HAC News

HAC News: June 25, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 25, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 13

• USDA and HUD funding stalls in Senate • HUD and OMB nominations proceed • Obama visits Standing Rock Reservation, HUD offers ICDBG funds • USDA will make rural broadband grants • ROSS funds and Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants available • Final changes made to project-based and tenant-based voucher programs • HUD implements FY14 appropriations law provisions • USDA RD to monitor Section 502 direct delinquencies more closely • Travel scholarships available for HUD CHDO workshops on new HOME rule • Rural housing obligations lag, NRHC expresses concern about 502 direct • Elders in HUD-subsidized housing have greater health needs than peers • State of the Nation’s Housing report to be released June 26

June 25, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 13

USDA AND HUD FUNDING STALLS IN SENATE. On June 19 the Senate halted progress, at least temporarily, on FY15 spending bills after Republicans and Democrats were unable to agree on a process for offering and voting on amendments to a mini-omnibus package (H.R. 4660) that combined three funding bills, including USDA and Transportation-HUD. Negotiations continue but it now appears more likely that a continuing resolution will be needed to start the new fiscal year on October 1. Both Senate and House had been moving quickly on the 2015 spending bills. The House has passed its T-HUD bill and put discussion of its USDA bill on hold indefinitely (see HAC News, 6/11/14).

HUD AND OMB NOMINATIONS PROCEED. On June 25, Senate committees voted to support the nominations of Julian Castro for HUD Secretary and Shaun Donovan for OMB director (see HAC News, 5/28/14). On June 19, the Senate confirmed Gustavo Velasquez Aguilar as HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity.

OBAMA VISITS STANDING ROCK RESERVATION, HUD OFFERS ICDBG FUNDS. On June 13 President and Mrs. Obama spent time in Cannonball, ND, in only the third visit by a sitting president to Indian Country. The trip focused on education and jobs; neither Obama’s announcement of the visit nor his remarks that day mentioned housing. HUD did announce its NOFA for FY14 Indian Community Development Block Grants the same day. Applications are due July 29. The contact person for the NOFA is Roberta Youmans, HUD, 202-402-3316.

USDA WILL MAKE RURAL BROADBAND GRANTS. Nonprofits, for-profits, tribes, and state or local governments are eligible for Community Connect grants to provide broadband service to areas currently without it. Deadline is July 7. Contact Rural Utilities Service, community.connect@wdc.usda.gov, 202-690-4673.

ROSS FUNDS AND CHOICE NEIGHBORHOOD PLANNING GRANTS AVAILABLE. PHAs, tribes, tribal housing entities, resident associations, and nonprofits can apply by August 18 for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency – Service Coordinators Program to coordinate supportive services and activities for public and Indian housing residents. Contact Dina Lehmann-Kim, HUD, 202-402-2430. PHAs, tribal entities, local governments, and nonprofits can apply by August 12 for Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants to develop revitalization plans. Contact ChoiceNeighborhoods@hud.gov.

FINAL CHANGES MADE TO PROJECT-BASED AND TENANT-BASED VOUCHER PROGRAMS. The final regulation follows a proposed rule published in May 2012 (see HAC News, 5/16/12). Contact Michael Dennis, HUD, 202-402-3882.

HUD IMPLEMENTS FY14 APPROPRIATIONS LAW PROVISIONS. Changes include defining “extremely low-income families” as having incomes below the poverty level or 30% of Area Median Income, authorizing housing inspections every two years instead of annually, and capping some utility allowances. Contact Michael Dennis, HUD, 202-402-4059.

USDA RD TO MONITOR SECTION 502 DIRECT DELINQUENCIES MORE CLOSELY. An Unnumbered Letter dated June 12, 2014 requires states (not identified in the UL) with first and second year delinquency rates higher than the national average to use an Underwriting, Pre-Closing and Compliance Tool. RD will provide state offices with reports showing performance at the county level. Contact Migdaliz Bernier or Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-720-1474.

TRAVEL SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE FOR HUD CHDO WORKSHOPS ON NEW HOME RULE. “CHDO Workshop: Understanding the 2013 HOME Final Rule” will be offered in many locations in July and August. Registration is free for CHDO staff. HUD has some travel scholarships available, funded partly by HAC. Contact Rachael Ballard, rballard@tdainc.org, 203-241-2410.

RURAL HOUSING OBLIGATIONS LAG, NRHC EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT 502 DIRECT. HAC’s latest USDA RD Program Obligation Reportshows that, as of the end of May, USDA had obligated nearly $2.9 billion less than at the same time last year. The National Rural Housing Coalition has written to RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez expressing concern about the lag in Section 502 direct commitments and supporting increased attention and improved technology for processing direct loans. Subscribe at HAC’s website to receive email notices when HAC’s obligations reports are released monthly. Contact Michael Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

ELDERS IN HUD-SUBSIDIZED HOUSING HAVE GREATER HEALTH NEEDS THAN PEERS. Picture of Housing and Health: Medicare and Medicaid Use Among Older Adults in HUD-Assisted Housing, a report financed by HUD and HHS, reviewed data for 11 metro areas and the state of Vermont. HUD-assisted residents in the study areas were more likely to be dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and were also sicker and more costly to both programs than their non-subsidized peers in the community.

STATE OF THE NATION’S HOUSING REPORT TO BE RELEASED JUNE 26. The annual study, supported in part by HAC, will be released by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies on a live webcast.