The Fed has dropped interest rates, industry events have been postponed, and affordable housing organizations have called on employees to work from home amid the coronavirus crisis.
It’s no longer business as usual as each day brings unexpected moves to help boost the economy and slow the spread of COVID-19.
Fed Drops Rates
On Sunday, the Federal Reserve cut interest rates a full percentage point to essentially zero. Despite the move—either a sign of panic or an attempt at reassurance—stocks still plummeted again Monday.
The financial markets are one key area that affordable housing leaders are watching during this unprecedented time.
Officials in numerous states and local jurisdictions, including Baltimore, Chicago, and New Orleans, have moved to halt evictions as they deal with the spread of the virus.
Events Postponed, Employees Work Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic has also forced industry events to be postponed and leading companies to institute work-at-home practices.
Housing California announced that its big annual conference, which had been set for April 14-16, has been postponed as leaders look to reschedule for later this summer.
The National Council of Housing Market Analysts (NCHMA) Spring Meeting and Market Study Fundamentals Seminar, which was planned for March 31-April 1, has been canceled. It’s the first NCHMA meeting that the group has had to cancel since its formation in 2001. Officials are exploring different alternatives, including sharing information in a virtual setting.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has postponed its CDBG-DR Problem Solving Clinic in Chicago, which was originally scheduled for March 31-April 2. Plans call for the event to be held in August.
The Affordable Housing Investors Council announced that it will host its spring meeting virtually in a series of webinars and calls. The March 24-26 meeting was set to take place in Charlotte.
With health officials advising against large group gatherings, more cancellations and postponements expected.
In addition, several affordable housing agencies and companies have announced work-at-home policies for their employees while noting that as much business as possible will continue to be done.
The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority has asked its employees to work remotely as much as possible and to restrict all nonessential travel. Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development employees are also teleworking.
Cinnaire has also directed its staff to work remotely for about the next 30 to 45 days. Business-related travel and in-person meetings will be replaced with video conferencing and web-based platforms as reasonably possible during this time.
The Low Income Investment Fund has also instituted a remote work arrangement while offices remain open to support critical functions.
“HUD is conducting, and will continue to conduct, stress tests on our systems and make any modifications needed, as well as working with employees to ensure they are telework ready,” according to an agency spokesperson.