May 3, 2016

In Case You Missed It: A Look at Recent National Housing Policy News

Senate Appropriations Committee Passes FY 2017 HUD Funding Bill      

The Senate Appropriations Committee unanimously approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill. The THUD Appropriations Subcommittee reported the bill April 19. The full Committee adopted the bill with only minor amendments to the Subcommittee-passed bill, which did not change its HUD program funding levels. The bill provides $950 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), the same as its FY 2016 spending level, and fully funds project-based rental assistance contracts. The bill also increases the number of public housing units that can convert under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program from 185,000 to 250,000 and eliminates the program's sunset date. It also includes authority for Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) properties to convert under RAD and provides $4 million in assistance to those properties for that purpose.

HUD Issues HTF Allocation Plan Guidance 

HUD recently issued Notice CPD-16-07 providing guidance to Housing Trust Fund (HTF) grantees on the submission requirements for Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 HTF Allocation Plans. The Notice includes important information on the HTF allocation plan process, including how HUD will notify states of their allocation, required elements of the allocation plan, and guidance on revising state strategic plans and describes changes HUD has made to the consolidated plan regulations to account for the HTF allocation plan process. The Notice also details the process by which HUD will review and approve or disapprove of HTF allocation plans. States will need to review their current strategic plan to determine how the additional HTF resources will impact that plan and amend the strategic plan accordingly even if the state is not due to submit a full five-year consolidated plan in 2016. States will also need to include their HTF allocation plan in their annual action plan. If a State has not finalized its HTF allocation plan by the time it submits its action plan for FY 2016, the state may submit the HTF allocation plan as an amendment to its action plan, so long as the amendment is submitted by August 16, 2016.

Guest Post: Why We Appreciate the High-Touch Help HFAs Can Offer 

(This post originally appeared on Fannie Mae's Housing Industry Forum)
Homeownership is a dream that is out of reach for millions of Americans, with only 63.4 percent owning their homes, the lowest level in 30 years, according to the Census Bureau.
Even as home sales have increased with interest rates near historic lows, first-time homebuyers are playing a relatively small part in the market. Along with tight lending standards, rising home prices – especially at the low end of the market – are shutting out many buyers. But, as a lender, I would point out that first-time homebuyers struggling to purchase have options. Among the most attractive are housing finance agencies (HFAs) – housing authorities established to help meet the needs of the residents of individual states, counties, and cities through a wide range of affordable housing and community development programs. HFA programs provide access to low-down-payment options. And through required education and counseling, they also help first-time borrowers understand the responsibilities of homeownership.

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