August 9, 2016

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

President Signs Housing Assistance Reform Bill Into Law

President Obama signed into law H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA), which will streamline and reform several federal housing assistance programs. NCSHA and a broad coalition of housing stakeholders have strongly advocated for this bipartisan legislation over the past year. As previously reported, HOTMA will streamline Housing Choice Voucher program inspections, make project-basing vouchers more flexible, and provide public housing agencies (PHAs) greater flexibility to transfer funding between their operating and capital funds. HOTMA also makes several adjustments to federal single-family housing programs, including provisions designed to make it easier for condominium mortgages to be insured by the Federal Housing Administration and directing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to adopt procedures allowing certain lenders to directly endorse loans through the Section 502 Guaranteed Rural Housing Loans program. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that HOTMA will save the government $311 million over five years.

CFPB Releases Loss Mitigation Principles

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently released a set of suggested principles for foreclosure prevention activities. The guidelines are not legally binding but are intended to act as guidance for mortgagees' and investors' loss mitigation efforts. The four principles outlined by CFPB are accessibility, affordability, sustainability, and transparency. These same principles were identified in a white paper released last month by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Treasury, and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) that examined the future of loss mitigation efforts after the upcoming expiration of federal homeowner assistance programs, including the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).

Agencies Get a New Playbook for Managing Risks

The General Services Administration, in cooperation with the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service, recently launched a new “playbook” for enterprise risk management that aims to improve decision-making and planning across government. The “Playbook: Enterprise Risk Management (ERM)” is the action plan for complying with the Office of Management and Budget’s recent update of Circular A-123. Bylined by the Chief Financial Officers Council and the OMB-led interagency Performance Improvement Council, the playbook “was developed as part of an interagency effort convened by the Office of Executive Councils to bring together risk practitioners and cross-functional representatives from more than 20 federal agencies to gather, define, and illustrate practices in applying ERM in the federal context,” GSA said in a release.

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