CLPHA supports the nation’s largest and most innovative housing authorities by advocating for the resources and policies they need to solve local housing challenges and create communities of opportunity. We frequently champion our members' issues, needs, and successes on the Hill, at HUD, and in the media. In these arenas CLPHA also advocates for legislation and policies that help our members, and the public and affordable housing industry as a whole, strengthen neighborhoods and improve lives.
Click below for links to congressional testimonies, statements for the record, action alerts, comments to HUD and other federal agencies, and the latest information about CLPHA's multi-pronged housing advocacy.
Jeffery K. Patterson, CEO of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority of Cleveland, Ohio, and Vice President of the CLPHA Board of Directors, appeared on behalf of CLPHA before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Financial Services’ Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance for a hearing entitled “Oversight of the Federal Government’s Approach to Lead-Based Paint and Mold Remediation in Public and Subsidized Housing.”
Patterson testified along with witnesses Jeremy Kirkland, Acting Deputy Inspector General, Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); Karen McKeown, State Health Officer and Administrator, Division of Public Health, Wisconsin Department of Health Services; Rachel Fee, Executive Director, New York Housing Conference, Inc.; Emily A. Benfer, Esq., Distinguished Visiting Scholar and Senior Fellow, Solomon Center for Health Law and Policy, Yale Law School; and Julie Brewen, Chief Executive Officer, Housing Catalyst (the housing authority of the City of Fort Collins, Colorado).
The hearing, presided over by Chairman Sean Duffy (R-WI) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO), sought to examine how HUD programs remedy unsafe living conditions caused by lead-based paint and mold for individuals and families that live in public and subsidized housing, and to review the June 14, 2018 HUD Inspector General’s report entitled “HUD’s Oversight of Lead-Based Paint in Public and Housing Choice Voucher Programs.”
Patterson’s testimony focused on HUD programs that housing authorities are currently using to help correct the conditions and risks posed by environmental health hazards. The programs include the Public Housing Capital Fund, Rental Assistance Demonstration and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Moving to Work, and Healthy Homes. Patterson also spoke to the tremendous need for additional funding resources, and the need for greater collaboration between federal departments and agencies to better leverage their respective resources and expertise in order to address the problems associated with health and safety hazards.
CLPHA greatly appreciates Mr. Patterson’s testimony and support on this important issue.
The proposed elimination of the tax exemption for private activity bonds (PABs) in the House tax reform bill, along with elimination of the Historic Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit, will be devastating to the production and preservation of affordable housing (see CLPHA Report 11/13/17). Housing bonds are responsible for approximately half of Low Income Housing Tax Credit (housing credit) production annually. Together, the housing credit and housing bonds finance approximately 50,000 affordable housing units each year.
While Congress is home for recess, it is critical that Members hear from you about the impacts PAB elimination will have on affordable housing.
We urge you to reach out to your Congressional representatives with the following messages:
- Preserve the tax exemption of Private Activity Bonds to support the production and preservation of affordable housing
- Make changes to the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to strengthen the program and offset the impact of a lower corporate rate on the value of the tax credit by including S. 548, the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, in the tax reform bill
- Maintain the Historic Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit
CLPHA and stakeholders such as the ACTION Campaign (CLPHA sits on the Steering Committee) have continued to educate and press Congress to preserve these important housing production instruments. CLPHA has sent letters to the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, the respective tax-writing committees in Congress, whose chairmen and ranking members will probably serve as floor managers for their respective bills and conference committee leaders for any eventual, final legislation.
Additionally, we encourage you to engage with your local media and news outlets to spread the message that the tax reform bill negatively impacts affordable housing. The Seattle Times recently published an op-ed from CLPHA Board Members Stephen Norman (King County Housing Authority) and Andrew Lofton (Seattle Housing Authority) about the elimination of private activity bonds. You can read the full op-ed here.
CLPHA Opposes Administration Proposal to Increase Rent Burden on Lowest-Income Residents
WASHINGTON (May 14, 2018) - The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) strongly opposes the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) recently announced proposal to increase rent burdens on low-income residents residing in public housing and assisted housing.
The core of HUD’s rent reform proposal is to shift the burden of chronic federal underfunding of assisted housing to low-income residents who can least afford it. While there are advantages to a proposal that simplifies rent calculations and reduces administrative burdens for public housing authorities (PHAs), this proposal requires that PHAs raise rents in order to benefit from common sense rent simplification. Even with the benefit of housing assistance, many public housing residents are already spending more than 30% of their income on rent. A 2017 HUD study reported that the average Housing Choice Voucher recipient had a rent burden of 37% in 2015. Nationally, we represent PHAs serving residents in the most expensive housing markets in the country, where voucher holders are especially likely to have to incur high rent burdens to gain access to higher opportunity neighborhoods of their choice.
Given existing rent burdens, this proposal raises serious concerns about the negative impact the proposed rent calculations would have on residents. Through changes to 35% of unadjusted income for families and 30% of unadjusted income for the elderly and disabled, many assisted households would see significant rent increases. For example, the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) estimates that public housing residents would see an average 36% rent increase while Housing Choice Voucher households would experience an average 23% rent increase. With an average annual household income of $21,000 for public housing residents and $16,000 for voucher holders served by HACLA, these increases represent substantial burdens that may interfere with a household’s ability to afford other necessities.
Beyond concerns regarding the fairness of further cost-burdening residents, there is some evidence to suggest that increased rents do not financially benefit PHAs and may have the opposite effect. When the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) implemented a HUD-mandated flat rent increase in 2014, impacted residents experienced an average rent increase of 46%. NYCHA saw their rent collection rate decrease among those impacted by the increase. NYCHA’s experience reflects the reality that increased rent payments only exacerbates affordability issues and puts more residents at risk of delinquency and eviction, resulting in more challenges for PHAs and less predictable revenue.
In addition to our concerns about the impacts of the proposed rent calculations, we note that the timing of these proposed changes are problematic for two reasons. First, some components of the proposal contradict important changes to housing assistance made through the recent federally enacted Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) in 2016 by unanimous vote of the House and Senate. HUD has yet to publish implementation regulations for some of the key provisions in the bill. For example, HOTMA increased the deduction of medical expenses for elderly and disabled families and tied the deduction to inflation, while HUD’s proposal eliminates these deductions entirely. A significant number of elderly and disabled households currently use medical deductions, many of whom have substantial medical costs. We question the elimination of this deduction particularly when it is already undergoing a very different set of changes through congressionally-mandated HOTMA.
We also question the timing of these proposed changes given the fact that in 2012, HUD commissioned a four-site demonstration from MDRC to study several rent reform elements included in the proposal, including triennial recertification, elimination of income deductions, and ignorable asset limits. One of the research questions the demonstration is explicitly testing is whether these reforms reduce work disincentives and increase family self-sufficiency among families receiving vouchers. With results expected in 2019, HUD should use insights from the study to inform design of a rent reform model that most effectively promotes self-sufficiency.
About the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities
CLPHA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a non-profit organization working to preserve and improve public and affordable housing through advocacy, research, policy analysis and public education. It represents most of the nation’s largest public housing authorities.