Housing

American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019

The communities hit hardest by the housing crisis are facing the most difficult recovery.  In response to this, I, alongside Congressman Cedric Richmond, introduced H.R. 1737, the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act of 2019.  The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act would help provide people with access to affordable housing, lift them out of poverty, and begin to create generational cycles of wealth.

The bill would assist people in communities who suffered the most during the housing crisis through new down payment assistance programs and giving support to families whose housing wealth was destroyed by the financial crisis.  The bill would put $10 billion into a new competitive grant program that the hardest hit communities can use to build infrastructure, parks, roads, or schools. 

The bill would also invest more than $3.5 billion in the Public Housing Capital Fund to help maintain critical affordable units and change the rules to stop the pipeline of distressed Federal Housing Administration, Fannie May, and Freddie Mac mortgages or government-owned homes to private equity firms. 

Opportunity Zones Support

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed in 2017 created a new tax incentive for investment in businesses located in distressed communities. Investors may invest directly or indirectly in businesses located in Qualified Opportunity Zones—census tracts which generally have a poverty rate of at least 20 percent—and receive a tax benefit for all gains made from such investments.

To help address the lack of affordable housing in Baltimore and Maryland, I sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in April 2018 in support of the State of Maryland’s request to designate census tracts in the greater Baltimore region as Opportunity Zones.  There are now 149 Opportunity Zones across the state of Maryland, including 42 census tracks in Baltimore City and 10 in Baltimore County.

Living in these nominated census tracts are some of Maryland’s poorest citizens, who would benefit immensely from increased investment in their communities.  I will continue to work with Maryland officials to increase the benefits of these zones and other policies aimed at creating opportunities and investment in all of Maryland, but especially in the most underserved areas.

I understand the concern that gentrification in the form of displacement and exclusivity can easily result from these types of programs, and I share this concern wholeheartedly.  I have held and will continue to hold forums and expose as many communities as I can to the information and opportunity that flow from this and other programs to promote inclusionary investment and development.

Federal Housing Assistance and Grants

I will continue to advocate for grant dollars and federal housing assistance in Baltimore and surrounding counties. In July 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) announced a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant to Baltimore to help transform the distressed Perkins Homes public housing project and its surrounding area into a mixed-income neighborhood for both current and new residents.

Maryland continues to receive funds from HUD’s Home Owners Preserving Equity program (HOPE) to assist homeowners in our state.  Maryland is taking applications for this program, and homeowners can get more details by visiting the HOPE website at www.mdhope.org or by calling the HOPE hotline (877) 462-7555 to find a housing counselor in their area for free counseling and assistance.

Permanently Protection Tenants at Forclosure Act of 2017

In the 115th Congress, I was pleased to be an original cosponsor of the Permanently Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2017, introduced by then-Congressman Keith Ellison.  This bill permanently restored and revived the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act of 2009 (PFTA) by requiring that landlords who acquire foreclosed property give tenants 90 days’ notice after a foreclosure to move.  The PFTA also applies to tenants with Section 8 choice vouchers and extends to renters.  Prior to this extension, renters, often not knowing that their landlords were behind on mortgage payments, could be subject to eviction with only a few days’ notice in most states.

The PFTA was subsequently signed into law as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Congress passed in May of 2018.  

The PFTA is applicable to all foreclosures on all residential properties including one-unit single family homes, and it applies to judicial and nonjudicial foreclosures.

 

 

 

 

More on Housing

August 29, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen and Representatives Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) today announced more than $3,699,000 in federal funding for the City of Baltimore Mayor’s Office of Human Services through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. These federal funds will support a comprehensive planning process to develop the best strategies to meet the needs of homeless youth in Baltimore City.

August 19, 2019 Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen Elijah E. Cummings, Dutch Ruppersberger, and John Sarbanes (all D-Md.) have announced $898,750 in federal funding to address lead-based paint in Baltimore, Maryland. The funding, awarded through the U.S.

October 3, 2018 In The News

The congressman who could become President Donald Trump’s recurring political nightmare has photos on his office walls of himself with anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, pathbreaking boxer Muhammad Ali and civil rights activist Coretta Scott King.

Each were fighters of a sort, and Rep. Elijah Cummings says he is, too. The Baltimore Democrat’s battles usually involve pushing back as best he can on Trump administration policies and practices.

April 23, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. (April 23, 2018) — Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in support of the State of Maryland’s request to designate census tracts in the greater Baltimore region as Opportunity Zones under the newly enacted Opportunity Zones program. Maryland’s Governor, Larry Hogan, has nominated 149 Opportunity Zones across the state of Maryland, including 42 census tracts in Baltimore City and 10 tracts in Baltimore County.
April 18, 2018 Press Release
Washington, D.C. (Apr. 17, 2018)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD) released a Democratic staff report on the specific effects of the new Republican tax law on homeowners in Baltimore City, Baltimore County, and Howard County in Maryland.
October 26, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. (October 26, 2015) – Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes (all D-Md.) to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will rescind its plan to reduce rent subsidy levels for residents eligible for the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program in the Baltimore-Columbia-Towson region.

October 7, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2015) – Today, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes (all D-MD) to announce that the Department of Housing and Urban Development has agreed to immediately end its plan to cut housing rental assistance for families in Howard County, particularly Columbia, under the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program.
September 25, 2015 Press Release
Washington, D.C.– Congressman Elijah E. Cummings joined U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski Senator Ben Cardin and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger and John P. Sarbanes (all D-Md.) in sending a letter to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Julian Castro calling on the agency to immediately restore housing rental assistance for families in Howard and Baltimore Counties, particularly Columbia, as well as the City of Baltimore under the federal Housing Choice Voucher Program. The proposed change in policy from HUD is included as part of the agencies’ annual fair market rent update.
August 25, 2015 Press Release
BALTIMORE, MD – Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings joined U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin, and Rep. John P. Sarbanes (all D-Md.) to announce that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded $3,365,733 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program funding and $325,000 in Healthy Homes supplemental funding to the City of Baltimore. With this grant, the City will be able to address lead hazards in 230 housing units for low- and very low-income families, and perform healthy homes assessments in 330 units.
December 14, 2009 Press Release

“Bridge Loans” allow quicker relief for homeowners who are both unemployed and “underwater.”

(Washington, DC) – Congressman Elijah E. Cummings, (MD-07) today wrote Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, to encourage him to work with Treasury Secretary Geithner during the upcoming White House economic summit, to find new ways to deal with the staggering number of foreclosures in America.