OHFA 2018 Final Funding

At its final meeting of 2018, Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency’s Board of Trustees awarded funding for affordable housing in three different programs.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME)

Nearly $3 million in HOME contracts were awarded on behalf of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) at the November meeting. HOME funds may be used to provide development costs for the new construction or acquisition and rehabilitation of affordable housing, to provide down payment assistance for homebuyers, or to assist renters.

  • Midwest Housing Initiatives will construct 48 multi-family units in the City of Sayre.
  • Native American Housing Services, Inc. will build two rental homes in Edmond.
  • Deep Fork Community Action Foundation, Inc. will acquire and rehabilitate two rental homes in McIntosh County.
  • Muskogee County Community Action Foundation, Inc. will purchase and rehabilitate four rental homes in the City of Muskogee.
  • Neighborhood Housing Services will build four single family homes for purchase in El Reno.
  • Midwest Housing Initiatives will construct two single family rental homes in Cushing.
  • The City of Midwest City was granted funds to provide down payment assistance to 40 homebuyers.

National Housing Trust Fund

The National Housing Trust Fund complements existing federal, State and local efforts to increase and preserve the supply of affordable housing for extremely low and very low-income households, including homeless families. OHFA trustees awarded $1.2 million through this program at the November meeting.

  • MACO Development Company, LLC will build a 57-unit development in Oklahoma City using its award.
  • Muskogee County Community Action Foundation, Inc. plans to acquire and rehabilitate two single family homes in Muskogee utilizing their award.

Affordable Housing Tax Credits

OHFA trustees awarded $2.1 million in Affordable Housing Tax Credits, adding to the state’s affordable rental housing stock across the state. Developments to be constructed include:

  • Bent Oak Village, a 30-unit development in Choctaw
  • Centennial Park Apartments, a 55-unit development in Owasso
  • The Estates at Rockwell, a 68-unit development in Oklahoma City
  • Greenwood Estates, a 60-unit development in Oklahoma City
  • Lindenwoods Townhomes, Phase II, a 12-unit development in Durant
  • The Villas at Lyons Court, a 53-unit development in Blanchard
  • RiverBrook Apartments, a 72-unit development in Broken Arrow
  • Savannah Terrace Apartments, a 60-unit development in Oklahoma City
  • Wildwood, a 12-unit development in Sayre

The following existing developments will be rehabilitated using Affordable Housing Tax Credits:

  • Inola Villa, rehabilitation of 24 units in Inola
  • Pheasant Run, rehabilitation of 96 units in Enid
  • Sayre Senior Village, rehabilitation of 40 units in Sayre
  • University Crossing, rehabilitation of 40 units in Weatherford

Prospects for a Lame-Duck Tax Package Remain Uncertain

Leadership in both the House and Senate have previously expressed interest in completing a package to extend expired tax provisions, but the prospects for a tax package remain uncertain because of the limited legislative time remaining this year. It is also unclear if Republicans and Democrats will have the appetite to negotiate given the upcoming shift in power resulting from the midterm elections, particularly if Democrats decide to postpone legislative action until they assume control of the House in January. Changes in leadership on House and Senate tax-writing committees next year may also impact Congress’s appetite for finalizing a tax package during the lame-duck session. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced he will take over as Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee following current Chairman Orrin Hatch’s (R-UT) retirement, and current Ways and Means Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-MA) will become Chairman of the House tax-writing committee.

If a tax package does come together in the remaining weeks of 2018, Enterprise urges Congress to include provisions to strengthen and expand the Housing Credit, as well as permanently extend NMTC before it expires at the end of 2019. To support advocacy efforts in the lame-duck session and in the next Congress, the ACTION Campaign has released updated district fact sheets to show the Housing Credit’s impact in each congressional district and the affordable housing needs that still remain in every state. ACTION also updated its state fact sheets last month. And last week, Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Jose Serrano (D-NY) sent a letter signed by a bipartisan group of 34 House members to Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) in support of the permanent extension of NMTC. In the Senate, Roy Blunt (R-MO), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have signaled their support for an NMTC extension to the Finance Committee.

Midterm Elections Result in Local Affordable Housing Victories

The midterm election saw voters weigh in on 155 separate state and local ballot measures, many of which were designed to provide critical funding for affordable housing. Among the notable measures to pass were Propositions 1 and 2 in California: Proposition 1 authorized $4 billion in bonds to be spent on affordable housing and veterans’ homeownership, while Proposition 2 allocates $2 billion to provide services for homeless populations with serious mental illness. In Oregon, voters approved changing the state constitution to allow local governments to use bond money in partnerships with private business and nonprofits to build affordable housing; in Portland, Oregon, voters authorized $652 million in bonds for affordable housing; and in Austin, Texas, voters authorized $250 million in bonds for affordable housing. For more information about state and local ballot measures, see Enterprise State and Local Policy Director Flora Arabo’s in-depth round up of housing-related ballot measures from across the nation.

Incentive Evaluation Commission – Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act

The Incentive Evaluation Commission met November 15 to make final recommendations to the state legislature regarding the Oklahoma Affordable Housing Act.

The IEC voted to:

1. Suggest lowering the credit term from 10 years to 5 years.

2. Suggest lifting the population caps so all counties are eligible.

3. Reject PFM’s recommendation to make the credit refundable instead of transferable.

Although PFM suggested removing the $1 for $1 match on state to federal allocations, the Commission did not take action on this issue.

Webinar on Budget Outlook for Affordable Housing and Community Development Programs, December 3

NLIHC and other leaders of the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding (CHCDF) invite you to join advocates from across the country to learn about the status and outlook for FY19 and FY20 funding for affordable housing and community development programs. The webinar will be held on December 3 at 3:00 p.m. ET. Register today at: https://bit.ly/2FsiOpE

Panelists will discuss how advocates can effectively communicate with policymakers and the public about the need for increased federal investments in proven affordable housing and community development programs.

Elayne Weiss, NLIHC senior policy analyst, will moderate the event. Speakers include:

  • Doug Rice, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Linda Couch, LeadingAge
  • Joey Lindstrom, NLIHC

With more households struggling to make ends meet, we cannot afford funding cuts to the very programs that sustain our communities and help families thrive.

Register today!

Congress Returns to Washington with Limited Time to Fund the Government

Lawmakers return to Washington this week with only 12 working days in the House and 15 in the Senate before Congress adjourns for the year. Finalizing fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations legislation will be a top priority for members, as the current continuing resolution (CR) funding many government functions, including key affordable housing and community development programs, expires on December 7. There are a number of controversial provisions still to be ironed out however, including President Trump’s interest in including $5 billion to fund a border wall and efforts from Democrats to protect FBI special counsel Robert Mueller. If Congress is unable to reach an agreement on final FY 2019 spending before the current CR expires, they will need to pass another CR or face a partial government shutdown on Dec. 8.

Renters Struggle More than Homeowners to Pay for Food, Health Care

A new analysis by the Urban Institute found that renters are more likely than homeowners to struggle with paying for basic needs like food and health care, by 46 to 30 percent. Based on data from the Urban Institute’s 2017 Well-Being and Basic Needs Survey and adjusted for socioeconomic differences, the analysis shows that 30 percent of renters reported food insecurity, with 13 percent reporting trouble meeting rent payments. By comparison, only 19 percent of homeowners experienced food insecurity and less than 9 percent missed a mortgage payment in the last year. Although low-income homeowners generally fare better than low-income renters, nearly half of homeowners earning less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line also reported difficulties meeting basic needs. The analysis points out that these findings add to growing evidence that “resource-strapped families face impossible decisions and trade-offs when paying for housing and basic needs like food and medical care every month.”

House End of Year Tax Bill Includes Housing Credit Veterans Fix

Late last night, House Republicans released tax legislation addressing retirement savings, extenders of expiring tax provisions, disaster relief, and technical tax corrections. The bill is the first step in what are likely to be negotiations over an end-of-the-year tax package. The bill includes a provision NCSHA has sought to clarify that preferences and/or restrictions for veterans in Housing Credit properties, including bond-financed properties, are not a violation of the Credit or Bond programs’ general public use rules.

In recent months, it has come to our attention that some bond counsel, based on conversations with IRS officials, have raised concerns that the general public use requirements for the multifamily bond program do not allow for an exception for veterans of the U.S. military, and thus bond-financed projects that provide a preference for or serve only veterans violate the rule. The bill clarifies the exemption for veterans under the Housing Credit program and modifies the section of the tax code that deals with multifamily bonds to clarify that the general public use rule for multifamily bonds mirrors that of the Housing Credit.

The House is expected to pass the bill by the end of this week, at which point it will go to the Senate. We expect further negotiations between the chambers on the bill over the next couple of weeks, which could provide an opportunity to advance additional Housing Credit priorities, including those in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act. We will keep you abreast of all developments and when to contact your members to advocate for our Housing Credit priorities.

New Data Shows Stark Disparities in Homeownership Rates Between Populations

The Enterprise Policy Development & Research team has updated its interactive report on trends in housing tenure – that is, whether people own or rent — using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s third quarter 2018 Housing Vacancy Survey (HVS). The interactive graphics in the report, which break down tenure trends by age, race/ethnicity and income, reveal stark disparities in the share of homeowners among these subsets of households, as well the narrowing of some tenure gaps and the expansion of others. While homeownership among Hispanic, Asian and non-Hispanic White households has increased to 47.1, 55.7 and 72.8 percent, respectively, over the past two years, rates for non-Hispanic Blacks have been nearly flat at 42 percent, creating the widest gap with non-Hispanic White households in this 25-year series. Households with incomes above the national median have a homeownership rate above 78 percent, but the homeownership rate among below-median-income households rose to over 50 percent for the first time since 2013. Addressing these gaps will require action at the local, state and federal levels, including local and regional zoning reforms that can reduce barriers to building more affordable rental housing and national-level initiatives that can increase access to homeownership.

Comments on Modernizing the Community Reinvestment Act

Last week Enterprise Community Partners’ CEO Terri Ludwig and President Laurel Blatchford submitted a comment letter to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on possible streamlining of and enhancements to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). CRA was enacted in 1977 largely as a response to “redlining,” the discriminatory practice in which banks denied loans to residents living in neighborhoods that they deemed hazardous, often solely based on the presence of large minority populations. The law requires financial institutions to meet the credit needs of the communities in which they operate, including low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. CRA has produced substantial benefits for these communities and their residents, particularly by helping drive financial institution investments in nonprofit organizations, the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit), the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC), Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI), and other critical activities benefiting LMI communities and residents.

In August, the OCC released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) asking the public to submit comments on possible regulatory changes to CRA by November 19. Enterprise’s aim for modernized CRA regulations is to ensure a consistent, transparent system that properly gives banks credit for sound community development work. Our three principles for CRA modernization are: 1) preserving a focus on affordable housing, 2) updating assessment areas to address national lending and investment challenges, and 3) retaining an explicit investment test with an emphasis on community development activities. The OCC must now review the more than 1,200 public comment letters submitted on CRA modernization, after which the agency will likely issue a proposed rule for further public input. Typically, all three banking regulators – the OCC, Federal Reserve Board of Governors, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) – move forward together on significant regulatory changes. It is yet to be seen whether the Federal Reserve and FDIC will join the OCC in subsequent steps of the regulatory process.