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Congressman David Joyce learns about importance of HUD funding

OCDCA is working with the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) to make the long-term case to key Ohio congressional officials about the importance of adequately funding community development and affordable housing in the HUD budget.

Congressman David Joyce (R – Geauga County) recently attended an educational convening with COHHIO and OCDCA members at the offices of Extended Housing in Painesville and learned about how housing is foundational to success and how federal programs work together to leverage resources to uplift the community.

From L to R – Gina Wilt (COHHIO), Karen McLeod (Extended Housing), Congressman David Joyce, Nate Coffman (OCDCA), Bill Faith (COHHIO)

Our organizations will continue to make the case in DC and throughout Ohio. We greatly thank Representative Joyce for spending the day with us, and our members who helped demonstrate their critical work.

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What’s Happening? Payday lending reform, federal budget, & trainings

A brief sample of our March 2018 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development? 

While you’re reading this, why don’t you just read the whole newsletter and subscribe?

FY 2018 1.3T Dollar Spending Bill Includes Increases for Housing and Community Development
As part of the bill signed into law recently, overall HUD funding increased 4.6 billion dollars over FY17, more than 12 billion dollars above the president’s FY18 request. The approximate 10% increase is in line with the 10% overall increase the bill provides to non-defense discretionary programs. HOME funding increased (412 million) as part of the agreement, as did the Community Development Block Grant Program (305 million). USDA housing and rural development programs also saw increases. The budget also included a new line item for 100M in social impact partnershipsView a list of expenditures compared with past years. This is certainly positive given the last eight years of austerity but there still is a long way to go to get to pre-2010 funding levels and beyond.

Source: NLIHC analysis of federal appropriations enacted by Congress

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Advocates and congressional champions secure increased affordable housing funding for 2018

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

The final fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending bill – released yesterday, March 21, by Congressional leaders – includes a significant increase in funding for affordable housing and community development programs at HUD and USDA, along with an increase in Low Income Housing Tax Credits and an important reform to the tax program. This successful outcome is due to the hard work of advocates across the nation and strong Congressional champions, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and David Price (R-NC) – the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees – as well as Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and others.

The bill provides HUD programs with $4.6 billion in additional funding overall compared to FY17, or more than $12 billion above the president’s FY18 request. With a 10% one-year increase to HUD, many programs were funded at levels significantly above what was proposed in either the House or Senate draft bills. The spending bill renews all Housing Choice Vouchers and provides new vouchers to veterans and people with disabilities, allocates nearly $1 billion in additional funding to repair and operate public housing, and boosts funding for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) to the highest level in seven years. Moreover, the final bill includes none of rent increases proposed by the president in his budget request. See NLIHC’s updated budget chart for more details.

The final FY18 spending bill is a clear repudiation of the president’s budget request, which would have cut funding for HUD by nearly 15%, or $7.4 billion, compared to FY17 levels, provided the HUD secretary with the authority to increase the financial burden on current and future tenants, eliminated 250,000 Housing Choice Vouchers, and slashed or zeroed out funding for public housing, the national Housing Trust Fund, HOME, and Community Development Block Grants.

The House is expected to vote on the bill as soon as today, March 22, followed by the Senate soon thereafter. Congress must enact the spending bill before the current stop-gap spending measure expires on Friday, March 23. Congressional leaders could turn to a short, day-long continuing resolution to provide enough time to overcome procedural hurdles. Once the bill is enacted, NLIHC and our partners in the Campaign for Housing and Community Development will turn our full attention to defeating the president’s FY19 budget request, securing the highest allocation possible for affordable housing and community development programs, and defeating harmful benefit cuts.

Read and learn more on the NLIHC’s website.

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Sign here for increased community development and housing resources

We all know that there is tremendous unmet need in the state for community development funding and for housing that low-income people can afford.

However, there is good news: Congress’s recent bipartisan budget agreement is the first opportunity in many years to get increased federal funding for community development and affordable housing.

President Trump’s new budget is a bad start, but it’s just symbolic. The fact is, Congress just lifted austere spending caps that have starved HUD programs for years.

The bill adds $131 billion in domestic non-defense spending for the next two fiscal years, and now they need to figure out how to spend it.

While Trump’s budget would add only $2 billion of that new money to HUD (for an overall 14% cut), we know that increased funding for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investments Partnership program (HOME), rental assistance, and the National Housing Trust Fund would go a long way to alleviating resource scarcity and the affordability crisis.

But we need to let our members of Congress know these programs really work.

The first step is to add your organization to this sign-on letter asking Ohio’s congressional delegation to support increased funding for HUD programs.

After you sign the letter, we’ll get in touch when the time comes to call your members of Congress to let them know how important these federal community development and housing programs are to their constituents.

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Action needed on tax reform legislation

Dear advocate:

Please take a moment to read and act on the message below from Hal Keller and our friends at the Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing. It’s critically important to preserve private activity bonds; exempt housing tax credits from BEAT to encourage affected institutions to invest in America; keep LIHTC basis boost at 30%; and keep the New Markets Tax Credit and Historic Tax Credit.

Thank you for your advocacy!

Sincerely,
Nate Coffman
Executive Director
Ohio CDC Association

Friends,

As you know, with the passage of the Senate tax reform bill, the next step is for Senate and House Republicans to reconcile differences between their bills. As the Senate and House convene the conference committee to craft a single tax reform bill, it is important that our industry weigh in on these issues. The future of affordable housing and community economic development is at serious risk of devastating cutbacks. Given there might very well be a need to find revenue to pay for measures that will lead to an agreement, we cannot assume the Senate provisions related to private activity bonds and other credits will automatically be retained.

The document linked below explains and addresses our concerns. We need to weigh in with Republican Senators and Representatives and ask them to relay to the conferees the impact these provisions will have on affordable housing production. Names and contact information for the legislators and their tax staff are also linked below for your convenience.

The tax reform framework laid out by Republican leadership in September specifically called out the LIHTC as economically important to the American economy. Yet the pending bills repudiate that commitment. The conferees need to understand that these provisions will negatively affect the economy, job creation and affordable housing production.

Please let me know if you have any questions and thank you. Time is of the essence.

Thank you,
Hal Keller
President
Oho Capital Corporation for Housing

H.R. 1 Impact on Community Economic Development

Ohio Congressional Delegation

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What’s happening? HOME, Open enrollment

A brief sample of our October 2017 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

Sign HOME Coalition Letter and Submit HOME Success Stories by November 10

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is looking for HOME success stories. Congress has yet to finalize its fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending bills, and the House proposed cutting HOME by $100 million to a historic low of $850 million.

The HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) is looking for HOME success stories. Congress has yet to finalize its fiscal year (FY) 2018 spending bills, and the House proposed cutting HOME by $100 million to a historic low of $850 million.   For over 20 years, HOME has been one of the most effective, flexible, and locally driven tools to help states and communities address their most pressing housing challenges. Recent cuts to HOME from more than $1.8 billion in 2010 to $950 million in 2017 have only made it more difficult for America’s most vulnerable households to access a safe, decent, and affordable home.

  1. Sign on to the HOME Coalition’s letter urging Congress to restore HOME funding to at least $1.2 billion in FY 2018. Sign your organization on to the letter now.
  2. Submit HOME success stories to show the impact of the HOME Program and give a face to who the program serves. Please use this HOME success story template and submit stories to Althea Arnold (aarnold AT ncsha.org) or Clay Kerchof (ckerchof AT enterprisecommunity.org).

The deadline to sign your organization onto the letter and submit success stories is November 10. Thank you for your support of this crucial resource.

Read the whole newsletter or subscribe!

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What’s happening? Budget vote, HUD

A brief sample of our August 2017 newsletter: What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

House Plans to Vote on FY18 Housing Appropriations in Early September 

The US House plans to vote on the FY18 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill in the first few days of September after members of Congress return from their month-long recess. The current plan is for the THUD bill to be combined with seven other domestic spending bills to form a larger package. Because of tight federal spending limits, the THUD bill would eliminate more than 140,000 housing vouchers and reduce flexible resources used by states and localities to build and preserve affordable homes and address community needs.

Even if the House passes the spending package, the Senate is unlikely to consider the bill. Because of the low domestic spending levels and conservative policy riders in the House spending bills, Democrats are expected to oppose them. Without some Democratic support, the Senate does not have the 60 votes it needs to approve the spending bills. The Senate continues to work on its spending bills, which exceed the Budget Control Act caps. This sets the stage for bipartisan negotiations. Congress and the administration will need to reach an agreement on final FY18 spending bills – or enact a short-term Continuing Resolution – before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1 or risk a government shutdown.

Given the limited time remaining before the start of the next fiscal year, Congress will likely need to rely on at least one short term stopgap spending bill to keep the government open when FY18 begins on October 1. Click here for an updated budget chart covering a variety of community development and housing programs.

Read the whole newsletter or subscribe!

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Summer meals for kids return to Erie County

Free summer meals have returned around the state, mostly through the multitude of community action agencies, for kids who need them.

It’s a program to ensure that children who receive free or reduced price meals during the school year can also get nutritious lunches during the summer months. It’s also a program that the Trump budget has called for implementing deep cuts to.

While it’s still funded, here is a lovely write up in the Sandusky Register by reporter Tom Jackson on the program ran by the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron, and Richland Counties.

 

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URGENT: Save the Ohio Housing Trust Fund Expansion!

Your strong support helped convince leaders in the Ohio House of Representatives to add our proposal strengthening the Ohio Housing Trust Fund to the state budget that passed the House last month.

Unfortunately, the Ohio Senate just stripped the proposal from its version of the budget.

Please call your Senator by noon on Thursday and ask him or her to support the Ohio Housing Trust Fund proposal!

Senators need to know that their constituents and community leaders care about this issue and are opposed to removing the Trust Fund proposal.

Find contact information for your Senator.

Talking Points for Calls to Senators:

  • We urge the Senator to restore the Ohio Housing Trust Fund/Recording Fee proposal in the budget.
  • The proposal is a key part of the solution to Ohio’s opiate crisis because it dedicates $6 million/year in non-GRF (general revenue fund) to help house people who are exiting opiate treatment.
  • The proposal stabilizes and expands the Trust Fund, the primary source of state support for homelessness and decent, affordable homes for seniors, veterans, and children.

This Home Matters to Ohio brochure has more information about the Trust Fund.

You will most likely speak to a Senator’s aide or leave a brief voice mail, but please know, these contacts are critically important. After you call, please send a quick email to marcusroth AT cohhio.org to let the coalition know who you contacted.

We still have time to get the Trust Fund proposal restored before the budget is finalized on June 30, but we need your voice!

Despite this setback, we are confident that our efforts will ultimately succeed in increasing state funding for the Ohio Housing Trust Fund.

Thank you for your support!

Nate Coffman
Executive Director
Ohio CDC Association
On behalf of the Home Matters to Ohio coalition

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What the U.S. Loses If Trump Eliminates AmeriCorps

We’ve been talking about AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National & Community Service for a while now. It clearly makes a huge impact, not just in Ohio, but to the country as a whole, as well as the individuals who volunteer their time to serve as an AmeriCorps member.

Still, it’s refreshing to hear others, especially CEOs of major corporations talking about its value. Read a sensible and smart piece in Fortune by Chris Policinski, David MacLennan, John Wiehoff, Doug Baker, all CEOs of major Minnesota-based companies.

A brief sample:

The administration’s perspective is clear and pointed. “Funding community service and subsidizing the operation of nonprofit organizations is outside the role of the Federal Government,” the budget states. “To the extent these activities have value, they should be supported by the nonprofit and private sectors and not with Federal subsidies provided through the complex Federal grant structure run by CNCS.”

As cost-conscious leaders of Fortune 500 companies, we have to disagree. We know a good deal when we see one, and the CNCS is a good deal. This is why we’ve donated to AmeriCorps programs such as College Possible.

While funding for the CNCS represents a fraction of federal spending (less than .02% in previous years), its demise would deeply harm hundreds of thousands of Americans.