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house Bill H.R. 3620

Should the USDA’s Program to Support Rural Housing be Permanently Authorized?

Argument in favor

The USDA’s housing assistance programs are an essential source of support for rural families in poverty. Permanently authorizing the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program, which has been a demonstration program for the past 13 years, would help ensure rural families’ housing security.

jimK's Opinion
···
09/11/2019
Thanks to NoHedges for enlightening me/us in the Daily Countable posting today- which clearly addresses the issues and origins of this program. Thanks to the guidance provided, I am compelled support this legislation, the details of which I did not understand. .... ORIGINAL RESPONSE: I am not sure that I totally get the purpose of this, but I really do not know enough about the issues. Perhaps some of you could help enlighten me. From the summary, I am wondering why this is part of the USDA? I have thought that prior legislation has addressed low income housing needs, and thought that it applied to both urban and rural areas. If that is true, then why would this program be needed? Is it that the funding for low income housing is insufficient overall or is it that the funding is inequitably distributed? From a skeptical perspective, this could be read as an attempt to subsidize housing for farm workers that don’t have to be paid as much, since their housing is subsidized. Unfortunately, I do have a tendency to be somewhat skeptical of any legislation these days. I honestly do not know enough about the needs to form an honest opinion.
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verymary's Opinion
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09/11/2019
All of my relatives on my mother's side of the family were farmers, and I always considered them the backbone of our country. Whenever there was a family wedding or funeral, it would always be held at 2:30 in the afternoon so that all the uncles could be back home in time to milk the cows and feed the pigs and horses. When the economy was bad, those uncles and my grandfather made do with less and borrowed from the local bank and prayed. And of course their hard work fed lots of people. I'll always be in favor of any program that helps farmers stay on the land to which they devote their lives.
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NoHedges's Opinion
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09/10/2019
There is not enough affordable housing available in rural areas. Realistically, the section 8 housing needs to increase ten fold. In Garfield County Colorado (home of Republican Scott Tipton) the waitlist for section 8 housing is so long that it has been permanently closed.
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Argument opposed

There’s no need to permanently authorize the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program, as it’s perfectly fine as a renewable demonstration program. Additionally, this bill doesn’t go far enough to ensure housing stability in rural areas, and should be amended to ensure it achieves its goals.

JTJ's Opinion
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09/10/2019
This is not the job of the federal government, this is a state issue.
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Doug's Opinion
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09/10/2019
No part of this bill sounds like anything the department of agriculture should have its hands in.
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J's Opinion
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09/11/2019
There are better ways to secure affordable housing- subsidy does not satisfy it. The taxpayer should not be subsidizing rural rents. We need to bring economy to rural areas to support living expenses and promote home ownership and investment in areas, not subsidize a lack of economy. That will accomplish nothing!
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Financial Services
    IntroducedJuly 5th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 3620?

This bill — the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019 — would permanently authorize the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program to provide rental assistance to low-income tenants in certain multifamily rural housing projects financed by the Rural Housing Service of the Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). It would also develop and implement a plan for preserving the affordability of rural rental housing.

Specifically, this bill would: 

  • Authorize the appropriation of $1 billion over the FY2020-2024 period for assistance to owners of housing for farm workers and rural renters, at $200 million each year;
  • Authorize the appropriation of $50 million in 2020 to improve the USDA’s loan processing technology for multifamily housing;
  • Expand eligibility for rental assistance and rental vouchers; and
  • Establish a committee to advise the USDA on preserving farm labor and rental housing in rural areas through its rural housing portfolio (which consists of over 415,000 affordable homes for low-income rural people).

Impact

Rural communities; low-income families in rural communities; low-income housing in rural communities; USDA; USDA Rural Housing Service; and the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization demonstration program.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3620

$813.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would cost approximately $813 million over the 2019-2024 period.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) introduced this bill to maintain affordable housing in order to avoid displacement in rural communities. Original cosponsor Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) says

“Too often, I fear, we forget that economic hardships know no race, creed, or geographical location. My rural communities of Ray, Saline, and Lafayette Counties have a poverty rate outpacing the national average. The need for affordable housing is no less important for them than for my constituents in Kansas City, who also face considerable headwinds. I’ve lamented for years now that some of the rural areas in my district have not seen new home construction for decades. With this bill, and some of the other projects we are working on, I’m hopeful we can reverse that trend and provide these communities with the quality, affordable housing they deserve. As someone who spent a few years of my childhood in public housing, I understand the importance of affordable housing and how it enables American families to climb the economic ladder. The lack of affordable housing is not a rural or urban issue, it’s an American issue, and one of the most critical dilemmas our nation faces in the years to come. For as long as I’m here in Congress, anyone that wants to work on the issue will have a partner in me.”

The Council for Affordable and Rural Housing (CARH) supports this bill, but believes it could go further in some respects. In its August 12, 2019 Broadcast Email, CARH writes: 

“We recommend the bill go further in certain respects. Specifically, RA (Rental Assistance) contracts should be extended 20 years for all renewing owners and properties, not just those completing a further preservation review. There needs to also be some correlation between this new preservation process and the current ELIHPA preservation process, which could be read to conflict with one another. It should also be clarified that a Section 514/516 owner includes a for-profit entity with a nonprofit general partner or managing member. This bill should also have a stronger direction to USDA to circulate all returned RA for preservation and to fully expend all RA on renewals. The full House has not yet scheduled action on the bill nor is there comparable legislation in the Senate. While CARH does support the concepts envisioned in the legislation, we do believe that there are some changes that need to be made before it is passed by the Congress. CARH is supportive of the concepts contained in H.R. 3620. However, we believe that some provisions need to be amended. Please ask your members of Congress to support the bill and add 20 year RA for all renewals, spending all RA funds appropriated for renewal and preservation. We also need Senators to introduce a companion bill, one that should support these additional provisions.”

The National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) observes that the Trump administration hasn’t demonstrated support for rural housing in its budget requests. In its FY18 budget, it actually called for the elimination of the Section 515, 514/516, and MPR programs. It’s also replaced the previous USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development with an Assistant to the Secretary — making the USDA employee with authority over rural housing much less authoritative in the department.

This bill unanimously passed the House Financial Services Committee with the support of four Democratic House cosponsors


Of NoteUnder the Section 515 program, USDA RD makes direct loans to developers to finance affordable multifamily rental housing for very low-income, low-income, and moderate-income families, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Section 515 loans have a 1% interest rate, amortized over 50 years, to help finance rentals or cooperatively-owned housing.

Most of the USDA’s properties financed through two specific programs — Section 515 and 514 — are projected to lose their affordability provisions in the coming years. Additionally, no new properties have been financed for several years. 

Section 515 direct loans are an important funding source for affordable housing in rural areas, but they often lose their affordability protections once the loans mature or are prepaid. In September 2018, the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) published a report in which it estimated that 892 properties with 21,452 rental homes would leave the program due to maturing mortgages over the next ten years. Then, in 2028, the loss of homes will increase dramatically, as more than 80,000 homes would leave the program in the following five years. 

Two other factors make Section 515 loans even more important. For one, rental assistance subsidies that keep homes affordable (e.g., USDA Rural Development Section 521 Rental Assistance and HUD Section 8 vouchers) are tied to Section 515 loans. Second, Section 515 homes are often the only housing option for the lowest-income people in rural areas, so they’re an important source of affordable housing. 

The Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program which this legislation would permanently authorize allows the USDA to restructure Section 515 loans, extend incentives for owners to stay in the program, and provide properties with additional resources to repair and restore homes. This program has been a demonstration for the past 13 years.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / ehrlif)

AKA

Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019

Official Title

To provide rental assistance to low-income tenants in certain multifamily rural housing projects financed by the Rural Housing Service of the Department of Agriculture, and to develop and implement a plan for preserving the affordability of rural rental housing, and for other purposes.

    Thanks to NoHedges for enlightening me/us in the Daily Countable posting today- which clearly addresses the issues and origins of this program. Thanks to the guidance provided, I am compelled support this legislation, the details of which I did not understand. .... ORIGINAL RESPONSE: I am not sure that I totally get the purpose of this, but I really do not know enough about the issues. Perhaps some of you could help enlighten me. From the summary, I am wondering why this is part of the USDA? I have thought that prior legislation has addressed low income housing needs, and thought that it applied to both urban and rural areas. If that is true, then why would this program be needed? Is it that the funding for low income housing is insufficient overall or is it that the funding is inequitably distributed? From a skeptical perspective, this could be read as an attempt to subsidize housing for farm workers that don’t have to be paid as much, since their housing is subsidized. Unfortunately, I do have a tendency to be somewhat skeptical of any legislation these days. I honestly do not know enough about the needs to form an honest opinion.
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    This is not the job of the federal government, this is a state issue.
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    All of my relatives on my mother's side of the family were farmers, and I always considered them the backbone of our country. Whenever there was a family wedding or funeral, it would always be held at 2:30 in the afternoon so that all the uncles could be back home in time to milk the cows and feed the pigs and horses. When the economy was bad, those uncles and my grandfather made do with less and borrowed from the local bank and prayed. And of course their hard work fed lots of people. I'll always be in favor of any program that helps farmers stay on the land to which they devote their lives.
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    There is not enough affordable housing available in rural areas. Realistically, the section 8 housing needs to increase ten fold. In Garfield County Colorado (home of Republican Scott Tipton) the waitlist for section 8 housing is so long that it has been permanently closed.
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    I support this as I have watched documentaries of areas that have NOTHING in therms of jobs for people to support themselves. You cannot move, there is no family support and the ultimate disaster would be to have nowhere to live. This bill is important!
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    Housing needs to be a right, not a privilege! Everyone in this country whether they live in urban, suburban, or rural areas should have a roof over their heads and should be able to afford that roof!
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    No part of this bill sounds like anything the department of agriculture should have its hands in.
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    DEMOCRATS ARE THE ONLY ONES WITH DOING ANYTHING IN THE INTEREST OF THE COMMON MAN--REPUBLICANS CATER ONLY TO THE WEALTHY, AS YOU CAN SEE BY THE REPUBLICAN TAX SCAM, WHICH PUT US INTO THE LARGEST JUMP IN THE NATIONAL DEBT WE'VE EVER HAD AND DONE NOTHING FOR THE ECONOMY WHATSOEVER! I DIDN'T EVEN NEED TO LOOK TO KNOW THAT THEIS BILL WAS INTRODUCED BY A DEMOCRAT!
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    An ever growing list of trumps accomplishments and of those in congress who support him: Most recent: Took money from military daycares to pay for a wall that won’t work and no one wants. The Vice President and the Attorney General are both spending tax payer dollars on trump hotels, lining his pockets and currying his favor. Privately instructed aides to skirt laws and regulations to get the wall built faster — and told them he will pardon them if necessary. Pressuring a government agency to give a contract for his wall to a company whose chief executive is a donor to one of his top GOP allies in Congress. Took hundreds of millions from 127 different projects (FEMA being one of those) for his wall. Spending our tax dollars at his golf courses. Thinks nuking a hurricane is an idea. Pushing to host the next G-7 at one of his own resorts. Taunted Iran by tweeting a classified image of an Iranian rocket that had exploded, thereby potentially compromising U.S. intelligence capabilities. His own company would save millions from the low interest rates he is demanding. Was going to give you tax cuts through your paychecks but decided not to. Destroying the economy with HIS trade war. We will soon average a 1.2 trillion deficit. He is repeating NRA talking points on background checks so expect no action taken regardless of the fact there has been 27 arrested over threats to commit mass attacks since El Paso( NOT TOLEDO). Made fun of republicans being afraid of the NRA and then caved after a 30 minute phone conversation with them. Bragged about indefinite child detention because it brings families together. Refusing flue shots, that protect us all(google influenza pandemic), to immigrant children. Attacking fellow congresswomen in really disgusting ways and making anti-Semitic remarks about Jews calling them disloyal. Thinks he’s the chosen one based on a conspiracy theory web sight. Impeachment: Obstruction of Justice. Profiting from the Presidency. Collusion - They had a meeting & lied about it. Advocating political & police violence. Abuse of power. Engaging in reckless behavior. Persecuting political opponents. Attacking the free press. Violating immigrants Right to Due Process. Violating campaign finance laws. Racist: Speaks directly to and often tweeting straight from white supremacists. Calls them very fine people. Told fellow congresswomen to go back where they came from. Called them shit hole countries. Called them murderers and rapists. Calls her Pocahontas. Took out full page adds calling for the death of five innocent black kids in New York, 1989. Literally has said in an interview he has Hitlers speeches, My New Order in his nightstand. Our Money: Spent campaign finance money on hush payments to silence a porn star he had an affair with in order to hide it from the voters. Has spent over $100 million of our tax dollars playing golf at his own golf courses. Has never divested from companies and advertises and profits off the White House. Was going to cut Medicaid and Medicare funding to pay for the tax cuts he gave to the rich. Is actively destroying farmers lives with his trade wars that we all know only hurts our pockets not Chinas. Has made the lives of every truck driver across America as well as our own, more dangerous by removing safety regulations that only benefits the pockets of the CEOs of those companies. Has removed any and all protections we had in place from work safety, environment, women’s rights, LGBTQ rights and gives that power back to the CEOs, oil companies, men and old white men. Saudi funded lobbyist rented 500 rooms at a trump hotel he never divested from right after he became president. Wonder why? Sexual Predator: Accused by more than 20 women of molestation and rape. Bragged about said molestation on tape. Has cheated on all three wives (see above). Has made sexual remarks on camera about his daughter. Belittles and bully’s strong women. Not even sure he’s aware he has two daughters. Idiot: Has allowed North Korea to grow there nuclear weapons program. Took the side of Putin over America’s own security agencies on the national stage. Lacks the intelligence and facts needed to communicate on a global level much less national one. Makes policy decisions based on FOX media. Lies when speaks. Doesn’t believe in science and quite often displays his ignorance of it. Russia: Lied about meetings with Russians. Lied about a trump tower Moscow. Personal attorney Michael Cohen (same guy who broke campaign finance laws under trumps direction) had contacts with russian officials. National Security aide Flynn resigned over Russian contacts. Jeff Sessions recused himself because of Russian contacts. Manafort resigned because of Russian contacts. Campaign foreign policy adviser Papadopoulos met with Russians then bragged about it to Australians who then turned that info over to our FBI. Sixteen campaign officials had contacts with Russia and at least nine others new about it. Russian mobster lived in trump tower. trump casino was flagged 106 times for lax money laundering standards and same Russian frequently stayed at trump casino. Has been selling real estate to Russians for years. It really is surprising how many connections to Russians this man has. Rick Scott, Marco Rubio, Bill Posey You are my representatives. OLC policy: The indictment or criminal prosecution of a sitting President would unconstitutionally undermine the capacity of the executive branch to perform its constitutionally assigned functions. It’s time to do your job. You swore an oath to this country, it’s people and me to uphold the constitution. The president has never upheld that oath. How do you want to be remembered?
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    Help them as it is another way to close the inequality gap
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    There are better ways to secure affordable housing- subsidy does not satisfy it. The taxpayer should not be subsidizing rural rents. We need to bring economy to rural areas to support living expenses and promote home ownership and investment in areas, not subsidize a lack of economy. That will accomplish nothing!
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    Common sense
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    We cannot forget about the individuals residing in rural areas. They need help too.
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    Rural communities need help!
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    There’s no need to permanently authorize the Multifamily Housing Preservation and Revitalization program, as it’s perfectly fine as a renewable demonstration program. Additionally, this bill doesn’t go far enough to ensure housing stability in rural areas, and should be amended to ensure it achieves its goals.
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    Yes. Aren’t these the forgotten people?
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    No "permanent funding" for anything. We are in debt, and misusing deficit spending. Do not borrow money for this.
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    Yes
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    With financial parameters for assistance to reduce waste/fraud.
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    NEVER TRUST A DEMONCRAT bill!
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