TheMReport — News and strategies for the evolving mortgage marketplace.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 52 of 67

M REPORT | 51 O R I G I NAT I O N S E R V I C I N G DATA G O V E R N M E N T S E C O N DA R Y M A R K E T THE LATEST DATA HUD will continue to prioritize opening the door to homeowner- ship for families—especially those who have been systemically kept out over generations." Under Secretary Fudge, HUD has taken a number of proac- tive steps to redress the impact of past discriminatory practices and implement new policies to help more families—particularly African Americans—realize the dream of homeownership: Removed Barriers to Homeownership for Those with Student Loan Debt. The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) updated its policy on student loan monthly payment calculations to remove barriers and provide more access to affordable single-family FHA- insured mortgage financing for creditworthy individuals with stu- dent loan debt, which has dispro- portionate impact on communities of color. The updates removed the previous requirement that lenders calculate a borrower's student loan monthly payment of one percent of the outstanding student loan balance for student loans that are not fully amortizing. The new policy bases the monthly payment on the actual student loan pay- ment, more closely aligning FHA policies with industry standards. Advanced Fair Housing. More than 50 years since the Fair Housing Act's passage, access to wealth through homeownership remains persistently unequal. In his first week in office, President Biden issued a memorandum directing HUD to address discrimination in the housing market. Secretary Fudge is taking critical steps towards realizing the President's directive. HUD has published both its proposed rule on countering housing practices with discriminatory effects and its interim final rule on the legal duty to Affirmatively Further Fair Housing in the Federal Register. These rules will align federal enforcement practice with the Fair Housing Act's broad reme- dial purpose to end discrimina- tion in housing. Together, they will provide the legal framework for HUD to require private and public entities alike to rethink es- tablished practices that contribute to or perpetuate systemic inequal- ity in housing and recognize and address longstanding fair housing issues in our communities. Improved Homebuyer Assistance Programs. The President's FY2022 HUD budget proposal makes clear that housing is foundational to building a strong, more secure America. The FY2022 HUD budget includes a $100 million set-aside for Secretary Fudge's new initia- tive, the FirstHOME Homebuyer Assistance initiative, which pro- vides funding to States and insular areas—unincorporated territories of the United States—to support sustainable homeownership. Took Action to Address Racial Bias in the Housing Market. On June 1, 2021, in Tulsa, President Biden announced that Secretary Fudge would lead a first-of-its-kind interagency initia- tive to address inequity in home appraisals. Along with Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary Fudge launched the first interagency task force on Property Appraisal and Valuation Equity (PAVE). The effort is utilizing, quickly, the many levers at the federal government's disposal to root out discrimination in the appraisal and homebuying process. A 2018 Brookings study found that homes in majority-Black neighbor- hoods are often valued at tens of thousands of dollars less than comparable homes in similar-but majority-white-communities. And the crisis is worsening: a recent study found that the gap between the appraised value of homes in predominantly white neighbor- hoods compared to comparable homes in predominantly Black and Latino neighborhoods nearly doubled between 1980 and 2015. Called for Tools to Expand Access to Credit and Homeownership. As Congress recognized in specifically authorizing Special Purpose Credit Programs (SPCPs) in an amendment to the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) in 1976, SPCPs can be an impor- tant tool to help expand access to credit and homeownership for those who have experienced sys- temic and generational exclusion. Despite SPCPs' being specifically authorized under ECOA, for too long banks have expressed reti- cence to establish these programs, some citing concerns that the Fair Housing Act somehow bars what ECOA explicitly permits. HUD issued a legal opinion making it clear that certain SPCPs that are lawful under ECOA generally are not barred by the Fair Housing Act. Secretary Fudge has also convened partner agencies to dis- cuss the furtherance of homeown- ership and credit availability for communities who have long been denied such opportunities. Awarded Grants to Support Free and Low-Cost Housing Counseling. In January, HUD awarded $51.4 million in housing counseling grants to 177 HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and intermediary organizations. This included funding to HUD- approved housing counseling agencies that are partnering with Historically Black College and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), or oth- er Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). The funding will support housing counseling agencies in their work to help families make more informed housing choices. The awards also include funding to further training and education to attract and retain more diverse housing counseling professionals. Awarded Grants to Support Asset Building Among HUD- Assisted Families. Recently, HUD awarded $101 million to 677 public housing au- thorities (PHAs) to support efforts to help residents living in public housing and those participating in the Department's Housing Choice Voucher Program to meet their financial goals through HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program. Participants in the program have an interest-bearing escrow account established for them. Upon successful graduation, the household receives the escrow funds to advance their personal financial goals, including improv- ing their credit score or making a down payment on a home. "It is critical that we bridge the racial homeownership gap with intentional solutions that recognize both the persistent history of discrimination and inequity and the current crisis of housing affordability." —Marcia L. Fudge, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of TheMReport - _FULL-MReport_March2022