As most of you know, the Housing Alliance hosts a monthly Legislative Update Call with members to provide an update on Federal and State issues affecting affordable housing. If you couldn’t make the call, here are a few takeaways.
- Currently operating on Continuing Resolution for FY17 expires April 28. Congress is out on recess and will be back on April 24th to address FY17.
- Budget – FY2018
- Skinny budget by the President proposed a $6B cut to HUD. Reduces funding for rental assistance programs, eliminate funding for CDBG, HOME, Choice Neighborhoods, Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program and NeighborWorks. With additional cuts to rural housing development
- Appropriators are waiting to see the full budget that will be available in mid-May before they begin appropriation bills on FY18.
- When communicating with legislatures, make sure you explain why the programs should remain in place but also why they should get an increase. Talk about Affordable housing programs as a whole and how they all play an important role. Reach out to legislatures during their recess: Week of Memorial Day, July 4th, most of August, and the week of Labor Day. Republican office needs to hear from their constituents. Invite your legislature to your site or project for a first hand look at the success of these programs.
- Tax Reform
- Tax reform is highly uncertain
- Unclear if Congress will focus on corporate tax cuts or across the board. If just corporate tax cuts, they hope to have in place by August. If comprehensive, it could take until 2018.
- March 7th – Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (S. 548)(Cantwell and Hatch), a comprehensive bill to expand and strengthen the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Increase credit by 50%, provide additional flexibility, support preservation of existing affordable housing, allow income averaging. Make 4% credit permanent when using mulftifamily bonds. bill summary
- March 21st – Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017 (H.R. 1661)(Tiberi and Neal) – Companion bill to the Senate bill without the credit increase. They thought they could get more bipartisan support without the increase and try to add the increase in later. There is growing support for improving the credit.
- There is no movement yet on the bills. Waiting to see what will happen with tax reform. Still trying to get support.
- Carson mentioned last week that the President would include Housing as part of the infrastructure package. Using infrastructure package as a replacement for HUD cuts is not the appropriate way to permanently fund housing programs. Additional funding through the Infrastructure package would be a plus but not as a permanent method.
- Here is the Democrat infrastructure proposal: https://www.dpcc.senate.gov/files/documents/ABlueprinttoRebuildAmericasInfrastructure1.24.17.pdf
- Governor’s proposed budget – FY ends June 30th. House Republican introduces budget at the beginning of April. Passed the full House the next day. Comments will start during senate review. HB218
- Three line items that fund housing:
- Homeless Assistance – cuts in proposal from $18.5M to $15.7M. Humans Service Development – cuts in proposal from $13.5M to $11.4M.
- Keystone Communities – include the Department of Economic Development, Elm Street, Main Street, KOZ, Acccessible Housing, community revitalization – FY18 proposal is $33M. (In 2008-2009 the funding for these programs were $55M)
- Neighborhood Assistance Program HB645 – not in the general fund because it is a tax credit. Efforts are being made to double the amount from $18M to $36M.
- PHARE is not in the general fund. It has changes in revenue level based on the RTT.
More Information from Rebekah King at the National Housing Conference:
Get involved with NDD United. NDD United is an alliance of hundreds of national, state, and local organizations working to protect investments in core government functions that benefit all Americans. The programs–known in the nation’s capital as nondefense discretionary or “NDD” programs—include veterans affairs, medical and scientific research; education and job training; infrastructure; public safety and law enforcement; public health; weather monitoring and environmental protection; natural and cultural resources; housing and social services; and international relations. Join the listserve here.
The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding has released a great new report, A Place to Call Home: The Case for Increased Federal Investments in Affordable Housing. The report compiles the latest research that shows how investments in affordable housing boosts economic mobility, reduces poverty and homelessness, improves health outcomes, and strengthens the economy. The report includes more than 100 success stories of people and communities that have been positively impacted by federal affordable housing investments funded through the U.S. Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Agriculture (USDA).
A Place to Call Home: The Case for Increased Federal Investments in Affordable Housing is at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/A-Place-To-Call-Home.pdf
A Place to Call Home: Affordable Housing Success Stories is at: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/A-Place-To-Call-Home_Profiles.pdf
With the report, CHCDF released advocacy resources, available here.
Also, NHC held its Annual Budget Forum on March 30, focused on advocating and building support in this difficult environment. Folks can view the recording here.
Related to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the ACTION Campaign is a great resource and state and local organizations can join. Here is a bill summary of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (Senate version).