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National Low Income Housing Coalition Memo to Members 4/6/09

Memo to Members, Vol. 14, No. 13

National Low Income Housing Coalition

April 3, 2009



***Donovan, Frank, Barnes to be Plenary Speakers


***Campaign Takes on New Urgency; Sign-on Now


***Congress Adjourns for Two-Week Recess

***House and Senate Adopt Budget Resolutions that Include NHTF

***Legislation to Reauthorize McKinney-Vento Program Introduced in House and Senate

***National Service Expansion Bill Ready for President’s Signature

***Letter Seeks Section 8 Renewal Funding, 200,000 New Vouchers

***Rulemaking Continues on HUD Proposal


***New Federal Coordinator Named for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Post

***FEMA Taking Second Look at Forgiving Loans


***MA Advocates Lead Efforts to Stabilize Neighborhoods Impacted by Foreclosure

***Over One-Third of Residential Foreclosures in CA Involve Renters

***NLIHC’s State Research Repository Continues to Grow


***A Majority of Renter-Occupied Homes in Foreclosure Listed Incorrectly as Owner-Occupied


***Crowley Among Those Honored for Housing Achievements

***NLIHC Welcomes New Members

***NLIHC Seeks Summer Interns



***Donovan, Frank, Barnes to be Plenary Speakers

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA), and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Melody Barnes will address those attending the NLIHC 2009 Housing Policy Conference and Lobby Day, to be held on April 19-22 in Washington, DC, at the Capital Hilton Hotel.


The conference will open on Sunday, April 19 at 6:30 pm with a screening of Trouble the Water, the award-winning and Oscar- nominated documentary about Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, directed and produced by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal. Ms. Lessin and Mr. Deal will be present to introduce the movie and discuss it with attendees afterwards.


Monday and Tuesday will be packed with plenary events, workshops and networking. 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, the reauthorization of the McKinney-Vento Act, the federal budget and appropriations, and much more.


There will be a reception on Monday night at which the 3rd annual Cushing N. Dolbeare Media award winners will be honored.


The 27th Annual Housing Leadership Award Reception will be held on Tuesday evening. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) and NLIHC’s own Sheila Crowley will be recognized for their work in establishing the National Housing Trust Fund. (This reception will be held at the Washington Court Hotel and registration is separate from conference registration.)


Conference registration information can be found at 


***Campaign Takes on New Urgency; Sign-on Now

With the unemployment rate reaching 8.5% in March, 10% of the U.S. population now on food stamps, foreclosures continuing unabated, growing demands for housing assistance, and tent cities springing up, the  need for a full scale response to prevent the largest increase in homelessness in 25 years is more urgent than ever.


The National Housing Trust Fund Campaign will now focus on at least $5 billion in funding for the National Housing Trust Fund and funding for 200,000 new vouchers in 2009.


The campaign has revised the open letter to the Administration and Congress that was used to argue for funding for low income housing in the economic recovery bill, to which 547 organizations signed on in just three days. All organizations that signed the earlier letter are invited to do again, as well as forward the letter to your networks.


In the letter, the signatories “call attention to what we mean by housing. We mean enough homes renting at affordable prices so that our nation’s lowest income families and individuals are assured of safe and decent places to live.”


To read the letter with instructions about how to sign on, go to or



***Congress Adjourns for Two Week Recess

Following work on the FY10 Budget Resolutions, both the Senate and House of Representatives will be on a two-week recess from April 6 until April 20.  Advocates are encouraged to meet with their Senators and Representatives while they are at home to educate them about the housing and homeless problems in your communities.


***House and Senate Adopt Budget Resolutions that Include NHTF

On April 2, after lengthy debates, both the House and Senate adopted FY10 budget resolutions, each of which provides for funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.


Budget resolutions provide the framework for the appropriations process by setting overall spending levels, including a cap on the amount that can be spent on discretionary domestic programs such as housing. In good news for advocates, funding for the National Housing Trust Fund is not included within the discretionary cap, but is instead on the mandatory side of the budget.


The next step will be a conference where the differences between the House and Senate bills will be resolved. Budget resolutions do not have to be signed by the President.


House. The House Budget Resolution, H. Con. Res. 85, would provide about $3.5 trillion for the FY10 fiscal year which begins October 1, 2009. This figure is about $100 billion less than the President’s request. While the budget would hold military spending at the level provided by the President, it reduces spending for domestic programs by $7 billion and does not include additional funds sought by the President to address troubled financial institutions. The resolution does provide for the middle class tax cuts sought by the President. 


The House resolution also contains reconciliation instructions relating to health care and education. These instructions would require the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, the House Committee on Ways and Means, and the House Committee on Education to adopt legislation meeting the requirements set forth in the Budget Resolution. Legislation developed according to reconciliation instructions is not subject to the 60 vote filibuster rule in the Senate and therefore easier to pass.


The House considered and defeated four amendments to H. Con. Res. 85, the House FY10 Budget Resolution. All four amendments were substitute budgets—one each from the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus, and two from Republicans.


Both the Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) offered substitute budgets as a means to discuss issues such as the war in Iraq and the need to increase spending for domestic programs. The Progressive Caucus budget would have reduced military spending by eliminating certain weapons programs deemed outdated and unneeded, and would have increased non-military discretionary spending, including increases to provide health care for all Americans, reduce poverty, provide additional economic stimulus, and establish energy independence. 


The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) proposal would have increased taxes on the wealthy by immediately rescinding the tax cuts adopted during the Bush administration and placing a 0.565% surtax on adjustable gross income exceeding $500,000 for individuals ($1 million for joint filers). The CBC budget would have used those savings and additional revenue to expand funding for education, health care, job training, international aid and veterans, among other priorities.


Two Republican substitutes were offered. The general Republican substitute would have frozen non-defense spending at FY09 levels and made permanent the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  The Republican Study Committee proposal would have reduced domestic discretionary spending by 1%.


The House voted 233 to 196 to adopt the Democratic budget proposal.  Twenty Democrats voted against the bill as did all the Republicans.


Senate. The Senate Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 13, also would provide about $3.5 trillion for the 2010 fiscal year. Like the House resolution, the Senate would hold military spending at the level provided by the President and reduce taxes on the middle class. However, the Senate resolution would reduce spending for domestic programs by $15 billion, almost twice the amount cut by the House. The Senate does not include reconciliation instructions. During debate, several Senators expressed concern that the inclusion of these provisions in the House resolutions would make it likely that reconciliation provisions would be included in the final bill, paving the way to fast track health care and other reforms. 


Senator John McCain (R-AZ) offered a substitute budget that would have reduced overall spending and made significant cuts in entitlement programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.  His plan was voted down 38 to 60. 


The Senate did adopt a series of amendments, including one offered by Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) to establish a reserve funds to provide additional funds to help stabilize the economy, and an amendment sponsored by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) stating that the remaining funds from the $700 billion dollar Emergency Economic Stabilization Act passed last fall should be used to help save homes and small businesses, provide support for the municipal bond market, make credit more widely available, and provide additional resources for oversight of the Troubled Asset Relief Program. 


An amendment offered by Senator Robert Casey (D-PA) was also adopted. This amendment would create a reserve fund for the Long-Term Stability/Housing for Victims Program under the Violence Against Women Act which would provide housing to meet needs of victims of domestic violence. Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) offered an amendment which was adopted that would require Federal Reserve banks to identify institutions getting assistance under federal lending programs. 


The Senate also adopted an amendments offered by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AK) to increase the budget to allow for an expansion of the estate tax and one offered by Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) that would limit any such expansion unless equal tax relief for those earning less than $100,000 was provided.


The Senate passed S. Con. Res. 13 55 to 43, with two Democratic senators joining Republicans in voting against the bill.


Next steps. After recess, Congress will begin the process of reconciling the differences between the House and Senate resolutions, with the goal being to pass a final joint resolution no later than May 15.  Advocates should contact their Congressional representatives and request that they support domestic discretionary spending at the higher level provided in the House bill. 


The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding, of which NLIHC is a member, sent letters to all members of the House and Senate seeking their support for the both budget. 


The letters are available at: and


***Legislation to Reauthorize McKinney-Vento Program Introduced in House and Senate

Bills to reauthorize and amend the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act were introduced in both the House and the Senate on April 2. H.R 1877 and S. 808, both titled the “Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act of 2009,” were introduced in the House by Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI) and by Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) in the Senate. The bills are identical, and are very similar to legislation that passed the House overwhelmingly last October (see Memo, 10/3/08).


NLIHC supports this legislation and believes it is critical that it be passed by both bodies of Congress and signed into law.


Among the bills’ numerous provisions are:

·         Consolidation of the separate McKinney-Vento homeless assistance programs (the Supportive Housing Program, Shelter Plus Care, Moderate Rehabilitation/Single Room Occupancy) into a single Continuum of Care Program and codifying the continuum of care planning process.

·         Creation of Emergency Solutions Grants (formerly Emergency Shelter Grants) with new emphasis on prevention and rehousing similar to the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) just enacted as part of the economic recovery package.

·         Expansion of the definition of homelessness to include unaccompanied youth and homeless families with children who: have experienced a long-term period without living independently in permanent housing; have experienced persistent instability measured by frequent moves over a period of time; can be expected to continue in such a status for an extended period of time because of chronic disabilities, chronic physical health, or mental health conditions, substance addiction histories of domestic violence or childhood abuse, the presence of a child or youth with a disability, or multiple barriers to employment.

·         Requirement that HUD provide incentives for strategies that are known to reduce homelessness.

·         Establishment of specific criteria for programs in rural states that respond to the unique nature of rural homelessness.

·         Establishment of a nationwide goal of ensuring that individuals and families who become homeless return to permanent housing within 30 days.

·         Authorization of increased appropriations, calling for an additional $2.2 billion in funding for the programs over the next two years.


The House bill has six cosponsors in the House: Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL); Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Opportunity; Andre Carson (D-IN); Geoff Davis (R-KY); House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA); and Chairwoman of the Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee Maxine Waters (D-CA). 


Cosponsors of the Senate companion bill are Senators Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Christopher “Kit” Bond (R-MO), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Richard Durbin (D-IL), John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Joseph Lieberman (I-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).


Further consideration of the bills has not yet been scheduled.


The text of both bills should be available at within a few days; search by each bill number.


***National Service Expansion Bill Ready for President’s Signature

The House of Representatives passed H.R. 1388, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, on March 31 by a vote of 275-149, accepting changes made to the bill by the Senate during its consideration and passage on March 26 (see Memo, 3/27). Under the legislation, work on housing-related activities for people with low incomes is an allowed activity.


"Because of this legislation, millions of Americans at all stages of their lives will have new opportunities to serve their country, [f]rom improving service learning in schools to creating an army of 250,000 Corps members a year dedicated to addressing our nation's toughest problems,” President Obama said upon the House’s passage. The President has said he intends to sign the bill.


The bill would significantly increase the numbers of people in the AmeriCorps national volunteer service program, from the current 75,000 to 250,000. The bill would create five new service corps: education, healthy futures, clean energy, veterans, and opportunity.


During the course of House and Senate consideration of the legislation, Representative Al Green (D-TX) and Senators Russell Feingold (D-WI) and Jack Reed (D-RI) successfully worked to include affordable housing language into the activities of the new opportunity corps. The bill now includes language explicitly allowing volunteers to work on affordable housing by assisting in the construction, rehabilitation, or preservation of housing units, including energy efficient homes, for economically disadvantaged individuals. In addition, volunteers can assist economically disadvantaged individuals, including homeless individuals, in finding placement in and maintaining housing.


The effort to include this housing emphasis in the bill was initiated by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants. NLIHC coordinated a national sign-on letter supporting more explicit housing language in the House and Senate bills, H.R. 1388 and S. 277, as they moved through their chambers.


Link to the President’s statement at


Link to the national sign on letter at

***Letter Seeks Section 8 Renewal Funding, 200,000 New Vouchers

Forty-three Members of Congress, led by Representatives Jerold Nadler (D-NY) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), sent a letter on April 2 to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Chair John Olver (D-MA) and Ranking Member Tom Latham (R-IA). The letter urges full funding for tenant- and project-based Section 8 renewal funding in FY10 and for 200,000 new Section 8 housing choice vouchers.


The Members ask appropriators to “provide enough funding to ensure that the Section 8 rental assistance now being used by low income families will be fully renewed in 2010.

In addition, we urge you to provide funds for 200,000 new, ‘incremental’ tenant-based vouchers. Reports from around the country indicate that homelessness is rising as a result of the severe economic downturn . . . The Section 8 voucher program has received broad support from the political spectrum as the most flexible and cost effective way to provide rental assistance.”


To view the letter, and see which of Representatives should be thanked for signing on, go to

***Rulemaking Continues on HUD Proposal

HUD has officially delayed the effective date of a contentious rule that the previous administration had proposed, accepted public comments on, and then issued as a final rule set to go into effect on March 30.


HUD’s January 2009 rule would have denied access to housing for eligible low income families, particularly ‘mixed-status’ households, which include citizens or eligible immigrants as well as ineligible non-citizens. Another portion of the proposed and final rule would have allowed HUD to redefine “annual income” so that public housing agencies and owners would have had the option to determine a household’s income for rent and program eligibility purposes based on either current or anticipated income or on income during the previous 12 months. Current law bases income determinations on current or anticipated income.


HUD’s March 27 notice in the Federal Register notes that, on February 11, HUD decided to accept public comments as to whether delay of the March 30 implementation date would be “beneficial in further consideration of the rule’s policies” (see Memo, 2/13).


HUD received approximately 50 comments after comment on the rule was re-opened, with a majority of comments supporting a delayed effective date for the final rule. “The majority of commenters also raised additional questions and comments about various aspects of the January 27, 2009, final rule,” said the latest notice.


NLIHC signed on to two such comment letters, one regarding the rule’s provisions to allow public housing agencies to base a tenant’s income on his or her income of the previous year, and one regarding the rule’s provisions to deny housing benefits to eligible individuals based on the status of their household members, as is not currently the case. The letters contended that both provisions would have been harmful to low income people in need of affordable housing.


The final rule is now set go into effect on September 30. Between now and then, HUD will have “additional time to review the public comments received in response to the February 11, 2009, notice, respond to those comments in a subsequent publication, and consider whether additional changes to the regulations in the January 27, 2009, final rule are necessary or appropriate.”



***New Federal Coordinator Named for Gulf Coast Rebuilding Post

Janet Woodka was named on March 31 as the Federal Coordinator of Rebuilding in the Gulf Coast Region. Prior to being named to her new post, Woodka served as the Director of Legislative Affairs for the two most-recent Federal Coordinators. Previously, she was Legislative Director for Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), the Chair of the Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery.


In her new role, Ms. Woodka will be responsible for identifying long-term rebuilding needs by working directly with state and local authorities to communicate priorities to Washington.


Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who oversees the office, announced the appointment. Advocates, officials, and lawmakers all praised the decision based on Ms. Woodka’s extensive experience.


In announcing the appointment, Secretary Napolitano said, “Janet’s critical firsthand experience and knowledge to the Gulf Coast that will enable her to get to work right away. She has a long history in this region, and I know she will make great progress in coordinating recovery efforts between local, state and federal officials.”


Senator Landrieu expressed enthusiasm over the appointment of her former employee. “I am confident that Janet Woodka understands the needs of the Gulf Coast and the priorities of the Louisiana delegation,” Senator Landrieu said in a press release. “She has been a steady hand to both previous federal coordinators, and she has a commitment to the people of Louisiana and a passion for our recovery. Janet is known to state and local leaders as an honest broker and a trusted partner in our recovery. She will utilize her expertise on disaster recovery issues and work with our partners at the Louisiana Recovery Authority to help our region rebuild.”


On February 20, President Obama signed an executive order extending the office through September 30, 2009. It had been set to expire on February 28 (see Memo, 2/20). Advocates are recommending that an Office for Gulf Coast Recovery be established at the White House with a Gulf Coast Recovery Advisor who reports directly to the President. 


***FEMA Taking Second Look at Forgiving Loans

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced on March 30 that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is proposing an amendment to its Special Community Disaster Loan (CDL) regulations to forgive loans granted in 2005 and 2006 to distressed Gulf Coast communities. Public comments on the amendment are being sought by May 29, 2009. 


CDLs are loans to local governments that have suffered a major loss of tax and other revenue due to a disaster. They can be used only to assist local governments in providing essential services. 


In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Congress passed the Community Disaster Loan Act (CDLA) of 2005, which authorized the transfer of appropriations from the second 2005 supplemental spending bill for Katrina relief to support up to $1 billion in loan authority to assist communities affected by the two hurricanes. The following year, in the 2006 Katrina supplemental spending bill, additional funding for loan authority was included.


The proposed amendment would allow communities that received Special CDLs in the disaster-related bills in 2005 and 2006 for Katrina and Rita aid, and whose revenues in the full three-fiscal-year period since those disasters have been insufficient to meet their local governments’ operating budgets, to apply to have all or a portion of their CDL forgiven.


“Tremendous progress has been made to help the Gulf Coast region recover, but it is abundantly clear that communities are struggling to meet the challenges faced by the economy and the remaining challenges posed by Hurricanes Rita and Katrina,” Secretary Napolitano said. “We look forward to hearing feedback on this proposal in order to maintain essential municipal services following hurricanes Katrina and Rita. With this effort, we are closer to helping our Gulf Coast communities rebuild, recover and get back on their feet.”


FEMA is seeking comments from state and local officials, as well as the public, on the proposed amendment.


The proposed amendment can be found here:


Comments should be submitted under docket ID FEMA-2005-0051 at


Comments may also be submitted to or by mail to FEMA’s Office of Chief Counsel, Room 835,

500 C Street, SW, Washington, D.C. 20472



***MA Advocates Lead Efforts to Stabilize Neighborhoods Impacted by Foreclosure

Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), an NLIHC state partner, recently initiated a statewide collaborative aimed at stabilizing neighborhoods impacted by foreclosures. Through the new Massachusetts Foreclosed Properties Initiative, CHAPA will serve as a foreclosed properties clearinghouse to link banks that own foreclosed homes with local organizations capable of buying, refurbishing, and re-occupying these homes with low and moderate income households.


Communities will benefit from fewer vacant, abandoned houses and increased property tax revenues.  In addition, because the vast majority of foreclosed properties in Massachusetts are one- to four-unit buildings, CHAPA intends to prevent tenant displacement by encouraging purchases by organizations with a mission to keep tenants in place.


CHAPA has pre-qualified local nonprofits, housing authorities, and other entities interested in buying foreclosed properties. Sellers will give pre-qualified purchasers the “right of first offer” before putting properties on the Multiple Listing Service. Sellers will also give purchasing organizations physical access to properties and offer an “as-is” adjusted sale price. The adjusted sale price reflects the benefits of an expedited sale – reduced maintenance, tax, insurance, marketing and other administrative costs. Purchasers have the option of buying multiple properties in bulk, enabling them to renovate properties on an entire block or in larger areas, therefore having a greater revitalization impact.


The Massachusetts Foreclosed Properties Initiative was designed by CHAPA in coordination with Governor Deval Patrick’s (D) administration, the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations, community-based organizations, municipal officials, lending institutions, and the National Community Stabilization Trust, a national nonprofit created to help local communities buy foreclosed properties. The initiative’s local partners include 50 housing organizations and 30 municipalities. Initial participating sellers include Fannie Mae, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase/Washington Mutual, Citi, and Bank of America/Countrywide. As the initiative moves forward, more sellers, purchasers and municipalities are expected to participate. 


To help pre-qualified developers quickly purchase and rehab properties, the Neighborhood Stabilization Loan Fund was created with an initial $15 million from the Massachusetts Housing Invest

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