As a membership and advocacy organization, and at the direction of our Board of Directors and Advocacy Committee, we closely monitor issues and policies in Washington, DC, and are ready to act to advance sound policies and laws which stem the root causes of homelessness and create more affordable housing opportunities throughout Arizona.
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NATIONAL ISSUES, CAMPAIGNS & UPDATES
Housing Counseling Program New Certification Requirements - FINAL RULE
HUD published the Final Rule for Housing Counseling Certification in the Federal Register on December 14, 2016. This rule implements statutory requirements that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs will be provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors. With the new certification requirements, the benefits to the renter, the prospective homebuyer, or the existing homeowner are increased assurance of a more knowledgeable housing counselor providing more effective housing counseling services. HUD expects that more knowledgeable housing counselors will lead to better identification of housing issues, more knowledgeable referrals and resolution of barriers, and a greater ability to avoid scams. The rule provides guidance for agencies who are required to have housing counseling certified staff as well as new regulations prohibiting the distribution of HUD Housing Counseling Program grant funds to agencies convicted of election law violations or misusing those funds in a manner that constitutes a material violation of HUD requirements. Some of the requirements are in effect 30 days after the rule publication. Counselors have up to 36 months after the date that the HUD housing counselor certification examination becomes available, which will be published in a separate Federal Register Notice to comply with the Certification requirement.
Housing Finance Reform
The Center for American Progress has developed 4 fact sheets that explain the federal government's role in housing finance, recommend core principles for reform, and provide basic information on financing for affordable rental housing and the To-Be-Announced, or TBA, Market.
The ability of housing programs to serve low income people in need depends on federal appropriations. We monitor the federal budget process and advocate for the highest possible appropriations for HUD and USDA Rural Housing programs, while assuring sufficient funding to preserve all existing low income housing resources and prevent loss of units affordable to, or rental assistance for, extremely low income households.
National Housing Trust Fund
The National Housing Trust Fund was established as a provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, which was signed into law by President George W. Bush. The passage of National Housing Trust Fund legislation is a major victory for low income housing advocates and the lowest income people in our country with the most serious needs. The NHTF Campaign is now focused on securing permanent funding for the program.
The NHTF will, once capitalized, provide communities with funds to build, preserve, and rehabilitate rental homes that are affordable for extremely and very low income households.
United for Home Campaign
The United for Home Campaign proposes placing a cap on the maximum mortgage to receive a tax break at $500,000 and converting the current deduction to a 15% non-refundable credit. This will ensure that tax breaks are going to people who need them and not subsidizing million-dollar homes. This will save the federal government billions of dollars a year, which could be used to create jobs and reduce homelessness by funding programs that can build and rehabilitate housing that lower income people can afford. Capitalizing the National Housing Trust Fund with savings from mortgage interest tax reform will do just that.