HAC News Formats. pdf
March 18, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 5
• Members of Congress question self-help cuts and Rental Assistance calculations. • National Housing Trust Fund gets $186 million • HUD offers funds for lead hazard reduction and control • Household Water Well System grants available • HUD seeks comments on fair housing assessment tool • IRS sets sub-metering rule for utility allowances in LIHTC properties • HUD issues streamlining regulation • Comment deadlines extended for Capital Magnet Fund and over-income HUD tenants • Hispanic homeownership increased while national homeownership fell • Housing Landscape 2016 and online data show affordability for working households • Rural Voices magazine covers rural homelessness
HAC News Formats. pdf
March 18, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 5
Members of Congress question self-help cuts and Rental Assistance calculations. USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Lisa Mensah and agency administrators, including Rural Housing Service head Tony Hernandez, testified March 15 before the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. Subcommittee members criticized the Administration budget’s request to cut Section 523 self-help funding from $27.5 million in FY16 to $18.5 million in FY17. Mensah explained USDA “loves” self-help but had to make difficult choices in order to keep the request within the spending cap set by Congress. Given the FY15 shortfall in Section 521 Rental Assistance funds, members asked how the FY17 request for $1.4 billion was calculated. Mensah assured them USDA’s new way of calculating RA needs would be more accurate than past estimates. Asked how USDA was preparing for maturing mortgages in the Section 515 and 514 programs, Mensah said they were using “all tools at our disposal.” She and Hernandez both said new rental construction will be needed to replace some rental properties.
National Housing Trust Fund gets $186 million. The money comes from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose NHTF contributions were suspended until this year. HUD will allocate funds to a lead agency in each state; this year most states will get $3 million. HUD will issue guidelines this month for states to develop state allocation plans for use of the funds. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s website has NHTF information, including a slideshow on state allocation plans.
HUD offers funds for lead hazard reduction and control. States, tribes, and local governments are eligible for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grants and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants to identify and control lead-based paint hazards in privately owned rental or owner-occupied housing. Deadline for both programs is April 28. Contact Mark F. Sorbo, HUD, 202-402-5144.
Household Water Well System grants available. The program makes grants to nonprofits, which then make loans of up to $11,000 to homeowners to construct or repair household water wells for existing homes. Obtain application materials online or at 202-720-9583 and apply by May 9. Contact Derek Jones, RUS, 202-720-9640.
HUD seeks comments on fair housing assessment tool. Comments are due May 10 on the tool for states and insular areas implementing the new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing final rule (see HAC News, 7/8/15). Separate tools will be provided for local governments and for PHAs. Contact Dustin Parks, HUD, 202-708-1112.
IRS sets sub-metering rule for utility allowances in LIHTC properties. Buildings with funding from USDA or HUD will continue to be governed by those agencies’ utility allowance rules. Comments are due May 2. Contact James Rider, IRS, 202-317-4137.
HUD issues streamlining regulation. The rule implements statutory changes made in HUD’s 2014 and 2015 appropriations acts, streamlines some regulatory requirements of rental assistance programs, and aligns some requirements across programs, including HOPWA and HOME. Contact a HUD program office.
Comment deadlines extended for Capital Magnet Fund and over-income HUD tenants. The CDFI Fund published an interim rule in February (see HAC News, 2/17/16) with comments due on April 8. The deadline is now May 8. Contact Marcia Sigal, CDFI Fund. Comments on HUD’s proposal regarding over-income public housing residents (see HAC News, 2/3/16) are now due on April 11. Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732–2056.
Hispanic homeownership increased while national homeownership fell. The State of Hispanic Homeownership Report, published by the Hispanic Wealth Project and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, says that from the fourth quarter of 2014 to the fourth quarter of 2015 the Hispanic homeownership rate increased from 44.5 percent to 46.7 percent. The Report also identifies major barriers to Latino homeownership such as access to affordable mortgage credit, the number of culturally competent professionals in the industry, and a shortage of housing inventory in many major markets.
Housing Landscape 2016 and online data show affordability for working households. The National Housing Conference’s annual analysis reports that demand for rental homes is increasing and rents are rising for working households, defined as those whose members work a total of at least 20 hours a week on average and whose household income does not exceed 120% of the area median. Data for states and metro areas is online.
Rural Voices magazine covers rural homelessness. The March 2016 issue of HAC’s magazine highlights rural communities’ efforts to address the unique challenges presented by homelessness in rural places. Sign up online to receive email notices when new issues are published.