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Policy Update 5-5-23

Federal Updates

Oppose Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing
In late April the House approved a bill that would dramatically reduce funding for housing and other non-defense domestic programs. This is very similar to a tactic Republicans used in 2010, which led to over a decade of low funding for housing programs. The National Low Income Housing Coalition invites advocates to participate in their “Spring into Action” campaign from May 8 to May 19, a two-week mobilization to speak out against budget cuts and push for Congress to make necessary investments in housing and homelessness programs. During this period, NLIHC encourages advocates to creatively express the importance of federal housing resources and convey to their members of Congress the devastating toll that these cuts, if enacted, would take on their communities. Check out NLIHC’s advocacy toolkit, “Oppose Dramatic Cuts to Federal Investments in Affordable Housing,” for talking points, sample social media messages, and more. 

Treasury Reallocates ERA Funds
The US Treasury reallocated $520M in Emergency Rental Assistance  earlier this month. The reallocation moves money from places where funds may go unused and awards it to high-need areas.  In North Carolina, the City of Greensboro will receive $85K in funds reallocated from the national pool of ERA funds. 

HUD extends CDBG-CV Expenditure Deadline
Last week, HUD published an announcement in the Federal Register that suspends one of the Community Development Block Grant CARES Act (CDBG-CV) grant expenditure deadlines.  Grantees were originally required to spend 80% of the grant within 3 years, but due to pandemic-related supply chain issues, labor shortages, and prolonged shutdowns, HUD is waiving this requirement. Grantees are still expected to spend 100% of the grant award within 6 years.

State Legislative Updates

This week was a busy week at the North Carolina General Assembly, the crossover deadline was on May 4, 2023 – meaning any bills that do not involve any money (appropriations or revenue) are not part of a legislative study must pass either the House or Senate by May 4 in order to be eligible to be passed in the remainder of the long legislative session or in the 2024 short session. This doesn’t mean that other bills cannot be considered. 

Between 4/25 and 5/5 the following bills have been filed:

  • HB 861 – Tropical Storm Fred/Disaster Recovery
    • Sponsor: Rep Pless
  • HB 884 – Landlord-Tenant Assistance Pilot/Funds
    • Sponsor: Alston 

Don’t forget to check out our Bill Tracker, which is updated with the latest housing-related bills with brief summaries. 

State & Local Updates

In April, the NC Housing Finance Agency announced $11M in funding awarded across 31 counties through their Essential Single-Family Rehabilitation Loan Pool. ESFRLP finances major home rehabilitation and modifications for low and moderate income homeowners who are elderly or have other special needs remain in their homes.

Brevard City Council recently approved a plan to reimburse sewer and water tap fees for eligible projects when developers agree to provide affordable housing for at least 5 years. The funds will be reimbursed by the city’s Housing Trust Fund, which the city hopes will incentivize affordable development. ​​

An article in the Charlotte Observer provides an interesting in-depth summary of how the City of Charlotte used federal funds during the pandemic to support housing initiatives. As federal funding winds down, many Covid-era housing programs are ending and eviction and foreclosure rates are returning to pre pandemic numbers. 

Another story out of Charlotte details the rise in Latinx homeownership in the region and across the US. The article cites the Urban Institute, which projects that over the next 20 years, 70% of the new net homeowners will be Latinx. Latinx homebuyers have the highest utilization rate of alternative, costlier financing like rent-to-buy and land contracts. The article also highlights the importance of housing counseling programs, which help to educate and empower future home buyers about the homebuying process.    

Self-Help Credit Union, with assistance from Bank of America, is nearing completion of the rehabilitation of 40 energy efficient, affordable rentals near downtown Rocky Mount. After the rentals are complete,  Self-Help will begin constructing single family homes for first-time homebuyers in the area. 

The City of Wilmington and New Hanover County Workforce Housing Advisory Committee (WHAC) recently released a set of recommendations to meet the area’s growing need for affordable housing. Their five recommendations are:

    • Creation of a Dedicated Affordable Housing Development Fund
    • Policy shifts on zoning and resident protections
    • Produce and preserve diverse housing options
    • Replace one–time funding and
    • Expand housing counseling and financial literacy programs

Reports & Resources 

In the News

Politics plus logistics could block widespread office-to-housing conversions | POLITICO

Housing data will show if the market Is seeing a spring bloom | U.S. News

Medicaid is paying for housing, food in more states | The Washington Post

Affordable housing in your backyard, ‘in-law suites’ could become more common in NC | WBTV

[Opinion] Overriding local zoning won’t solve North Carolina’s housing crisis | Raleigh News & Observer

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