Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
April 3, 2018
President's Message I By David M. Dworkin
Dear Friend,

Earlier this morning, the U.S. Department of the Treasury released its report on modernization of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), which is expected to be immediately followed by formal initiation of regulatory action by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the other CRA regulators. As we expected, the “report” was not published in the same format as past responses to President Trump’s February 3, 2017 Executive Order on Core Principles for Regulating the United States Financial System, but is instead in the form of a public memo to the regulators that make up the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) – the OCC, the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). NHC will host a members-only webinar to review the report in detail this week. NHC members will receive webinar registration information by the end of the day. Please check your membership status here to confirm that your membership is up to date.

CRA modernization is critically important because the structure of banking has changed so dramatically since 1977, when the CRA was enacted. While we have made a lot of tangible progress in the past fifty years, we have also had some devastating setbacks. The most significant failure is the fact that the African-American homeownership rate is actually lower than it was in April of 1968, when the Fair Housing Act was enacted in the days following the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a national tragedy that must not stand. Homeownership is the most important driver of wealth creation in the American economy and a century of housing discrimination embedded in the U.S. government’s housing finance system prior to 1968 must be addressed. Nothing illustrates this better than this map, one of thousands created by the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) and adopted by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to ensure that African-Americans were explicitly denied the American Dream. Note that the African-American neighborhoods are labeled as “hazardous,” and areas showing signs of integration are labeled “declining.” 
Similar maps were created for Detroit, Chicago, New Orleans and hundreds of other locations. Maps like these haven’t been used in fifty years but the patterns they established have been incredibly hard to reverse, despite the efforts of government, lenders committed to affordable housing and a wide range of housing advocacy organizations including many of NHC’s longest-standing members. If done right, CRA modernization can serve as an opportunity to refresh this important strategic tool. But this will only happen with concerted effort, advocacy and money. 

NHC has been defending our American Home since 1931, and we will continue to lead with practical and effective solutions that leverage best practices and lessons already learned. One way you can sharpen your advocacy skills is by attending the Solutions for Housing Communications convening on April 17 at the National Press Club.
David M. Dworkin
President and CEO
News from Washington I By Kaitlyn Snyder
Register for April Restoring Neighborhoods webinar

This Wednesday, April 4 at 2 p.m. EDT, join NHC for our monthly Restoring Neighborhoods webinar to discuss naturally occurring affordable housing, the importance of preserving this valuable housing stock and how affordable housing developers can engage in this work. Anne McCulloch, president and CEO of the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, Deidre Schmidt, president and CEO of CommonBond Communities and Jane Graf, president and CEO of Mercy Housing, will share their experiences in acquiring unsubsidized affordable housing including financing strategies and partnerships. Register here.
HUD releases FY 2018 income limits

Last week, HUD released the dataset of FY 2018 income limits, which are effective as of April 1, 2018. The income limits determine eligibility for public housing, Section 8 project-based rental assistance, Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, Section 202 housing for the elderly and Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities programs. The income limits are calculated for each fair market rent area, and the calculations are based on median family income estimates from American Community Survey data, and family size. They include limits for low-income (80 percent of area median income [AMI]), very low-income (50 percent of AMI) and extremely low-income (30 percent of AMI) households.
Harvard Joint Center event on reducing the cost of housing

On Friday, April 13, the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies will host “ Reframing housing development: How changes in design, construction, and regulation could reduce the cost of housing.” The event will run from 1 – 6:30 p.m. EDT and feature four panels: Designing more affordable housing; New approaches to construction; Addressing regulatory and political obstacles; and Putting it all together: Reflections on the afternoon. You can register to attend this complimentary event in person or watch live via webcast
HUD issues new resources on small area FMRs

HUD recently published several new documents on the implementation of small area fair market rents (SAFMRs). The new documents include frequently asked questions, a SAFMRs implementation guidebook, case studies, sample implementation documents, and a recorded presentation that describes the rules, requirements and considerations for implementing HUD's SAFMRs rule.
Freddie Mac issues new report on restricted rents

A new analysis by Freddie Mac of nine markets shows that in 2017, the average rent for Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) properties was 38 percent lower than average market-rate rents. The study notes that households who live in LIHTC properties also benefit from more stable and predictable rent increases. Market-rate rents grew five percent on average per year between 2012 and 2017, while LIHTC rents rose an average of 0.9 percent annually during the same period. The study includes a county from within each of the following metro areas: Albuquerque, N.M.; Nashville, Tenn.; Minneapolis, Minn.; New York, N.Y.; Orlando, Fla.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Austin, Texas. Two counties from the Los Angeles, Calif., metro area were also included in the study. 
FHFA releases 2017 scorecard for GSEs

Last week, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) released the 2017 Scorecard Progress Report for the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The progress report measures the GSEs’ efforts to: 
  • Address factors limiting access to mortgage credit for creditworthy borrowers.
  • Mitigate and prevent foreclosures.
  • Responsibly reduce severely aged delinquent loans, nonperforming loans and real estate-owned properties.
  • Reduce taxpayer risk, including efforts to expand single-family and multifamily credit risk transfer transactions and activities to reduce the enterprises' retained portfolios.
  • Implement the Single Security Initiative and the Common Securitization Platform. 
  • Promote diversity and inclusion in all Scorecard activities.
HUD hosts HOME webinar series

HUD will offer the virtual Building HOME training series starting April 11. The training series includes four, two-hour trainings which will take place on Wednesdays from 1 – 3 p.m. EDT, followed by an hour office session on Thursdays. The training series provides an overview of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), including the latest requirements codified in the HOME Final Rule. Participants will become familiar with all program activities, including homeowner and homebuyer, rental housing, tenant-based rental assistance and Community Housing Development Organization activities. Register here
Everyone in America should have equal opportunity to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community. The National Housing Conference educates decision makers and the public about housing policies and practices to move housing forward together. NHC convenes and collaborates with our diverse membership of housing stakeholders including tenant advocates, mortgage bankers, nonprofit and for-profit home builders, property managers, policy practitioners, real estate professionals, equity investors and more to advance our policy, research and communications initiatives to effect positive change at the federal, state and local levels. Founded in 1931, we are a nonpartisan, 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
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