January 22, 2018

Community Developments: Clarification on AFH Suspension, Senate Votes to End Government Shutdown

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  • As previously reported in Community Developments, HUD has published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it will delay the deadline for local governments to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) to the next AFH submission date that falls after October 31, 2020. The 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) final rule requires local governments that receive HUD funding to examine their local landscape and set fair housing priorities and goals by conducting an AFH. Earlier this month, HUD published Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Federal Register notice to inform localities about how the suspension will impact their fair housing obligations. The FAQs explain that HUD will use the deadline extension period to continue providing technical assistance and will work to improve the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Data and Mapping Tool and the AFFH Assessment Tool User Interface. In addition, the FAQs note that local governments that have already submitted an assessment of fair housing (AFH) that has been accepted must continue to execute the goals outlined in the AFH, while those localities that have submitted an AFH that was denied should not submit a revised AFH. Enterprise’s Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer Laurel Blatchford has noted that “The Assessment of Fair Housing is an important tool for addressing entrenched segregation and economic inequality. Many communities across the country have already used this process to begin creating greater opportunity and more equitable neighborhoods, and its suspension will put that progress in serious jeopardy.”
     
  • Earlier today the Senate voted 81-18 to end the three-day government shutdown and advance a stopgap spending bill that would fund the government through February 8. The funding measure includes a six-year funding extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program; however, it does not protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that expires on March 5 – Democrats agreed to advance the bill in exchange for a promise from Republican leaders to allow an immigration bill to reach the Senate floor next month. The DACA program provides protections to roughly 700,000 people brought to the U.S. as children who face deportation in March. The vote does not immediately end the shutdown, as the bill must be approved by the House. (The Hill, January 21)
     
  • In a recent episode of the Holistic Housing Podcast, Enterprise’s Director of Public Policy Emily Cadik discussed the impact of tax reform on affordable housing and the importance of forming coalitions to support affordable housing. The podcast also discussed community development tools, such as the new Opportunity Zone program and the New Markets Tax Credit, strategies for promoting housing as an important aspect of infrastructure, and the ACTION Campaign's ongoing efforts to advance the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. (NACCED, January 22)
     
  • In a blog post, Lori Chatman, president of Enterprise Community Loan Fund (Loan Fund) and senior vice president at Enterprise Community Partners, and Ismael Guerrero, executive director of Denver Housing Authority (DHA), encourage impact investors to help bring solar energy to affordable housing development. The blog post notes that boosting renewable energy in affordable housing can reduce health inequity by addressing environmental concerns, protect the financial sustainability of publicly owned affordable homes, and create new opportunities for renewable energy employment. The blog post also highlights that the Loan Fund’s Impact Note has provided a $2.4 million loan to support a solar garden project by the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver that aims to provide electricity to more than 500 affordable homes. Chatman and Guerrero encourage other housing authorities and managers of affordable housing to pursue similar renewable energy solutions. (NextBillion, January 19)

In Case You Missed It

  • Tomorrow, NAHRO Professional Development, in partnership with Enterprise, will host an online seminar on the basics of using the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit as an affordable housing financing tool. This session is aimed at small- and medium-sized public housing authorities. Register here for the seminar.

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