As the new year begins and the new Congress gets to work, the National Housing Trust has defined its federal legislative and oversight priorities for 2019. We look forward to working with our partners and Congress to pursue these objectives and highlight the importance of federal resources which support affordable housing preservation.
The top priority for NHT and everyone who cares about affordable housing and its residents is for the needless government shutdown to end. Every day it drags on, the shutdown threatens more low-income seniors, people with disabilities, and families who rely on critically important federally assisted affordable housing. Private rental housing owners are scrambling to cover operating costs for which the federal government is contractually responsible, with no end in sight. NHT will continue educating the media, general public, and Congress about the damaging impact of the shutdown until a solution is found. Please see the related article, “Federal Government Shutdown: Week Five” for more on the shutdown.
Once the government reopens and federal rental assistance programs are back on track, NHT will pursue the following legislative and policy priorities, which are described in greater detail in the downloadable memo below:
- Continue long-standing advocacy for 12 months of full funding for project-based rental assistance (PBRA);
- Urge Congress to enact the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act to expand and protect the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit;
- Encourage HUD to fully engage with housing industry stakeholders and residents and carefully consider their input before making any changes to its inspection and enforcement protocols for assisted properties;
- Ask Congress to support investments in energy efficiency improvements in assisted housing as part of any congressional infrastructure bill;
- Request Congress to provide oversight and hold HUD accountable for the full implementation of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative, to prevent a lapse in fair housing protections or a retreat to subjective, private decision making about the use of federal resources;
- Urge the Rural Housing Service (RHS) to use every available unit and dollar of Rental Assistance to preserve irreplaceable rental properties and protect tenants, and ask Congress to hold related oversight hearings;
- Engage with HUD (and possibly Congress) on how the use of Section 8(bb) could be improved to preserve budget authority for PBRA;
- Encourage Congress to hold HUD accountable to fill vacant positions as quickly as possible;
- As a new Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director is appointed, ask Congress to provide oversight to ensure that FHFA is continuing to enforce its Duty to Serve regulatory responsibilities, and to appropriately maintain the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund;
- Urge the Administration to reintroduce the Federal Financing Bank (FFB) Risk-Sharing initiative and continue it over the long-term and ask Congress to provide oversight as needed; and
- Call upon Congress to enhance protections for tenants facing any change in subsidy status from any federal program.
We look forward to working with our partners and Congress to pursue these objectives in 2019.