March 9, 2018

Community Developments: Expanding the Housing Credit in Omnibus, Senate Democrats’ Infrastructure Plan

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  • As previously highlighted in Community Developments, Congress is currently negotiating an omnibus fiscal year 2018 spending bill for passage before March 23 when the current continuing resolution expires. This bill will likely include a tax component, and may be the last potential vehicle for passing the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act for quite some time. The ACTION Campaign urges all Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) stakeholders to reach out to co-sponsors on the House (H.R. 1661) and Senate (S. 548) versions of the bill and ask them to share their support for including the Housing Credit legislation in the upcoming omnibus with House and Senate leadership. Visit the ACTION Campaign’s website for more information.
  • As previously reported in Community Developments, last month the White House released President Trump’s infrastructure plan, which calls for $200 billion in federal funding for infrastructure and seeks  $1.3 trillion in state, local and private investments. However, the plan does not include federal funding for housing infrastructure. Earlier this week, a group of nine Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), released a $1 trillion infrastructure plan that would provide $62 billion for affordable housing, neighborhood revitalization and lead remediation. The plan, which includes measures from the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, supports strengthening the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), as well as calling for reversing some of the changes that were adopted in last year’s tax reform legislation such as reducing the corporate tax rate to 21 percent – which has reduced pricing for and subsequent production from the Housing Credit. It also supports boosting federal funding for HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods grants and Community Development Block Grant program. (Novogradac & Co, March 8)  Enterprise urges Congress to include housing in any infrastructure package, given the connections between access to affordable housing, job growth and economic mobility.
  • Today, the Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added 313,000 jobs in February, the largest gain since July 2016. The unemployment rate held steady at 4.1 percent, and workers’ average hourly earnings rose by 4 cents to $26.75, a 2.6 percent year-over-year increase. (The New York Times, March 9)
  • The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) is seeking comments on proposed amendments to its regulation on the Federal Home Loan Banks' (FHLBanks) Affordable Housing Program (AHP). These amendments would allow the FHLBanks to redesign their project selection systems and create special targeted funds that would help them align their AHP funds with the distinct affordable housing needs in their districts, as well as make the program easier to use by reducing regulatory requirements that are redundant with other federal programs. FHFA will host a webinar on March 27 to explain the proposed amendments and answer questions. (FHFA, March 6)
  • Earlier this week Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York announced that he will declare a state of emergency for New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA), which would allow the state to hire private contractors to fast-track needed repairs and maintenance, such as replacing aging boilers systems and addressing lead contamination. According to NextCity, stakeholders such as tenant advocates are urging Governor Cuomo to draft a state of emergency deceleration that would authorize an expedited design-build-procurement process and allow NYCHA to hire private contractors. (NextCity, March 8) In an op-ed, Jude Kende, vice president and New York market leader at Enterprise Community Partners, explains how the Trump administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2019 would harm NYCHA’s residents and developments. Kende highlights that the budget request would increase tenants’ rental contribution for public housing residents from 30 to 35 percent of gross monthly income, which would raise the rent for more than 200,000 renters in New York City by an average of 23 percent. Kende also points out that the budget proposal would eliminate federal funding for the Public Housing Capital Fund, which would harm NYCHA’s maintenance and repair efforts, noting that NYCHA’s developments need an estimated $25 billion worth of major repairs. (City & State New York, March 8)

In Case You Missed It 

  • On Tuesday, March 20, Enterprise Community Partners is hosting a webinar on “Navigating Federal Transportation Policy to Promote eTOD,” which will feature Ahmad Abu-Khalaf of Enterprise, Christopher Coes of Smart Growth America and Jenna Hornstock of Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. This webinar will discuss our new report, “Promoting Opportunity through Equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD): Navigating Federal Transportation Policy,” which will be released on March 14. It will also provide stakeholders involved in achieving eTOD guidance on understanding and benefitting from federal transportation policies and programs. For more information: please contact Ahmad Abu-Khalaf at Register here for the webinar

For the latest housing and community development news and notes, follow the Enterprise policy team on Twitter: @E_Housing Policy and subscribe to the Capitol Express Newsletter. The Enterprise Public Policy team works to safeguard, expand and improve programs that end housing insecurity. Learn more about our public policy efforts.

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