Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
September 19, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
David Dworkin is out of the office for the Jewish holiday and will resume his President’s Message next week.
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder
Hurricane Florence and the National Flood Insurance Program

As rivers throughout the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia continue to rise, and response to Hurricane Florence remains focused on rescue, one thing we can be sure of is that low-income families will suffer incomprehensible losses. NHC member the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) has formed a Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition (DHRC) , which has led advocacy on behalf of those most at risk. NLIHC also maintains a  Disaster Recovery site  containing a variety of resources including a  compendium of federal disaster resources , policy recommendations to Congress, FEMA and HUD, as well as a running record of disaster updates.

In the meantime, Congress issued its seventh short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since the program expired in 2017 and that expires on Nov. 30. The NFIP is about $25 billion in debt and desperately in need of updated flood-risk mapping and changing the incentive structures to preserve affordability while signaling risk and allow homeowners to better mitigate against risk. Bipartisan disagreements over premium rates and risky properties remain unbridged. Some lawmakers want to add more property owners to the program and keep insurance affordable while others want to improve program’s finances and limit coverage or discounted rates for high-risk properties. NHC is a member of SmarterSafer, a broad-based coalition of conservation groups, taxpayer advocates, insurance interests and housing organizations that have advocated for bipartisan reform. 
GAO report on LIHTC development costs shows wide variation across states

In a report on Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) development between 2011 and 2015, the GAO analyzes total development costs in LIHTC properties across 12 allocating agencies in 10 states. The report finds development costs vary widely among states due to varied market conditions, property characteristics and tenant characteristics. Report findings also highlight the efforts of state housing finance agencies to ensure reasonable LIHTC development costs. 
FY 2019 federal funding

Last week, the Senate and House passed a minibus spending bill ( H.R. 5895) that funds three of the 12 appropriations subcommittees, Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies; Legislative Branch; and Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies.

Appropriators also announced a spending package ( H.R. 6157) that would fund two more subcommittees (Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies) and fund the remaining seven subcommittees, including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, through a continuing resolution through Dec. 7. The Senate will likely vote on the bill this week,  and the House will take up the measure when it returns Sept. 25-29. Federal funding runs out on Sept. 30.
BPC, NHC send Opportunity Zones letter

Last week, the Office of Management and Budget received a proposed rule from the Internal Revenue Service, “Capital Gains Invested In Opportunity Zones.” The review will last at least 10 days, after which the proposed rule will be published in the Federal Register, likely later this month. 
NHC signs QAP letter

NHC and seven other organizations sent a letter  to the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA) in support of its qualified contract provisions within the qualified allocation plan (QAP). Through qualified contract provisions, thousands of units are being lost annually as a result of conversions to market units after only 15 years of affordability. In many cases, these units are being lost in areas that have acute affordable housing shortages. VHDA, and many other housing finance agencies, has taken steps through its QAP to reduce or eliminate the use of qualified contracts.
Register for the October Restoring Neighborhoods webinar

Join NHC on Oct. 3 from 2-3 p.m. EDT for a webinar presentation from Danielle Lewinski, vice president and director of Michigan Initiatives at the Center for Community Progress (CCP), and Tracey Evans, executive director of the Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation, on CCP’s new report, “ Creative Placemaking On Vacant Properties: Lessons Learned from Four Cities.” The report explores emerging practices in four communities-- Kalamazoo, Michigan; Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; Newburgh, New York and Macon, Georgia-- and offers practical guidance for communities curious about how to leverage the power of creative placemaking to transform vacant properties. Register here.
September is National Month for Renters

Join Make Room in its #RepRenters Campaign to raise awareness and send 100,000 messaged to elected officials during the National Month for Renters. To get involved you can:

1.         Watch and share this #RepRenters video across social networks with a link to take action and send a message at makeroomusa.org .  
2.        Tag @MakeRoomUSA on social media channels and use the hashtag #RepRenters. Sample messages and more ways to get involved are available in a toolkit .   
3.         Visit the Doors of Make Room Public Art Exhibit from Sept. 13 – 28. Eleven artists from across the nation painted fiberglass doors that are on display in Washington, D.C., bringing awareness to the rental crisis.  
The National Housing Conference has been defending the American Home since 1931. Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership and the broader housing and community development sectors to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Politically diverse and nonpartisan, NHC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Defending our American Home since 1931
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