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Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
Programming note: NHC's Member Brief newsletter will return after the Fourth of July weekend on July 12
News from Washington I By Quinn Mulholland
Representatives unveil infrastructure legislation including key housing provisions

On Monday, House Democratic leadership released the text of H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a major infrastructure package that combines several bills on housing, transportation, broadband, and other areas. The package includes several important measures related to housing, including $100 billion in new funding for affordable housing, a new Neighborhood Investment tax credit, and an increase in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) allocation by more than 60%. “The Moving Forward Act is an important acknowledgement that housing is infrastructure just like roads, bridges and public transit systems,” said NHC President and CEO David M. Dworkin in a statement applauding the bill. “With millions of Americans facing unprecedented unemployment and housing insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, any attempt to address America’s crumbling infrastructure must include measures to build and preserve high-quality affordable housing.”

The Moving Forward Act also includes a $100 billion investment in broadband infrastructure for underserved rural, suburban and urban communities.
Neighborhood Homes Investment Act and other housing-related legislation introduced

On Thursday, June 25, Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) introduced S. 4073, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act (NHIA), which is co-sponsored by Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.). The NHIA would encourage private investment in an estimated 500,000 homes that currently cannot be developed or rehabilitated because the costs to do so exceed the value of the home.  In a statement, Sens. Cardin and Portman stated, “The Neighborhood Homes Investment credit established in this bipartisan bill is directly targeted at bringing new investment to these neighborhoods, providing a new tool in our economic toolkit that pairs well with the New Markets Tax Credit, Opportunity Zones and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.” “Everyone deserves a safe and affordable place to call home. Our bipartisan tax credit builds on the success of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and New Markets Tax Credit to attract investment in communities that need it most,” said Sen. Cardin. NHC joined over 20 organizations as part of the Neighborhood Homes Coalition to support enactment of the NHIA.

Several other pieces of housing-related legislation were also introduced last week. On Thursday, Representative John Garamendi (D-Calif.) introduced the HOME Investment Partnership Reauthorization Act, which would increase appropriation for the HOME Investment Partnership Program to $5 billion. The same day, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced the Emergency Affordable Housing Act, which includes several measures to boost affordable housing construction through LIHTC.
CFPB issues Notices of Proposed Rulemaking to address the QM patch

On Monday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued two Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NPRs) intended to address the advantages that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have in underwriting requirements, known as the Qualified Mortgage (QM) patch. The first NPR would remove the debt-to-income requirement for QM loans, instead judging a borrower’s credit risk by the pricing of the loan. The second NPR would extend the patch so that it expires upon the effective date of a final rule on the first NPR. In a statement, Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Brown criticized the CFPB’s actions, saying, “At a time when the CFPB is receiving the largest volume of complaints in its history, the CFPB should be focused on protecting consumers who are struggling, not this rule.”

The CFPB also issued an interim final rule last week clarifying that mortgage servicers can offer forbearance even with limited information about the borrower. Previously, servicers could only offer forbearance options to mortgage borrowers who submitted a complete loss mitigation application.
House Ways & Means Committee holds hearing on the COVID-19 nursing home crisis

On Thursday, the House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing on the COVID-19 nursing home crisis. Members of the committee previously called on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to stop nursing home facilities from seizing residents’ economic impact payments under the CARES Act, after reports emerged that these payments were being withheld from residents. In response, the CMS released guidance outlining repercussions for nursing homes engaging in this practice. This week, a New York Times report examined another dangerous practice by nursing homes, highlighting nursing homes across the country that have kicked out elderly and disabled residents amidst the pandemic, often leaving them homeless.
NAR releases Housing Opportunity Toolkit

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released the Housing Opportunity Toolkit last week, a collection of guides and resources to help realtors and local chapters address affordability challenges in their communities. The toolkit offers best practices from other associations, practical tips, and examples for a range of activities including housing fairs, buyer education classes, housing forums and more.

NAR also recently released a five-point plan for addressing the Black-white homeownership gap. The plan, outlined by NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, includes building more homes, increasing access to down payment assistance, and expanding alternative credit scoring models.
Chart of the Week
Evictions down in most cities as of June 20

The Eviction Lab at Princeton University recently published a new tool, the Eviction Tracking System, allowing for comparisons of trends in eviction filings in different cities. According to the most recent data published by the Eviction Lab, eviction filings were down in most cities for the week ending on June 20. Researchers at the Eviction Lab warned, however, of a potential impending eviction crisis in the coming months as temporary unemployment benefits end and eviction moratoriums expire.
What we're reading
An article published in Bloomberg CityLab on Tuesday examined how the protests in Seattle in response to systemic racism have turned to racial inequities in land ownership. Protestors in Seattle, according to the article, are looking to land trusts as a way to ensure that Seattle’s Black communities can own their own land and resist gentrification. Read the article here .

The National League of Cities released the results of a survey of over 1,100 municipalities across America last week, showing that “the national economic recovery is at even greater risk of stalling if Congress fails to provide direct federal aid to America’s cities, towns and villages.” Read the survey results here .

An analysis by the Guardian of 12 U.S. cities revealed that the combined price of water and sewage for households increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018. According to the analysis, over 40% of residents in some cities live in neighborhoods with unaffordable water and sewage bills. Read the article here .

In an op-ed for CNN , Urban Institute research associates Martha Galvez and Corianne Payton Scally warned that America is heading toward an eviction crisis. "With time running out, a cash infusion from the federal government for direct housing assistance is urgently needed to help low- and moderate-income renters," they wrote. Read the op-ed here .
The week ahead
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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