Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
March 27, 2019
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

This week, NHC held a Member Meeting to vote on a slate of Governors for the three-year term beginning in June. We also held one of our three annual Board of Governors meetings. In June, we will hold our annual meeting of members on June 5, the day before our Annual Policy Symposium and Annual Housing Visionary Awards Gala. We hope that you will be able to join us for all three events. Today, I’d like to share with you two slides about our membership that were part of my report to the Board.

The first slide is an analysis of our current membership. I am proud that our membership has grown to 210 – a significant increase over the same time last year. However, I am even more gratified that our membership successfully spans such a broad group of participants in the housing industry. Our diverse membership is the key to our success, bringing a complete range of experience to our policy development and advocacy. This diversity is highly valued by policy makers in Congress and the administration. 
Our largest group is nonprofit and for-profit developers of affordable housing – those with mud on their boots, as I like to say. They are essential to ensuring that our policy objectives are helping create more affordable housing. They are followed by national associations and financial services firms that represent hundreds of organizations around the country. Nearly a third of our members are equally divided between government agencies, civil rights and advocacy organizations, housing finance agencies, and consulting firms. They play an essential role in our policy development and advocacy.
Last October, we conducted a survey of members to learn more about how we are doing, what our members expect of us, and what kind of challenges our members face in their day-to-day work. I’m thrilled that over 80 percent of respondents are Satisfied or Very Satisfied. It reflects well on the leadership of our Board and the work of our entire team. But even more valuable is the feedback we received on your priorities and what you need from us. Recommendations like “holding luncheon meetings with speakers” and “more real time updates on key issues” are at the top of my priority list for 2019. Our effort to write a national housing policy bill for the 21 st century, which we call “HR 1 in 2021,” is our response to the call for “more bold initiatives” and it starts with you.

We have created five working groups to address the key issues we will be focusing on in the National Housing Act of 2021: Affordable Homeownership, Affordable Rental Housing, Homelessness, Climate Impact and Community Development. We need your input to tell us what is working, what needs more resources, what needs modernizing and what new concepts need to be scaled in national policy. If you would like to participate in this process, please contact Tristan Bréaux, our director of policy and advocacy, at [email protected]. NHC has played a leading role in the creation of every national housing act passed by Congress since 1934. Working together, we can bring our diverse members together and pass a new, comprehensive National Housing Act for the 21 st century. I look forward to working with you on this important initiative.
David M. Dworkin
NHC President and CEO
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux and
Quinn Mulholland
Senate Banking Committee holds hearings on GSE reform

Yesterday, the Senate Banking Committee held the first of two hearings on Chairman Mike Crapo’s recent outline for housing finance reform. In his opening remarks at the hearing, Senator Crapo said, “We are dedicated to getting this done, to bring to a close the conservatorship era, and to establish a durable, sustainable new housing finance system that works for all Americans.” Among the witnesses testifying yesterday was National Association of Home Builders Board Chairman Greg Ugalde, who emphasized the importance of an explicit government guarantee as included in Senator Crapo’s outline. In a recent interview with MarketWatch, NHC President and CEO David Dworkin laid out a similar vision for GSE reform based in part on the framework established in the Housing and Economic Recovery Act. “We’ve spent 10 years trying to come up with an alternative path to the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage that precludes the GSEs and we have not been able to do it,” Dworkin said. “After 10 years, it’s not unreasonable to say we should go back to first principles, not back to the drawing board.” The Senate Banking Committee will hold its second hearing on housing finance reform this morning. 
NCRC study finds that D.C. has the highest intensity of gentrification in America

According to a study released last week by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, Washington, D.C. had the highest intensity of gentrification of any city in the country. The study found that about 40 percent of D.C. neighborhoods eligible to gentrify did so. In an accompanying essay, Sabiyha Prince of Empower DC wrote that “gentrification is a policy-driven process that begins with targeting low-income, urban communities for discrimination and neglect and ends with “improvements” that exacerbate vulnerabilities that culminate in displacement.”
Fed signals it won’t raise interest rates

Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve voted to hold interest rates steady, signaling that they wouldn’t increase rates this year. The Fed also announced lower expectations for economic growth at the meeting, with the expected economic growth rate decreasing to 2.1 percent. The Fed’s decision to hold off on rate hikes has resulted in lower borrowing costs for consumers, including lower mortgage rates . Freddie Mac’s weekly survey, which was released too early to take into account the Fed’s announcement, also found that mortgage rates decreased, down to 4.28 percent.
Fannie and Freddie announce leadership changes 

Freddie Mac announced last week that Donald H. Layton will retire as CEO on July 1 and will be replaced by David Brickman effective July 1. Brickman has served as Freddie Mac’s president since September 2018. In a statement, Freddie Mac Board of Directors Chair Sara Mathew said, “Don has been a remarkable leader during a period of tremendous change at Freddie Mac, and on behalf of the Board and the company, I would like to thank him for his outstanding leadership over the last seven years.” Additionally last week, Fannie Mae announced that it appointed Stergios Theologides as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary effective March 28. Theologides previously served in that role for financial services firm CoreLogic.
Carson writes op-ed touting affordable housing policies

HUD Secretary Ben Carson wrote an op-ed in Media Planet last week, arguing that despite “growing pains,” the Trump administration’s economic and housing policies have been successful. Programs Carson mentioned included Opportunity Zones and the Rental Assistance Demonstration program. “Public-private partnerships like Opportunity Zones and RAD are proven tools we must continue using to tackle our country’s affordable housing issues,” Carson wrote. Also last week, Carson sat down for an interview with PBS Newshour, where he addressed a range of issues, from Trump’s rhetoric on race to HUD’s public housing policies.
We are proud to have women make up nearly half of our Board of Governors, building #affordablehousing from northern California to New York and everywhere in between. See who they are ! #womenhistorymonth #OurAmericanHome
April Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force meeting

On April 10 at 2 p.m. EDT, join NHC for our monthly Restoring Neighborhoods Task Force webinar. The April meeting will be a presentation by Kevin Ehrman-Solberg, the digital and geospatial director of Mapping Prejudice. Mapping Prejudice uses historical data and mapping software to illuminate how Minneapolis’ past policies racially segregated the city and exacerbated racial disparities experienced today. The City of Minneapolis used the work from Mapping Prejudice to shape Minneapolis 2040, a comprehension plan that will guide the city’s growth and improve housing affordability. Register here.
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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