Community Developments: Protecting Funding for Affordable Housing and Community Development Programs
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- Last year the Trump Administration proposed drastic cuts to HUD’s budget that would have devastated programs that support affordable housing and community development. As the Fiscal Year (FY) 18 budget process comes to a close, it appears that strong advocacy from the affordable housing and community development sector and bipartisan support in Congress have mitigated many of the proposed cuts. The Administration has proposed even bigger reduction in HUD’s budget for FY 19, slashing funding by 14 percent to $41.2 billion and eliminating funding for Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development, HOME Investment Partnerships, Community Development Block Grant, the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative and the Public Housing Capital Fund. The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, a coalition of more than 70 national organizations including Enterprise, is circulating a sign-on letter asking Members of Congress to ensure that affordable housing and community development programs receive the highest allocation of discretionary funds possible. Sign your organization onto the letter by March 16.
- An article in The New York Times looks at the challenges facing New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s housing plan, which aims to create and preserve 300,000 affordable homes by 2026. The article notes that last year the city spent $1.1 billion to create or preserve over 24,500 affordable homes, and now tax reform legislation and factors like increasing construction costs and the rising price of land are creating challenges to fulfilling the mayor’s plan. Eric Enderlin, the president of the city’s Housing Development Corporation, points out that the city has already experienced gaps in affordable housing funding that are driven by the reduction in the top corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, which has reduced prices for, and subsequently production from, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). The article points out that city officials are urging Congress to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017, bipartisan legislation in the Senate that would offset the negative impacts of tax reform by expanding the Housing Credit by 50 percent. (The New York Times, March 4) See the ACTION Campaign’s Advocacy Toolkit for resources to advocate for the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act.
- Tomorrow, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure will hold a hearing on “Examining the Administration’s Infrastructure Proposal.” The session includes testimony by Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao. As previously reported Community Developments, last month the White House released a President Trump’s infrastructure plan, laying out a framework for lawmakers to craft legislation for a $1.5 trillion infrastructure package. It calls for only $200 billion in federal funding for infrastructure, assuming that states, localities and the private sector will contribute the remaining $1.3 trillion. (House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, March 2) Enterprise urges Congress to include housing in any infrastructure package, given the connections between access to affordable housing, job growth and economic mobility.
- An article in Curbed highlights efforts by federal agencies that aim to boost manufactured housing as a way to expand the supply of affordable homes. According to Fannie Mae’s duty to serve plan, which became effective this year, the government-sponsored enterprises (GSE) will purchase around 30,000 manufactured housing mortgage loans over the next three years, with the goal of providing a secondary lending market for manufactured homes that would standardize financing and lower interest rates. In addition, HUD has announced that it is reviewing regulations around manufactured housing in response to President Trump’s executive orders to reduce regulations, which could help address the other barriers that limit the supply of manufactured homes. (Curbed, March 2)
- A recent report by CoreLogic shows that the national housing market has nearly recovered from the Great Recession. According to the report, the average home price is now 1 percent higher than its 2006 level, indicating that housing market has recovered in many parts of the nation. However, the report notes that some states are still struggling to return to their pre-recession price levels. For example, home prices in Nevada, which saw the greatest drop after the housing crash as its home prices fell 60 percent from their peak levels, remain 23 percent below their pre-recession peaks. (HousingWire, March 1)
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