NAHREP priorities for the new administration

Celebrating NAHREP familia, cultura, politics, and grassroots action

December 3, 2020

Qué onda mi gente?!

Hope everyone had a delicious, relaxing and safe Thanksgiving. As for me, since I’ve been moving, I spent the day packing and covered in boxes. Therefore, my Thanksgiving dinner consisted of jackfruit carnitas tacos (don’t hate, it was so good) and some quinoa salad. The meal was delicious “pero nada que ver con Thanksgiving.” I did stick an apple pie in the mix though! How were yours?

I know everyone is going through a ton of fatigue: COVID fatigue, presidential election fatigue, drama fatigue, zoom fatigue. I hear you, I’m with you. I’m so ready to set up my Christmas tree and cover myself in the mantle of the Holiday Season. Pero como dice mi mama, “A ponernos las pílas!” We still have work to do.

NAHREP met with Biden-Harris Transition Team

Last week, NAHREP Co-Founder and CEO Gary Acosta and I met with members of the Biden-Harris Transition Team to discuss policy priorities for the first 100 days of the Biden Administration. The first 100 days of any administration are usually the most productive during any presidential tenure. We will be issuing various campaigns, that we expect all of you to participate in, pushing these issue forward.

Here’s what we advocated for during the meeting:

  1. At least 5 Latinos in the Cabinet: The highest number of Latinos who have ever served in an administration has been 4. So far, only one Latino, Alejandro Mayorkas, has been nominated in the Biden Administration. Mayorkas is a Cuban-American who was one of the architects of DACA. However, we need 4 more! CA Attorney General Xavier Becerra is our pick for U.S. Attorney General.
  2. Address the nation’s housing inventory shortages: We made it clear that we see housing inventory shortages as the number one barrier to further increasing our Latino homeownership rate.

    Tie transportation funding to easing zoning restrictions: We need to ensure that there are meaningful incentives for municipalities to ease restrictive zoning policies that are limiting the number of new homes being built. We believe that transportation funding will serve as a meaningful incentive that will force cities to do something about these zoning policies.

    Infrastructure Initiative: An infrastructure funding bill will be a great way to stimulate a depressed economy. However, it is imperative that the building of more homes is a critical aspect of any infrastructure plan.
  3. Access to Credit: An important aspect of our advocacy work is ensuring that the vast majority of Latinos who can sustain homeownership can qualify for mortgage. This includes everything from who qualifies for a loan, the cost of the loan, and access to assistance for down payments.

    CRA: We need to ensure that Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) certification promotes lending to low-to-moderate income borrowers. The current Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) changes to CRA certification incentivizes banks to do larger and easier projects, such as bridges or stadiums, instead of smaller, more complex activities, such as extending mortgages to working class people in those communities. We must ensure that any changes to CRA increases access to credit not reduces it.

    FHFA Capital Rule: The problematic final FHFA Capital Rule was released a few weeks ago and will significantly increases the cost of mortgages for Latino first time homebuyers. We asked that this rule be reversed. This is not the time to privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
  4. Comprehensive Immigration Reform: NAHREP advocates for comprehensive immigration reform through an economic lens. Immigrants play a critical role in providing a necessary labor force for our economy.

    Labor Shortage: A labor shortage in construction is driving up the cost of building new homes for first time homebuyers. These jobs are overwhelmingly held by immigrants. Passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform is an economic imperative.

    DACA: We urged that on day 1, the Biden-Harris Administration issue a permanent solution to DACA and that these DACA recipients are immediately once again eligible for FHA loans.
  5. Establish a Housing Czar: It is critical that a single individual is responsible for coordinate all housing related initiatives conducted throughout the Administration from HUD, Treasury, FHFA and CFPB, and ensure that they all maximize homeownership and wealth building opportunities.
  6. First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit: The Biden Housing Plan included a proposal to include an up-front $15,000 tax credit to be used for down payment for first time homebuyers. We fully support this initiative and urge that it is prioritized.
  7. Relief for small landlords and small businesses: And finally, we must pass an additional stimulus bill that supports struggling small business owners, small landlords and struggling homeowners.

Obviously this is not an exhaustive list but they are the issues that we want the Administration to focus on first. Please feel free to reach out to me if you think there is a major issue that is not listed here that you want to make sure it is front and center in our immediate advocacy.

Happy last month of 2020!

About Noerena Limón

Noerena Limón is NAHREP’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Industry Relations. Noerena heads the organization’s policy and advocacy efforts on issues ranging from homeownership, housing inventory, credit access and immigration.

Prior to joining NAHREP, Noerena spent six years at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and served as a political appointee under President Obama in the White House Office of Political Affairs.