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Policy Update 1-25-23

NCHC Organizational Updates

January 24 Housing Call features Ryan Fehrman, Executive Director of North Carolina Coalition to End Homelessness to discuss the release of part 1 of AHAR 2022, highlights from the report at the national and state level. This blog summarizes the interview and highlights from the report.

NC Housing Coalition, Hispanic Federation, and NCORR partner on Homeownership Assistance Program for 16 counties impacted by Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. [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. 

Federal Updates

HUD releases a newly proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule and requests public comment. The new rule builds off of the Obama administration’s 2015 AFFH rule, which was later rescinded by the Trump administration.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:

HUD announces new appraisal review process for FHA-Insured mortgages potentially impacted by racial bias. 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 publishes several RFIs for public comment regarding the CDBG-DR program rules,waivers and requirements as well as the formula for allocation of funds. 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.


Reports & Resources

What Can FY23 Funding Do for Homelessness?

Homelessness in 2023: What Can Congress Do?

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 |

Recommended read

HUD’s 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1 Released

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