This week's Illinois State Association of Counties (ISACo) News and Views e-newsletter shares our updated report on Public Acts enacted in 2022 that affect or are of interest to counties, includes information about additional flexibility for using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for affordable housing, makes counties aware of the August 1 opening of the application period for Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) funding, informs about a new Executive Order creating a statewide office focused on distribution of opioid settlement funds, encourages county officials and staff to participate in the National Association of Counties (NACo) High Performance Leadership Academy, spotlights ISACo corporate partner Christopher B. Burke Engineering and invites counties to join ISACo.
ISACo 2022 Public Acts Report
ISACo has published our Public Acts Report: Legislation of Interest to Counties in 2022. The 24-page report organizes new Public Acts by category and includes a synopsis as well as ISACo's position. The report is available on ISACo's website along with our post-session legislative information.
Utilization of ARPA Funds for Affordable Housing
On July 27, the U.S. Department of Treasury (Treasury) released new guidance that provides additional flexibility to use American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (Recovery Funds) to boost the supply of affordable housing. This updated guidance follows the White House’s recently released Housing Supply Action Plan that outlines how counties can leverage ARPA dollars for affordable housing.
Ahead of the updated guidance, the National Association of Counties (NACo) urged Treasury to provide this additional flexibility to ensure counties can use Recovery Funds to build and preserve desperately needed affordable rental housing.
Key highlights of the update guidance include:
Increased flexibility to use Recovery Funds for long-term affordable housing loans: As outlined in the Final Rule, Recovery Funds may be used to finance long-term affordable housing loans. SLFRF permits funds to be used, among other uses, to combat the public health and negative economic effects of the pandemic, including by building affordable housing. The updated guidance allows counties to use Recovery Funds to fully finance long-term affordable housing loans, including the principal of any such loans, subject to certain conditions. These changes will facilitate significant additional financing for affordable housing projects, including those that may be eligible for additional assistance under Treasury’s Low Income Housing Credit (LIHTC).
Expanded eligible uses: Under Treasury’s Final Rule, counties were permitted to use funds for affordable housing, identifying uses consistent with two major U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs – the National Housing Trust Fund (NTF) and Home investments Partnerships Program (HOME) – as presumptively eligible under the Recovery Fund. The updated guidance expands that list to include an expanded range of federal programs from multiple agencies, permitting more options for how states and local governments can presumptively use funds for affordable housing. Additionally, Treasury updated its guidance to clarify that Recovery Funds may be used to finance the development, repair, or operation of any affordable rental housing unit that provides long-term affordability of 20 years or more to households at or below 65 percent of the local area median income.
Treasury and HUD released new “How-To” guide: Treasury worked with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to publish a How-to Guide for Affordable Housing. The guide provides a summary of how counties can use ARPA Recovery Funds for affordable housing and combine these dollars with other federal funds. In addition to this guide, Treasury and HUD will host a series of webinars, which will be announced at a later date.
Updated Treasury FAQs related to affordable housing
Treasury has reflected the above updates related to eligible housing expenditures in their Final Rule FAQs. Specific updates include:
FAQ 2.14 (pgs. 10-11): The updated FAQ reflects new presumptively eligible uses, which include:
1. projects that would be eligible for funding under an expanded list of federal housing programs and;
2. projects for the development, repair or operation of affordable rental housing with certain income and affordability requirements.
Presumption 1: In addition to projects funded by the National Housing Trust Fund (NTF) and Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), which were already eligible under previous guidance, any projects funded by the following federal housing program are now also eligible:
- The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (administered by Treasury).
- The Public Housing Capital Fund (administered by HUD).
- Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and Section 811
- Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program (administered by HUD).
- Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) (administered by HUD)
- Multifamily Preservation & Revitalization program (administered by USDA).
Important note: These programs use different income limits than the definitions of low- and moderate-income adopted by Treasury. If a county chooses to invest in an affordable housing project under the above federal program, the investment agreement must adhere to all applicable local codes and requirements related to: Resident income restrictions; period of affordability and related covenant requirements for assisted units; tenant protections; and housing quality standards.
Presumption 2: Under the new guidance, Treasury will presume that an investment in the development, repair, or operation of any affordable rental housing unit is an eligible use of Recovery Funds if the unit has a limited maximum income of 65 percent area median income (AMI, as imposed through a covenant, land use restriction agreement, or other enforceable legal requirements for a period of at least 20 years). A jurisdiction may establish a longer period of affordability at its discretion.
Counties may use Recovery Funds as part of the financing for a mixed-income housing project if the total financing made up of Recovery Funds does not exceed the total development costs attributable to affordable housing units limited to households at or below 65 percent AMI for the affordability period.
FAQ 4.9 (pgs. 35-36): The updated FAQ reflects loans to fund investments in affordable housing projects. Recovery Funds can be used to finance certain loans that finance affordable housing investments. Counties may use Recovery Funds to make loans to finance affordable housing projects, funding the full principal amount of the loan, if the loan and project meet the following requirements:
- The loan has a term of no less than 20 years.
- The affordable housing project being financed has an affordability period of no less than 20 years AFTER the project or assisted units are available for occupancy after ARPA investment.
- For loans to finance projects expected to be eligible for the low-income housing credit the project owner must agree to waive any right to request a qualified contract and repay any loaned funds to the entity that originated the loan at the time the project becomes non-compliant.
ISACo will continue to partner with NACo to monitor and communicate new developments concerning ARPA funds. Please feel welcome to contact us at email@example.com if we can be of assistance.
Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program
The application period for the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program (ITEP) begins August 1. Projects eligible for funding through ITEP include biking and walking paths, trails, streetscape beautification work and other improvements designed to encourage safe travel across the various modes of transportation at the local level.
Applicants can include local governments and regional planning commissions as well as nonprofit and private entities with a public sponsor. The maximum award is $3 million. For more information, including instructions on how to view and participate in webinars on the application process, visit the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program page.
Pritzker Issues Executive Order on Opioids
On July 29, Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order for the creation of a statewide office to oversee the distribution of an estimated $760 million to Illinois communities most affected by opioid addiction.
Illinois and other states are the recipients of a national $26 billion opioid settlement agreement with three of the country’s major pharmaceutical distributors: Cardinal, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen and one manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson. Last February, Attorney General Kwame Raoul announced that Illinois' expected share of opioid lawsuit revenue is $760 million to be paid over 18 years.
Attorney General Raoul revealed another potential agreement with opioid maker Allergan for as much as $2.37 billion. If finalized, this settlement, along with a settlement involving Teva Pharmaceuticals, could provide up to another $6.6 billion to communities nationwide.
The following statement can be attributed to Governor Pritzker:
“The opioid crisis will go down as one of the most disturbing examples of corporate greed and medical mismanagement in human history, giving way to an epidemic that has become more deadly almost every year of the last 40 years. This has disproportionately impacted communities of color, which have experienced some of the highest rates of overdose deaths in the state.”
ISACo will continue to keep counties apprised of the settlement and how eligible communities can access the funds.
A press release with additional information is available via this link.
NACo High Performance Leadership Academy
The NACo High Performance Leadership Academy is an innovative, completely online 12-week program created to equip frontline county government professionals with practical leadership skills to deliver results for counties and communities. (Click here to learn about NACo's Enterprise Cybersecurity Leadership Academy.)
With a robust curriculum developed by the Professional Development Academy in partnership with Fortune 1000 executives, public sector leaders, world-renowned academics and thought leaders, including General Colin Powell and Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, HPLA was designed specifically for the unique challenges and opportunities of serving in county government.
CORPORATE SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT
This week's corporate partner spotlight highlights ISACo's partnership with Christopher B. Burke Engineering.
Started in 1986, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. is a full-service consulting engineering and surveying firm specializing in civil, transportation/highway, municipal, traffic, water resources, environmental, structural and mechanical engineering. The company provides not only design services, but also planning, preliminary engineering, permitting, and construction observation. Christopher B. Burke Engineering, LTD. successfully completed the design, permitting and construction of numerous major transportation projects, flood control reservoirs, pump stations, embankments, water mains and water systems, storm sewers, and large open channels.
More information about the services provided by Christopher B. Burke Engineering is available via this link.
Click on this link to learn more about the benefits and opportunities available through ISACo's Corporate Partner Program.
Become an ISACo Member!
Is your county a member of ISACo? If not, why not?
ISACo is a statewide association whose mission is to empower county officials to provide excellent service to their residents.
ISACo member counties are comprised of forward-thinking public servants who recognize that the challenges confronting county governments require new and innovative ideas, collaborative solutions and collective advocacy at the state and federal levels of government.
Members of the association will benefit from education and training opportunities, peer-to-peer networking, shared resources and robust representation before policymakers at various levels of government. ISACo creates and connects county officials to these opportunities and successfully equips them to make counties ideal places to live, work and play.
If your county is interested in discussing membership in ISACo, please contact Executive Director Joe McCoy at (217) 679-3368 or firstname.lastname@example.org. ISACo member counties are listed here. Thank you for your consideration.