NALHFA Board Travels to D.C. to Push For Affordable Housing Solutions

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Dawn Luke, Invest Atlanta’s Senior VP of Community Development, joined fellow board members of the National Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (NALHFA) on a trip to Washington, D.C. to speak with federal lawmakers about solutions to the nation’s affordable housing crisis. Luke was elected to the NALHFA board in May of last year.

On June 29, NALHFA board members and staff met with the Ja’Ron Smith, Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization Policy at the White House and ten different Congressional offices. Discussion topics included enhancing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) Program, preserving funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, strengthening the municipal bond market, and increasing opportunities for public-private partnerships in the affordable housing industry.

NALHFA board members and staff also held several constructive meetings with Congressional offices. Every office was supportive of affordable housing programs and requested to remain engaged with NALHFA about what can be done to address the affordable housing crisis.

The NALHFA trip achieved several positive outcomes on the following issues:

  • The Municipal Finance Support Act of 2017: This would allow large banks to count some of their municipal bond investments, including tax-exempt housing bonds, as high-quality liquid assets (HQLAs) under federal bank liquidity standard. NALHFA received the support of Senator David Perdue’s (R-GA) office and they have since co-sponsored the bill.
  • The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017: Passage of this legislation would be a huge win for the industry and provide a much needed boost to the LIHTC program.  NALHFA was able to secure Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-CA) office commitment to co-sponsor the legislation.
  • HUD Funding and the President’s Budget Proposal: The Congressional offices the team visited all indicated that the President’s budget is not being used to determine funding levels for these programs and there are no plans to eliminate programs like Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME).

During the White House meeting, Luke and the other NALHFA board members discussed the importance of the affordable housing programs to public-private partnerships, infrastructure development, and economic growth. Ja’Ron Smith emphasized the Administration’s focus on getting the biggest bang for the federal dollar and making affordable housing programs more efficient and effective. Smith also said he would like to continue engaging with NALHFA members. The NALHFA Legislative Committee will continue to work with policymakers in Washington to ensure the vitality of affordable housing programs.

To join this ongoing dialogue with the White House, please contact NALHFA Policy Director Heather Voorman at hvoorman@nalhfa.org.