Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
November 21, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin

This week, I am privileged to have some time off with my family in Delray Beach, Florida. We drove down, visiting friends along the way and listening to former First Lady Michelle Obama’s  Becoming”  on Audible. I was struck by how much we have in common, from our loving and hard-working parents who instilled in us a value system that we still draw upon today, to our drive to make more than just a living but a difference, to our reliance on a circle of friends and mentors who have guided us through life’s curve balls. In fact, there were so many quirky similarities that at one point my wife said, “who knew that I’d be Barack and you’d be Michelle in this story?” It is a story of gratitude and purpose in equal parts, and I am grateful she was willing to share so many intimate details of her life for us to learn from.
One of the things I love about Thanksgiving is the opportunity to reflect on all of the privileges I have been blessed with. Like Mrs. Obama, I’ve worked hard, but I’ve also gotten many lucky breaks that made a huge difference. This attitude puts former President Obama’s controversial observation that “you didn’t do this by yourself” in perspective. Hard work is a basic requirement for success, but it helps to have been both blessed and lucky along the way. Millions of our fellow Americans have not had very much of either. Some, like Secretary Ben Carson, persevered and made it. Many others, whether they were born on the East Side of Detroit, or West Virginia’s coal country, have not.
And that’s why we do what we do. If you are reading this, you are more than likely one of these people, like Mrs. Obama, who chose the path less traveled, because it would make a difference in the lives of others. Our daily work for affordable housing matters. When we are successful, lives are changed for the better. When we fail, thousands and sometimes millions fail with us. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to be on this road with you. Let’s make a difference together. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux
Senators Kaine and Hatch release anti-discrimination bill

In a bipartisan effort, Senators Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Fair Housing Improvement Act of 2018 to protect veterans and low-income families who use housing vouchers from housing discrimination. The bill would prohibit discrimination based on source of income or veteran status by adding these as protected classes under the Fair Housing Act. The Act, which celebrated its 50 th anniversary this year, currently includes protections against discrimination based on race or color, religion, sex, national origin, familial status or disability.
Disaster declaration provides aid to wildfire victims

With wildfires burning thousands of homes in California and hundreds of thousands residents evacuated, President Trump has issued a major disaster declaration for Butte, Los Angeles and Ventura counties. This allows HUD to provide aid for homeowners and low-income renters that are impacted by the fires, including immediate foreclosure relief, mortgage insurance and information on housing providers and HUD programs. 
JCHS releases “Housing America’s Older Adults 2018” report

A new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) finds that half of U.S. households are headed by someone over age 50 and the number of households age 80 and over will more than double by the year 2037. The study also highlights a historically high gap in homeownership rates for older whites and blacks. While 81 percent of white households age 50 and over own their homes, only 57 percent of older black households are owners. This 24-percentage point gap is the largest disparity since recordkeeping began in 1976. These and other findings from the report indicate a greater demand for supportive and accessible housing for seniors in years to come.  
Federal judge rejects New York public housing overhaul 

In an unexpected ruling, a federal judge in New York has rejected a consent decree that would have injected $2 billion into renovations and upgrades at New York City Housing Authority’s properties and subjected the authority to oversight by a court appointed monitor. The deal was originally struck earlier this year after the U.S. Attorney’s office filed suit against the authority for misconduct and poor management. In the new ruling, the judge suggested that HUD should be more involved in the eventual solution. The parties have until December to submit statements on how to proceed.
Race plays a major role in eviction

A report from the RVA Eviction Lab shows that eviction is about more than just poverty and nonpayment of rent. The report examines neighborhood-level eviction data and what factors have measurable effects on the eviction rate. The analysis shows that neighborhood racial composition is a significant factor in determining eviction rates, even after controlling for income, property value and other characteristics.
NCSHA releases Opportunity Zone fund directory

NHC member the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) released an online directory of multi-project Opportunity Zone funding opportunities with contact information and details such as geographic coverage and investment focus. The directory currently covers 39 publicly-announced funds and will be updated periodically. 
GSEs are on track for common MBS by June

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) finds in its latest update on the Single Security Initiative and Common Securitization Platform that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are on track to implement their Uniform Mortgage-Backed Security (MBS) by June 3, 2019. FHFA expects the new system, which would replace the separate securities currently issued by the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), to increase the efficiency, resiliency and liquidity of the mortgage market. 
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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