February 1, 2019

HUD and NYCHA Reached Agreement on More Federal Oversight, Housing Finance Reform Proposal

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  • HUD Secretary Ben Carson has announced an agreement with New York City and the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to “provide a new roadmap forward for NYCHA that will address the longstanding issues at the housing authority’s properties.” Under the agreement, the city is committing at least $2.2 billion in funding over the next decade to address health and safety hazards at NYCHA properties, including lead-based paint and mold, and HUD will continue to provide funding - estimated to be $1.5 billion this year -- to NYCHA. The agreement also establishes a federal monitor, selected by HUD and the Southern District of New York with input from the city, to submit quarterly reports to the agencies. The city will cover the cost of the monitor in addition to its other financial commitments. (HUD, January 31) The New York Times points out that while this agreement imposes more federal oversight on NYCHA’s developments, it avoided placing the nation’s largest and oldest public housing system into HUD receivership. (NYT, January 31)  
     
  • PoliticoPro reports that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Mike Crapo (R-ID) has developed a proposal to reform the nation’s housing finance system. Under the plan, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the government sponsored enterprises, or GSEs) would become private guarantors with the primary business of guaranteeing the “timely repayment of principal and interest to investors of eligible mortgages that are securitized through a securitization platform operated by Ginnie Mae.” The proposal calls for changing the structure of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the GSEs’ regulator, from a single-director structure to a bipartisan board of directors. It also calls for replacing the GSEs’ affordable housing goals and duty-to-serve requirements with a new “Market Access Fund, which will provide grants, loans, and credit enhancement to address the homeownership and rental housing needs in underserved and low-income communities,” all of which would be financed by a 10-basis-point assessment on the total volume of loans mortgage guarantors generate. (PoliticoPro, February 1) Enterprise has released recommendations for housing finance reform that would expand support for affordable single-family and rental housing.
     
  • The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Coalition is circulating an organizational sign-on letter to show support for preserving the Credit as it approaches the end of its authorization in December 2019. The NMTC is a proven and effective tool for generating investment and job growth in low-income communities across the country. Between 2003 and 2015, NMTC investments directly created over one million jobs and leveraged nearly $80 billion in capital investment in credit-starved businesses in communities with high poverty and unemployment rates. It is critical that Congress act to extend NMTC authority before it expires at the end of 2019. Join the NMTC Coalition sign-on letter before February 8.
     
  • According to the Department of Labor, the U.S. economy added 304,000 jobs in January, which marked the record 100th consecutive month of job growth. Average earnings rose 3 cents per hour and the unemployment rate rose slightly to 4 percent. December’s job growth was revised down from an earlier estimate of 312,000 jobs to 222,000. The New York Times suggests that the slight increase in the unemployment rate can be partially explained by the impacts of the partial government shutdown, as the unemployment rate is based on a survey of households in which “175,000 more people than in the previous month reported themselves as being unemployed because of a “temporary layoff” — a total that included government workers.” (NYT, February 1)
     
  • In her first State of the City address as San Francisco’s mayor, London Breed announced plans for a charter amendment to make affordable and teacher housing development as-of-right across the city. Mayor Breed pointed out that charter amendment, proposed for the November 2019 election, would allow 100 percent affordable and teacher housing proposals that comply with existing zoning laws to sidestep time-consuming and costly approval processes. (Curbed SF, January 30) 

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