Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
July 24, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin

Last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing Acadia National Park in Maine with my wife, Hayley, and our labradoodle, Annabelle. Sleeping in a tent under the stars is a privilege that many Americans like us enjoy. It’s something I love to do and the rest of my family loves that I love it. But thousands of other Americans sleep in a tent every day because they have no other place to live. There are a wide range of reasons why so many of our fellow Americans are homeless. In some cases, mental illness can make people more susceptible to factors that can lead to homelessness. For many others, job loss, the lack of affordable housing or bad luck and no savings force them onto the street. Some of them bounce back, pulling themselves up by their “bootstraps,” but you can’t pull yourselves up by your bootstraps if you don’t have boots. And without a job or an appropriate affordable housing unit, transitioning from homeless to housed is impossible for too many.
The full continuum of America’s affordable housing crisis extends from the two-earner couple of a nurse and teacher in Chicago who can’t find an apartment near a good school, or afford to buy a home of their own; to the retail worker who can’t afford a one bedroom apartment; to the extremely low-income family, who spends 70 percent of their income on rent; to the homeless mother and her children who fled their home because sleeping in a park or under an overpass was safer than staying home with an abusive partner. Affordable housing is a national crisis and should be a national priority.

Last week in Washington, D.C., an unusual thing happened. A bipartisan group of U.S. senators including Todd Young (R-Ind.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Angus King (I-Maine), along with Senators Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), introduced the “Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act.” This bill seeks to better understand and respond to America’s affordable housing crisis by creating a bipartisan affordable housing task force. As Sen. King said, “the need to find affordable housing isn’t just about keeping a roof over your head – it’s about building a foundation for every other aspect of your life…. For someone without safe, decent and affordable housing, every other challenge becomes more difficult, whether it’s pursuing an education, taking care of your health, or seeking out new economic opportunities. This isn’t a partisan issue, or one that is limited to just large cities or small rural towns – it affects everyone and requires a strong bipartisan effort to identify how we can improve quality of life for people across the nation."

At NHC, we couldn’t agree more and strongly support this initiative. The fact is that we are not short on solutions, we are short on commitment and compromise. We look forward to working with Congress to pass this important legislation, and to working with the Task Force to help its work make a difference.

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder &
Grant Kirkpatrick
Senate Banking Committee nomination hearing for HUD and Ginnie Mae

Today, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs held a nomination hearing for four nominees including Michael Bright for president of the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae), and Rae Oliver for inspector general of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Both nominees received bipartisan support and will appear before the committee again for an official vote. You can listen to the nomination hearing here.
New bipartisan task force on affordable housing announced last week

On July 18, Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) along with co-sponsors, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Angus King (I-Maine), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.), introduced the “ Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (S. 3231).” A one-page summary of the task force released by Sen. Young’s office states that the task force will, “evaluate and quantify the impact of affordable housing on other government programs and provide recommendations to Congress on how to use affordable housing top improve the effectiveness of other federal programs and improve life outcomes.” The bill has been referred to the Senate Banking Committee and awaits further action.
NHC's Dworkin authors blog series for HousingWire

NHC president and CEO David M. Dworkin will write a series of online articles this summer for HousingWire’s REwired vertical. In the first, published last week, Dworkin makes the case for housing finance reform and for the broad coalition of housing groups who will support it. In his latest post, published today, Dworkin details the importance of a commitment to affordability in any housing finance reform design, and the urgency of breaking the political gridlock that currently exists.
NFIP expiring, Congress poised to vote

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire on July 31. The House is scheduled to debate an amendment to S.1182 from Rep. Thomas MacArthur (R-N.J.) tonight and we expect the bill and amendment to pass. The amendment would extend the program until Nov. 30, 2018, the last official day of hurricane season. NHC has consistently called on Congress to both extend and reform the program. Research released today from Milliman shows that access to private flood insurance could reduce costs for over 90 percent of homes in New York and New Jersey. 
HFSC marks up housing bills

This morning the House Financial Services Committee (HFSC) marked up several housing-related bills including the “Homeless Children and Youth Act of 2017" ( H.R. 1511), the “Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act of 2017” ( H.R. 2069) and the “Mortgage Fairness Act of 2017” ( H.R. 2570). NHC along, with several other groups, oppose H.R. 1511. All three bills were passed out of committee by a vote of 39-18, 34-23 and 34-22, respectively.
FHFA drops credit score initiative

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that it no longer plans to update the credit score model used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Instead, FHFA plans to focus on implementing the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act ( S. 2155) that was signed into law earlier this year. The law requires FHFA to “define, through rulemaking, the standards and criteria the Enterprises will use to validate credit score models.”
HUD, DOJ launch PSA campaign against sexual harassment

This week, HUD and the Department of Justice (DOJ) released a public service announcement (PSA) to raise awareness of housing-related sexual harassment and to reach persons who are victimized by it. The video features three victims of sexual harassment who challenged their mistreatment in lawsuits brought by HUD under the Fair Housing Act. These women share their stories of abuse and the impact the experience they had on their lives.
HUD awards $14 million to help resident secure higher-paying jobs

HUD recently awarded $14 million to seven public housing authorities through its Jobs Plus Initiative. The seven housing authorities are in Covington, Kentucky; New Orleans, Louisiana; Monroe, Louisiana; Independence, Missouri; Lynn, Massachusetts, Camden, New Jersey and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. HUD's Jobs Plus Initiative connects public housing residents with employment, education and financial empowerment services, a proven model to help public housing residents find and keep better-paying jobs.
Our Homes, Our Votes webinar series

Today, Our Homes, Our Votes hosted its latest webinar, “Building the Base: Voter Registration of Low Income Renters and Their Allies.” This webinar is the second in a six-part series on nonpartisan voter engagement. The remaining webinars will be held from 3-4 p.m. EDT on July 31, Aug. 7, Aug. 14 and Aug. 21. Register for all of the webinars here. View the slides and recording from the first webinar, “Our Homes, Our Votes: An Introduction and an Exploration of Legal Considerations.” 
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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