NHC’s 2021 Policy Priorities
Defending Our American Home Since 1931
The National Housing Conference is a diverse continuum of affordable housing stakeholders that convene and collaborate through dialogue, advocacy, research, and education, to develop equitable solutions that serve our common interest – an America where everyone is able to live in a quality, affordable home in a thriving community.
Vibrant communities are an essential part of any successful housing strategy. Programs like the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, Capital Magnet Fund, New Markets Tax Credits and Community Development Financing Institutions funding have a proven record of success. Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding needs to be increased to meet the challenge and improved to maximize impact. Opportunity Zones can be an important tool in bringing private capital to community revitalization, but policymakers must ensure that investment in them benefits low- and moderate-income residents rather than displacing them.
Housing policy must prepare for disaster mitigation to ensure that catastrophic weather events do not cost millions of people their homes. NHC also recognizes the reciprocal relationship between housing development and climate change. Sustainability and reducing the carbon footprint of development are critical elements of work in creating a climate resilience economy.
Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) modernization
Updating the clarity, consistency and flexibility of the CRA will allow it to better serve the people and communities it is meant to help, to significantly contribute to an equitable economic recovery and economy, and to provide a basis for bringing the three banking regulators into alignment with a unified rule. In addition, recognizing that CRA was designed to address the racially discriminatory practice of redlining and lending, modernizing CRA should mandate race- specific tracking and goals for all lenders
Emergency pandemic renter and homeowner assistance
The best way to restore the housing market to normalcy and render moratoria unnecessary is to ensure that distribution of emergency assistance is done quickly, effectively, and equitably. Successfully distributing funds from the American Rescue Plan to give immediate relief to families facing financial hardship because of the pandemic is a top priority.
Health and Housing
Safe and stable housing is one of the most important social determinants of health, but federal policies on healthcare and housing are currently siloed. Effective change must engage the departments of Health and Human Services as well as Housing and Community Development in solutions that advances housing as a healthcare solution.
People experiencing homelessness are among the most vulnerable of populations and often face multiple disadvantages. Being prepared to meet the housing challenges of our neediest families and individuals is essential to realizing NHC’s vision. Adequate funding and innovation is required to move people experiencing homelessness into housing utilizing Housing First, permanent supportive housing, and other evidence-based strategies. Effective homelessness prevention requires prohibitions on source of income discrimination, tenancy support services, and flexible short-term resources for households experiencing a short-term
Housing finance reform
A well-functioning housing finance system should provide consistent, affordable credit to borrowers across the nation and through all parts of the credit cycle, minimizing the risk of another taxpayer-funded bailout. Reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must provide for an enforceable set of responsibilities to serve the entire market of renters and qualified home buyers without diminishing the important role of the Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae.
Production and preservation
No single factor impacts housing affordability more than the law of supply and demand. The supply of housing for low- and moderate-income Americans is at a historic low, never having recovered from the Great Recession and being exacerbated by the pandemic. NHC is committed to addressing affordable housing production and preservation shortages of single family and multifamily units in urban, suburban and rural areas through capital improvements of existing housing stock, local zoning reform, and expansion of a skilled labor force.
Racial equity and closing the homeownership gap
Narrowing and ultimately closing the homeownership gap for all racial and ethnic groups is essential to the future prosperity of all Americans. Given that homeownership is the primary mechanism for wealth creation in the United States, especially among people of color, success on this front will have a significant effect on closing the racial wealth gap as well. Effective implementation and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act is essential to realizing equity and opportunity.