Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
March 13, 2019
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

This week, the president submitted his budget to Congress. It is a disappointing but not surprising exercise in hypocrisy. After spending our nation into historic levels of debt, the Trump administration is prepared to slash critically needed spending that impacts the lives of most Americans. This is why so many members of Congress in both parties have declared the president’s budget “dead on arrival.”

But how bad can it be? Really bad. NHC is a centrist organization that was founded on the principle of working with everyone interested in affordable housing. We still are and there are many in this administration who share these values, both career and political. This budget, however, as in last year’s, seeks to eliminate HUD’s Community Development Block Grant program, Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, and Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program; the USDA’s Rural Economic Development program; the Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund as well as the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund, which aren’t even funded by taxpayers!

None of these programs are perfect but they are the most effective means we currently have to building desperately needed affordable housing. The Trump budget offers no alternatives to any of these initiatives. When one in six millennials still live at home despite the best job market in generations, it is clear we aren’t doing nearly enough. We need to do more. Not less. And certainly not nothing. 
NHC looks forward to working with our politically diverse members and elected officials, on both sides of the aisle, to address the deep deficit in affordable housing that is impacting the lives of millions of Americans at nearly every income level. We are working to craft a bold and effective national housing policy for the 21st century.

NHC and our members will be working throughout the year to leverage their experience and help develop modern housing strategies and policy. This effort will start with our Solutions for Housing Communications. The day offers learning, engaging and plenty of time to network with your colleagues in housing and beyond. You can still take advantage of the early bird rate closing TODAY and find other details for registration and sponsorship here.

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
National Housing Conference
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux and
Quinn Mulholland
Register for the March Restoring Neighborhoods webinar 

Join NHC TODAY from 3-4 p.m. EDT for a webinar presentation from Frank Relihan, senior vice president of NorthMarq Capital, who will discuss The Conway Center. Owned and operated by the nonprofit So Others Might Eat, the recently completed project provides supportive and transitional housing and services to homeless individuals and at-risk families. The Conway Center was a finalist for the Urban Land Institute’s 2018 Jack Kemp Excellence in Affordable and Workforce Housing Award.

If you haven’t already, register here.
Dworkin, Mandolini and McCulloch speak at Tennessee Housing Development Agency

NHC President and CEO David Dworkin, Eden Housing President and NHC Board of Governors Chair Linda Mandolini, and Housing Partnership Equity Trust President and CEO Anne McCulloch all spoke at the Tennessee Housing Development Agency conference last Wednesday. In his speech, Dworkin touched on several topics, including GSE reform, housing affordability, homeownership, and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act. “This is a tragedy,” Dworkin said of declining black homeownership rates. “We have got to deal with that. We have to understand what happened, why and how it happened, and how we’re going to get out of this.”
NHC signs LISC letter on Section 4 program

NHC signed on to a letter by Enterprise Community Partners, Habitat for Humanity and LISC to senior members of the House and Senate Subcommittees on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development on Monday. The letter urged the members of Congress to preserve HUD’s Section 4 Capacity Building and Affordable Housing program and ensure that it remains a stand-alone program. “Section 4 is the only federal program that is exclusively focused on increasing the effectiveness of local community development organizations,” the letter reads. It was signed by 1,055 state and local community development and housing organizations across the country.
Federal Reserve Governor outlines proposal for CRA reform 

Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard laid out her ideas for updated regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act yesterday in a speech at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s 2019 Just Economy Conference. Brainard argued for a more flexible evaluation of banks under CRA, saying it could allow access to capital for communities underserved by financial institutions. She suggested banks’ assessment areas under the law could be defined in a way to encourage banks to lend “in a more expansive area.”
Dworkin writes op-ed on black homeownership

NHC President and CEO David Dworkin penned an op-ed in The Hill last Thursday on declining black homeownership rates. In the op-ed, which came on the heels of a Washington Post deep-dive into declining levels of black homeownership, Dworkin explains how African-Americans were disproportionately hurt by the financial crisis, despite experiencing the slowest growth in homeownership out of any racial group leading up to the crash. “Discrimination is most often cited as the reason for the decline, and while it is clearly embedded into the foundation of the problem, we also must be cognizant of the fact that historic changes in law and regulation have failed to have a meaningful and lasting impact on the homeownership rate,” Dworkin wrote. NHC is convening a new working group on this issue, and anyone interested in being involved in it should email NHC Policy Director Tristan Bréaux as soon as possible at [email protected] .
NHC and other groups caution Otting on GSE reform

In a March 1 letter to FHFA Acting Director Joseph Otting, NHC and other groups urged him to proceed with caution on GSE reform and build on the current structure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “Recognizing the vital role that the GSEs currently play, it is critical that any administrative reforms do not disturb essential functions in the secondary mortgage market,” the groups wrote. They also argued in the letter that the GSEs’ market footprint should not be reduced unless there is “compelling evidence” that the private market would be able to stand in for them. As part of our ongoing work on the issue, NHC is convening a working group on GSE reform. If you or your organization would like to be a part of the working group, please email NHC Policy Director Tristan Bréaux as soon as possible at [email protected] .
NHC is excited to attend NCSHA’s Legislative Conference this week. Housing Finance Agencies are important to the expansion of affordable housing across the country. They are a critical part of the nation’s affordable housing delivery system. ( Left to right: Quinn Mulholland, Tristan Bréaux, Nathan Park and Antoinette Sykes)
Congress holds several hearings on housing issues

It was a busy two weeks for housing-related issued on the Hill. Last Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on abuse in nursing homes and the House Ways & Means Committee held one on the state of America's infrastructure. On Thursday, the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, followed by the Senate Banking Committee holding another hearing on the CFPB yesterday. The House Financial Services Committee also held a hearing on consumer abuses by Wells Fargo yesterday and today will hold one on the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. Additionally today, the House Appropriations THUD Subcommittee will hold a hearing on building resilient communities.
Multifamily industry leader calls for increased investment in affordable housing

In an op-ed published last week in The Hill, National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) Chairwoman and CEO of Gables Residential Sue Ansel argued for Congress to take action on the issue of affordable housing. In the op-ed, Ansel wrote, “by working together, federal state and local policymakers and the private sector can make a meaningful difference for communities and Americans across the country struggling to afford their housing.” At the NMHC’s recent annual meeting, a Capital One survey found that 43 percent of respondents viewed the current political climate as detrimental to apartment activity.
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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