Around the State
The NC General Assembly remains out of session. There have been some rumblings that a Special Session may be called by the Governor. If that is the case, House Bill 1200 (Foreclosure Prevention/ Rental & Utility Assistance) could be up for consideration soon. Otherwise it could be up for consideration again in September. NCHC is working with other stakeholders on outreach to key House & Senate members on the urgent need for housing assistance in the form of rental or utility payments.
2021 Draft QAP Released
The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency released the draft version of the 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) last week. The most notable proposed change is that new construction projects achieve certification under the ENERGY STAR v3 Multifamily New Construction Program. The past QAP was less specific on its energy efficiency requirements and referred to an outdated program (ENERGY STAR v2). Partly due to the new ENERGY STAR requirement, the Maximum Project Development Cost has been increased by $2000 to account for increased construction costs.
Some other proposed changes are:
- Principals/Applicants may be involved in no more than five preliminary applications.
- The first tiebreaker (lowest poverty rate census tract) has been removed. The previously third tiebreaker (least amount of credits requested) will become the first tiebreaker. The second tiebreaker remains (county with the least 9% units produced in the last 5 years).
- Under amenities, the driving distance for points has been increased ¼ mile for non-Small Towns. Limitations have been placed on scattered sites.
Comments on the proposed changes in the draft QAP are being accepted until August 26th. Written comments can be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NC Courts Extend Requirement of CARES Act Affidavit as Federal Moratorium Ends
Last week Chief Justice Beasley and the NC Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) issued a directive that extends a requirement for landlords/property managers to submit an affidavit confirming that a subject property is not covered by tenant protections in the CARES Act. The federal eviction moratorium for properties either directly subsidized or financed with federally-backed mortgages ended on July 25th and has not yet been extended.
While the moratorium on evictions is over, the CARES Act does also require that a 30-day “notice to vacate” be given to tenants who may be evicted for nonpayment. Thus for properties covered by the CARES Act, the earliest that a formal eviction filing for nonpayment could be made is August 24th. The CARES Act does not prohibit the start of eviction filings for reasons other than nonpayment of rent.
By extending the requirement to submit the CARES Act affidavit, the courts are reminding landlords that there is still a layer of protection they must abide by even though the moratorium is over. If the federal government were to extend the moratorium, then evictions in covered properties would again be prohibited. As many as 40% of Americans may be at-risk for eviction if the CARES Act moratorium is not extended.
Senate COVID-19 Relief Proposal Unveiled
On Monday afternoon, the Senate released the details of their version of the next phase of COVID-19 relief measures. The Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools Act (HEALS) is the Senate’s response to the HEROES Act which passed the House in June and has never been taken up in the Senate. The HEALS Act proposed $1 trillion in resources while the HEROES Act proposes over $3 trillion.
With regard to housing resources, the HEALS Act provides $3.3 billion in assistance, primarily in the form of assistance to those living in public housing or receiving either HUD or USDA rental vouchers. The HEROES Act proposes over $200 billion in resources to HUD and USDA housing programs, including $100 billion in emergency rental assistance that is not restricted to subsidized housing or those already receiving public assistance.
The HEALS Act does not include provisions to extend the federal eviction moratorium of the CARES Act nor other eviction protections. There was some speculation that Senate Republicans might include an extension based on comments made by White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow over the weekend. The HEROES Act, on the other hand, extends the timeframe of the moratorium and expands it to apply to unsubsidized renters. Additionally the HEALS Act decreases expanded unemployment Insurance benefits (which have come to an end in July) from $600 per week to $200 per week. The HEROES Act would maintain $600 per week.
Congress has about 2 weeks to pass a relief package before they recess again in August. Capitol Hill advocates sense that some sort of package will be passed as agreement to enact another round of relief seems to be strong. The debate focuses now on what will be included in a relief package rather than whether it is necessary at all. For housing advocates, the large disparity in housing resources is an area of major concern. As media outlets have reported across the country, a rental and eviction crisis is on the horizon without major action from the federal government.
FY2021 THUD Spending Bill Moves Into the House
Earlier this month, the House Appropriations committee passed the FY2021 Transportation, Housing & Urban Development (THUD) spending bill (H.R. 7617). The bill increases HUD resources by over $1.5 billion from FY2020 levels and rejects the White House’s proposed decrease in HUD funding. The FY2021 spending bill could be voted on by the House sometime this week.
HUD Maneuvers To Decrease Fair Housing & Anti-Transgender Protections
On July 22nd, HUD officially published its anti-transgender rule change to the Equal Access Rule in the Federal Register. The rule change would allow facilities to refuse services or acceptance into shelters to individuals based on biological sex. Now that the rule change is formally announced, comments can be submitted to HUD until September 22nd. To submit comments visit this site.
In another move that reduces protections against discrimination, HUD officially terminated the
Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. The rule change titled “Preserving Community & Neighborhood Choice,” removes the 2015 enhancements meant to strengthen Fair Housing protections which have been difficult to enforce. Advocates from many perspectives, from housing to civil rights, have condemned the move and its role in only further entrenching long-standing racial inequities in housing and wealth.
Reports, Resources,& Events
Urban Institute – How Manufactured Housing Can Fill Affordable Housing Gaps
National Low Income Housing Coalition – Out of Reach 2020
UNC Charlotte Childress Klein Center for Real Estate – State of Housing in Charlotte Update
Center for American Progress – Kicking Folks Out While They’re Down
UCLA Luskin Institute on Inequality and Democracy – Hotel California: Housing the Crisis