NLIHC issued a new report, The National Housing Trust Fund: An Overview of 2017 State Projects, on September 8. Part of NLIHC’s effort to document the impact of the national Housing Trust Fund (HTF), the report summarizes how each state and the District of Columbia planned to use $219 million allocated in 2017 by the HTF. In 2017 – the second year of HTF implementation – states continued to use most of their HTF resources to target projects that served people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, elderly people, or other special needs populations. For example, 26% of funds were to be devoted to projects serving homeless households, 23% to projects serving people with disabilities, 19% to projects serving elderly people, 8% to projects serving veterans, and 2% to projects helping to house domestic violence survivors or previously incarcerated people. The remaining 22% of funds were devoted to projects in the category of “general occupancy” or “family,” a surprising number of which included projects with three or more bedrooms to serve large households.
Although NLIHC is not confident that all states indicated whether a project entailed permanent supportive housing (PSH), 21 states did indicate PSH with 41 projects containing 1,971 units (633 of which were HTF-assisted). A review of state HTF Allocation Plans and requests for proposals (RFPs) identified 14 states with various polices regarding permanent supportive housing, not counting those many other states that offer extra competitive points for applications dedicating HTF-assisted units for PSH.
Most of the 2017 HTF allocation – more than $144 million – was used to construct new affordable housing units. Another $7 million was used for adaptive re-use projects creating more affordable housing in properties previously used for non-housing purposes, such as by converting historic industrial buildings, office buildings, and commercial buildings to affordable housing. Although reported to HUD as “rehabilitation,” NLIHC research showed that 16 projects used nearly $8 million to create new affordable housing. Only three projects seemed to fall exclusively in the category of “acquisition and rehabilitation,” and these projects used only $1.7 million. Meanwhile, $38 million of HTF was used to preserve existing affordable housing, helping to ensure that this stock does not revert to market-rate housing. Of that $38 million, more than $15 million was used to help preserve earlier federal investment in affordable housing through HUD’s Project-Based Section 8 program and USDA’s Rural Development (RD) Section 515 program.
The HTF remains an essential source of gap financing, used in conjunction with the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), the Federal Home Loan Banks’ Affordable Housing Program (AHP), and other state affordable housing programs, including state or local Housing Trust Funds. The HTF was used as gap financing for 123 projects also using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program’s equity investments in 2017, meaning that some units in LIHTC projects would serve extremely low-income households. Worth noting is the fact that 58 projects in 24 states did not rely on LIHTC equity; in these cases, states tended to use HTF strategically in smaller projects not conducive to the LIHTC process.
The national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) is a relatively new program that provides block grants to states to build, preserve, or rehabilitate housing affordable to extremely low-income households – those with income at or less than 30% of the area median income (AMI), or at or less than the federal poverty line (whichever is greater). The statute authorizing the HTF requires 90% of any funds awarded to a state to be used for rental housing. The amount of HTF resources awarded to a state is determined by a formula established in the statute. The formula is based principally on the shortage of rental homes affordable and available to extremely low-income renter households and the extent to which such households are spending more than half of their income on rent and utilities.
The HTF, authorized by the “Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008,” requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to generate funding for the HTF through an annual 4.2 basis point (0.042%) assessment on their new business. The resulting funds are transferred at the end of every calendar year to HUD, which allocates them to the states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories using the statutory formula. Since 2016, the amount of money collected for the HTF has grown every year: from $173.6 million in 2016, $219.2 million in 2017, and $266.8 million in 2018, to $247.7 million in 2019, $322.6 in 2020, $689.7 in 2021, and $739.6 million in 2022.
In September 2018, NLIHC published a preliminary report examining the 2016 HTF awards, Getting Started: First Homes Being Built with National Housing Trust Fund Awards, later supplementing the report with additional data as more states provided the necessary information (“Supplemental Update to Getting Started”). In addition to the new report on how states proposed awarding their HTF allocations in 2017, a report providing an overview of 2018 projects is forthcoming. NLIHC will continue providing such reports in the future.
Read The National Housing Trust Fund: An Overview of 2017 State Projects at: https://bit.ly/3B2utF1