Senators Reintroduce the Bipartisan Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act

Yesterday, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) introduced the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548), a comprehensive bill that would strengthen and expand the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). This legislation is very similar to the version of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 3237) introduced by the same Senators last year, but with minor modifications.

Earlier this week, Senator Cantwell released a new report that chronicles the nationwide shortage of affordable housing. In her press release, Senator Cantwell said, “[w]e are facing pressures from all sides: demand for rental housing has increased by 21 percent, but we are building units at the lowest rate since the 1970s. If we do not act to increase the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit-our best way to build new affordable homes-by 2025 over 15 million Americans could be spending half of their income on rent. This is unacceptable.”

S. 548 seeks to take steps towards addressing the affordable housing deficit by increasing the overall Housing Credit authority by 50 percent. The legislation also includes other provisions that would streamline and modernize the Housing Credit, increase financial feasibility for projects, and encourage development in underserved areas. The legislation would also support the development of rental units that use the Housing Credit in conjunction with multifamily Housing Bonds, which currently provide important financing to about 40 percent of all Housing Credit apartments.

S. 548 has bipartisan support on the Hill and there are currently eleven other original co-sponsors to the bill: Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Dean Heller (R-NV), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Todd Young (R-IN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Brian Schatz (D-HI). Also recently, over 2,000 organizations across the country, including NAHRO, signed on to the ACTION Campaign’s letter to Congress in support of S. 548.

More information on the bill by the ACTION Campaign can found here:

HUD Issues Notice on Temporary Census Income

On March 7, HUD issued a Notice PIH 2017-5, “Income exclusion under temporary Census employment and Census access.” The notice emphasizes the importance of accurate census data to the HUD programs and discusses how PHAs and other certain HUD grantees must handle a family’s temporary census income along with providing census workers access to buildings.

HUD regulations require temporary, sporadic, nonrecurring income not to be included in the family income calculation. The notice states, “Under this exclusion, PHAs exclude temporary income payments from the U.S. Census Bureau, defined as employment lasting no longer than 180 days per year and not culminating in permanent employment.” This provision applies to all PHAs and HUD grantees that calculate family income under 24 CFR 5.609.

This notice also reminds building managers to provide census workers access to properties. Specific mention of providing census workers access to properties with federally assisted tenants is also made in the notice.

UPCS-V Quarterly Conference Call Posted

HUD Oversight and Evaluation Division has posted the latest (2/28/17) UPCS-V conference call for this quarter. The call provided updates about how the UPCS-V Demonstration was proceeding and HUD’s planned next steps.

The conference call can be downloaded here.

For a quick overview of some key points in the conference call, our prior post on it can be found here.

2017 Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, CO

As part of NAHRO’s partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), we encourage NAHRO members to learn about and engage with GLR on opportunities to improve the educational outcomes of the children living in your affordable housing programs. Below is information on the 2017 Grade-Level Reading Week being held in Denver, Colo. This is an excellent chance to interact with local communities and leaders on educational opportunities.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is coming home to Denver in June 2017. In many respects, Denver, Colo., is the birthplace of the GLR Campaign. In June 2012, 14 communities were recognized with the coveted title of All-America City for their focus on grade-level reading. And 124 communities signed on as Charter Members of the GLR Community Network.

Since then, The GLR Network has grown to include over 300 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These local campaigns are supported by 2,300 local organizations and 250+ state and local funders, including 130 United Ways.

From June 13-14, local, state, and national funders that support early literacy will gather for the 2017 Funder Huddle. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet other funders in the grade-level reading community, share challenges and successes, learn from and with each other, and collectively drive toward bigger, stronger and better results.

From June 14-16, hundreds of civic and community leaders, public officials and educators from across the country will come together for the 2017 All-America City Awards, America’s oldest and most prestigious community recognition. Each year, the All-America City Awards are given to communities that exemplify outstanding civic accomplishments. This year, the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success. REGISTER today!

HUD Publishes PIH Notice on Limiting Payments to Influence Federal Transactions, Anti-Lobbying, and Disclosure Requirements

On March 3, HUD published PIH-2017-04 (HA) titled “Limitations on Payments to Influence Federal Transactions for PIH Programs and PHA Anti-Lobbying Certification and Disclosure Requirements.” According to this notice, PHAs are required to submit the following, if they have received over $100,000 in federally appropriated funds:

  • Certification of Payments to Influence Federal Transactions (Form HUD-50071) – for PHAs to certify that they have not and will not make prohibited payments from federally appropriated funds; and
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL) – for PHAs that have used non-federally appropriated funds for influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative branch personnel in connection with new funding, renewal funding, changing policy, or changing legislation.

PHAs are prohibited from using federally appropriated funds for lobbying activities. PHAs’ contributions to trade associations are not lobbying activities under this notice, nor do the certification and disclosure requirements in this notice apply to PHA contributions to trade associations. The requirements of this notice apply to all PHAs, including MTW agencies.

The notice also outlines record retention and other responsibilities of both PHAs and HUD Field Offices.

Additional information on the notice will be provided to NAHRO members in upcoming coverage.

The full notice can be found here.

Senate Confirms Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary

Earlier today, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Ben Carson as the 17th Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was confirmed on a vote of 58 to 41. NAHRO has invited Secretary Carson to speak at the 2017 NAHRO Washington Conference. NAHRO has also invited the Secretary to listen to the concerns of PHAs and RDAs as part of the countrywide listening tour he mentioned during his confirmation hearing. We look forward to working with him.

[3/3/17 Edit – HUD’s press release can be found here.]