Community Developments: The House FY 2019 THUD Appropriations Bill
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- The House Appropriations Committee voted 34-17 to approve their Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations Bill, advancing it to a full floor vote. The bill provides $43.6 billion in net discretionary funding for HUD, which represents a $941 million increase above FY 2018 enacted levels. The House THUD Appropriations bill would: increase funding for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, providing $22.476 billion, which is a $455 million increase over FY 2018 enacted levels; provide level-funding for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program at $3.3 billion and the Section 4 Capacity Building for Affordable Housing and Community Development Program at $35 million; and allocate $50 million for a new family mobility demonstration, which would allow families living in HUD-supported housing to move to lower-poverty, higher-opportunity areas. However, the bill would cut funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program by $162 million to $1.2 billion. For more information on the House THUD Appropriations bill, see Enterprise’s blog post and updated appropriations and budget chart.
- Yesterday the Senate confirmed President Trump’s nomination of Brian D. Montgomery to serve as Assistant Secretary of Housing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Montgomery’s confirmation marks his second term as Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner, as he previously held this position under President George W. Bush. Montgomery was nominated by President Trump last September, and the full Senate vote comes six months after the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee approved Montgomery’s nomination. (HUD, May 23)
- According to newly released data by the Commerce Department, sales of new homes in the U.S. fell in April, reversing the momentum seen in the first quarter. Sales of new single-family homes fell 1.5 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 662,000, yet this figure still marks an 11.6 percent year-over-year increase. The data also show that at the current sales pace, there was a 5.4-month supply of new homes on the market at the end of March, down from the 6-month levels seen in the middle of 2017. Furthermore, the average sales price for new homes grew to $407,300 in April, the highest price on record dating back to 1963. (The Wall Street Journal, May 23)
- A new working paper published by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies and NeighborWorks America explores three tools that policymakers and mission-driven organizations can use to preserve unsubsidized affordable housing. These tools are: robust land bank and land trust partnerships; long-term lease-to-purchase programs that can make homeownership more accessible; and low-interest renovation loans with affordability requirements. The report notes that these strategies can help maximize the efficiency of the limited resources available to preserve and develop affordable housing and address the negative impacts of gentrification. (JCHS, May 23)
- New York City's planning department has launched a new mapping tool that records population, housing and economic data and makes it available to the general public. The "Metro Region Explorer" offers trending data since 2000 on the five boroughs, upstate New York and Long Island, as well as parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. The population trends reveal that all five boroughs have added jobs faster than they have added housing, while the suburbs have more housing and fewer jobs compared to urban areas, underscoring both the need for additional housing and the importance of maintaining transportation infrastructure. In a press release, the city notes that the tool "enables the public, planners and policy makers to examine the regional context for shared planning challenges." (Next City, May 24)
In Case You Missed It
- Earlier this week the House of Representatives voted 258 to 159 to pass the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act, legislation that would revise and remove key parts of The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The bill, which passed the Senate in March and was sent to the House for approval, now heads to the President’s office for final approval. (HousingWire, May 22) As previously highlighted in Community Developments, an analysis by American Banker identified controversial provisions in the bill, including amendments that would: exempt 85 percent of banks and credit unions from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) reporting requirements, meaning they would no longer be required to report the race, sex or credit scores of applicants, which could increase discriminatory lending; give manufactured-home retailers the ability to make financing recommendations, which could lead to lending abuses; and grant Qualified Mortgage (QM) status to loans in the portfolios of banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion of assets, which could be a return to making bad loans.
- Representative Carlos Curbelo (R-FL-26) is circulating a ‘Dear Colleague’ letter asking his House colleagues to cosponsor the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (H.R. 1661), bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit). In the letter, Representative Curbelo notes that the legislation “will make the Housing Credit more flexible, simplify program requirements, support the preservation of existing affordable housing, facilitate Housing Credit development in challenging markets and for hard-to-reach populations, and institute other modifications to make the Credit an even more effective program.” Congress enacted income averaging, a provision from H.R. 1661, in the March omnibus spending bill. Representative Curbelo now urges Congress to advance the remaining provisions of H.R. 1661 to strengthen the Housing Credit and ensure that the program will be best able to meet today’s affordable housing challenges. The ACTION Campaign urges Housing Credit stakeholders to share this letter with elected officials and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 1661.
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