Housing Investments At Risk in Reconciliation Package
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin met frequently this month to continue high-level negotiations on a potential reconciliation package. Senator Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also met with President Biden last week. Talks are getting more specific and Senator Schumer’s team has engaged the Senate parliamentarian to help prepare for a possible July or August vote. Although senators are not sharing details of the package publicly to avoid a breakdown in negotiations, they have noted priorities such as lowering drug costs, reducing the deficit, raising taxes on the wealthy and boosting energy sources.
Any bill put forward this summer would be significantly scaled back from last year’s Build Back Better Act. Because of this, there is increasing concern that the housing investments proposed in last year’s Build Back Better will be left out of the package that’s currently under negotiation.
Congress needs to hear from advocates that affordable housing investments must be included along with the LIFELINE Act, which seeks to address barriers limiting the use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) for LIHTC. The LIFELINE Act was introduced as standalone legislation in both the House and the Senate. However, the bill needs a larger legislative vehicle in order to advance. A reconciliation package would present an opportunity to move the LIFELINE Act forward.
Draft Spending Bill Released for HUD
The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) released its fiscal year (FY) 2023 draft spending bill last week. The bill allocates $62.7 billion for HUD’s affordable housing, homelessness, and community development programs. This is an increase of $9 billion over FY22-enacted funding levels, and $1.1 billion above the president’s FY23 budget request.
Funding highlights in the bill include:
- Increased access to Housing Choice Vouchers by providing $31.04 billion to renew all existing housing vouchers and to expand assistance to an additional 140,000 households
- $14.94 billion ($1 billion increase) to renew all project-based rental assistance
- Increased funding for Homeless Assistance Grants by more than $391 million
- $458 million increase to the Community Development Block Grant program ($5.3 billion)
- $175 million increase to the HOME Investment Partnership program ($1.67 billion)
The Senate is expected to begin drafting its spending bills in the next several weeks. However, the two chambers are not expected to negotiate an agreement on spending levels until later this year.
Budget Agreement Reached by NC Lawmakers
House Speaker Tim Moore announced Monday that a budget deal had been reached between the House and Senate and lawmakers released the proposal on Tuesday evening. This comes after some uncertainty about the ability to reach agreement prior to July 1, when lawmakers plan to adjourn the session. However, Speaker Moore and Senate Leader Phil Berger met over the weekend to continue negotiations and budget votes are anticipated later this week. The budget proposal includes state employee and teacher raises, but not tax cuts or Medicaid expansion.
Related to housing, the bill exchanges Workforce Housing Loan Program (WHLP) funding sources by replacing the previously allocated $170M in federal recovery funds with dollars from the state’s General Fund. This switch allows the state to sidestep federal barriers to using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for LIHTC.
While this is a welcome fix, the budget proposal only allocates $20M to WHLP for FY22-23, which is half of what’s needed to fund the current cycle.
Several other housing-related items are included in the budget bill and further details can be found in the Coalition’s analysis.
NC Rural Transformation Grants Awarded
30 local governments in rural areas across the state have been awarded grants from the Rural Transformation Grant Fund, a new source of support for rural economic development projects in North Carolina funded by the American Rescue Plan.
A total of $20.1 million was issued in the first round of grantmaking from the Fund. Local governments received grants for activities related to downtown revitalization, resilient neighborhoods, and community enhancements. A list of recipient awards can be found here.
Eviction Prevention Partnership Launched in Albemarle
Albemarle County is testing an Eviction Prevention Partnership to help connect people to legal resources needed to fight eviction. Funded by the American Rescue Plan Act, the partnership has prevented nearly 160 evictions since the program began in December.
Nationwide Community Program Launched by Lowe’s
Lowe’s launched a nationwide community improvement program with $100M in funding to help restore and revitalize community spaces. The program will help fund community improvements to neighborhood housing, parks, community centers, etc. There are nine North Carolina projects on the list of recipients, including a permanent supportive housing community, capital improvements for nonprofits, a community garden, and others.
Budget Approved by Mecklenburg Includes Affordable Housing
Mecklenburg County Commissioners adopted the county’s FY 2023 operating budget, including funds for affordable housing. The budget allocates $500,000 to research the effects of corporate-owned real estate and its impact on residents and values. This comes amid state and national attention on the impacts of investors on local housing markets.
NFL Player DJ Reader Plans Investment in Affordable Housing
Cincinnati Bengals defensive tackle and Greensboro native DJ Reader purchased three lots in south Greensboro with plans to build low-cost homes. By partnering with developers, including Habitat for Humanity, Reader hopes to help alleviate the ongoing housing crisis.
Durham Residents Speak Out on Fayette Place
Residents of Durham’s historic Hayti community told the Durham Housing Authority a second time earlier this month that they aren’t being heard in plans to redevelop the former Fayette Place property south of downtown.
Rent-to-Own Program Launched by Winston-Salem Housing Authority
The City of Winston-Salem’s Housing Authority has a rent-to-own program, which helps residents become first-time homebuyers by eventually purchasing their rental homes.
Essential Worker Housing Planned in OBX
Dare County announced plans to develop approximately 100 essential worker housing units in Nags Head and on Roanoke Island. The County is contributing up to $9 million in funds toward the project.
Affordable Housing Planning Process Launched by Watauga Housing Council
Watauga Housing Council is beginning a process to create an affordable housing plan. The task force met in June to map out the process. Dozens of local residents, community leaders, and stakeholders are participating both in-person and virtually.
Affordable Housing Planned Near Greenville’s Medical District
A 180-unit, $28.7 million affordable housing community south of Greenville’s Medical District is set to break ground this fall. The apartments will be available for rent by households earning 60% or less than the county’s area median income.
Reports, Events, Resources
- Virtual event series: Summer of Ideas, kicking off Thurs, 6/30.
- Report: Housing On The Ballot: How to Organize a Successful Ballot Measure Campaign for Affordable Homes
Axios – Interactive series: Race and Housing: The Path Forward
Housing Matters – Four Ways to Support the Housing and Reentry Needs of Older Adults
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies –
- Report: Home Repairs and Updates Pose Considerable Burdens For Lower-Income Homeowners
- Report: Short-Term Benefits of Emergency Rental Assistance Extend Beyond Housing
CBS 17 –