The House Financial Services Subcommittee on
Housing held a hearing on October 21 on the “Housing
Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2015,” which provides common-sense
reforms to federal affordable housing programs. The hearing provided a
rare glimpse of bipartisanship, with both Subcommittee Chairman Blaine
Luetkemeyer (R-MO) and Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) speaking in favor
of the bill. The full House Financial Services Committee also held a hearing on
October 22 that examined
whether legislative changes are needed to help ensure affordability and
promote self-reliance and upward economic mobility.
NMHC/NAA concerns regarding inefficient government programs, local obstacles to development and income stagnation were mirrored by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) in his statement. “There can be no real progress in the cause of affordable housing without a recognition that government policies are often the impediment,” Hensarling acknowledged.
In addition, Republican and Democratic lawmakers at both hearings highlighted the need for our nation to develop a more balanced housing policy where public private partnerships could be utilized to preserve, rehabilitate and develop rental housing.
Hearings and Multifamily In-Depth:
House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing
NMHC/NAA joined with a real estate coalition in offering our support for the reforms to federal affordable housing policy for the October 21 hearing. In particular, we are pleased that the legislation permits immediate tenant occupancy reducing the length of time a unit is vacant.
We also emphasized our support for the bill’s streamlining of resident eligibility certifications and the fact that it allows changes to the project-based program. That includes extending the contract term for project-based vouchers from 15 to 20 years.
Full House Financial Services Committee
For the October 22 hearing, NMHC/NAA outlined key solutions to the nation's affordable housing challenges. In a letter submitted
for the record, we urged lawmakers to pass tax extenders legislation
that would renew several key provisions to support affordable housing. We also
reiterated the need for access to capital in all markets at all times, common
sense reforms to the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, and continued
funding of the FHA multifamily programs.
More importantly, we underscored that the demand for affordable housing cannot be met by government programs alone, emphasizing that local, state and federal collaborations, and partnerships between the public and private sectors, are critical in addressing this issue.