Congressional Issues

Contact the United States Congress

Click here to view the list of Congressional Members by state.

*Identify Your Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress.
*Click the name of the elected official you want to contact. This will take you to their website.
*Look for the “Contact” link on the website, and click on it to find a web form to send your message. Send your message!

Let Your Cooperative Voice be heard by the Members of Congress that represent you!


Chairwoman Continues Urgent Push for Waters: Trump Action Introduces Potential Criminal Penalties for Millions of Renters on Brink of Eviction

Co-ops and Condos in Limbo in New Coronavirus Relief Bill

On May 22, with New York City reeling from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer participated in a video conference call with leaders of the city’s co-op and condo community. Among those on the call were the executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC), leaders of the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council, the head of the Builders’ Realty Institute and the publisher of Habitat magazine. Hundreds more viewed the call from their homes. Read more

PPP for Housing Cooperatives Passes House

The House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) on Friday Night. Included in the manager’s amendment to the measure was a provision to include housing cooperatives in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Thanks to everyone who contacted their Representatives regarding this issue.  Your e-mails really made a difference!

Under this House passed measure, all Internal Revenue Code Section 216(b) housing cooperatives (see link below) would be eligible for the SBA’s PPP.

https://irc.bloombergtax.com/public/uscode/doc/irc/216

We still need Senate passage for this to become law so please continue to reach out to your senators to encourage them to support PPP for housing cooperatives.  You can find their contact information at: Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/

Housing Relief

The House passed the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act” by a vote of 208-199 on the night of May 15.  the “HEROES Act” is a $3 trillion relief bill to help the nation respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The bill proposes almost $200 billion in additional funding for housing and homelessness programs to help communities address the needs of low-income renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness.

The bill includes $1 billion for the first year of funding for 100,000 new emergency housing vouchers targeted to people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and people attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In addition, the bill includes $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants and provides additional funding for public housing and other HUD housing providers to help cover increased rental costs and expenses incurred in responding to coronavirus.

#Recovery4All Calls for Cancellation of Rent, Mortgage Payments during Crisis

Community groups across the Center for Popular Democracy network Friday honored May Day, a day of action historically led by workers and immigrants to demonstrate strength and solidarity, with dozens of socially-distant in-person and online activations in 19 states, including New York, demanding #Recovery4All from the COVID-19 crisis.

The May Day demands include:

#CancelRent —“We must cancel rent and mortgage payments, freeze evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs on all housing. Elected officials need to establish a housing emergency fund and provide $100 billion in rent assistance. We must declare a moratorium on all work requirements for housing and care for people experiencing homelessness.”

#ReleaseThemAll —“We must release particularly vulnerable populations from prisons and jails to relieve concentration of risk to coronavirus. We must release everyone currently in immigration detention and close immigration courts. We must hold telephonic bond hearings, divest resources from wall construction and border enforcement to provide medical care, and create cash-based disaster relief to out-of-work households regardless of status. Every person regardless of status needs to be supported with safe and accessible health care.”

#EssentialWorker —“We need universal basic income, unemployment insurance, Green New Deal, Medicare For All, Childcare for All, Paid Sick, Hazard Pay, PPE, and a paycheck guarantee.”

#AmazonStrikes —“We must ensure paid leave, hazard pay, and care subsidies. We must shut down and clean facilities with workers. And we must provide personal protective equipment, eliminate discipline for raising safety concerns, and end work practices such as production quotas.”

Keep reading

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL HOUSING COOPERATIVES

Please, please don’t delay, send this message TODAY!  Simply find your Members of Congress @ Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/  and send them the following message:

Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program

Please expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to Include All Multifamily Businesses: Despite original Congressional intent, to assist all lines of business with the PPP, the SBA issued an interim final rule on April 2, that specifically denies eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations.

We urge Congress to compel the SBA to reverse this decision and expand eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations so that they can protect their employees and their operations with these loan and grant funds.

The CARES Act provided an eligibility waiver for certain business concerns with more than 500 employees but with more than one physical location, such as in the hotel industry.  The multifamily industry operates under a very similar business model to other sectors targeted for inclusion with this language but is not part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that were granted this exemption.   Because of the common structure of multifamily property operation, we believe that it is critical that Congress also extend similar eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner associations.

Update:  Housing issues were not included in the last Stimulus package.  However, we expect another Stimulus Bill so we need to keep up our efforts for inclusion in the next one.  If you have not contacted your Members of Congress, there’s still time, so please do so today. Read the latest congressional letter of support from Rep. Espaillat.

Meng, Suozzi Call For Co-op & Condo Owners to Get Coronavirus Relief Funds

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D- Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) and Tom Suozzi (D-East Queens, Long Island) yesterday led members of the New York congressional delegation in calling for co-ops and condos to be eligible for loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza, the lawmakers called for immediate reconsideration of the decision to exclude co-ops and condos from PPP loans.

“Co-ops and condos are a critical part of Queens and New York City, serving as homes for so many residents throughout our borough and city,” said Meng. “They are integral parts of our communities, and like many other entities are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve relief and we urge the Treasury Secretary and SBA Administrator to make it happen so that co-ops and condos are not forced to endure further financial burdens as a result of this crisis.” Read more

Rep. Ilhan Omar Introduces Bill to Cancel Rent, Mortgage Payments

Rep. Ihan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill last week calling for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments through the end of the coronavirus pandemic. “The bill would constitute a full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history,” according to a press release. Read more

Urgent Call to Action for all Housing Cooperatives

Please, please don’t delay, send this message TODAY!  Simply find your Members of Congress @ Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/  and send them the following message:

Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program

Please expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to Include All Multifamily Businesses: Despite original Congressional intent, to assist all lines of business with the PPP, the SBA issued an interim final rule on April 2, that specifically denies eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations.

We urge Congress to compel the SBA to reverse this decision and expand eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations so that they can protect their employees and their operations with these loan and grant funds.  The CARES Act provided an eligibility waiver for certain business concerns with more than 500 employees but with more than one physical location, such as in the hotel industry.  The multifamily industry operates under a very similar business model to other sectors targeted for inclusion with this language but is not part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that were granted this exemption.   Because of the common structure of multifamily property operation, we believe that it is critical that Congress also extend similar eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner associations.

Committee Releases Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the CARES Act

The House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), released a document with answers to frequently asked questions regarding financial services provisions in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), legislation that was passed into law to provide relief to those who are impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This document was designed by the Majority staff of the House Financial Services Committee to provide additional information for consumers, renters, homeowners, small business owners, investors and others who may have questions about how the CARES Act will benefit them.

Chairwoman Waters and Financial Services Committee Members authored numerous provisions that were included in the CARES Act and continue their efforts to ensure their critical legislation is included in the ongoing legislative response to this crisis.

See Chairwoman Waters’ statement on the CARES Act here and answers to frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic 
Prepared by Majority Staff of the House Financial Services Committee

Senate Stimulus Package

The Senate is currently working on a Third Stimulus Package. Final vote on package is likely on Monday.  Right now, housing is not included in this third package (it includes aid to hospitals, small business loans and $58 billion for airlines).  Larry Ludlow, a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, estimated that Congress’s next stimulus package could exceed 10 percent of GDP, or $2 trillion.  Negotiators on the package, which are led by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, are huddled on Capitol Hill on Saturday, where they are racing to finalize legislation in time for a Monday vote.

Expect to see a Fourth Stimulus Package which will hopefully include housing; however, Members of Congress are anxious to go home and not expected to return until April 30.

There is talk of increases of $100 billion for Section 8 vouchers (they are currently at $21 billion).

Waters and 29 Democrats Work to Protect Fair Housing Regulations During COVID-19 Crisis. See PDF

Calling all Housing Cooperators to Act Today! Disaster Relief Call to Action

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives, is calling on housing cooperatives to ask their congressional representatives to support the Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2019 (H.R.5337).  Housing cooperatives impacted by a presidentially declared natural disaster—flood, wildfire, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, drought, or earthquake—are not currently afforded the same FEMA recovery resources as single-family homeowners, even though they pay the same federal taxes.  H.R. 5337 creates access to FEMA funds for repair or replacement of essential major common area elements and creates access to FEMA resources  for debris removal from privately owned roads within cooperative property; resulting in huge savings for housing cooperative homeowners.

Click on the Democracy.io link @ https://democracy.io/#!/ to find your Representative. Call or e-mail them and ask them to co-sponsor and support HR 5337.  It’s fast and it’s easy. Ask everyone in your housing cooperative to do it.  Protect your housing cooperative and do it TODAY!

Greenbelt Homes Disaster Relief Call to Action

GHI is a member of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, which is calling on housing cooperatives to ask their congressional representatives to support the Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2019 (H.R.5337).

Housing cooperatives impacted by a presidentially declared natural disaster—flood, wildfire, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, drought, or earthquake—are not currently afforded the same FEMA recovery resources as single-family homeowners, even though they pay the same federal taxes. H.R. 5337 creates access to FEMA funds for repair or replacement of essential major common area elements and creates access to FEMA resources for debris removal from privately owned roads within cooperative property; resulting in huge savings for housing cooperative homeowners.

Click here to find your Representative. Call or e-mail them and ask them to co-sponsor and support HR 5337. It’s fast and it’s easy. Ask everyone in your housing cooperative to do it. Protect your housing cooperative and do it TODAY!

Advocates Secure Increased Funding in Final FY20 Spending Bill

Dec 16, 2019 (National Low-Income Housing Coalition)

House and Senate leaders reached a final deal, December 16, to fund affordable housing and community development programs at HUD and USDA as part of a larger minibus package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

Overall, the spending bill provides HUD programs with more than $12 billion above the president’s request. It largely funds HUD programs at or above levels proposed by the Senate earlier this year, though not as high as levels proposed by the House prior to the bipartisan budget agreement. With this spending bill, Congress clearly rejected the administration’s calls to drastically cut housing benefits that help millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and others afford their homes.

This successful outcome is due to the hard work of advocates across the nation and strong Congressional champions, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees.

The spending package increases funding for tenant-based rental assistance, public housing capital fund, homeless assistance grants, and project-based rental assistance. Choice Neighborhoods, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDs, Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships, Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly also received increased funding above FY19 levels. Public Housing Operating Funds were cut modestly compared to FY19 levels.  The spending package also includes $25 million for a mobility housing voucher demonstration to help families with young children move to areas of opportunity.

Unfortunately, the bill does not include to prevent HUD from moving forward with harmful policy proposals to force mixed-status immigrant families to separate or face eviction from HUD-assisted housing.

NLIHC urges advocates to contact their Representatives and Senators to urge them to pass this final FY 2020 spending package as quickly as possible and to thank them for their leadership in ensuring the highest levels of funding possible for housing and community development programs.

The House is expected to vote on the spending package this week, quickly followed by a vote in the Senate before it heads to the president’s desk for his signature. The current stopgap funding measure is set to expire December 20.

Policy Changes:

Project-Based Rental Housing:

The bill provides $12.6 billion to renew project-based rental assistance contracts for calendar year 2020, an increase of $823 million more than the FY19 funding level. Advocates estimate this amount will be sufficient to renew all contracts.

Other Housing Programs:

The bill provides $793 million to the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, a significant increase of $115 million from the FY19 funding bill. The bill increases funding for the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program at $202 million, $18 million more than in FY19. These amounts provide sufficient funding to renew all contracts as well as resources for new construction for both programs.

The bill would increase funding for both the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at $3.43 billion and the HOME Investments Partnerships program (HOME) at $1.35 billion. Both programs would have been eliminated under the president’s budget request.

Funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program was increased to $410 million, $18 million more than in FY19.

Funding for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is increased to $175 million, although it would have received no funding in the president’s budget.

Healthy Homes:

The bill provides $290 million to the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants, a modest increase of $11 million from FY19 and the same level included in the president’s budget.

Fair Housing:

The bill includes $70.3 million in funding for HUD’s office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, a modest increase from FY19.

No deal on government funding as Thursday shutdown approaches

House and Senate leaders secured a deal on Monday afternoon that would extend government funding for four more weeks and sidestep a debilitating government-wide shutdown. Read more

House moves to avert shutdown, but border wall fight lingers

The House passed a short-term spending bill to avoid a shutdown this week and extend government funding through Dec. 20.

The Senate is expected to easily clear the measure in the coming days, and the White House has signaled that President Donald Trump will sign it.

But congressional leaders still lack a long-term plan to fund the government, with protracted fights over the president’s border wall and impeachment threatening to consume Congress in the coming weeks and months. Read more

Senate Passes FY20 Spending Package with Increases for Affordable Housing

From: National Low Income Housing Coalition Nov 04, 2019

The Senate approved by a vote of 84-9 on October 31 a four-bill FY20 spending package that increases funding for affordable housing and community development investments at HUD and USDA, as well as several positive amendments. This outcome is due to the influence of affordable housing advocates and to the leadership of strong congressional champions, including Transportation–HUD (THUD) Appropriations Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI). While the passage of this bill is an important step in the funding process, the House and Senate still need to reach an agreement on a final spending bill to ensure continued funding for federal programs and avoid a government shutdown. The government is currently operating under a stop-gap continuing resolution through November 21.

The House spending package provides modest funding increases for affordable housing programs and rejects President Trump’s call for deep cuts to and even the elimination of affordable housing investments. Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $11.9 billion above the president’s FY20 request and $2.3 billion above FY19 enacted levels – an amount likely sufficient to renew all existing rental assistance contracts and to provide level funding or modest increases to most other programs. The bill does include cuts to some programs, including Choice Neighborhoods, Housing for Persons with AIDS, Indian Housing Block Grants, and Community Development Block Grants, and the legislation fails to match important increases included in the House bill, which was passed prior to a budget agreement on overall spending levels.

An amendment from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) calls on Congress to create a tax incentive to encourage owners of manufactured home communities to transfer properties to nonprofit organizations and residents to help preserve the homes’ affordability.

The bill does not include important provisions approved by the House that would stop harmful proposals by the Trump administration. The House bill contains language that would prevent HUD from implementing its harmful “mixed-status” immigrant-family rule and would stop HUD from rolling back protections for LGBTQ+ people, including the agency’s Equal Access rule ensuring transgender people have access to emergency shelters and other facilities that match their gender identity.

House of Representatives Passes Bill Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Federally Subsidized Housing

The “Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident To Safety Act (CO ALERTS Act)” (H.R. 1690) introduced by Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) unanimously passed the House on September 10. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the original Senate bill (S. 2120) on July 18 in response to the deaths of 14 public housing residents from the toxic gas since 2003.

If enacted, the bill would require carbon monoxide alarms in federally assisted homes that have potential carbon monoxide sources, such as gas-fired appliances, fireplaces, forced-air furnaces, and attached garages. The bill directs HUD to provide guidance to public housing agencies on how to educate tenants on health hazards in the home, including carbon monoxide and lead poisoning, and instructs the agency to consult with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a public study on requiring carbon monoxide alarms in housing not covered by the International Fire Code.

In a press release, Senator Menendez urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible.

Read more

House Passes Robust Spending Package for Affordable Housing

The House approved by a vote of 227-194 on June 25 a five-bill FY20 spending package that includes robust funding for affordable housing and community development investments at HUD and USDA, as well as several positive amendments. This outcome is due in no small measure to the work of advocates across the country and the leadership of strong congressional champions, including Transportation-HUD (THUD) Appropriations Chair David Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Before the spending bill can be enacted, Congress and the White House must reach a bipartisan agreement to lift the low spending caps on defense and domestic funding required by law under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Unless the caps are lifted, affordable housing programs may face devastating, across-the-board cuts of almost 10%. If an agreement is reached, additional housing funds may be possible.

The House spending package provides a robust increase in funding to housing programs that serve low-income people and communities. The bill provides enough funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts and increases funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, Native American Housing Block Grants, Homeless Assistance Grants, and other critical programs.  Several amendments were approved that would provide additional funding for Section 202 ($1 million), tenant-based rental assistance ($2 million), the Manufactured Housing Program ($500,000), HUD-VASH ($2 million), the Indian Community Development Block Grant program ($5 million), and the Family Self Sufficiency program ($5 million). The House approved two amendments to increased funding for Homeless Assistance Grants: an additional $5 million to better serve youth experiencing homelessness and another $1 million for a study on transitional housing grants. Other amendments were approved that would provide funding to study alternative methods for calculating Fair Market Rents in markets with rapidly rising rents and for HUD’s inspector general to investigate the Administration’s ongoing 16-month delay in releasing Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery mitigation dollars. Legislative provisions aimed at halting several harmful proposals from the Trump administration remain in the bill, despite attempts to remove the provisions through the amendment process. If enacted, the House bill would prevent HUD from implementing a cruel proposal to evict 25,000 mixed-status immigrant families from HUD-assisted homes – including 55,000 children who are U.S. residents or have legal status. The bill also prevents HUD from amending the Equal Access rule to allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people experiencing homelessness equal access to services – a move that would put lives at risk.


Affordable Housing Task Force Bill Reintroduced 

Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Angus King (I-ME), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), along with 13 bipartisan senators, reintroduced the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (S. 1772) on June 11. The bill would create a bipartisan affordable housing task force to better understand and respond to America’s housing affordability crisis.

This bipartisan task force would:

Evaluate and quantify the impact the lack of affordable housing has on other sectors, including education, health, nutrition, transportation, and more.

Evaluate and quantify the costs incurred by other federal, state, and local programs due to the lack of affordable housing; and

Make recommendations to Congress on how to use affordable housing to improve the effectiveness of other federal programs and improve life outcomes.

The establishment of a congressional task force to study the country’s housing affordability challenges in a bipartisan way and to articulate robust solutions would be an important step in addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis

Other cosponsors of the bill include Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Kennedy (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jon Tester (D-MT). Read more


Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Loan Guarantees for Housing Cooperatives

Congressional action is needed to include housing cooperatives in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Home Mortgage Loan Guaranty program to allow veterans to use this VA benefit to purchase shares in a housing cooperative. Rep. Maloney (D-NY) has introduced bills in the past and plans to do so again this November. NAHC seeks support from veteran organizations as well as co-sponsors for this legislation. If you are a veteran, please help us gain support from veteran organizations. Everyone should ask their congressional representatives to consider co-sponsoring this VA legislative issue.

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Congressional Issues

Contact the United States Congress

Click here to view the list of Congressional Members by state.

*Identify Your Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress.
*Click the name of the elected official you want to contact. This will take you to their website.
*Look for the “Contact” link on the website, and click on it to find a web form to send your message. Send your message!

Let Your Cooperative Voice be heard by the Members of Congress that represent you!


Chairwoman Continues Urgent Push for Waters: Trump Action Introduces Potential Criminal Penalties for Millions of Renters on Brink of Eviction

Co-ops and Condos in Limbo in New Coronavirus Relief Bill

On May 22, with New York City reeling from the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer participated in a video conference call with leaders of the city’s co-op and condo community. Among those on the call were the executive director of the Council of New York Cooperatives & Condominiums (CNYC), leaders of the Presidents Co-op and Condo Council, the head of the Builders’ Realty Institute and the publisher of Habitat magazine. Hundreds more viewed the call from their homes. Read more

PPP for Housing Cooperatives Passes House

The House passed the Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act (HEROES) on Friday Night. Included in the manager’s amendment to the measure was a provision to include housing cooperatives in the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).  Thanks to everyone who contacted their Representatives regarding this issue.  Your e-mails really made a difference!

Under this House passed measure, all Internal Revenue Code Section 216(b) housing cooperatives (see link below) would be eligible for the SBA’s PPP.

https://irc.bloombergtax.com/public/uscode/doc/irc/216

We still need Senate passage for this to become law so please continue to reach out to your senators to encourage them to support PPP for housing cooperatives.  You can find their contact information at: Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/

Housing Relief

The House passed the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions (HEROES) Act” by a vote of 208-199 on the night of May 15.  the “HEROES Act” is a $3 trillion relief bill to help the nation respond to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The bill proposes almost $200 billion in additional funding for housing and homelessness programs to help communities address the needs of low-income renters, homeowners, and people experiencing homelessness.

The bill includes $1 billion for the first year of funding for 100,000 new emergency housing vouchers targeted to people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness and people attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. In addition, the bill includes $5 billion for Community Development Block Grants and provides additional funding for public housing and other HUD housing providers to help cover increased rental costs and expenses incurred in responding to coronavirus.

#Recovery4All Calls for Cancellation of Rent, Mortgage Payments during Crisis

Community groups across the Center for Popular Democracy network Friday honored May Day, a day of action historically led by workers and immigrants to demonstrate strength and solidarity, with dozens of socially-distant in-person and online activations in 19 states, including New York, demanding #Recovery4All from the COVID-19 crisis.

The May Day demands include:

#CancelRent —“We must cancel rent and mortgage payments, freeze evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs on all housing. Elected officials need to establish a housing emergency fund and provide $100 billion in rent assistance. We must declare a moratorium on all work requirements for housing and care for people experiencing homelessness.”

#ReleaseThemAll —“We must release particularly vulnerable populations from prisons and jails to relieve concentration of risk to coronavirus. We must release everyone currently in immigration detention and close immigration courts. We must hold telephonic bond hearings, divest resources from wall construction and border enforcement to provide medical care, and create cash-based disaster relief to out-of-work households regardless of status. Every person regardless of status needs to be supported with safe and accessible health care.”

#EssentialWorker —“We need universal basic income, unemployment insurance, Green New Deal, Medicare For All, Childcare for All, Paid Sick, Hazard Pay, PPE, and a paycheck guarantee.”

#AmazonStrikes —“We must ensure paid leave, hazard pay, and care subsidies. We must shut down and clean facilities with workers. And we must provide personal protective equipment, eliminate discipline for raising safety concerns, and end work practices such as production quotas.”

Keep reading

URGENT CALL TO ACTION FOR ALL HOUSING COOPERATIVES

Please, please don’t delay, send this message TODAY!  Simply find your Members of Congress @ Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/  and send them the following message:

Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program

Please expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to Include All Multifamily Businesses: Despite original Congressional intent, to assist all lines of business with the PPP, the SBA issued an interim final rule on April 2, that specifically denies eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations.

We urge Congress to compel the SBA to reverse this decision and expand eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations so that they can protect their employees and their operations with these loan and grant funds.

The CARES Act provided an eligibility waiver for certain business concerns with more than 500 employees but with more than one physical location, such as in the hotel industry.  The multifamily industry operates under a very similar business model to other sectors targeted for inclusion with this language but is not part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that were granted this exemption.   Because of the common structure of multifamily property operation, we believe that it is critical that Congress also extend similar eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner associations.

Update:  Housing issues were not included in the last Stimulus package.  However, we expect another Stimulus Bill so we need to keep up our efforts for inclusion in the next one.  If you have not contacted your Members of Congress, there’s still time, so please do so today. Read the latest congressional letter of support from Rep. Espaillat.

Meng, Suozzi Call For Co-op & Condo Owners to Get Coronavirus Relief Funds

U.S. Reps. Grace Meng (D- Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) and Tom Suozzi (D-East Queens, Long Island) yesterday led members of the New York congressional delegation in calling for co-ops and condos to be eligible for loans under the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza, the lawmakers called for immediate reconsideration of the decision to exclude co-ops and condos from PPP loans.

“Co-ops and condos are a critical part of Queens and New York City, serving as homes for so many residents throughout our borough and city,” said Meng. “They are integral parts of our communities, and like many other entities are being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They deserve relief and we urge the Treasury Secretary and SBA Administrator to make it happen so that co-ops and condos are not forced to endure further financial burdens as a result of this crisis.” Read more

Rep. Ilhan Omar Introduces Bill to Cancel Rent, Mortgage Payments

Rep. Ihan Omar (D-Minn.) introduced a bill last week calling for the cancellation of rent and mortgage payments through the end of the coronavirus pandemic. “The bill would constitute a full payment forgiveness, with no accumulation of debt for renters or homeowners and no negative impact on their credit rating or rental history,” according to a press release. Read more

Urgent Call to Action for all Housing Cooperatives

Please, please don’t delay, send this message TODAY!  Simply find your Members of Congress @ Democracy.io https://democracy.io/#!/  and send them the following message:

Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program

Please expand the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to Include All Multifamily Businesses: Despite original Congressional intent, to assist all lines of business with the PPP, the SBA issued an interim final rule on April 2, that specifically denies eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations.

We urge Congress to compel the SBA to reverse this decision and expand eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner’s associations so that they can protect their employees and their operations with these loan and grant funds.  The CARES Act provided an eligibility waiver for certain business concerns with more than 500 employees but with more than one physical location, such as in the hotel industry.  The multifamily industry operates under a very similar business model to other sectors targeted for inclusion with this language but is not part of the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes that were granted this exemption.   Because of the common structure of multifamily property operation, we believe that it is critical that Congress also extend similar eligibility to housing cooperatives, condominiums and homeowner associations.

Committee Releases Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About the CARES Act

The House Financial Services Committee, led by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), released a document with answers to frequently asked questions regarding financial services provisions in H.R. 748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), legislation that was passed into law to provide relief to those who are impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

This document was designed by the Majority staff of the House Financial Services Committee to provide additional information for consumers, renters, homeowners, small business owners, investors and others who may have questions about how the CARES Act will benefit them.

Chairwoman Waters and Financial Services Committee Members authored numerous provisions that were included in the CARES Act and continue their efforts to ensure their critical legislation is included in the ongoing legislative response to this crisis.

See Chairwoman Waters’ statement on the CARES Act here and answers to frequently asked questions below.

Frequently Asked Questions about the Federal Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic 
Prepared by Majority Staff of the House Financial Services Committee

Senate Stimulus Package

The Senate is currently working on a Third Stimulus Package. Final vote on package is likely on Monday.  Right now, housing is not included in this third package (it includes aid to hospitals, small business loans and $58 billion for airlines).  Larry Ludlow, a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump, estimated that Congress’s next stimulus package could exceed 10 percent of GDP, or $2 trillion.  Negotiators on the package, which are led by Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, are huddled on Capitol Hill on Saturday, where they are racing to finalize legislation in time for a Monday vote.

Expect to see a Fourth Stimulus Package which will hopefully include housing; however, Members of Congress are anxious to go home and not expected to return until April 30.

There is talk of increases of $100 billion for Section 8 vouchers (they are currently at $21 billion).

Waters and 29 Democrats Work to Protect Fair Housing Regulations During COVID-19 Crisis. See PDF

Calling all Housing Cooperators to Act Today! Disaster Relief Call to Action

The National Association of Housing Cooperatives, is calling on housing cooperatives to ask their congressional representatives to support the Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2019 (H.R.5337).  Housing cooperatives impacted by a presidentially declared natural disaster—flood, wildfire, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, drought, or earthquake—are not currently afforded the same FEMA recovery resources as single-family homeowners, even though they pay the same federal taxes.  H.R. 5337 creates access to FEMA funds for repair or replacement of essential major common area elements and creates access to FEMA resources  for debris removal from privately owned roads within cooperative property; resulting in huge savings for housing cooperative homeowners.

Click on the Democracy.io link @ https://democracy.io/#!/ to find your Representative. Call or e-mail them and ask them to co-sponsor and support HR 5337.  It’s fast and it’s easy. Ask everyone in your housing cooperative to do it.  Protect your housing cooperative and do it TODAY!

Greenbelt Homes Disaster Relief Call to Action

GHI is a member of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, which is calling on housing cooperatives to ask their congressional representatives to support the Disaster Assistance Equity Act of 2019 (H.R.5337).

Housing cooperatives impacted by a presidentially declared natural disaster—flood, wildfire, hurricane, tornado, blizzard, drought, or earthquake—are not currently afforded the same FEMA recovery resources as single-family homeowners, even though they pay the same federal taxes. H.R. 5337 creates access to FEMA funds for repair or replacement of essential major common area elements and creates access to FEMA resources for debris removal from privately owned roads within cooperative property; resulting in huge savings for housing cooperative homeowners.

Click here to find your Representative. Call or e-mail them and ask them to co-sponsor and support HR 5337. It’s fast and it’s easy. Ask everyone in your housing cooperative to do it. Protect your housing cooperative and do it TODAY!

Advocates Secure Increased Funding in Final FY20 Spending Bill

Dec 16, 2019 (National Low-Income Housing Coalition)

House and Senate leaders reached a final deal, December 16, to fund affordable housing and community development programs at HUD and USDA as part of a larger minibus package for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.

Overall, the spending bill provides HUD programs with more than $12 billion above the president’s request. It largely funds HUD programs at or above levels proposed by the Senate earlier this year, though not as high as levels proposed by the House prior to the bipartisan budget agreement. With this spending bill, Congress clearly rejected the administration’s calls to drastically cut housing benefits that help millions of low-income seniors, people with disabilities, families with children, veterans, and others afford their homes.

This successful outcome is due to the hard work of advocates across the nation and strong Congressional champions, including Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Jack Reed (D-RI) and Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittees.

The spending package increases funding for tenant-based rental assistance, public housing capital fund, homeless assistance grants, and project-based rental assistance. Choice Neighborhoods, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDs, Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships, Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities, and Section 202 Housing for the Elderly also received increased funding above FY19 levels. Public Housing Operating Funds were cut modestly compared to FY19 levels.  The spending package also includes $25 million for a mobility housing voucher demonstration to help families with young children move to areas of opportunity.

Unfortunately, the bill does not include to prevent HUD from moving forward with harmful policy proposals to force mixed-status immigrant families to separate or face eviction from HUD-assisted housing.

NLIHC urges advocates to contact their Representatives and Senators to urge them to pass this final FY 2020 spending package as quickly as possible and to thank them for their leadership in ensuring the highest levels of funding possible for housing and community development programs.

The House is expected to vote on the spending package this week, quickly followed by a vote in the Senate before it heads to the president’s desk for his signature. The current stopgap funding measure is set to expire December 20.

Policy Changes:

Project-Based Rental Housing:

The bill provides $12.6 billion to renew project-based rental assistance contracts for calendar year 2020, an increase of $823 million more than the FY19 funding level. Advocates estimate this amount will be sufficient to renew all contracts.

Other Housing Programs:

The bill provides $793 million to the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly program, a significant increase of $115 million from the FY19 funding bill. The bill increases funding for the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities program at $202 million, $18 million more than in FY19. These amounts provide sufficient funding to renew all contracts as well as resources for new construction for both programs.

The bill would increase funding for both the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program at $3.43 billion and the HOME Investments Partnerships program (HOME) at $1.35 billion. Both programs would have been eliminated under the president’s budget request.

Funding for the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program was increased to $410 million, $18 million more than in FY19.

Funding for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is increased to $175 million, although it would have received no funding in the president’s budget.

Healthy Homes:

The bill provides $290 million to the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes’ grants, a modest increase of $11 million from FY19 and the same level included in the president’s budget.

Fair Housing:

The bill includes $70.3 million in funding for HUD’s office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, a modest increase from FY19.

No deal on government funding as Thursday shutdown approaches

House and Senate leaders secured a deal on Monday afternoon that would extend government funding for four more weeks and sidestep a debilitating government-wide shutdown. Read more

House moves to avert shutdown, but border wall fight lingers

The House passed a short-term spending bill to avoid a shutdown this week and extend government funding through Dec. 20.

The Senate is expected to easily clear the measure in the coming days, and the White House has signaled that President Donald Trump will sign it.

But congressional leaders still lack a long-term plan to fund the government, with protracted fights over the president’s border wall and impeachment threatening to consume Congress in the coming weeks and months. Read more

Senate Passes FY20 Spending Package with Increases for Affordable Housing

From: National Low Income Housing Coalition Nov 04, 2019

The Senate approved by a vote of 84-9 on October 31 a four-bill FY20 spending package that increases funding for affordable housing and community development investments at HUD and USDA, as well as several positive amendments. This outcome is due to the influence of affordable housing advocates and to the leadership of strong congressional champions, including Transportation–HUD (THUD) Appropriations Chair Susan Collins (R-ME) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-RI). While the passage of this bill is an important step in the funding process, the House and Senate still need to reach an agreement on a final spending bill to ensure continued funding for federal programs and avoid a government shutdown. The government is currently operating under a stop-gap continuing resolution through November 21.

The House spending package provides modest funding increases for affordable housing programs and rejects President Trump’s call for deep cuts to and even the elimination of affordable housing investments. Overall, the bill provides HUD programs with more than $11.9 billion above the president’s FY20 request and $2.3 billion above FY19 enacted levels – an amount likely sufficient to renew all existing rental assistance contracts and to provide level funding or modest increases to most other programs. The bill does include cuts to some programs, including Choice Neighborhoods, Housing for Persons with AIDS, Indian Housing Block Grants, and Community Development Block Grants, and the legislation fails to match important increases included in the House bill, which was passed prior to a budget agreement on overall spending levels.

An amendment from Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) calls on Congress to create a tax incentive to encourage owners of manufactured home communities to transfer properties to nonprofit organizations and residents to help preserve the homes’ affordability.

The bill does not include important provisions approved by the House that would stop harmful proposals by the Trump administration. The House bill contains language that would prevent HUD from implementing its harmful “mixed-status” immigrant-family rule and would stop HUD from rolling back protections for LGBTQ+ people, including the agency’s Equal Access rule ensuring transgender people have access to emergency shelters and other facilities that match their gender identity.

House of Representatives Passes Bill Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Federally Subsidized Housing

The “Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident To Safety Act (CO ALERTS Act)” (H.R. 1690) introduced by Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia (D-IL) unanimously passed the House on September 10. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the original Senate bill (S. 2120) on July 18 in response to the deaths of 14 public housing residents from the toxic gas since 2003.

If enacted, the bill would require carbon monoxide alarms in federally assisted homes that have potential carbon monoxide sources, such as gas-fired appliances, fireplaces, forced-air furnaces, and attached garages. The bill directs HUD to provide guidance to public housing agencies on how to educate tenants on health hazards in the home, including carbon monoxide and lead poisoning, and instructs the agency to consult with the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a public study on requiring carbon monoxide alarms in housing not covered by the International Fire Code.

In a press release, Senator Menendez urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to bring the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible.

Read more

House Passes Robust Spending Package for Affordable Housing

The House approved by a vote of 227-194 on June 25 a five-bill FY20 spending package that includes robust funding for affordable housing and community development investments at HUD and USDA, as well as several positive amendments. This outcome is due in no small measure to the work of advocates across the country and the leadership of strong congressional champions, including Transportation-HUD (THUD) Appropriations Chair David Price (D-NC) and Ranking Member Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL). Before the spending bill can be enacted, Congress and the White House must reach a bipartisan agreement to lift the low spending caps on defense and domestic funding required by law under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Unless the caps are lifted, affordable housing programs may face devastating, across-the-board cuts of almost 10%. If an agreement is reached, additional housing funds may be possible.

The House spending package provides a robust increase in funding to housing programs that serve low-income people and communities. The bill provides enough funding to renew all existing Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance contracts and increases funding for the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly, Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities, Native American Housing Block Grants, Homeless Assistance Grants, and other critical programs.  Several amendments were approved that would provide additional funding for Section 202 ($1 million), tenant-based rental assistance ($2 million), the Manufactured Housing Program ($500,000), HUD-VASH ($2 million), the Indian Community Development Block Grant program ($5 million), and the Family Self Sufficiency program ($5 million). The House approved two amendments to increased funding for Homeless Assistance Grants: an additional $5 million to better serve youth experiencing homelessness and another $1 million for a study on transitional housing grants. Other amendments were approved that would provide funding to study alternative methods for calculating Fair Market Rents in markets with rapidly rising rents and for HUD’s inspector general to investigate the Administration’s ongoing 16-month delay in releasing Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery mitigation dollars. Legislative provisions aimed at halting several harmful proposals from the Trump administration remain in the bill, despite attempts to remove the provisions through the amendment process. If enacted, the House bill would prevent HUD from implementing a cruel proposal to evict 25,000 mixed-status immigrant families from HUD-assisted homes – including 55,000 children who are U.S. residents or have legal status. The bill also prevents HUD from amending the Equal Access rule to allow homeless shelters to deny transgender people experiencing homelessness equal access to services – a move that would put lives at risk.


Affordable Housing Task Force Bill Reintroduced 

Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Angus King (I-ME), and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), along with 13 bipartisan senators, reintroduced the Task Force on the Impact of the Affordable Housing Crisis Act (S. 1772) on June 11. The bill would create a bipartisan affordable housing task force to better understand and respond to America’s housing affordability crisis.

This bipartisan task force would:

Evaluate and quantify the impact the lack of affordable housing has on other sectors, including education, health, nutrition, transportation, and more.

Evaluate and quantify the costs incurred by other federal, state, and local programs due to the lack of affordable housing; and

Make recommendations to Congress on how to use affordable housing to improve the effectiveness of other federal programs and improve life outcomes.

The establishment of a congressional task force to study the country’s housing affordability challenges in a bipartisan way and to articulate robust solutions would be an important step in addressing the nation’s affordable housing crisis

Other cosponsors of the bill include Senators Tim Kaine (D-VA), Doug Jones (D-AL), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Kennedy (R-LA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), and Jon Tester (D-MT). Read more


Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Loan Guarantees for Housing Cooperatives

Congressional action is needed to include housing cooperatives in the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) Home Mortgage Loan Guaranty program to allow veterans to use this VA benefit to purchase shares in a housing cooperative. Rep. Maloney (D-NY) has introduced bills in the past and plans to do so again this November. NAHC seeks support from veteran organizations as well as co-sponsors for this legislation. If you are a veteran, please help us gain support from veteran organizations. Everyone should ask their congressional representatives to consider co-sponsoring this VA legislative issue.