Federal housing officials anticipate that states will receive their first National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF) allocations by summer 2016.
In anticipation of the new funds, states will begin developing plans to allocate the money this year and submit these plans to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) along with their 2016 Annual Action Plans.
On Jan. 30, HUD published an interim program rule to the Federal Register, providing guidance to state and local entities for implementing the trust fund.
States and state-designated entities are eligible grantees for the new funding. Annual formula grants will be made, of which at least 80% must be used for rental housing; up to 10% for homeownership; and up to 10% for the grantee's reasonable administrative and planning costs.
The funds may be used for the production or preservation of affordable housing through the acquisition, new construction, reconstruction, and/or rehabilitation of non-luxury housing with suitable amenities. All NHTF-assisted units will be required to have a minimum affordability period of 30 years.
Eligible activities and expenses include real property acquisition, site improvements and development hard costs, related soft costs, demolition, financing costs, relocation assistance, and operating cost assistance for rental housing.
Enterprise Community Partners estimates that $400 million to $500 million would be raised for the NHTF and the Capital Magnet Fund (CMF). Sixty-five percent will go to the NHTF while the remaining 35 percent will go to the CMF.
Both funds were created under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 and were supposed to be supported by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but payments were suspended when the government-sponsored enterprises were placed in conservatorship. In December, the Federal Housing Finance Agency lifted the suspension and directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside and funds to the NHTF and the CMF.
However, there will be a fight over the move. Rep. Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and other Republican lawmakers are trying to stop payments to the two funds.