Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington | By Luke Villalobos
ACTION Campaign urges leaders to invest in Housing Credit
The A Call to Invest in Our Neighborhoods (ACTION) Campaign sent a letter to Senate and House leadership on Monday asking them to make critical changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) before the end of the 117th Congress. Over 2,500 businesses, nonprofits, and public agencies signed the letter, including the National Housing Conference. The group urged Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to include needed production provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act in any end-of-year legislation.

The letter makes two specific requests: Expand the Housing Credit authority by 50 percent, or at minimum, reinstate the 12.5 percent cut the Credit suffered this year; and enhance the use of existing Private Activity Bond authority for rental housing production by lowering the bond financing threshold from 50 percent to 25 percent. According to Novogradac & Company LLP, those two provisions would finance an estimated 1.93 million affordable rental homes over the next decade.

“The most important thing we can do to combat the supply-demand imbalance causing rents to skyrocket is to build and preserve more affordable housing with the Housing Credit,” said Jennifer Schwartz, ACTION Campaign co-chair and director of tax and housing advocacy with the National Council of State Housing Agencies. “Our nation has underbuilt for too long, and low-income families and seniors are paying that price. Congress cannot further delay investment in housing supply; expanding the Housing Credit is the most effective way to get that done.”
FHA offers flood insurance options

Last week, HUD announced that homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages can now obtain flood insurance policies that meet FHA requirements from private providers, effective Dec. 21, 2022. Previously, flood insurance could only be obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program for FHA-insured properties in designated Special Flood Hazard Areas.
“Flood insurance is required to ensure families and individuals are prepared if disaster strikes. Increasing consumer options for this important protection is one way we are building more resilient communities in the face of climate change,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.
As part of the implementation, lenders must submit detailed flood insurance coverage information when submitting mortgages for FHA insurance. This data will allow FHA to collect and analyze flood insurance information to build its portfolio in meeting the objectives of HUD’s Climate Action Plan. Implementation guidance for FHA-approved lenders was published in the Federal Register and Mortgagee Letter.
Cinnaire announces 2022 Community Fund

On Monday, Cinnaire announced the closing of its largest-ever Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity fund. The $211 million 2022 Community Fund was raised by capital from 15 institutional investors and will support 25 affordable housing properties and preserve an estimated 1,900 homes throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. “As the need for safe, affordable housing has grown, our team was inspired to reach higher and bring together developers and investors committed to raising opportunities for affordable housing, the cornerstone of health communities,” said Cinnaire CEO and President Mark McDaniel. This fund raises Cinnaire’s total equity investment to more than $5 billion.
Chart of the week
Study shows difficulty of rezoning in wealthy neighborhoods

A recently published Urban Institute report assesses developer-initiated rezonings in Louisville, Ky., and the outcomes of rezoning attempts driven by resident participation in commission hearings. The report found that resident participation greatly influenced rezoning approval rates. At hearings, the number of speakers and share of speakers who opposed projects in wealthier neighborhoods led to local legislative bodies approving fewer applications for rezoning in more affluent neighborhoods, despite those neighborhoods having a larger share of submitted applications. The study recommends that authorities weigh public perception less heavily in rezoning approvals
What we're reading
An article in The Atlantic asks how many more homes are needed in coastal cities to make housing affordable for middle-class and working families and examines many answers from various housing experts that can be summarized as “enormous.” The author notes the lack of a comprehensive policy for how to make our largest cities more affordable, as many housing organizations are focused on a nuanced approach to address the housing supply gap at the national level.

A blog post from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University summarizes a new paper that finds service coordinators improved resident resilience during the pandemic. The study surveyed resident services coordinators working in federally subsidized properties for low-income adults 62 and older and people with disabilities and found that in addition to spending more time on their typical duties, service coordinators also tailored new pandemic solutions to each property to maintain access to services, medical providers, and social connections. In addition, the study highlights service coordinators’ roles in helping residents navigate personal and societal disruptions.

An article in Fast Company by Daniel Smith, founder and CEO of home management platform Keepingly, outlines ways mortgage programs can be made more sustainable and accessible for minority families without repeating past mistakes. Smith recommends weeding out bias in the appraisal process, embedding long-term homeownership success in government programs, reducing buyer’s remorse by requiring repurchase safeguards, incentivizing buyers and sellers to maintain records, and higher home education. Smith will be a panelist at NHC’s upcoming Solutions for Affordable Housing convening on Dec. 6.

Freddie Mac released its Green Mortgage Backed Security (MBS) Impact Report for 2021. The report found that Single-Family Green MBS issuance netted enough energy to power 1,877 homes, avoided greenhouse gas emissions at the equivalent of removing 2,433 cars off the road for a year, and saved an average of $1,027 in annual utility costs for homeowners with a GreenCHOICE mortgage.
The week ahead
Monday, November 28
Tuesday, November 29
Wednesday, November 30
NAREB Black Housing Summit (NAREB), 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM EST in person in Washington, DC
11th Annual Housing Conference (AEI), 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM EST
Thursday, December 1
11th Annual Housing Conference (AEI), 11:00 AM - 5:15 PM EST
Friday, December 2
The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest.
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