U.S. House Passes FY16 THUD Appropriations Bill

On Monday, June 1 in a 9-3 lopsided partisan vote with all Republicans voting in favor and Democrats voting against, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Rules, passed the rule governing floor action for HR 2577, the “Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016,” clearing the bill for consideration by the full House.

That same day, the President’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a Statement of Administration Policy (SAP) declaring, “The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2577.” The SAP criticized the bill for freezing or cutting critical investments “in ending homelessness, strengthening communities, and providing rental housing assistance for poor and vulnerable families.

Against this backdrop, shortly before midnight on June 9, the full House passed HR 2577 by a slim majority of 216 yeas to 210 nays. The final vote followed several days of, at times, heated debate and an exhausting number of amendments offered to the bill. 

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CLPHA Has Strong Presence at Brookings Social Mobility Discussion

CLPHA had a strong presence at a recent Brookings Institution presentation where Harvard University economist Raj Chetty discussed his research into the importance of neighborhoods on social mobility. CLPHA Vice President Adrianne Todman, Executive Director Sunia Zaterman and Deputy Director Deb Gross were in the audience for the panel discussion titled "Place, Opportunity and Social Mobility: What Now for Policy?"   

Todman, Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority, likely spoke for many public-housing colleagues in saying that she was heartened to hear the panelists state the importance of place-based strategies since it was impractical to give everyone vouchers. She noted that the news media seemed to conclude just the opposite from the research and asked the panelists for recommendations on changing the media narrative that vouchers were the sole answer.

Some people had conflated the research’s methodology of looking at outcomes among movers with the policy implications, Chetty said. “It doesn’t mean the only thing we want to do is move people around,” he said. Instead,the research could better inform decisions about where to develop new or renovate existing affordable housing.

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HUD to Propose Using Small Area FMRs To Boost Access to Opportunity

On June 2, HUD published an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in the Federal Register, “Establishing a More Effective Fair Market Rent (FMR) System: Using Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) in Housing Choice Voucher Program Instead of the Current 50th Percentile FMRs,” with comments due on July 2.

HUD seeks comment on the use of SAFMRs to provide voucher-holders with access to better housing and better neighborhoods and to reduce poverty concentration. According to the notice, “the SAFMRs would be limited to metropolitan areas with significant rent differentials in areas with adequate housing, since these are the areas in which SAFMRs have the greatest potential to improve the housing options available to HCV-assisted households.”

CLPHA will be submitting comments and invites members to contact Senior Research & Policy Analyst Leah Staub with their input about SAFMRs, 50th percentile FMRs, experiences setting differential payment standards based on geography (such as those of some MTW agencies), and other efforts to help voucher-holders move to areas of opportunity. The issue will also be discussed at the CLPHA Summer Meeting in San Diego.

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CLPHA, Reno & Cavanaugh Submit VAWA, Section 3 Comments

CLPHA and law firm Reno & Cavanaugh recently submitted comments to the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the agency's Proposed Rule regarding implementation of its housing program requirements under the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013.

While CLPHA and Reno & Cavanaugh's letter to HUD expressed support for VAWA 2013's goals to protect the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, it also restated concerns that the law represents another unfunded mandate that "impose a significant financial and administrative burden" on housing authorities and other housing providers.    

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Analyst Leah Staub Is Leaving CLPHA

After more than six years with CLPHA, Senior Research & Policy Analyst Leah Staub will be saying farewell at the end of June.When she began six years ago, her portfolio encompassed the HCV program and MTW. Over the years, she has appreciated the opportunity to learn more about and to support CLPHA members efforts outside those traditional realms, especially with regard to service partnerships that provide models for engagement in ending homelessness and addressing seniors’ needs for support.

As she goes, CLPHA is actively seeking a new member of the team to focus on the core programs of public housing, HCV, and MTW. Details are available here. Please send promising applicants our way!

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