ACTION Campaign Update and Monthly Call, Friday, August 7 at 2 PM EST

Join the ACTION Campaign Monthly Call on Friday, August 7

The ACTION Campaign monthly call will be held on Friday, August 7 at 2:00 PM EST. Call-in information:

  • Phone number: 929-205-6099
  • Meeting ID: 193 634 880
  • Password: 256387

Senate Republicans Release Covid-19 Package, Bicameral Negotiations Begin

On July 27, Senate Republicans released their proposal for the next Covid-19 package, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection, and Schools (HEALS) Act, which totals roughly $1 trillion. Senate Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) developed the plan in consultation with the Administration, though there is not yet Republican unanimous support for some aspects of the proposal. The Senate Republican proposal is a counter to the House passed HEROES Act, H.R.6800, totaling roughly $3 trillion.

Neither the HEALS Act nor the HEROES Act include ACTION’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (Housing Credit) priorities for Covid-19 relief. However, there is still considerable support from many Senators and House members for adding these provisions. The HEALS Act includes limited housing funding— $2.2 billion for Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance, $1 billion for the Public Housing Operating Fund, and $113.4 million for the 521 rural rental assistance program. The HEROES Act includes far more affordable housing resources.

Negotiations between the Senate and the House have now begun, and Congress aims to complete the next Covid relief package before heading into August recess, though as of this writing the two sides remain far apart. ACTION encourages advocates to do outreach to their Members of Congress at this critical time, particularly those favorable to the Housing Credit on the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways & Means Committee, to encourage them to press House and Senate negotiators to include our Housing Credit priorities in the final bill.

103 Representatives Send Letter to House Leadership Urging Inclusion of ACTION Housing Credit Priorities in Next Covid-19 Relief Package

On July 31, a bipartisan group of 103 Representatives, including 44 Republicans and 59 Democrats, sent a letter to House leadership urging the inclusion of Housing Credit priorities in the next Covid-19 response package. The letter was spearheaded by affordable housing champions and Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (AHCIA) co-leads Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02). It calls for a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate, additional basis boosts, a lowering of the “50 percent” test, and an increase in Housing Credit allocation by at least 50 percent. The inclusion of these Housing Credit priorities in the next Covid-19 relief package is particularly urgent given the delays to affordable housing production caused as a result of the pandemic. The ACTION Campaign applauds these 103 Members of Congress for elevating these Housing Credit proposals as critical for Covid-19 relief and urges advocates to continue outreach to their Members as Congress continues to negotiate the next package. The Representatives who signed-on include:

Don Bacon (R-NE-02) Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34) David Price (D-NC-04)
James R. Baird (R-IN-04) Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH-16) Mike Quigley (D-IL-05)
Troy Balderson (R-OH-12) Raul Grijalva (D-AZ-03) Jamie Raskin (D-MD-08)
Joyce Beatty (D-OH-03) Jim Hagedorn (R-MN-01) Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA-14)
Jack Bergman (R-MI-01) Jahana Hayes (D-CT-05) David P. Roe, M.D. (R-TN-01)
Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (D-VA-08) George Holding (R-NC-02) John Rose (R-TN-06)
Earl Blumenauer (D-OR-03) Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC-AL) Harley Rouda (D-CA-48)
Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE-AL) Richard Hudson (R-NC-08) Tim Ryan (D-OH-13)
Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR-01) Bill Johnson (R-OH-06) Michael F.Q. San Nicolas (D-GU-AL)
Susan W. Brooks (R-IN-05) Dusty Johnson (R-SD-AL) Linda Sanchez (D-CA-38)
Julia Brownley (D-CA-26) David P. Joyce (R-OH-14) Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA-05)
Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN-08) John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA-13) Jan Schakowsky (D-IL-09)
Ted Budd (R-NC-03) John Katko (R-NY-24) Bradley S. Schneider (D-IL-10)
Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) Mike Kelly (R-PA-16) David Schweikert (R-AZ-06)
André Carson (D-IN-07) Daniel T. Kildee (D-MI-05) Terri A. Sewell (D-AL-07)
Judy Chu (D-CA-27) Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06) John Shimkus (R-IL-15)
David N. Cicilline (D-RI-01) Ron Kind (D-WI-03) Jason Smith (R-MO-08)
Katherine Clark (D-MA-05) Adam Kinzinger (R-IL-16) Adam Smith (D-WA-09)
Paul Cook (R-CA-08) Darin LaHood (R-IL-18) Abigail D. Spanberger (D-VA-07)
Joe Courtney (D-CT-02) Doug LaMalfa (R-CA-01) Pete Stauber (R-MN-08)
Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) James R. Langevin (D-RI-02) Elise M. Stefanik (R-NY-21)
Joe Cunningham (D-SC-01) John B. Larson (D-CT-01) Steve Stivers (R-OH-15)
Rodney Davis (R-IL-13) Al Lawson (D-FL-05) Thomas R. Suozzi (D-NY-03)
Danny K. Davis (D-IL-07) Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM-02)
Rosa L. DeLauro (D-CT-03) Elaine G. Luria (D-VA-02) Lori Trahan (D-MA-03)
Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01) Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA-08) Michael R. Turner (R-OH-10)
Val Butler Demings (D-FL-10) Kenny Marchant (R-TX-24) Tim Walberg (R-MI-07)
Lloyd Doggett (D-TX-35) James P. McGovern (D-MA-02) Jackie Walorski (R-IN-02)
Adriano Espaillat (D-NY-13) Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-05) Peter Welch (D-VT-AL)
Dwight Evans (D-PA-03) Carol D. Miller (R-WV-03) Brad R. Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH-02)
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01) Stephanie Murphy (D-FL-07) Roger Williams (R-TX-25)
Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-01) Jimmy Panetta (D-CA-20) Don Young (R-AK-AL)
Bill Foster (D-IL-11) Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01)
Jesús G. "Chuy" García (D-IL-04) Bill Pascrell (D-NJ-09)
Bob Gibbs (R-OH-07) Scott H. Peters (D-CA-52)

"4 Percent" Housing Credit Rate Drops to Historic Low for August

The “4 percent” Housing Credit rate, which saw a slight increase to 3.08 percent in July, has dropped back to the record low rate of 3.07 percent for the month of August. The “4 percent” Housing Credit rate is not set at 4 percent as its name implies; instead, it fluctuates according to federal borrowing rates, which have been slashed in response to Covid-19. Because of this drop in the Housing Credit rate, affordable housing properties across the country are at risk. Enacting a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate would provide immediate equity to developments currently stalled and could produce approximately 126,000 additional affordable rental homes in the next 10 years, supporting 157,000 jobs during the same period. ACTION urges Congress to enact a minimum 4 percent Housing Credit rate to help ensure that affordable housing developments are financially viable.

The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act Gains More Bipartisan Support

The AHCIA reached an impressive milestone in the House this past March, with more than half of all Representatives cosponsoring the legislation. Since then, Representatives Luis Correa (D-CA-46), Jack Bergman (R-MI-01), and Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ-05) have signed-on. H.R.3077 now totals 224 bipartisan cosponsors. In the Senate, Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are the latest to sign-on to S.1703, which now totals 41 cosponsors. ACTION thanks these Members of Congress for their support of affordable housing.

Check out ACTION’s updated cosponsor list to find out who is currently signed-on in each state.

Senate Democrat’s Economic Justice Act Includes Expansion of Housing Credit

On July 16, Senate Democrats released The Economic Justice Act, a proposal to invest $350 billion in communities of color as a part of the next Covid-19 relief package. The proposal is intended to further buttress House Democrats’ HEROES Act. The proposal includes the expansion of the Housing Credit by $5 billion for setting a minimum 4 percent rate for bond-financed Housing Credit properties, which would expand Housing Credit production by an estimated 126,000 units over ten years. These investments would fall under the $215 billion in the proposal aimed at long-term investments in communities of color. Click here to read a summary of the proposal. Click here to read a more detailed background of the proposal.

ICYMI: ACTION’s Updated National, State, and District Fact Sheets Show Housing Credit’s Impact Nationwide

This past month, the ACTION Campaign updated its national, state, and district fact sheets. ACTION urges its members and affordable housing advocates across the country to use these fact sheets to demonstrate to Members of Congress the urgent need for affordable housing in their communities and to elevate the importance of the inclusion of the Housing Credit in the next Covid-19 relief package.

REMINDER: 8/2 Deadline for Comments on OHFA 2021 Tax Credit Application (QAP)

OHFA will accept public comments on the 2nd Draft of the 2021 QAPnd Draft of the 2021 QAP through Sunday August 2nd.

Please use the online discussion forum to post comments to this draft. The discussion forum may be accessed here: http://ohfa2021qapcomments.freeforums.net/

If you have not already done so, please register for the formal public input session that will be held via Zoom on Thursday, August 6th, 2020 from 9:30 AM – 12:00 PM. You may use the link below to register.

Register in advance for this meeting.

Register to Vote in the Primary Runoff Election

Across Oklahoma, there are many primary runoff elections on August 25. Runoff elections are typically low turnout elections, and in many cases, these are the elections which will end up making the biggest impact on local and state government in the following years.
If you need to register to vote, update your voter registration address or party affiliation, CLICK HERE to visit the Oklahoma State Election Board.
No matter if you are registering for the first time or updating your registration, get it done by this Friday, July 31 to ensure you can vote in this critical upcoming election and make your voice heard!

COVID-10 Housing Resource Center

From our Friends at National Housing Conference:

As housing professionals, many Americans are counting on us and that’s no small order, especially when faced with the need to support our family, colleagues and friends even more during this crisis. If we want to continue to assist others, it’s important to practice self-care. That is why NHC has complied informative resources on maintaining a healthy mental and physical lifestyle on their COVID-19 Housing Resource Center webpage, The Oxygen Mask Rule. Find resources on everything from supporting employees in the workplace to reducing stress, meditation, managing anxiety, and more!

Be sure to bookmark the page and check back for ongoing updates.

US Supreme Court Decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma

On May 11, attorneys for Mr. Jimcy McGirt and the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Oklahoma Solicitor General argued their respective sides of a case before the US Supreme Court about whether the Creek Reservation (a large section of eastern Oklahoma) was “disestablished” as a reservation by Congress more than 100 years ago. Attorneys for Mr. McGirt, a Tribal member, argued that Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to try him in Oklahoma state court because they argued his crime of rape was committed on Muscogee (Creek) reservation land.

The Major Crimes Act, which covers crimes like rape and murder, gives only the federal government the ability to try these crimes if committed on a reservation and involving a Tribal member. If the Muscogee (Creek) Reservation was never disestablished, as the defendant argued, the state would have never had jurisdiction to try Mr. McGirt because the federal court should have been the appropriate trial venue.

On July 9, in a 5-4 decision authored by Justice Gorsuch, the Court held in McGirt that the Creek Reservation was never disestablished by Congress. So Mr. McGirt must be retried in federal court.

CLICK HERE to read Senator Lankford’s statement.

The Court’s decision has caused numerous rumors to spread regarding Tribal and non-Tribal land ownership and jurisdiction in the reservation land. Senator Lankford and staff have been engaged along with the entire Oklahoma congressional delegation, the Tribes, the state, and all stakeholders to track areas that Congress will need to work on regarding any required follow-up federal legislation to provide predictability and certainty for all Oklahomans. The more questions we answer now, the fewer guesses or assumptions people will have to make in the future. If you have questions, concerns, or ideas about Oklahoma’s future, please send Senator Lankford an email with your thoughts. As Congress writes legislation to bring predictability, they want to be sure they cover as many relevant issues as possible for future generations.

CLICK HERE to read the Oklahoma delegation’s commitment to resolving this with all stakeholders through legislation.

OCAH Member Comments on the 2021 Draft QAP

OCAH held a membership discussion session last week regarding the Draft 2021-22 Affordable Housing Tax Credit Program Application Instructions. Group consensus identified needed revisions in order to effectively promote affordable housing in our state. All suggestions contained in the letter to OHFA had 100% consensus among our attendees.

HUD’s Proposed Anti-Transgender Rule

HUD published a proposed rule change that may remove protections against discrimination of transgender and gender non-conforming people experiencing homelessness, severely limiting their ability to access emergency shelters and services.

Background

Under HUD’s 2016 Equal Access Rule, all federally funded housing, facilities, and services must ensure equal access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations for all individuals regardless of gender identity and without intrusive questioning or documentation requirements. This rule improved the treatment of transgender and gender non-conforming individuals without homes, allowing them to safely secure shelter and emergency services without being turned away due to discrimination.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson’s proposed rule may remove anti-discrimination protections for transgender people seeking shelter by allowing shelter providers to refuse services to them based solely on their gender identity. HUD justifies the proposal by citing “religious freedom” and supposed privacy and safety concerns rooted in negative stereotypes rather than on evidence.

NLIHC, True Colors United, National LGBTQ Task Force, National Housing Law Project, and other national organizations have launched the Housing Saves Lives campaign to oppose this anti-transgender rule. Advocacy tools and resources you can use to oppose the proposal are available at HousingSavesLives.org

How You Can Submit Comments

The Housing Saves Lives campaign is calling for individuals and organizations to submit public comments in opposition to HUD’s proposed rule before the September 22 deadline.

Comments are most helpful when they are personalized and unique. To help craft your unique comment, you may use this template and submit your comment to HUD through a portal at HousingSavesLives.org.

To keep up with the latest news and resources go to HousingSavesLives.org

HUD Replaces Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule with Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice Rule

On July 23, HUD issued a new Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice final rule, which repeals the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing final rule and the 1994 Analysis of Impediments requirements, returning to HUD’s pre-1994 understanding of the 1968 Fair Housing Act’s obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. The Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice rule requires HUD grantees to certify they will use HUD funds to take active steps to promote fair housing. HUD will deem sufficient a grantee’s certification so long as the grantee proposes to take any action above what is required by statute to promote the attributes of fair housing. The rule defines fair housing as “housing that, among other attributes is affordable, safe, decent, free of unlawful discrimination, and accessible under civil rights laws.” The final rule is not subject to public notice or comments and will be effective 30 days after its publication in the Federal Register.

In the final rule, HUD states:

“The phrase ‘affirmatively furthering fair housing’ is vague and unclear. The ordinary meaning of the phrase does not invite a fundamental expansion of HUD regulations to include cumbersome policy, monitoring, or reporting requirements that will significantly affect the economy by impacting local zoning and development policies across the nation. Hanging a massively intrusive regulatory structure on such a cryptic, four-word phrase is inconsistent with the bedrock principles of separation of powers.”

The new final rule does not adopt the approach outlined in a proposed rule HUD published in January on which NCSHA submitted comments. That proposed rule would have required grantees to submit certifications that they would affirmatively further fair housing by addressing at least three factors, some or all of which could be from a list of possible factors HUD determined were common barriers to fair housing choice. The new final rule requires fair housing planning to be part of HUD program grantees’ annual Consolidated Plans.

Oklahoma Eviction Mitigation Program

Governor Stitt announced an Eviction Mitigation program on June 19. The Eviction Mitigation program will provide reimbursements to organizations paying landlords for rental assistance to individuals or families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Individuals and families will be capped at $3,600 in eviction mitigation. Administered through local non-profits, the State is partnering in Tulsa County with Restore Hope, Schusterman Family Foundation, Legal Aid and Community Action and in Oklahoma County with Communities Foundation of Oklahoma, Inasmuch Foundation, Legal Aid, Community Action Partnership and Upward Transitions.