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Housing’s packed agenda: Looking ahead to 2020

2019 has been a great year for the National Housing Conference, but 2020 will be even stronger and more consequential. We are well on our way to drafting a National Housing Act for the 21st century. Our Affordable Housing, Affordable Rental and Ending Homelessness groups have made a lot of progress, and we are preparing to bring those priorities into a cohesive set of proposals for our Board of Governors to approve at our March meeting. Our work on climate impact and community development will be incorporated into those efforts. It’s not too late to participate. Please email Nathan Park at if you would like to have your voice heard.

We are working with our members on a comment letter in response to the recent Request for Information (RFI) from HUD on eliminating regulatory barriers to affordable housing. The RFI asks for public comment on “Federal, State, local, and Tribal laws, regulations, land use requirements, and administrative practices that artificially raise the costs of affordable housing development and contribute to shortages in housing supply.” We need your perspectives on this critical issue, since many of you must deal with these regulatory barriers every day. NHC has been actively engaged on this issue, taking part in a roundtable discussion at the White House on ways to overcome obstacles to affordability as part of the White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing, which precipitated the RFI. But we are only as strong as our members, and we want to amplify your voices on this extremely important issue. If you would like to provide input on this issue, or have suggestions for specific regulatory barriers to discuss in our comment letter, please email Quinn Mulholland at by Thursday, Jan. 9.

We have reconvened our Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) Working Group, which has begun to sort through the 240 page Noticed of Proposed Rulemaking we expect to be formally published in the Federal Register any day. This will begin an extraordinarily short 60-day comment period to prepare feedback for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). We will also be working with Federal Reserve Board on their next step on CRA.

As I said when the FDIC Board approved the NPR, there is no question that CRA needs to be modernized, but the proposed approach is the wrong way to do it. I am deeply concerned that after more than a year of consideration and 1,500 comment letters, the OCC and FDIC have come up with a formula-driven approach that almost nobody in the housing community supports and is rife with millions of dollars in hidden costs and enormous unintended consequences. This is a missed opportunity, which we hope can be salvaged into something positive and sustainable. We look forward to working with FDIC, OCC and the Federal Reserve board to establish final rules that meet the needs of a 21st century banking system, improve clarity, and increase the availability of banking services, investments and lending to underserved communities and people. If you would like to participate, please email Tristan Breaux at to participate.

We are also working with the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing to develop a publication of perspectives on rent control. All of our members are invited to contribute essays. As the affordable housing crisis grows, policymakers are increasingly looking to various types of rent regulation programs, which are the subject of spirited debate in the housing policy sphere. This publication seeks to capture a range of viewpoints on rent control so policymakers and stakeholders have an informative guide as they address this controversial issue. If you would like to submit an essay for consideration, please email Quinn Mulholland at

Last but not least, thank you. Thank you for your support of NHC, for your commitment to affordable housing and for your time and intellectual capital that makes it possible for us to do what we do best, bring a diverse group of housing leaders together to develop solutions to our growing affordable housing crisis. And thanks to our newest members, Fair Isaac CorporationZest FinanceMGICGuild MortgageHomeful FoundationOregon Housing and Community Services, the National League of CitiesZillow, FAHEMetro Housing Boston and the National Association of Real Estate Brokers. If you’re not an NHC member, join us in 2020!

I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and a very Happy New Year!

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