Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
August 22, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin

With temperatures in much of the country pushing into the 90s and beyond, it’s a good time to think about fall, which for housing advocates will be as busy as summer was hot. Here at NHC, we are already hard at work planning Solutions for Affordable Housing 2018, November 27-28 at the National Press Club. Over the next few months, we expect the Trump administration to reconsider regulations on fair housing and the Community Reinvestment Act, as well as issue new regulations for Opportunity Zones. Congress will be finalizing spending bills and must reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program in November. I also expect the Trump administration to nominate a candidate to replace Mel Watt, whose term as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency ends in January.

Looming over all of these issues is the November election, which is expected to change the leadership of the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate as well. But whatever change is decided won’t begin until after New Year’s – which will be preceded by a Republican-led lame-duck session in November and December.This is why you need to join us for this year’s Solutions for Affordable Housing convening. Topics will include housing finance reform, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, manufactured housing solutions, CRA modernization, Opportunity Zones and housing production and preservation, among others. We will feature several A-list speakers from Congress and the Executive branch.

This year’s convening will also feature NHC’s first Advocacy Day, giving you the chance to make your case for the policies your community needs. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in meetings with their members of Congress as well as key administration officials at HUD and Treasury. Current as well as newly elected members of Congress will be in town and need to hear from you.

Sponsorships for Solutions for Affordable Housing 2018 are available at several levels. Your organization can join current sponsors JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo, among others, to make this event a big success. If you’d like to sponsor part of the convening, please reach out to Amanda Mitchell soon, before all of the best opportunities are taken.

David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder
HUD files housing discrimination complaint against Facebook

Anna Maria Farías, assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity at HUD, recently filed a housing discrimination complaint against Facebook. The complaint argues Facebook discriminated on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, familial status, national origin and disability, all of which violate the Fair Housing Act. The complaint lists several examples of ways advertisers are able to select the demographic groups that will be served the advertisements. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a statement of interest, joined by HUD, in U.S. District Court on behalf of a number of private litigants challenging Facebook's advertising platform. 
Senate Banking Committee to vote on nominees 

The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has rescheduled nomination votes. The vote is scheduled for Aug. 23 at 10:15 a.m. EDT in room 538 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The nominations include: 

  • Kathy Kraninger, for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau;
  • Kimberly Reed, for president of the Export-Import Bank;
  • Elad Roisman, for member of the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • Michael Bright, for permanent president of Ginnie Mae;
  • Rae Oliver, for inspector general of HUD; and 
  • Dino Falaschetti, for director of Treasury's Office of Financial Research.
D.C. District Court dismisses Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing case

On Friday, Aug. 17, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia granted HUD’s motion to dismiss the case National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) et. al. v. HUD. The plaintiffs (NFHA, Texas Appleseed and Texas Low Income Housing Information Service) requested that the court grant a preliminary injunction to reinstate HUD’s Assessment Tool and the requirement for local communities to conduct Assessments of Fair Housing. Chief Judge Beryl Howell ruled that the plaintiffs lacked standing, thus granting HUD’s motion to dismiss and, consequently, denying the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction. A statement from the plaintiffs is available here.
AFFH ANPR published in Federal Register; comments due Oct. 15

HUD officially published its advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR), “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH): Streamlining and enhancements,” in the Federal Register. Through the ANPR, HUD hopes to “minimize regulatory burden,” “focus primarily on accomplishing positive results, rather than on performing analysis of community characteristics,” “provide for greater local control and innovation,” “increase housing choice” and “more effectively utilize HUD resources.” NHC will hold a policy committee meeting in September to gauge our members’ thoughts on the ANPR and respond accordingly. Comments are due on Oct. 15, 2018.
OCC re-opens door to double downgrades of CRA ratings

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) recently re-opened the door to double downgrades of Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) ratings based on evidence of discriminatory or other illegal credit practices. The change came in a revision to a portion of OCC’s Policies and Procedures Manual, PPM 5000-43 . The 2017 policy included a footnote stating, “The OCC's policy is not to lower a bank's CRA composite or component rating by more than one rating level.” The revision deleted the footnote and added text stating that if a CRA rating is to be lowered, “the OCC's general policy is to downgrade the rating by only one rating level unless such illegal practices are found to be particularly egregious.”
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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