North Carolina was allocated $273 million from the Homeowner Assistance Fund (HAF), which was established through the American Rescue Plan to prevent mortgage delinquencies, defaults, displacements, and foreclosures for homeowners experiencing financial difficulties after January 21, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Durham CAN offered public comment to the NC Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA) to guide the development of the HAF allocation plan, which will open this fall. It is our priority that the HAF addresses disparities faced by BIPOC homeowners, who make up more than half of those currently at risk of losing their homes. Investing HAF in land trust models would preserve existing affordability, reduce tax burdens, and serve as a tool to prevent displacement. Read our full comment below:
Date: June 23, 2021
To: North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NHFA)
Re: Public Comments on Draft NCHFA Homeowners Assistance Fund (HAF) Plan
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods (CAN) is a broad-based, community organization that works to coalesce, train, and organize the communities of Durham across religious, racial, ethnic, class, and neighborhood lines for the public good. Our primary goal is to develop local leadership and organized power to fight for social justice. We strive to hold both public and private power holders accountable for their public responsibilities, as well as to solve deep community social and economic problems. Durham CAN is affiliated with the Industrial Areas Foundation, the nation’s oldest and largest community organizing network.
Over the course of our 22 year history, the creation and preservation of low-income, workforce and affordable housing has remained a top priority for our 30+ member institutions. And through our campaigns calling for the construction of affordable housing, on public land, in close proximity to public transportation, we’ve come to understand NCHFA’s significance with regard to the state’s Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. According to the Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey data from January 2020 to February 1, 2021, of the 2.6 million homeowners who are currently past-due on their mortgages (as reported by the Mortgage Bankers Association) over half of them are people of color. We hope to see the $273 million HAF allocation deployed across North Carolina in ways that make real the commitments of our public institutions and officials to dismantling systems of racism and white supremacy. We submit the following comments for your review and incorporation in the final draft of the HAF Plan:
(1) Add a map and list for the Urban Counties with Federally Designated Census Tracts in Table 7 (For example, Durham has 18 tracts listed with no further information which makes it difficult to know which communities are targeted in this category).
(2) Designate up to 50% of the total funding for the launch and implementation of a BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Homeownership Stabilization Pilot Program based on a shared equity model that would stabilize homeowners by "buying" their home into a land trust. This would also reduce tax liability, secure more permanently affordable housing without having to build it, and serve as an anti-displacement strategy.
Durham Congregations, Associations and Neighborhoods