New NC Sponsor for the LIFELINE Act; Senate Co-Sponsor Still Needed
The LIFELINE Act (H.R. 7078) has several new sponsors including North Carolina Congressman Ted Budd, who represents the state’s 13th District.
NC’s congressional delegation is taking a leadership role in championing the bipartisan legislation, with original sponsors Reps. Alma Adams and David Rouzers’ introduction of the bill late last month. If passed, the LIFELINE Act will address barriers limiting the use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) for LIHTC by allowing long-term loans to Housing Credit developments.
Additional sponsors are still needed for the bill. Congressman Greg Murphy, who represents NC’s 3rd district, is a potential supporter and would be an important ally given his position on the House Ways and Means Committee.
In the Senate, Patrick Leahy of Vermont is on board to introduce companion legislation, but a Republican co-sponsor is needed. Housing advocates are tapping Senator Thom Tillis as a possible lead sponsor for the bill. For those that have a relationship with the Senator’s office, now is a great time to reach out to request his support.
A smaller bill of this type is not expected to move on its own, but has a higher likelihood of success if attached to a larger legislative vehicle like a COVID-19 relief package or tax extenders legislation.
In the meantime, housing advocates are working with the Treasury Department to validate the remedies that states, including NC, have put in place to allow use of the SLFRF funds.
FY23 Budget Request Released by Biden Administration
President Biden released his FY23 budget request during the last week of March with a topline figure of $5.8 trillion. The Administration proposed $71.9 billion for housing programs through the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which is a $6.2 billion increase over FY22 final levels. The President is also requesting an additional $35 billion in mandatory spending for a Housing Supply Fund to address the shortage of affordable housing.
Other highlights for housing include:
- $32.1B for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance ($6.4B over 2022), including 200,000 new Housing Choice Vouchers
- $15B for Project-Based Rental Assistance ($1.5B over 2022)
- $3.77B for Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG) ($295M over 2022)
- $1.95B for the HOME Investment Partnerships program ($600M over 2022)
- $3.57B for homelessness assistance ($576M over 2022)
- $35B in mandatory funding and additional Low Income Housing Tax Credits including $25B for affordable housing production grants to state and local housing finance agencies
- $10B for grants to help remove barriers to affordable housing development, including needed zoning changes.
The proposal would also provide a discretionary basis boost for bond-financed Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties, and would make the New Markets Tax Credit permanent.
Each year, the President’s budget request kicks off the appropriations process and outlines the Administration’s proposed funding levels for federal agencies. However, Congress is ultimately responsible for setting the budget and rarely adheres to the levels in the President’s proposal.
Renewed Discussions Underway on Proposals from Build Back Better
While the Build Back Better Act is unlikely to advance, some Senate Democrats are looking for agreement on a spending package deal that could include the signature elements. Topline priorities for a revised version of the package include fighting inflation, raising taxes and addressing climate change and drug prices. Leadership hopes to begin more serious talks this spring, but there is skepticism from members about the ability to strike a deal. It’s unclear at this point if housing is on the list of priorities for a revised package, but it’s critical that the targeted investments proposed in Build Back Better be included in any enacted budget reconciliation bill.
Agreement Reached on Next COVID-19 Relief Bill
Congress is considering a standalone COVID-19 relief bill after aid was pulled out of the budget a few weeks ago. Lawmakers announced agreement on a scaled-back amount of $10 billion and hope to pass it before Congress leaves for a two-week recess later this month. Leadership is optimistic about its prospects, but timing will be tight.
Supreme Court Confirmation Expected for Judge Jackson
The Senate will vote on Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s Supreme Court nomination this week. Three Republican Senators have announced plans to vote in her support, which makes it likely that she’ll be confirmed.
North Carolina Updates
$48M in Funds Available for Rural Transformation Through NC Commerce
The NC Department of Commerce is accepting applications from local county, city and town governments for the Rural Transformation Grant Fund. $48 million is available for local government activities in four areas: Downtown Revitalization, Resilient Neighborhoods, Community Enhancements for Economic Growth and Rural Community Capacity building.
Funds can support activities such as:
- Main Street and downtown investment and revitalization efforts;
- Initiatives that help create resilient neighborhoods;
- Community enhancements that spur economic growth;
- Professional development and education programs to build local government capacity
Grantees can receive up to $950k each and applications are due on May 2. These are new dollars allocated to the state through federal Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery funds.
Awards Made by NCHFA for Home Rehabilitation
The NC Housing Finance Agency awarded $11 million for home rehabilitation and accessibility modifications in 32 North Carolina counties through the Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool (ESFRLP). $6.32 million will provide comprehensive rehabilitation to at least 117 homes through forgivable loans. An incentive pool of $4.68 million will assist an additional 87 homes.
Down Payment Assistance Program Launched in Durham
The City of Durham is launching a down payment assistance program for first-time homebuyers in partnership with Community Home Trust. Eligible households earning 80% AMI or below can apply for up to $20,000 towards a down payment or closing costs. The funds will be provided as a 15-year forgivable loan with 0% interest. Applications opened on March 28 and can be submitted through the Community Home Trust website.
Recovery Funds Awarded in Raleigh
Thirteen local nonprofits received grants from Raleigh out of the $10 million the city was allocated in American Rescue Plan Act funds. The funding can be used by local governments for a range of economic recovery activities. Several local housing providers received awards, including Passage Home, DHIC, and Salvation Army.
Construction Scheduled for King’s Ridge PSH
Construction is scheduled to begin on a 100-unit permanent supportive housing program in Raleigh. King’s Ridge is intended to address homelessness by providing a stable, supportive place to live. Residents of King’s Ridge will have access to services including case management, physical and mental healthcare, employment coaching, and childcare. The project is set to open in fall 2023.
Affordable Apartments Planned for Sweeten Creek Rd in Asheville
Fairhaven Summit, a new affordable apartment complex is planned for Sweeten Creek Road in Asheville. The goal will be for 100% of the 77 units to be affordable to rent by households earning between 30-80% of the Area Median Income (AMI).
Reports, Resources, and Events
NC Policy Watch – Podcast Interview: Samuel Gunter, Executive Director of the North Carolina Housing Coalition, discusses soaring housing costs and what NC can do about it
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies –
- A Modest Suggestion: The Four Government Mortgage Agencies Should Produce A Unified Report On Mission Activities
- New Survey Finds Many Renters Are Concerned About The Impact Of Home On Health
Washington Post – Home values soared during the pandemic, except for these Black families
City Lab –
- After Slow Start, U.S. States Spend Billions in Emergency Rent Relief
- Cities Give Housing Technology a Wary Reappraisal
The Real Deal – NY State bill seeks to eliminate racial restrictions in deeds
Wilmington Biz – Never Enough: Groups, Officials Tackle Affordable Housing Solutions
News & Observer –
- Housing market tightens: Raleigh saw nation’s biggest drop in inventory since 2020
- Affordable housing, long overlooked, getting federal boost
- OPED As NC cities grow, suburbs sprawl. In Durham, rural residents are pushing back
- Hot housing market, increasing taxes push out some southeast Raleigh residents
- What the $4B VinFast plant means for the Triangle – and the state
The Mountaineer – On affordable housing, it’s time for action