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Policy Update 9-24-20

Pamela Atwood, Director of Housing Policy

Around the State

Final Tranche of CDBG-CV Announced
On September 11th, the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) announced the allocation amounts for the last tranche of CDBG-CV funds. North Carolina will be receiving an additional $46.8 million in CDBG-CV (non-entitlement & entitlement), bringing the statewide total to over $122 million.

  • Tranche # 1: $47.1 million total statewide
    • $18.6 million – Entitlement areas
    • $28.5 million – Non-entitlement areas
  • Tranche # 2: $28.3 million for use in entitlement & non-entitlement areas

  • Tranche # 3: $46.9 million statewide
    • $23 million – Non-entitlement areas
    • $23.8 million – Entitlement areas

For more updates and more details on the use of CDBG-CV across the state, including the new rental and utility assistance program from NCORR, please read today’s (9/24) blog.

Charlotte City Attorney Provides Opinion on Proposed Housing Policy
Since 2019, over 30 groups in the Charlotte area have been advocating for city policy changes to prohibit “source of income” discrimination and eliminate barriers to accessing housing often faced by those who have been involved in the justice system. Source of income discrimination refers to housing providers that refuse to accept public assistance, such as Housing Choice Vouchers (a.k.a. “Section 8”) as a form of income/rental payment. Such actions make the search for affordable housing even more difficult than it already is for individuals. Persons with justice system involvement in their background records are often denied housing despite being otherwise qualified and eligible, doing nothing to prevent recidivism. 

Last week, the Charlotte City Council began considering ordinances to address these issues. The City Attorney also provided their official opinion regarding the proposed policies, advising the City to first seek approval from the state legislature. The City Attorney cited the city’s previous experience with the “bathroom bill” in 2016 as reason to give pause to enacting such  proposed ordinances related to housing discrimination without consulting the state government. 

The General Assembly has the ability, and tends to make use of this ability, to weigh-in on local policy decisions that it disagrees with such as the bathroom bill and Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancy (RUCO) program that intended to improve local housing access and conditions. 

The Coalition will monitor these developments in Charlotte and their implications for housing policy at the state level and in other localities.

NCHFA Holds Public Hearing on 2021 Draft QAP
On September 16th, the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency hosted its first public hearing on the draft version of the 2021 Qualified Allocation Plan (QAP) which outlines the process and criteria by which Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LIHTC) are awarded. The hearing was conducted virtually as a webinar due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols. Developers and other stakeholders from across the state participated in the 2 hour hearing. 

Regarding the proposed change to remove “lowest poverty rate census tract” as the 1st tie-breaker, there was no clear consensus with several commenters being for and against the change. One issue that did have clear agreement amongst almost all commenters is that the proposed $2000 per unit increase in development cost is insufficient to meet rising construction costs in materials and labor. Several commenters also raised apprehension around criteria that direct credits to projects planning to use the least amount of credits per unit. 

Although not directly related only to the 2021 draft QAP, multiple developers noted that they are experiencing numerous delays in the entitlement and construction process for projects that are already underway, including project awarded credits in 2019 and 2020. Many anticipate potential difficulties in meeting Placed-in-Service deadlines and other compliance milestones. Many reported delays in permitting and approvals with local governments and delays in obtaining materials, including simple appliances such as refrigerators. 

Comments have also been submitted in writing. Those comments can be viewed here. NCHFA staff expect to release the 2nd draft in 2-3 weeks. Questions or comments can continue to be submitted to Chris Austin:

Survey on Impediments to Fair Housing
The North Carolina Department of Commerce is conducting a survey and a series of public meetings to learn more about how North Carolina residents are discriminated against when searching for housing. Please share your opinion about fair housing issues by:

Taking This Survey:

This survey will take less than 10 minutes of your time to complete. You have until close of business on Friday, October 9, 2020.


Update on Potential Additional COVID-19 Relief
The prospects for additional COVID-19 relief from Congress have diminished further with the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The political focus in D.C. has now turned to a fight over the replacement of Justice Ginsburg and the Senate confirmation process. Attention had already strayed in Congress due to the need to pass a Continuing Resolution to keep the federal government funded and operating through the end of the year. National advocates now estimate additional COVID relief to be highly unlikely until mid-November, after the elections. 

Federal Reserve Board to Issue CRA Modernization Proposals
The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted this week to announce “Advance Notice of Proposed Rule-Making” to solicit public input regarding modernization changes to the Community Reinvestment Act. More details about the changes and how to give input can be found here.

Reports & Resources

NLIHC – Our Homes, Our Votes 2020 “Housing Providers Council”
Housing Providers – Information & Sign Up
Affordable housing owners rally to get out the vote

UC Berkeley Terner Center – Recession and Recovery: The Critical Role of Housing Assistance in Promoting Economic Security for Low-Income Households

Shelterforce – Three Local Policy Innovations that Promote Inclusive, Equitable Mixed-Income Communities

NC Justice Center’s Budget & Tax Center –  State of Working NC 2020

Urban Institute: State of the Cities 2020: Leading Through a Pandemic – virtual event on 9/29

MASS Design Group – Designing Senior Housing for Safe Interaction: How do we design for safe interaction, not social isolation?

Housing Policy – Working With Them: Small-Scale Landlord Strategies for Avoiding Evictions 

New America – Displaced in America: Mapping Housing Loss Across the United States

Recommended read

North Carolina CDBG-CV Round-Up: What & Where

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