HUD Funds Available for February, But Not for March

NAHRO has learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enough money to ensure that February payments for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and the public housing Operating Fund will be made available to public housing authorities (PHAs). HUD intends to make those payments on time. NAHRO has also learned that there is not currently enough money to make HCV and Operating Fund payments for March, if the government shutdown continues until then.

In order to end the government shutdown, Congress must agree to a funding bill. Now is the time to reach out to your Congresspeople and demand that a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for HUD is passed. NAHRO has prepared a letter that can be sent to your Congressional members through the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center.

As PHAs make their voices heard to Congress, NAHRO will continue to fight for you and the families you serve and will continue to inform members as soon as we learn more.

NAHRO Comments on DHS Public Charge Proposed Rule

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials opposes the proposed rule due to its negative impact on immigrant families and the additional negative consequence of inefficient use of limited social service funds. NAHRO requested that the proposed rule be withdrawn as written and the current public charge guidance remain in effect.

On December 10, NAHRO submitted comments on the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.”

The proposed rule makes significant changes and additions to the current public charge guidance. The proposed new definition of “public charge” is “that a person should be considered a public charge based on the receipt of financial support from the general public through government funding (i.e., public benefits).”In order to use this definition of “public charge,” “public benefit” must be defined and the proposed rule provides a definition that vastly and inappropriately expands the programs that are to be considered. The proposed rule defines public benefit as a list of cash aid and noncash medical care, housing, and food benefit programs. The list of benefits includes the current cash assistance and institutionalization benefit and further expands the benefits to include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Medicaid, and Public Housing.

NAHRO made two primary arguments in opposition to the proposed rule – very few noncitizens use housing benefits and the proposed rule causes unnecessary confusion while an inefficient use of resources.

DHS acknowledges in the proposed regulation that noncitizen participation in the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance programs is “relatively low.” Congress, via statute, and HUD, via regulation, have already protected federal dollars from being used on non-eligible noncitizens and there is no fiscally responsible reason for DHS to further step into this arena.

The proposed rule, despite having few benefits for its expected cost, has caused considerable confusion and angst among current and potential residents of HUD’s housing programs. Current residents have left housing programs because of a fear of being separated from their family because of the proposed rule. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) around the country are attempting to combat the confusion of this public charge proposed rule. Many PHAs are reaching out to their current residents and local communities to explain the proposed rule and how it applies to the HUD housing programs. The resources needed to explain the public charge proposed rule and any future final rule would be much better spent on providing housing and resident services to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials opposes the proposed rule due to its negative impact on immigrant families and the additional negative consequence of inefficient use of limited social service funds. NAHRO requested that the proposed rule be withdrawn as written and the current public charge guidance remain in effect.

NARHO’s full comments can be viewed here.

Election Impact on Congressional Committees

The analysis below is simply a prediction of who is likely to serve as leadership on the committees based on the current information available. Frequently after a large number of losses or retirements, members of Congress shift between committees and chair/ranking member positions, changing the seniority structure of committees as a result. One Senator choosing to take an unexpected chair position can have ripple effects across several committees that are difficult to predict. This is particularly true at the subcommittee level. Additionally, Republicans have established a six-year term limit for committee chairs and ranking members, which causes more committee changes than Democrats who don’t have a term limit.

Finally, one of the biggest impacts on committee change is a flip of party control or a dramatic change in majority size. The committee structure is based on majority party and size, and when for example Senate Republicans increase their majority overall in the Senate, their control of committee seats also increases. Depending on how the remaining three Senate races are called, it could force lower-seniority Democrats off committees.

Appropriations

The House Appropriations Committee will see some turnover in the 116th Congress; while all Democrats won his/her races, four Republican members either lost or are retiring, in addition to Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.V.) who retired earlier this year.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee will look very different next year. Included in the Republican losses/retirements are two members of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) and Rep. David Young (R-Iowa). Also retiring is full committee Chair Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). There may be some consistency in the THUD leadership, as current Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) will have the option of remaining chair if he chooses.

Democratic leadership on the committee is expected to remain fairly stable. Current Ranking Member Nita Lowey has stated that she will take over the gavel in January and has already started pushing Republicans to make a budget deal for FY 2020. THUD Ranking Member David Price (D-N.C.) also has the option of taking over as chair of the subcommittee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will have far less turnover in the 116th Congress and leadership will likely remain the same. Only a single member of the committee is at risk of losing her seat; Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was forced into a run-off election that will take place on November 27.

Full Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) will remain in the top position on the committee, which he took over in April after the retirement of former chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has the option of remaining ranking member, though as a high-ranking Democrat he may have other committee options. Leadership of the THUD Subcommittee is likely to continue with current Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Authorizing Committees

As a result of a high number of losses and retirements, the House Financial Services Committee will be a significantly different committee in the next Congress. Eight Republicans either lost their re-election bid or are retiring and four additional races are too close to call. Four Democrats are retiring.

Current Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) will take over as chair in January. Current Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is retiring and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has declared his intention to take over as ranking member. Leadership of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee is likely to remain the same, with current Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) expected to take the chair position and current Chair Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) likely to be ranking member. The composition of the subcommittee will be extremely different, though, as six Republican members and two Democrats will not return to Congress.

Unlike the big changes coming to Financial Services, the membership of the Senate Banking Committee is likely to remain consistent. Only two Republicans and two Democrats lost their re-election or are retiring. Leadership could see some changes, though. Depending on the committees that other members choose to chair, current Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) could move to head another committee. There are several scenarios that could result in either Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) or Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.) taking over the committee. Current Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is expected to remain in his position.

Tax Writing Committees

The Senate Finance Committee is set for a change in leadership thanks to the retirement of current Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It’s unclear at this point who will take over, though Sen. Grassley does have the option of taking the Chairmanship if he is willing to give up his current role as the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. If he elects to remain at Judiciary, current Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo would be next in line for the position. Current Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will probably remain in place, though if he does take a position on another committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) would be next in line. I

The House Ways and Means Committee will be lead by current Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and current Chair Kevin Brady will probably take over as Ranking Member, though he will need to request a waiver from leadership.

Election Brings Changes to Housing, Community Development

As widely predicted, the Democrats took control of the House and the Senate will remain in Republican control. Between the shift in control of the House and a large number of retirements and losses, big changes are coming in the 116th Congress for housing and community development.

Right now, Democrats control 225 seats in the House and Republicans have 197 seats. Thirteen races are still too close to call. This is a net gain of 30 seats for the Democrats and gives them a relatively slim majority of 7 seats. In the Senate, Republicans have picked up two seats so far, giving them a 51 seat majority. Democrats managed to hold 46 seats. However, two races are still too close to call and one seat will go to a run-off election later this month.

The big question is how this new dynamic in Congress will play out within Washington, both between the Congressional chambers and with the White House. Will the Senate Republicans and the House Democrats be able to find enough common ground to pass legislation and spending bills? What role will the President choose to play and will his relationship with (presumptive) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi more closely mirror the deals they were able to forge throughout the past two years or will he revert to his recent campaign rhetoric?

These new dynamics will be tested soon during the lame duck session of Congress, which begins next week when all members of the current Congress return to Washington to finalize unfinished business. Newly-empowered Democrats will begin to assert muscle as Congress attempts to deal with a significant amount of legislative work, including a continuing resolution that expires on December 7, the Violence Against Women Act, the Farm bill, flood insurance, disaster relief, tax credits, and other must-pass legislation.

As detailed in a separate blog post, the impact on housing and community development could be significant, particularly in the House Financial Services Committee and the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee.

Democrats taking control of the House means they will also take control of the committees, putting Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) in charge of the Financial Services Committee and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) in charge of Appropriations.

Though neither has publicized an outline of their priorities for their respective committees, it can be expected that Rep. Waters will focus a significant amount of committee time on housing and HUD. Whereas the Republican-controlled Congress approved legislation like the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) that provided program reform and regulatory relief, a Democratic-controlled House is likely to focus more on topics like the impact of budget cuts on programs, oversight, and subsidized housing resident impacts. There are benefits to both approaches and both required a bipartisan effort to pass the Senate.

Congresswoman Lowey this week insisted that Democrats would not cave on the President’s demand that FY 2019 spending include funding for a border wall and that she intends to negotiate aggressively for a FY 2020 budget deal to avoid $126 billion in automatic cuts that will otherwise be required because of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Her leadership will be tested early in the lame duck session as Democrats will look to her to lead the negotiations to finalize FY 2019 spending. As difficult of a feat as that may prove to be, her leadership will further be tested early in the year as FY 2020 negotiations begin and the extension of the debt ceiling expires in March, which will require Congress to act before the summer.

 

FY 2018 Housing Trust Fund Allocations Announced

On June 5, HUD will allocate more than $266 million in FY 2018 formula funds to eligible grantees of the National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) program. The HTF is a non-appropriated federal resource that complements existing Federal, State and local efforts to preserve and expand the nation’s supply of affordable homes for very low-income (VLI) and extremely low-income (ELI) households, as well as families experiencing homelessness. Authorized in 2008, lawmakers sought to establish a permanent source of affordable housing funding through annual contributions from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (GSEs). Eight years later, the HTF was finally capitalized through its inaugural FY 2016 allocations. HTF grantees include the 50 states, District of Columbia, and five U.S. Insular Areas. Grantees may distribute funds through subgrantees (a unit of general local government or State agency) or directly fund projects proposed by eligible recipients (including PHAs), or a combination of both.

 FY 2018 Housing Trust Fund Allocations

State / Territory

FY18 Allocation % Change (FY17 to FY18)

California

$36,616,277

58%

New York

$22,171,681

50%

Texas

$12,279,085

39%

Florida

$10,442,914

36%

Illinois

$9,812,230

37%

Pennsylvania

$7,759,948

32%

New Jersey

$7,726,903

38%

Ohio

$6,971,712

27%

Michigan

$6,004,558

24%

Massachusetts

$5,720,333

24%

North Carolina

$5,874,191

32%

Georgia

$5,705,499

29%

Washington

$5,197,313

26%

Virginia

$4,672,562

22%

Wisconsin

$4,117,505

18%

Indiana

$3,937,462

17%

Missouri

$3,970,270

18%

Arizona

$3,997,777

21%

Tennessee

$3,688,511

17%

Colorado

$3,563,587

13%

Oregon

$3,654,189

16%

Minnesota

$3,445,781

10%

Maryland

$3,578,771

17%

Connecticut

$3,269,474

9%

Louisiana

$3,068,829

2%

South Carolina

$3,007,655

0%

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Delaware, District Of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wyoming

$3,000,000 (Required State Minimum)

Puerto Rico

$1,253,357

42%

American Samoa

$11,995

54%

Guam

$97,028

54%

Northern Marianas

$53,415

54%

Virgin Islands

$104,591

54%

Total $266,775,403

22%

FY19 House T-HUD Appropriations Bill Released; HUD Programs Receive Level Funding/Slight Increases

On May 15, the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee released its draft FY 2019 appropriations bill. Overall, the bill received an additional $1.5 billion increase to its allocation compared to FY 2018, an achievement considering several spending bills have been level funded and T-HUD was expected to have a similar fate.  A summary is below; NAHRO will release a more detailed analysis soon.

The FY 2018 omnibus bill marked the first significant increase to HUD funding in nearly a decade; NAHRO and its members should be proud that the House bill preserves many of those funding increases in a highly competitive appropriations season.

Most programs within HUD received level funding or a slight increase, with the unfortunate exception of the HOME Investment Partnerships program. HOME was cut by 12 percent compared to FY 2018.

  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $2.75 billion, level funding – including a new $30 million set-aside for competitive grants for the demolition of the most distressed public housing units
  • Public Housing Operating Fund: $4.55 billion, level funding
  • Choice Neighborhoods:$150 million, level funding
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals:$20.107 billion, a 2.6 percent increase
  • Mobility Demonstration: $50 million for a new mobility demonstration program
  • Ongoing Administrative Fees: $1.73 billion, level funding
  • Family Self-Sufficiency: $75 million, level funding
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance: $11.747 billion, a 2 percent increase
  • Community Development Block Grant:$3.3 billion, level funding
  • HOME Investment Partnerships:$1.2 billion, a 12 percent decrease
  • Housing Opportunity for Persons with AIDS:$393 million, a 5 percent increase
  • Homeless Assistance Grants:$2.546 billion, a 1 percent increase

As the FY 2019 appropriations process moves forward, NAHRO will focus advocacy efforts on the HOME program to ensure that the cuts proposed by the House are not enacted. NAHRO will also advocate for increased funding and flexibility for HCV Administrative Fee funds as level funding does not take into account the addition of new vouchers and the increased need for resident opportunity resources.

The bill will be brought before the House T-HUD Subcommittee on May 16 for consideration. No amendments are expected. It’s likely that the full House Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill next week. The timeline for a floor vote is unclear, though Congress typically tries to move as many bills through the process as possible before the August recess.

The Senate T-HUD bill is expected to be considered before the Senate T-HUD Subcommittee during the week of June 4.

Congress Approves Budget Deal, Ends Brief Shutdown

After a brief government shutdown this morning, Congress approved a two-year budget deal and a continuing resolution that re-opened the government. While the budget deal includes an increase to non-defense spending for FY 2018, there is no guarantee that additional funding will be allocated to housing and community development programs- contact your legislators today to tell them to increase funding for HUD programs in the current fiscal year.

The budget deal package includes:

  • Continuing Resolution: extends government funding through Friday, March 23.
  • New budget caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019: the two-year agreement raises spending caps by $300 billion over two years. The deal does not honor parity between defense and non-defense spending changes. Non-defense spending is raised by:
    • FY 2018- $63 billion
    • FY 2019- $68 billion
  • Additional supplemental disaster relief funding: $89.3 billion for disaster relief for areas impacted by the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017. A full summary of the breakdown of funding is available from the Senate Appropriations Committee.
  • Debt ceiling suspension: Lifts the debt ceiling until March 2019.
  • Tax extenders: Continues expiring tax cuts and credits, but the bill does not include the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act (S. 548).

Now that the spending cap for FY 2018 has been set, appropriators can get to work finalizing spending for the current fiscal year. At this point, the process basically starts over again. The chairs of the Appropriations Committee will re-allocate funding to all 12 appropriations bills, including the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill.  Once the new 302(b) allocations are set, appropriators will work to finalize spending bills and assemble an omnibus spending package. All this work needs to be completed in six weeks before the expiration of the current CR on March 23.

Just because there is an additional $63 billion in funding for FY 2018 doesn’t mean THUD or HUD will necessarily see any of that increase. It’s critical that you reach out to your legislators immediately to urge them to allocate as much funding as possible to THUD and HUD.  NAHRO will also send a message to Capitol Hill next week encouraging robust funding of THUD and HUD.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Authority of the City of Austin

North Loop Apartments
North Loop Apartments & Gaston Place Apartments. Photo: HACA

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Housing Authority of the City of Austin: Portfolio Modernization

The Housing Authority of the City of Austin (HACA) is fully converting its public housing portfolio to RAD, and for many properties, has used 4 percent LIHTC and Private Activity Bonds (PABs) to improve its public housing stock through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration Program (RAD).

“Our ability to use 4 percent Low Income Housing Tax Credits and Private Activity Bonds has been crucial to meeting Austin’s affordable housing challenge,” said HACA President and CEO Michael Gerber. “We are fully converting our public housing portfolio to RAD, and PABs layered with 4 percent credits have provided us with the necessary financing to dramatically rehabilitate our properties – including new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, and accessibility features.  There is intense competition in Texas for 9 percent tax credits, and winning them is difficult.  Without PABs and 4 percent credits, our RAD program would be dead in the water.”

“In just the past three years, HACA has issued $150 million in Private Activity Bonds, coupled with 4 percent credits, to develop 1,600 high-quality apartment units,” Gerber explained.” These developments would not have happened without the PAB  / 4 percent tax credit program. One thousand people a week are moving to Austin, and recent studies show that the city needs another 55,000 affordable housing units on the ground today.  Losing PAB capacity effectively kills the 4 percent tax credit.  And, without these financing tools, low-income people – seniors, persons with disabilities, veterans, and far too many children – will lose the opportunity for safe, decent housing.”

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Why New Market Tax Credits Matter: Three Success Stories

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects that are targeted at helping low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2015, $42 billion in direct NMTC authority has generated almost $80 billion in capital for local businesses and revitalization projects. NMTC investment has resulted in the creation or retention of over 750,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet (sq. ft.) of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs are a proven and effective tool for generating private-sector investments in communities in need. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing and to increase the sustainability of communities.  Continue reading

Senate Appropriations Approves Transportation, HUD Bill

In other news from the Senate yesterday, the Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve its FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The bill provides $60.058 billion in funding overall, $2.407 billion higher than current funding levels and $3.5 billion higher than the House. Considering the constraints of the FY 2018 budget cap, the increased THUD allocation is a huge win and allowed appropriators to avoid making the same types of cuts seen in the House THUD bill. The House Appropriations Committee approved its bill on July 17.

NAHRO will provide a detailed analysis of the bill next week.

The future of THUD in both the House and the Senate is unclear, though it is unlikely either chamber moves its THUD bill to the floor. Yesterday, the House approved a four-bill minibus package of spending bills, dubbed the “security-bus” because of its composition of defense and security-related bills. The House will likely adjourn for August recess this afternoon without passing any additional spending bills. The Senate, shifting its focus away from health care this morning, delayed August recess by two weeks to work on nominations and the debt ceiling. It may also choose to move appropriations bills to the floor during that time, assuming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not adjourn the Senate earlier than expected.

Housing and Community Development Highlights

  • Rental Assistance Demonstration- cap eliminated, sunset date removed
  • Public Housing Capital Fund- $1.945 billion, $4 million higher than FY 2017
    • Jobs Plus- $15 million, level funded
  • Public Housing Operating Fund- $4.5 billion, $100 million higher than FY 2017
  • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative- $50 million, $87 less than FY 2017
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals- $19.37 billion, $1.015 billion more than FY 2017
  • Administrative Fees- $1.725 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Ongoing Administrative Fees- $1.715 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Additional Administrative Fees- $10 million, level funded
  • Family Self-Sufficiency- $75 million, level funded
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance- $11.507 billion, $691 million higher than FY 2017
  • Community Development Block Grant- $3 billion, level funded
  • HOME Investment Partnerships- $950 million, level funded
  • Homeless Assistance Grants- $2.456 billion, $73 million higher than FY 2017