President Trump Signs Executive Order to Stimulate Economic Growth

Today, President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at revitalizing the American economy by creating a fast track for the rulemaking process for reforming regulation. The Executive Order also establishes a “Regulatory Bill of Rights,” which provides guidance for agencies on using discretion in their enforcement with businesses operating in good faith to follow the law.
 
As the nation tries to navigate the COVID-19 crisis coupled with an affordable housing shortage, MHI strongly urges the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to utilize this Executive Order to update the federal building standards for manufactured housing (i.e. the HUD Code) to support innovative housing solutions for this affordable homeownership option.
 
The Executive Order directs agencies to utilize emergency authorities to identify regulations that create hurdles for job creation and economic growth. The same emergency authorities were used to enable agencies to respond quickly when COVID-19 began to spread. Now, those authorities are being used to help restore the economy by reducing the rulemaking process by years, in some instances.
 
As part of MHI’s ongoing advocacy efforts, comments were submitted to HUD in response to the Department’s proposed changes to the HUD Code – the first proposed changes in nearly a decade. These revisions to the HUD Code represent critical progress in clearing out the backlog of updates that have been approved by the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) but are still pending HUD approval and implementation. When the HUD Code is not regularly updated, it makes it difficult for manufacturers to offer consumers the latest innovations, technologies, and features they demand. 
 
“The Manufactured Housing Institute applauds President Trump and his Administration for recognizing the significant hurdles American people and businesses will face on the road to recovery from COVID-19,” said MHI CEO Lesli Gooch. “Manufactured housing is an industry that has thrived on its ability to innovate and build efficiently. Pursuant to today’s Executive Order, MHI encourages HUD to finalize its proposed updates to the HUD Code with our suggested enhancements and also move forward with finalizing the subsequent sets of updates that have been approved by the MHCC but are still pending HUD action.”
 
If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Advocacy and Communications Department at MHIgov@mfghome.org or 703-558-0675.

MHI’s Advocacy Efforts Continue as Congress Develops Next COVID-19 Relief Package

MHI is closely monitoring the development of the next round of COVID-19 funding, including the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act” (HEROES Act), which was introduced by Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday and expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives on Friday.

Among the various provisions in this 1,815 page bill is $100 billion for emergency rental assistance for the 10 million renter households at risk of eviction or homelessness due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. MHI is monitoring this provision, as well as language that extends and expands the eviction moratorium and foreclosure moratorium in the CARES Act, including funding support for landlords and lenders that are subject to such provisions. Since the first COVID-19 funding bill passed Congress, MHI has been working as a part of a coalition of national housing industry trade groups to advocate for provisions supporting lenders and manufactured home community owners.

The HEROES Act includes a section called “COVID-19 Tax Relief Act” that is intended to support families and small businesses. The bill also includes changes to the Paycheck Protection Program, including making all Section 501(c) organizations with 500 or fewer employees eligible to apply for PPP funds. MHI continues to work with a coalition of 150 business industry groups to advocate for changes to the tax code to provide relief for families and businesses. Recently, the coalition sent a letter to Congress challenging guidance by the Internal Revenue Service on deductible expenses covered by funds from Paycheck Protection Program.

Once this massive legislation passes the House it will be sent to the Senate for consideration, where it is expected to be changed dramatically. Provisions of interest to MHI members in the HEROES Act include:

Assistance to Homeowners – $75 billion to states, territories, and tribes to address the ongoing needs of homeowners struggling to afford their housing due directly or indirectly to the impacts of the pandemic by providing direct assistance with mortgage payments, property taxes, property insurance, utilities, and other housing related costs.

Assisting Small Businesses – $10 billion in grants to small businesses that have suffered financial losses as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Department of Labor – $3.1 billion to support workforce training and worker protection activities related to coronavirus, including:

  • $2 billion to support worker training
  • $100 million for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for workplace protection and enforcement activities in response to coronavirus

Administration for Children and Families – $10.1 billion to provide supportive and social services for families and children through programs including:

  • $1.5 billion for the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP);
  • $1.5 billion to support paying water bills for low income families

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (Section 8) – $4 billion to allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to respond to coronavirus and the ability to keep over 2.2 million families stably housed even when facing a loss of income, including $1 billion for new, temporary, vouchers for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, or fleeing domestic violence.

Community Development Block Grant funds for localities – $5 billion for coronavirus response and to mitigate the impacts in our communities to be distributed by formula to current grantees.

Emergency Rental Assistance – $100 billion to provide emergency assistance to help low-income renters at risk of homelessness avoid eviction due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Extension of Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) – Extension of the $600 per week FPUC supplement to state and federal unemployment benefits through January 31, 2021.

Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures – Extends and expands the eviction moratorium and foreclosure moratorium in the CARES Act to include all renters and homeowners, changes the forbearance provided under the CARES Act, and specifies the loan modifications and loss mitigation that should be available to homeowners following a moratorium to prevent any homeowner from facing a lump sum payment that they cannot afford.

Liquidity for Mortgage Servicers and Residential Rental Property Owners – Requires the Federal Reserve facility established by the CARES Act to be implemented for the benefit of mortgage servicers and residential rental property owners, contingent on compliance with certain reporting requirements and protections for borrowers and renters.

Restrictions on Collections of Debt During a National Disaster or Emergency – Temporary moratorium on consumer debt collection during this COVID-19 crisis, and for 120 days thereafter.

Repayment Period and Forbearance for Consumers – The bill sets out forbearance and repayment options for consumers when payments resume following the foreclosure moratorium, including maintaining the same payment schedule by extending the maturity by the same period of time payments were suspended.

Bankruptcy Protections – Prohibits federal relief payments from being taken in bankruptcy proceedings; specifies that homeowners in bankruptcy proceedings can participate in the mortgage forbearance program created by the CARES Act and other COVID-19 mortgage assistance; increases the amount of home equity protected in the bankruptcy process to $100,000; and opens Chapter 13 to more homeowners and small business by raising the limits for debt to qualify for a bankruptcy through Chapter 13. Specifies that families who file for bankruptcy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic can keep their homes.

Click to view bill summary | Click to view full text of the bill

If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Advocacy and Communications Department at MHIgov@mfghome.org or 703-558-0675.

HUD, FHFA, CFPB Launch Joint Website for Housing Assistance Amid COVID-19

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have launched a joint website aimed at consolidating information and resources for federal assistance into one location for home owners and renters.

According to a joint release, the website was built to consolidate FHFA, CFPB, HUD and other assistance and resources created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) to help Americans weather the financial impact of COVID-19. The website includes guidance on mortgage assistance, renter protections, fraud detection and prevention tips and more resources. It also includes FHFA’s new tools for renters looking to see if their property is financed through the Government Sponsored Enterprises and eligible for eviction protection.

“Protecting and empowering borrowers and renters while ensuring the mortgage market functions as efficiently as possible has been a priority for FHFA during the national health emergency,” stated FHFA Director Mark Calabria in the release. “This joint website is a one-stop shop for information about the housing protections and assistance available from the government during this unprecedented crisis.”

MHI is committed to ensuring the needs of the manufactured housing industry are reflected in legislation that supports the long financial stability of American businesses and families in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak—including access to stimulus funds throught the Paycheck Protection Program and assistance for renters and property owners impacted by this national health emergency.

MHI’s COVID-19 News and Updates landing page is frequently updated with the latest news, information and resources relevant to our industry. Here, you will also find information and assets developed by MHI and tailored to manufactured housing professionals. These useful resources provide guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization and other authorities to help prevent the spread of infection, maintain a safe workplace and other useful topics.

If you have any questions, please contact MHI’s Advocacy and Communications Department at MHIgov@mfghome.org or 703-558-0675.

FHFA Announces Loan Lookup Tool for Residents in Multifamily Properties Backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has announced a new online multifamily property lookup tool from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to help renters determine if they are protected in federal law from eviction during the COVID-19 emergency.

By entering their address, renters can determine if the property they are renting has a mortgage backed by the Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE). The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) established a temporary moratorium for evicting residents of these.

According to a release by FHFA, residents able to pay their rent during the eviction moratorium period are still expected to do so. Those who are experiencing hardship and reside in a property with an Enterprise-backed loan can contact the helpline:

Fannie Mae Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool

Fannie Mae Helpline: 877-542-9723

Freddie Mac Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool

Freddie Mac Helpline: 800-404-3097

During these unprecedented and challenging times, ensuring that families remain secure in their homes is of utmost importance. MHI’s National Communities Council (NCC) members are on the front lines of this national emergency. As millions of residents are confined to their homes, our members have answered the call to serve—providing impacted residents flexible rent payment options, postponing scheduled rent increases, and providing additional resources and support including services like free lunches, grocery deliveries, and information about employment opportunities and filing for government benefits.

MHI encourages all NCC members to work with residents who are impacted by COVID-19 and reminds members of the principles outlined in the NCC Code of Ethics, which are required for NCC membership.

Trump Signs Bill Granting Additional Stimulus Funds for Paycheck Protection Program, Other Priorities

On Monday, the federal government replenished funds for the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to help small businesses struggling through the economic impact of COVID-19. The SBA limited lenders to submitting 350 applications per hour through the E-Tran system as the volume of requests doubled compared to the initial distribution of PPP funds earlier this month.

On Friday, President Trump signed a $480 billion interim COVID-19 stimulus package, which includes more than $320 billion in additional funding for the PPP. MHI has been working with a coalition of housing leaders to urge the passage of additional funding for the PPP to ensure our industry receives federal financial support to help weather the impact of COVID-19. The bill also allocates $60 billion for the SBA’s disaster relief fund, $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for COVID-19 testing.

The PPP, which was set up to distribute $349 billion in stimulus funds on a first-come, first-served basis, provides much-needed relief for many families and businesses. However, the program quickly depleted its initial funding after it launched April 3rd. With the additional funding allocated by Congress, the SBA will resume accepting PPP loan applications today, April 27th from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower.

When the PPP was established through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, MHI submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to ensure manufactured housing community owners and operators have access to federal aid. SBA issued regulations and guidance that had been interpreted by some lenders as excluding manufactured housing communities from the PPP. Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, MHI has continued its fight to ensure the needs of manufactured housing communities are prioritized in federal regulatory and legislative actions created to help American businesses. MHI is emphasizing before the Administration and Congress that manufactured housing community owners and operators are on the front lines of this pandemic, providing needed services for residents during months-long stay-at-home orders, and they must be supported.