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May 21, 2012
Submitted by admin on Mon, 05/21/2012 - 12:42pm
Monday, May 21, 2012
Senate Ways and Means Committee Releases FY2013 Budget; Senate to Begin Budget Debate on May 23
The Senate Committee on Ways and Means (SWM) released its FY’13 budget proposal on May 16th and Senators had until Friday, May 18th to file amendments to the state spending bill. Here are some of the highlights:
- MRVP would be funded at $41 million under the SWM budget, which is $5 million less than the Governor’s budget and the House budget. The Senate also included language creating a supportive housing pilot program within MRVP. Senator Pat Jehlen filed an amendment to increase MRVP (7004-9024) to $46 million, which will allow an additional 400 to 450 households to afford the high cost of housing. Please contact your Senator and ask him or her to support Sen. Jehlen’s MRVP amendment.
- The SWM budget provides level-funding for Public Housing Operating Subsidies (7004-9005). Senator Jamie Eldridge filed an amendment to restore public housing funding to the Governor’s budget proposal of $66.5 million. Please ask your Senator to support Amendment 282 to increase funding for public housing maintenance.
- The Senate did not include the entire proposal included in the House budget to bolster the Community Preservation Act. Senator Cynthia Stone Creem and Senator Bruce Tarr filed an amendment to stabilize the CPA and bolster the state CPA match. Please ask your Senator to support Amendment 62 to increase funding for CPA by $25 million and make important updates to the law.
- RAFT would be boosted from $260,000 to $8.7 million.
- Senator Michael Moore and Senator Harriette Chandler filed an amendment to transfer $9 million for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned properties and eliminate neighborhood blight. Please ask your Senator to support Amendment 217.
- SWM funds Home and Healthy for Good (7004-0104) at $1.4 million. Senator Eldridge filed Amendment 281 to fund the program at $2.2 million, consistent with the Governor’s budget proposal. Please encourage your Senator to support this amendment.
- CHAPA supports the majority of the SWM text for MRVP, RAFT and HomeBase. One major difference between the House and SWM is that HomeBase household assistance would be increased to a maximum of $6,000 if taken prior to shelter entry under the SWM budget. While we support the overall framework, Senator Sal DiDomenico, Senator Dan Wolf, and Senator Ken Donnelly have filed technical amendments to each of these programs to address some outstanding issues.
- SWM funds the Tenancy Preservation Program (7004-3045) at $500,000, double the House funding. Sen. Jim Welch filed Amendment 256 to match the Governor’s proposal of $700,000.
- The SWM budget also creates a new Commission to study access to supports and services in rural areas of Massachusetts, and the Commission would include a representative of CHAPA.
- Under the SWM budget, Emergency Assistance would be limited to homeless households with incomes below 115% AMI that meet four defined categories of eligibility: 1) victims of domestic violence, 2) victims of a natural disaster, 3) people who are evicted for reasons that were out of their control, and 4) doubled-up families where there is a significant health and safety risk. The SWM “eviction” category is more inclusive than the House, and SWM chose not to include a time limit.
- Additional amendment text is available by clicking here. Please contact Sean Caron if you would like to learn more about any of these issues.
The Senate is expected to complete its budget debate by May 25th, after which a Conference Committee of Representatives and Senators will negotiate a final budget by late June in order for Governor Patrick to approve the budget by the start of the new fiscal year on July 1st. CHAPA would like to thank the Senate Ways and Means Committee members and staff, Senate President Murray and the Senators listed above for championing affordable housing in the Senate budget.
House Unveils New Jobs Bill
Speaker DeLeo and Chairman Wagner recently released An Act Relative to Infrastructure Investment, Enhanced Competitiveness and Economic Growth in the Commonwealth that impacts housing and community development in a variety of ways. CHAPA is pleased that the bill includes MACDC’s top priority: the Community Development Partnership Act, a new tax incentive to promote private support for community development corps. Other provisions include: increasing the Historic Tax credit to $60 million per year, extending the Permit Extension Act for two years, updating the District Improvement Financing, allowing Ch. 43D expedited permitting for residential development, extending the state Brownfields tax credit for another two years and codifying the MassWorks Infrastructure program. The bill does not address the need to fund distressed property rehabilitation to continue the work previously funded under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. CHAPA continues to advocate for that provision in this legislation or the FY’13 budget. The House is expected to vote on the legislation on Wednesday, May 23rd.
Patrick-Murray Administrations Announces Funding for Affordable Rental Housing Development
On May 9th, Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray announced $105 million in awards for affordable rental housing resources and tax credits to support the creation or preservation of 36 housing developments in 28 communities across the Commonwealth. The awards included an unanticipated $10 million increase in capital bond funds allocated by Administration and Finance and also highlighted the importance of the State Low Income Housing Tax Credit increase signed into law last fall. We would like to thank Governor Patrick, Lt. Governor Murray and Secretary Gonzalez for providing the increase in funds. Despite the increase, there is a significant pipeline of worthy developments that will need to wait until the fall or longer to secure state resources.
Massachusetts House Advances Foreclosure Prevention Legislature Targeted at Risky Loans
Last Wednesday, the Massachusetts House advanced H 4087. The legislation categorizes certain loans with criteria that may lead to a greater likelihood of foreclosure and creates a new process for lenders to make loan modifications for loans facing foreclosure that have the enumerated criteria. CHAPA worked with other partners to exclude MHP’s Soft Second program and MassHousing loan products from the list of loans because they are not inherently risky and have performed well while serving lower income households.
Governor Patrick Signs Supplemental Budget for Emergency Assistance and HomeBase
The Legislature and Governor recently approved supplemental FY’12 funding totaling an additional $18.7 million for Emergency Assistance and approximately $8.5 million for HomeBase. Both programs were experiencing deficiencies because of continued high rates of family homelessness.
Attorney General Announces Four Components of HomeCorps Program Utilizing Settlement Funds
Attorney General Martha Coakley has launched the HomeCorps Program and made funding available for a variety of different activities. The program also includes a Hotline for distressed homeowners: 617-573-5333.
HUD Issues Notice Implementing Restrictions on HOME Program for FY2012
On May 8, HUD released a HOME program notice (CPD 12-007) implementing the restrictive provisions included in the HUD FY2012 appropriations statute for FY2012 funds only, including a staff experience requirement for Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs) to receive funds and a requirement that unsold ownership units be converted to rental after six months. HUD is still reviewing comments it received on its proposed permanent HOME regulation revision. Click here for a summary of the changes prepared by the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
House Budget Bill Eliminates Funding for American Community Survey (ACS)
The FY2013 budget bill for Commerce, Justice and Science (H.R. 5326) passed by the House on May 10 includes language, approved by amendment, that eliminates all funding for the American Community Survey (ACS). The amendment was approved by a vote of 232 to 190. The ACS has replaced the former decennial census long form and is conducted annually. ACS data is used to determine the distribution of federal formula grants, housing needs and HUD Fair Market Rents (FMRs), among other things. The House also approved language making participation in ACS surveys voluntary, which would make conducting the ACS more expensive. A national sign-on letter is being circulated to oppose the funding cut and language. For more information, see www.thecensusproject.org.
Section 811 Project Based Rental Assistance Demonstration NOFA Issued
On March 15, HUD issued a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for its Section 811 Project Based Rental Assistance Demonstration. The NOFA offers $85 million in FY2012 funds on a competitive basis to state, regional and local housing agencies or collaboratives that have entered a formal partnership with their state Medicaid agency for support and services. The Section 811 funding will be used for project-based assistance for setaside units in multifamily properties for extremely low income persons with disabilities who are eligible for community-based long-term care services and supports under a state Medicaid program. Applications are due by July 31.
Foreclosure and Renters
Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) has introduced legislation, the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (H.R. 3619), that would make 2009’s Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) permanent law. Specifically, the bill would remove the 2014 PTFA sunset date and add a private right of action to better ensure compliance with the law. Prior to the passage of the PTFA in May 2009, tenants living in a property in foreclosure were often required to move with as little as a few days’ notice. These renters often had no idea that their landlord had fallen behind on mortgage payments, and renters often had continued to pay their rent even as their landlord had failed to pay the mortgage.
The enactment of the PTFA was a major step forward in achieving housing stability for renters after a foreclosure, as the law ensures that most tenants can stay in their homes for the remainder of their leases or for at least 90 days post-foreclosure. However, if Congress does not take action to extend the law, the PTFA will expire on December 31, 2014. Ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 3619 today!
New England Housing Network
Representatives from all six New England states recently traveled to Washington, DC to meet with Hill staffers and representatives from HUD, Department of Agriculture, Treasury Department and Office of Management and Budget. NE Housing Network members emphasized the importance of housing and community development programs and the inter-dependence of all of the programs. Members expressed the concerns about the sequestration process and the impact that deep cuts in critical programs would have in our region. New England Housing Network is staffed by CHAPA.
MACDC Releases 2012 Goals Initiative Report
MACDC recently released its 2012 Goals Initiative Report, which highlights a number of accomplishments, including the fact that CDCs built or preserved 1,379 homes during 2011.
Massachusetts Green Retrofit Initiative Launched
Boston LISC and New Ecology, Inc. recently announced the launch of the Massachusetts Green Retrofit Initiative to help owners of affordable housing in Massachusetts make their properties more energy efficient. The Initiative is an expansion of a program implemented over the past two years by Boston LISC and funded by the Barr Foundation, which was successful in assisting 11 nonprofits to perform retrofits in over 2,000 units of affordable housing. For more information, contact Elizabeth (Betsy) Glynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.