Senate Passes Fiscal Year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill

In a rare Saturday evening vote on December 13, the Senate passed the $1.1 trillion FY15 omnibus appropriations bill (H.R. 83) that the House approved on December 11. President Obama signed the funding measure on December 16. For the most part, the bill provides level funding to programs of particular interest to CLPHA members, and in a resounding victory for CLPHA and other stakeholders, lifts the RAD cap to 185,000 units.

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Housing Authorities Supporting Aging in Place: CLPHA Presents at APHA Conference

Housing authorities can be key partners in using housing as a delivery platform for health care services. This is particularly true for elderly residents of subsidized housing, many of whom are frequent and high-cost utilizers of health care resources. CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman made this case during her presentation, Supporting Aging in Place for Low-income Seniors, at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2014 Annual Meeting and Exposition in November. The presentation was part of the symposium Incorporating Health into Housing Decisions: Potential Health Implications for Low-income Seniors and Persons with Disabilities organized by The Pew Charitable Trusts’ Health Impact Project team.

Ismael Guerrero, Executive Director of the Denver Housing Authority (DHA), also presented at the symposium, providing an example of how DHA is using a focus on improving health outcomes as an integral component of their planning, development, and operations decisions. He discussed his agency’s Healthy Living Initiative, a place-based strategy in DHA’s Mariposa District that uses a rigorous approach to address environmental and social determinants of health.

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Tax Extenders Package Finally Passes Congress but Housing Credit is Moot

Since returning for the post-election, Congress had been working to negotiate a tax extenders package. In the Senate, bill S. 2260, the Expiring Provisions Improvement Reform and Efficiency (EXPIRE) Act of 2014—which included a two-year extension of all provisions—had served as the baseline for negotiations. In the House, H.R. 5771, the Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014, passed by a vote of 378 to 46 on December 3. On December 16, the Senate passed H.R. 5771 by a vote of 76-16, sending the legislation to President Obama for signature.

As the ACTION Campaign points out, “In order for an extension of minimum [Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)] rates to make a difference, it must apply to future affordable housing developments. Because [the House bill] would only provide a minimum 9 percent rate through January 1, [2015,] there are essentially no deals that could benefit.”

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FHFA Directs Fannie and Freddie to Begin Funding the National Housing Trust Fund

On December 11, Mel Watt, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), lifted the suspension on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s obligation to contribute to the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) and the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF) in accordance with the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). In November 2008, FHFA imposed a temporary suspension of these allocations after Fannie and Freddie were taken into conservatorship during the financial crisis. The companies returned to profitability in 2012, and affordable housing stakeholders advocated for them to resume NHTF contributions. CLPHA is pleased that these resources will finally be allocated to address the critical need for affordable housing, and we will continue to advocate that public housing should be explicitly designated as an eligible recipient for funding from the NHTF.

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CLPHA and Industry Partners Submit Comments on Draft AFFH Assessment Tool

In late November CLPHA and our industry partners submitted joint comments on HUD’s draft Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) tool that HUD released for comment on September 26. The tool is intended for use in completing the AFH that, under the proposed rule on “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH), would replace the current Analysis of Impediments requirement. The industry believes the draft tool does not meet the three objectives HUD set for itself, as it fails: (1) to facilitate a meaningful assessment of key fair housing issues and determinants or to facilitate setting meaningful goals; (2) to clearly convey the issues and determinants that must be undertaken to be acceptable to HUD; and (3) to allow preparation of an acceptable AFH without unnecessary burden. We urge HUD to revise the tool substantially, after the publication of a final AFFH rule and after the Supreme Court rules on disparate impact.

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CLPHA and Industry Partners Submit Comments on Demo/Dispo Proposed Rule

On October 16, HUD published a proposed rule to revise the demolition/disposition regulations, along with a preamble that summarizes its content and asks specific questions of commenters. On December 15, CLPHA, NAHRO, PHADA, and Reno & Cavanaugh, PLLC, submitted joint comments to signal to HUD the unanimity among housing authorities in our criticisms, which include that the proposed regulatory process is excessively burdensome and fails to address a core issue regarding the lack of clarity of criteria for demolition/disposition approval.

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HUD Deputy Secretary Confirmed by Senate

In one of the few pending nominations to be considered on the floor during the lame-duck session, on December 2, the Senate confirmed Nani Coloretti as Deputy Secretary of HUD in a 68-28 vote. CLPHA congratulates Ms. Coloretti on her confirmation and is pleased that this critical position at HUD will no longer be vacant. Read More >

Industry Groups Convey Concerns over Inspection Review

On December 11, CLPHA, our industry partners PHADA and NAHRO, and representatives of several housing authorities challenged HUD REAC staff about the implementation of the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) quality control inspection reviews being conducted for the Department by CGI Federal. CGI is in the process of conducting 39,000 inspection reviews at 180 housing authorities, which will be completed by the end of March 2015. Call participants raised ongoing concerns about administrative burden, transparency, timing of the reviews, communication with the housing authorities, and personnel conducting the inspections.

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CLPHA Spring Meeting: March 12-13 in Washington, DC

CLPHA’s Spring Membership Meeting will be held March 12-13, 2015 at the Washington Court Hotel on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Join us in the nation’s capital for speakers, roundtables, and discussions addressing pressing issues for public and assisted housing. In conjunction with the Membership Meeting, CLPHA will be holding a half-day Affordable Housing & Education Symposium on March 11 for our members as well as leaders and stakeholders in these fields.

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