State officials across the country are taking proactive steps to prepare for implementation of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have designated an agency to receive their NHTF grant and administer the state program. Advocates in the remaining states have identified their preferred agencies, those that work best for extremely low income renters.
The NHTF is a block grant to states, administered by HUD. Under the NHTF statute, a state is to designate a state agency, for instance, a housing finance agency, housing and community development entity, tribally designated housing entity or other qualified entity of the state to administer the funds. In most cases, the governor has the authority to make the selection, but other states require the designation be made through the state legislature. Utah and Maine are two examples where state legislatures recently made their designations.
The Maine Affordable Housing Coalition (MAHC) recommended the Maine State Housing Authority (Maine Housing) as the agency to administer NHTF dollars. On March 5, MAHC testified in support of legislation drafted by Maine Housing to designate itself as the entity. The bill quickly cleared the state legislature and Governor Paul LePage (R) signed the legislation on March 21.
On March 16, the Utah Housing Coalition (UHC) worked to have language added to a bill that would authorize the Department of Workforce Services to receive and allocate NHTF funds to the Division of Housing and Community Development. If the selection did not happen during 2014 state session, the state would have had to wait until the next session in July 2015. Advocates are pleased that Governor Gary Herbert (R) approved the language, which will put the state in a good position when the NHTF is funded.
NLIHC is currently working with state advocates to prepare their state to receive NHTF dollars. NLIHC is hopeful that Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt will lift the suspension on funds going to the NHTF soon, which means states could receive their first funds this year.
To view a list of agencies currently selected to administer the NHTF visit: http://nlihc.org/issues/nhtf/implementation
To learn the status of states that have not selected an agency, please contact La’Teashia Sykes, State Coalition Project Director at, firstname.lastname@example.org.