Save HUD 202

On June 27, NAHRO attended the LeadingAge rally on Capitol Hill to preserve the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program (HUD 202). The program provides affordable housing to 400,000 very low-income older adults. The rally focused on preventing HUD 202 proposed budget cuts for more than 128,000 Section 202 units and highlighted the efforts toward creating new housing units. This is essential so this population can age in a single place for a longer time, which results in positive health results. LeadingAge calculates $514 million is needed for the FY 2018 Section 202 expansion.

Community leaders joined Senator Bob Casey, Representative Al Green, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman David Price, and Representative Maxine Waters to encourage activism on a local, state, and federal level. There was an emphasis that housing is a human right and should be viewed as an investment not an expense. Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) cuts were highlighted as essential to this program. The rally’s message is that we must strive toward our vision and fight against ageism. Currently only 1.4 million out of the four million eligible older adult households receive rental assistance programs. We need a budget that reflects the value of taking care of our elders, not one that leaves them behind due to lack of affordable housing funds. Representatives urged all affordable housing advocates to engage in advocacy. This starts with speaking to lawmakers about HUD 202’s countless positive impacts.

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2017 National Housing Conference Annual Policy Symposium

The National Housing Conference (NHC) hosted the 2017 Annual Policy Symposium on June 9, 2017. The keynote speaker was Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Ben Carson. While the Secretary discussed several topics, he also mentioned his support to lift the cap on units for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. Secretary Carson noted it would help leverage funds to provide more affordable units using public-private partnerships. He also discussed the importance of homeownership and recent data that shows an upward trajectory of homeowners. Secretary Carson noted concerns that “millennials may become a lost generation for homeownership, excluded from the American dream and punished as an unintended byproduct of the financial crisis from 2008.” He urged stakeholders to do more to find reasonable and affordable pathways with investors and lenders in order for more individuals to join the housing market. One solution mentioned was the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA), which allows the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to lower the owner occupancy minimum from 50 to 30 percent to allow more individuals to use FHA loans to attract more millennials to buy condos.

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Thinking About Solar Panels?

On May 31, 2017 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hosted a webinar on Solar Project Development for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). The webinar presented approaches for implementation based on various readiness levels. Presenters included Crystal Bergemann, Energy Team Lead, Office of Economic Development; Benjamin Foster, ICF expert; Richard Santangelo, Apollo Engineering Solutions, subcontractor to IFC; and Robert Havlicket, Executive Director, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. Each presenter outlined a framework for effective planning for a solar photovoltaic (PV) project. Comprehensive steps such as financing, site locations, incentives, and best practices were shared to encourage PHAs to use solar panels.

The webinar focused on solar panels for PHAs, with a framework for financial planning which affordable housing and multiple family programs can utilize. One approach that was presented was HUD’s Renew300 initiative, which started in 2013 as a mechanism to increase the use of on-site community solar panels at federally assisted housing to save energy and money for the community. Solar development can save money for organizations, contribute to the local economy, and positively impact the community.  

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Happy National Homeownership Month

On June 1, 2017, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) kicked off National Homeownership Month with the “New Era of Homeownership” panel discussion. Keynote speaker, Secretary Ben Carson, described homeownership as “security, certainty, a path forward, and a place to live with loved ones”. He stated, “after all we’ve been through, homeownership remains an American value and the cornerstone of our economy,” and noted that  63.6 percent of Americans are homeowners. Based on research from Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, homeownership has increased since 2016 and is projected to increase within the next eight years by 13.6 million households.

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The Importance of CDBG and HOME Programs

On Wednesday, May 24, NAHRO attended the roundtable discussion: The Importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) programs. The House Committee on Financial Services Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA), as well as Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-MOS) led the roundtable to discuss the Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget, which currently eliminates both of these essential housing and community development programs. The Ranking Members facilitated conversations with community leaders to stress the significance of the programs in regards to housing, infrastructure, economic development, public health resources, and safety in various communities.

Panelist include:

  • The Honorable Karen Freeman-Wilson, Mayor of the City of Gary, Indiana
  • The Honorable David P. Helms, Mayor of the Town of Marion, Virginia
  • Robin Hughes, President & CEO, Abode Communities: Los Angeles, CA
  • Bonnie Moore, Director of Community Development, City of Shreveport, Louisiana and President, National Community Development Association
  • The Honorable Ed Pawlowski, Mayor of the City of Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Renee Price, Commissioner of Orange County, North Carolina
  • Bill Shelton, Director, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development and Council of State Community Development Agencies
  • Schroeder Stribling, Executive Director, N Street Village: Washington, D.C.

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HUD Releases Notice on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost

On May 15, HUD published a notice and request for comment titled “Reducing Regulatory Burden; Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Under Executive Order 13777.” Comments can be made at until June 14, 2017.

Executive Order 13771, issued January 30, requires that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination. The Order attempts to alleviate the costs associated with the government imposition of private expenditures, which must comply with Federal Regulations. Furthermore, to ensure cost efficiency, another Executive Order, 13777, signed on February, 24, requires HUD to establish a Task Force to evaluate its regulations’ effectiveness. The Order requires federal agencies, including HUD, to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.

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NAHRO Participates in HDLI’s 2017 Spring Conference

On May 11 and 12, NAHRO staff participated in the Housing and Development Law Institute’s (HDLI’s) 2017 Spring Continuing Legal Education (CLE) conference in Washington, DC. The conference brought together over a hundred agency officials, employees, legal counsel, and stakeholders of affordable housing with diverse perspectives from across the nation. NAHRO’s Director of Policy and Program Development, Georgi Banna, presented with industry partners on the potential impacts of the finalized FY 2017 budget for the public housing and Section 8 programs and on how the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) forecasting tool may be a resource to assist PHAs with funding projections and wait list management. Concluding the conference with an open forum, NAHRO had an opportunity to discuss the daily operations of attorneys and directors alike.  
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