IREM Federal Housing Advisory Board Meets in DC

Eileen Wirth, CPM 2018 FHAB Chair

During the IREM Global Summit held in Hollywood, FL October 26th through 28th, IREM’s Federal Housing Advisory Board (FHAB) met to solicit agenda items for meetings with the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, as well as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs, and Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH).

The meetings were held in Washington, D.C. on October 9th and 10th and also included “Hill” meetings with staff of the House Appropriations and Senate Budget committees to discuss funding concerns and considerations for affordable housing.

The meetings with Congressional staff covered a variety of topics, but one high priority issue was funding for properties in areas impacted by the severe storms of 2017 and to date in 2018. Thanks to the efforts of the FHAB, consideration is being given to a legislative fix to fund insurance costs that are escalating at exorbitant rates (200-300%) due to these storms. While details are not yet finalized, a favorable outcome on this issue is anticipated to be reached within the next 30 to 60 days.

A second highlight of the meetings was during the outreach meeting with PIH. Recently, there have been listening sessions held throughout the US to promote the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Through these sessions with landlords, PIH has been able to gather feedback on the HCV program and the challenges and obstacles that landlords face when working with their local Public Housing Agencies, (PHA) who administer the program at the local level.

Having the opportunity to meet with the small group of 8-10 individuals that encompass the FHAB allowed PIH to delve deeper into the issues. Based upon the information received at the listening sessions, including our meeting, guidance to PHA’s on implementing rent increases is being drafted. Additional strategies to address the other issues raised will be formulated once all the listening sessions have been completed.

It truly is encouraging to know that the voices of those managing affordable and subsidized housing are heard through the representatives of the IREM FHAB.

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