2016 Legislative and Regulatory Policy Priorities
NALHFA is committed to preserving, enhancing and improving the delivery and effectiveness of federal affordable housing resources to the local level, and through the nation’s network of locally-focused housing finance agencies. To accomplish this, NALHFA will concentrate its advocacy activities in 2016 on the following key federal affordable housing and development programs.
For a summary and description of federal housing and community development programs of key concern to local housing finance agencies (HFAs) and NALFHA’s official 2015 policy recommendations, click the link below.
Community Development Block Grant Program
CDBG supports community development programs that assist urban, suburban and rural communities in improving housing and expanding economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income persons. Formula-based grants are provided on an annual basis directly to 1,185 metropolitan city and county governments, and states. Local entitlement cities and counties receive 70 percent of CDBG funds, and states receive 30 percent.
A total of $3 billion was appropriated for CDBG in FY2016—level with previous year’s funding. However, support for the program has declined nearly 30 percent since 2010, which has hampered local government ability to implement the community-driven development initiatives needed to create jobs, and improve essential infrastructure.
HOME Investment Partnership Program
Established in 1990, the HOME program assists state and local governments in providing affordable housing to low-income families. HOME funds, which are allocated by HUD on a formula basis—60 percent directly to local governments and 40 percent to states—can be used for the acquisition, reconstruction and rehabilitation of housing, as well as tenant-based rental assistance. Since its inception, the program has helped produce over one million units of affordable housing.
For FY2016, HOME was provided with $950 million in funding, an increase of $50 million above previous year’s appropriations. The program has experienced a 50 percent decline in funding since 2010, which has hindered the ability of state and local governments to produce and sustain affordable housing. NALHFA supports total funding of $1.2 billion for the HOME program for FY2017, which will help to restore the ability of local governments to support affordable housing activities and leverage other public and private resources.
Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)
In December 2015 as part of a tax extenders package, Congress established a permanent minimum Nine percent Housing Credit. In 2016, NALHFA will continue its advocacy efforts to establish a minimum four percent Housing Credit, increase the amount of Housing Credits, and adopt income averaging policies.
Private Activity Bonds (PABs)/Municipal Bonds
During the 113th Congress, NALHFA in coalition with Municipal Bonds for America and others, was successful in preserving PABs and the existing municipal tax exemption. However, the issue of broad-based individual and corporate tax reform is still expected to be debated by Congress in 2015. The Administration and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) have both expressed a desire to examine tax reform, beginning with corporate tax reform. In 2016, NALHFA will continue its efforts—including through its participation in the Municipal Bonds for America and Don’t Mess with Our Bonds coalitions—to preserve all tax-exempt housing bonds. Tax exempt housing bonds are a critical tool in the local HFA affordable single- and multi-family housing finance tool box. NALHFA will also seek opportunities to promote the expanded use of tax-exempt housing bonds to better serve local HFA housing finance needs and programs.
Housing Trust Fund
In 2014, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced it was lifting the suspension on GSE-required payments to the Housing Trust Fund (HTF). The HTF, administered by HUD, was authorized by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA; P.L. 110-289) to fund affordable housing activities. Under the law, Fannie Mae and Freddie are required to set aside a share of their revenue to fund state-designated affordable housing initiatives. HUD will begin allocating HTF resources in the summer 2016 and estimates it will distribute roughly $174 million. In order to ensure HTF resources fulfill locally-driven affordable housing needs, NALHFA encourages HUD and Congress to ensure funds are provided directly to local governments.