Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
May 15, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

Last week, a small group of NHC members and other experts on affordable housing had lunch with the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pam Patenaude, and several other senior officials at HUD. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Sec. Ben Carson’s recent proposal to, in his words, “reform decades-old rent policies that are confusing, costly and counterproductive, in that the incentives they create often fail to adequately support individuals and families receiving HUD rental assistance in increasing their earnings.” Sec. Carson noted that the draft was a means to “begin a necessary conversation about how we can provide meaningful, dignified assistance to those we serve without hurting them at the same time.” It’s clear from our discussions here at NHC and with HUD that the current draft doesn’t get us there, for a wide range of reasons.

One of the points I made to the HUD team was that any changes in how we house 4.7 million people should be based on sound data and research, much of which is underway following the passage of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). In what was a remarkable feat of bipartisanship, HOTMA passed the House, 427-0! Yet the new HUD draft bill would make major changes to critical elements of that legislation, which could result in significantly raising rents on extremely low-income senior citizens and people with disabilities, a result that is simply not an acceptable outcome and makes achieving bipartisan reform impossible.

Additional reforms, in my view, are clearly necessary, but they must be done holistically. As I told the HUD team, “we have to consider production, work readiness, and job availability. We can’t play whack-a-mole with people.” When we do, we simply push expenses to other parts of the budget and cost the taxpayer more in the long run. “Moving people from public housing to homelessness does not save money.” The good news is that both Sec. Carson and Deputy Sec. Patenaude have made clear that they want to continue to engage with NHC on this and other issues – an invitation we accept wholeheartedly as an opportunity for us to make a difference, not just make a point.

Here at NHC, we will continue to consider a wide range of views on this and other issues. When we can constructively add to the debate, we will do so publicly. More often, however, we will work with our diverse members behind the scenes to achieve the outcomes that defend the American Home and the millions of people for whom the promise of quality affordable housing is still just a dream.

Your membership in NHC has never been more valuable or important. Every member and every dollar matters. Whether you are a Basic member for $800 a year, a Full member for $2000, which includes a ticket to the annual Gala, or you join us as a member of our Leadership Circle, you have a home in NHC. Please join us today!

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder
NHC rescission sign-on letter

NHC is leading this sign-on letter to members of Congress asking them to oppose the administration’s rescission proposal. Specifically, we ask them to oppose the over $234 million in rescissions from housing and community development programs including HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, Treasury’s Capital Magnet Fund and USDA’s Rental Assistance and Rural Community Facilities programs. The deadline to sign on is COB Friday, May 18. 
House Appropriations markups

The House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD) appropriations subcommittee will hold a hearing to mark up the FY 2019 THUD bill on May 16 at 5 p.m. EDT. The hearing will be in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2358-A and available via webcast. The full appropriations committee will likely mark up the bill next week.

The full appropriations committee will mark up the Energy and Water and Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bills on May 16 at 10 a.m. EDT. The hearing will be in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2359 and available via webcast
Senate Banking committee holds nomination hearing for PD&R assistant secretary

This morning, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing to consider several nominations, including that of Seth Appleton to be an assistant secretary of Policy Development and Research at HUD. The committee approved the nomination on a voice vote. Appleton’s nomination now moves to the full Senate for consideration.
CDFI Fund releases CY 2018 NMTC

Last week, the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund released its Notice of Allocation Availability inviting applications for the calendar year (CY) 2018 allocation of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. $3.5 billion is available for the CY 2018 allocation round. Applications for allocation authority are due June 28.
Congressional Joint Economic Committee Hearing on Opportunity Zones 

The Joint Economic Committee will hold a hearing on Thursday, May 17, 2018, at 10 a.m. EDT on " The Promise of Opportunity Zones." Testimony will be provided by John Lettieri of the Economic Innovation Group, Terri Ludwig of Enterprise Community Partners and Maurice A. Jones of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.  
Member highlight: Law firm solar panels bring energy savings to low-income D.C. residents
by Andrea Nesby

NHC Gold member Nixon Peabody is using clean, renewable energy to assist low-income D.C. residents with their electric bills. Nixon Peabody partners Jeff Lesk and Herb Stevens formed an independent nonprofit, New Partners Community Solar Corporation in 2016, as a way to give back to the community. The installation of the solar panels on the roof of Nixon Peabody’s downtown D.C. location completes the first phase of the program, which was designed to provide tenants with approximately $250 per year in energy billing credits. Those credits can be reflected directly on tenant utility bills or distributed through direct payments or vouchers.

In a recent Washington Post article, Stevens shared how simply the program works: “We just produce the energy here, Pepco turns it into dollars, and we send them to Southeast and Southwest Washington.”

The credits help Pepco customers residing at Copeland Manor, an affordable housing community that is home to 61 families in Southeast Washington. The property is owned by NHC members National Housing Trust and Enterprise Community Partners .

The program’s second phase is expected to benefit 300 residents in two additional apartment complexes. It is the city's first community solar project.
Two House Financial Services hearings Thursday

Two House Financial Services subcommittees will hold hearings this Thursday, May 17. At 10 a.m. EDT, the Oversight and Investigations subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, “ Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Relief Program – Stakeholder Perspectives.” Witnesses include Marion McFadden of Enterprise Community Partners, Stephen Costello of the City of Houston, Commissioner Rodney Ellis of Harris County, Texas, Heather Lagrone of the Texas General Land Office and Dr. Carlos Martín of the Urban Institute.

At 2 p.m. EDT, the Housing and Insurance subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, “ An Overview of Homelessness in America.” Witnesses include Nan Roman of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, Ann Bischoff of Star House, Duana Bremer of the Salvation Army and Peter Lynn of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. Both hearings will take place in the Rayburn House Office Building, room 2128, and via webcast. 
Enterprise to host webinar on Opportunity Zones

Enterprise Community Partners will host a two-part webinar on May 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. EDT on Opportunity Zones. Part one, from 1 to 2 p.m., will cover state and local policies to prevent displacement. Part two, from 2 to 3 p.m., will cover state and local policies to attract investment. Speakers include Flora Arabo, national director for state and local policy at Enterprise Community Partners; Victoria Brown, director of Enterprise Advisors and Rachel Reilly, director of the Enterprise Community Loan Fund. Register here
NHC signs CMF letter

NHC signed this letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate appropriations and the chairs and ranking members of their respective Financial Services & General Government subcommittees. The letter asks members of Congress to reject the administration’s proposal to rescind $151 million from the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF)
HUD to seek comment on disparate impact regulation

Last week, HUD announced that it plans to formally seek public comment on whether its 2013 Disparate Impact Regulation is consistent with the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. Under HUD’s rule, lenders, landlords and other housing providers can be held liable for discrimination against protected classes even if it was not their intent to discriminate. The formal request for comment has not yet been published, but will likely be published within the next month. 
Rep. Andy Barr introduces legislation to fight opioid epidemic through housing

Last week, Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) introduced the Transitional Housing for Recovery in Viable Environments (THRIVE) Act, H.R. 5735. The bill would establish a five-year demonstration program to set aside Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers for supportive and transitional housing for individuals recovering from opioid use disorders or other substance use disorders. The vouchers would be awarded to nonprofits on a competitive basis, which must provide temporary housing paired with a rehabilitation and job training program that lasts between 12 and 24 months.
Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. The National Housing Conference educates decision makers and the public about housing policies and practices to move housing forward together. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, real estate professionals, equity investors and more to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Founded in 1931, we are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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