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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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Legislative Alert: GAO Releases Report on LIHTC Costs

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Yesterday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a study on development costs for low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) properties. The report features the development costs of LIHTC properties in 10 states between 2011 and 2015 and is the final report in a series the GAO conducted at the request of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) on LIHTC. Other reports have covered topics including the federal and state administration of LIHTC and the role of syndicators in the program.

 

The report outlines wide variation in development costs and several cost drivers for LIHTC projects. The report does not compare LIHTC costs and market-rate development costs. The report and GAO recommendations for the LIHTC program instead focus on data collection and the need for collecting more information about costs. The GAO included in their recommendations:

  • Congress should consider designating an agency to collect cost-related LIHTC data and periodically assess and report on LIHTC project development costs.
  • The IRS should require general contractor cost certifications for LIHTC projects to verify consistency with the developer cost certification.
  • The IRS should encourage allocating agencies and other LIHTC stakeholders to collaborate on the development of more standardized cost data.
  • The IRS should communicate to credit allocating agencies how to collect information on and review LIHTC syndication expenses, including upper-tier partnership expenses.

The 10 states examined were Texas, Georgia, Ohio, Arizona, Florida, Washington, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and California. The median per unit costs for new construction projects fell in a wide range from about $126,000 (Texas) to about $326,000 (California). The variance in geographies widened when looking at individual allocating agencies ranging from as little as $104,000 per unit (Georgia) to as much as $606,000 per unit (California). The GAO estimates that:

  •  larger projects (more than 100 units) cost about $85,000 less per unit than smaller projects (fewer than 37 units), consistent with economies of scale;
  • projects in urban areas cost about $13,000 more per unit than projects in nonurban areas;
  • projects for senior tenants—nearly one-third of all projects—cost about $7,000 less per unit than those for other tenants, potentially due to smaller unit sizes.

For over 30 years, LIHTC has been a model public-private partnership program leveraging private sector resources, market forces, and state-level administration. The program has financed approximately 3 million apartments since 1986, providing 6.7 million families with housing they can afford. Without LIHTC, virtually no affordable rental housing development would occur.

 

NALHFA maintains the most important thing Congress can do to improve the LIHTC program is to enact the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act (S. 548/H.R. 1661). The expansion and enhancement of the LIHTC program remains one of NALHFA’s top legislative priorities. NALHFA’s government relations team will continue our push on Capitol Hill for the passage of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and will work with our industry partners as an active member of the ACTION Campaign—the coalition of over 2,200 national, state and local organizations working to expand and strengthen LIHTC.

 

NALHFA Members Take Action:

It is possible that Congress could consider tax legislation in the Lame Duck session after the election, which is the best opportunity to advance key provisions of the Affordable Housing Tax Credit Improvement Act this year. There are 40 bipartisan Senate cosponsors and 170 bipartisan House cosponsors on this legislation, but with increased Congressional support on each bill, it becomes more likely that provisions of the legislation will be incorporated in a year-end tax package. 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.

 

Find your Representative’s contact information here.

Find your Senators’ contact information here.  

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Legislative Alert: OCC Releases Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for the Community Reinvestment Act

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 29, 2018

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) has released an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) inviting comments on modernizing the regulations that implement the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Comments are due 75 days after the publication of the ANPR.

 

The CRA was enacted in 1977 to encourage banks to serve the needs of the communities they serve, especially the credit needs of low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. Through CRA, each insured depository institution’s record in meeting the credit needs of its entire community is taken into consideration by the appropriate federal financial supervisory agency (i.e., the OCC, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (collectively, agencies)) when evaluating the bank’s application for a deposit facility. This record is also made available to the public.

 

In just the last two decades, the financial services industry has seen many significant changes including the removal of bank interstate branching restrictions and the expansion of technology in financial services. Over the last several years, The US Department of Treasury (Treasury Department) has solicited comments and feedback from stakeholders on how CRA regulations could be more effective and better serve communities across the country.

 

On April 3, 2018, the Treasury Department released recommendations to the agencies for changes to the administration of the CRA based on the feedback and comments they have received. The OCC has released the above mentioned ANPR to obtain public input on how to revise the CRA regulations to encourage community and economic development and increase economic opportunity for LMI areas, small businesses, and other communities in need of financial services.

 

The OCC’s ANPR is inviting comments on a number of areas for CRA implementation, including ideas that will:

  • Encourage more lending, investment, and activity where it is needed most;
  • Evaluating CRA activities more consistently;
  • Provide greater clarity regarding CRA-qualifying activities;
  • Modernize the current regulatory framework by modifying and streamlining the existing CRA performance tests;
  • Create metric-based performance measurements with thresholds that correspond to the CRA rating categories;
  • Provide ways to update how a bank’s community is interpreted for purposes of implementing the CRA;
  • Determine the type and categories of activities that should receive CRA consideration; and
  • Improve the timeliness of CRA regulatory decisions. 

 

NALHFA is working on comments for the ANPR urging that CRA regulations continue to support the work of local HFAs and strengthen investment in affordable housing resources like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. If you have any contributions to NALHFA’s comments, please send them to NALHFA’s Policy Director, Heather Voorman at hvoorman@nalhfa.org by October 15, 2018. 

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Legislative Alert: FFB Risk-Sharing Program Set to Expire, Contact HUD Today!

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) – Housing Finance Agency (HFA) Multifamily Loan Risk-Sharing FFB Program is an important option for many HFAs affordable rental housing developments. The Risk-Sharing program was created by Congress in 1992 to help expedite and increase FHA’s multifamily mortgage production. Through the program, HFAs are able to underwrite and service FHA multifamily loans in exchange for sharing up to 50 percent of the risk of losses on those loans. The program has been a success, allowing the government to save money, improving housing affordability, and reducing risks to the FHA insurance fund. The program has provided over $2 billion in financing and over 20,000 affordable homes across the country.

 

Unfortunately, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is considering letting the FFB Risk-Sharing Program expire at the end of September. If that were to happen, HFAs would lose a powerful tool to finance much needed affordable housing. Instead, HUD and Treasury should extend the program agreement and allow additional loan authority to help finance the pipeline of affordable housing developments in need of this low-cost capital. The program should be extended at least until a permanent solution can be reached, which would require legislation to allow Ginnie Mae loans to be securitized through Risk-Sharing.

 

Take Action:

 

NALHFA has sent a letter to leadership at HUD communicating the importance of saving this critical program. NALHFA members are encouraged to use this letter as a template to tell the story to HUD of how the FFB Risk-Sharing program helps produce and preserve affordable housing in your community. The NALHFA government relations team will continue to communicate with HUD on this topic and will provide updates as they become available. If you have any questions, please contact NALHFA Policy Director, Heather Voorman at 202.367.2405 or hvoorman@nalhfa.org

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