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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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Call for nominations! HUD’s fourth annual Secretary’s Awards for Healthy Homes

HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, in partnership with the National Environmental Health Association, offers this call for nominations for excellence in four categories:

1. Public Housing/Multifamily Housing;

2. Policy and Education Innovation;

3. Cross-Program Coordination,

4. Research.

Nominations accepted online until Feb. 28.

More information about submission requirements.

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What’s happening? State & federal budget update

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

Administration Releases FY18 Budget Proposal, Guts Community Development & Housing

The President’s FY 2018 budget request was officially released last week titled A New Foundation for American Greatness. The proposal, which largely mirrors the budget preview released in March makes steep cuts to housing and community development programs, slashing the overall HUD budget by $6.2 billion or 13.2% compared to FY 2017. View the historic HUD/USDA budget chart by program.

The bulk of the cuts are to community development programs, which are largely eliminated such as the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnership (HOME) programs. These proposed cuts, if implemented, would be devastating for communities.

Although the administration’s budget is largely a political statement that has been rejected by many in Congress, it remains important to communicate to your members of Congress the impact these cuts would have to your community: that the bulk of these programs have already been significantly cut over the last several years and that they need to be increased, not just protected.

To help tell the story of CDBG and HOME in Ohio, we’ve created flyers for these programs. View the CDBG flyer and HOME flyer. You can use these flyers when talking about these programs. The flyers are editable PDFs that allow you to enter your organization’s contact information on the back.

US House of Representatives – Click here to contact your representative.

US Senator Rob Portman – Click here to contact Senator Portman.

US Senator Sherrod Brown – Click here to contact Senator Brown.

Thank you for your advocacy!

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DeSoto Bass, Hilltop public housing residents get job help

Big news from Dayton featuring OCDCA member Greater Dayton Premier Management and CareSource Life Services!

Cory Frolik for Dayton Daily News:

Aquanna Quarles last year met with then-Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro. Quarles has lived in DeSoto Bass since 2007. Quarles, who enrolled in Greater Dayton Premier Management’s self-sufficiency program, was a shift manager and wanted to keep moving up the ladder. Photo by Cornelius Frolik.

A new job center opened this week in the heart of the DeSoto Bass Courts in West Dayton that will assist public housing residents with finding jobs and better-paying work.

Residents of the roughly 500 apartments in the DeSoto Bass and nearby Hilltop Homes public housing developments now have access to an on-site job center that has eight offices for community organizations, a computer lab, kitchen and meeting space.

The center will connect job-seekers with employers, offer work-readiness training and will help residents with job placement and financial literacy services, officials said.

The center just opened, and already 20 residents have signed up for the Jobs-Plus program, and two have already found work, said Jennifer Heapy, CEO of Greater Dayton Premier Management, the local public housing authority.

In September, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) visited the DeSoto Bass Courts housing project to announce it was selected for a $2.4 million grant as part of the federal Jobs-Plus Initiative Program.

Greater Dayton Premier Management was one of only six public housing authorities out of 4,000 nationwide to receive a Jobs-Plus grant award last year. The agency last year also received a $1.5 million federal grant to develop a plan to remake the West Dayton neighborhood around DeSoto Bass.

The job center will help residents learn a trade, obtain a GED, improve their jobs skills and make other gains that help people get their first job or climb the ladder if they are already employed to become more self-sufficient and earn higher wages, Heapy said.

When residents participate in the Jobs-Plus program, they receive incentives so that their rental subsidies do not decrease when their wages rise, officials said. People in Jobs-Plus can get a 100 percent “income disregard” for up to two years.

Jobs-Plus, a four-year grant, will help pull public housing residents out of poverty by permitting them to advance in their jobs and careers to earn more money without having to fear that they will hit a benefits cliff and lose some of their rental subsidies, officials said.

Premier Management has hired a Jobs-Plus coordinator and has partnered with CareSource’s Life Services department to try to help residents obtain jobs that pay living wages, Heapy said.

CareSource offers its members services to help overcome obstacles to employment, including interview and job training, transportation and childcare assistance and budget and financial counseling.

Read the whole article here.

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TAKE ACTION: THUD appropriations bill halts all funding to NHTF

The proposed FY 2016 appropriations bill for HUD passed April 29 by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) would eviscerate the National Housing Trust Fund. The bill:

  • Transfers all funding that is supposed to go to the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) into the HOME program.
  • Forbids Congress to put any other funding into NHTF.

The House Appropriations Committee press release on the proposed THUD bill states that the bill will provide level funding of $900 million for the HOME program, but fails to mention that it would do so only by raiding the NHTF. The House Appropriations Committee will consider the THUD bill when they reconvene after their recess next week. Please reach out to your Representative before May 12 and urge him or her to oppose the bill’s treatment of the NHTF and the HOME program.

When you contact your Representative, share with him or her that:

  1. The NHTF is the only federal program that provides new money specifically to expand the supply of rental housing that is affordable for extremely low income (ELI) households. Nationwide, there is a shortage of 7.1 million rental housing units that are available and affordable for ELI families.
  2. The funding for the NHTF is a dedicated source of revenue on the mandatory side of the federal budget, and as such, is not subject to annual appropriations. Funding for the NHTF is based on an assessment of 4.2 basis points of the annual volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. This is a reliable, predictable stream of funding that is supposed to be separate from HUD appropriations. It is not subject to sequestration.
  3. As an appropriated program, HOME has suffered deep cuts in recent years, including cuts dictated by sequestration. Its FY15 appropriation of $900 million is less than half of the FY10 appropriation ($1.9 billion). The Appropriations Committee should not be managing the sequester cuts to HUD programs by raiding mandatory funds that have a dedicated purpose.
  4. Neither program is funded anywhere near what is required to address the unmet housing need.

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HOW YOU CAN TAKE ACTION

There are three Ohio Congresspeople that serve on the House Appropriations Committee, tell him or her to oppose the THUD Appropriations bill’s treatment of the NHTF.

Congressman David Joyce – 202-225-5731

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur – 202-225-4146

Congressman Tim Ryan – 202-225-5261

Urge your Representative to remove all references to the National Housing Trust Fund when the bill is marked up in full committee after next week’s recess and to maintain level funding for the HOME program.

To reach other Ohio Congresspeople call the Congressional switchboard at 877-210-5351.