Governmental Affairs, Federal and Local November 2021

SLAA News,

As the eviction moratorium ends, the fact that we are still very much, facing an affordable housing crisis is becoming even more apparent. The federal eviction moratoriums did nothing to address the underlying financial distress of renters and could have long-term implications for the stability of the housing industry.  This coupled with the push back the labor force is feeling from decades of low and stagnant wages; it seems almost certain that significant changes are coming to the multifamily housing industry. 

Congress is now being asked to make these issues a priority and it’s the belief of some, that we need to strike while the iron is hot.  The fact that our industry was the only one completely “held hostage”, might give us leverage we need to push back. 

Congressional Priorities:
  • Support credible and proven policies to address the housing affordability crisis while opposing approaches that undermine the effective operation and financial health of rental housing.
  • Revitalize Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers to enable greater participation by private housing providers and expand affordable options for low and moderate-income Americans.
  • Establish federal incentives for local governments to remove barriers to housing development and rehabilitation and support funding for unmet infrastructure needs that directly impact housing.
  • Reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program and support more effective coverage for the industry. Ensure attainable coverage options for other operational risks such as cyber, liability and pandemics.
  • Ensure federal fair housing policy protects nondiscrimination in housing while supporting housing providers’ ability to develop, own and operate their properties and ensure safe and decent housing for residents.
  • Enact a federal data privacy, security and breach notification standard that pre-empts the patchwork of state laws that leave consumers vulnerable and impose burdensome compliance obligations.
  • Accelerate broadband deployment and bridge the digital divide by expanding current facilities-based partnership models that encourages digital infrastructure expansion and enables strong consumer access to connectivity.
  • Ensure the continued ability by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration to provide adequate capital financing to the apartment industry at all times and in all circumstances.
  • Preserve necessary resident screening tools and ensure that consumer reporting reforms do not make screening impracticable or hinder apartment providers from properly managing risk.
  • Maintain and expand tax policy that preserves and encourages investment in multifamily housing.
  • Restore federal immigration policy that ensures an adequate supply of skilled construction labor.
  • Pursue a national energy strategy that includes innovative and cost-effective strategies to improve building energy efficiency, increases community resiliency, provides incentives to assist in transition to revised standards and preserves housing affordability.
National Updates

The Biden administration announced on November 9 that FEMA will continue to cover the full costs of COVID-19 response activities eligible under FEMA’s Public Assistance (PA) program through April 1, 2022. The 100% cost reimbursement includes costs associated with non-congregate sheltering for individuals experiencing homelessness. In an executive order issued in January 2021, President Biden directed FEMA to cover 100% of approved costs. He extended the guidance through the end of the year.  Read more

State News:

More than 2,800 evictions have been filed in Jackson County so far in 2021. Legal aid attorneys expect those numbers to increase now that the federal eviction moratorium efforts have ended. Across Missouri, 94,000 households were behind on rent as of early August.

Included is an article from the New York Times that summarizes the current issues facing the industry due to the moratorium or revealed as a result thereof. Read more

From the New York Times:

By Glenn Thrush and Conor Dougherty

Published Sept. 10, 2021 and Updated Oct. 18, 2021

“For once, Washington seemed to get in front of a crisis.

When the first wave of coronavirus spread across the country in the spring of 2020, it ravaged the economy, pushing millions of low-income tenants to the brink of eviction. Over the next year, Congress responded with a series of relief packages that included a $46.5 billion fund for emergency rental assistance. Read more