ADVOCACY ALERT:
One step forward, two steps back

There’s been a lot of developments lately in the affordable housing and housing support field, where do we begin? Let’s just jump right in. 

Buckle up! We've got a LOT of news and information for you

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FEDERAL POLICY UPDATES

Federal Allocations: Or so we thought...

HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) announced last week the allocation of $266.8 million in national housing trust fund resources for 2018. The allocation is a 22% increase from the 2017 allocation and a 45% increase from the inaugural allocation. CPD also announced the amount states and local grantees will receive from other formula grants programs such as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). 

Click HERE to see Arizona’s allocation (via the ADOH website)

Federal Allocations: Oh wait, never mind.....(or maybe?)

Last Tuesday, the White House released a rescission package calling for $15.4 billion in appropriated funds to be voided. 

Wait, what's a rescission? 
The cancellation of budget authority previously provided by Congress. 

The Impoundment Control Act of 1974 specifies that the president may propose to Congress that funds be rescinded, or revoked, repealed, or cancelled. If both the House and Senate have not approved a rescission proposal (by passing legislation) within 45 days of continuous session, any funds being withheld must be made available for obligation. (Source)

Much of the proposed rescinded funding was approved in prior year spending bills, but some of the appropriations were approved in March as part of the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill.

Included in the rescission package is a proposal to rescind $40 million from USDA’s Section 521 Rural Rental Assistance program. The administration claims the rescission should not affect the rental assistance of currently assisted residents, that Section 521 RA had a $40 million balance, but advocates contest that the $40 million was not intended to be spent during FY17, however; the FY17 appropriations bill specifically designated it for FY18. A disproportionately high number of RA contracts must be renewed in October and November every year, when limited amounts of new funding are available under continuing resolutions adopted by Congress before final appropriations are established.

Also included is a proposal to revoke just over $41 million from HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, which raises concerns that the RAD program would be affected.

And you know that notice about the state’s allocation of National Housing Trust Fund dollars (from above ☝️)?  Well, the White House’s proposal would rescind the $151 million that the Capital Magnet Fund received for its 2018 round from 2017 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac contributions, which fund the National Housing Trust Fund. The CDFI Fund’s Bank Enterprise Award program could also receive almost $23 million less with this package.

Per federal legislation, a President may impound or prevent funds already appropriated to an agency from being released or spent with Congressional approval. Congress has 45 calendar days to act on the rescission package, however, if the assigned committees have not acted within 25 days, a House or Senate member in favor of the rescissions can, with support of at least one-fifth of their Chamber, have the package assigned to another committee. Our federal advocacy partners believe there is enough support for the package to pass in the House, but it is less clear if there is a majority in the support in Senate for it to pass.

Arizona's federal representatives need to hear from you! Urge your members of Congress to oppose President Trump's rescission proposal that would cut funding needed to address public housing capital repairs and other critical investments in affordable housing.

>>> Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to speak with an operator who will connect you to your lawmakers. You can also email your lawmakers:

    

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In other unsettling news: Proposed rent hikes

As previously reported earlier this year, the Trump Administration made good on its threat to raise rents sharply for low-income people who receive federal rental assistance. The draft bill would additionally eliminate income deductions for health and child care expenses, and permit Public Housing Agencies and housing providers to implement work requirements and alternative rent structures for tenants. The bill would increase the rental contributions from residents served by public housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance from 30% of monthly adjusted income to the higher of one of two figures: 1) 35% of monthly gross income 2) 35% of the amount earned by an individual working 15 hours a week, for four weeks, at the federal minimum wage, or approximately $150 per month.

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., has proposed separate similar legislation, allowing public housing agencies to charge all families in lowest-income tier rent equaling 30 percent of income of family at top of tier.

In response to HUD’s proposal to increase rents and impose work requirements, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-CA) introduced H. Res. 886 on May 10 to affirm the importance of the Brooke rule. The rule, established in 1969 by Senator Edward Brooke (R-MA), ensured that households receiving federal rental assistance paid no more than 25% of their adjusted incomes for rent. 

(ICYMI: Representative Waters' fight against discrimination of all kinds, housing included, yields 'not one second' to any attempts to redirect this important national conversation.) 

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FY19 Appropriations Update

With the delayed passage of the FY18 appropriations bill, Congress has left a very short window for itself to pass its FY19 appropriations bills to avoid the potential of another government shut down.  

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD), which oversees funding levels for affordable housing and community development programs at HUD released last night, May 15th, a draft FY19 spending bill, which provides funding to housing programs that serve low income people and communities, and will vote on its FY19 funding bill, TODAY, May 16th, at 2:00 pm AZ time (5:00pm ET) in room 2358-B of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

Meanwhile, Senators are seeking to follow “regular order”, the procedure for appropriations and other legislation to move bills along.  Regular order means each of the 12 appropriations subcommittees crafts a spending bill based on agreed-upon spending levels, approves the measure, and sends it to the full committee for debate and votes.  Yet the looming elections may impede the Senate’s best intentions.

More details on the Housing Subcommittee FY19 spending bill can be found in the full analysis and updated budget charts created by our friends at the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

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Fair Housing Update: Don't Mess With Texas

Earlier this year, the White House administration suspended a measure previously enacted by the previous administration – the obligation of local jurisdictions to submit an Assessment on Fair Housing. Three national and statewide organizations have filed suit against HUD over this suspension and argue that HUD violated the administrative procedure act by failing to provide public notice and a comment period; by acting in an arbitrary manner because there was no reason provided for the suspension; and that HUD failed to meet its responsibility to the Fair Housing Act.  

For more information, please see the statement put out by our friends at the National Low Income Housing.

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HUD Seeks Public Comment on Disparate Impact

At the same time, HUD announced its intent to reconsider its February 15, 2013, Disparate Impact regulation, signaling a third attempt by HUD under Secretary Ben Carson to weaken its fair housing enforcement. HUD formally seeks public comment on whether the Disparate Impact regulation is consistent with the US Supreme Court another Texas lawsuit. 

Click HERE for more information about submitting public comment.

STATE POLICY UPDATES

Arizona's 53rd Legislature, Second Regular Session Adjourns Sine Die

After 116 days and 369 bills passed, the Arizona State Legislature adjourned sine die on one of the most interesting legislative sessions in a long time!  From the beginning of the session with expulsion of Representative Don Shooter - who investigators concluded was guilty of sexual harassment, to a bipartisan effort to address the opioid epidemic, and to a local response to a national movement to curtail gun violence with 15,000 people protesting and occupying buildings, and finally to the #Redfored movement that brought 75,000 teachers and supporters and all eyes on the legislative budgeting process. While there was a small increase for educators and public education funding, there were more losers than winners this legislative session.

Of significant note was fund transfers originally included in the Governor’s budget proposal and carried about the State Legislature’s budget bills, which included a $2 million sweep from the Department of Housing’s Housing Program Fund, which receives fees from and supports the administration of project based Section 8 vouchers and LIHTC-related fees; and a $400K sweep from the State Housing Trust Fund, which was very disappointing to have that fund come further under attack. While we hear there these sweeps should have no programmatic impact to services currently delivered, it is less money available to meet the significant housing needs in our state.

A small blip included in the state budget was an allocation of $100k from the Department of Health Services’ lottery allocation to go towards housing and support services for homeless pregnant women in Maricopa County. Interested providers should be sure to register with the ProcureAZ website to find out when the NOFA becomes available.

Here’s a rundown of bills we were watching, and unfortunately, watching die or actively fighting against:

  • Restoration of the Housing Trust Fund (HB2289):  Our longtime legislative champion Representative Lela Alston introduced legislation that supports our efforts to restore the funding that goes to the Housing Trust fund from the sale of unclaimed property that was swept during the Great Recession and never fully restore.  While not heard in committee, the new wave of lawmakers coming to the Capitol presents another opportunity!

  • Non-Arizona Real Property Owner Income Tax Filing Requirement (SB1280): Our legislative champion from the South came to us last session with a proposal to require the seller of property in Arizona that does not reside in Arizona to file an income tax return for the sale of the real property.  If it had passed, the Department of Housing would have deposited 70% of those “due taxes” to the Housing Trust Fund.

  • A State Affordable Housing Tax Credit (HB2568): Hoping to replicate the same bipartisan support and impact of the national Low Income Housing Tax Credit, this bill was introduced to allow for a state housing tax credit for investments in qualifying rental housing. The taxpayer may use the state credit to reduce their state corporate income, individual income, and insurance premium tax liability.  A similar measure has previously been approved in 16 other states and have illicit significant affordable housing development since enactment. Will a new set of lawmakers in 2019 be the opportunity to educate and get their support?

Other legislation and budgetary impacts affected by the haste to end this legislative session include a stalled but herculean effort to provide funding for dental care for pregnant women; similarly, a state appropriation to support our community’s Information and Referral Services; a proposed increase to state funding for homeless services and supports from the Arizona Lottery funding; and a failure for state lawmakers to give authority to DES to spend the increased funding from the federal government for child care subsidies.  

Don't miss a single chance to advocate for increased investments in affordable housing and ending homelessness through housing stability. Sign up for our Advocacy Alerts TODAY!


MAY IS MEMBERSHIP MONTH!

The Arizona Housing Coalition is a statewide collaborative membership association that leads in the efforts to end homelessness and advocate for a safe, affordable home for all Arizonans. 

Now more than ever, we must stand together to protect and expand the federal, state, and local resources needed to create affordable homes and support Arizonans safely in their homes.

WELCOME TO OUR NEW ORGANIZATIONAL MEMBERS:

Family Promise of Greater Phoenix
www.familypromiseaz.org

Novogradac & Company LLP
www.novoco.com

Sugar Creek Capital
www.sugarcreekcapital.com

Join us as we speak up for home and hope! 


9th Annual
Networking
& Golf Outing

Wednesday, 
August 22nd, 2018

Starr Pass Golf Club 
J.W. Marriott 
Starr Pass Resort & Spa
Tucson, AZ

It's no accident that the game of
golf and the business world have long 
gone hand in hand. So it goes without saying that the Coalition’s premier networking event of the
year is the place to be to
mix, mingle, and get to know those who are leading the charge in
ending homelessness and working
to provide safe, affordable homes for all Arizonans.

Become a sponsor
or get your team together!