Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
November 27, 2019
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

NHC Board of Governors member Steve O’Connor and I recently attended the Quicken Loans Consumer Affairs Advisory Council meeting in Detroit. Steve leads the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Consumer Affairs Advisory Council and is senior vice president for their Affordable Housing Initiatives. We got in early to tour Detroit’s most challenging neighborhoods and met some of the people on the front line of the fight to provide “an equal opportunity to live in quality, affordable housing in a thriving community.”

One of these leaders is Linda Smith, the Executive Director of U-SNAP-BAC. I first met Linda at her East Side office in 1996 when I led Fannie Mae’s Detroit Partnership Office. Recently, she was honored as part of the Detroit Revitalization Team at the 2018 Housing Visionary Awards Gala. On our tour she showed us the tremendous obstacles her neighbors face and the truly inspiring work they are doing. We saw cutting edge manufactured housing for urban infill, and low-cost quality homes built for people like Ms. Anita, who we ran into as she put Thanksgiving holiday decorations up in her front yard. 
MBA's Steve O'Connor (middle) with Linda Smith of U-SNAP-BAC (left), and Linda’s neighbor Ms. Anita (right).
Aerial view of Morningstar neighborhood by Google Maps - Manufactured infill on East Side of Detroit.

Here at the National Housing Conference, we are so grateful for the opportunity to serve our members across the country who engage in the hard work of developing and building affordable housing, as well as policy development and advocacy. Without our banking members none of this important work could be leveraged and millions of Americans would be without homes to rent or buy. Recently, Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase was featured on CBS 60 Minutes for his commitment to Detroit, and I just wrote an article in the Detroit News about the continuing commitment of Dan Gilbert, co-founder of Quicken Loans. Together they bring the debt and equity that fuels Detroit’s recovery. On the advocacy and civil rights front, Lisa Rice of the National Fair Housing Alliance is leading a multi-city Black Homeownership Initiative which she kicked off earlier this month. And developers like LISC, Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, and Eden Housing, to name just a few, are building and innovating in every state of the nation.

For all that you do, we are deeply grateful.
David M. Dworkin
NHC President and CEO
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux and
Quinn Mulholland
Congress holds several housing-related hearings

Congress held three housing-related hearings on Wednesday. The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions held a hearing on regulators’ efforts to preserve and promote minority depository institutions. The Senate Banking Committee held a nomination hearing for three HUD officials: Brian Montgomery, nominated to be Deputy Secretary, David Woll, as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, and John Bobbitt, as Assistant Secretary for Administration. Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) pressed the nominees on the Trump administration’s housing policies, saying “it’s pretty clear that not only is President Trump’s administration not doing anything to help families afford a home, but that they’re actively making it harder.” Brown and four fellow Senate Banking Committee Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also wrote a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson the day before the hearing demanding that HUD reverse its promotion of a top official whose racist remarks caused an uproar last year. The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance also held a hearing on residents’ health and safety in HUD housing, at which representatives from the National Housing Law Project and the National Alliance of HUD Tenants among others testified.
Democratic presidential debate addresses housing issues

Last week’s Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta finally featured a question about housing for the first time in five debates. The question was directed at Tom Steyer, who spoke about the housing shortage in his home state of California, calling for the construction of new, climate-resilient units and the elimination of local zoning policies that limit new construction. Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker also spoke about their housing plans, with Warren touting her plan to build 3.2 million new housing units and Booker bringing up his plan for a new housing tax credit. Julián Castro, who did not make the debate stage, tweeted his housing plan in response to the question being asked. Warren also recently unveiled a new plan to protect renters which calls for a new Tenant Protection Bureau within HUD, a national right-to-counsel fund to provide legal representation for renters facing eviction, and a just cause eviction standard to prevent unjust evictions.
OCC, FDIC to proceed with CRA Modernization effort without Federal Reserve

Comptroller of the Currency Joseph Otting has publicly stated that the OCC will not continue to work with the Federal Reserve on its effort to modernize the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Otting’s comments were made following his speech at the Bank Policy Institute’s annual conference in New York last week. Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chairman Jelena McWilliams said that her agency, the third of the three federal bank regulators, will join the OCC in its CRA modernization effort. The FDIC Board of Directors, which consists of Otting, McWilliams, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Kathleen Kraninger and Martin J. Gruenberg, must vote on the FDIC joining the OCC on its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at its December 12 meeting. The release of the joint NPR is expected shortly afterwards. NHC has repeatedly urged the CRA regulators to work together on a three agency rule. Negotiations broke down over the OCC’s insistence on using a ratio approach to measuring bank performance under the CRA. The vast majority of organizations commenting on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that OCC issued earlier this year strongly opposed this approach. NHC will be preparing detailed comments to the NPR. Members should be aware that we expect a very short deadline on the NPR.
NHC's Member Brief newsletter will return after Thanksgiving weekend on Dec. 8 and will include highlights from Solutions for Affordable Housing. We hope you are registered to attend!  
FHFA to re-propose Enterprise Capital Rule in 2020

The FHFA announced on Tuesday that it will re-propose the Capital Rule for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2020, which regulates the capital requirements of the GSEs. FHFA Director Mark Calabria said  “This rule will be re-proposed and finalized within a timeline fully consistent with ending the conservatorships. Requiring the Enterprises to build capital that can properly support their risk ensures that taxpayers will never be on the hook again during an economic downturn.” Calabria called it “one of the most important rules I will issue as Director.” Calabria has said the previous rule was written before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being prepared to exit conservatorship, and needs to be redesigned.
House passes several housing bills

The House of Representatives passed four housing-related bills last week: the Reforming Disaster Recovery Act of 2019 introduced by Reps. Al Green (D-Tex.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.), the Tribal Eligibility for Homeless Assistance Grants Act of 2019 introduced by Rep. Denny Heck (D-Wash.), the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act introduced by Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.), and the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Waters also introduced the Housing is Infrastructure Act of 2019 last week, which NHC supports, with Senator Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) introducing a companion bill in the Senate. And Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced the Homes for All Act on Thursday, which would invest $1.2 trillion over the next decade to build 12 million affordable, environmentally-friendly housing units.
What we're reading
In an investigation published recently, Newsday found evidence of unequal treatment by Long Island real estate agents, 19 percent of the time against Asians, 39 percent of the time against Hispanics, and an astonishing 49 percent of the time against blacks. In response to the investigation, local politicians have called for government action, and the National Association of Realtors issued a statement, saying the organization was “deeply troubled” by the results of the investigation. “NAR maintains its strong support of fair housing testing to unmask housing discrimination and hold our industry to the highest standard,” the statement said . Read the full investigation here.

Southerly, a nonprofit news organization covering environmental issues in the American South, recently published an article about how the government fails low-income renters after natural disasters. The article examined how federal disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey in Texas benefitted wealthy homeowners over low-income renters. Read the article here.

Last week, the NYU Furman Center released a research brief showing a decline in residential evictions filed in New York City Housing Court between 2010 and 2017. According to the report, in 2017, private landlords initiated 4.6 percent fewer evictions than in 2016 and 7.8 percent fewer evictions than in 2010. Read the report here.

In a recent cover story, Washington City Paper covered the issue of how D.C. can “avoid the fate of San Francisco, where housing has grown so costly that barely anyone can afford to live in it.” The article looks at efforts the city is taking to invest in affordable housing and ensure that its most vulnerable residents aren’t pushed out as housing costs rise. Read the article here.
The week ahead
Thursday, November 28
·         Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, December 2
·          NextCity webinar on backyard homes, 1-2 p.m.

Tuesday, December 3

Wednesday, December 4
·          New York Housing Conference 46th Annual Awards Program, 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m.

Thursday, December 5

Friday, December 6

·          NextCity Solutions of the Year Fundraiser, 6-8 p.m.
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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