House and Senate Approve Budget ResolutionsThe House and Senate both passed budget resolutions and are now negotiating the differences between the two budget resolutions. The House and Senate budgets have some major differences, particularly around defense spending. The implications for housing in budget reconciliation could be far-reaching, depending on what tax, spending or other provisions individual committees address.
White House Report Compares Effects of Republican Budget Resolution vs. President's BudgetTitled Republican Budget Resolutions: Same Failed Top-Down Economics, the report details the effect that Republican budget resolutions including sequestration would have on states. The report notes that there would be $2.1 billion less funding for Housing Choice Vouchers, resulting in 133,000 fewer families getting help. A fact sheet and interactive map provide state-by-state impacts on a range of issues including affordable housing, healthcare, education, job training and employment services.
Legislation to Protect Tenants At Foreclosure Introduced In Both HousesSen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced the legislation to permanently extend the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA). Enacted in 2009, the law was the only federal protection for renters living in foreclosed properties. It expired in 2014. PTFA provided most renters with the right to at least to 90 days' notice before being required to move after foreclosure. Now, renters, who often have no idea that their landlords are behind on mortgage payments, can be evicted with just a few days' notice in most states. Only nine states and the District of Columbia have laws that match or exceed the provisions that PTFA provided; 19 states have no specific protections for renters faced with eviction due to foreclosure; eight states provide notice of three to 30 days before eviction; and eight states allow for the immediate eviction of renters.
Bill to Reform the Mortgage Interest Deduction Introduced In HouseRep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced the Common Sense Housing Investment Act of 2015 on March 26. The bill would cap the amount of a home mortgage eligible for a tax break at $500,000, down from the current cap of $1 million. Only 4.5% of all mortgages taken out from 2011 to 2013 were for over $500,000. The bill would also convert the Mortgage Interest Deduction to a non-refundable mortgage interest tax credit. These two changes would expand the number of homeowners who would receive a tax break on their mortgages from 39 to 55 million. Virtually, all the 16 million additional homeowners who would benefit have incomes under $100,000 a year. The bill would generate more than $200 billion in revenue over ten year. The new revenue would be invested in expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, Section 8 rental assistance and the public housing capital fund, and providing a source of permanent funding for the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Senate Finance Committee Seeks Input on Tax ReformThe Senate Finance Committee announced a bipartisan effort to solicit ideas from the public and stakeholders "on how best to overhaul the nation's broken tax code to make it simpler, fairer, and more efficient" in a March 11 press release, which provides submission information. The deadline is April 15. The Senate Finance Committee formed five tax reform working groups to examine portions of the tax code and make recommendations. The Low-Income Housing and New Markets Tax Credits fall under the jurisdiction of the Community Development and Infrastructure Working Group.
Housing Finance Reform Legislation Re-Introduced in HouseRepresentatives John Delaney (D-MD), John Carney (D-DE), and Jim Himes (D-CT) re-introduced the Partnership to Strengthen Homeownership Act, which would expand affordable housing programs including the National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund. The legislation would replace Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with a new system of government-backed mortgages insured by Ginnie Mae. In the new insurance program, private investors would take losses before taxpayers and the private sector would determine pricing.
Minimum LIHTC Credit Rate Legislation introduced in CongressEquity available through the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit has been decreasing and has not held up to the amounts originally envisioned by Congress. To address this issue and with bipartisan support, Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Richard Neal (D-MA) have introduced legislation (H.R. 1142) to create permanent minimum Low-Income Housing Tax Credit rates. To learn more about the LIHTC credit rates and the need for this legislation read this bill summary.
HUD Awards $150 Million to State Agencies to Prevent HomelessnessHUD awarded $150 million in rental assistance to 25 State Housing Agencies to prevent people with disabilities from being institutionalized or falling into homelessness. The state agencies will provide permanent affordable rental housing and needed supportive services to nearly 4,600 households of extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are hoping to transition out of institutional settings and back into the community. HUD's support of state housing agencies is made possible through the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance program, which enables persons with disabilities who earn less than 30 percent of their area's median income to live in integrated, affordable housing. State housing agencies and their state Medicaid and HHS partner agencies identify, refer, and support target populations of persons with disabilities who require community-based, long-term care services to live independently. This is one of several recent collaborative efforts between HUD and HHS.
National Networks Convene for the Most Diverse & Inclusive Community Development ConferenceIn Over a Decade Community-based organizations from across America came together to share local solutions to poverty, disinvestment, and inequality at the People & Places Community Conference March 4-6 in Washington, DC. The peer-learning event was part of an ongoing partnership between the four host organizations. More than 100 community developers showcased models for advancing opportunity and prosperity in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color at the conference, which had nearly 500 registrants. U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary for Economic Development Jay Williams delivered the keynote remarks.
Shelterforce Magazine published the first three in a series of Rooflines blogs on the conference: People and Places 2015: Not Your Average Community Development Conference, What If Community Developers Held a Conference and Everyone Showed Up? and Community Development and Hot Markets.
(Left to right) Noel Poyo of National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders; Frank Woodruff of the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations; Seema Agnani of the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development; Naomi Gendler Camper of the JPMorgan Chase Office of Nonprofit Engagement; and Cy Richardson of the National Urban League