Weekly update from the National Housing Conference

In this issue

July 9, 2023

Issue 92-24

· Senators urge Treasury to clarify GSE status

· HUD seeks comments on Fair Market Rent methodology

· Housing groups emphasize credit transition challenges

· Administration announces new community development measures 

· HUD makes $3.175 billion available for housing

· HUD elevates its Office of Manufactured Housing Programs 

· Agencies release new data on mortgage market, underserved areas

Chart of the week: First-time homebuyers priced out of 2022 market

Tangible, impactful and achievable: NHC’s policy priorities for 2023-2024

By David M. Dworkin, President and CEO

At NHC’s June meeting of the Board of Governors, our final 2023-2024 policy agenda was approved and has been published on our website. NHC uses its two-year policy agenda to inform its strategic priorities and respond to pressing housing and community development issues. For the balance of this year, our primary focus will be on those items that are most tangible, actionable, and achievable. These are enactment of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act; reform of the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF), Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and HOME Investment Partnerships programs; and our work on racial equity. Our leadership role in the Black Homeownership Collaborative and the 3by30 initiative is the centerpiece of that work, but we are also engaged in broader racial equity work as well.

NHC’s Policy and Research Committee provides broad, strategic guidance to NHC’s Board of Governors and staff. We received invaluable feedback from our members under the leadership of our co-chairs, Mark Willis and Kimani Little. All of the participants contributed as subject matter experts and not on behalf of their organizations.

Our agenda focuses on nine areas: Affordable Housing Production and Preservation, Community Development, Climate Impact, Expanding Homeownership and Racial Equity, Health and Housing, Housing Security and Sustainability, Homelessness, Regulatory Reform, and Technology and Innovation.

Affordable housing production and preservation is one of our highest priorities because our deficit of 3.79 million housing units is relentlessly feeding our housing affordability crisis. It creates a waterfall of housing unaffordability from the lack of homes for sale to first-time homebuyers to unaffordable rental units for working people and families that ultimately lead to the bleeding edge of the homelessness crisis. Housing is a continuum. Fewer opportunities for homeownership mean more renters and higher rents. Fewer affordable rental units result in increased housing instability and ultimately more people experiencing homelessness. Unfortunately, opposition to affordable housing is broad, deep and bipartisan, as we recently saw in New York State and Arlington, Virginia. This is why I say, if you don’t want affordable housing in your backyard, you’ll end up with homeless people in your front yard. (more)

News from Washington | By Brittany Webb

Senators urge Treasury to clarify GSE status

A bipartisan group of 20 Senators led by Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen asking for clarification that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs) are not Tax-Exempt Controlled Entities (TECE). The request asks for written guidance after recent tax counsel questioned some Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) investors on interpreting the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s conservatorship of the GSEs. The IRS rule in question under Section 168(h)(6) states that investors partnering with TECE organizations are not entitled to benefits such as accelerated and bonus depreciation and other tax credits. 

“It’s imperative for Treasury to issue guidance as uncertainty about the tax status of the GSEs is having a negative impact on their ability to invest in multi-investor LIHTC funds and to fulfill their statutory Duty to Serve requirements in underserved rural areas,” the letter reads. “Unfortunately, uncertainty around the tax-exempt controlled entities issue, where involvement in a multi-investor fund taints the fund for all participating investors, has sidelined the GSEs from participating in multi-investor Funds that deliver the majority of capital to rural LIHTC deals.” 

HUD seeks comments on Fair Market Rent methodology

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research published a Notice of Proposed Changes to update its methodology for calculating Fair Market Rents (FMRs), the primary standard many housing assistance programs use. The proposed changes include retaining and expanding the use of rent inflation factors calculated by private sector sources, as was first done for FY 2023 FMRs. Comments are due by July 24.

Housing groups emphasize credit transition challenges

A group of housing organizations including NHC sent a letter to Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Sandra Thompson highlighting the immense challenges of adopting the FICO 10T and VantageScore 4.0 credit score models and the bi-merge credit reporting policy. The groups specifically questioned FHFA's proposed 3.5 years timeline for the transition. The groups suggest that the timeline be considered “soft” to accommodate future input as the transition is ongoing.

“We recognize FHFA’s intent to recalibrate the credit scoring framework. However, the transition, as outlined, will occur in a multi-stage process that does not adequately address the far-reaching impacts, significant costs, and immense operational complexity of the policy changes,” the letter states. “We write to urge FHFA to reformulate the proposed timeline to provide sufficient time and an adaptable structure that will permit stakeholder feedback to be considered and incorporated.”

Administration announces new community development measures

The Biden Administration publicly released a policy memorandum about its Executive Order on Further Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government that directs agencies to strengthen equitable development practices. The memo outlines guiding principles for federal agencies to undertake efforts for advancing equitable development that a variety of stakeholders can use, including: expanding access to resources for underserved communities, building community wealth, investing in community strengths, empowering community voices and visions, responding to multiple areas of community need, and measuring and expanding upon what is already working.

A Fact Sheet released alongside the memorandum includes new actions taken by the Interagency Community Investment Committee (ICIC). ICIC members include the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the U.S. Department of Commerce, HUD, Treasury, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the Small Business Administration. The ICIC will now adopt a “no wrong door” policy for small businesses and entrepreneurs to get information and assistance across their network of offices. They will also support market development through secondary markets by having HUD, Ginnie Mae, Treasury’s CDFI Fund, and USDA engage with the Federal Home Loan Banks to enable more borrowers to access affordable homeownership through HUD’s Ginnie Mae guarantee. The ICIC will also better connect rural communities to capital through workforce training and identify areas of opportunity to align federal investments better to maximize community impact. 

HUD makes $3.175 billion available for housing

HUD is making $75 million available through the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program to support Native American and Alaskan Native families on Indian reservations and other Indian areas. These funds can be allocated towards various purposes such as infrastructure development, community facilities, housing rehabilitation, public services, economic development, and more.


“We all know how critical upgrading infrastructure is to all communities, and Tribes take this responsibility seriously,” said Richard J. Monocchio, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing. “Tribes are making innovative investments in their communities, and I look forward to seeing some of this great work in person when it is completed.”

HUD also announced it is providing more than $3.1 billion in competitive funding through its Continuum of Care Program to homeless services organizations nationwide for supportive services and housing programs for people experiencing homelessness. HUD annually funds approximately 7,000 homeless services projects through the Continuum of Care Program to nonprofit providers, States, Indian Tribes or Tribally Designated Housing Entities, and local governments.

“As our nation faces a worsening housing crisis, it is imperative that we continue to invest in communities’ efforts to connect people experiencing homelessness to stable homes,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge.

HUD elevates its Office of Manufactured Housing Programs

HUD’s Office of Housing announced it is making the Office of Manufactured Housing Programs independent. The Office now reports directly to Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon. In contrast, it was previously under the Office of Housing’s Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs.


“This organizational change represents a recognition of the critically important role that manufactured housing plays in our country’s housing market,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner Julia Gordon.

Agencies release new data on mortgage market, underserved areas

The Uniform Appraisal Dataset (UAD) Aggregate Statistics for the first quarter of 2023 have been published by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. This release includes new statistics and property characteristics that show details of lot size categories, property condition ratings, the presence of an accessory dwelling unit, and the largest race/ethnicity in the tract on residential property sales comparisons. The additions help provide insights into the appraisal process.


The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) recently released the 2022 mortgage lending transactions reported under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). The Snapshot of National Loan-Level Dataset included key findings from information on 14.3 million home loan applications that offer insight into mortgage market activity.


Finally, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency jointly published the 2023 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies. The list shows which census tracts can receive credit under the Community Reinvestment Act. The announcement notes that the agencies also apply a one-year lag period for geographies included in the 2022 list but are no longer considered distressed or underserved. 

Chart of the week

First-time homebuyers priced out of 2022 market

The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University released its annual report, The State of the Nation’s Housing 2023, revealing that first-time homebuying plummeted in the second half of last year after interest rates rose sharply. Monthly payments for a median-priced home went from $2,200 in Jan. 2022 to $3,100 in Oct., pricing millions of renters out of homeownership and causing a 22% annual drop in loans originated to first-time homebuyers. This price-out’s impact makes it more difficult to address persisting issues like the racial homeownership gap.

What we're reading

A segment on NPR’s Morning Edition podcast discussed how unaffordable housing costs compound homelessness. The piece stated that the places with the most homelessness are those with both poverty and high housing costs, sending more people into homelessness even while being connected to homes. A recent study finds that many people experience a “slow slide” into homelessness that often starts with missing rent payments and that they have a median income of $960 a month, but median rent was $1,700. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued two new reports on financial outcomes in the South: Banking and Credit Access in the Southern Region of the U.S. and Consumer Finances in the Rural Southern Region. The reports show that Southern consumers have more difficulty accessing credit and low-interest rates and that credit scores alone do not explain the lower lending levels. They also show that unbanked rates in the region remain high. 

The Bipartisan Policy Center hosted its Terwilliger Center Summit on Housing Supply Solutions, which focused on finding bipartisan solutions to the affordable housing shortage. The event included a fireside chat with U.S. Housing and Urban Development Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman, a panel on reducing the costs of constructing housing, and a discussion with Congressional members on bipartisan avenues in the House and Senate, among other panel topics. 

The week ahead

Monday, July 10

Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Data Analytics On-Demand Course (HUD Exchange)

Housing First Series (National Low Income Housing Coalition, National Alliance to End Homelessness), 2:30 - 3:30 PM ET

Tenant Talk Live: Meaningful Community Engagement: The Path To Improving Living Conditions at Public Housing Developments Part 1 (NLIHC), 6 - 7 PM ET

Tuesday, July 11

NSP Closeout Overview Webinar (HUD Exchange)

Becoming a HUD-Approved Housing Counseling Agency (NCRC), 12 - 4 PM ET

Exploiting the American Dream: How Abusive Land Contracts Prey on Vulnerable Homebuyers (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs), 2:30 PM ET

Lending and the Economy: A Mid-Year Review (NAFCU), 2 PM ET

Wednesday, July 12

NSP Closeout Overview Webinar (HUD Exchange)

National Association of REALTORS® Communication Directors Institute (National Association of REALTORS®), in person in Denver, CO

WHF Brown Bag Lunch: How A COVID Mortgage Meltdown Was Avoided (WHF), in person in Washington, DC

Get Smart: The Business Case for Grid-Interactive, High-Performance Buildings (ULI Americas), 1 - 2 PM ET

The Stories We Tell Ourselves: How Narratives Are Steering Community Development (Next City), 1 - 2 PM ET

DHRC’s Disaster Recovery Working Group (NLIHC), 2 PM ET

Remaking the Economy: Tenant Organizing in Unexpected Places (NCRC), 2 - 3:30 PM ET

Bank Mergers and the Economic Impacts of Consolidation (Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs), 2:30 PM 

Barriers to Affordable Housing Webinar Series: Using Data to Identify Affordable Housing Need (HUD Exchange), 3 - 4 PM ET

Our Places of Impact CoP: Why Partnerships Matter for Community-Led Initiatives (HUD Exchange), 3 - 4 PM ET

Thursday, July 13

NSP Closeout Overview Webinar (HUD Exchange)

National Association of REALTORS® Communication Directors Institute (National Association of REALTORS®), in person in Denver, CO

CDBG-CV Problem Solving Clinics (HUD Exchange), 12:30 - 5:30 PM ET

CMB Technology Committee Quarterly Webinar: Accelerating the Future of Lending with eClosing - Insight from CMBs (Mortgage Bankers Association), 1 - 2 PM ET

PHA Occupancy Webinar Series: Understanding Public Housing Occupancy (HUD Exchange), 1:30 - 3:30 PM ET

Building Healthy Places Book Club Summer 2023 Selection: Homelessness is a Housing Problem (ULI Americas), 3 PM ET

Friday, July 14

NAHRO Summer Symposium (NAHRO), in person in Washington, DC

National Association of REALTORS® Communication Directors Institute (National Association of REALTORS®), in person in Denver, CO

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