09/19/2014
IN THIS ISSUE:

Short-Term CR Passed by Congress

On September 17, in a bipartisan vote of 319-108, the House passed H.J.Res. 124, a stopgap spending measure to fund the federal government until December 11. The Senate, in quick action and an equally bipartisan vote of 78-22, also passed the measure on September 18. While H.J.Res. 124 did not contain any anomalies, or funding changes for housing, it will continue funding HUD and other government programs and services at current FY14 levels. The CR will remain in place until Congress either passes annual appropriations legislation for FY15 or extends funding by CR beyond the December 11 termination date. Passage of the measure was one of the final major actions in both chambers before members headed home for the 2014 elections.

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Secretary Castro Elaborates on HUD Vision in First Policy Speech

On September 16, HUD Secretary Julián Castro delivered his first policy speech at the Bipartisan Policy Center, which elaborated on his vision for HUD. He spoke of the opportunity that HUD offers all Americans through housing—a chance to be part of the success and progress of the country’s growing economy, rebounding businesses, and strengthening housing market. “HUD is the Department of Opportunity. It plays a powerful role in helping folks lift themselves up…And we’ll spend the next two-and-a-half years expanding opportunity for all Americans.”

The two components he described were improving access to homeownership for underserved borrowers and increasing the supply and access to decent, affordable rental housing. Secretary Castro reiterated support for RAD as a key component to solving the affordable housing crisis, and he spoke of the need for systems alignment and working across silos to achieve the successes made possible by access to affordable housing and communities of opportunity.

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Creating a Shared Vision for Improving Life Outcomes through Affordable Housing

When discussing the affordable housing crisis in his first policy speech, HUD Secretary Julián Castro pointed to housing as a springboard for success and noted the need to work across silos. CLPHA and its members could not agree more. There is an urgent need to increase investment in affordable housing and to better align systems in order to improve life outcomes for low-income families. In order to achieve this, we recognize the importance of articulating clearly who benefits from affordable housing investment and how this investment is critical to realizing broader national goals. CLPHA members are committed to creating a shared vision for improving the life outcomes of those we serve by reframing the critical importance of affordable housing. We invite support for this statement as well as collaboration from partners and stakeholders at all levels and across sectors.

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Industry Groups Respond to IG's Flawed and Overreaching Report on Public Housing Program

In late August, CLPHA and our industry partners provided a joint response to the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG)’s audit report, Public Housing Operating and Capital Fund Program Central Office Cost Center Fees. Despite the fact that asset management was a central tenet of negotiated rulemaking for the operating fund over a decade ago, and received congressional and OMB approval, the OIG recommends that “HUD revise its asset management fee policy and refederalize the operating fund program’s management and bookkeeping fees and the capital fund program’s management fees.”

The three industry groups expressed extreme disappointment with the report, which “reaches far beyond oversight and accountability and delves deeply—and inappropriately—into reimagining the public policy landscape of the Public Housing Program. To support its broad policy recommendations, the report relies on logical leaps and overgeneralizations drawn from a small number of cherry-picked examples… [W]e feel strongly that the recommendations in this report are well outside of the appropriate scope of the OIG and should be left to policymakers at the Department and on Capitol Hill.”

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CLPHA Submits Comments on PHA Consortia Proposed Rule

On September 9, CLPHA submitted comments on HUD’s proposed rule, “Streamlining Requirements Applicable to Formation of Consortia by Public Housing Agencies,” which “intended to increase administrative efficiencies... and to help ensure maximum family choice in locating suitable housing.” The rule focused primarily on creating a new category of consortium for HCV Program administration through which multiple housing authorities would act as a single agency with a single jurisdiction and one set of reporting and audit requirements. CLPHA’s comments focused on the state law and governance issues that would be raised by the single-ACC consortium, as well as on the lack of incentives for housing authorities to pursue this option. CLPHA recommends HUD allow additional flexibility in the formation of single-ACC consortia and also challenges the exclusion of MTW agencies from eligibility.

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CLPHA Welcomes New Research & Policy Analyst

CLPHA is pleased to welcome our newest staff member, Abra Lyons-Warren, who joined as a Research & Policy Analyst in late July. She previously worked on the analysis and advocacy of housing, education, and place-based, early childhood and dual-generation initiatives with the Center for the Study of Social Policy and Illinois Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie's office. She also served as a practitioner with low-income and homeless individuals in Washington, DC and Chicago, focusing on workforce development. Abra will be staffing CLPHA's Education Initiative and our systems alignment effort.

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