Weekly update from the National Housing Conference
News from Washington | By Brittany Webb
Black Homeownership Collaborative selected as Ivory Innovation Prize Top 25

Ivory Innovations selected the Black Homeownership Collaborative (BHC) as a Top 25 candidate for the Ivory Innovation Prize. The prize recognizes innovative solutions to the housing affordability crisis by entities with ambitious, feasible, and scalable efforts. Ivory Innovations received 203 nominees in the construction and design, finance, and policy and regulatory reform categories. The organization's announcement included a new Housing Innovation Database that showcases over 500 of the most promising housing innovations.

"As we work to address the nation's housing shortage and affordability crisis, one bright spot is innovation," said Kent Colton, Chairman of the Ivory Innovations Advisory Board. "The Ivory Prize Top 25 Finalists in 2023 highlight the important work which is underway to achieve creative change and solutions throughout the country. Most importantly, they will make a difference in the lives of the many people who seek and need affordable housing."

"The Black Homeownership Collaborative casts an important and timely spotlight on the cultural relevance of the Black homeownership gap in the context of widespread acknowledgment of structural discrimination across many U.S. industries and institutions. Addressing the vectors of the homeownership gap under such a cross-sector collaborative offers an opportunity to redress some of the material harms of past and present practices, and to expand access for African Americans to the potential wealth building of homeownership," said Cy Richardson, BHC Co-Chair and senior vice president for programs at the National Urban League.
Ivory Innovations will announce the 2023 Top 10 Ivory Prize Finalists in April.
Affordable housing funds receive $545 million

The FHFA announced the Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund would receive about $545 million from the affordable housing initiatives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises). However, this amount is a drop from 2022's commitment of $1.14 billion. The Enterprises are required to set aside funding equal to 4.2 basis points of their annual new business purchases to fund each program. As such, the FHFA said the decrease in funding is due to market conditions, including higher interest rates, that reduced the Enterprises' new loan purchases compared to last year. As a result, the Housing Trust Fund will receive $354 million for 2023, and the Capital Magnet Fund will receive $191 million.

"The need for more affordable housing has never been greater," said FHFA Director Sandra Thompson. "A portion of every loan purchased by the Enterprises is allocated to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund, which provide resources that increase the production and preservation of affordable housing options in our communities."
HUD provides $6.39 billion to housing-related grants and programs

HUD announced $5.6 billion in funding for affordable housing, community development, and homeless assistance. This funding will reach 1,200 communities through more than 2,400 grants provided through Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships Program, the Housing Opportunities for Persons With HIV/AIDS program, Emergency Solutions Grants, and the Recovery Housing Program.

"This funding allows communities to address their most pressing local needs, providing flexible resources to build homes, support renters and homeowners, provide life-saving assistance to people experiencing homelessness, and improve public facilities, community resilience, and local economies," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development Marion McFadden. "HUD's annual formula block grants allow states and localities to invest in the success of neighborhoods and allow people of modest means to thrive."

HUD also announced more than $794 million in Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) funds to support low-income housing development, operations, and services. This funding is available for eligible Native American tribes, Alaska Native villages, and Tribally Designated Housing Entities. You can see the complete list of IHBG awards here.
Bipartisan group reintroduces Historic Tax Credit bill in Senate

U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Susan Collins (R-Maine) reintroduced bipartisan legislation to expand and enhance the Historic Tax Credit (HTC).

"The Historic Tax Credit has restored many cherished buildings in Louisiana creating jobs and revitalizing communities," said Sen. Cassidy. "This bill will help people across our state and nation return historic buildings to working use and preserve our architectural heritage."

The legislation, called the Historic Tax Credit Growth & Opportunity (HTC-GO) Act, intends to foster economic growth and urban renewal by creating a 30 percent HTC for projects that cost less than $3.75 million while maintaining the 20 percent credit for other projects. It also eliminates the basis-adjustment requirement to increase eligibility and decreases the substantial rehabilitation test threshold to 50 percent from 100 percent of expenses. Members of the House are expected to introduce a similar bill in that chamber.

"Since 1977, the Historic Tax Credit has helped preserve many historic buildings across the State of Washington," said Sen. Cantwell. "This legislation will make the program more accessible to communities throughout our state and around the country, helping to create jobs, generate new investment, and preserve our history."
Fannie Mae, multifamily industry launch energy and water survey

Fannie Mae announced it is launching a national effort to collect and analyze data on multifamily property energy and water consumption through a 2023 Multifamily Energy and Water Survey. Partners in the effort include Enterprise Community Partners, Mortgage Bankers Association, National Apartment Association, National Council of State Housing Agencies, National Multifamily Housing Council, NeighborWorks America, Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future, the Urban Land Institute, and others. The effort will collect information on energy and water costs and property-specific characteristics for a wide range of multifamily properties. The EPA will use the anonymized data to update its 1-100 ENERGY STAR® Score and EPA's Water Score for Multifamily Housing. The survey will conclude on June 30, 2023.
Chart of the week
Black homeowners cost burdened more than other groups

NAR published its 2023 Snapshot of Race and Home Buying in America report that analyzes trends and challenges in homebuying by race. The report examines racial inequalities in housing affordability by state, showing Black homeowners spend more of their income to afford their homes. It found 30 percent of Black homeowners, nearly 2 million people, spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing. That compares to 21 percent of white, 28 percent of Hispanic, and 26 percent of Asian homeowners spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. In some states, like South Dakota and Wyoming, more than half of Black homeowners are cost-burdened.
What we're reading
An opinion piece in The Hill by former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown and former U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo argues affordable housing is not just an issue for the Democratic party. It calls on Republicans to recognize affordable housing as an opportunity for the GOP to address the high housing costs driving inflation. It notes an effective response to the housing crisis would include tax incentives like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit to encourage private investment in affordable housing production and preservation.

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its 2023 Advocates' Guide to Community Development and Policy. The annual guide seeks to educate advocates on programs and policies for affordable housing and encourages effective advocacy strategies for stakeholders.

The Urban Institute published a report titled "Metrics to Make the GSEs' Equitable Housing Finance Plans Count." The report proposes a measurement regime to examine federal agencies' equity plans and considers three broad elements. The first element is whether the plan is built around a measurable, meaningful definition of equity as a guiding goal. Second, does the plan function as a system that facilitates and integrates establishing priorities, structuring programs and policies, and engaging stakeholders? And the third element is the extent to which the agency is held accountable.
The week ahead
Sunday, March 5

Monday, March 6

Tuesday, March 7
2023 mPact Summit | MBA, 8:30 am-6 pm CST
Wednesday, March 8
The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest.
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