The government shutdown: What it means for affordable housing in Idaho

[Updated: Jan. 16, 2019]

Is Idaho Housing and Finance Association closed?

No. It is operating normally. Idaho Housing and Finance Association is neither a state nor a federal government organization. Idaho Housing is a self-supporting corporation and does not use state-appropriated funds, but it does partner with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for certain functions.

Will the government shutdown affect Idaho Housing’s ability to process home loans?

In short, no. Idaho Housing works with several Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs), which include Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Ginnie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are not funded by the government, remain open and are operating normally. Ginnie Mae will continue to guarantee mortgage securities despite reduced staffing.

FHA single-family loans  are still available to Idaho Housing’s lending partners. Idaho Housing and its lending partners are FHA approved, which means Idaho Housing and its lending partners have authority to underwrite any FHA loan. This means when one of our lending partners is underwriting a loan or pre-approving a potential homebuyer for an FHA loan, the lender does not need FHA approval to move along the process. If a lender has to reach out to the FHA directly, FHA’s Resource Center and National Servicing Center’s Call Center are available to answer questions. However, if questions need to be elevated to HUD staff, they may not be answered until the shutdown is over. The Internal Revenue Service announced it will begin processing tax transcript requests made through the Income Verification Express Service program. However, those requests may take longer than the 72-hour window lenders are used to. Idaho Housing will continue to purchase loans and follow GSE guidelines for tax transcripts.

I’m a federal employee on furlough because of the shutdown. What should I do?

Idaho Housing is following federal guidelines when it comes to government-backed or conventional home loans held by federal employees. Federal employees who are unable to make their mortgage payments because of the shutdown will not be reported to the credit bureaus.

If you are a federal employee with a loan through Idaho Housing’s HomeLoanServ who has been affected by the federal government shutdown, contact us at 800.526.7145 and press option 3 to speak with one of our housing advisors.

You will be required to show proof of employment as a federal employee, such as a pay stub or letter from the federal government. If a federal employee’s loan was delinquent before the government shutdown began, it is still considered delinquent.

Idaho Housing offers free, HUD-approved housing advisors to all Idahoans. If you are experiencing difficulty paying your mortgage, the best thing you can do is immediately contact your loan service provider and ask about your payment options. If you need more information or additional help, our counselors can advise you on what to do next or can act as an intermediary between you and your service provider. Idaho Housing does not offer financial resources to help pay a mortgage.

Will rental assistance still be covered?

Idaho Housing administers the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher rental-assistance program in 34 Idaho counties.* This program helps low-income families pay a portion of their rent. January rental assistance payments were made and HUD has indicated it will provide funds for February, meaning those who receive rental assistance through Idaho Housing should not expect any interruption in February. Idaho Housing has contingency plans in place should the shutdown continue into March.

I’m a developer, are HOME dollars or tax credits affected?

Idaho Housing administers HOME block grant funding and National Housing Trust Fund (HTF) dollars, which are HUD programs that encourage public-private partnerships to fund affordable housing. At this point, current developments using HOME funding have not been affected by the shutdown. Depending on the length of the shutdown, however, there could be delays in construction draw-downs. Low Income Housing Tax Credits, which have been allocated for 2019, aren’t affected.

Will homelessness services in Idaho be affected?

Idaho Housing oversees Idaho’s Balance of State Continuum of Care. ** Its role is to coordinate funding for a range of housing and service providers that help those experiencing homelessness in the state. HUD already has committed funds for use through September 2019 that can be used nonprofits.

*Idaho Housing does not administer Housing Choice Vouchers in Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley or Washington counties.
** The Balance of State consists of all counties except Ada County. The city of Boise oversees the Continuum of Care program in Ada County.

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