Around the State
State Budget Update
Last week the NC Senate passed its proposed budget for FY 2021-2022 and FY 2022-2023. Now the House begins its work on the state’s budget. As mentioned on a recent housing call, the budget proposal includes some provisions pertaining to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit programs and the NC Housing Finance Agency, several of which could have detrimental effects on housing affordability and affordable housing finance.
In the near term, the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), $273 million in assistance to homeowners struggling with mortgage and other housing costs, could be delayed due to redundant requirements included in the budget proposal. In the long-term, the provisions related to LIHTC and the Qualified Allocation Plan could have long-term effects that shape how credits are awarded, potentially leading to a “pay-for-play” system, with scales tipped towards projects and developers with large sums of resources and influence.
Regarding funding levels, the budget proposal is a disappointing missed opportunity to invest in housing at a scale that more adequately meets the size of the need. Spending on housing remained flat, despite the growing need and despite the amount of resources available, both in the state’s “rainy day” fund and with funds coming from the American Rescue Plan (ARP). Governor Cooper recommended using about $575 M in ARP funds for affordable housing, including over $400 M for affordable development. The Senate chose not to utilize those funds in this way. For more details, please visit previous alerts and housing calls.
With the House taking up the budget, the opportunity for any changes is currently with House members. If you are talking to any members, it is important to let them know that the overall amount of funds are inadequate, that the provisions on NCHFA & LIHTC could be harmful, especially for homeowners who could be delayed in receiving needed mortgage payment assistance and foreclosure prevention services. Take Action – North Carolina Housing Coalition
HOPE Program By the Numbers
- 23,000: Number of applications submitted (as of 6/28)
- $60 M: Amount of assistance committed (total, including paid & awaiting payment)
- $20 M: Amount already paid out
- 14 days = Average processing time from the time of application to payment
- 4% = Landlord refusal rate
Apply to the HOPE Program, via website HOPE Program or phone: (888) 927-5467.
CDC Eviction Order Extended to July 31st
Last week, President Joe Biden announced that the national CDC eviction moratorium would be extended to the end of July. The moratorium was previously set to expire on June 30th. Millions of renters across the country, and several hundred of thousands in North Carolina, are several months behind on rent and at-risk of eviction, increasing their risk of exposure to COVID-19 & its increasingly infectious variants. The extension also provides state and local governments more time to continue to distribute rent and utility payments to those in need.
The White House also announced that it would implement a “whole-of-government” approach to prevent what is expected to be an historic wave of evictions this summer. Specifically the administration says it will conduct the following activities:
- Convene a summit to bring together local teams to develop eviction-prevention action plans.
- Issue new guidance from Treasury for the ERA program to accelerate and broaden state and local delivery of funds.
- Have the Department of Justice send guidance to state courts encouraging them to adopt anti-eviction diversion practices.
- Provide guidance from HUD to help prevent Fair Housing Act violations related to evictions.
- Activate a whole-of-government effort to raise awareness about emergency rental assistance, tapping agencies including Treasury, HUD, CFPB, DOJ, and USDA to inform tenants and landlords of available support.
Here in North Carolina the impact of the eviction protections has been inconsistent with many households falling between the cracks due to the varied interpretations of when, where, and how the CDC order should be applied. With these additional efforts of the federal government, hopefully, protections will be strengthened and more households spared from additional harm.
Bipartisan Infrastructure Agreement Does Not Include Housing Resources
The White House announced that a bipartisan agreement had reached on a potential $1 trillion infrastructure spending package. Unfortunately this agreement does not include housing or “social infrastructure” programs. The agreed upon proposal sticks to a narrow, traditional definition of infrastructure being composed of public roads, bridges, waterways, and so forth. In a modern sense, housing is very much a part of our infrastructure.
As the proposal begins moving into Congress, it is important for those concerned with housing to continue to impress on NC’s delegation that housing is infrastructure – it is an essential part of the built environment that enables people to thrive. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Representative Ritchie Torres (D-NY) are circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter urging congressional leaders to include housing as infrastructure. Please urge NC’s delegation to sign on to this letter: Take action
Resources, Reports, & Events
HUD’s Office of Affordable Housing Programs (OAHP) – HOME-ARP Webinar Series
July 1 from 2 to 3:30 pm ET – Webinar – CoC Homelessness System Overview
Enterprise Community Partners – Webinar: “Preventing Evictions as a Preservation Strategy” – July 15th at 1pm
The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at the University of California at Berkeley – “Paying the Rent in a Pandemic: Recent Trends in Rent Payments Among Affordable Housing Tenants in California
Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University – The State of the Nation’s Housing 2021
Time Magazine – Segregation Is Increasing In America