In the most recent (May 22) call for the national HoUSed campaign, we shared an upcoming public comment opportunity involving the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA); heard about urgent threats to HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness programs in the FY24 budget; discussed how public defenders in New York City are responding to the mayor’s call for the increased criminalization of homelessness; received updates from the field; and more.
Siobhan Kelly, associate director of the Office of Multifamily Analytics and Policy at the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), spoke about an upcoming opportunity to weigh in with FHFA on tenant protections needed in FHFA-financed properties. Urban Institute estimates that more than 25% of rental units in the U.S. are financed with federally backed mortgages from entities regulated by the FHFA. Due to the program’s broad reach, any FHFA renter protections could cover a significant share of renters across the nation and lay the groundwork for stronger protections for all tenants.
FHFA is expected to release its request for information (RFI) in the coming days. Once the RFI is released, NLIHC will send an urgent call to action for tenants and advocates to respond to the request and share their experiences and recommendations with the agency. We will supply a sample comment letter; begin hosting a weekly Tenant Protections Working Group; and provide other ways for tenants to get involved and weigh in with FHFA on this important opportunity.
Next, Peggy Bailey, vice president for housing and income security at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), joined Steve Berg, chief policy officer of the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH), and NLIHC’s Sarah Saadian for a discussion about the urgent threats to affordable housing and homelessness assistance funding posed by the ongoing fight over the nation’s debt ceiling. A proposal passed by Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for capping federal spending for fiscal year (FY) 2024 at FY22 levels, which would impose draconian cuts on domestic spending programs, including HUD’s affordable housing and homelessness assistance programs.
According to an analysis by HUD, these cuts could result in as much as a 22% cut to HUD programs, and almost 1 million people currently receiving rental assistance could lose the assistance they rely on to keep a roof over their heads. The proposal would also cut funding to vital assistance programs like the Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. It is crucial that advocates continue to weigh in with their members of Congress and urge them to reject any proposal that would cap or cut affordable housing, homelessness assistance, and other programs that decrease poverty.
Amanda Jack of the Legal Aid Society of New York then joined the call to share a recent letter from New York City’s public defenders responding to Mayor Eric Adams’s comment calling for increased criminalization and forced hospitalization of people experiencing homelessness. We also received field updates from Staci Berger of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, who shared a recent op-ed she authored on the dangers of enacting proposed spending cuts to federal programs. Kendra Knighten of the Idaho Asset Building Network shared a recent victory in the Idaho state legislature, where a bill limiting how much a property manager or owner can charge in fees was signed into law.
National calls take place every other week. Our next call will be held on June 5 at 2:30 pm ET. Register for the call at: https://tinyurl.com/ru73qan