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Policy Update 2-23-22

Federal Updates

Federal Fix Proposed for State Fiscal Recovery Funds and LIHTC
At least 12 states, including North Carolina, are using State Fiscal Recovery Funds (FRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act to fill gaps in the LIHTC program due to the pandemic. FRF can be used towards a variety of pandemic recovery efforts and states have broad discretion in how they allocate funds. 

In December, the U.S. Treasury issued guidance that requires State Fiscal Recovery Funds to be spent by 2026, which creates a barrier for using funds toward LIHTC housing. In North Carolina, the funds are allocated for LIHTC in the form of loans, which have a maturity date after 2026. The new Treasury requirement essentially makes loans with maturities after 2026 infeasible. However, senators from Maine and Vermont are working on a fix that would allow funds to be used past 2026 specifically for LIHTC. The provision could be included in the FY22 spending package. If successful, there would be no need to pursue a legislative fix at the state level. 

Agreement Reached on Budget Framework, Details Under Negotiation
Appropriations committee chairs reached agreement on a framework for the fiscal year 2022 budget. Now that there is a deal on the top-line numbers, appropriators are negotiating the details of the spending package. 

The budget is overdue, but Congress passed a third continuing resolution last week to extend current federal funding levels through March 11. The stopgap measure is intended to buy appropriators enough time for ongoing FY22 budget discussions. Leadership is fairly optimistic about the ability to reach agreement on the 12-bill spending package by the new deadline (extended from Feb. 18). With Build Back Better stalled in the Senate, Congress has an immediate opportunity to make significant investments in affordable housing through the appropriations process. 

Build Back Better Placed on the Back Burner
Build Back Better is on the back burner in the Senate and the chamber has moved on to other issues that will occupy it’s time over the next several months, including the budget. Although Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats are still seeking ways to gain Senator Manchin’s buy-in, some have acknowledged the possibility that even a smaller package might not move forward.

North Carolina Updates

New Redistricting Maps Approved by Court
The North Carolina General Assembly submitted redrawn district maps to replace boundaries struck down by the state Supreme Court earlier this month. A panel of three Wake County Superior Court judges approved the new maps on Wednesday afternoon and candidate filing for the May 17 primary is set to resume on Thursday morning.

Local Updates

Community Called to Action at Cape Fear Housing Coalition Event
The Cape Fear Housing Coalition held its annual legislative update and advocacy event last week, where speakers, including NC Housing Coalition Executive Director Samuel Gunter, called for action and investment to address the affordable housing crisis. The call to action includes a $50 million investment from the public sector and $50 million from the private sector in 2022 to provide resources to address the problem.

Affordable Housing Plans Announced by Durham Tech
Durham Tech Community College announced plans to build 124 affordable housing units near its main campus by fall of 2024.

​​Raleigh-owned Land Considered for Affordable Housing
Raleigh is rezoning city-owned land around Eliza Pool Park off Fayetteville Street to build a new affordable housing complex. The need for affordable housing near downtown was identified as part of the Dix Edge Area Study and the new properties are expected to add nearly 400 affordable units.

Charlotte-owned Properties Approved for Affordable Housing
The Charlotte City Council approved four city-owned properties to be developed into affordable housing.

3,000 Affordable Homes Proposed in Buncombe County by 2030
Buncombe County’s Affordable Housing Committee is proposing a plan to build ~3,000 affordable housing units by 2030.

$4.7 Million Approved by Wake County for Affordable Housing
Wake County’s Board of Commissioners approved $4.7 million in American Rescue Plan funds for affordable housing. Grants were awarded to Families Together, Green Chair, Healing Transitions, InterAct, Oak City Center, Passage Home, South Wilmington Street Center, and Urban Ministries through the county’s Bridge to Home Program.

Rezoning for Affordable Townhomes Approved in Concord
Concord City Council approved rezoning for the property of a future 13-unit townhome community. The townhomes will be affordable to households earning 60% to 80% of the area median income (AMI).

Proposals for Affordable Housing Requested in Greensboro
The City of Greensboro is requesting proposals from housing developers who have submitted a preliminary application to the NC Housing Finance Agency for 2022 LIHTC projects. Proposals are due March 15.

Reports, Resources and Events

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies – Virtual Event: Fixer-Upper: How to Repair America’s Broken Housing Systems Friday, 3/18 @ 12:15 PM

NLIHC – Report: Implementing Fact-Specific Proxy in ERA Programs: Key Considerations and Lessons Learned

Housing Perspectives – Rents Have Soared Across the Country, But Home Prices Grew Even Faster

New York Times  – 

Associated Press – Rents reach ‘insane’ levels across US with no end in sight

Shelterforce – Rethinking the Racial Wealth Gap

Route Fifty – States Lawmakers are Taking On Housing Policy Once Left to Locals

CNN – Oped: ​​How we can solve the nation’s affordable housing crisis

Washington Post – More cities seek to redress widespread 20th-century destruction of Black neighborhoods

Housing Wire – Fannie Mae pays $53M to settle recession-era discrimination suit

CityLab – It’s Time to Put Cities at the Top of America’s Economic Agenda

NPR – It’s not just home prices. Rents rise sharply across the U.S.

WRAL TechWire – Triangle housing market: Demand at ‘all-time high’ but affordability at ‘all-time low’

WECT News 6 – Multimillion dollar investment by Cape Fear Collective aims to preserve existing affordable housing units

Raleigh N&O – ‘Hayti Reborn’ members protest Durham Housing Authority’s plan for Fayette Place

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