No Movement on Build Back Better
Build Back Better appears to have shifted out of congressional focus for the time being due to other federal priorities. Senator Manchin told CNN last week that the full Build Back Better bill is dead, but pieces of the package could be brought back and considered. Initially, housing was reported to be excluded from the list of priorities for a scaled-back version. However, recent reports say Manchin could in fact be supportive of the affordable housing investments. Even so, if the revised package has a smaller topline number, tough decisions will need to be made about which areas to cut and housing could be at risk.
Despite calls from progressive Democrats to pass Build Back Better before President Biden’s State of the Union address in March, negotiations for a smaller package are not occuring. Senator Manchin has said that the focus should be on developing a budget to fund the federal government before a new social spending package can be discussed.
Negotiations Underway on FY2022 Budget
The deadline for Congress to pass a budget or extend spending levels is approaching on February 18 and appropriations chairs are still working towards a spending deal. The government is currently operating under a continuing resolution that extends the previous year’s funding. With budget talks still ongoing, lawmakers are considering ways to keep the government open and buy time for continued negotiations. Although progress is being made, there is no agreement yet and we will likely see another short-term continuing resolution through March 11. In the meantime, housing advocates are urging members of Congress to enact a final FY22 spending bill that includes increased funds for housing.
North Carolina Updates
State Homeowner Assistance Fund Launched by NCHFA
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency launched NC’s Homeowner Assistance Fund last week to help homeowners who are struggling to keep up with housing-related payments as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The fund was established federally through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements and foreclosures for homeowners across the country who are experiencing financial hardships. North Carolina was allocated a total of $273 million.
Assistance is available up to $40,000 per eligible household and payments will be made directly to the mortgage servicer or other third party.
To learn more and apply, visit NCHomeownerAssistance.gov or contact the call center for assistance at 855-MY-NCHAF (855-696-2423) – open 8:00am – 8:00pm M-F.
Housing counselors, providers and other partners can download a partner toolkit at https://nchaf.gov/partners/, which contains:
- NCHAF Partner Marketing Tips
- NC Homeowner Assistance Fund Fact Sheet
- Downloadable NC Homeowner Assistance Fund Flier
- NCHAF Lender-Servicer Fact Sheet
- NCHAF Application Checklist (English and Spanish)
- NCHA Educational PowerPoint Presentation
- Know Your Options Video
- NCHAF Social Media Graphics
- NCHAF Social Media Guidelines
Partners may also order printed promotional materials through the website.
NC Redistricting Maps Overturned by State Supreme Court
The North Carolina Supreme Court overturned the state’s congressional and legislative district maps in a ruling Friday that made national news. The legislature will have until February 18 to redraw the maps and provide an explanation for how the new boundaries are calculated. The intent is for the replacement maps to be used in the May 17 primaries. A final decision on the replacement boundaries is due by the court on February 23, which is the day before candidate filing resumes.
Expedited Review Pilot Announced in Chapel Hill
The Town of Chapel Hill Planning Department announced a new pilot to expedite the review process for affordable housing projects. The pilot allows multiple advisory boards to hear details about a proposed project at the same time rather than through separate presentations. The advisory boards will then meet separately to discuss the projects. Applicants for the Trinity Court and Jay Street affordable housing projects will pilot the process.
Raleigh City-owned Property to be Sold with Affordable Housing Conditions
The City of Raleigh plans to request proposals for two parcels of city-owned land that have just been rezoned. It’s seeking at least 120 affordable housing units on one property to serve people earning 60% of the area median income. The second property is too narrow for affordable housing, so the proceeds of the sale will go toward the city’s affordable housing funds.
$749K Committed by Buncombe County for Affordable Housing Project
Buncombe County Board of Commissioners voted to award $749,000 toward construction of a 45-unit apartment building on Haywood Road in Asheville. The project will provide housing within walking distance of downtown for those earning no more than 80% of the area median income.
Reports, Resources and Events
NYU Institute for African American Affairs & Center for Black Visual Culture – Virtual Event: Home in Jeopardy: Julián Castro on the American Housing Crisis Thursday, 2/10 @ 6:00 PM
HUD – Report: 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report
NYU Furman Center – Report: The Case Against Restrictive Land Use
WRAL TechWire – Report: North Carolina homes now worth $1.1T, Raleigh homes worth $201B
The Housing Solutions Lab at NYU Furman Center is accepting applications for its Housing Solutions Lab Peer Cities Network. Applications are due February 25, 2022.
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University –
- Why the U.S. Needs a National Zoning Atlas
- Why We Don’t Know How the Pandemic Affected U.S. Homelessness
Wall Street Journal – In Covid-19 Housing Market, the Middle Class Is Getting Priced Out
American Prospect – Want Affordable Housing? Strengthen Regional Governments.
Goldsboro Daily News – NC Homeowner Assistance Fund Opens Statewide
- Think Charlotte’s pricey? Asheville rents are worse, new report says
- Rent for $1,000 or less: It’s a needle in a haystack in Charlotte.
- Is Charlotte’s housing trust fund working 20 years later?
Axios Charlotte – 5 solutions to Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis
Spectrum News 1 – Boone group works to provide everyone shelter from the cold