HAC News

HAC News: February 5, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 5, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 3

• February is National African American History Month • Farm bill extends housing eligibility for rural places • FY15 Administration budget to be delayed • USDA Rural Development revamping environmental regulations • Liquid asset poverty disproportionate among low-income and people of color • Research finds location impacts upward mobility • Upcoming HAC Events Cover Energy, 502, Seniors, and Veterans

February, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 3


FARM BILL EXTENDS HOUSING ELIGIBILITY FOR RURAL PLACES. President Obama is expected to sign the farm bill into law; it passed the House on January 29 and the Senate on February 4. The bill includes language extending growing places’ eligibility for USDA rural housing programs. Communities that have been eligible, including about two dozen places that have been designated eligible under some provision of law, will continue to be “grandfathered in” – that is, they will remain eligible – until receipt of 2020 census data or until their populations reach 35,000. The farm bill increases the previous population limit from 25,000 to 35,000. The grandfathering provision of the FY14 omnibus appropriations bill, which maintains the 25,000 cap, will be in effect through September 30, and then the farm bill’s provisions will take effect. Contact HAC’s Mike Feinberg, 202-842-8600.

FY15 ADMINISTRATION BUDGET TO BE DELAYED. The Obama Administration has announced that its FY15 budget request to Congress will come out on March 4. By law the annual budget request is supposed to go to Congress by the first Monday in February. The congressional appropriations process begins after the budget submission, but even with the late start the process may move quickly because the budget agreement reached in late 2013 set discretionary spending caps for two fiscal years – 2014 and 2015 – rather than the usual one. In theory this will avoid a repeat of deadlocked or delayed budget negotiations, allowing Congress to complete FY15 appropriations bills in a more timely fashion. Appropriations are supposed to be, but seldom are, in place by October 1.

USDA RURAL DEVELOPMENT REVAMPING ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS. RD has proposed to update the regulations on environmental policies and procedures that apply to all RD programs. It would also consolidate two separate rules into one. Comments are due April 7. Contact Mark S. Plank, RD, 202-720-1649.

LIQUID ASSET POVERTY DISPROPORTIONATE AMONG LOW-INCOME AND PEOPLE OF COLOR. CFED’s annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard provides state level data for five issue areas, including housing. It reports that 44% of U.S. households have less than three months’ worth of savings. For low-income households the figure is 78%, and for households of color, 61%. All but one of the 10 states with the worst liquid asset poverty are in the South: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas.

RESEARCH FINDS LOCATION IMPACTS UPWARD MOBILITY. Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States, a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper by researchers at Harvard and UC-Berkeley, compares the incomes of parents when their children were teenagers to the incomes of the children when they were about 30. Places with high mobility have less residential segregation, less income inequality, better primary schools, greater social capital, and greater family stability. Regionally, upward mobility is lowest in the Southeast and highest in the Great Plains. There are variations within regions as well. Rural residents are more upwardly mobile than urban ones: while 44.6% of all children who grew up in rural areas lived in urban areas at age 30, 55.2% of those who rose from the bottom quintile of the national income distribution to the top quintile grew up in rural areas and lived in urban places at age 30. Email info@equality-of-opportunity.org.


March 25-26: “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Systems for Affordable Housing Development” in Memphis, TN, will cover energy efficient development practices and renewable energy technologies in rural affordable housing. The course will include site visits.
March 25-27: “Section 502 Packaging Training for Nonprofit Developers,” held in Memphis, TN, will be an advanced course teaching participants to assist potential borrowers and to work with RD staff, as well as other nonprofit organizations, to deliver successful Section 502 loan applications.
April 9: “Serving Veterans in Rural America: A Symposium,” held on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, will draw attention to our rural veterans and showcase programs and initiatives that help with housing, health, and employment needs. Senior federal officials from HUD, USDA and VA are confirmed speakers.
April 22-23:Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development, and Services,” held in Phoenix, AZ, is targeted to rural housing providers. The agenda will feature discussions of federal and other housing programs for veterans and the aging, including home repair, rental housing, and services for the homeless. Successful best practices will be featured.