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Legislative Alert: Senators Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Require Reporting on OZ Investments

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 9, 2019
Yesterday, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tim Scott (R-SC), Todd Young (R-IN), and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced a bill, S. 1344, that would require the Secretary of the Treasury to collect data on the investments made with the Opportunity Zone tax incentive. This legislation would also require the Treasury Secretary to submit a report on their findings no later than a year from enactment of the bill.
 
The bill would require the Secretary of the Treasury to collect information on investments held by qualified opportunity funds (QOF) including:
  • The number of QOFs;
  • The amount of assets held in QOFs;
  • The composition of QOF investments by asset class;
  • The percentage of designated Opportunity Zones that receive QOF investments; and 
  • The impacts and outcomes of zone designation on economic indicators including job creation, poverty reduction, new business starts, and other metrics as determined by the Treasury Secretary.
The Treasury Secretary would also be required to collect information about the investments themselves:
  • The total amount and date of an investment;
  • The type of investment – such as whether it is in an existing business, new business, or real estate and the location of a business or real estate investment;
  • The type of activity being supported by the investment – such as single-family or multi-family residential property or commercial property, or the economic sector in which the business operates;
  • In the case of a business investment, the approximate number of full-time employees at the time the investment was made; and 
  • In the case of a real estate investment, the approximate total square footage and approximate number of residential units.
NALHFA will continue to monitor and track the progress of S. 1344. Please contact Katelynn Harris with any questions. 

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Legislative Alert: HUD Issues Mortgagee Letter on Government Entities Down Payment Assistance (DPA) Program

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 22, 2019

On April 18, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued Mortgagee Letter 2019-06, “Down payment Assistance and Operating in a Governmental Capacity,” on government entities operating in their governmental capacity when providing down payment assistance insured by the Federal Housing Administrators (FHA). Under the ML, a mortgagee must properly document that an government entity funding down payment assistance for an FHA-insured mortgage is legally authorized to provide such assistance in the area in which the home is located. Within two years of the mortgag­­­­e being closed, the mortgagee must also receive a legal opinion from the government entity that funded the down payment assistance stating that the home being purchased is located within the entity’s legal jurisdiction. The new requirements apply effective immediately as of April 18.

 

Back in December, NALHFA met with FHA Commissioner Brian Montgomery and his single-family housing staff. The group met to discuss the impending policy guidance regarding DPA in connection with FHA-insured mortgages. As a key industry stakeholder, NALHFA arranged the meeting to communicate the importance of preserving the ability of local HFAs to provide DPA and other secondary financing on a preferred basis with FHA single-family loans. NALHFA continues to have a strong working relationship with HUD and will continue to work with them on behalf of its members and the local housing finance industry.

 

NALHFA will be reviewing the Mortgagee Letter and would like to hear from our members on how this guidance will impact their organization. Please send any comments to Katelynn Harris at kharris@nalhfa.org

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Legislative Alert: HUD Publishes Request for Information on How HUD Can Better Serve Distressed Communities; Opportunity Zones

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 22, 2019
Concurrent with the release of the IRS regulations, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a Request for Information (RFI) on the Federal Register requesting further information on how HUD can better facilitate public private partnerships in distressed communities, including Opportunity Zones. The HUD Secretary, Dr. Ben Carson, is the chairmen of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, which was created by the President by executive order.
 
Specifically, HUD requested input on these questions:
  • How HUD should use its existing authorities to maximize the beneficial impact of public and private investments in urban and economically distressed communities;
  • In what ways could HUD structure preference points for Opportunity Zones and incorporate policy objectives in the rating factors for applications in discretionary grant competitions to increase incentive to invest in Opportunity Zones;
  • What type of technical assistance should be offered through HUD;
  • How HUD should prioritize support for urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones, in its grants, financing, and other assistance;
  • How HUD can ensure existing residents, businesses, and community organizations in Opportunity Zones benefit from the influx of investment;
  • How HUD can properly evaluate the impact of Opportunity Zones on communities;
  • How might Qualified Opportunity Fund investments support the goal of ending homelessness;
  • How HUD should interact with other stakeholders to maximize the success of the Opportunity Zone incentive; and
  • Any other aspects of Opportunity Zones that should be considered and are not addressed in this request for information.
 
Comments will be due 60 days after the posting of the RFI, which will be June 17, 2019. NALHFA will be working on putting together comments, please stay tuned for more information. Please send all comments and suggestions to Katelynn Harris at kharris@nalhfa.org

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Senate Approves Nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria to Lead Federal Housing Finance Agency

Posted By Administration, Monday, April 8, 2019

The Senate voted yesterday to approve the nomination of Dr. Mark Calabria as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Approved by a vote of 53-46, Dr. Calabria will take over the role from acting director Joseph Otting and will serve a 5-year term with FHFA.

 

Dr. Calabria served as the chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, director of financial regulation studies at the Cato Institute, and as a senior aide on the Senate Banking Committee, where he helped draft the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).

 

"NALHFA congratulates Dr. Calabria on his Senate approval as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency," said NALHFA Executive Director Jonathan Paine. "We look forward to working with Mark to advance common sense policies and to protect funding to vital programs that are necessary to combat the affordable housing crisis in the United States."

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NALHFA Releases 2019 National Policy Agenda

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 4, 2019
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) released today its 2019 National Policy Agenda. This document is a comprehensive advocacy agenda for 2019, which outlines important policy priorities for the housing finance industry. These stated priorities are focused on preserving and expanding funding and tools that are critical to combating the affordable housing crisis that the United States is facing.
 
"As Congress and the White House work to find solutions to the affordable housing crisis, the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies stands poised to work with policymakers on legislation and regulations that will provide communities with the tools necessary to connect households across the nation with safe and decent affordable housing options," said NALHFA Executive Director Jonathan Paine. "The 116th Congress has an opportunity to make affordable housing a top priority and advance policies and expand funding to vital programs that are necessary to combat this crisis."

The 2019 NALHFA National Policy Agenda addresses ten policy areas:

  • Private Activity Bonds & Municipal Bonds
  • Low Income Housing Tax Credit
  • Down Payment Assistance Programs
  • Risk Sharing Program
  • HOME Investment Partnerships and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • Housing Choice Vouchers
  • Project-Based Rental Assistance
  • Housing as Infrastructure
  • Housing Finance Reform and Duty to Serve
  • Opportunity Zones

NALHFA's 2019 National Policy Agenda is being distributed to members of Congress and key Administration officials, and can be used by members when visiting members of Congress.

To access the 2019 National Policy Agenda, click here.

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Housing Colorado Board Chair Amy Case to Address NALHFA Conference Attendees

Posted By Administration, Thursday, April 4, 2019

NALHFA is pleased to announce the addition of Amy Case, Board Chair of Housing Colorado, as a keynote speaker. Colorado is one of the fastest growing states in the nation, and for hundreds of thousands of its residents, quality housing is priced out of reach. Housing inventory is low and costs continue to skyrocket. Currently, over 25% of Coloradans spend more than 50% of their income on housing, putting these residents at financial risk and destabilizing their communities. Housing Colorado is a comprehensive industry association that is dedicated to serving professionals who are designing, developing and increasing support for affordable housing in Colorado.

 

View the whole lineup of keynotes and panels here.

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NALHFA Welcomes Regions Bank

Posted By Administration, Friday, January 18, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) announced today that Regions Bank is its newest member.

 

NALHFA is the leading local affordable housing advocate, influencing the shape and content of congressional legislation and agency regulations affecting the affordable housing finance industry.

 

Regions Financial Corporation, with $125 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and the 16th largest full-service bank in the nation, with products and services that offer customers convenience and the ability to bank the way they choose. Regions’ franchise spans across the South, Midwest and Texas.

 

Regions Corporate Trust provides administrative services to housing agencies that issue tax-exempt, taxable and privately placed bonds. These services and solutions ultimately help developers build low- and moderate-income single-family and multi-family housing units in communities across our footprint. Because we understand the needs of both developers and agencies, we are able to ask the right questions when reviewing documentation, with the goal of helping all parties mitigate risk.

 

“Regions Corporate Trust has a solid reputation and distinguished history of helping clients find the solutions they need,” said Julz Burgess, Regions Corporate Trust and Regional Executive. “We are excited to get more involved with NALHFA and network with its members.”

 

 

For more information on Regions Bank, click here.      

 

For more information about NALHFA and how to join, click here.

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Call to Action: Share How Local HFAs Have Been Affected by the Government Shutdown

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, January 9, 2019
The federal government has now been in a partial shutdown for 19 days and its impact is being felt across the nation. Approximately 25 percent of the government is effectively shut down. A number of funding bills were passed and signed last fall, but several important agencies including the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Agriculture have been affected by the failure of Congress and the White House to come to an agreement on the remaining spending measures.
 
Last week, the newly elected and Democratic controlled House of Representatives, passed legislation that would end the partial shutdown with funding levels similar to the spending measures approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee for FY 2019 last year, but due to the lack of funding for a southern boarder wall in the measure, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said the package would not reach the 60 votes needed to pass through the Senate. In the coming days, congressional leadership and the Trump Administration will negotiate the remaining spending bills. It is unclear how long this negotiations process will take.
 
NALHFA Members Take Action
 
As governmental entities and private citizens feel the impact of the partial shutdown, it is important to document and communicate the consequences of a government shutdown to Congress and the Administration.
 
NALHFA along with our coalition partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF), are seeking stories and examples of how the shutdown is affecting the affordable housing community at the local level. We would like to share these stories presently to encourage lawmakers to quickly end the shutdown, but also save them for the future to remind them about the importance of passing timely spending bills.
 
Please send your examples to NALHFA Policy Director, Heather Voorman at hvoorman@nalhfa.org.

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Legislative Alert: Midterm Election Results Mean Changes in Washington and Opportunities for Housing

Posted By Administration, Thursday, November 8, 2018

The midterm elections this week will lead to a number of leadership changes in Congress, along with many opportunities to further affordable housing resources. The Democrats clinched a majority in the House of Representatives while the Republicans grew their Senate majority. These shifts, in combination with a number of retirements, will mean committee leadership changes in the House as well as a number of new committee assignments in both chambers.

 

Committee Changes

 

Several Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) champions will be leaving Congress at the end of this year. Most notably, the lead sponsor of the House version of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act, Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), lost his reelection, leaving an opening for a Republican lead on this important legislation. In addition to Curbelo, other Ways and Means Committee members that lost their elections include: Reps. Pete Roskam (R-IL), Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Mike Bishop (R-MI). Six Ways and Means members additionally did not seek reelection: Reps. Sam Johnson (R-TX), Dave Reichert (R-WA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Diane Black (R-TN), Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Kristi Noem (R-SD). Finally, two Democrats, Reps. Sandy Levin (D-MI) and Joe Crowley (D-NY), will also not be returning. The current House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member and Democrat lead on the Housing Credit legislation, Representative Richard Neal (D-MA), won his race and is now poised to take the chairman role in the 116th Congress.

 

On the Senate side, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Finance Committee Chairman and Republican lead on the Senate version of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act, is retiring, leaving the chairmanship position for this key committee open. The new leadership for the committee is still unclear, but conversations have centered on Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) taking the position, or Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID). Committee member changes include the loss of Senator Dean Heller (R-NV), who did not win his reelection bid along with Democrat committee member Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO). Senator Bill Nelson’s (D-FL) race is going into a recount, leaving another Democrat seat potentially up for grabs in the coveted committee. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the Democrat lead on the Housing Credit legislation won her reelection and will continue to be a champion for affordable housing issues on this committee.

 

Other key committee shifts will be prevalent in the House under the new Democrat leadership, as well as some shifts in key Senate committees. The House Appropriations Committee will likely see Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) as the first chairwoman in the history of the committee. Under Lowey’s leadership, the Committee would likely turn more focus on domestic spending priorities. Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL) would likely serve as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee again in his first full session in the role. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) would likely take over as chairwoman for the House Financial Services Committee, while Senator Michael Crapo (R-ID) may stay on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. If Senator Crapo takes the gavel for Senate Finance, the Banking Committee would likely go to Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA).

 

What’s Next? Lame Duck Session Opportunity

 

Congressional Republicans now only have a few short weeks to enact their remaining priorities in the 115th Congress, which could mean last minute tax legislation such as tax extenders and technical fixes to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. These efforts could provide a vehicle for important Housing Credit improvements such as enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and other important provisions of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act. With more than 40 percent of Congress signed on as cosponsors to the legislation, NALHFA and other Housing Credit advocates are in a strong position to negotiate these important priorities into tax legislation as it emerges. NALHFA members should ask their Members of Congress to encourage congressional leadership to pass the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act or to include the legislation in the next tax package that Congress advances in the 115th Congress.

 

State and Local Housing Wins

 

There was an unprecedented number of affordable housing issues on the ballot at the state and local levels this year. Voters in many communities voted to provide increased affordable housing resources at this critical time during the country’s affordable housing crisis.

  • California voters passed Propositions 1 and 2 that will create billions in funding for the creation of affordable housing for vulnerable populations including the chronically homeless, people with disabilities or mental illness, and military veterans.
  •  Oregon passed two initiatives to create access to safe and affordable homes for 12,000 of the state’s lowest income people.
  • San Francisco, CA passed Prop C which would provide $2.4 billion in affordable housing and services for the chronically homeless.
  • Austin, TX voted for a $250 million affordable housing bond.
  • Charlotte and Chapel Hill, NC and San Juan County and Bellingham, Washington passed bonds to address affordable housing needs.

 

These state and local housing wins show the widespread support for increasing affordable housing resources across the country. It also highlights an opportunity for NALHFA to build on its efforts advocating for resources that will help local housing finance agencies preserve and create more affordable housing options. NALHFA plans to use this momentum to strengthen our partnerships and work with Congress to further strong bipartisan affordable housing solutions.

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Legislative Alert: Treasury Department Releases Proposed Opportunity Zones Regulatory Guidance

Posted By Administration, Monday, October 22, 2018

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury) has released proposed regulatory guidance on Opportunity Zones. These long awaited proposed regulations will help investors and local governments determine the types of developments eligible for Opportunity Funds investment.

 

The Opportunity Zones tax benefit holds tremendous opportunity for local governments and is the first community development tax incentive program created since the Clinton Administration. Investors will be able to receive a temporary tax deferral and other tax benefits by investing unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds for a minimum of five years. 

 

Treasury's proposed regulations address many questions about the Opportunity Zones tax benefit including the eligibility requirements for taxpayers to defer capital gains through Opportunity Fund investment and how corporations or partnerships can self certify and qualify as an Opportunity Fund. Additionally, a revenue ruling was also released to address the "original use" requirement for real property in section 1400Z-2(d)(2)(D)(i)(II), and the "substantial improvement" requirement in sections 1400Z-2(d)(2)(D)(i)(II) and 1400Z-2(d)(2)(D)(ii).

 

Click here to view the proposed Opportunity Zones regulations.

 

Click here to view the revenue ruling.

 

Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said of the proposed regulations, “We want all Americans to experience the dynamic opportunities being generated by President Trump’s economic policies. We anticipate that $100 billion in private capital will be dedicated towards creating jobs and economic development in Opportunity Zones. This incentive will foster economic revitalization and promote sustainable economic growth, which was a major goal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.”

 

NALHFA’s government relations team will be submitting comments on the proposed regulations to Treasury. If you have comments you would like to be included, or if you have any questions on this guidance, please contact NALHFA's Policy Director Heather Voorman at hvoorman@nalhfa.org or at 202-367-2405. 

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