To receive the Member Brief on Sunday,  become an NHC Member !
Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
November 10, 2019
Feature Message I By Kathryn Monet
Dear Friend,

This week, our guest blogger is Kathryn Monet, CEO of the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans and an active member of our National Housing Act working group on ending homelessness.

Freedom is not free, and Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on that and thank those who served in the military for their service. At the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV), we do that by building service provider capacity to ensure that all veterans can access housing. Everyone deserves safe, affordable housing, especially the nearly 38,000 veterans who were homeless on any given night in 2018 and the others who are at-risk of homelessness. The root causes of homelessness are as varied as the veterans they impact. Yet, homelessness among veterans has decreased by 50% since 2010. We know the solution is to help communities build systems of care that move people into permanent housing quickly and address the root causes of persistent poverty. There are three overarching challenges that, if addressed, will accelerate progress on veteran homelessness. 

The biggest universal challenge related to ending veteran homelessness is housing affordability. High cost, low vacancy rental housing markets both make it easier for veterans to become homeless and harder for them to escape homelessness. Given the shortage of affordable rental units that has persisted across the country, we need to pursue an all-in strategy when it comes to securing affordable rental units for veterans, from developing additional multifamily complexes to setting aside units in existing complexes to pursuing landlord and realtor engagement to ensure the benefits of renting to veterans are known.

Another challenge is connecting the dots between upstream prevention in key systems and the inflow of veterans entering the homeless system. Employment and income supports such as Social Security, Veteran Affairs compensation and pension are a key intervention at every point in the journey that help veterans sustain a housing placement. However; transitions from other systems such as the military, the justice system, hospitalization and others can also create their own unique challenges for veterans. Transitions from the military without enough information on resource and program availability can lead to unnecessary struggles. Adequately planned transitions from the justice and health care systems that include housing placement and connection to health care, earned benefits, and any other resources required can reduce recidivism, health issues and homelessness.  

Kathryn Monet
News from Washington I By Tristan Bréaux and
Quinn Mulholland
November webinar: Social determinants of health and housing

November’s Restoring Neighborhoods webinar will feature a presentation from Bob Simpson, vice president of Affordable and Green Financing at Fannie Mae and Rachel Cluett, Healthy Housing Rewards manager at Fannie Mae. A growing body of research continues to tie the environments in which people are born, raised and live in to their overall health and other life outcomes. Access to health care services, educational and economic opportunities, walkable and safe public spaces and more are essential aspects of household and community health. Fannie Mae Multifamily’s Healthy Housing Rewards program provides lower interest rates for developers and property owners who provide high quality residential services and integrate healthy design components. By addressing both social and physical determinants of health, Fannie Mae is helping create better outcomes for multifamily tenants. Join us Thursday, Nov. 14 from 2 to 3 p.m. EST to learn more about the work Fannie Mae is doing to improve the quality of life for tenants nationwide. Register here.
Lawmakers call for investigations into Opportunity Zones program

In the wake of a New York Times report showing that a wealthy financier with ties to the Trump administration is benefiting from the Opportunity Zones program, Democratic lawmakers took a flurry of actions last week to increase transparency in the program. On Monday, a group of Democrats, including House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) sent a letter to Comptroller General Gene Dodaro on Monday calling for a Government Accountability Office investigation into the program in light of the New York Times report. Neal and Wyden also sent a letter on Monday to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin requesting information about the program. On Wednesday, Wyden introduced legislation that would increase reporting requirements, prohibit investments in things like casinos, stadiums, and luxury apartments from getting tax breaks, and terminate Opportunity Zones that are not in low-income areas. The same day, a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation that would also increase reporting requirements.
Apple announces $2.5 billion investment in California’s affordable housing crisis

Apple will spend $2.5 billion fighting the affordable housing crisis in California, the company announced Monday. The announcement comes on the heels of several similar major housing investments from Facebook, Google and Microsoft. Apple’s investment includes a $1 billion investment fund to finance housing that is affordable for low- and moderate-income people and another $1 billion for financing and down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers. In an article for the New York Times, economics reporter Conor Dougherty explained that Apple’s investment likely won’t go very far in addressing the crisis because of local constraints on housing. Apple was also criticized by presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who accused the company of engaging in “an effort to distract from the fact that it has helped create California’s housing crisis.”
In Memoriam: The Honorable John Conyers (1929-2019) 

The late Representative John Conyers (center) attends an NHC housing roundtable in Detroit.
FHFA issues request for input on GSE UMBS pooling practices

On Monday, the FHFA issued a Request for Input (RFI) on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s pooling practices for the formation of To-Be-Announced (TBA)-eligible Uniform Mortgage-Backed Securities (UMBS). In its release, the FHFA said the RFI “seeks to ensure that UMBS remain a source of stable, affordable liquidity for the U.S. housing finance system.” FHFA Director Mark Calabria also made several public comments last week, giving a speech at a Structured Finance Association symposium and making an appearance on Fox Business, where he said that GSE reform is “going in the right direction,” given that Fannie and Freddie are less leveraged then when he started as director. 
Affordable housing measures pass in several states

Last week’s elections had major repercussions for housing issues across the country. In San Francisco, voters approved two affordable housing measures, a $600 million affordable housing bond and a proposition that would expedite the construction of affordable housing for teachers. In Jersey City, voters approved new restrictions on Airbnb and other short-term rental companies, with many citing concerns about rising home costs. In Durham, North Carolina, voters approved $95 million in bonds for the construction of affordable housing. And finally in Texas, voters approved two measures related to disaster relief, one that would give homeowners in disaster areas temporary property tax relief, and another that would create a flood infrastructure fund.
USDA announces broadband investments in three states

The USDA announced last week that it will invest in rural broadband infrastructure in three states, Virginia, Oklahoma  and North Carolina. The USDA will invest $3.8 million on broadband infrastructure in Virginia, $4.2 million in Oklahoma, and $23.7 million in North Carolina. The announcement came from USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Donald LaVoy, who said in a statement, “Our core mission at USDA is to increase rural prosperity, and this mission cannot be achieved without addressing the digital divide our rural communities face due to a lack of high-speed broadband internet connection.”
Chart of the Week
Homeowners are staying put longer, contributing to lower inventory

A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted new research from Redfin showing that homeowners are staying in their homes longer, with the average homeowner tenure rising to 13 years today from 8 years in 2010. This, according to the report, is a large reason why the number of homes for sale per 1,000 households has plummeted since 1985.
What we're reading
A Buzzfeed News investigation published last week showed that New Orleans has failed to conduct lead testing over the last decade and buried a report on its failure to do so. The report, which Buzzfeed News obtained, showed that New Orleans violated federal law in failing to test for lead. Read the article here.

WLRN examined the issue of climate gentrification in Miami in an article published on Monday. The article showed that residents of Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood are facing increasing pressure from rising housing costs due to the neighborhood’s high elevation, insulating it from the effects of sea level rise. Read the article here.

In a recent in-depth article co-produced with the Center for Public Integrity, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution highlighted a rural Georgia county that is facing increasing threats from natural disasters. The county is still recovering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Michael last year, according to the article, and local officials are struggling with how to make the county more resilient to future disasters. Read the article here.

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek feature put a spotlight on UnitedHealth Group Inc.’s newly expanded initiative that pays for housing and other services for homeless Medicaid recipients. The initiative is premised on the idea that safe housing is an important factor in a person’s health. Read the article here.

The National Fair Housing Alliance recently released a report showing that housing discrimination complaints rose dramatically in 2018. According to the report, the number of complaints in 2018 was up by 8 percent, and the number of hate crimes linked to housing rose by 15 percent. Read the full report here.
The week ahead
Monday, November 11
·          2019 NMHC OPTECH Conference & Expo, Nov. 11-13

Tuesday, November 12
·          Urban Institute event on homeownership for veterans, 12:30 - 2 p.m.
·          Brookings Institution event on bias in algorithms, 2- 3 p.m.

Wednesday, November 13

Thursday, November 14
·          2019 NMHC Data Privacy Standards and Compliance Summit, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

Friday, November 15

Saturday, November 16
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.
Defending our American Home since 1931
Copyright © 2019. All Rights Reserved.