MHI Joins Coalition in Support of Expanding Employee Retention Credit Through New Legislation

MHI joined a coalition of business associations in telling Congressional leaders to include H.R. 6776, the “Jumpstarting Our Businesses’ Success (JOBS) Credit Act of 2020” in future legislative packages aimed at helping people and businesses recover from the economic impact of COVID-19. 
 
The JOBS Credit Act is a bipartisan effort on behalf of American businesses to expand the Employee Retention Credit (ERTC), which was created as part of the CARES Act to incentivize employee rehiring and retention in the wake of COVID-19. Per the letter, the JOBS Credit Act would enhance the ERTC by:
  • Increasing the credit from 80 percent to 50 percent;
  • Increasing the wage base to $15,000 per quarter for up to three quarters—previously $10,000 per year;
  • Easing the qualifying rules for revenue decline;
  • Including health benefits in the definition of qualified wages; and
  • Allowing businesses that receive a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program loan to qualify for the credit. 
Incentivizing American businesses to maintain employment is crucial to ensuring the long-term success of the economy as it recovers. MHI will continue to push for this and any legislation that helps our industry and others survive and thrive after this national health emergency.

RELEASE: FHFA Extends Foreclosure and Eviction Moratorium

Washington, D.C. – Today, to help borrowers and renters who are at risk of losing their home due to the coronavirus national emergency, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will extend their single-family moratorium on foreclosures and evictions until at least August 31, 2020. The foreclosure moratorium applies to Enterprise-backed, single-family mortgages only. The current moratorium was set to expire on June 30.  

“To protect borrowers and renters during the pandemic we are extending the Enterprises’ foreclosure and eviction moratorium. During this national health emergency no one should worry about losing their home,” said Director Mark Calabria.

FHFA will continue to monitor the coronavirus situation and update policies as needed. To understand the protections and assistance the government is offering people having trouble paying their mortgage, please visit the joint Department of Housing and Urban Development, FHFA, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website at cfpb.gov/housing.

CISA Clarifies that Manufactured Housing Sales, Transfer and Installation are Essential Workers

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has updated its essential workforce guidance to specify that manufactured housing professionals involved in the sale, transfer and installation of manufactured homes are considered essential workers. While these professionals were already included within CISA’s guidance, the agency updated its language to provide additional clarity for the industry. The CISA guidance has been utilized by states and localities to designate essential workforces during stay-at-home orders, although no jurisdiction is required to adopt the federal list. CISA has provided regular updates to the guidance throughout the national emergency to ensure clarity.

Even before state and local governments began issuing stay-at-home orders across the country, MHI was in communications with the White House, DHS, Congress, and a coalition of real estate and construction associations to ensure housing construction operations and property management were considered “essential.” MHI also provided resources and in some cases advocacy support for state association partners to ensure their respective governors included manufactured housing construction and operations as a part of the state’s essential workforce list, regardless of whether CISA’s guidance was utilized. MHI congratulates all state Executive Directors who secured such language in your respective state’s order.

MHI secured the essential designation within CISA’s first update to its essential workforce list, which happened on March 28. From that time forward, any state that cited the CISA list in its stay-at-home order included manufactured housing operations, including leasing, property management, housing construction related activities such as sales, and suppliers and contractors as essential workers.  To date, MHI has not been made aware of any instance where a state or locality that is operating under the CISA guidance has curtailed manufactured housing operations. The problems we have been asked about have occurred in those states or localities that either did not adopt CISA’s guidance or went beyond the guidance to impose stricter requirements.

MHI has been in constant contact with CISA and DHA throughout this crisis, including participating in biweekly calls to ensure the interests of the manufactured housing industry are addressed through the COVID-19 emergency and as the economy begins to reopen. MHI’s chart of states that have designated residential home construction as “essential” is on the COVID-19 landing page. MHI’s policy team will keep it updated as stay-at-home orders are lifted and as the economy begins to reopen.

MHI Advocates for Changes to PPP Program

As the House and Senate contemplate extensions and changes to the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), MHI, along with a coalition of business organizations, is urging Congress to ensure that the liquidity provided through the PPP can be deployed in a manner that will allow small businesses to remain operational. The coalition has asked Congress to change program guidelines to help small business owners who need capital for overdue rent payments, the re-start of vendor contracts, and other necessary expenses. In addition, the coalition is requesting an extension of deadlines to permit a more orderly return to work consistent with the phased reopening. 

In addition to these changes, MHI continues to advocate for the elimination of the provision that prohibits 501(c)(6) non-profit organizations from accessing PPP funds. Further, MHI is asking the SBA to clarify PPP guidelines regarding the eligibility of manufactured housing communities to receive funds. Current regulations and guidance issued by the SBA could be misinterpreted by administering lenders to specifically exclude manufactured housing communities from the PPP. Since the PPP was first established, MHI has advocated through letters and calls to the U.S. Treasury and the SBA to clarify the eligibility of manufactured housing community owners and operators for this program.

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.