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.

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.