Policy Blog

NCST’s Policy Team, based in our Washington, DC office, advocates for policies that support thriving neighborhoods, fight blight, and enable sustainable homeownership. We work closely with a network of advocates that help consumers, renters and homeowners, and we also serve as one of the few voices for vacant properties and the mission-focused developers working to return these properties to productive use. We regularly engage with our diverse network of community buyers, our sellers, and others working in the field to develop policy initiatives that respond to real and ever-evolving local needs.

  • Preventing Neighborhood Blight After Natural Disasters By Using Home Buyout Programs Strategically

    (July 2018) An ongoing rise in the number of catastrophic flood events, like the two recent “1,000 year storms” in Ellicott City, Maryland, has prompted government officials to re-examine the potential of home buyout programs as a key solution to the costly issue of repeated flooding in…

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  • What We’re Reading Now

    (May 2018) This month, instead of a policy discussion, we’re bringing you some reading recommendations. The first three recommendations shed light on topics that we’ve long followed by bringing new data analysis to the discussion. The fourth is a recent government report on the Community Reinvestment Act,…

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  • Your Voice Matters – Public Comment Period Open on Proposed FHLB Affordable Housing Program Rule

    (April 2018) While the “Government Sponsored Entities” that garner most public attention and scrutiny these days are secondary mortgage behemoths Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, there’s another less-talked-about GSE that serves an important role in the health of our nation’s housing markets: the Federal Home Loan Banks…

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  • GSE Charge-Off and Lien Release Policy Changes to Reduce Neighborhood Blight

    (March 2018) On February 14, 2018, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced updates to their servicing guides to reflect policy changes for first lien mortgage loan charge-offs and lien releases. This policy change, which generally aligns the policies of the Enterprises, was directed by the Federal Housing…

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  • The Community Reinvestment Act Is Under Attack

    (Feb. 2018) A key piece of federal legislation that protects vulnerable consumers and disinvested communities has come under attack: the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). Passed in 1977 as a response to discriminatory redlining in communities of color and working class neighborhoods, the CRA encourages banks to lend…

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  • Duty to Serve – Fannie Mae’s Neighborhood Stabilization Efforts Need Your Input!

    (Jan. 2018) On December 18, 2017, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) published the final versions of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plans, which lay out the companies’ efforts to meet their obligations under the Duty to Serve Rule. These Plans went into effect on…

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  • Update on Sweeping Tax Legislation in Congress

    (Dec. 2017) This month, the most important federal policy issue for those of us who work in the housing and community development field is the tax bill pending in Congress. With versions already passed by both the House andSenate, a congressional conference committee is busily crafting a…

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  • Policy Advocacy – Federal Changes to Disaster Relief Policy

    (Nov. 2017) We’ve written a lot about the devastation of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the last few Community Updates, which will affect Puerto Rico, Texas, the Gulf Coast and Florida for years to come. California also is reeling from wildfires that have ravaged the state….

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  • Housing in the Aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria

    (Oct. 2017) For communities in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands, time and memory will always be separated into “pre” and “post” Harvey, Irma and Maria. With record levels of damage from floods, hurricane-force winds, and widespread loss of electricity, some homes and entire…

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