Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
October 10, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin

This week, I’m in Boston for the Urban Land Institute’s 2018 Fall Meeting . In addition to some thought-provoking meetings, I had a chance to visit the Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies at Harvard University. The purpose of my visit to Radcliffe was to explore the personal papers of NHC’s founder, Mary Kingsbury Simkhovitch. NHC has a long and proud history of advocating for every major piece of housing legislation since the creation of the Federal Home Loan Bank System in 1932. Since then, we have successfully fought for the creation of the Federal Housing Administration in 1934, the creation of the Federal National Mortgage Association and federally-subsidized low-income housing in 1938, the Fair Housing Act of 1968 and the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 to name a few.

In light of recent events outside of housing in Washington that continue to threaten to tear our country apart, one document stood out to me. In a speech prepared for the Junior League in 1949, Ms. Simkhovitch was asked to address the unique challenges faced by the modern women of her time. They are both inspiring and disturbing in their prescience. Rather than opine on housing policy, I’d prefer to share them with you instead.

Noting her role as a “middle-aged woman… naturally interested in the girls who so soon will take their place in the world,” she noted that “curiosity and hope egg us on to close watchfulness. The fear of being conspicuous, the gentle neutrality in all things, the desire to please by agreement, are all in process of rapid disappearance… The girl who loses fear has to justify her convictions and more positive action by an intelligent conception of what she is undertaking. This fearless note of the modern girl is her finest quality and it proves of special value when it is related to some practical end. The modern girl despises, and properly, amateurish inefficiency. She wants to see results. This means capacity for sustained effort…”

A veteran of the fight for a woman’s right to vote, Simkhovitch also noted that “I know that there are times when one has to fight for one’s life, but one is stronger for those infrequent contests…” However, “it isn’t particularly interesting to be fearless, hardworking and efficient for one’s self alone. That’s lonely and gets tiresome very soon. But in working for any aspect of life that means a new world freed of sordidness, poverty, disgrace, ugliness and weakness, all the powers of the modern girl will find ample room for full play.”

As a father of two young adults who are direct beneficiaries of the legacy of giants like Ms. Simkhovitch, I choose to be encouraged that we can be inspired by those like her who continue to fight for a “new world freed of sordidness, poverty, disgrace, ugliness and weakness.” Ms. Simkhovitch believed in bringing people of widely divergent points of view together to achieve a common goal: safe and affordable housing for all. I hope that you will join us as we continue our work to make her vision a reality. Memberships in NHC start at just $100 for retirees and $400 f or sole proprietors. Please join us today .

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Tristan Breaux and
Kaitlyn Snyder
FHFA requests input on Fannie Mae proposed Duty to Serve plan modifications

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released a request for comment on four of the 22 modifications Fannie Mae proposed for its Duty to Serve plan. The four changes would: 

  1. Modify the baseline and target for purchase or rehabilitation of certain distressed properties activity due to market condition changes from actual inventory versus projected inventory for 2018- 2020. 
  2. Modify the chattel loan pilot to include options such as anticipating in a debt structure or guaranteeing a security containing chattel loans, in addition to bulk loan purchase. 
  3. Modify actions to reflect revised rural LIHTC investment targets based on enhanced market insight and experience since re-entering the LIHTC equity market. 
  4. Add a new objective to understand more about small financial institutions in rural areas.

Comments are due on Nov. 2. 
Reminder: AFFH comments due Oct. 15  

In August, HUD published its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH): Streamlining and enhancements,” in the Federal Register. Through the ANPR, HUD hopes to “minimize regulatory burden,” “focus primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than on performing analysis of community characteristics,” “provide for greater local control and innovation,” “increase housing choice” and “more effectively utilize HUD resources.” NHC is finalizing our comments and encourages members to submit their own. 
HUD, VA secretaries announce housing initiatives to support homeless veterans

HUD Sec. Ben Carson and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sec. Robert Wilkie announced $35 million in grants to combat veteran homelessness. The $35 million will be used to support roughly 4,000 vouchers through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program. Secs. Carson and Wilkie also announced $7.4 million through the Veterans Housing Rehabilitation and Modification Pilot Program to assist disabled veterans with modifying or rehabilitating their homes to make them more accessible.
Two upcoming meetings of the NHC CRA Working Group

NHC members can join us Friday, Oct. 12, and Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 2-3 p.m. EDT for meetings of the NHC Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Working Group. On Friday, we’ll discuss assessment areas and on Tuesday we’ll discuss the ratio approach proposed in the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR). Comments on the ANPR are due Nov. 19. For meeting details, please contact Kaitlyn Snyder
HUD awards $6.7 million for lead hazard reduction

Last week, HUD awarded over $6.7 million to seven universities and public health organizations to improve methods for identifying and controlling residential health risks including lead-based paint, mold, secondhand tobacco smoke and other indoor contaminants.
Report details challenges at HUD, Treasury

Last week, the Council of Inspectors General on Financial Oversight issued a report detailing the challenges faced by the financial regulatory agencies, HUD and Treasury. The report covers six “cross-cutting Challenges:” enhancing oversight of financial institution cybersecurity, managing and securing information technology at regulatory organizations, sharing threat information, readiness for crises, strengthening agency governance and managing human capital. The HUD inspector general notes that 43 percent of its workforce as of Sept. 20, 2014, was eligible to retire by 2019, while 34.3 percent of all federal employees are eligible to retire FY 2020.
Senate Banking committee hearing on Fannie, Freddie and FHFA

The Senate committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. EDT on oversight of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s pilot programs. Fannie Mae CEO Timothy Mayopoulos, Freddie Mac CEO Donald Layton and Sandra Thompson, deputy director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency's division of housing mission and goals, are scheduled to testify. The hearing will take place in the Dirksen Senate office building, room 538, and via webcast
Fannie Mae CEO steps down, interim CEO named

Earlier this week, Fannie Mae announced that current CEO Timothy Mayopoulos will leave the company on Oct. 15, 2018. Hugh Frater will replace him as interim CEO, subject to final Federal Housing Finance Agency approval. Frater has served on Fannie Mae's board since 2016 and has held a number of executive and management roles throughout his career. Frater currently serves as non-executive chairman of the board of VEREIT, Inc., and as a director of ABR Reinsurance Capital Holdings Ltd. He previously led Berkadia Commercial Mortgage LLC, a national commercial real estate company providing comprehensive capital solutions and investment sales advisory and research services for multifamily and commercial properties. Frater's full bio is available here.
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.
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