On January 16, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a new rule to ensure a quicker response when young children living in federally owned or assisted housing experience elevated levels of lead in their blood. The rule lowers the Department’s threshold of lead considered safe in a child’s blood to match the more protective guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL) to 5. It also establishes more comprehensive testing and evaluation procedures for the housing where such children reside. Childhood lead poisoning has long been documented as causing reduced intelligence, low attention span, and reading and learning disabilities, in additional to behavioral challenges. Read HUD’s new rule here.
On January 12, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on the nomination of Dr. Ben Carson to be Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD is the cabinet level department that oversees federal housing programs and enforces housing laws such as the Fair Housing Act. Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video the day of the hearing.
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Financial Services will hold a hearing entitled “The Future of Housing In America: A Better Way to Increase Efficiencies For Housing Vouchers and Create Upward Economic Mobility.” Visit the Committee web site for more information or to access live video on the day of the hearing.
The Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) Housing Task Force has published a new fact sheet highlighting two important new opportunities for state and local disability housing advocates: the National Housing Trust Fund and the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing planning process. View thefact sheet to learn more about how to get involved in these new initiatives to increase affordable, accessible, integrated housing in the community for people with disabilities.
Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) has introduced the Landlord Accountability Act of 2016 (H.R. 5401). The bill would ban housing discrimination based on a tenant’s use of a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher. The bill also includes a number of provisions designed to improve living conditions in Department of Housing and Urban Development assisted multifamily housing, including creating a tax credit to incentivize landlords to make repairs to units. The bill was referred to the House Committees on Financial Services, Ways and Means, and Judiciary. Visit Rep. Velázquez’s web site for a summary of the bill.
Last week, Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the “Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act” (S. 2962). The bill would expand the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program by 50 percent, allowing the program to create or preserve approximately 1.3 million affordable homes over 10 years, or 400,000 more units than under the current program. The LIHTC program provides much-needed funding for construction and preservation of affordable housing across the United States.
Last week, the Senate voted 60 to 37 to table a harmful Fair Housing amendment to the FY 2017 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development/Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill.S.Amdt.3897 introduced by Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and 5 cosponsors, would have blocked the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) from implementing or enforcing its much-needed “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” (AFFH) rule. Each year, people with disabilities initiate over half of all reported complaints of housing discrimination. HUD’s AFFH rule is designed to expand opportunity and fairness in housing for all, including curbing housing discrimination and expanding access to affordable, accessible housing in the community for people with disabilities. The Arc strongly opposed S.Amdt.3897 and applauds the Senate for rejecting this attack on Fair Housing.
Last week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the first-ever allocations from the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) to the states. The NHTF is a new, dedicated source of funding for affordable housing primarily for people with extremely low incomes, a group that includes many people with disabilities. The NHTF is funded by a very small assessment on the volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal government sponsored enterprises. This funding stream started up for the first time in 2015 and the first-ever state allocations under the NHTF total $174 million for 2016. State allocations are based on five factors related to the severity of the housing crisis faced by very low income and extremely low income households in the state. The 2016 state allocations range from $3 million (the minimum amount possible, by law) to $10.1 million (to California). States now must develop spending plans for their NHTF dollars. Now is the time for disability advocates to contact the agency in their statethat is in charge of developing the state’s NHTF spending plan to ensure that the plans address the urgent needs of people with disabilities for affordable, accessible, integrated housing in the community. Extensive resources on the NHTF and how to get involved in NHTF advocacy in your state are available from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and from HUD.
April is Fair Housing Month! To celebrate Fair Housing Month 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has launched a new national media campaign to help the public to envision what communities with shared opportunity for all —including people with disabilities—might look like. The new campaign is designed to educate the public about their housing rights and the ideals behind HUD’s new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) initiative. View HUD’s press release to access more resources.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that nearly $174 million will soon be made available through first-ever allocations of the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). The NHTF is a new, dedicated source of funding for affordable housing for people with the lowest incomes, a group that includes many people with disabilities. The NHTF is funded by a very small assessment on the volume of business of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal government sponsored enterprises. The Arc strongly supports funding the NHTF to help meet the urgent needs of people with disabilities for affordable, accessible housing in the community.