Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lame Duck Update: Setbacks with LIHTC, Slow Progress with Spending

Congress returned to Washington this week after the Thanksgiving holiday with an ambitious agenda to complete before the end of the year, including the passage of a tax extenders package and a spending bill.

Progress was made this week on a tax extenders package; the House on Wednesday passed by 378-46 a one-year, retroactive bill to extend expired credits through the end of 2014. Though the bill includes the 9 percent fixed rate Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), it is essentially useless to LIHTC stakeholders because LIHTC must be applied to future affordable housing developments and the bill expires at the end of 2014.

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Action Alert: Contact your Members of Congress on Twitter

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).

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HUD Nominee Advanced by Senate Banking Committee

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.

Take Action Next Week to Support FY 2015 Omnibus, THUD

For three days next week, NAHRO will be asking advocates to call, write, and tweet their members of Congress to urge them to approve an omnibus spending package that includes the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) bill at Senate levels. Be prepared to take action on Tuesday, November 18 through Thursday, November 20.

This is a critical time for housing and community development programs; between now and mid-December, Congress will be making important decisions about spending and taxes before adjourning for the last time before the new Congress takes office in January. This time is commonly referred to as the “lame duck” session of Congress: watch a webinar by NAHRO’s Congressional Relations team outlining what you need to know about the lame duck session.

NAHRO will launch three days of advocacy efforts to push for an omnibus spending package that includes T-HUD at Senate levels. For detailed information on how to participate, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page and download the document titled “Lame Duck Omnibus Advocacy Materials for Nov. 18-20.”

On Tuesday, Nov. 18, call your members of Congress.  Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center for contact information for your legislators and talking points on the omnibus. Or, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for written instructions within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document on how to participate.

On Wednesday, Nov. 19, email your members of Congress. Visit the Advocacy Action Center again to send your members of Congress a pre-drafted, editable email about the importance of passing an omnibus spending package with T-HUD included at Senate levels.

On Thursday, Nov. 20tweet at your members of Congress. Visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contact page for a sample tweet and to find your lawmakers’ Twitter handles within the “omnibus advocacy materials” document.

Please take action next week to ensure that your legislators know how critical the passage of an omnibus spending package that includes funding T-HUD at Senate levels is to your community.

Post-Election Update

Mid-term elections were held on Tuesday, November 4. As widely predicted, Republicans will take control of the Senate starting in January when the 114th Congress is sworn in. Between now and January, Congress will be working quickly to accomplish a number of legislative goals, including passing a spending bill for FY 2015. For more information on the impact of the election and advocacy actions you can take during this time, visit NAHRO’s Congressional District Contacts page to view a webinar that explains everything you need to know.

As of today, the Republicans control 52 Senate seats and Democrats control 46 (including two independents who caucus with Democrats). Two races are still undecided: Alaska and Louisiana. The latter will hold a run-off election on December 6.  The House, also as expected, remains in Republican control. The combination of retirements and lost races will result in major changes for the committees with jurisdiction over housing and community development. The Senate Appropriations Committee will see as many as five members leave the committee, including three from the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee.  The Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will have as many as five vacancies. Additionally, Republicans will take control of the committees, which will change the leadership and shift both the priorities and the focuses of the committees. Committee assignments and leadership elections are typically held in the weeks after Congress swears in. NAHRO will provide full committee information once it’s available.

Despite the lower amount of turnover in the House, retirements from the Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee will bring big changes to the subcommittee in the 114th Congress. The retirement of Chairman Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Ed Pastor (D-Ariz.) will open up both leadership positions on the subcommittee. Given the retirement of Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the T-HUD subcommittee will see a 27 percent turnover rate.

Before the new Congress takes office, the current Congress still has an agenda to complete. All members, including those voted out of office or those who are retiring, will return to Washington next week to address legislative items that need to be resolved before the 113th Congress adjourns for the last time. This is commonly referred to as the “lame duck” session. NAHRO anticipates two high-priority items to at least be considered during the lame duck session: FY 2015 appropriations and tax extenders.

The current continuing resolution expires on December 11, forcing Congress to deal with spending during the lame duck. There appears to be a high level of optimism that Congress can pass an omnibus spending package rather than deferring yet again to a continuing resolution. Legislators also appear hopeful that a tax extenders package can finally be passed; many tax credits expired at the end of the 2013 calendar year, including the fixed rate Low Income Housing Tax Credits. A deal appears to be in the works to extend these credits.

Time is limited to deal with these issues, though. Congress will have only a few weeks to pass these major legislative items. NAHRO is planning several advocacy efforts on the omnibus and tax extenders, including a three-day push for an omnibus bill that includes funding T-HUD at Senate levels beginning on Tuesday, November 18.

The NAHRO Congressional Relations team has recorded a webinar detailing everything you need to know about the impact of the election and actions you can take during the lame duck session. To view the webinar, visit NAHRO’s YouTube page. 

Transforming neighborhoods, building communities

This October marked not only Housing America Month, but also big anniversaries for two of our members: the Warren Housing Authority (R.I.) and Yolo County Housing (Calif.). Each housing authority celebrated by bringing together its residents, elected leaders, colleagues and regional HUD representatives. Sen. Reed _ Housing America Month

On Monday, Oct. 20, the Warren Housing Authority marked its 50th anniversary by recognizing the foresight Warren community leaders had to make a safe, quality, and affordable home for seniors.

“It was 50 years ago that a group of citizens led by Warren’s own Victor Andreozzi approached the town council and asked to form a housing authority,” said Carol Costa, executive director of WHA.  “Today, we celebrate the pioneers who made this possible; the commissioners who guide our vision; the residents who make this place so lively; the administration and staff who make this place tick and the federal, state and town leaders who keep us in business.”

In attendance were Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), State Sen. Walter Felag, Rep. Jan Malik, Rep. Ken Marshall and national housing officials representing NAHRO, New England Regional Council of NAHRO (NERC NAHRO) and Public Housing Association of Rhode Island (PHARI).

During the luncheon, WHA received citations recognizing its 50 years of service to the community from Sen. Whitehouse, General Treasurer Gina Raimondo, and the Rhode Island House of Representatives and Senate.

Rep. Cicilline_Housing America Month tweet

On Thursday, Oct. 23, Yolo County Housing celebrated the 30th anniversary of the opening of Riverbend Manor. The property was once a school that closed in 1978 and fell into disrepair. In 1984, it was converted to housing for senior and disabled families. Today, the classrooms have been further updated to provide housing for 63 extremely low-income families. Onsite amenities include a ceramics classroom complete with a kiln, community gardens and a lunch program for senior residents.

California State Assemblyman Roger Dickinson and HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead attended the anniversary celebration as well as former students and instructors of the school.  HUD Division Director Melina Whitehead and Lisa Baker _housing america event

NAHRO congratulates both Warren Housing Authority and Yolo County Housing on their years of service to their communities and thanks them for providing safe, quality, and affordable homes for all!

Yolo County Housing

Fighting homelessness and generational poverty with affordable housing

The Housing Authority of Winston-Salem (NC) is honoring Housing America Month this October, but more importantly, the clients and residents it serves every day. The Oaks at Tenth_Winston Salem

This year, HAWS partnered with the Bethesda Center for the Homeless by committing to set aside 42 public housing units for those persons in the community experiencing chronic homelessness. Since 2012, HAWS Collaborative Program has helped 49 homeless individuals.

Affordable housing is at a premium in Winston-Salem much like the rest of the country. That’s why HAWS recently broke ground on a new 30-unit public housing property called Camden Station. The property is set to be completed in the summer of 2015. HAWS also recently completed its Stoney Glen Apartments project, a newly renovated public housing community. The Apartments began leasing this month. Both properties come with energy efficiency washers and dryers and require residents to work. Earlier this year, HAWS also completed The Oaks at Tenth, HAWS’s first ever working requirement activity community.

HAWS also focuses on helping its residents further their education. Eight first generation college students will continue their education at local colleges and universities thanks to HAWS and funding from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. Stoney Glen Renovation_Winston Salem

For more information about how agencies like the Housing Authority of Winston-Salem are positively impacting their communities, visit the Housing America Campaign website.

Community Focus on Affordable Housing for ’17Days’

From Sept. 19 through Oct. 5, artwork created by youth living in assisted housing provided by the State Representative Alma Adams with GHA youth at HA eventGreensboro Housing Authority (NC) was featured at the 17Days Arts and Culture Festival in celebration of Housing America Month. Artists in grades K-12 created art that expressed what home means to them.

“We are delighted to have our ‘What Homes Means to Me’ posters included in the 17DAYS Arts & Culture Festival,” said Tina Akers Brown, president and CEO of GHA. “This is the first time that an agency such as ours has had the opportunity to participate in the community event.  It will be great exposure for the children and will help highlight the many positive things that happen in our communities.”

03_72dpi_Harmonee_FebIncluded in the exhibit was Greensboro’s national winning 2015 ‘What Home Means to Me’ contest entry created by 18 year old, Harmonee.

Greensboro (NC) Mayor Announces 2015 What Home Means to Me National WinnerArtsGreensboro’s annual festival celebrates “all things beautiful and exciting.” In 2013, more than 85,000 people attended the festival including State Representative Alma Adams. This year, Greensboro Mayor Nancy B. Vaughan joined GHA at the 17Days Arts and Culture Festival to highlight not only wonderful work of the children, but the integral role affordable housing plays in education and job training and development.

D.C. Housing Authority: Impacting the quality of lives of the families it serves

With its focus on the future and the ever-changing backdrop of affordable housing in our nation’s capital, the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA) has spent much of 2014 and the years before developing and preserving its existing affordable housing stock for the thousands of low-income persons and families in need. DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting1

In March 2014, DCHA Executive Director Adrianne Todman and local leaders broke ground on the latest addition to the Southeast neighborhood community, the Lofts at Capitol Quarter. When completed, the $42 million L Street building will contain 156 market-rate and 39 affordable rental units. Amenities will include a roof top deck and pool, internal courtyards, an exercise room, and a computer room. Construction is expected to be completed by late 2015. The Lofts at Capitol Quarter are part of DCHA’s Capitol Quarter redevelopment project, one of the nation’s largest Hope VI projects.

“At DCHA we work creatively with other public and private partners to unlock opportunities for our residents so that they can improve their life outcomes,” Todman said. “We are in the final stages of developing the Capitol Quarter neighborhood into a successful mixed-income community that our clients can consider home.”

DCHA-Lofts at Capitol Quarter - Ribbon Cutting2Funding for the Lofts at Capitol Quarter was made possible by combining Low Income Housing Tax Credit subsidies, District of Columbia Housing Finance Agency debt purchased by Citi Community Capital, and a short-term loan made by Industrial Bank.

Helping families to self-sufficiency one step at a time

Homeownership can be an overwhelming process to go through for a first time buyer, particularly when the buyer doesn’t have a thorough knowledge of the process. DCHA saw a need to help support and counsel its residents moving toward homeownership both at the beginning of the process and after to ensure complete success.

By combining the resources of local and federal government, FDIC Insured Banks, HUD community-based homeownership organizations-University Legal Services, prominent title companies-Answer Title, and the DCHA HCV Homeownership Program, DCHA was able to educate its first-time homebuyers in the process in a way that the typical first-time homebuyer would not receive.

DCHA has pledged to continue to develop partnerships with resource centers across the city through its Homeownership Coordinating Committee in order to bring an even greater level of support to future homeowners.

Serving the needs of our seniors

DCHA also opened its first, state-of-the-art, affordable assisted living facility, with the designation of certified Medicaid provider. By creating a model that combined HUD rental subsidies, Medicaid reimbursements, and other revenues, DCHA is able to provide a 24-hour per day community and healthcare outlet for seniors, as well as health-related employment opportunities for other trained DCHA residents.DCHA-Maintaining Housing for Seniors

“It’s clear there is a need for additional affordable housing options in the District of Columbia and I salute DCHA for putting great care in creating this new facility that not only puts a roof over residents’ heads, but provides them with key wrap-around services that will help them to lead healthy and full lives,” said Mayor Vincent C. Gray. “This new facility will serve as a model as we continue to foster a city where all can live and thrive.”

Seniors’ Housing Choice Voucher leases are often terminated because of disputes between landlord and resident, a failure to complete the biennial recertification process, or a resident violation of Housing Quality Standards (HQS). DCHA’s HCVP Mediation Program partners low-income seniors, a majority of whom are low-income ethnic minorities and women, with an Elder Buddy –AARP’s answer to legal counsel for the elderly.

Since 2012, more than 400 of DC’s seniors have received legal counsel through the Elder Buddy program which has resulted in a major decrease in terminations from the HCV Program.

For these reasons and many more, we celebrate DCHA today during Housing America Month for its its undying dedication and commitment to providing safe, quality, and affordable housing for all in  need in our nation’s capital.

Colorado NAHRO Names Rep. Perlmutter Legislator of the Year

On Monday, Oct. 6, Colorado NAHRO (CoNAHRO) honored Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) as its 2014 Legislator of the Year.

A member of the House Financial Services Committee, Perlmutter has a proven track record of fighting for the interests of Colorado residents by supporting the activities and programs of housing authorities and community development agencies. In 2013, he sponsored the Freddie Mac REMIC Reform Act, more commonly known as H.R. 3754. In the same year, he introduced an amendment to the 2014 Energy and Water spending bill in an effort to restore resources in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. He is also committed to making transportation accessible by all.

“Rep. Perlmutter worked to help secure a “Sustainable Community Initiative” grant worth $4.5 million for DRCOG to develop the Metro Denver region’s long-range plan for growth and development, while addressing one of our region’s most pressing and exciting challenges: leveraging the multi-billion dollar expansion of the FasTracks transit system,” said Tami Fischer, president of CoNAHRO. “Part of this plan is to ensure families have affordable housing along transportation lines such as the Westline and Northline.”

Perlmutter worked side by side with CoNAHRO to endorse regulatory reform in a time of declining federal resources, in order to enable housing authority and community development agencies to more efficiently and effectively meet the growing demands of Colorado residents.

During his remarks, Perlmutter explained that his role in this process had been insignificant compared to the work of the housing and community development (HCD) professionals of Colorado. “This is a team effort,” he said. “It’s about a vision and an effort to make that vision a reality.”

The ceremony honoring the Congressman took place at the Lamar Station Affordable Housing Development in Lakewood, Colo., in front of more than 50 HCD industry leaders.