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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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Action alert: tax reform will hurt communities

House Republicans released their tax cut plan and, just like earlier versions, this package of tax cuts would do nothing of substance for the working families who need the most help, but would instead supercharge wealth inequality and the racial wealth divide. House Republicans released their tax cut plan and, just like earlier versions, this package of tax cuts would do nothing of substance for the working families who need the most help, but would instead supercharge wealth inequality and the racial wealth divide.

  • Tax cuts for the wealthy don’t pay for themselves. Lower taxes on corporations and the wealthiest Americans will be paid for by working families in the form of cuts to the programs they rely on.
  • Harms community development such as elimination of New Markets Tax Credits, historic tax credits, and 4% tax credits and bond financing for housing among others.
  • Nearly 13 million Americans earning $100,000 a year or less would see a tax increase, according to an analysis from the Open Source Policy Center.
  • The plan removes the student loan interest deduction, affecting millions with student loan debt and further burdening these young people with lifelong debt.

While they decide whether to support this plan for “tax reform,” members of Congress need to hear from you today…before they hear from the lobbyists and special interests that stand to benefit at the expense of working families.

Call your Representative and tell them to put working families first! 

Thank you for using your voice to stand up for what’s right: the chance for everyone in our country to thrive.

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Call to action: share your housing success story

From the National Low Income Housing Coalition:

DEADLINE EXTENDED TO JANUARY 6: There’s still time to share your housing success story for a new national report.

Housing advocates are developing a report to highlight the positive impacts of federal housing programs across the country. 

We have our work cut out for us in the coming years. The threats to critical affordable housing programs that serve the poorest households are real and significant. President-elect Donald Trump has already proposed cutting federal spending for everything but defense over the next ten years—a plan that could decimate affordable housing programs and likely increase housing poverty and homelessness.

It is now more important than ever for NLIHC and our partners to continue to advocate for the extremely low income families in our communities and to ensure that their voices are heard.

Submit your affordable housing success story today!

NLIHC and the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding are preparing a national report on the broad, positive impacts created by HUD and USDA’s affordable housing programs to share with Members of Congress. Our hope is to feature a wide range of success stories to demonstrate how these programs have helped low income families living in rural, suburban, and urban communities across the nation. The report is slated for publication in early 2017.

As part of this effort, we would like to encourage state and local organizations, as well as individuals, to submit a Success Story to be included in this publication. Please only submit one success story per organization.

It is especially important that we collect success stories from Republican-led congressional districts—especially if they are on our target list for the House and Senate. See the target list. (OH-14 & OH-15 districts are top priorities on a national level).

Submit a success story! 

The deadline to submit a success story has been extended to January 6.

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What’s happening in Ohio community development? (November edition)

FHFA Announces Expansion of Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative 
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced an expansion of the Neighborhood Stabilization Initiative (NSI) to 18 additional metropolitan areas around the country. Effective December 1, local community organizations will be given the opportunity to review and purchase foreclosed properties owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac in these 18 additional metropolitan areas prior to these properties being made publicly available for purchase. Sales prices will vary from market to market.
The Ohio metropolitan areas designated for NSI expansion include:
* Akron, OH
* Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN
* Cleveland-Elyria, OH
* Columbus, OH
* Dayton, OH
* Toledo, OH
These markets are Metropolitan Statistical Areas in which Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each had at least 100 REO properties valued at less than $75,000. An interactive map, available on FHFA.gov, provides more detail about each of these metropolitan areas. For more information about becoming an NCST community buyer, please contact NCST.
To continue reading the November newsletter, click here.
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Tell Senators Brown and Portman to Save HOME

The Senate has begun debating its Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill. While this bill has been revised to reflect the new, higher spending caps agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act, it is not the version that is currently being negotiated with the House. Instead, it serves as the Senate’s starting point for further negotiations.

It is now expected that the Senate will vote on amendments after Thanksgiving and before the continuing resolution (CR) expires December 11th.

Please call Senators Portman and Brown as soon as possible and ask them to protect critical affordable housing and community development programs.

Specifically, ask your Senators to OPPOSE the following amendment that would decimate the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program:

  • Amendment 2838 offered by Sen. Jeff Flake (R – AZ) would cut funding for the HOME program from $900 million in the revised Senate THUD bill to $66 million. Earlier this year, the Senate proposed to cut HOME by 93 percent from $900 million in FY 2015 to just $66 million. Thanks to HOME supporters and the agreement to raise the low spending caps, the revised Senate bill restored HOME funding to $900 million. This amendment would negate these efforts and would essentially eliminate the program altogether.

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Senator Sherrod Brown’s office can be reached at 1-888-896-OHIO (6446) or online here.

Senator Rob Portman’s office can be reached at 202-224-3353 or online here.

See HOME’s impact in Ohio.

Thank you for your advocacy.

Nate Coffman
Executive Director
Ohio CDC Association

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ACTION ALERT: Let’s call congress to tell them #CapsHurt communities

Mark Your Calendars!

September 15-16 Are the National Call-In Days Urging Congress to Raise Harmful Spending Caps

On September 15 and 16, between 9am-5pm (ET), people from across the country will call their members of Congress and deliver a simple, unified message: raise the sequester caps and fully fund housing programs. Please join this effort to support critical housing programs by marking your calendar and following the instructions below on the designated days.

Background
The Budget Control Act of 2011’s spending caps have led to devastating cuts to critical housing programs. Additional “sequester” caps for fiscal year 2016 would bring more deep cuts for HUD and Rural Housing Services programs. These call-in days are being coordinated by Caps Hurt Communities, an advocacy campaign to build a movement of individuals and organizations committed to bringing an end to federal sequester caps. To learn more about the impact of the sequester caps on housing programs, please visit: http://nlihc.org/issues/budget.

How to Take Action
On September 15 and 16, between 9am-5pm (ET), please take a few moments to call your members of Congress. To do so, dial the Congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351 and ask to speak with your legislator. Ideally, you can make three calls – one to each of your Senators, and one to your Representative. Tell the receptionist in your legislator’s office how important affordable housing is to your community and leave this simple message:

“It’s time to pass a housing budget that works for our communities. Please raise the sequester caps and fully fund housing programs.”

Click here to contact your elected officials!

If you have any questions, please contact Nate Coffman at ncoffman AT ohiocdc.org or (614) 461-6392 ext. 207. Thank you for your advocacy!

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National Development Council Academy scholarship recipient expresses gratitude…

NDC Ohio Attendees

This past spring, Ohio CDC Association awarded six staff members at OCDCA member organizations scholarships to the National Development Council Academy in Washington DC. The four recipients learned a lot and met with development professionals from around the country. Below is a lovely letter we recently received from one of the recipients, Ashleigh, the Project Manager at Over-the-Rhine Community Housing in Cincinnati:

I wanted to write to express how grateful I am to the Ohio CDC Association for the full tuition scholarship for the National Development Academy in Washington, DC in May.  It was a great experience.  It was an excellent opportunity to network with other professionals in the community development field from across the country.  It was also a wonderful opportunity to become more informed and involved in the politics behind what we do.  I was also able to visit some of our Senators and Congressman to talk with them about how important affordable housing and community development is to our state and that we need to protect the many funding programs that enable CDC’s to do such great work such as HOME funding, new market tax credit funding, and low-income housing tax credits.  Attached is a photo of most of the Ohio attendees to the Academy with Senator Sherrod Brown’s top aide (he is the gentleman on the right).  The Senator did come out and talk to us, but did not have time for a photo.  I am also a certified housing development finance professional through NDC so this Academy satisfied 3 years of continuing education for that certification for me.  Again, thank you very much for the scholarship.  

Stay tuned for more scholarship opportunities from the Ohio CDC Association!

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TAKE ACTION: House FY16 THUD bill hurts affordable housing

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This week, the House of Representatives began debate on the FY 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill (H.R. 2577). Representatives considered over 50 amendments before House leadership decided to postpone further action on the bill until Tuesday, June 9. For additional information on amendments considered by the House, click here.

This delay gives advocates the opportunity to mobilize against additional harmful amendments that may be offered when the House takes the bill up again next week. Please call your Representatives as soon as possible and ask them to protect critical affordable housing and community development programs.

Please ask your Representative to OPPOSE the following amendments:

  • Representative Garrett’s (R-NJ) amendment to prevent HUD from enforcing fair housing laws using the Disparate Impact rule. On Wednesday, Representative Garrett was successful in offering a similar amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) FY 2016 Appropriations bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from enforcing federal Fair Housing laws based on HUD’s Disparate Impact rule;
  • Representative Gosar’s (R-AZ) amendment to prohibit funds from being used to implement, enforce, or administer HUD’s proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Rule and the AFFH assessment tool. While this amendment was rejected by voice vote, the roll call will occur next week where it may be approved;
  • Representative Blackburn’s (R-TN) amendment to impose a 1% across-the-board spending cut to all accounts in the bill;
  • Any amendment to prohibit HUD from administering the National Housing Trust Fund; and
  • Any amendment to reduce funding for critical affordable housing and community development programs or divert existing funds to other programs.

In addition, please ask your Representatives to SUPPORT all amendments that would increase funding for affordable housing and community development programs. At this time, we expect amendments will be offered to:

  • Protect funding for the National Housing Trust Fund;
  • Increase funding for housing choice vouchers, including amendments to restore the 67,000 vouchers that remain unfunded due to the across-the-board sequester cuts in 2013; and
  • Increase funding for the HOME program.
If you need any assistance, please feel free to contact Nate Coffman at ncoffman@ohiocdc.org.
To find contact information for your Representative, you can call the Congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351 or click here.
Thank you for your advocacy.
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What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development?

Check out our May newsletter – What’s Happening in Ohio Community Development? Just released!

Highlights:

Upcoming OCDCA and partner trainings

Tiny houses in Cleveland and mixed income development in Cincinnati

A slew of funding and employment opportunities

News on the federal and state budgets

An update on the nonprofit developer fee bonus to replace CHDO operating funds

And much more!

 

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Scholarship opportunity for OCDCA members

The National Development Council (NDC) is hosting their biennial Academy in Washington DC on May 12-14.

Under the theme, “Your Work Moves Your Community and Our Country Forward,” the NDC Academy 2015 presents up-to-the-minute news from elected officials and administration staff on policy developments and will feature more than twenty panel discussions and short courses focused on the latest financing tools and development strategies for every type of community development activity. Topics include federal tax credits, rural development, crowdfunding, job creation and more. Capitol Hill visits to meet with Congressional delegations and a project tour will also be arranged.

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This is going to be an amazing event. You won’t want to miss it.

Through NACEDA, Ohio CDC Association members are eligible for a 64% tuition discount for this event of $300 (the regular price is $825). To access this discount, please use this form. Additionally, NDC is offering OCDCA members four full-tuition scholarships for the Academy.

To be considered for a registration scholarship, please email Lisa Much lmuch@ohiocdc.org, expressing your interest, by Wednesday, April 15 at 12:00 pm. Winners will be selected at random. Only Ohio CDC Association members are eligible for either the discounted rate or the full scholarship. If you are not a member of the Ohio CDC Association and would like to be, please contact Melissa Miller at mmiller@ohiocdc.org.