Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
May 30, 2019
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

Next week, housers from around the country will come to Washington, D.C. for the 47th Annual Housing Visionary Awards Gala at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. Leaders throughout the affordable housing industry, from bankers and investors, to civil rights advocates and housing developers, will celebrate the achievements of some of the most impactful men and women in America. We will also be joined by a broad range of policymakers including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria and FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery, as well as House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (by video).

At this year’s Gala, we are pleased to honor the “California Ballot Initiative Team,” Bill Bynum of HOPE Enterprise Corporation and Wilfred Cooper, Sr. of WNC.

The “California Ballot Initiative Team” fought for 10 years to get voter approval for an unprecedented $6 billion in new funding for affordable housing in a state that has struggled to address one of the worse housing crises in America. Ray Pearl of the California Housing Consortium , Lisa Hershey of Housing California, Carl Guardino of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and Cesar Diaz of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California exemplify how organizational partnerships can influence and bring about political change that advances affordable housing in communities in a monumental way.

Bill Bynum moved to Mississippi in 1994 and ultimately founded the Enterprise Corporation of the Delta and HOPE Community Credit Union, which has led the nation in bringing community development financing and wealth-building community banking to the people of the Mississippi Delta. Today, HOPE Enterprise Corporation, HOPE Credit Union and HOPE Policy Institute are a family of organizations that provides financial services; leverages private, public and philanthropic resources; and engages in policy analysis to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Twenty-five years and more than $2 billion later, HOPE has helped more than one million people in one of the nation's most impoverished regions.

Wilfred Cooper, Sr. founded WNC to specialize in development and syndication of affordable rental housing properties. Will built his company during the heyday of the HUD 236 program and “accelerated depreciation” for low-income properties – two programs advocated for by NHC in the 1960s. During the 1986 Tax Act, Will led the fight for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and became one of its most successful developers. His life’s work has been dedicated to helping people find quality, affordable housing in nearly every part of the country. Today, WNC has a portfolio of over nearly $10 billion dollars in 47 states.

I look forward to seeing many of you next week at the Gala and our Annual Policy Symposium, where you can hear from our Gala honorees, who will speak on their work in housing advocacy and community development. Register here.

More importantly, I hope to work with all of you in the months and years to come as we continue to defend #OurAmericanHome. If you are not yet a member, please join us today. We are the place housers come to get things done! 

David M. Dworkin
NHC President and CEO
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux and
Quinn Mulholland
House Appropriations Committee approves funding bill for THUD, RD

Last week, the House Appropriations Committee released and approved the FY 2020 spending bill for both THUD and USDA Rural Development. The bills would provide an overall increase of $3.7 billion in funding for HUD and $1 billion for Agriculture, Rural Development and the FDA. Specific program funding increases over FY 2019 include an additional $1.2 billion for tenant-based rental assistance, $100 million for the Public Housing Operating Fund, $164 million for homelessness assistance grants, and $44 million for Section 521 rental assistance. Enterprise Community Partners published a full program-by-program breakdown of the House bills.
House Republican blocks disaster aid bill

After the Senate ended a months-long logjam and approved a $19.1 billion disaster aid package last Thursday, Representative Chip Roy (R-Texas) blocked it on Friday, citing the lack of funding that President Trump demanded for border protection. House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey denounced Roy in a statement, saying, “After President Trump and Senate Republicans delayed disaster relief for more than four months, it is deeply disappointing that House Republicans are now making disaster victims wait even longer to get the help they need.” On Tuesday, another House Republican, Representative Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) blocked a second attempt to pass the disaster aid bill before Congress goes on recess, reducing the likelihood of the package reaching President Trump’s desk before June. 
HUD moves to roll back Equal Access Rule

After a contentious House Financial Services Committee hearing at which Secretary Ben Carson said he was not anticipating changing HUD’s Equal Access Rule, HUD announced last week that it is moving to roll back the rule. The rule, which allows HUD-funded shelter providers to consider a person’s gender identification in determining admission, was established under the Obama administration. Representative Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) introduced legislation to block the rule change from taking effect, and called on Carson to resign. Carson, in a letter to Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry, sought to clarify his testimony at Tuesday’s hearing, saying that the Equal Access Rule “is not being revised.”
HUD faces blowback on immigration rule

Public housing authorities claimed they were blindsided by a proposed HUD rule that would prohibit mixed-status families from receiving federal housing assistance, according to an article published by Pew’s Stateline last week. “It was a real surprise,” Public Housing Authorities Directors Association Executive Director Timothy Kaiser told Pew of the announced rule. Senator Kamala Harris and other California lawmakers also denounced the rule in a letter to Carson, saying it “would result in the displacement of thousands of families across the country and disproportionately affect millions of California residents.”
Wall Street Journal reports on real-estate investment trusts

According to an article published in the Wall Street Journal, real-estate investment trusts are expanding their mortgage-bond portfolios. Over the past year, these portfolios increased 28 percent to $308 billion, the largest level in six years. According to the article, the REITS “have become a key source of capital in the housing market,” though some analysts are concerned about the lack of oversight. The REITs are also big purchasers of securities sold by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have recently made the securities easier for REITs to buy. “If the goal is to disburse more and more risk, you have to get more investors involved,” MBA Chief Economist Michael Fratantoni told the Wall Street Journal.
Member Highlight
LISC names new COO

by Andrea Nesby

Yesterday, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) announced Annie Donovan, former director of the federal Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), as its new chief operating officer.

Donovan’s career spans more than 25 years driving impact investing strategies that fuel economic opportunity and stronger communities. At the CDFI Fund—a part of the U.S. Department of Treasury that provides capital to distressed communities—she steered innovative strategies to address local needs through programs like New Markets Tax Credits, CDFI Bond Guarantee Program, Capital Magnet Fund and the Healthy Food Financing Initiative.

After leaving the CDFI Fund in January, she served as a senior fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University, as well as at the Center for Community Investment (CCI) at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, where she has helped advance CCI’s efforts to increase investment in health, housing and climate solutions in disinvested communities. She also spent 20 years at Capital Impact Partners, where she helped spearhead community investment efforts focused on education, health care and housing.

“We are excited and humbled to have someone of Annie’s caliber join the LISC team,” said Maurice A. Jones, LISC president and CEO, in a news release. “She has helped build models and implement policies that have facilitated some of our field’s most innovative work. And there’s more work to be done!"

NHC's President and CEO David Dworkin congratulated his former Treasury Department colleague, saying "LISC's already strong team will find a new level of excellence under Annie's leadership."
The National Housing Conference has been defending the American Home since 1931. We believe 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.
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