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Policy Update 8-9-19

Pamela Atwood, Director of Housing Policy

Housing a Growing Focus of 2020 Presidential Candidates

Housing continues to capture national attention as a kitchen-table issue in need of focus. During last week’s Democratic presidential debates, several candidates raised housing and homelessness as issues that they will address if elected. The linkages between housing, health, education, and economic opportunities were vocalized on the national stage. 

Specifically, former Secretary Julian Castro referenced his vast experience at HUD and his plans to address racial segregation and invest in affordable housing production. Mayor Bill DiBlasio spoke out on the need to repair and rehabilitate public housing across the country. Former Vice President Joe Biden mentioned his plans to improve access to public housing for people coming out of the criminal justice system. Governor Jay Inslee connected housing development patterns to environmental justice issues and Mayor Pete Buttigieg recognized the role that housing plays in perpetuating racial segregation.

Additionally more candidates are rolling out detailed housing policy proposals and talking housing on the campaign trail. Here is a roundup of the latest proposals:

Senator Amy Klobuchar

On July 25th, Senator Klobuchar released a set of housing policies that would increase housing production by expanding the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program (LIHTC), fight housing discrimination, and increase access to Housing Choice Vouchers. Klobuchar also plans to focus on the specific housing challenges faced in rural areas.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg

Mayor Buttigieg, who has been criticized for the racial disparities in the revitalization of his city, South Bend, Indiana, released a broad economic and neighborhood revitalization plan that seeks to address racial wealth disparities by creating homeownership opportunities in historically redlined areas utilizing land banking

Governor John Hickenlooper

While Governor Hickenlooper is reportedly considering leaving the presidential race in order to run for a U.S. Senate seat instead, he has included affordable housing among his policy proposals. Hickenlooper’s policies include a $5000 tax credit for renters, doubling LIHTC, and creating incentives to local governments that increase their allowed housing density.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

While Gillibrand has yet to release a slate of housing policies, the senator specifically proposed an annual investment of $50 billion per year to the national Housing Trust Fund during a housing town hall in New Hampshire.

Representative John Delaney

Delaney, who has previously proposed reforms to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plans to invest $125 billion in housing programs if elected. His policies include funding the national Housing Trust Fund at $7 billion per year, incentives for local governments implementing zoning changes that encourage housing production, and increased funding for legal assistance to low-income renters facing evictions. 

Senator Bernie Sanders

On August 6th, while in Los Angeles, Senator Bernie Sanders conducted a town hall specifically focused on housing. Sanders recounted his own childhood and how housing affordability was a source of stability for his family. The senator proposed expanding rent control as a means to curtail the number of families that are severely cost burdened, increasing investment in housing production and programs to reduce homelessness. Sanders also spoke of the need to address the effects of growing gentrification across the country.

Please visit NCHC’s previous summary of candidate housing policies

Proposal to Raise Threshold for Filing Housing Discrimination Complaints

Politico is reporting that the Trump administration will propose changes to HUD policies that increase the number of criteria that must be met in order to file a fair housing complaint. Additionally, the proposal provides a roadmap for landlords or other defendants to fight against discrimination claims. The administration is expected to release the proposal this week.

NCHFA Foreclosure Prevention Fund Closes

On July 31, the NC Foreclosure Prevention Fund, financed through the US Department of the Treasury’s Hardest Hit Fund, officially closed. Since it first began in 2010, the Fund’s Mortgage Payment Program and Principal Reduction Recast/Lien Extinguishment Program helped keep more than 29,000 North Carolina homeowners in their homes after a no-fault financial hardship. Homeowners in need of foreclosure prevention assistance can still get help through the State Home Foreclosure Prevention Program.

NCHFA Releases Draft 2020 QAP

Last week the NC Housing Finance Agency released the first draft of the 2020 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) outlining the selection criteria and application requirements for allocating federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) and tax-exempt bonds. The draft QAP can be found at NCHFA’s site and NCHC’s analysis of the changes can be viewed here. HFA will accept comments on the QAP until Friday, August 30th.

US Senators Propose Permanent Authorization of CDBG-DR Funds

On July 26, Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced S.2301 that seeks to strengthen administration and oversight of the CDBG-DR program to ensure that in future disasters, recovery funds will be able to more quickly be deployed. The bill codifies authorization of CDBG-DR funds permanently and creates a reserve fund that prioritizes low- and moderate-income households. 

Hurricane Matthew Disaster Recovery Funds Set to Be Released to North Carolina

Last week HUD announced that $168M in disaster recovery funds earmarked for North Carolina and disaster mitigation in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew will be released. Specifically HUD will publish the required notice in the Federal Register this week. Once that takes place, the NC Office of Recovery and Resiliency (NCORR) must devise specific plans detailing how this block of funds will be used. The Housing RSF group that advises NCORR on the use of disaster recovery funds as they relate to housing will next meet on August 21. 

2019 Housing Credit Awards Announced Today

The North Carolina Housing Finance Agency announced the recipients of 2019 Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and tax-exempt bonds. A total of 3,693 units across 29 counties will be created via these subsidies. For more details and analysis on this year’s awards, visit our blog post here.

Recommended read

2019 LIHTC Awards Announced

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