The NC Senate budget was released late last night and saw the first cut to the state’s investment in affordable housing in 2 years. To read more about the budget numbers, you can read NCHC’s report.
In addition to the cut in Workforce Housing Loan Program (WHLP) funding from $20 million in FY17 to $16.05 million in FY18, the budget also includes a $500,000 per county cap on WHLP funding. This is a change designed to prevent the WHLP from disproportionately helping urban counties, but it is rural counties that will suffer.
In 2016 the NC Housing Finance Agency awarded WHLP funds to 28 projects in 27 counties. Of those counties, only 15 counties received awards larger than $500,000 – the largest of which was Gaston County.
If these caps had been in place in 2016, they would have affected the awards for Catawba, Clay, Cleveland, Columbus, Craven, Davidson, Davie, Gaston, Halifax, Nash, Robeson, Rockingham, Stanly, Surry, and Wilson.
It is important to emphasize that:
- the WHLP is already designed to emphasize developments in lower-wealth counties;
- the caps make it more difficult to make those developments work; and
- WHLP loans are not forgiven, but are due and payable at the end of the 30 year loan period.
These caps hurt rural communities and must be removed from the budget.