by tax cuts and other priorities. While this investment still does not get the State to a scale that truly addresses the need, it was a successful legislative session for our priorities.

NCHFA Remains Level

After three consecutive years of growth in the State’s investment in affordable housing following a low-water mark in 2013, the Housing Trust Fund, HOME match and Workforce Housing Loan Program remained level from last year.

  • Housing Trust Fund $7.66 million
  • Workforce Housing Loan Program $20 million
  • HOME match $3 million

The Coalition had pushed to continue the upward trend in investment in affordable housing and return the State to pre-recession levels. However, this result represented the best possible outcome of negotiations between the House and the Senate budget proposals.

CDBG Funding Restored

In all, the State appropriated $75 million for affordable housing in this legislative session

The loss of federal CDBG money for rural housing in 2013 was a devastating one. Restoring a portion of the State’s annual allocation to be used towards housing was a high priority or the Coalition this session. With $10 million allocated to Commerce to be used for Neighborhood Revitalization and an additional $8.7 million in de-obligated funds, this was a big victory for housing advocates.

  • CDBG Neighborhood Revitalization $10 million
  • De-obligated CDBG funds $8.7 million

Supplemental Disaster Recovery Passed

The budget had set aside $100 million for disaster recovery, but did not specify how that money would be deployed. This week, the Disaster Recovery Act of 2017 was introduced in an Appropriations Committee meeting and includes $25 million dedicated to housing recovery.

  • DPS Emergency Management $20 million
  • Lumber River Council of Government (Fairbluff) $5 million

The funds can be used for:

  • Repair of owner-occupied low- to moderate-income housing not covered by CDBG-DR;
  • Repair of low- to moderate-income rental housing not covered by CDBG-DR;
  • Housing elevation, acquisition, and mitigation reconstruction for homes not covered by Hazard Mitigation Grant Program;
  • State Acquisition Relocation funds, which enable low- to moderate-income homeowners to purchase homes;
  • Flood insurance subsidies; and
  • Temporary housing for storm victims.

Final Count

In all, the State appropriated $75 million for affordable housing in this legislative session, nearly 60% of which is largely reserved for disaster recovery efforts. Thank you all for reaching out to your elected officials about the importance of these investments, because without you, we could not have made these gains. If you have a moment, take the time to reach out to your elected official and thank them for this commitment, and remind them that there is still room to grow… still work to be done. And if you have not yet, join with us as we continue to encourage our elected officials to make needed investments in affordable housing.

Recommended read

Housing Matters Policy Update: 6-30-17

Many thanks to our sponsors