As we posted in May, Congress is moving forward with FY19 budget bills, including key votes in House and Senate Committees on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations bills that affect spending for housing and many community development programs.
On May 23, the House Appropriations Committee advanced their THUD bill (details on our earlier blog post (click here)), only voting to adopt one amendment to increase funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program to the FY18 funding level. The FY19 funding bill provides $632 million to the program, compared to $678 million in the FY18 omnibus bill.
There were also amendments offered increase funding for several programs (homeless assistance grants, public housing capital repairs and the HOME program), as well as amendments aimed at preventing HUD from implementing the Administration’s rent increase proposal, and an effort to limits HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, but those were all defeated. The bill will now proceed to the full House for consideration.
On Thursday, June 7, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to advance its FY19 THUD bill. The bill is stronger for housing programs than the House bill, providing $1.8 billion in additional funding – that works out to $12 billion above the president’s FY19 request and more than $1 billion above the House proposal.
The Senate bill:
Programs that would maintain the Omnibus funding levels:
Programs receiving increases include:
The only significant cut is to the Choice Neighborhoods program, which was cut by $50 million
For an updated chart of all of the spending bills, click here: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NLIHC_HUD-USDA_Budget-Chart.pdf
For questions or more information, contact our Policy Director, Kathleen Lara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 6, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) proposed wide-ranging changes to the regulations governing the Federal Home Loan Banks’ Affordable Housing Program (AHP). The proposed amendments would allow the Banks to establish special competitive funds that target specific affordable housing needs in their districts and design and implement their own project selection scoring criteria, among many other provisions. Many affordable rental projects receive AHP gap financing to expand affordable housing. FHFA provided an advance copy of its proposed rule changes on March 6. The formal Federal Register version is yet to be posted.
There are 11 Federal Home Loan Banks whose members are local lending institutions. Both Indiana and Michigan AHP projects fall under the Federal Home Loan Bank of Indianapolis. FHLBanks must annually contribute to its AHP 10% of its net income from the preceding year, subject to a minimum annual combined contribution by all of the Banks of $100 million. The current AHP regulation authorizes two programs: a mandatory Competitive Application Program and optional Homeownership Set-Aside Programs.
With this rule, the FHFA proposes to eliminate the Competitive Application Program and its required 65% minimum annual allocation to AHP. In its place, FHFA proposes a three-program scheme:
In 2015-2016, Prosperity Indiana facilitated a Quality of Life planning process for the North Anthony Corridor Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The North Anthony Corridor is a commercial corridor surrounded by residential neighborhoods and book-ended by educational institutions. Funding for the Quality of Life plan was provided by Prosperity Indiana member Brightpoint.
"Quality of Life plans are great tools for creating a shared community vision and understanding how the public, private, and philanthropic sectors will come alongside residents to implement the goals that will result in the vision. The plans are implemented in big and small ways every day in the neighborhoods that have engaged in Quality of Life planning," said Rose Scovel, Director of Planning Services at Prosperity Indiana.
Throughout the planning process, residents emphasized the importance of placemaking and beautification to attract people to the area. Since there were a number of bare concrete walls, residents identified murals as a strategy to realize this goal. After meeting their fundraising goal, the North Anthony Corridor Group is now ready to roll out the murals project, designed by artists Jerrod Tobias and Paul Demaree.
"Murals ... have an intangible quality that draws people together to consider and redefine their sense of place. These particular designs are meant to encourage us as viewers to nurture our connections with our urban and natural environments while offering us all a public safe space to reconcile the ongoing questions of what it means to be a community," writes Allison Demaree-Coale, North Anthony Corridor Board Member, in a Patronicity blog. North Anthony Corridor is joining communities worldwide using public art to engage residents, attract visitors, and strengthen sense of place.
"I had the pleasure of working with the North Anthony Corridor Group in 2015-2016 to facilitate a Quality of Life planning process. Placemaking and beautification were key strategies for realizing their vision of the Corridor as a 'vibrant hub connecting thriving neighborhoods, diverse businesses, exceptional schools, and nearby destinations,' and I'm thrilled to see this work coming to life as they prepare to add new murals," said Rachel Mattingly, Director of Training Services at Prosperity Indiana.
Learn more and see the mural designs here.
If your neighborhood is interested in Quality of Life planning, please contact Director of Planning Services, Rose Scovel, AICP at email@example.com to learn more.
Executive Director – Westside Community Development Corporation
The Westside CDC has played a key role in revitalizing the Near Westside and bringing stability to its families. Since its inception in 1985, WCDC has laid the foundation for the neighborhoods of Haughville, Hawthorne, Stringtown, and We Care to prosper via housing and commercial development, property management, and community planning. Bordered by White River Parkway to the East, Lynhurst Drive to the West, and extending North to 21st from the CSX Railroad line, the WCDC has close proximity to some of Indy’s premiere attractions including the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, IUPUI’s dynamic campus across the river, and 16 Tech’s 60-acre hub of entrepreneurship and innovation. Further propelled by affordable housing and a 10-minute commute to Indy’s downtown, WCDC is poised for future business and economic development , and the Westside area is becoming a “First Choice” community where people want to live and developers want to invest.
The WCDC is searching for a highly engaged Executive Director who will be a change agent in transforming the Westside into a vibrant destination with quality housing, sustainable living wages and abundant lifestyle amenities. The Executive Director will identify and implement development strategies that will serve the varied economic interests of the community and optimize housing and business/workforce opportunities for all income levels and generations.
The successful candidate will exhibit a high degree of understanding and performance in areas that include economic development, job creation, personnel management, municipal operations, innovative leadership, and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external partners. He/She must have effective outward facing communication skills with sales and/or public relations experience a plus, and experience working with governmental bodies at the local, state, and federal levels. This individual has direct oversight of five staff members. Compensation is $90,000 plus health insurance and vacation benefits. More information about WCDC at http://wcdcindy.org/. More about the role and apply at: https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/138702.html.
Executive Director - Drug & Alcohol Consortium of Allen County
Are you excited about building a better Fort Wayne? Are you a committed collaborator who enjoys making connections and marshaling resources for the good of the community? This could be the perfect opportunity for you. DAC oversees and energizes a broad-based network of community leaders from the educational, law enforcement, business, healthcare, government, and justice sectors who are focused on reducing the impacts of drug and alcohol use and abuse in Allen County through both prevention and intervention strategies. The Executive Director is a difference-maker who leads a small team delivering big impact. In addition to being the public face of the organization, the Executive Director functions as a catalyst and community architect, moving Allen County toward a more positive future and advocating for the community on a regional and state level.
The ideal candidate will be a coalition builder and facilitator, adept at connecting with a variety of audiences and bringing together people with different viewpoints to achieve common goals. He or she must be a confident business manager, able to oversee DAC finances, planning and personnel matters, but also not afraid to dig in and tackle the day-to-day work of the organization. The Executive Director must also be a top-notch networker and compelling communicator, comfortable in front of audiences or in one-on-one meetings, who effectively articulates DAC’s important mission. Expertise in drug and alcohol issues is not a requirement, but a passion for learning about those issues and putting best practices to work is. More information about DAC at http://www.dacac.org/. More about the role and apply at: https://charitableadvisors.hirecentric.com/jobs/138234.html.
The U.S. House may vote as early as next week on a rescissions package (H.R. 3) that would cut funds previously approved for certain vital affordable housing and community development programs. Prosperity Indiana members are urged to click on the link below to send a pre-drafted letter to your Representative urging them to oppose this measure.
H.R. 3 would cut $39 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Public Housing Capital Fund, $40 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rental Assistance Program, as well as $164 million from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI) programs.
These programs help ensure Hoosiers have access to safe, affordable housing and spur community development investments. Please take action today by sending your Representative a letter opposing this bill. Simply add your name, enter your address, and submit!
Prosperity Indiana's Rose Scovel, AICP and Rachel Mattingly recently completed a Quality of Life plan in the Sweet 16 neighborhoods of Anderson, with investment from the Vectren Foundation and backbone support from the Anderson Impact Center. In 2016, the Vectren Foundation was interested in investing in quality of life planning for an area on the near west side of Anderson and worked with Prosperity Indiana to convene a community conversation to share the need, the possibilities such plans can bring, and identify neighborhood boundaries and a local backbone organization. From that community conversation emerged the boundaries of what would become known as the Sweet 16 neighborhoods and the Anderson Impact Center, in the heart of the area, stepped up to be the backbone organization.
A local steering committee of residents and stakeholders was formed to guide the process with support from Prosperity Indiana. The committee was responsible for conducting one-on-one interviews, presenting the report of the interview findings, and tracking the plan’s progress. Following the report back a visioning session was held in the neighborhood. From that session emerged a shared vision for Sweet 16:
Anderson’s Sweet 16 neighborhood is a community of choice for people of all ages. It’s a beautiful area to live and work, with well-maintained homes and green spaces. Bike and walking paths encourage residents to enjoy the area parks, and residents and visitors feel safe and enjoy the neighborly atmosphere. Children and youth have access to educational and recreational opportunities that prepare them for their futures, and people of all ages have access to healthcare services. Education extends through job training programs, creating a prepared workforce ready to take advantage of neighborhood and surrounding jobs. Entrepreneurs and business owners in Sweet 16 also have the resources to grow and expand local businesses, particularly along the Nichol Avenue corridor, adding new restaurants, shops, and a grocery store that serve the neighborhood. Strong infrastructure and transportation options make it easy to access jobs, education, and recreation. Residents take pride in their community and work together to create a thriving Sweet 16.
Interested residents and stakeholder began meeting in working groups to develop goals and action plans. Once these were drafted, supporting data for performance measures were added by Prosperity Indiana and the draft quality of life plan was born. Anderson Impact Center Executive Director Sherry Peak-David exclaimed “the baby is being born!” when the draft report was delivered. The draft plan was refined with the assistance of key stakeholders and organizations that would be responsible for implementation. On April 7th the plan was rolled out to the Sweet 16 neighborhood and community in a grand event at the Anderson Impact Center. The Anderson Impact Center is ready to move the plan forward to implementation with assistance from public, private, and philanthropic partners across the community.
Photos courtesy of The Herald Bulletin
The U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD), released their fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal that is mostly in line with budget requests Prosperity Indiana urged legislators to support, but there are some areas of concern for members to be aware of that we plan to focus advocacy on before the bill comes before the full Committee in the coming weeks.
Overall, the bill maintains the omnibus funding levels which represented a 10 percent increase in funding housing programs compared to the prior fiscal year which is an important victory for affordable housing advocates. Additionally, the bill is $11 billion above the Administration’s request and does not include the rent increases or work requirements proposed by Secretary Carson. As outlined below, many programs would receive level funding or modest increases, but this bill does have some concerns for our members.
Proposed cuts or shortfalls include $162 million less for the HOME Investment Partnerships program compared to FY18 and funding for Project-Based Rental Assistance and Housing Choice Vouchers that is not sufficient to cover contract renewals.
Programs that received level funding include Public Housing Operating and Capital Funds and Community Development Block Grants. Additionally, funding is provided for 811, Housing for People with Disabilities and 202, Housing for the Elderly, at levels to renew contracts.
There were modest increases for Housing for Persons with AIDS, Homeless Assistance Grants, HUD Policy Research and Development, and new funding for a mobility voucher demonstration for families with young children to assist in moving to areas of opportunity.
The THUD Appropriations Subcommittee will vote on the draft today without any amendments. In the next few weeks, full Appropriations Committee will mark up the bill and amendments will be considered. Stay tuned for updates! A full chart of budget updates can be found here: http://nlihc.org/sites/default/files/NLIHC_HUD-USDA_Budget-Chart.pdf
On May 7, The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released the 2017 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data, detailing mortgage lending information from nearly all lenders across the country and the trends are troubling for low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers. Banks have significantly reduced loan originated for low- and moderate-income borrowers and these income brackets have continued to decline as a share of all home buyers overall—a decrease of more than 10% since 2009.
As NCRC points out, “The loans that they rely on, FHA and VA lending, tend to cost more than the conventional loans banks offer to middle and upper-income buyers. Buying a home is increasingly difficult, more expensive, or impossible, for the nation’s working class. This is reflected in the nation’s homeownership rate, which is near a 50-year low.”
There are numerous causes, including wage stagnation while housing costs increase, tightening loan standards, but also larger banks are not as actively offering FHA/VA mortgages which cost them more originate than conventional mortgages. In fact, the data overall suggest that banks, to some extent, are transitioning to other credit products and away from mortgages. That explains how non-bank lenders, those financial institutions that do not take or hold deposits, have dramatically increased their share of mortgage lending, particularly for LMI borrowers. They now accounted for 56% of all origination in 2017.
Nearly half of LMI borrowers use FHA/VA loans to buy their homes, but the top three bank lenders reported an average of just 15% of their lending went to LMI borrowers, compared to 29% for the three largest non-banks. The largest non-banks use FHA/VA loans for their borrowers 35%-45% of the time.
There are also important data implications for borrowers based on race. Black and Hispanic borrowers use FHA/VA 65% and 55% of the time, respectively, meaning fewer traditional bank institutions meet their needs as fewer are offering the government-insured loan programs that have been vital to homeownership opportunities.
The CFPB report also notes, “As in past years, black, Hispanic white, and “other minority” borrowers had notably higher denial rates in 2017 than non-Hispanic white borrowers, while denial rates for Asian borrowers were more similar to those for non-Hispanic white borrowers. For example, the denial rates for conventional home-purchase loans were about 19.3 percent for black borrowers, 13.5 percent for Hispanic white borrowers, and 14.9 percent for other minority borrowers.”
In order to ensure greater access to homeownership opportunities, particularly for LMI households, Prosperity Indiana believes it is critical to examine the fair housing implications in these denial rates. We also need to explore safe, alternative mortgage products that better meet LMI household needs while incentivizing traditional banks to expand their lending to them again.
The Network and Resources Manager is the lead staff person for the Assets and Opportunity Network. The position will develop a work plan for the Indiana Assets and Opportunity Network, which will outline strategies to build Network capacity, help Network members deliver measurable asset-building outcomes, and change public policy to support asset-building strategies. The Network and Resources Manager works in partnership with the Policy Director and Asset and Opportunity Network partner agencies to build the Network and deliver on its work plan. Additional networks may be developed to build engagement and capacity across Prosperity Indiana’s membership.
The Network and Resources Manager will also support fundraising strategies that generate resources for all Prosperity Indiana programming. The position will document and communicate the Prosperity Indiana mission and programs, benefits of membership, and tell the story of impact for Prosperity Indiana member organizations to raise funds. This includes identifying and soliciting individual and corporate donors, establishing an annual giving campaign, and supporting grant writing through initial drafting.
View the full position description here: PI_Networks_and_Resources_Manager_Job_Description.pdf
Interested applicants should send a resume to Executive Director Jessica Love at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the Indiana General Assembly convenes today for a special session to address bills not completed by the sine die deadline, Prosperity Indiana is joining statewide human services advocates urging opposition to a provision in HB 1316 that reduce Earned Income Tax Credit benefits for low-income Hoosiers.
The recently passed federal tax law made changes in how cost of living adjustments are calculated, called Chained CPI, which means the adjustments grow at a rate slower than inflation. State legislators backing HB 1316 would be approving the same calculation change. From these changes, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy projects recipients will lose $12 million in federal EITC and $700,000 in state EITC returns in 2019 alone.
As a member of the Indiana Coalition for Human Services, Prosperity Indiana joined the voices raising alarm about the implications of this change, outlined below in this op-ed:
For Immediate Release
May 11, 2018
Media Contact: David Sklar, 317-501-9314, email@example.com
OP-ED: Don’t Raise Taxes on Low Income Hoosiers
The General Assembly is about to green-light a measure that will cut credits and raise taxes on low income working families by $5 million by 2027, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a widely utilized, and extremely successful, tax benefit for low income individuals that was originally created in the 1970’s and then expanded during President Ronald Reagan’s tax reform efforts of the late 1980’s. In Indiana, working families with children that have annual incomes below about $40,320 to $54,884 (depending on marital status and the number of dependent children) are eligible for both a federal and state EITC. The state credit is simply the amount equal to 9% of their federal credit. That percentage is set statutorily by the General Assembly, and while the state credit is a percentage of the federal credit, the credits themselves are not officially coupled (this is important and you’ll see why below).
The reason the EITC is so successful is that it is fully refundable. This means that the credit, which incentivizes work, can wipe out a family’s tax liability, and if any credit remains will be provided to the taxpayer in the form of a tax return. This extra money in a family’s pocket is often used for emergency expenditures, school supplies, household needs, etc., which can be the difference between making it and falling off a fiscal cliff for low income Hoosiers. Nearly one hundred percent of the dollars refunded to eligible families are pumped back into our local economy, and the program itself has been supported by leaders of both parties including President Obama and Speaker Paul Ryan who together supported an expansion of the program as part of our economic recovery from the Great Recession.
Unfortunately, Hoosiers who use the program are on the verge of seeing a huge tax increase with the recent passage of the federal tax bill, combined with the passage of House Bill 1316 during the special session of the General Assembly this week. Tucked into the federal legislation was a new way of calculating cost of living adjustments for the federal EITC. This new method, called Chained CPI, will constrain these adjustments so that they grow at a far slower rate than normal inflation. Among the various provisions of HB 1316, which was drafted in large part to protect some of Indiana’s biggest and most important companies from seeing large increases in their state tax liabilities as we reconcile our tax code with the federal legislation passed by Congress earlier this year, is a provision that will require Indiana to coincide with the use of Chained CPI. The end result of both the federal and state legislation will be a large tax increase on low income Hoosiers who claim the EITC. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) projects that in 2019 recipients will lose $12 million in federal EITC and $700,000 in state EITC returns. The burden on Hoosiers continues to grow exponentially and by 2027 they are projected to lose at least $86 million federally and $5 million more from the state EITC. Although the state and federal governments view any EITC expenditures not received by taxpayers as savings, make no mistake, it is a tax increase on low income working Hoosiers, and a big one at that. $91 million big.
But there are other options that Indiana isn’t considering. Because Indiana’s credit is not officially coupled with the federal credit, as mentioned previously, we do not have to utilize this new method of calculation for the State’s EITC. Federally, low income working Hoosiers are already projected to lose tens of millions of dollars. There is little we can do about that unless we can convince Congress to amend or repeal its most recent tax legislation. But, we can do something locally with regards to the state EITC. Another $5 million out of the pockets of low income working Hoosiers, and local economies, is real money that cannot be ignored. Unfortunately we at the Indiana Coalition for Human Services were not able to convince lawmakers to remove this provision from HB 1316, but it is our hope that we can work with them over the summer and fall to find a solution to this problem, just as Indiana’s largest employers were able to find solutions to their tax liability problems in this legislation. We believe there are a number of options that are worthy of consideration, and we look forward to the opportunity to make our case.
David Sklar is Assistant Director with the Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council and Chair of the Indiana Coalition for Human Services Public Policy Committee.
The Indiana Coalition for Human Services is a nonpartisan coalition of over 25 organizations that educates decision makers and the community on fact-based human service policy which emphasizes quality outcomes for Hoosiers, and ultimately the State of Indiana. We invest in, protect, and advocate for children, people with disabilities, senior citizens and hard-working families who are trying to make a better life for themselves.