67 Mayors Sign-On to Bipartisan Letter Urging Congress to Include Housing Credit Provisions in Next COVID-19 Response Legislation

In a June 1 bipartisan letter to Congress, 67 mayors across the country called for the inclusion of our Housing Credit (LIHTC) priorities in the next COVID-19 response bill. The letter, which was circulated by the Seattle Office of the Mayor and the ACTION Campaign, urges Members of Congress to advance ACTION’s proposals for immediate Housing Credit relief: the enactment of a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and the lowering of the "50 percent test" bond financing threshold for 4 percent Housing Credit developments. The mayors cite the urgent need for affordable rental housing in their cities, particularly in light of the economic downturn in the face of COVID-19, and highlight these proposals as immediate solutions to include in the next round of response legislation.

Visit the Housing Advisory Group’s COVID-19 Resources and Updates Center.

Judges shoulder burden of avoiding mass evictions

As landlords and tenants begin showing up when the small claims dockets are called in courtrooms across Oklahoma, we pray the judges presiding over a backlog of 2,300 eviction cases will be judicious in their decisions.

With a statewide unemployment rate of 13.7% in April and initial claims of newly jobless Oklahomans continuing to mount by the tens of thousands each week, removing families from their homes en masse would be a mistake. Crowding people into homes with members of their extended family or shelters accelerates the risks of a resurgence in COVID-19 cases as a sputtering economy tries to get traction.

The $2.2 trillion economic stabilization package approved by Congress protects some tenants against evictions — the CARES Act prohibits the filing of new cases against tenants who live in federally financed or subsidized housing until July 24. States and local governments have provided some protection, but that varies by location, leaving renters at the courts’ mercy.

[Muskogee Phoenix]

Updated 4% Housing Credit Fact Sheets; Sen. Wyden Releases Affordable Housing Priorities; Mayor Sign-on Letter Deadline Extended

ACTION Releases Updated 4 Percent Housing Credit Fact Sheets

The ACTION Campaign has released an updated national 4 percent Housing Credit fact sheet, as well as state fact sheets for the 21 states and the District of Columbia, which would receive the most additional homes from enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate.

Today, the 4 percent Housing Credit finances about half of the annual affordable rental housing produced or preserved with the Housing Credit program. However, the 4 percent Housing Credit is much lower than Congress originally intended because the 4 percent Housing Credit rate fluctuates monthly based on a formula tied to federal borrowing rates, which are now effectively at 0 percent. The “4 percent” Housing Credit rate will reach an all-time low of 3.07 percent in June. The precipitous drop in rate is jeopardizing thousands of affordable homes already underway by creating significant unforeseen financing gaps.

Enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate is a top priority of the ACTION Campaign, and we urge Congress to include it in the next coronavirus response package. A minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate will make more developments financially feasible in light of the historically low rate. Doing so would also provide parity to the 9 percent Housing Credit rate, for which Congress enacted a minimum rate as part of the response to the 2008 economic collapse. According to recent analysis by Novogradac, a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate could finance nearly 126,000 additional affordable rental homes over 2020-2029. These additional affordable homes are critical given the economic uncertainty and constraints many families face in light of the crisis.

Advocates can use these fact sheets to demonstrate to Members of Congress how critical the 4 percent Housing Credit is in financing the development and preservation of affordable housing in her/his/their state and the estimated additional affordable homes that enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate would provide. The updated 4 percent Housing Credit fact sheets include the following information:

  • Number of affordable homes financed using the 4 percent Housing Credit during 1986-2018
  • Estimated number of low-income households served by those units
  • Estimated number of jobs supported for one year as a result of those units
  • Estimated amount of tax revenue generated as a result of those units
  • Estimated amount of wages and business income generated as a result of those units
  • Estimated number of additional affordable homes that could be built during 2020-2029 with the enactment of minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate

Access the fact sheets here:

To learn more about the data sources and methodology for the 4 percent Housing Credit fact sheets, click here.

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden Releases Affordable Housing Priorities, Including Minimum 4 Percent Housing Credit Rate

On May 22, Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) released an outline of affordable housing priorities he will pursue in the next coronavirus response bill. The six priorities are focused on preserving and expanding affordable housing and, in particular, on supporting Housing Credit properties.

Notably, Ranking Member Wyden’s priorities to expand incentives for new production include the ACTION Campaign’s priorities to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate and to enact basis boosts for bond-financed projects and developments in rural and Indian areas – all of which are also provisions in the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, of which the Senator is an original cosponsor.

ACTION Mayor Sign-on Letter Deadline Extended to Friday, May 29

The deadline for mayors to sign-on to a letter being ciruclated by the Seattle Office of the Mayor and the ACTION Campaign, which calls on Members of Congress to include provisions that support the Housing Credit in the next COVID-19 response package, has been extended to this Friday, May 29.

Thank you to the Housing Credit advocates who have helped add mayors to the letter, and please continue to ask your mayor to sign-on by the deadline this Friday, May 29. Click here to read the letter and click here to sign-on.

Filling out the U.S. Census is easy and ensures critical funding for Oklahoma

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An accurate census count is critical for federal housing funds. This handy tool from the U.S. Census Bureau allows you to see where response rates in our community need to improve.

Please encourage your employees and residents to fill out the 2020 census. An accurate count of our population is critical to our state’s future. The federal government uses census data to allocate billions of dollars for programs like Medicare/Medicaid, transportation funding, federal research and more. The census also determines Oklahoma’s representation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Every household that does not complete the census will cost our community $1,675 per year over the next 10 years. In 2010, Oklahoma had the second-lowest participation rate in the country and an undercount of only 2% could cost our state as much as $1.8 billion in funding. It is important to remember that individual census data is confidential and won’t be shared.

For the first time, you can fill out the U.S. Census online at my2020census.gov. Filling it out online takes less than 10 minutes. Residents can also do their census over the phone by calling 844-330-2020. If residents don’t fill out the census online or by phone they will be mailed a form. Filling out the form online, by phone or mail will help lessen the number of census workers who have to go door-to-door amid the virus outbreak.

For more information, visit www.2020census.gov.

OHFA May 27th Board Meeting

OHFA’s May 27th Board Meeting is open to the public. A teleconference number will not be available for the public.

A regularly scheduled and quarterly meeting of Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency’s (“OHFA”) Board of Trustees has been scheduled to be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2020 at the Holiday Inn Oklahoma City North, 6200 N. Robinson, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

In accordance with Oklahoma Department of Health guidelines during the Coronavirus pandemic, social distancing will be practiced, with chairs spaced six feet from one another. Masks are encouraged and will be provided upon request at the entry to the meeting room.

CLICK HERE for the agenda.

The Coalition’s Annual Meeting has been rescheduled to July 15th.

Temporary Rental Assistance Application Deadline- Today, May 26, by 2:00 p.m.

The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing was able to secure a small grant to establish a statewide temporary rental assistance fund for low-income households affected by COVID-19.  The application deadline is today, May 26, by 2:00 p.m.  Coalition Members only. First-come, first-served basis. Download Application. For additional details, CLICK HERE.

Covid-19 Temporary Rental Assistance – Accepting Applications Now through Tuesday, May 26

The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing was able to secure a small grant to establish a statewide temporary rental assistance fund for low-income households affected by COVID-19.  We are accepting applications today, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020.  Coalition Members only. First-come, first-served basis. Download Application. For additional details, CLICK HERE.

Covid-19 Temporary Rental Assistance – Accepting Applications Now through Tuesday, May 26 May 22, 2020

The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing was able to secure a small grant to establish a statewide temporary rental assistance fund for low-income households affected by COVID-19. We are accepting applications today, May 22, at 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. Coalition Members only. First-come, first-served basis. Download Application. Download Application. For additional details, CLICK HERE.

ACTION Update: House Passes HEROES Act, Senate Advocacy for 4% Housing Credit Rate Continues

House Passes HEROES Act, Senate Advocacy for 4% Housing Credit Rate Continues

On May 15, the House of Representatives passed a bill in a narrow party-line vote that would provide $3 trillion to address emergency measures as part of the ongoing coronavirus response. The Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES Act), H.R. 6800, includes funding for a wide range of programs, including critical investments in affordable housing and community development. In addition to other non-housing related provisions, the bill would provide $100 billion for emergency rental assistance through the Emergency Solutions Grant program, establish a $75 million fund to help homeowners pay their mortgages, and expand and extend the eviction moratorium and forbearance allowances established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act that Congress passed in March. However, the HEROES Act does not include the immediate relief needed for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) as a result of the crisis. Click here to read more about the HEROES Act.

It is now up to the Senate to take up the next COVID-19 response package, the leadership of which has so far dismissed the House bill as dead on arrival. We expect that the Senate, once it begins working on legislation, will have different priorities than the House and legislation coming from that chamber will likely be narrower in scope.

The ACTION Campaign is continuing our advocacy with the Senate, with the hopes that the Senate may be willing to include our Housing Credit priorities in their version of the next bill. We are strategically narrowing our focus for Senate advocacy to enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, which has the best chance of advancement considering the falling rate tied to federal borrowing rates. The proposal to establish a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate already has strong bipartisan support, is directly responsive to new affordable housing challenges created by the COVID-19 crisis, and has precedent from when the corresponding minimum 9 percent rate was enacted in response to the 2008 economic crisis. ACTION will continue to advocate for additional Housing Credit priorities in future recovery packages, where there could be more opportunities to include Housing Credit provisions.

Advocates should ask their Senate offices to urge Senate Leadership to include important emergency measures to keep critically-needed affordable housing and the jobs that produce those homes moving forward in the next COVID-19 response package by setting a minimum 4 percent rate for the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit.

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