July 24, 2019
In April 2019, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on how HUD programs could be improved and/or modified to benefit Opportunity Zones. HUD Secretary Ben Carson had issued the RFI as part of his effort on the White House Opportunity Revitalization Council, which had been set up to better use taxpayer dollars within low-income communities.
In response to the RFI, the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC) and National Apartment Association (NAA) came together to develop and file a series of comments with HUD on how the agency’s programs could be used to help improve the purpose of Opportunity Zones. The two organizations offered three recommendations:
- Encourage and facilitate the use of Federal Housing Agency (FHA) insured multifamily financing in opportunity zones.
- Streamline environmental reviews in an attempt to reduce regulatory burden within Opportunity Zones. This suggestion also proposed reforming The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, which applies to contractors and subcontractors involved with construction, alteration or repair of public buildings or public works.
- Use other HUD programs to incentivize investments in Opportunity Zones.
The NMHC and NAA contention is that, if HUD can leverage the Opportunity Zone designation to further incentivize investment in areas beyond Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF), that process will help boost the impact and success of the Opportunity Zone program initiatives.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Amy Sorter