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.
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.
CLPHA participated in a call this morning with HUD to discuss next steps in the implementation of the Small Area Fair Market Rent Rule (“Rule”) in light of the preliminary injunction was granted in the Open Communities Alliance litigation challenging HUD’s suspension of the Rule (see CLPHA Update 1/3/18). Participants on the call included officials from HUD’s Offices of Policy Development and Research (“PD&R”), Public and Indian Housing (“PIH”), Housing Choice Vouchers, and General Counsel. Below are the major takeaways from the call:
- Effective date of April 1, 2018: HUD announced that full implementation and compliance with the Rule and the to-be-issued guidance will be effective as of April 1, 2018.
- Comments due January 11, 2018: HUD encouraged all interested parties to submit comments in response to HUD’s December 12, 2017 “Notice for Suspension of Small Area Fair Market Rent (Small Area FMR) Designations; Solicitation of Comment” Docket No. FR-6070-N-01. Comments are due by January 11, 2018 and may be submitted by mail or electronically atwww.regulations.gov. We will be submitting comments accordingly. We request members to provide us information regarding adverse rental housing market conditions specific to your area so that we can, in turn, include in our comments to HUD.
- Substantive Issues Addressed
- Request for suspension of Small Area FMR designation – HUD noted that the Court in theOpen Communities Alliance litigation did not invalidate any portion of the Rule, but rather concluded that HUD did not properly suspend the Rule’s implementation. HUD went on to clarify, however, that HUD still has the discretion, on a case-by-case basis, to suspend a Small Area FMR designation for a particular area or temporarily exempt a PHA from using the Small Area FMRs based on documented findings of adverse rental housing market conditions. While HUD is working on guidance to instruct PHAs on how to request such a suspension or exemption, HUD is aware of the difficulties PHAs face given the short implementation timeframe and encourages PHAs not only to highlight these difficulties by submitting comments to its December 12, 2017 Notice, but also to submit these difficulties in any forthcoming suspension or exemption request for HUD’s consideration.
- Administrative fees – PIH was not able to provide feedback regarding whether PHAs will be provided increased administrative fees to assist in the implementation efforts, as was done for the demonstration project participants using extraordinary administrative fees.
- FMR “groupings” – While HUD will continue to issue Small Area FMRs at the zip code level, HUD also encourages PHAs to create Small Area FMR bands using the surrounding zip codes that fall within the 90%-110% FMR range. HUD acknowledged that such groupings are not specifically authorized under the Rule but noted that they will be addressed in the forthcoming guidance materials.
- Guidance forthcoming: HUD anticipates issuing implementation guidance materials by mid-January. This guidance will include:
- PIH guidance document(s)
- Technical assistance task order(s)
- A dedicated technical assistance page on HUD Exchange
- FAQs document(s)
- Guidance regarding the process for requesting Small Area FMR suspensions
The guidance materials will include information on best practices, outreach to tenants, managers, and owners, impact on current technical and organizational systems, and other similar information. HUD also committed to using the findings from the Small Area FMR demonstration project to inform such guidance materials.
If you have any questions about HUD’s Small Area FMR Implementation, you can email or call (202-638-1300) Research & Policy Analyst Nicole Barrett (email@example.com) or Deputy Director Deb Gross (firstname.lastname@example.org).