Roundtable Weekly
New Treasury Guidance Allows Greater Flexibility in Using COVID-19 Rescue Funds for Affordable Housing
July 30, 2022
Housing construction

The Biden administration issued new guidance this week that gives local and state governments greater flexibility when using their share of $350 billion in COVID-19 federal relief funds for affordable housing. The changes are in line with the administration’s recent Housing Supply Action Plan, which aims to boost the supply of affordable housing in communities throughout the nation. (Treasury Dept. news release, July 27 and Roundtable Weekly, May 20)

Expanded Use of Pandemic Funds

How-To Guide

How-To Guide Treasury and HUD cover
  • Treasury and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have also jointly published a “How-To” Guide to show governments ways of combining pandemic aid with other sources of federal funding.

  • According to the guide, recipients of Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) can “acquire properties that will be transitioned into affordable housing for households that experienced the negative economic impacts of the pandemic. This could include acquisition of market rate rental properties, motels, or commercial properties that will be converted to affordable housing, or acquisition and preservation of publicly supported affordable housing.”

  • SLFRF may also be used to “finance retrofits and weatherization of properties to improve energy efficiency, potentially by leveraging new federal funding such as the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program, or infrastructure resources.”

  • Over the coming months, Treasury plans to conduct a series of webinars and briefings with states, local governments, nonprofits, and private sector entities involved in the development and preservation of affordable housing.

Multifamily Response

  • The National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) applauded the flexibility provided by the new guidance.

  • NMHC also unveiled new research this week showing the need for the U.S. to produce 4.3 million more apartments by 2035 to address the underbuilding of housing after the 2008 financial crisis.

In conjunction with the study’s release, the website breaks down the data by each state and 50 key metro areas.

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