December 8, 2016
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National Low Income Housing Coalition Memo

Memo to Members, Vol. 14, No. 9

National Low Income Housing Coalition


THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS

***House Passes Mortgage “Cramdown” Legislation

***President Obama Announces Details of Homeownership Protection Plan

***Renter Protection Bill Introduced in the House

***Freddie Mac Announces Details of Rental Initiative

THE ADMINISTRATION

***Chief of Staff for Representative Frank Moving to HUD

MORE CAPITOL HILL

***FY09 Appropriations Bill Stalls Again; House, Senate Pass Another Continuing Resolution

***Senate Committee Finalizes Subcommittee Assignments

***Bill Introduced to Increase CDBG Funding

HURRICANE RECOVERY

***Cabinet Members Tour Gulf Coast

***LA Delegation Urges President to Elevate Gulf Coast Office

***President Obama Taps Floridian for Top FEMA Post

***Legislation Introduced to Remove FEMA from DHS

FROM THE FIELD

***OR Advocates Win Dedicated Source Campaign

***Two NLIHC State Partners Receive MacArthur Foundation Awards

RESOURCES

***Assisting Low Income Families with a Jump in Utility Costs Resulting From Climate Legislation
FACT OF THE WEEK

***Poor Families’ Home Energy Costs to Increase with Climate Legislation

EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
***Audio Conference on Preparing for $1.5 Billion in New Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing Resources

***In Person and Audio Conference on Children and Foreclosures: The Economic Crisis Hits Home

***MacArthur Foundation Calls for Housing Research Proposals

NLIHC NEWS

***NLIHC Welcomes New Members

***HUD Secretary Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Frank to Headline at NLIHC’s 2009 Conference

***NLIHC Board of Directors Seeks Nominations

***NLIHC Seeks Spring and Summer Interns

 

THE FORECLOSURE CRISIS

***House Passes Mortgage “Cramdown” Legislation

The House passed H.R. 1106, the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009 on March 5 by a vote of 234-191. H.R. 1106 contains the long sought reform of bankruptcy law that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of a first mortgage on the borrower’s primary residence, including reducing the principal amount of the mortgage, in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is the so-called “cramdown” provision that consumer, civil rights and low income housing advocates have been seeking in response to the foreclosure crisis. The vote was largely on partisan lines with just seven Republicans joining Democrats to pass the bill and 24 Democrats voting with most Republicans in opposition.

 

Under current law, judges cannot modify the terms of the primary mortgage on a borrower’s principal home in bankruptcy, but can modify mortgages on investment properties and vacation properties, a circumstance that advocates consider fundamentally unfair. In addition, lenders have had little motivation to modify mortgages for troubled homeowners before the borrower goes into bankruptcy. The threat of a modification in bankruptcy will induce more lenders to modify troubled loans earlier in the process. Financial services company Credit Suisse estimated that allowing bankruptcy judges to modify the terms of a principal mortgage on a primary residence could reduce foreclosures by 20%.

 

As passed by the House, H.R. 1106 would require the bankruptcy judge to consider whether a modification under President Barack Obama’s plan had been offered to the borrowers before proceeding to modify the mortgage loan. Borrowers who receive a modification of the principal amount of their loan must agree to return to the lender a share of any increase in value of their home if the home is sold within the first four years after the bankruptcy.

 

H.R. 1106 also contains provisions to make permanent the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) deposit insurance limit of $250,000, to protect servicers that modify mortgages from liability for violations of the servicing contract, and to provide more flexibility for the Hope for Homeowners program, in order to encourage more households to participate.

 

The Senate may consider a companion bill, S. 61, the Helping Families Save Their Homes in Bankruptcy Act of 2009, introduced by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), as early as next week. As introduced, S. 61 would allow a judge in bankruptcy to modify the mortgage on a borrower’s primary residence, but it does not contain the provisions that are in H.R. 1106 relating to deposit insurance, the servicer safe harbor, or the Hope for Homeowners changes.

 

Passage in the Senate will be more difficult.

 

***President Obama Announces Details of Homeownership Protection Plan

President Barack Obama released details of his plan to stem the tide of housing foreclosures on March 4, the same plan that was announced on February 17. The plan is designed to help 7 million to 9 million homeowners restructure or refinance their mortgages to avoid foreclosure (see Memo, 2/20).

 

The President’s plan has two parts: a refinance program and a mortgage modification program. Under the refinance program, homeowners who have a solid payment history on an existing mortgage owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but whose home has lost value, will be able to refinance their loan to take advantage of lower mortgage rates or to refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage into a fixed rate loan. The refinance program ends in June 2010.

 

The modification program will help homeowners who can no longer afford their mortgages avoid foreclosure by reducing monthly mortgage payments to 31% of the borrower’s income. To be eligible for the modification program, the mortgage must have been originated on or before January 1, 2009 and the unpaid principal balance must be less than $729,750. The modification program is open only to those who occupy the mortgaged property; no investor-owned, vacant, or condemned properties are eligible. Loans can only be modified once and the program ends December 31, 2012. Monetary incentives are offered to encourage both borrowers and servicers to participate in the program.

 

The plan does not yet address the pressing issue of the plight of renters in foreclosed properties. Advocates have been seeking a national policy that would allow renters in foreclosed properties to remain in their homes for the duration of the lease and to receive at least 90 days notice before being required to vacate the property. Section 109(b) of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA) requires that the Treasury Secretary work with federal entities and agencies that hold troubled mortgages to allow tenants to remain for the term of their mortgages. Advocates will continue to press the Administration for full implementation of Section 109(b), as well as a legislative solution (see article below).

 

Read the plan at: http://www.financialstability.gov/makinghomeaffordable/

 

***Renter Protection Bill Introduced in the House

On March 2, Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) introduced H.R. 1247, The Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009. This bill is similar to the bill Mr. Ellison introduced in the 110th Congress, H.R. 5963.

 

H.R. 1247 would require the purchaser of a property at a foreclosure sale to notify any bona fide tenant 90 days prior to requiring the tenant to vacate the property. In addition, any bona fide tenant with a lease would have to be allowed to remain in the property until the end of the lease, unless the purchaser will occupy the property as a primary residence, in which case the tenant would still need to receive 90 days notice.

 

The bill also provides that a Section 8 assisted tenant may remain in place for the term of the lease, and requires the initial purchaser at foreclosure to assume the Section 8 housing assistance payment contract. In cases where the owner cannot be identified or payment cannot be made to such owner, the public housing agency may use the Section 8 funds to pay the utilities on the property, if they were the responsibility of the owner, or for reasonable moving costs, including security deposits, or both.

 

Advocates have been urging the adoption of national tenant protection legislation in the case of foreclosures. NLIHC estimates that 40% of families facing eviction are tenants and these families often have little or no notice before being evicted from their homes after foreclosure.

 

H.R. 1247 is cosponsored by Representatives Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Michael Capuano (D-MA), and Maxine Waters (D-CA). The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

 

***Freddie Mac Announces Details of Rental Initiative

Freddie Mac announced on March 5 the details of its new ‘REO Rental Initiative,’ which will give qualified tenants and former owners in properties that Freddie Mac has taken in foreclosure the option to lease the properties on a month-to-month basis. Freddie Mac also announced it will continue to suspend all eviction actions until April 1, 2009, to provide time for current occupants to learn about the options available to them under the new initiative.

 

Freddie Mac will use national property management firms to carry out the program. These property management firms will contact occupants of foreclosed properties to determine their interest in staying in the home and their eligibility for a month-to-month lease. Occupants will be contacted after the foreclosure.

 

To qualify for a lease, the tenant or former owner must occupy the property and show they have adequate income to pay the monthly rental amount established by the property management company based on market rents. Occupants must agree to allow the property to be shown to potential buyers during the lease period. The home must be in safe, habitable condition and meet all local codes for rental properties to qualify for this initiative. If an occupant does not wish to lease the property, Freddie Mac will offer relocation assistance.

 

In January, Fannie Mae announced a program to permit tenants in foreclosed properties to remain with a month-to-month lease (see Memo, 1/16).

 

Learn more about the program at: http://www.freddiemac.com/news/archives/servicing/2009/20090305_reo-rental-initiative.html

 

THE ADMINISTRATION

***Chief of Staff for Representative Frank Moving to HUD

On March 4, President Barack Obama announced that Peter Kovar would be nominated to be Assistant Secretary for Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs at HUD. Mr. Kovar has worked on Capitol Hill for more than 25 years and has been chief of staff to Representative Barney Frank (D-MA), who chairs the Financial Services Committee, since 1991.

 

Mr. Kovar must be confirmed by the Senate and no date has been set for the confirmation hearing. The only other subcabinet position at HUD for whom a nominee has been announced is Deputy Secretary. The nomination of Ron Sims as Deputy Secretary was announced on February 2 (see Memo, 2/6).

 

MORE CAPITOL HILL

*** FY09 Appropriations Bill Stalls Again; House, Senate Pass Another Continuing Resolution

Unable to muster the necessary 60 votes to pass its FY09 omnibus spending bill the week of March 2 as planned, the Senate had to resort to another continuing resolution in order to keep the federal government open. The House and Senate passed on March 6, H.J. Res. 38, to fund the federal government in the absence of annual appropriations bills through March 11. The fiscal year’s current continuing resolution was set to expire on March 6.

 

The House passed the FY09 omnibus bill on February 25 (see Memo, 2/27). The House-passed bill would increase HUD’s overall funding by about 10% compared to FY08.

 

Opposition to earmarks in the bill is the primary cause of the delay. Nonetheless, the Senate is expected to pass its FY09 omnibus bill, H.R. 1105, by the March 11 deadline. The bill includes the Transportation, Housing and Related Agencies and eight other appropriations bills that Congress did not enact by the October 1, 2008 start of FY09.

 

***Senate Committee Finalizes Subcommittee Assignments

On March 5, the Senate Committee on Appropriations announced its subcommittee rosters for the 111th Congress. There are 20 members of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development, with Democrats holding an eleven to nine majority. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kit Bond (R-MO) will continue their roles as Chair and Ranking Member of the subcommittee.

 

The Democratic members of the panel are: Senators Robert Byrd (WV), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Herb Kohl (WI), Dick Durbin (IL), Byron Dorgan (ND), Patrick Leahy (VT), Tom Harkin (IA), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Tim Johnson (SD), and Frank Lautenberg (NJ).

 

The nine Republicans on the subcommittee are: Senators Richard Shelby (AL), Arlen Specter (PA), Bob Bennett (UT), Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX), Sam Brownback (KS), Lamar Alexander (TN), Susan Collins (ME), and George Voinovich (OH). Collins and Voinovich are new members of the subcommittee.

 

The full committee has 17 Democrats and 13 Republicans, with five new members: Senators Collins, Voinovich, Mark Pryor (D-AR), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

 

“Our country faces a number of significant challenges as we finish our work on Fiscal Year 2009 and begin to work on the appropriations process for Fiscal Year 2010,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said about the process. “I believe that the best way for this Committee to do its part in helping America regain its economic footing is to operate in a genuinely bipartisan manner, and to return the appropriation process to regular order, with 12 bills, each receiving a final vote on the Senate floor.”

 

Due to partisan gridlock, Congress has been forced to pass continuing resolutions or omnibus bills in the last several years because they have not been able to complete each appropriations bill on time.

 

***Bill Introduced to Increase CDBG Funding

Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1270, the Affordable Housing and Community Development Act of 2009, on March 3. The bill would authorize $8 billion dollars in funding for the CDBG program for FY11. The President has proposed that the CDBG be funded at $4.5 billion in FY2010, an increase of nearly $1 billion from enacted FY2008 totals.

 

The CDBG program promotes local decision-making in the development of projects intended to principally benefit low to moderate- income persons. Projects funded with CDBG dollars can include housing rehabilitation, homeownership assistance, public improvements, public services, and economic development projects.

 

Beginning in FY12, the bill calls for basing the amount appropriated to the program on an inflation index. By September 30, 2010, the final day of FY11, HUD must conduct a study to determine the factors on which to base an inflation index, taking into consideration the costs of the eligible activities of the program.

 

The bill also authorizes $5 million in technical assistance grants in order to offer training to grant recipients and to offer technical assistance.

 

Representative Clarke was joined by 35 co-sponsors. H.R. 1270 was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services.

 

HURRICANE RECOVERY

***Cabinet Members Tour Gulf Coast

The Secretaries of HUD and the Department of Homeland Security toured Louisiana on March 5, before visiting separate Gulf Coast states the following day. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan was scheduled to visit Texas, while DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was headed to Mississippi. Craig Fugate, who has been designated to be the nominee for FEMA Administrator (see article elsewhere in Memo), also attended the Louisiana tour.

 

At a press conference announcing much-needed funding for the area, Mr. Donovan expressed support for the region. “To be honest, we have been disturbed by what we have seen and what we have not seen in terms of progress,” he said. “What we have seen today makes us disturbed, angry even, to see some of the families living the way that they have and we pledge to you our partnership to a new beginning here in New Orleans and across the Gulf.”

 

DHS Secretary Napolitano added, “There are still areas where progress has stalled, bureaucracy has set in, and people continue to struggle.”

 

The visit was the first for the Obama Cabinet members. They took a bus tour through the devastated 9th Ward in New Orleans, among the hardest hit areas in the city once Hurricane Katrina made landfall in 2005. Secretary Donovan also met with local housing advocates.

 

The two officials took an opportunity to announce funding specifically allocated to Louisiana, including $438 million in CDBG funding in response to Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008. Additionally, HUD and Louisiana will launch a five-year, $50 million program to offer permanent supportive housing to approximately 1,000 homeless individuals. HUD will also provide $23 million in rental assistance vouchers to the Louisiana Recovery Authority to support approximately 2,000 elderly and disabled disaster victims.

 

Secretary Napolitano announced that the FEMA Relocation Assistance Program would be extended to May 1, 2009. Families that were displaced from their primary residence in a disaster declared area as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Rita are eligible for up to $4,000 in reimbursement for relocation expenses through the program. Under the new extension, applicants can file a claim if they incurred relocation expenses between August 29, 2005 and May 1, 2009.

 

***LA Delegation Urges President to Elevate Gulf Coast Office

All nine members of Louisiana’s Congressional delegation sent a letter to President Barack Obama on March 2 requesting that he elevate the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Gulf Coast Rebuilding to a White House-level office. (During a convening of Gulf Coast advocates in Washington, DC, last week, a similar recommendation was made by the advocates to administration officials and Congressional staff.) The delegation also thanked the President for extending the Office through September 30.

 

Among the other recommendations lawmakers outlined were for full-time liaisons from HUD and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to work within the Coordinator office, and the extension of the Office for another two years.

 

The members of the delegation are Senators Mary Landrieu (D) and David Vitter (R), Democratic Representative Charlie Melancon, and Republican Representatives Rodney Alexander, Charles Boustany, Steve Scalise, Joseph Cao, Bill Cassidy, and John Fleming.

 

A copy of the letter can be found here: http://www.nlihc.org/doc/09-03-02-OGCR-2.pdf

 

***President Obama Taps Floridian for Top FEMA Post

President Barack Obama announced on March 4 that he will nominate Craig Fugate to be the new administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Mr. Fugate currently serves as the Director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management, a position he has held since 2001.

 

Mr. Fugate has direct experience in disaster management, having been the point person for 23 declared state emergencies, 11 of which were also presidential declared disasters. He was elevated to director of the Florida division by former Governor Jeb Bush (R) and was retained in that position by current Governor Charlie Crist (R). He is a native of Jacksonville, FL.

 

President Obama praised Mr. Fugate’s experience for the top FEMA post in a press release. “From his experience as a first responder to his strong leadership as Florida’s Emergency Manager, Craig has what it takes to help us improve our preparedness, response and recovery efforts and I can think of no one better to lead FEMA,” President Obama said. “I’m confident that Craig is the right person for the job and will ensure that the failures of the past are never repeated.

 

“FEMA must have experienced leadership to succeed in its challenging mission. Craig Fugate is no stranger to emergency management or to FEMA,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Napolitano, whose department oversees FEMA, said. “He is one of the most respected emergency managers in the nation, and the work he’s accomplished in Florida serves as a model for other states to follow. He will be a tremendous asset to FEMA and its employees, and I look forward to working with him.”

 

Fugate must be confirmed by the Senate.

 

***Legislation Introduced to Remove FEMA from DHS

Representative James Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, introduced H.R. 1174, the FEMA Independence Act of 2009, on March 5.

 

The bill would establish FEMA as an independent, cabinet-level agency outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security. It would continue to be headed by an Administrator, who would have extensive experience in emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation from hazards. The Administrator and Deputy Administrator would require Senate confirmation before taking office.

 

FEMA was placed under DHS in 2002 when the Department was created. FEMA had been an independent agency since 1979.

 

The bill would also provide for 10 regional FEMA offices throughout the country. Each Regional Administrator would be required to name a Regional Advisory Council. In addition, the bill would consolidate existing federal emergency response plans into a single, coordinated plan to be known as the National Response Plan.

 

Mr. Oberstar was joined by House Transportation and Infrastructure Ranking Member John Mica (R-FL), and by the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), as cosponsors. Upon introduction, the bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response for further review.

 

FROM THE FIELD

***OR Advocates Win Dedicated Source Campaign

After coming within three votes of winning a document recording fee in 2007 (see Memo, 10/17/08), the Oregon Housing Alliance, an NLIHC state partner, is celebrating passage of a bill creating this dedicated source of funding for affordable housing. Last month the Oregon House passed the Housing Opportunity Bill by a resounding vote of 44-15, quickly followed by a persuasive Senate vote of 20-9. Governor Ted Kulongoski (D) is expected to sign the bill soon.

 

The dedicated source of revenue is a $15 increase to the existing $11 document recordation fee applied to a broad set of documents. All proceeds from the $15 increment are to be used for affordable housing. For the 2009-2011 biennium, the new dedicated source is estimated to generate $15 million, rising to as much as $35 million once the market rebounds.

 

After many years of disagreement among various stakeholders, the Housing Alliance convened a series of facilitated dialogues in the fall of 2007. Representatives of the Housing Alliance, the Oregon Association of Realtors, the Oregon Bankers Association, and the Oregon Home Builders Association spent nearly 18 months learning about one another’s perspectives, exploring housing needs in urban and rural communities, and discussing policy options. The dialogues culminated in a formal agreement to support a $15 document recording fee increase, higher than industry partners initially were willing to accept. Also critical to arriving at a mutually acceptable solution was agreement that 100% of the fee revenue would directly fund affordable housing and that administrative costs would be limited. The dialogues opened the door to discussion on other issues as well, including land use and barriers to development, but no legislative proposals were finalized.

 

The Housing Opportunity Bill (HB 2436) plugs into existing Oregon housing program law that requires the new additional resources to be applied to various housing programs already administered by the Department of Housing and Community Services.

· 76% of the funds are to be spent for a variety of multifamily rental housing new construction or rehabilitation programs such as: housing for special needs populations; support for manufactured home park purchases by owner co-ops, nonprofits, or local governments; and preservation of existing affordable homes. A portion will also support program delivery costs of community-based partners.

· 10% will be for programs that prevent or end homelessness such as: permanent housing for homeless households, eviction prevention, operating support for permanent supportive housing, and emergency shelter and transitional housing.

· 14% will support first-time, lower income homebuyers.

 

“This is a real step forward for kids who need a place to do their homework and for hardworking Oregon households who can’t afford to pay for rent and groceries,” said Janet Byrd, Housing Alliance Chair. “Construction can begin on new, shovel-ready affordable housing in all corners of the state, while at the same time giving Oregonians hope and help during this housing and economic crisis.”

 

For more information, contact Janet Byrd, Housing Alliance Chair, jbyrd@tnpf.org.

 

***Two NLIHC State Partners Receive MacArthur Foundation Awards

The Florida Housing Coalition and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio are partners with others in projects that have been awarded funds by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in the foundation’s latest housing preservation initiative. A dozen states and cities will use MacArthur’s $32.5 million investment, $9.5 million in grants and an additional $23 million in low-interest loans, to launch innovative projects to preserve more than 70,000 affordable rental homes.

 

The Florida Housing Coalition (FHC). MacArthur awarded $1 million to the Florida Partnership, comprised of the Florida Housing Coalition (FHC), the Shimberg Center at the University of Florida, and the Florida Housing Finance Corporation. The grant will be used to build the capacity of nonprofits and local governments in order to preserve 5,000 units of housing for extremely low income households and for people with special needs.

 

FHC will host a series of free workshops about preservation strategies and potential sources of financing, and help participants form a network able to identify and support preservation opportunities. FHC will also provide key nonprofit developers with more than 200 hours of project-specific technical support.

 

“Preserving rental housing for the extremely low income and most vulnerable populations is imperative,” said Jaimie Ross, President of the Florida Housing Coalition and former NLIHC board member. “The Florida Housing Coalition is extraordinarily grateful to the MacArthur Foundation for this substantial grant which will be used to increase the capacity of mission-based nonprofits to acquire, rehabilitate, and manage these crucially important properties.”

 

For more information about the Florida partnership, go to www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4991535/k.C529/Florida.htm

 

The Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO). MacArthur awarded $5 million to the Ohio Preservation Compact, comprised of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), the Ohio Capital Finance Corporation (OCFC), and the lead entity, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA). The grant will be used to develop a statewide database of all federally subsidized properties, as well as improve outreach to tenants and property owners, in order to preserve 14,000 units at risk of being lost due to expiring subsidy contracts.

 

COHHIO will analyze newly collected data, create profiles for properties with subsidy contracts about to expire, and set preservation activity priorities. This clearinghouse will enable tenants and affordable housing developers to identify and evaluate potential preservation opportunities. COHHIO hopes to bring communities and tenants of affordable housing into the decision making process. Most of the outreach is expected to result in the transfer of federally-subsidized property to nonprofit organizations that will maintain the properties’ federal subsidy.

 

Bill Faith, Executive Director of COHHIO and NLIHC board member said, “The MacArthur Foundation recognizes Ohio's need for affordable housing and our community's pioneering efforts to initiate and collaborate around solutions to house all Ohioans in safe and decent housing. COHHIO hopes to bring local communities and tenants of affordable housing into the decision making process about housing preservation. The partnership with OHFA and Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing will bring public sector recognition and private sector resources into a working relationship that will benefit all Ohioans with safe, decent and affordable housing options.”

 

For more details about the Ohio Preservation Compact grant, go to www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.4991525/k.BAA9/Ohio.htm

 

“The end of the housing bubble and a wave of foreclosures have underscored the importance of affordable rental housing,” said MacArthur President Jonathan Fanton. “We now have an opportunity to reset the policy agenda, restore rental housing to its proper place, and reshape the policy environment so that it both encourages rental housing preservation and makes it easier to do.”

 

For more about the other awards, go to

www.macfound.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=lkLXJ8MQKrH&b=2024163&content_id={827BA54E-1D30-4912-95FD-2E78A84E7BB1}&notoc=1

 

RESOURCES

***Assisting Low Income Families with a Jump in Utility Costs Resulting From Climate Legislation

Climate change legislation is expected with the Obama administration, and measures to mitigate its effects on low income families are anticipated. On February 19, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published a brief describing why utility companies are ill-suited to deliver relief for low income families facing rising energy costs. This report reviews how climate policy could affect fuel prices for low income families and pros and cons of a climate rebate for families versus a tax credit channeled through the utility companies.

 

The Center finds that a modest 15% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions would cost the poorest fifth of Americans approximately $750 a year per household. Without relief, these increased costs could force millions of households into poverty.

 

Climate legislation is therefore expected to include some type of program to mitigate the impact of higher costs on lower income families. The report concludes that a rebate, which would directly compensate the families for their loss of purchasing power due to the increased cost of energy, should be preferred to giving funds to local utility companies to disburse, as has been proposed by some industry groups and policymakers. According to the authors, funding the utility companies directly would create multiple problems: the companies lack information on which customers are low income, and the companies would be focused on electricity costs as opposed to all energy costs a household has. In addition, having the utility companies distribute the funds would mask the true size of a families’ energy usage, meaning households would be less likely to seek energy efficiency improvements. Further, the report suggests that the federal government would have difficulties in dividing funds among the utility companies in an equitable manner, and oversight by bureaucratic institutions would be likely to be uneven.

 

The report argues that a direct consumer rebate is the better solution, making it easier to deliver the benefits with fewer administrative costs by using the existing debit system and federal tax code.

 

The report, Why Utilities are not Well-Suited to Deliver Relief to Low- and Moderate-Income Consumers in a Climate Bill, can be found here: http://www.cbpp.org/2-19-09climate.pdf


FACT OF THE WEEK

***Poor Families’ Home Energy Costs to Increase with Climate Legislation

Share of estimated annual average energy cost increase resulting from climate legislation for the poorest 20% of population by product category

 

Category Amount Share of increase

Home Energy $337.5 45%

Gasoline $187.5 25%

Other consumption $225.0 30%

Total Annual Increase* $750.0 100%

 

* Based on a 15 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions.

 

Stone, C. and Greenstein, R. (2008). Why utilities are not swell-suited to deliver relief to low- and moderate-income consumers in a climate bill. Washington, D.C.: Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. http://www.cbpp.org/2-19-09climate.pdf

EVENTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
***Audio Conference on Preparing for $1.5 Billion in New Homelessness Prevention and Re-Housing Resources
The National Alliance to End Homelessness will hold an audio conference on Wednesday, March 11 from 1-2:00 pm ET to help local public and non-profit agencies prepare for the $1.5 billion in new prevention and re-housing resources that were included in the recently-passed economic recovery bill (the Homelessness Prevention Fund).

Those who want to participate by phone should dial 1-800- 377- 8846 and participant code: 15392836#. To join via the web, click here 15 minutes before the call. You will receive materials and a detailed agenda prior to the audio conference. RSVP by sending your contact information to advocacy@naeh.org

***In Person and Audio Conference on “Children and Foreclosures: The Economic Crisis Hits Home”

The Urban Institute will hold an event entitled “Children and Foreclosures: The Economic Crisis Hits Home” on Thursday, March 12, 2009 from 9am-10:30am ET at the 2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor. Interested parties may also listen to a live audio webcast at 9am ET/ 8amCT/7amMT/6amPT.

The panelists are:

• Malcolm Bush, research fellow, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago

• Ingrid Gould Ellen, co-director, Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy, New York University

• Olivia Golden (moderator), institute fellow, Urban Institute; former assistant secretary for children and families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

• Thomas Perez, Maryland secretary of labor, licensing and regulation

Register to attend in person in Washington, D.C.

Register to listen to the audio webcast. To join the webcast, you need a computer with a high-speed Internet connection. The audio for the webcast is available over the Internet only (no telephone connections).

***MacArthur Foundation Calls for Housing Research Proposals
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced a new competitive research grant program on How Housing Matters to Families and Communities. The goals of this program are to (1) determine through rigorous, empirical analysis if and how housing affects the well-being of families, children, communities and their local economies and (2) translate research findings into policy-relevant insights to inform a new generation of affordable housing policies and programs. For program guidelines, please visit www.macfound.org/housingmatters

NLIHC NEWS

***NLIHC Welcomes New Members

Welcome to these new members who joined in February 2009:

Michael Cathey, Cincinnati, OH

City of Nogales, Nogales, AZ

Lisa White-Coldon, St. Louis, MO

Susan Eby, Washington, DC

Marianne Emerson, Bellevue, WA

Father McKenna Center, Washington, DC

Foreclosure Specialists of Florida, Inc., Wilton Manors, FL

Ruby Gordon, Seattle, WA

Deborah Halliday, Missoula, MT

Northside Coalition for Fair Housing, Pittsburgh, PA

 

***HUD Secretary Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Frank to Headline at NLIHC’s 2009 Conference

NLIHC’s April 19–22 Annual Housing Policy Conference and Lobby Day will be packed with great speakers, workshops and networking, including the opportunity to hear from HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan and House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank.

 

The conference brochure has been posted at www.nlihc.org/doc/conference/brochure.pdf. Find the conference schedule and more information on invited speakers, receptions, the screening of the Oscar-nominated Trouble the Water and more in the brochure. Registration and hotel information can be found at https://www2398.ssldomain.com/nlihc/conference/index.cfm

 

Sessions at this year’s conference will cover topics including the National Housing Trust Fund, renters and foreclosures, low income housing tax credits, the future of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and federal housing finance, homelessness prevention and the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Act, the federal budget and appropriations, and many more.

 

Mark your calendars and plan to join us!

 

***NLIHC Board of Directors Seeks Nominations

The Board of Directors of the National Low Income Housing Coalition will be elected new board members at its meeting on April 18, 2009. Threshold requirements for consideration for nomination are current NLIHC membership, commitment to NLIHC mission, and is or has been a low income person or is or has worked with low income people to meet their housing needs.

 

There are 24 positions on the NLIHC Board. Six are to be filled by low income people, six by representatives of affiliated state coalitions, six by representatives of allied national organizations, and six are at-large. The Board strives to achieve broad diversity in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, and geography, including representatives from both urban and rural communities.

 

Board members are elected for three-year terms and generally serve two terms. The Board has in-person meetings twice a year in Washington, DC and regular committee meetings by conference call throughout the year.

 

NLIHC members who are interested in being considered this year should send a resume or other form of biography, plus a letter of interest, to Mark Allison, Chair of the NLIHC Nominating Committee. Mark can be reached directly at mallisonshc-nm@nmia.com Interested persons can also call or email Sheila Crowley for more information at 202-662-1530 or sheila@nlihc.org

 

***NLIHC Seeks Spring, Summer Interns

Resumes are being accepted for Spring 2009 research internships (see description below). In addition, the following positions for Summer 2009 interns are open:

 

Communications Intern. Assists planning of press events and media awards, the preparation and distribution of press materials, maintenance of the media list and tracking press hits, and website updates.

 

Legislative Intern. Tracks new legislation, attends and summarizes Congressional hearings for weekly newsletter, participates in visits to Congressional offices and develops materials for use in lobbying the House and Senate to accomplish NLIHC’s mission. The legislative intern will also update the Congressional database.

 

Outreach Intern. Works in activating the grassroots for federal legislative campaigns, as well as on membership recruitment/retention efforts and internal database upkeep.

 

Research Intern. Assists in ongoing quantitative and qualitative research projects, write weekly articles on current research for NLIHC newsletter, attend briefings, and help staff respond to research inquiries.

 

All interns will contribute articles to our weekly newsletter, Memo to Members, and other duties as assigned.

 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is the foremost national advocacy organization for low income housing. Interns are highly valued and fully integrated into the staff work of the Coalition. We seek students passionate about social justice issues, with excellent writing and interpersonal skills. Internships are unpaid. In your cover letter, please specify which position/s you would prefer and that you are interested in a Spring 2009 research internship. Interested students should send a resume and cover letter to:

 

Internship Coordinator

National Low Income Housing Coalition

727 15th Street NW, 6th Floor

Washington DC 20005

or via email to linda@nlihc.org , via fax at 202-393-1973.

 

Please call 202-662-1530 x 228 with any questions.

 

NLIHC STAFF
Adrienne Bruins, Legislative Intern

Marika Butler, Research Intern

Angela Chen, Administrative Assistant, x224

Linda Couch, Deputy Director, x228

Sheila Crowley, President, x224

Danna Fischer, Legislative Director / Counsel, x243

Ed Gramlich, Outreach Director, x314

Elisha Harig-Blaine, Outreach Associate, x316

Jake Kirsch, Outreach Associate, x244

Jay Klein, Outreach Intern

Ellen Lathrop, Legislative/Communications Intern

Taylor Materio, Communications Associate, x227

Khara Norris, Development Associate, x242

Danilo Pelletiere, Research Director, x237

Kim Schaffer, Communications and Development Director, x222

La'Teashia Sykes, Outreach Associate, x247

Michelle Goodwin Thompson, Director of Finance & Information Technology, x234

Keith Wardrip, Senior Research Analyst, x245

Greg White, Housing Policy Analyst, x230

 

TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

NLIHC membership is the best way to stay informed about affordable housing issues, keep in touch with advocates around the country, and support NLIHC’s work.

 

NLIHC membership information is available on our website, at www.nlihc.org, or by mail or e-mail. Just e-mail us at membership@nlihc.org or call 202-662-1530 to request membership materials to distribute at meetings and conferences.

 

The National Low Income Housing Coalition is dedicated solely to ending America’s affordable housing crisis. Established in 1974 by Cushing N. Dolbeare, NLIHC educates, organizes, and advocates to ensure decent, affordable housing within healthy neighborhoods for everyone. NLIHC provides up-to-date information, formulates policy, and educates the public on housing needs and the strategies for solutions.

 

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Memo to Members

March 9, 2009

Vol. 14, No. 9

 

 



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