Will Biden’s Housing Plan Make A Difference?

By CHUCK GREEN The President recently released a Housing Supply Action Plan designed to pull back the throttle on the challenges of housing costs over time by increasing the inventory of quality housing in every community. The plan bills itself as the most comprehensive effort to close the housing supply shortfall in history. It includes legislative and administrative actions that could help close America’s housing supply shortfall in five years. It will begin by creating and preserving scores of affordable housing units in the next three years. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there’s a national shortage of seven million homes. There’s fewer than four affordable and available rental homes for every 10 extremely low-income renter households and…

Protesters Rally At BlueHub Capital Headquarters

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Protesters who claim BlueHub Capital has a predatory program that has fleeced distressed homeowners rallied in Boston on Tuesday morning. The Stabilizing Urban Neighborhoods program hit the spotlight in February of 2020, when a group of 14 homeowners filed a class-action lawsuit in Massachusetts Superior Court. WGBH reported at the time that the plaintiffs alleged they were the victims of predatory lending practices while facing foreclosure or hardship. BlueHub Capital leaders responded at the time by saying the SUN initiative had successfully helped more than 1,100 families facing foreclosure and eviction. “SUN has reduced borrowers’ collective outstanding mortgage principal by about $68 million and their monthly mortgage payments by nearly $42 million,” company leaders stated. “Almost all…

Bidding Wars For Rentals Seen As Prices Rise

By KIMBERLEY HAAS As prices for rental housing continue to climb in many parts of the country, bidding wars are becoming more common. According to a report released last week by Joel Berner and Danielle Hale for Realtor.com, rent has reached another high in the company’s data history, averaging $1,827 in the 50 largest US metropolitan areas. Rental increases are most pronounced in Sun Belt metros, Berner and Hale wrote. That is because as more people have the opportunity to work remotely they are choosing warmer climates to live in. Three Florida metros are particularly affected. They include Miami, where rent was up 51.6% from April 2021; Orlando, 32.9%; and Tampa, 27.8%. Overall median rent in the Miami, Fort Lauderdale,…

Dr. Maggie Deichert Advances To VP Of PD&R At DHA North Texas

Dr. Maggie Deichert has advanced from director of Policy Development & Research (PD&R) to vice president of PD&R at DHA, Housing Solutions for North Texas. In her new role, Dr. Deichert will lead DHA research initiatives and implementation involving affordable housing and self-sufficiency to help underserved communities achieve upward mobility. During her time as director, starting in 2019, she helped develop programs aimed at increasing housing access in North Texas, including the Children First North Texas program, designed to combat segregation and provide support services for voucher families living in areas of poverty. She was also in charge of disbursing $24 million in Covid-19 rental assistance, for which she and her team used an automation-driven system based on an equity-focused…

Settlement Secured In Sexual Harassment Suit Against Landlord

By KIMBERLEY HAAS An agreement to resolve a lawsuit against a landlord who allegedly touched female tenants and entered their apartments without consent has been reached. Officials at the United States Department of Justice announced on Tuesday that Davenport, Iowa, landlord Juan Goitia will be prohibited from managing rental housing and is required to retain an independent property manager to oversee any rental properties he has now or in the future because he violated the Fair Housing Act. “Sexual harassment by housing providers is an illegal and egregious abuse of power that deprives tenants of their right to be safe and secure in their homes,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Clarke said…

Fannie Mae Commits $5M To 2022 Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge

Fannie Mae has committed $5 million to its second annual Sustainable Communities Innovation Challenge (IC22), the GSE announced. The challenge seeks to “attract innovative ideas that will help advance racial equity in housing,” according to the press release. Fannie Mae will receive proposals from the public, private, and non-profit sectors, as well as from individuals and teams.  Proposals should address supply, funding, and credit barriers. IC22 is part of the GSE’s Sustainable Communities Partnership and Innovation Initiative, which helps to develop collaborative, cross-sector approaches to advancing sustainable communities. “Fannie Mae is proud to launch the next iteration of the Innovation Challenge and support innovative projects that promote racial equity in housing in the United States,” said Maria Evans, Vice President…

Industry Applauds Confirmation Of Julia Gordon As FHA Commissioner

In a narrow victory decided by a tie-breaking vote, Julia Gordon has been confirmed by the Senate as Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) and Commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). President Biden nominated Gordon to the position in June. Her nomination to the Senate for a vote didn’t happen in 2021, forcing President Biden to re-nominate her. This time around, Gordon was confirmed by a 51-50 vote in the Senate after a tie was broken by Vice President Kamala Harris. Gordon most recently served as president of the National Community Stabilization Trust, a nonprofit organization that promotes neighborhood revitalization and housing affordability.  Gordon previously served as Senior Director of Housing and Consumer…

Acting Comptroller Discusses Bank Mergers

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The Acting Comptroller of the Currency says there is a need to update the frameworks used to analyze bank merger applications. In a speech before the Brookings Institution on Monday, Michael Hsu discussed proposed mergers in the context of bank competition, financial stability, and facilitating the needs of communities. “Bank mergers have received significant attention this past year. Concerns about the negative effects of bank mergers on competition, communities, and financial stability have prompted some to call for a moratorium on merger activity,” Hsu said. “In response, others have defended the benefits of mergers. They note that the U.S. financial services market is highly competitive, and mergers allow institutions to achieve needed economies of scale and to…

Markets See Losses Ahead of FOMC Meeting This Week

The Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) meets Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Market participants anticipate that officials will raise interest rates by 50 basis points, the first hike of more than 25 basis points since 2000.  The Fed will also likely announce plans to roll assets off the central bank’s balance sheet, which it has alluded to until now. “We really are committed to using our tools to get 2% inflation back,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said this month. “It is appropriate in my view to be moving a little more quickly. And I also think there is something in the idea of front-end loading … that points to the direction of 50 basis points being on the table.”…

Rocket Mortgage Works To End Digital Divide In Detroit

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Leaders at Rocket Mortgage are working to end the digital divide in Detroit where it is estimated that one-quarter of residents do not have internet access. That number is down from nearly 40% in 2016, according to Dana Afana at Detroit Free Press, but those working on the issue say there is still a long way to go especially considering how important the internet is post-2020. The Changing the Course initiative was established in that year to end the digital divide in Detroit, where Rocket Mortgage is located. Money raised from The Rocket Mortgage Classic, which made history in 2019 as the first PGA TOUR ever held in the city, supports the campaign. The tour raised $1.35…