Shutdown continues as affordable housing communities suffer

Today, the partial government shutdown stretched into the 21st day, causing hundreds of thousands of federal workers to go without paychecks and leaving federal agency operations stalled. Funding for HUD and USDA Rural Housing Programs expired on Dec. 21, 2018, and normal operations at both agencies are shut down, causing Rental Assistance programs, tenants, and NAHMA member properties to be negatively impacted as decision-makers in Washington fail to reach a funding agreement.

NAHMA, our industry partners, and national media outlets learned this week that an estimated 1,150 contracts were not renewed due to the shutdown, despite HUD’s assurances prior to the lapse in appropriations. Specifically, HUD was not able to renew 650 rental assistance contracts up for renewal in December and an additional 500 January contracts will not be renewed. If your community has been affected, please click here to view agency information to ensure you are speaking with the appropriate HUD staff that can address your problem. We have also asked all members to review and monitor the funding level on your contracts and let us know if there is cause for alarm.

More information is available on NAHMA’s webpage of shutdown resources, agency information, and advocacy materials. 

Funding bills for HUD and USDA stall in the Senate

This week, the House of Representatives passed funding legislation that would reopen HUD and USDA with full-year funding (H.R. 267 and H.R. 265). The bills would provide funding for housing and community development programs at levels previously negotiated by Congressional Committees, including full funding for HUD’s Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) program and HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly. However, the bills are not likely to receive a final vote in the Senate, unless President Trump indicates he will not veto the spending bills.

Although caught up in the government shutdown, the spending bills for both agencies are non-controversial and have the necessary bi-partisan support to be approved by Congress. NAHMA continues to urge Congress and the White House to protect affordable housing communities by enacting full-year agency funding for Fiscal Year 2019, and our grassroots alert yesterday provided members with a template letter for reaching out to legislators regarding the impacts of the shutdown on housing programs.

Head of Ginnie Mae to step down

HUD this week announced that Ginnie Mae Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer Michael Bright intends to resign on January 16, 2019. Bright was nominated last year by President Trump to serve as Ginnie Mae’s President; however, his nomination has yet to be approved by the full Senate, and Bright requested that his name be withdrawn from the nomination.

Currently, no announcement has been made as to the President’s pick for replacing Bright. Maren Kasper, who is currently serving as Executive Vice President of Ginnie Mae, will assume the role of Acting President of the agency in the meantime.