Reconciliation Package Negotiations Still Ongoing
Democrats appear to still be in talks over a potential reconciliation package despite missing a self-imposed deadline of Memorial Day. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin met last month to discuss ways to address inflation, which Senator Manchin wants to be the keystone of any major legislative package. This proposal would be a completely new and scaled back spending package after Build Back Better was scrapped last year.
Lawmakers are now looking at the start of August recess as the new deadline for an agreement, which would give them most of August to draft legislation and the month of September to vote. Timing will still be a challenge, as it is pushing right up against the midterm election. Despite the tight time frame, Senator Manchin said he’s up for making a deal. He has outlined his priorities, which include raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy, funding energy and climate development, deficit reduction and lowering drug prices.
Although there’s been no mention of the housing priorities from Build Back Better, if lawmakers are able to move forward with a spending package, it would present an opportunity to include the investments and policies highlighted in President Biden’s Housing Supply Plan.
Sandra Thompson Confirmed as New FHFA Director
The Senate has confirmed Sandra Thompson as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). The FHFA oversees the majority of the mortgage market and Director Thompson has been leading the agency on an interim basis for nearly a year. After President Biden appointed her acting director of FHFA in June 2021, she was nominated for the permanent job in December. She is the first African American woman to be confirmed to this role.
North Carolina Updates
NC Affordable Housing Act Introduced in the NC House
NC Representatives Hurtado, Alston, Autry, and Brown introduced the NC Affordable Housing Act (HB 1114) just before the Memorial Day weekend. The bill proposes $100M in recurring funds to the NC Housing Trust Fund to increase affordable housing programs across the State. This would be a historic investment for the Housing Trust Fund, which is currently funded at $7.7M. The NC Affordable Housing Act also establishes a Manufactured Home Park Acquisition Fund with $25M in non-recurring funds to provide grants to nonprofits. The grants must be used to purchase manufactured home parks with intent to use them for affordable housing.
In addition to the funding allocations, the bill would ban source of income discrimination, making it unlawful to deny housing to someone based on the way they intend to pay. “Source of income” means any lawful source of money paid on behalf of a renter or buyer, including from employment, a grant or loan program, HOPE program, a Section 8 voucher, or financial assistance from a private source, such as a nonprofit or other nongovernmental entity.
Under current law, landlords may choose to deny a tenant application for rental housing if their method of payment includes a Housing Choice Voucher, for example. This bill would add source of income to the list of characteristics that are unlawful to discriminate against under the state’s fair housing law.
Lastly, HB1114 makes updates to the state’s existing tax on real estate transactions by increasing the tax rate from $1 to $1.50 for every $500 in value. The bill also redirects two-thirds of these tax proceeds from the General Fund to the NC Housing Trust Fund.
NC General Assembly Back for Short Session
The NC General Assembly returned last week for this year’s short session, which is expected to last five to six weeks. The primary purpose of the session is for lawmakers to approve changes to the second year of the budget (the state passed a two-year budget in the fall). Key budget priorities that Republican lawmakers plan to pursue include state employee and teacher pay raises, as well as tax cuts. The Coalition is meeting with NCGA members to advocate for housing appropriations in the second year of the enacted budget. Details on those requested funding levels can be found here.
NC Primary Election Results Available
North Carolina was one of the first states to hold its primary election for the upcoming midterms. May 17 was primary Election Day in NC and a summary of Congressional race results can be found here. The North Carolina Board of Elections also has an updated dashboard where you can check the results of any primary race in the state, including for General Assembly seats and local offices.
Affordable Housing Planned for Unused Church Building
Caldwell Presbyterian Church in Charlotte is seeking funding to convert one of the church’s unused buildings into as many as 21 apartments. The units will be affordable to households earning 30-50% of the area median income. Increasingly, churches across the state are seeking creative solutions for housing affordability by building or repurposing existing structures on their properties.
Charlotte Hotel to be “Recycled” for Affordable Housing
In Charlotte, a California-based real estate firm is seeking solutions to the affordable housing crisis by turning a hotel on North Tryon Street into an apartment building. Vivo Living currently owns 19 “recycled” hotels across the U.S., including three in North Carolina. The goal is for rent to be up to 20% below market value without compromising amenities.
$500K Proposed to Study Impact of Corporate Landlords in Mecklenburg
Mecklenburg County included $500,000 in its proposed budget to study the impact of corporate landlords on the local housing market and develop strategies to address those impacts.
$8M Allocated to Affordable Housing in Fayetteville
Fayetteville is planning to use $8 million in federal HUD funds to build and improve access to affordable housing. The city is looking at converting some of the older hotels into housing, as well as considering incentives for contractors to build more affordable homes.
Budget Increase Proposed for Affordable Housing in Cary
Under the Town of Cary’s 2023 budget, affordable housing would gain an increase of $9 million from a combination of town sources and federal American Rescue Plan Act funding. The $5 million in funds from ARPA are intended to begin implementation of the Cary Housing Plan.
Affordable Apartments Planned for Budget Inn site in Winston-Salem
Winston-Salem leaders are planning a 62-unit affordable housing apartment building at a former Budget Inn site on Peters Creek Parkway at Academy Street. The units will be reserved entirely for households that make no more than 60% of area median income.
Raleigh-Owned Properties Considered for Affordable Housing
Raleigh leaders are considering a proposal to bring more affordable housing downtown by repurposing city-owned properties into affordable apartment buildings. The City would continue to own the land through long-term land leases.
Reports, Resources and Events
- Report: Balancing Act: An Analysis of Remaining Emergency Assistance Funds, Reallocation and Outstanding Need
- Policy Brief: Promoting Housing Stability Through Just Cause Eviction Legislation
The Ringer – Podcast: What’s Going On With the U.S. Housing Market?
Wall Street Journal –
- Fed Searches for the Magic Number to Cool a Red-Hot U.S. Housing Market
- OPED: Joe Biden: My Plan for Fighting Inflation
The House Committee on Appropriations – Chairman Price Statement at Manufactured Housing: Supporting America’s Largest Unsubsidized Affordable Housing Stock Hearing
Bloomberg City Lab –
- Counties Pledge to Break the Cycle Between Jail and Homelessness
- Biden’s New Housing Plan: Fire Up the House Factories
- Effective Zoning Reform Isn’t as Simple as It Seems
ABC 11 –
- Decrease in home sales predicted nationwide but NC housing experts say market remains hot
- ‘Affordable housing is such an issue’: Person County Habitat for Humanity looking for volunteers
Charlotte Observer –
- Charlotte’s population isn’t the only thing growing. Houses are getting bigger, too.
- As Charlotte’s rental market heats up, residents are being priced out
WRAL – Report: Hickory dubbed most affordable place to live in the US