In early March, Director Carol Ditmore and Legislative Liaison Zack Goetz attended the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA) 2020 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. While attending conference events alongside housing representatives from around the country, Director Ditmore and Mr. Goetz also held meetings on Capitol Hill with Arizona’s Senators and Representatives to discuss federal housing priorities, such as the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act and the continuation of states’ existing contracts with HUD.
As the Coronavirus pandemic was beginning to change America’s economy and the daily lives of many in Arizona and around the country, President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The $2 trillion emergency legislation provides critical relief directly to American families and businesses, and also has important implications for homeowners and renters. For tenants of public housing, there will be no evictions. Homeowners with mortgages backed by federal loans may have their house payments postponed. Mortgage forbearance does not eliminate the payments, only delays them. Additionally, Arizona expects to receive billions in federal emergency funding, with some amount going to housing. Housing advocates are also urging Congress to set a 4% minimum rate on bond-financed housing tax credit deals in response to the Coronavirus to maintain the feasibility of affordable housing, as the current floating rate is at a record low of 3.12%, a huge obstacle to the construction of affordable developments.
For questions regarding Department of Housing Covid-19 emergency measures and other federal legislation, contact Zack Goetz at 602-850-1399.
The 2020 legislature was postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, stopping many bills in their tracks and altering budget forecasts, which will surely affect legislation when session returns. However, before leaving the Capitol, legislators passed a “skinny” budget and created the Emergency Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund. The fund consists of $50 million and is designed to mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19.
Governor Ducey on April 13 announced $5 million from the Emergency Crisis Contingency and Safety Net Fund would be made available to the Department of Housing to administer support to 79 homeless service providers in the state who are working to protect homeless individuals and families in this time of crisis. The funds will help shelters arrange temporary isolation and quarantine housing, provide emergency supplies and services, and obtain other direct resources as needed.
The legislature was scheduled to resume on April 13 but is postponed further, as indicated by legislative leadership. An estimated return date was not given at the time of this publication, as the situation remains fluid.
For questions regarding Arizona Department of Housing’s COVID-19 emergency measures or other legislation, contact the Department’s Legislative Liaison, Zack Goetz, at 602-850-1399.
Housing Matters | Spring 2020