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Housing Matters Policy Update: 6-14-17

Samuel Gunter, Director of Policy and Advocacy

Federal Update

Community Planning and Development Program Formula Allocations for FY 2017 Released

Now that the FY17 budget has been enacted, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has released the full-year allocations for the Office of Community Planning and Development’s (CPD) formula programs. North Carolina will receive $114,237,276 in 2017 through these formula programs. However, because the President’s budget eliminates CDBG, HOME, and HTF, North Carolina would miss out on $101,635,609, or 89% of our annual allocation. To see a breakdown of the allocation, click here.

House Votes to Roll back Dodd-Frank Protections

The U.S. House of Representatives voted last week on the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). This bill specifically bars the CFPB from regulating payday and car title lenders. It also makes it easier for payday, car title and other high cost lenders to evade state lending caps, like our strong interest rate caps in North Carolina. The Center for Responsible Lending estimates that these caps save North Carolinians $457 million every year. The vote was mostly along party lines. Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina was the only “No” vote among Republicans.

HUD Announces start Date for Housing Counselor Certification Examination

On May 31, 2017, HUD published a Federal Register Notice announcing the start of the HUD Certified Housing Counselor Examination on August 1, 2017. Registration for the Examination will not be open until August 1, 2017. However, Housing Counselors are encouraged to create a user account starting June 1, 2017 at www.hudhousingcounselors.com. An announcement will be made when the practice exam is available. Visit the Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements Final Rule page for more information and resources.

Out of Reach 2017 Report Released

The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual Out of Reach Report was released last week. In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent in North Carolina, renters need to earn $15.79 per hour. The typical renter in NC earns $14.14, which is 10.4% less than the hourly wage needed to afford a modest unit. Working at the minimum wage in North Carolina, a wage earner must have 2.2 full-time jobs or work 87 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom apartment. To see more North Carolina specific data, click here.

Carson Defends Administration’s Cuts to HUD

The Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development both held hearings the week of June 5 to consider the Trump administration’s FY18 budget request for HUD. The president’s budget blueprint, released two weeks after Dr. Carson was confirmed as HUD secretary, proposes a 15% – or $7.4 billion – reduction to HUD’s budget from FY17 enacted levels. The complete budget request, released on May 23, shows how HUD would allocate funding across the agency’s programs.

CPD Income Calculator Updated with FY 2017 Income Limits

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has updated the Community Planning and Development (CPD) Income Eligibility Calculator to incorporate FY 2017 Income Limits for a number of CPD programs.

Pam Patenaude Hearing

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing on June 6 to consider the nomination of Pam Patenaude to be deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentMs. Patenaude faced questions from Committee Democrats about the Trump administration’s FY18 budget, which proposes slashing affordable housing and other essential programs. Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH) lauded Ms. Patenaude’s extensive career in housing policy and advocacy, but highlighted that it stands at odds with the administration’s budget proposal. To read more about the hearing, click here.

CBRE Analysis of Tax Credit program

As part of the 2008 Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA), congress requires that each state housing finance agency (HFA) administering the LIHTC program provide HUD with annual demographic and economic information on tenants in rent-restricted LIHTC units. Last fall, HUD released its third public report on the information received thru December 31, 2014 under the HERA mandate.The takeaway from this report is that the LIHTC program is largely benefiting those most in need of affordable housing—families with children and seniors with extremely low household incomes. Although data collection by the state HFAs could improve, itis evident that these state agencies are successfully administering the LIHTC program to help the most vulnerable households.Certainly, this data strongly supports the arguments in favor of expanding the LIHTC program as proposed in two legislative measures now pending in Congress.

Our Homes, Our Voices – July 29

In light of the proposed cuts to HUD’s housing and community development programs in the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2018, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners and a coalition of national and state partners, invites housing advocates across the nation to hold coordinated local events on July 29 as part of “Our Homes, Our Voices, a National Housing Day of Action.” Resources for mobilizing support for greater investments in affordable homes and community development, including templates for press releases and invitations to elected officials, are available on the Our Homes, Our Voices website.

State Update

Budget Goes to Conference Committee, WHLP in Jeopardy

With the House and the Senate having passed their respective budgets, the negotiations have moved to conference committee. We anticipate that we will see the product of those negotiations by next week. We are getting early indications that the WHLP is in trouble in those negotiations. There are conflicting reports, but the most dire have the Senate holding firm both on their cut in WHLP funding and the devastating per county caps they proposed.

Today is the time to reach out to Senator Phil Berger, Senator Harry Brown and Speaker Tim Moore. Tell them to adopt the House’s version of the budget and provisions for the WHLPThere is no time to waste.

Tyran Hill, Local and Regional Policy Officer

Local Update

Durham City Council Awards $4 Million Grant for Fayette Place

On June 5th, Durham City Council approved a $4.162 million grant that will allow the Durham Housing Authority to buy back twenty acres of vacant land known as Fayette Place.The money will come from the city’s general fund and can only be used to acquire the land and maintain it until it is sold or developed.A project schedule says landscaping will begin on June 30, and by September, community input will be sought.

Orange County invests $2.5M of bond money in 52 affordable homes

Orange County Commissioners voted to use $2.5 million in bond money to help individuals and families move into 52 affordable homes in the next three years. The remaining $2.5 million of the $5 million voted on in November could be allocated next year, County Manager Bonnie Hammersley said.The first approved projects include senior townhomes, as well as apartments and a single-family home in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Most will serve low-income families, veterans, the homeless and people with disabilities.

Adams Announces $920,000 in Affordable Housing Funding for the 12th District

Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) announced on June 5th that North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District has been awarded $920,000 in affordable housing funding from the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta. This grant will benefit two affordable housing communities in Charlotte: The Tryon Shelter, a shelter for homeless men,will receive $420,000 to renovate the common space for improved service and safety and Magnolia Gardens is receiving $500,000 to be used toward new construction of 82 additional affordable housing units for seniors age 55 and older.

Council Could Add More Money for Housing to Chapel Hill Budget

The town of Chapel Hill currently sets aside a penny on the tax rate for affordable housing – roughly $688,000 – but after hearing from residents and housing providers, there is consideration of adding an additional penny increase. The pending plan would use money from the Affordable Housing Development Reserve and a payment from developer East West Partners to create a $600,000 Opportunity Fund. The council is slated to vote on that plan June 26 and could use the money as it is needed to support affordable housing projects.

Recommended read

HUD Office of Community Planning and Development Releases FY17 Allocations

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