The House will begin consideration of its FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill today. Notwithstanding the cuts and obvious problems with the THUD bill, NAHRO is keeping its focus on a larger conversation about the irresponsibly low spending cap that is likely to derail the entire budget and appropriations process. Ultimately, the goal is to get another deal to raise spending caps like the Murray-Ryan deal that was reached in 2013. We are maintaining our messaging to fit that strategy.
The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, May 13 approved its FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill by a party-line vote of 30-21.
Fifteen amendments were introduced and five were approved, though unfortunately none of the approved amendments pertained to housing or community development. An amendment that was offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) to remove language from the bill that would effectively eliminate the National Housing Trust Fund and fund HOME at the President’s request of $1.06 billion was rejected because the additional spending was not offset by other cuts. NAHRO supported the amendment.
On May 6, the Senate Aging Committee held a hearing called “Aging in Place: Can Advances in Technology Help Seniors Live Independently?”
Both the increasing number of seniors (there are an estimated 46.3 million adults aged 65 and older in the United States) and their longer life spans (the Society of Actuaries estimates the life expectancy of a 65-year-old woman to be 88 and that of a 65-year-old man to be 86), making technology available for seniors will become a priority for society at many levels. Housing professionals should expect to see new products and initiatives in support of seniors’ ability to live independently, similar to those presented at the hearing.
Last summer, we launched a Twitter campaign called #WHAAT Wednesdays. Each Wednesday, we ask housing authorities across the country to use the hashtag #WHAAT to share ‘What Housing Authorities Accomplished Today’ on Twitter with their local leaders and members of Congress. Momentum for #WHAAT Wednesday continues to build.
Thanks to your hard work, Congress approved a spending package last weekend that will provide responsible funding levels for housing and community development programs in the remainder of FY 2015. President Obama signed the bill on Tuesday evening and the Senate has adjourned concluding the work of the 113th Congress. The Senate also approved the House-approved one-year extension of the tax extenders bill.
On Tuesday, Nov. 25, NAHRO is asking members to pitch their Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) success stories to local media outlets as a part of our national push to educate members of Congress about why LIHTCs are beneficial and important to their home districts.
The fixed rate 4 percent and 9 percent rates expired at the end of the 2013 calendar year and have not been renewed. There are two legislative options to fix this problem: temporarily extending the credits or permanently authorizing them. NAHRO supports a temporary extension to allow communities to access these critical credits as quickly as possible, but hopes that Congress will approve the permanent authorization to avoid another lapse if a temporary fix is allowed to expire again.
Today, we need all NAHRO members to contact their members of Congress on Twitter to urge them to pass an omnibus spending package that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill at Senate levels.
Feel free to directly copy this sample tweet or craft your own using hashtag #FundHousingNow. Be sure to mention your members of Congress in your tweets. Find their Twitter handles here (Excel document downloads automatically).
In a voice vote today, the Senate Banking Committee moved forward the nomination of Lourdes Castro Ramírez to be HUD’s Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing. She now advances for the consideration of the entire Senate, a process which may be delayed by the hold that Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has said he intends to place on her nomination.
Castro Ramírez, a member of NAHRO’s Board of Governors, is currently the CEO of the San Antonio (Tex.) Housing Authority.
We need all NAHRO members to call Congress today, Tuesday, November 18, to ask lawmakers to push for an FY 2015 full-year omnibus spending package that funds the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill at Senate levels.
To participate, visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for step-by-step instructions on how to contact your member of Congress and talking points.
Or, follow these simple directions:
- To find your Representative’s number, go to www.house.gov.
- To find your Senators’ numbers, go to www.senate.gov.
- Ask to speak to the Legislative Assistant who handles appropriations.
- Identify yourself, your organization, and your location.
- Let him/her know that your organization depends on the certainty of full-year funding and that the House’s FY 2015 T-HUD bill does not provide adequate funding for programs upon which your community relies. Ask that your legislator to push for an omnibus spending package that funds T-HUD at Senate levels.
- Thank the staff person for their consideration and time.
Once you’ve called your three legislators, email Tess Hembree (firstname.lastname@example.org) to let her know how your conversations went.
Don’t forget – tomorrow is the omnibus write-in day. Visit the NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send pre-drafted letters to your members of Congress.
Thank you so much for your participation. Without your support for an omnibus that includes T-HUD, it’s possible that FY 2015 may be funded entirely by continuing resolution.
The ACTION Campaign (of which NAHRO is an active Steering Committee member) is calling on Congress to extend the minimum 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) rate for new construction and substantial rehabilitation and establish a minimum 4 percent rate for the acquisition of affordable housing before it adjourns for the year. The deadline for signing on to the letter has been extended to Friday, November 7.
When Congress returns next week, it will consider extensions of dozens of expired tax provisions, including minimum Housing Credit rates. While NAHRO and the ACTION Campaign believe the minimum 9 and 4 percent LIHTC rates should be made permanent, a temporary extension of these provisions for at least two years will still significantly strengthen the LIHTC at virtually no additional cost to taxpayers. The sign-on letter urges Congress to make these critical changes as soon as possible.
A full list of ACTION Campaign members will be included in the final letter to Congress. NAHRO encourages members to share the letter with housing authorities and redevelopment agencies in your area to help show broad support nationwide for minimum Housing Credit rates.
We also encourage NAHRO members who are active on social media to tweet on Twitter or post on Facebook to share when your organization has signed on to the letter and reshare the sign-on letter link. Use the hashtag #TaxCreditTuesday in your posts and tweets.
NAHRO Wants Your LIHTC Success Stories
NAHRO has been sharing its members LIHTC success stories both online, at the NAHRO on the Hill blog, and in print via theJournal of Housing and Community Development. If your organization has a successful LIHTC project, please let us know by contacting Emily Pasi at email@example.com.