May 17, 2016

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

NCSHA Urges HUD to Recast State Fair Housing Tool 

NCSHA submitted comments to HUD on the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Tool for States and Insular Areas, which HUD will require states to use to complete the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) under AFFH. The AFH replaces the Fair Housing Analysis of Impediments, which HUD program participants previously undertook to assess impediments to housing choice. AFFH requires all entities that receive funding from HUD grant programs—HOME, the Community Development Block Grant, the Emergency Solutions Grant, and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS—and public housing authorities to take part in the AFH process.  NCSHA's comments reflect deep concerns about the state tool, which they believe imposes unreasonable requirements on states and goes well beyond what is necessary for states to achieve meaningful fair housing planning. They argue that HUD severely underestimates the time and cost of the AFH process and does not take into full consideration the challenges associated with statewide AFH implementation.

MBA: Foreclosure Starts at Lowest Level Since 2000

The Mortgage Bankers Association reported mortgage delinquency and foreclosure rates continued to recede, with foreclosure starts falling to their lowest level this century.  The MBA 1st Quarter National Delinquency Survey said the delinquency rate for mortgage loans on one-to-four-unit residential properties remained unchanged from the fourth quarter (4.77 percent, seasonally adjusted) of all loans outstanding. This represents the lowest level since third quarter 2006. The delinquency rate was 77 basis points lower than one year ago. The delinquency rate includes loans that are at least one payment past due but does not include loans in the process of foreclosure.  MBA reported the percentage of loans on which foreclosure actions started during the first quarter fell to 0.35 percent, down by one basis point from the previous quarter and down 10 basis points from one year ago. This foreclosure starts rate was at the lowest level since second quarter 2000.

HUD Awards $355 Million For Local Homeless Programs

Funding support 1,200 local homeless housing and service programs
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro awarded $355 million to more than 1,200 local homeless housing and service programs across the U.S. and Puerto Rico (see attached chart). These Continuum of Care (CoC) grants support the Obama Administration's efforts to end homelessness and build upon the $1.6 billion in funding HUD awarded through a first round of funding in March. Virginia received $4,708,036.

MBA Ask House Support for Housing Priorities in T-HUD Bill

The Mortgage Bankers Association, in a letter to House budget appropriators, urged support for a number of legislative priorities in the Administration's Transportation, Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill for fiscal year 2017. The appropriations legislation, known as T-HUD, is a $56.5 billion bill that covers key transportation initiatives, but also the HUD fiscal year 2017 budget. The House Appropriations Committee, and specifically, the House Appropriations Transportation and HUD subcommittee, are expected to take up the bill this month.

Moving Americans Out of Poverty

Millions of poor Americans are stuck in places where they and their children are all too likely to remain in poverty. What can be done to improve their prospects?  Historically, mobility has been one of the U.S. economy’s greatest strengths. When people found themselves in a place with few opportunities, they moved. This is no longer so true. Increasingly, the poorest Americans seem trapped. The result is that poverty gets more concentrated and entrenched. Imagine having no access to good education, health care or job opportunities -- imagine not even knowing anybody who does. Poor children do better when they move to places with less poverty, less crime, higher-performing schools and more two-parent families. That’s just common sense, but if you’re skeptical, the research confirms it. One recent study found that living in a significantly better neighborhood from birth raises adult income on average by about 10 percent.

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