Continuing Resolution Needed in Congress
Lawmakers in Congress are negotiating a short-term spending bill to continue funding the government after the fiscal year deadline on Sept 30. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Thursday that the House could begin consideration of a short term spending bill this week, but there is still a lot to figure out before then. While September 30 is technically the deadline for Congress to pass all 12 appropriations bills (including the bill that funds HUD housing programs), lawmakers rarely meet that timeline. Instead, appropriators are planning for a continuing resolution to continue current funding levels until a spending deal can be negotiated. In addition to continuing funding levels, Congress is negotiating whether to include aid for Ukraine, FDA user fees, and changes to environmental permitting measures.
This year, the chances of reaching a budget deal by the end of the calendar year could depend on election outcomes in the fall. Republicans may decide it’s worth waiting to see if they gain more leverage to negotiate spending levels, while Democrats are seeking a deal while they still have majorities in both chambers.
Adding to the dynamic, Congress’s top two appropriators, Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Vice Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) are both set to retire after the current Congressional session ends. Senator Leahy has said he wants to finish a short-term package with new spending levels before the current Congress ends.
2023 Fair Market Rents Released
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its Fair Market Rents (FMR) for the 2023 fiscal year. FMRs represent the amount of rent that a renter seeking housing today would need to pay for privately-owned, decent, and modest housing. They are used to set payment standards for various federal housing programs, including the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program; the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Emergency Solutions Grants program. Fair Markets Rents will increase by 10% on average from FY2022. However, there are significantly greater increases in metropolitan areas with rapid growth in rental costs.
Hearing Held on NC Disaster Recovery Efforts
The Joint Legislative Commission on Governmental Operations, Subcommittee on Hurricane Response and Recovery held a hearing last week on the lack of progress ReBuild NC has made in the years following Hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Since the program started, only 25% of the more than 4,000 applicants have had their home repairs completed. ReBuild NC admits the program has not made as much progress as it should have due to supply chain issues during the pandemic as well as a lack of contractors. Some families have been living in motels for years waiting for their homes to be repaired. Read more in today’s blog.
Additional Funds Available Through NC Rural Transformation Grants
The NC Department of Commerce announced another round of funding available through the Rural Transformation Grant Fund. The funds are targeted to local governments in North Carolina’s rural areas. Through the program, the Department of Commerce aims to help communities overcome challenges that limit their economic competitiveness. Applications for this new round of funding will be accepted through November 1. Grants are available for activities that fall under the following four categories: downtown revitalization, resilient neighborhoods, community enhancements for economic growth, and rural community capacity (RC2).
Funds Awarded in Charlotte to Preserve Affordable Housing
The Charlotte City Council voted to participate in a new project to preserve and renovate a naturally occurring affordable housing community. The City awarded $8 million in American Rescue Plan money to buy and renovate the Peppertree Apartments on Central Avenue. The developer is aiming to significantly reduce rents for income-eligible tenants with plans for units at 30%, 60% and 80% AMI ranges.
Gap Rental Assistance Program Continued in New Hanover
New Hanover County announced plans to continue its Workforce Housing Gap Rental Assistance Pilot Program for a second year. The goal is to continue to help households with low incomes meet rental housing needs. Under the updated guidelines, households earning between 60 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income are eligible for the program and qualified households will be directly provided a $450 reimbursement subsidy per month to compensate for rental costs. Applications and more details can be accessed at AccessHHS.NHCgov.com.
Affordable Housing Forum Hosted in Greenville
The City of Greenville held a forum to share information and resources on local affordable housing opportunities. Representatives from the city, including council members, along with Legal Aid of North Carolina and the Greenville Housing Authority discussed the shortage of affordable housing, along with tenant rights advocates.
Expedited Review Process Considered in Chapel Hill
The Town of Chapel Hill is considering an expedited review process for affordable housing developments, making it easier for developers to build. The town piloted multiple solutions over the last year, and now councilors are considering the streamlined process. The town is looking at giving affordable housing proposals priority to be considered first during staff review and consolidating meetings of advisory boards, which can take months.
Funding Pulled from Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness
Raleigh and Wake County have decided to pull funding from the Raleigh Wake Partnership to End Homelessness, who leads the local work to end homelessness. The letter notes concerns about the Partnership’s ability to meet expectations. The Partnership was surprised by the move, and believes they provide valuable services, input, guidance and leadership.
$1.6M in Grant Funds Awarded for Housing in Asheville
Dogwood Health Trust is contributing a $1.6 million grant to affordable housing in Asheville. The money is meant to amplify previous funding Asheville provided to other area nonprofits earlier this year, including American Rescue Plan funds that were awarded to Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity and Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministries. However, the original awards fell short of the asks the nonprofits had made of the city. The Dogwood grant will fill in the gaps and leverage the ARPA funds that the city is investing in affordable housing.
Neighborhood Revitalization Program Launched in Washington
The Washington Housing Authority broke ground Friday for its neighborhood revitalization program. The program is a partnership with the City of Washington and will provide more affordable homes for low to moderate income families in Beaufort County.
$40M Federal Grant Awarded to Durham Housing Authority
The city of Durham and the Durham Housing Authority were awarded a $40 million federal grant to redevelop public housing and revitalize the southeast central Durham community through the Choice Neighborhoods program. It’s one of the largest grant amounts received in the country, and DHA residents hope it will improve living conditions.
Zero-Down Mortgage Pilot Program Launched by Bank of America
Bank of America launched a pilot program offering first-time homebuyers in select cities, including Charlotte, zero down payment, zero closing cost mortgages. The goal is to help grow homeownership opportunities for Black and Hispanic households, who have historically been shut out of the housing market. The new mortgages are known as the “Community Affordable Loan Solution,” and aim to help more individuals and families obtain affordable loans. In addition to zero down, the program will not include a minimum credit score requirement, which can often be a barrier to first time ownership.
Concerns Raised Over Proposed Rezoning in Raleigh
In Raleigh, a rezoning request to allow a 40-story building in exchange for affordable “micro” apartments is gaining attention and feedback from the community. The proposed microunits would be 600 sq ft and cost approximately $1,500 per month. Among other concerns, leaders and residents want to see a bigger commitment to affordable housing. The Raleigh City Council put the matter on hold for two more weeks in hopes new rezoning conditions will better address community members’ and some council members’ concerns about the development.
Number of Foreclosures Increased in Wake County
The total number of foreclosure proceedings in Wake County has increased by 425% since last year, according to data from ATTOM Data Solutions. In August 2021, there were 20 total foreclosure proceedings begun in Wake County, whereas in August 2022, there were 105 such proceedings, according to the data. This represents a nationwide trend, where foreclosure starts are returning to pre-pandemic levels.
182 Affordable Apartments Proposed in Durham
A project proposed for the Braggtown neighborhood in north Durham includes up to 182 affordable apartments. While there’s strong community support for the project, the Braggtown Community Association hopes the developer will seek additional funding to make the apartments more affordable in the future.
Former Fire Station Site Donated for Affordable Housing in Wilmington
The Wilmington City Council voted unanimously to donate a former fire station site to a local nonprofit, the Good Shepherd Center, that plans to build permanent supportive housing for adults with disabilities who are also experiencing chronic homelessness.
Reports, Events, Resources
Community Empowerment Fund and other partners – Event: House Us Now Rally, Sunday, 9/25 from 2-5pm in Carrboro.
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies – Virtual event: Community Control Or Controlling The Community? 9/30 @ 12:15 pm
Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies –
- Housing After Disasters And The Importance Of Comprehensive And Equitable Recovery Policies
- Housing With Services Kept Older Adults Safe During The Pandemic
New York Times –
- Opinion: Mr. Biden, Tear Down This Highway
- Town After Town, Residents Are Fighting Affordable Housing in Connecticut
- Bank of America Tests No-Down-Payment Mortgages in Black and Hispanic Neighborhoods
Bloomberg CityLab – Why Did Housing Costs Explode During the Pandemic?
Wall Street Journal –
- Affordable-Housing Projects Derailed as Developers Struggle for Financing
- Everyone’s a Landlord—Small-Time Investors Snap Up Out-of-State Properties
- Housing Costs Continue to Rise
Washington Post – Mortgage Rates Surpass 6 Percent for the First Time Since 2008
ABC 13 –
- WNC officials hope HUD’s new, higher Fair Market Rents help with Section 8 housing
- Affordable housing advocacy group pushes for zoning changes in Buncombe county
Spectrum News – Raleigh ranks 9th in the nation for apartment shortages
WFMY News 2 – NC has no cap on rent application fees