August 1, 2017

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

The Housing Collapse Hit Minorities Hardest — and the Impact is Still Being Felt Across America

The housing market collapse that started in 2006 and led to the deepest recession and worst financial crisis in generations had a disproportionate impact on minority communities that still hampers the ability of low-income households to fully participate in the economy. That’s according to a new study from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis that highlights the lasting impact of the nation’s historic housing downturn on the country’s most vulnerable. Two key factors amplified the effects of the housing slump on minority households — home prices often tumbled even more than average in urban, low-income areas, and minorities often held a larger share of their wealth in housing than whites.

These Four Trends in Rental Housing Have Big Implications for the Growing Affordable Housing Crisis

The rental housing landscape in America is rapidly changing: new people are becoming renters and many properties are aging. Meanwhile, the pace at which new rental housing supply is being created can’t meet growing demand. This supply shortage is particularly acute for affordable housing, leading to an ongoing crisis. Tens of millions of Americans live in housing they cannot afford. A recent report on the huge housing cost burden felt by renters and homeowners indicated: almost 20 million households are extremely cost burdened, meaning they spend at least half of their income on their rent or mortgage.
1. Renters don’t look like they used to.
2. Supply isn’t keeping pace with demand.
3. Beyond building new supply, we need to fix what we already have.
4. Single-family rentals are gaining popularity.

House Committee Unanimously Approves Bill to Classify Municipal Bonds as High-Quality Liquid Assets 

The House Financial Services Committee on July 25 unanimously voted to report the Municipal Finance Support Act of 2017, H.R. 1624, to the full House of Representatives for consideration. The legislation, introduced by Representative Luke Messer (R-IN), would allow large banks to count some of their municipal bond investments, including tax-exempt housing bonds, as high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) under federal bank liquidity standards. NCSHA and several other state and local organizations supported the bill. H.R. 1624 would modify a regulation the Federal Reserve, the Department of Treasury, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released in October 2014 to ensure that large banks hold enough liquidity to continue making payments during periods of financial stress. Under the rule, banks with at least $250 billion in assets (or $10 billion in foreign exposure on their balance sheet) must maintain a minimum liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) comprised of certain financial investments that are considered HQLAs. The rule took effect at the beginning of 2017.

Senate Appropriations Subcommittee Approves FY 2018 HUD Funding Bill 

On July 25, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) approved by voice vote its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 funding bill. Though the bill is not yet publicly available, the Subcommittee's press release says the bill fully funds Section 8 rental assistance and funds the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) at $950 million, the same as its enacted FY 2017 funding level. The Senate Subcommittee-approved THUD bill includes $40.2 billion in discretionary funding for HUD programs, an increase of $1.4 billion above the FY 2017 enacted level. During the markup, Subcommittee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) explained that much of this increase was needed to renew existing rental assistance contracts, which now consume more than 84 percent of the HUD budget.

Strong HOME and Section 8 Outcomes in Senate Appropriations Committee-Approved FY 2018 THUD Funding Bill

The Senate Appropriations Committee recently unanimously approved its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill, providing $950 million for the HOME Investment Partnerships program, the same as its enacted FY 2017 funding level—a strong outcome NCSHA and other program stakeholders helped achieve in a difficult fiscal environment.  The Committee adopted the THUD Subcommittee-approved bill with only minor amendments that did not change HUD program funding levels. The Senate Appropriations Committee-approved THUD bill and accompanying report language are still not publicly available; however, the Committee’s press release confirms the HOME outcome, says the bill fully funds Section 8 rental assistance, and reports other program funding levels.

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