If you need information on affordable rural housing and rural America in a quick, easy-to-digest format, you need the HAC News.

HAC News: April 11, 2024

HAC News: March 28, 2024

TOP STORIES

April is National Fair Housing Month

This year is the 56th anniversary of the passage of the Fair Housing Act. HUD will celebrate the theme Fair Housing: The ‘Act’ in Action. For more information about fair housing rights or to file a complaint, visit HUD’s Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity website or call 1-800-669-9777. For information or complaints related to USDA rural housing, visit USDA RD’s Civil Rights site.

Flexibility increased for rural multifamily owners to use surplus cash

A new regulation will allow owners of properties with financing from USDA’s Section 515 and 514/516 rental programs to apply cash to approved soft debt. The agency says this change provides a new source of capital for property improvements. For more information, contact Michael Resnik, USDA, 202-430-3114.

USDA formalizes 30-day written eviction notices

Owners of Section 515 and 514/516 rental properties must give tenants written notification at least 30 days before terminating a lease or taking eviction actions. The notice must include instructions on how a tenant can cure the nonpayment to avoid eviction and how to recertify household income. These notices will be required after April 24, 2024, and they must be included in leases by September 25, 2025. For more information, contact Michael Resnik, USDA, 202-720-1615.

Native American loan guarantee program gets revised rules

HUD is updating its regulations for the Section 184 program, which have not been substantially revised since 1996. The department says the changes will minimize potential risk and increase participation by financial institutions. The new rules are effective June 18. For more information, contact Krisa Johnson, HUD, 202-402-4978.

RuralSTAT

There are more than 2,500 banks headquartered in rural areas, and rural banks comprise more than half of all FDIC insured institutions in the United States. Between 1995 and 2022 the number of rural headquartered banks declined by 57%. Source: HAC tabulations of FDIC data.

OPPORTUNITIES

Farmworker housing repair funds available

USDA’s subsequent Section 514 and 516 off-farm labor housing loans and grants may be used to improve, repair, or make modifications to existing off-farm labor housing properties. The deadline is June 18. USDA will hold a webinar for potential applicants on April 3. For more information, contact Jonathan Bell, USDA, 254-727-5647.

Pay for Success Program can support permanent supportive housing

The Justice Department’s FY24 Second Chance Act Pay for Success Program offers funds to states, cities, townships, counties, special districts, federally recognized Tribal governments, and community-based public and Native American housing authorities to address transition and re-entry services including permanent supportive housing for people with mental health, substance use, or co-occurring disorders who are or were involved in the criminal justice system. Applications are due April 25. For more information, contact DOJ at 800-851-3420 or grants@ncjrs.gov.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Dates delayed for part of new CRA rule

The deadline for banks to make changes to their assessment areas and their public files, as required by the 2023 Community Reinvestment Act final rule, is now January 1, 2026 rather than April 1, 2024. The federal bank regulators have also made technical amendments to the CRA rule and related agency regulations that reference it. Comments on the extended effective date are due May 13.

HUD posts resources on source of income discrimination

A new HUD webpage explains what source of income discrimination is and provides an interactive map to help families, PHAs, and landlords to identify jurisdictions that are covered by source of income protections for tenants with vouchers. There are also tips and resources for tenants and PHAs on what to do if such discrimination occurs, as well as strategies for how to reduce it. To support efforts to improve landlord participation, HUD has posted an HCV Landlord Strategies Guidebook on its landlord resources page.

USDA suggests changes for multifamily housing credit reports

To avoid the complexities of its current process, USDA proposes to change the way it obtains credit reports for determining eligibility and feasibility for its Section 515 and 514/516 direct rental housing programs. Rather than collecting fees and ordering credit reports itself, the agency would require applicants to provide credit reports. Comments are due May 28. For more information, contact Abby Boggs, USDA, 615-490-1371.

Rural home repair program instructions revised

Changes to the Section 504 homeowner repair loan and grant programs have been incorporated into USDA’s handbook.

USDA seeks input on Section 502 guarantee policy changes, offers new tool

A new online Policy Desk is intended to make it easier for lenders and stakeholders to provide feedback on proposed policy changes for the Section 502 loan guarantee program. Current proposals would revise servicing guidelines and simplify the mortgage recovery advance process.

Priorities changing for USDA multifamily guarantees

A regulatory change removes the priorities currently listed in the rules for the Section 538 multifamily loan guarantee program and inserts a general statement allowing the agency to set and change priorities for the program without going through the rulemaking process. For more information, contact Tammy Daniels, USDA, 202-720-0021.

Comments requested on participation in government decisionmaking

The Office of Management and Budget is developing a government-wide framework, common guidelines, and leading practices for public participation and community engagement in government decisionmaking. It requests input on the experiences of individuals and organizations, including those from underserved communities, with informing federal government decisionmaking and participating in engagement activities with government agencies; examples of leading practices in this space; and other recommendations for this effort. Comments are due May 17. For more information, email publicparticipation@omb.eop.gov with “PPCE RFI” in the subject line, or call Cherie Klein, OMB, at 202-881-6220.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Research considers why Native American borrowers pay more for home loans

The Center for Indian Country Development at the Minneapolis Federal Reserve examined the reasons why, on average, Native American borrowers pay more for home loans than White borrowers. CICD found that for Native American borrowers, living either on or off reservations, the disparity can largely be explained by heavy reliance on personal property loans used to purchase manufactured homes, and not by underwriting or demographic characteristics such as credit scores or incomes. The reliance on such loans likely stems from the lack of low-cost mortgage options available to Native homebuyers, CICD suggested, as well as factors such as diminished access to generational wealth. Data indicated it is not due to the higher prevalence of manufactured homes on reservations, nor to the ownership structure of trust land.

Information posted to help decarbonize affordable housing

The Affordable Housing Decarbonization Hub, offering housing providers access to resources and information for equitable decarbonization, was recently launched by Enterprise Community Partners, the Housing Partnership Network, and the Rocky Mountain Institute. The hub also allows users to submit questions to experts and to share suggestions for additional resources.

Connections between housing and climate change studied

Residential buildings are responsible for 20% of total primary energy consumption in the U.S., reports the Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkeley. Its report, Housing + Climate Policy: Building Equitable Pathways to Sustainability and Affordability, looks at the existing research on climate and housing in the U.S. in two key areas: how housing decarbonization and production strategies can reduce pollution to mitigate climate change, and how climate change impacts renters, homeowners, and the broader housing industry. This is the first paper in a planned Housing + Climate research initiative, intended to provide policy makers and advocates with evidence to advance effective policy solutions to both the climate and housing crises.

HUD reports on human trafficking survivors’ housing needs

Housing Needs of Survivors of Human Trafficking Study, a new report from HUD, notes that programs and services exist but are not scaled to meet survivors’ needs. In rural areas and Native lands, it says, housing and service resources for survivors are particularly scarce. The study recommends increased resources, low-barrier entry processes, trauma-informed approaches, culturally specific service delivery, and more.

Homeowners’ insurance costs rising

Nationwide, insurance costs for single-family homeowners with conventional mortgages have increased along with home values, though the effective rate (cost per dollar of value) has risen more slowly, Freddie Mac reports in a new analysis. U.S. Economic, Housing and Mortgage Market Outlook – March 2024 includes data showing that rates vary widely between states, based on hazards and state regulations.

HAC

Design workshops underway

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD), in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, HAC, and To Be Done Studio, kicked off its 2023-2024 CIRD Design Workshops with back-to-back events. The first CIRD workshop took place November 29-December 1 in Thompson Falls, MT where the U.S. Forest Service and local organizations are looking to revamp an outdoor recreation area. The workshop included hard conversations, problem solving, and development of strategies that best suited the community. Since the Thompson Falls workshop, CIRD has completed workshops in Boswell, IN, Sunnyside, WA, and most recently Grenada, MS. Look out for other CIRD workshop updates here and sign up for the CIRD newsletter here.

HAC is hiring

HAC job listings, each with application instructions, are available on our website.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including Tribes).

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

 

HAC News, March 14, 2024

HAC News: March 14, 2024

TOP STORIES

Administration’s FY25 housing budget proposes new programs for HUD

The Biden Administration released its request for the upcoming fiscal year on March 11. Tables and analyses are available on HAC’s website for USDA and HUD. The recording and slides from HAC’s annual budget webinar, held March 13, are also posted.

For most of USDA’s rural housing programs, the FY25 budget would hold funding at FY23 (not FY24) levels. The administration also repeats some proposals from last year’s budget request. Congress included in the FY24 final bill a limited pilot to decouple up to 1,000 units of Section 521 Rental Assistance from Section 515 and 514 mortgages so that, when a USDA rental housing mortgage ends, the tenants can continue to receive RA. The FY25 budget requests broader decoupling authority without caps. For homebuyers, the budget proposes to eliminate subsidy “recapture” for the Section 502 direct program, an expensive change that was requested but not adopted in FY24.

Many of the HUD programs that help produce housing, including HOME, CDBG, SHOP, and Native American housing, would receive funding cuts under the budget request. It proposes to produce new units, as well as assisting renters and people experiencing homelessness, through several large new programs. They would receive mandatory funding, which would not be subject to the caps on discretionary spending imposed by the 2023 debt limit agreement, and therefore are unlikely to be adopted. They would include the first-ever voucher guarantees, offered to all extremely low-income veterans and all youth aging out of foster care. The budget does continue current support for tenants, with a total of almost $32.8 billion to renew all Housing Choice Vouchers and provide 20,000 new incremental vouchers.

FY24 housing spending set

USDA and HUD are among the federal agencies that now have final appropriations for fiscal year 2024, which began on October 1, 2023. Summaries are available on HAC’s website. Negotiations continue in Congress for the remaining agencies, whose funding is scheduled to run out on March 22.

Most of USDA’s rural housing programs received spending cuts. The Section 502 direct mortgage loan program, for example, was reduced from $1.25 billion in FY23 to $880 million in FY24. The final measure also rescinds $28 million in unused Section 504 grant funds and $35 million in unused Section 542 voucher monies from past years. Many HUD programs were reduced also, with HOME falling from $1.5 billion to $1.25 billion and SHOP from $13.5 million to $12 million. Native American housing saw an increase, however, from $1.02 billion last year to $1.344 billion in FY24.

Secretary Fudge to depart HUD

Secretary Marcia L. Fudge has announced she will leave HUD on March 22 for family reasons. Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman will serve as Acting Secretary.

HAC announces new rental preservation center

The Center for Rural Multifamily Housing Preservation, a cross-disciplinary initiative to preserve rural rental housing, will focus on USDA-financed Section 515 properties, providing technical assistance and expertise to preserve the long-term affordability of this critical housing stock. It will draw on HAC’s unique combination of resources – lending, research, policy, and direct technical assistance – to both preserve individual properties and redefine the preservation process. For more information, contact Kristin Blum, HAC, kristin@ruralhome.org.

March is Women’s History Month

President Biden’s proclamation is posted here and information about federal events and exhibits is here.

RuralSTAT

85% of U.S. counties and Puerto Rico’s municipios have at least one USDA Section 515 property. As of February 2024, USDA’s portfolio included 12,398 Section 515 properties providing 388,572 rental homes for rural households and families. Source: HAC tabulations of USDA data.

OPPORTUNITIES

Indian Housing Block Grant application deadline extended

HUD has extended the original March 19 deadline for the competitive Indian Housing Block Grant to April 19. It also made technical changes in the announcement. For more information, email IHBGCompetitiveProgram@hud.gov.

HUD changes deadline for Service Coordinator funding

Applications for the Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing program are now due April 9 rather than March 11. For more information, email ServiceCoordinatorNOFO@hud.gov.

Domestic violence survivors support programs include housing

The Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women has several open funding competitions that include housing and/or related services for domestic violence survivors as eligible activities. Deadlines range from March to early May. These include Transitional Housing Assistance Grants (deadline April 11) as well as a program focused on rural residents (deadline April 16), one supporting people with disabilities and deaf people (deadline April 2), two programs for tribes, here and here (deadline for both is April 25), and others.

Funds offered for Building Communities of Recovery program

Provision of recovery housing is an allowable activity under BCOR. Through this program, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (part of the Department of Health and Human Services) supports the development, enhancement, expansion, and delivery of recovery support services for persons with substance use disorders (SUD) and co-occurring substance use and mental disorders (COD). Eligible applicants are independent nonprofits wholly or principally governed by people in recovery from SUD and/or COD who reflect the community being served. Applications are due April 29. Information contacts vary by topic and are listed at the end of the funding notice.

CAPITOL HILL

Senate committee hearing covers rural housing reform bill

The Senate Banking Committee held a hearing March 12 on bipartisan housing bills. Many Senators at the session focused their comments on support for the RHS Reform Act (S. 2790), in hopes of a committee markup for the bill in the near future. HAC supports the RHS Reform Act, which includes a slate of commonsense modernizations to the rural housing programs at USDA, and HAC CEO David Lipsetz testified on the bill in a subcommittee hearing last year. Several other bills that HAC supports were also mentioned during the hearing, including the new Tribal Rural Housing Access Act (S. 3906) introduced by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

FY24 area loan limits in effect for USDA RD single-family programs

The area loan limits for fiscal year 2024 are now available and are reflected in online resources for the Section 502 direct loan program and the Section 504 loan and grant programs. For more information, contact an RD service center.

USDA will not make some HOTMA changes to income calculations

Recent HUD regulations implement changes in calculations of tenant income and assets required by the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. A waiver notice from USDA Rural Housing Service Administrator Joaquin Altoro announces that USDA will not use one part of HUD’s rule for its tenants, though it will use others. For more information, contact USDA’s multifamily servicing staff.

Buy America FAQs published for some HUD programs

Programs run by HUD’s Community Planning and Development office, including HOME, SHOP, and many others, are covered by a new set of Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Build America, Buy America Act. The answers are based on the more detailed implementation guidance recently issued in Notice CPD-2023-12.

Survey seeks Buy America experiences

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials is collecting information to respond to HUD’s recent request for information about the impact of the Build America, Buy America Act. Please take NAHRO’s brief survey by April 5 to help NAHRO advocate for a workable implementation of the law. NAHRO requests one response per agency. This survey will help affordable housing providers complete the work that their communities need. For more information, contact Andrew Van Horn, NAHRO, avanhorn@nahro.org.

EVENTS

CIRD webinars to address design and rural disaster planning

Two webinars on Design and Disaster Planning for Rural Communities, hosted by the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, seek to demystify the process of planning for disasters. Disaster resiliency and response practitioners who center design, arts, and culture in their work will share their approaches and some successful projects, along with concrete best practices and key considerations for rural communities. Part 1 will be held on March 27 and Part 2 on April 17.

Conference will cover heirs’ property and the racial wealth gap

Boston College Law’s Heirs’ Property and the Racial Wealth Gap Conference will take place on March 21-22 and is free to attend either virtually or in person.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Report documents shortage of affordable rentals

The U.S. has a shortage of 7.3 million rental homes affordable and available to renters with extremely low incomes, as documented in The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Nationwide, only 34 affordable and available rental homes exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. The report provides data for each state and for major metro areas.

Disease-related death rates growing for working age rural Americans

Twenty-five years ago, “natural-cause mortality” rates were similar in metropolitan areas and places outside metropolitan areas. By 2019, however, the age-adjusted natural-cause mortality rate for the prime working-age population (aged 25-54) was 43% higher outside metropolitan areas, USDA’s Economic Research Service reports. A new ERS study, The Nature of the Rural-Urban Mortality Gap, finds that both an increase in the rural prime working-age rates and a decrease in the corresponding urban rates contribute to this growing gap. Natural-cause death rates did not increase for other age groups. The largest increases were for women in two racial/ethnic groups – non-Hispanic American Indian and Alaska Natives and non-Hispanic whites – though rates for men in these groups increased also. The more rural an area was, the greater its death rate increase was. ERS researchers did not address possible reasons for their findings, but Covid was not a factor in the data they used, which did not cover periods after 2019.

HAC

HAC is hiring

HAC job listings, each with application instructions, are available on our website.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including Tribes).

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

HAC News: February 29, 2024





Vol. 53, No. 5

TOP STORIES

Congressional leaders agree on FY24 USDA and HUD funding

On February 28, with funding for USDA, HUD, and some other federal agencies scheduled to end at midnight on March 1, congressional leaders announced they have reached agreements on several appropriations bills, including the bills covering USDA and HUD. Congress is expected to pass another continuing resolution extending funding for these agencies to March 8 and for the rest of the government to March 22. When the text of the bills, providing the funding levels for each program, are available, HAC will update our web pages on USDA and HUD funding.

USDA Equity Commission releases final report

USDA’s Equity Commission released its final report on February 22, strongly urging USDA to prioritize and invest in housing. It offers several recommendations related to housing and community facilities programs and to the operations of the Rural Development mission area. Shonterria Charleston, HAC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance, served on the commission’s Rural Community Economic Development Subcommittee.

Senate confirms Gooden as RD Under Secretary

On February 26, the full Senate approved President Biden’s nomination of Basil Gooden as USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development. Gooden, who has been USDA RD’s Director of State Operations since 2021, has also served in the Virginia state government’s agriculture and housing offices and as RD’s State Director for Virginia.

RuralSTAT

Over 85% of Black rural Americans reside in the Southern region of the United States. Source: Housing Assistance Council tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 Redistricting Data-P.L. 94-171. To learn more about race and ethnicity in rural America visit HAC’s Taking Stock report.

OPPORTUNITIES

HUD’s new manufactured housing program opens

The Preservation and Reinvestment Initiative for Community Enhancement (PRICE) supports efforts to maintain, protect, and stabilize manufactured housing and manufactured housing communities. Eligible applicants include nonprofits, local and state governments, Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities, multi-jurisdictional entities, resident-controlled manufactured housing communities, cooperatives, CDFIs, and Native CDFIs. The application process includes publishing for public comment and holding at least one public hearing. The deadline is June 5. For more information, email PRICE@HUD.gov.

Section 202 funds offered to develop supportive housing for the elderly

Nonprofits are eligible for HUD Section 202 capital advance funds to develop supportive rental housing for very low-income people age 62 or older, as well as project rental assistance contracts. The program can also support the development of intergenerational housing for elderly caregivers raising children. Applications are due June 20. For more information, email 202CapitalAdvanceNOFO@hud.gov.

ConnectHomeUSA broadband program expands further, extends deadline

Continuum of Care and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS grantees are now eligible for HUD’s ConnectHomeUSA demonstration program, which is intended to accelerate broadband internet adoption and use in HUD-assisted housing. PHAs, Tribes, and owners or operators of HUD-aided rental housing remain eligible. The deadline for all applicants has been extended to April 12. For more information, contact Dina Lehmann-Kim, HUD, 202-402-2430.

ReConnect broadband program to open in March

The application period for USDA’s Rural eConnectivity (ReConnect) program will be open from March 22 through May 21. Nonprofits, for-profits, coops, and state, Tribal, territorial, or local governments are eligible for loans and grants for construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service. For more information, contact Laurel Leverrier, USDA, 202-720-9554.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund amounts drop again

These resources, which provide affordable housing financing through states and CDFIs, respectively, receive funding based on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac business in the previous year. The Federal Housing Finance Administration announced on February 28 that, because the housing market slowed in 2023, the Housing Trust Fund will receive $196 million this year, compared to $354 million one year ago and $740 million in 2022. The Capital Magnet Fund will have $105 million this year, compared to $191 million in 2023 and $398 million in 2022.

USDA tenant data released

USDA has published annual data for tenants living in Section 515 rental or Section 514 farmworker housing. As of October 2023, the average income for all Section 515 households is $16,047. Almost 76% of Section 515 households receive Section 521 Rental Assistance; their average income is $13,696. As has been the case for many years, about two-thirds of the units are occupied by individuals who identify as elderly or disabled. Demographic and economic data for the portfolio are aggregated by state as well as at the national level.

HUD extends a HOTMA deadline for multifamily owners

Owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing are required to update their Tenant Selection Plans and Enterprise Income Verification Policies and Procedures to comply with the income and asset requirements of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. Their deadline is now May 31 rather than March 31. For more information, email MFH_HOTMA@hud.gov.

GAO recommends tailored outreach strategies after rural disasters

The Small Business Administration’s Disaster Loan Program helps homeowners, renters, and nonprofits, as well as businesses, to recover after disasters. The Government Accountability Office reports in Small Business Administration: Targeted Outreach about Disaster Assistance Could Benefit Rural Communities that rural communities’ characteristics, such as telecommunications limitations or lack of capacity to support recovery activities, may make it harder for them to access resources. GAO recommends that SBA distinguish between rural and urban places in its outreach and marketing plan and incorporate actions to mitigate rural challenges in accessing the Disaster Loan Program.

EVENTS

HAC will offer FY25 budget webinar on March 13

Join HAC’s expert staff on Wednesday, March 13 at noon Eastern to learn about the housing portions of President Biden’s budget for FY25. The budget request, set for release on March 11, will launch the process of preparing funding bills for the year that begins on October 1, 2024. Webinar registration information will be posted here when available.

HUD to hold webinar on local government innovation

How Local Governments Innovate to Meet Community Housing Needs will be held on March 21, both in-person in Washington, DC and online. Panelists will discuss a range of innovative housing production models at both the city and state levels.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

HUD examines impact of using national median income for places outside metro areas

Examining Increases in HUD Income Limits in Low-Income States, a HUD report requested by Congress, considers the effect of using the national median income for places outside metropolitan areas to determine eligibility for HUD rental programs. The study concludes that in states with low median incomes outside metro areas, using the national level would make more households eligible for aid. It notes, however, that that would simply mean program waitlists would grow longer because the programs are not able to serve more people.

Racial wealth inequality increasing

Racial and Ethnic Wealth Inequality in the Post-Pandemic Era, a blog post from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, reports that Black wealth is now less than it was at the beginning of 2019. By the third quarter of 2023, White wealth increased to $112.8 trillion, Hispanic wealth rose to $3.1 trillion, and Black wealth fell to $4.7 trillion. Real estate comprises 25% of Black wealth, 40% of Hispanic wealth, and 20% of white wealth.

Briefs suggest strategies and resources for equitable resilience

HUD has published a set of briefs offering strategies and resources on resilience strategies to be used in the immediate wake of a disaster. The briefs cover three themes: communicating early and often, identifying and assisting key populations, and reaching impacted residents.

Annual advocates’ guide released

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published Advocates’ Guide 2024: A Primer on Federal Affordable Housing and Community Development Programs and Policies, a comprehensive resource about the programs and policies that make housing affordable to low-income people across America.

Substandard housing for immigrant dairy workers described

Dairy workers are excluded from many legal protections and often live in poor quality housing, ProPublica reports in Immigrant Dairy Workers Often Endure Substandard Housing Conditions. The Law Doesn’t Protect Them. The news organization has investigated conditions for undocumented immigrants on dairy farms in Wisconsin, finding their homes are often unsafe, unhealthy, and overcrowded. These conditions are reported in other states as well, the article says.

HAC

HAC is hiring – more new listings!

HAC job listings, each with application instructions, are available on our website.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including Tribes).

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

 

HAC News: February 15, 2024

Vol. 53, No. 4

TOP STORIES

USDA and HUD funding now set to end March 1

The current continuing resolution, which holds most federal programs at FY23 funding levels, will end for some parts of the government, including USDA and HUD, on March 1, and for others on March 8. The funding totals available for individual agencies and programs for FY24, which began on October 1, 2023, are still being negotiated. Once again, Congress could enact individual appropriations bills, minibuses, an omnibus, another short-term continuing resolution, or a CR that covers the remainder of the fiscal year, or it could allow all or part of the federal government to close.

FY25 budget will be released March 11, HAC schedules webinar

On March 11, the Biden Administration will release its budget for FY25, beginning the process of preparing funding bills for the year that begins on October 1, 2024. HAC will post information about the budget request on March 11 and will hold its annual budget webinar on March 13. Webinar registration information will be posted here when available.

Banking groups sue to halt new Community Reinvestment Act rule

The American Bankers Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Texas Bankers Association, Independent Community Bankers of America, Independent Bankers Association of Texas, Amarillo Chamber of Commerce, and Longview Chamber of Commerce filed suit in federal court in Texas to vacate the recently released CRA rule. HAC’s preliminary analysis of the regulations noted some ways in which the CRA rule would likely benefit rural places. Some consumer-focused organizations have criticized the lawsuit.

RuralSTAT

In 2023 there were 89,200 shipments of new manufactured homes in the United States – a decline of 21% from 2022. Source: HAC Tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey data.

OPPORTUNITIES

Some USDA RD programs include community planning setasides

USDA Rural Development’s Strategic Economic and Community Development program is intended for projects that support multi-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral strategic community investment plans. Applicants may request the SECD setaside funds when applying for Community Facilities loans, grants, and guaranteed loans; Water and Waste Disposal guaranteed loans; Water and Waste loans and grants; and Rural Business Development Grants. The programs’ application deadlines vary. For more information, contact Gregory Batson, USDA, gregory.batson@usda.gov.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

HAC requests input as HUD seeks information on Buy America housing construction materials

Saying it needs better information in order to apply Build America, Buy America Act requirements, HUD is asking for comments on the domestic availability of iron, steel, construction materials, and manufactured products commonly used in HUD-assisted housing programs and infrastructure projects. HAC would like to know whether rural affordable housing providers can obtain this information and what guidance from HUD and USDA would be useful. To help HAC develop its response, please contact Leslie Strauss by February 29. HUD will hold a webinar on February 22 about this request. Responses to HUD are due April 15. For more information, contact Faith Rogers, HUD, 202-402-7082, or email BuildAmericaBuyAmerica@hud.gov.

HUD revises HOTMA income and asset calculation notice

HUD explains that the revised version of its HOTMA Implementation Notice (Notice H 2023-10/PIH 2023-27) provides updates, clarifications, and corrections based on industry feedback.

Duty to Serve modifications approved

The Federal Housing Finance Agency has accepted Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s modifications to their 2022-2024 Duty to Serve Plans. Both Enterprises cut a variety of their loan purchase goals in rural areas, citing market conditions as justification. HAC opposed these cuts in recent comments on the proposed modifications. Both Enterprises added modest updates to their goals around Native American housing, and Fannie Mae also added a variety of new goals around manufactured housing. Freddie Mac removed its USDA Section 515 purchase goal from the Preservation section of its plan but maintained the same goal in its Rural section. The Underserved Mortgage Markets Coalition, an alliance of leading U.S. housing organizations including HAC, has released a blueprint for the Duty to Serve plans Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must develop for 2025-2027.

Agencies update equity plans

USDA and HUD were among the federal agencies that released updated equity plans on February 14. These revisions are based on plans first presented in April 2022.

Data changes to be proposed

The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey will retain current questions about disability while the agency continues to work on revised disability questions after receiving thousands of comments responding to an October proposal. This spring, Census will propose changes on other topics, including adding new questions on sewage disposal, and will again accept public comments.

Federal accelerator supports state housing and service strategies

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HUD selected eight states (AZ, CA, HI, MD, MA, MN, NC, and WA) and the District of Columbia to participate in a new federal Housing and Services Partnership Accelerator. The states and DC will receive technical assistance and support to accelerate innovative strategies to provide housing-related activities and supports to persons with disabilities and/or older adults who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness.

Advisory council encourages use of historic buildings for housing

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the federal agency that writes regulations for historic preservation reviews of federally funded projects including housing, has adopted a policy statement on housing and historic preservation. The document acknowledges the U.S. housing shortage and states, “It is the policy of the ACHP to encourage and accelerate rehabilitation of historic buildings for housing and to assist in harmonizing historic preservation and housing goals.” For more information, contact Druscilla Null, ACHP, 202-517-1487.

HUD changes Native Hawaiian block grant rental regulation

After issuing a proposed rule in January 2023, HUD has now adopted a final rule revising the rental housing assistance provisions of its Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant program. For more information, contact Claudine Allen, HUD, 808-457-4674.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Rural definitions shape housing research

In a new working paper, In Search of Rural: How Varying Definitions Shape Housing Research, Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies examines 11 distinct definitions of rural to see how estimates of the size of the rural housing market, as well as the demographic composition and the nature of its housing challenges, vary depending on the definition chosen. The paper includes HAC’s rural definition.

New study highlights economic disparities for Black residents in every U.S. geography

The State of Black Residents: The Relevance of Place to Racial Equity and Outcomes reports that it will take 300 years for Black residents to achieve parity with White residents at the current rate of progress. Rural areas, particularly distressed rural areas, are the geography that comes closest to parity, because outcomes there are poor for residents of all races. McKinsey Institute for Black Economic Mobility researchers state that addressing the affordable housing crisis is a primary solution to achieving progress that will yield parity.

Story offers an example of homelessness in rural Texas

By following the journey of a 17-year-old, a story in the Texas Tribune highlights the particular challenges homeless teens face in rural communities.

Native nations building broadband

Native Nations with Scarce Internet are Building Their Own Broadband Networks, published by Stateline, describes the work underway by some Tribes to provide fast internet access for their residents, using resources such as federal economic recovery funds. The article notes that finding workers can be one of the many challenges involved, partly because there is a shortage of housing for them.

Affordable housing can meet building performance standards to reduce greenhouse gases or energy use

Some state and local governments have adopted building standards that require buildings to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, or both. A new ACEEE report, Nobody Left Behind: Preliminary Review of Strategies to Support Affordable Housing Compliance with Building Performance Standards, identifies tactics that local governments, community-based organizations, energy utilities, and other stakeholders can use to support affordable housing properties and their residents during the design and implementation of these building performance standards.

HAC

HAC is hiring – many new listings!

HAC job listings, each with application instructions, are available on our website.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including Tribes).

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

 

HAC News: February 1, 2024

Vol. 53, No. 3

TOP STORIES

Appropriations take one step forward

Top legislators in the House and Senate have reportedly reached agreement on the 302(b) spending totals for the FY24 appropriations bills. They have not announced the amounts publicly, so it is not known how well last year’s bills fit within these caps. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that because of cost increases, largely caused by higher rents, 112,000 HUD Housing Choice Vouchers would not be renewed under the House’s bill, or 80,000 under the Senate’s. CBPP’s analysis includes breakdowns of the shortfall by state, by race and ethnicity, and by other demographic factors.

Tax bill passes House

On January 31 the House approved the Tax Relief for American Families and Workers Act of 2024 (H.R. 7024), the tax bill that includes support for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The bill now moves to the Senate.

Half of all U.S. renters are cost burdened

An all-time high of 22.4 million U.S. renter households paid more than 30% of income for housing in 2022, a 50% cost burden rate, according to America’s Rental Housing 2024, a yearly report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. In rural areas, 40% of all renters and 72% of those with the lowest incomes were cost burdened. At the same time, the study points out, the numbers of affordable rental units are falling and a record high number of people are experiencing homelessness.

HAC releases major heirs’ property study

HAC, in partnership with Fannie Mae, developed an approach to estimate the prevalence of heirs’ properties throughout the United States. A Methodological Approach to Estimate Residential Heirs’ Property in the United States presents the first national approximation of heirs’ property specifically focused on residential parcels. Slightly over 500,000 properties were identified as potential heirs’ properties in 44 states and the District of Columbia, with nearly two thirds (64.6%) located in rural areas. The conservative estimated assessed value of these properties is $32.3 billion.

February is Black History Month

The 2024 theme for the month is African Americans and the Arts.

RuralSTAT

Cost burden rates are higher for rural renters than owners. In 2021, 23.4% of rural renters paid between 30% and 50% of their income for their housing, and an additional 21.5% paid more than 50% of income. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

OPPORTUNITIES

Innovative solutions to homelessness to be funded in some states

The Citi Foundation’s Global Innovation Challenge invites proposals from nonprofits with 501(c)(3) status either piloting or scaling a solution that directly impacts the lives of individuals, families, and communities at risk of or experiencing homelessness in a geographic area where Citi has a presence. In the U.S., work impacting California, Florida, Illinois, New York, or Washington, DC is eligible. Each award will be $500,000 for a two-year period. Register by February 13 and apply by February 29.

NEA offers funding to help strengthen arts and culture projects

Grants for Arts Projects funding from the National Endowment for the Arts is offered to organizations with programming that supports the arts, design, and community engagement. Projects can range in size and stage. Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. Initial applications are due February 15; there will be another funding round with a July deadline. Information contacts vary.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

FEMA aims to make Individual Assistance more equitable

An interim final rule amends the regulations governing FEMA’s Individual Assistance program to increase equity by simplifying processes, removing barriers to entry, and increasing eligibility for certain types of assistance under the program including home repairs, continued temporary housing assistance, utility and security deposit payments, lease and repair of multifamily rental housing, and more. This rule is effective for emergencies and major disasters declared on or after March 22, 2024. Comments are due July 22. For more information, contact Kristina McAlister, FEMA, 866-826-8751.

Disaster rebuilding programs to support energy efficiency

On January 30, FEMA announced that net-zero energy projects, including solar, heat pumps, and efficient appliances, will be eligible for its Public Assistance and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs. These programs help state, Tribal, territorial, and local governments, as well as some types of nonprofits, to rebuild community infrastructure and mitigate future disaster losses. Financial assistance for unobligated projects for any federal disaster declared after August 16, 2022 can be used for these purposes. Also, FEMA’s 2023 Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities funding announcement, which closes February 29, offers incentives for use of net-zero and clean energy approaches. For more information, work with a point of contact for your FEMA region or email FEMA-IRA-Implementation@fema.dhs.gov or fema-climate@fema.dhs.gov.

USDA issues guidance on tenant preferences

When funds such as Low-Income Housing Tax Credits are used to revitalize a Section 515 or 514/516 property, owners may be required to set aside a number of units with a preference for a certain population. New USDA RD guidance explains the agency’s conditions for accepting such a set-aside or preference. For more information contact Deb Reed, USDA, 712-254-4365.

HUD updates list of excluded income

Updating a notice published in 2014, HUD lists sources of income specifically excluded by federal statutes from consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility or benefits in a HUD program. It adds new exclusions and removes ones that are now codified in HUD regulations.

EVENTS

Webinar to cover heirs’ property and its consequences

Untangling Heirs’ Property: Navigating the Impact on Homeownership and Wealth Equity will be offered on February 28 by Rural LISC, featuring experts from HAC and elsewhere. Speakers will provide insight into the intricate nature of heirs’ property, its impact on homeownership, the broader consequences for wealth accumulation, and potential solutions to apply in your community. This is the latest installment of “Raising the Roof,” a webinar series dedicated to sharing innovations, trends, and best practices in rural housing.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Report describes “brutal cost” of Native communities’ lack of financial services

“Native people are all but severed from the financial infrastructure upon which this country runs,” reports the National Community Reinvestment Coalition in Redlining the Reservation: The Brutal Cost of Financial Services Inaccessibility in Native Communities. The study analyzed census tracts that overlap tribal territories in Arizona and New Mexico, home to about 300,000 of the 5 million Americans living on Tribal lands nationwide. It found that traditional mortgage lending is failing there, half of all home purchase loans on Tribal lands are used to purchase manufactured homes, Tribal lands receive less than one cent for each dollar loaned to small businesses in Arizona and New Mexico, and Tribal areas have higher quantified financial need than other rural areas. It recommends loan capital be routed through Native CDFIs. One of the report’s authors, Dave Castillo, is CEO of Native Community Capital and a member of HAC’s board of directors. NCRC will hold a webinar about the report on February 20.

Manufactured housing could offer first-time homeownership

A new report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, A Review of Barriers to Greater Use of Manufactured Housing for Entry-Level Homeownership, cites factors including negative perceptions of the quality of manufactured housing, market conditions, zoning and land use regulations, and access to mortgage financing. The authors suggest multipronged solutions are needed.

Repetitive flooding increasing, local data available

Losing Ground: Severe Repetitive Flooding in the United States, an updated data dashboard and analysis from the Natural Resources Defense Council, focuses on the challenges posed by increasing and repeated flooding. Low-income communities and communities of color bear the brunt of flooding impacts and have the least access to the necessary resources and support, NRDC reports. It recommends comprehensive reform of the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as mitigating flood risk for repeatedly flooded properties by, for example, elevating the buildings or helping the residents relocate. The dashboard shows the number of these properties in each state and NFIP participating community, as well as trends over time including how many of these properties were mitigated and how many dropped insurance without mitigation.

HAC

HAC is hiring

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

HAC News: January 18, 2024

Vol. 53, No. 2

TOP STORIES

Federal funding expected through February

It seems likely that Congress will pass, and President Biden will sign, another continuing resolution setting two new deadlines for government funding. Agencies that are currently funded until January 19, including USDA and HUD, will continue to receive FY23 levels of support through March 1. The rest of the government will be funded through March 8 instead of February 2.

House and Senate leaders have agreed on the total dollar amounts to be appropriated, with total non-defense discretionary funding – the category that includes housing – to be cut less than 1% from FY23 levels. They have not yet determined how to divide it among federal agencies, so it is not clear whether the bills proposed last year for USDA and HUD will fit these caps or how funding for specific programs will be impacted.

Tax bill agreement supports LIHTC but omits rural boost

A bipartisan tax bill, announced on January 16, includes changes to increase the availability of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, but does not incorporate all the provisions of the Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act (S. 1557 and H.R. 3238). One notable AHCIA provision that is not included in the new bill, but is supported in HAC’s 2024 Rural Housing Policy Priorities, would designate rural and Tribal places as Difficult Development Areas, giving their LIHTC properties a basis boost and enabling them to attract more resources. The bill also temporarily extends the Child Tax Credit, which helped decrease U.S. poverty when it was expanded during the coronavirus pandemic.

HAC sets 2024 policy priorities

The overarching themes of HAC’s 2024 policy priorities include the need for technical assistance and building the capacity of local affordable housing and community development organizations; expanding access to credit and finance; preserving rural rental housing; improving the quality, availability, and affordability of housing to buy and rent in rural places; and preserving, increasing, and tailoring resources for federal affordable housing programs serving rural populations.

RuralSTAT

USDA obligated 7,218 home purchase loans through its Section 502 direct loan product in FY23 – a 13% increase from FY22 levels. Source: HAC tabulations of USDA 205F and 205H reports.

OPPORTUNITIES

Indian housing funds available

Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities that have ever been allocated HUD Indian housing formula funding are eligible to apply for competitive Indian Housing Block Grant funds. The deadline is March 19. For more information, email IHBGCompetitiveProgram@hud.gov.

Appalachian Gateway Communities Initiative seeks to leverage community assets for improvement

In partnership with the Appalachian Regional Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts, the Conservation Fund will select teams from Appalachian communities near publicly owned lands for the AGCI. The program leads the community teams through developing collaborative projects. After completing a training program, teams can apply for seed grant funding to help implement their action plans. Letters of interest are due January 24 and applications are due February 6. For more information, contact Susan Elks, the Conservation Fund, 610-563-1516.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

HAC reports on USDA housing activity in FY23

HAC’s annual review of USDA housing obligations and historical trends shows that in FY23 the department obligated roughly 65,500 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $10.6 billion, and over $1.5 billion in Section 521 Rental Assistance to approximately 228,000 rural renters.

New cap on HUD income limit increases proposed

Every year, HUD adjusts the income limits that determine eligibility for housing aid. Since FY10, the annual increase has been capped at the higher of 5% or twice the percentage change in national median family income. HUD now proposes to cap the annual income limit increase at 10% and to continue not adjusting the limits for inflation. Comments are due February 8. For more information, contact Adam Bibler, HUD, 202-402-6057.

HUD proposes revisions for CDBG, ICDBG, and Section 108

Comments are due March 11 on changes intended to make it easier to use the Community Development Block Grant and the related Section 108 loan guarantee program as well as the Indian CDBG program. HUD’s proposal also would revise provisions related to Consolidated Plan and citizen participation requirements and would institute quarterly reporting. Comments are due March 11. Information contacts vary by program.

Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee nominations sought

HUD will accept nominations for committee membership through March 11. For more information, contact Teresa B. Payne, HUD, 202–402–2698.

USDA suggests changes to smoke alarm requirements

USDA, which already requires smoke alarms in its multifamily housing, is proposing to modify its Section 515 and 514/516 regulations to align with new statutory requirements for hardwired or 10-year non-rechargeable, sealed, tamper-resistant, battery-powered smoke alarm devices. Comments are due March 8. For more information, contact Barbara Chism, USDA, 202-690–1436.

Affordable Connectivity Program begins to wind down

The 2021 the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act revised and funded the Affordable Connectivity Program, which covers part of the monthly cost for internet service to low-income households. Since the program is not included in the Federal Communications Commission’s annual appropriations and has not received supplemental funding, it is expected to run out of money in April 2024. The FCC has begun winding down the program. It will stop processing new applications after February 7. Participants should receive notices from their internet providers explaining the support will end soon. For more information, consumers can visit www.fcc.gov/acp or call the ACP Support Center at 877-384-2575. A telecom news site reports that ACP’s end could also undermine the financial feasibility of the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment rural connectivity program.

Poverty guidelines get annual inflation adjustment

The national poverty guidelines, used as eligibility criteria for various federal programs, have been updated by the Department of Health and Human Services based on the 4.1% increase in the Consumer Price Index between calendar years 2022 and 2023. The poverty threshold for a four-person household in the 48 contiguous states and D.C. is now $31,200. The figures for Alaska and Hawaii are higher.

EVENTS

Webinar will cover rural fair housing planning

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity will hold an online “office hour” session January 30 providing tips on conducting a fair housing planning for rural and small metropolitan jurisdictions. Questions and answers will be included. This webinar is part of a series of monthly fair housing planning office hours.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

New federal funds and programs offer significant resources to rural America, with some barriers

The Brookings Institution analyzed programs that received billions of dollars in pandemic-era economic stimulus legislation for infrastructure, clean energy, climate resilience, and more. The resulting report, What’s In It For Rural? Analyzing the Opportunities for Rural America in IIJA, CHIPS, and IRA, says that over $464 billion, or about 45% of the combined appropriations, present significant opportunities for rural America. Researchers identified 66 new rural-significant programs, and about 2% of the total funding is exclusively for rural places. At the same time, the report says, the number of programs and their designs can create barriers to access for rural communities with limited capacity. The report offers recommendations to maximize the programs’ rural benefits. A webinar on the study will be held January 31.

Rural employment hits pre-pandemic levels

A Daily Yonder analysis of November 2023 employment data found that employment levels for counties both in and outside metropolitan areas grew at about the same rate from mid-2020 to early 2022. Metro areas reached pre-pandemic employment in January 2022 and have continued to creep higher since then, but places outside metro areas have seen inconsistent job growth over the past two years. Counties depending on mining and natural resource extraction had the lowest recovery rate.

People with disabilities face continuing housing crisis

Priced Out: The Housing Crisis for People with Disabilities, a web resource produced by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Constituents with Disabilities, was updated at the end of 2023 with the latest data on housing affordability for people with disabilities who rely on Supplemental Security Income. TAC reports that the 4.1 million people with disabilities ages 18 to 64 who receive SSI still cannot afford an apartment in any housing market in the U.S. without rental assistance, which is often unavailable. Data are provided for metro areas, states, and places outside metro areas aggregated by state.

Inadequate housing impacts the racial wealth gap

A new report from the Urban Institute, Implications of Housing Conditions for Racial Wealth and Health Disparities, highlights that inadequate housing conditions impact housing value for Black homeowners, contributing to the racial wealth gap often attributed to differing homeownership rates. Recommended policy changes to address these issues include support for renovation assistance.

Article examines population loss and ways to reverse it

The Long Decline: How Depopulation Hurts Alabama’s Rural Communities is the first in a series of Alabama Reflector articles describing demographic decline in the state’s rural Black Belt region. The story details the factors driving the decline and the efforts being made to change these trends.

HAC

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

HAC is hiring

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!

 

 

HAC News: January 4, 2024

Vol. 53, No. 1

TOP STORIES

Next appropriations crisis deadline is January 19

When the Senate and House reconvene on January 8 and 9, they will face two upcoming deadlines for fiscal year 2024 funding. The continuing resolution that is currently in effect split the 12 federal appropriations bills into two groups. Four of them – USDA, Transportation-HUD, Energy, and Veterans – expire on January 19, while the rest end on February 2. The Senate has passed funding measures for both USDA and HUD, each of them considerably different from its House counterpart. The House failed to pass its USDA bill and has not yet voted on HUD.

Congress could enact individual appropriations bills, minibuses, an omnibus, another short-term continuing resolution, or a CR that covers the remainder of the fiscal year, or it could allow all or part of the federal government to close. The Fiscal Responsibility Act, the debt ceiling compromise negotiated in spring 2023 that includes reductions in federal spending, requires funding cuts if full-year appropriations bills are not enacted by April 30, but the dollar amounts cannot be calculated yet, as explained in an OMB memo to heads of federal agencies.

January is National Poverty Awareness Month

The Census Bureau reports that the official poverty rate in 2022 was 11.5%, with 37.9 million people in poverty. Using the Supplemental Poverty Measure, which accounts for assistance and expenses that are not included in the official poverty measure, the 2022 poverty rate was 12.4%. The SPM child poverty rate more than doubled from 5.2% in 2021 to 12.4% in 2022.

RuralSTAT

Rural poverty rates, for all races and ethnicities, exceed those of their suburban or urban counterparts. One out of every three Black or Native rural Americans lives in poverty. These poverty levels are more than twice as high as the national poverty rate of 12.6%. Rural Hispanics, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders, persons of two or more races, and those who identify as other races all have poverty rates at 20% or higher. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017-2021 American Community Survey. To learn more about poverty and other economic conditions in rural America visit HAC’s Taking Stock report.  

OPPORTUNITIES

HAC invites proposals for Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans grants

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans with low incomes in rural places. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly, and/or disabled veterans with critical home repair, make accessibility modifications, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. The AHRV Initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due by 4:00 pm Eastern on Monday, January 22. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org. No phone calls please. Program staff will be available to answer questions during a webinar on January 10.

HUD launches Energy and Water Benchmarking

HUD’s new Energy and Water Benchmarking Service is available for properties participating in its project-based rental assistance programs. Property owners will receive data on energy and water consumption at their properties, as well as technical assistance and training. HUD intends the data to help identify opportunities for energy efficiency improvements and assess rehabilitation efforts that may be eligible for grant or loan funding under HUD’s Green and Resilient Retrofit Program or other sources of funding. HUD’s contractor, Leidos, will be contacting property owners to discuss the program. Owners may also contact HUD at mfbenchmarking@hud.gov to participate.

Resilience funding for government agencies available

FEMA’s Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation (STORM) Revolving Loan Fund Program will make grants to state, territorial, and Tribal governments to capitalize revolving loan funds that will help local governments reduce risks from disasters, natural hazards, and other related environmental harm. Applications are due April 30. For more information, contact FEMA staff, FEMA-STORMRLF@fema.dhs.gov.

ConnectHomeUSA broadband program expanding

HUD hopes to add urban, rural, and Tribal communities to CHUSA, which provides technical assistance and information to help PHAs and Tribes improve broadband connectivity and use in HUD-assisted housing. Applications are due February 15. HUD will hold a webinar for applicants on January 11. For more information, email ConnectHome@hud.gov.

USDA hiring Climate Change Fellows

Forty Climate Change Fellows with a range of skills are needed to help with applications from farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses seeking funding for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program. Three of the fellows will work remotely, reporting to USDA RD’s national office; 36 will be based in offices around the country and one in Puerto Rico. Initial appointments may be for up to two years, with extensions possible. USDA’s search is part of a broader American Climate Corps effort involving several government agencies, which will hold listening sessions and accept written comments through January 31.

AARP award to honor nonprofit founders

The AARP® Purpose Prize® will honor people age 50-plus who founded nonprofit organizations at age 40 or older and are still active. Awardees’ organizations will receive $50,000 as well as a year of supports and resources to help broaden their impact. Applications are due February 29.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Compliance dates extended for HOTMA income calculation rule

HUD’s Community Planning and Development office has extended the date for its programs to comply with the final rule on tenant income and assets under the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). CPD’s notice sets January 1, 2025 as the compliance date for the HOME, HOME-ARP, Housing Trust Fund, HOPWA, CDBG, Emergency Solution Grants, and Continuum of Care programs, as well as CPD programs funded through competitive processes. PIH Notice 2023-27 makes the same change for PHAs, and PIH Notice 2023-34 extends the deadline for the Indian Housing Block Grant program.

USDA RD announces new appointments

Sarah Dietch has been named Rural Development Chief of Staff. She has served most recently at the U.S. Peace Corps, and previously held senior roles at USDA RD and other federal agencies. Betsy Dirksen Londrigan, who has been RD’s State Director for Illinois since January 2022, will become the Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator when Dr. Karama Neal leaves the position in mid-January. Their appointments and others were announced in late December.

Treasury seeks input on financial inclusion strategy

The Treasury Department requests comments by February 20 to help develop a national strategy to broaden access to financial services among underserved communities and improve their ability to use financial tools and services. For more information, contact Natalia Li, Treasury, 202-622-1388.

HUD issues Buy America guidance for public housing

PIH Notice 2024-01 explains application of the Buy America requirements for PHAs. It does not apply to Tribes or Tribal entities.

Summer Meals for Children planning underway

States, Tribes, and territories can opt in to the Summer Meals for Children program offered by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. In addition to the traditional congregate summer meals program, some program operators now have the option to provide “grab and go” or home-delivered meals. A list of participating states and links to more information are posted here. Videos on the program are available in English (USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack) and Spanish (Deputy Secretary Xochitl Torres Small).

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Guides help older adults evaluate housing choices

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has published four free guides for older homeowners making decisions about their homes: “Leaving Your Home to Children or Heirs,” “Making Housing Decisions after Losing a Spouse or Partner,” “Making Housing Decisions when your Health Changes,” and “Using Home Equity to Meet Financial Needs.”

Renewables work well with resident-owned cooperatives

Grist reports on the benefits of resident-owned cooperatives in building climate resiliency. The article, titled How Mobile Home Co-Ops Provide Housing Security – and Climate Resilience, explains that owners are able to upgrade infrastructure quickly, while the co-op provides a community and shared knowledge and resources to invest in climate-friendly projects that reduce utility costs.

Residents fight to save historic Black communities

An Associated Press article and video highlight residents struggling to preserve the remaining historic Black communities, defined as settlements founded by formerly enslaved people. Approximately 1,800 Black historic settlements once existed in the U.S., but now fewer than 30 incorporated historic Black towns remain. Residents of Daufuskie Island, South Carolina; Eatonville, Florida; and other historic Black communities fight against zoning ordinances, home devaluations, and private developers to preserve their homes, communities, and cultures.

Advocates hope to include farmworkers’ rights and protections in the next Farm Bill

Farmworker groups and other organizations are working to include farmworker protections, such as safer working conditions, higher minimum wages, and overtime pay, in the next Farm Bill, according to a Modern Farmer article. Advocates hope their cause will be helped by the additional time provided when the current Farm Bill was extended through September 30, 2024. Since labor rights are outside the USDA’s jurisdiction, historically farmworker rights – along with housing provisions – have been excluded from the Farm Bill since its inception in 1933. To describe what farmworker advocacy can achieve, the article cites New York state’s recent Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, which grants labor rights such as collective bargaining and overtime pay to farmworkers.

Toolkit shows how energy efficiency can reach underserved residents, including rural

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy offers a toolkit titled Adapting Energy Efficiency Programs to Reach Underserved Residents. It highlights strategies that utilities and third-party program administrators can use to expand energy-efficiency program participation among all underserved households, with specific guidance on reaching income-eligible households, renters and residents of multifamily buildings, and rural communities. Strategies are rated by feasibility and by impact.

HAC

HAC’s office has moved

HAC’s new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, is 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number remains 202-842-8600.

HAC is hiring

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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HAC News: December 19, 2023

Vol. 52, No. 25

TOP STORIES

RHS Reform Act introduced in House

On December 14, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) introduced H.R. 6785, the Rural Housing Service Reform Act, a companion bill to S. 2790, introduced in September by Senators Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and Mike Rounds (R-N.D.).

Homelessness rises nationwide and in rural places

HUD data from January 2023 show the largest number of people in the U.S. experiencing homelessness since reporting began in 2007. The tally increased 12% nationwide from 2022 to 2023, according to the 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates. HUD suggests major drivers of this growth were changes in the rental housing market and the winding down of pandemic protections and programs, noting a particularly sharp rise in the number of people who became homeless for the first time. Eighteen percent of all individuals experiencing homelessness in 2023 were in largely rural Continuums of Care. For individuals, these CoCs saw a 7.4% increase in sheltered homelessness and 17.8% growth in unsheltered homelessness from the previous year. The pattern was somewhat different for families with children in largely rural CoCs, with a 7.4% drop in unsheltered families and a 7.5% increase in sheltered families. Overall, more than a third of all people in families experiencing unsheltered homelessness were in largely rural CoCs.

President tells federal agencies to support Tribal sovereignty and self-determination

An executive order issued by President Biden on December 6 affirms support for “the next era of Tribal self-determination” by designing and administering federal funding and support programs for Tribal Nations in a manner that better recognizes and supports Tribal sovereignty and self-determination. OMB and the White House Council on Native American Affairs will coordinate collection of information on funding needs, and federal agencies are directed to improve program administration.

Cross-sector group encourages FHFA to use updated energy codes

Nearly 80 consumer, energy, housing, health, manufacturing, and environmental organizations, including HAC, sent a letter on November 30 asking the Federal Housing Finance Agency to require that all new homes with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac meet updated energy codes. HAC policy director Jonathan Harwitz also coauthored a recent opinion piece in Multi-Housing News urging FHFA to adopt these standards. The letter to FHFA notes that updating energy codes would lower home costs, increase disaster resilience, improve health outcomes, reduce emissions, and reduce default risks. It also points out that action by FHFA would create consistent energy requirements for nearly all federally backed mortgage financing. HUD and USDA are moving towards adoption of these codes for some of the housing they finance, and HAC submitted a comment letter in August, signed by over 80 organizations from around the country, supporting their actions.

Happy holidays from HAC!

The board and staff of the Housing Assistance Council wish peace, prosperity, and affordable housing to all!

HAC will be closed from December 23 through January 1.

RuralSTAT

The median household income in the United States in 2021 was $70,784 while the rural median household income was below $59,000. A higher proportion of low-paying jobs in rural areas, combined with older age dynamics and lower educational attainment levels, are substantial factors in this income gap. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017-2021 American Community Survey.

OPPORTUNITIES

HAC invites proposals for Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans grants

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans with low incomes in rural places. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly, and/or disabled veterans with critical home repair, make accessibility modifications, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. The AHRV Initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due by 4:00 pm Eastern on Monday, January 22. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org. No phone calls please. Program staff will be available to answer questions during a webinar on January 10; check online for registration details.

Service coordinator funding available from HUD

Applications are due March 11 for the Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing program, which supports service coordinator positions for elderly individuals and non-elderly persons with disabilities living in properties assisted through the Section 202, project-based Section 8, or Section 221(d)(3) below-market interest rate programs. For more information, contact Oluwayemisi Oni, HUD, ServiceCoordinatorNOFO@hud.gov.

HUD extends a Green and Resilient Retrofit Program deadline

The application deadline for wave 3 of the GRRP Elements cohort is now March 28 rather than January 4. Elements funding can be used to add efficiency and resilience investments to rehabilitation projects that are in their final planning stages. For more information, email GRRP@hud.gov or join weekly office hours on Wednesdays (except for December 27).

Deadline extended for farm lending discrimination assistance

USDA will accept applications through January 13 for the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program, which offers financial assistance for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs prior to January 2021.

USDA reopens broadband funding availability, requires applicants to resubmit

The Rural Utilities Service has revised the definition of eligible service areas in the funding notice for its Community Connect Grant program. Those who applied under the notice published on March 20, 2023 must reapply. Applications are due February 20. Nonprofits, for-profits, and state, local, and Tribal governments are eligible. For more information, contact Randall Millhiser, USDA, 202-578-6926.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Senate committee supports Gooden for Under Secretary, RD names Denton to multifamily post

By a 23-0 vote on December 6, the Senate Agriculture Committee recommended the Senate approve Basil Gooden as USDA’s Under Secretary for Rural Development.

Angilla Denton, who has worked for Rural Development since 2002 and is currently RD’s Chief Risk Officer, has been selected to serve as the Rural Housing Service Deputy Administrator for Multi-Family Housing, effective December 31, 2023.

Pilot program will apply to Section 502 direct loans and community land trusts

USDA has launched a two-year pilot program to test alternative eligibility criteria for community land trust organizations. Community land trust sites are already eligible for Section 502 direct mortgages, but USDA’s notice explains that the community representation requirements are prohibitive for some affordable housing providers also acting as CLTs. The new pilot will test two waivers related to community representation. Affordable housing providers can apply to USDA RD state offices to participate. For more information, contact Jeremy Anderson, USDA, 202-302-3092.

Waivers for some Native programs in future disaster areas announced

Waivers and flexibilities from HUD requirements for the Indian Housing Block Grant, Indian Community Development Block Grant, and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant will apply for grantees in areas covered by presidentially declared disasters during calendar years 2024 and 2025. Grantees may also request a waiver or flexibility of a HUD requirement not listed in this notice. These provisions do not apply to Covid-relief related programs because HUD has issued separate waivers and alternative requirements that apply to those programs. For more information, contact Hilary Atkin, HUD, 202-402-3427.

HUD explains small rural PHA assessments

Notice PIH 2023-33 describes how HUD will implement assessments of public housing properties run by small rural PHAs. It explains the definition of “small rural,” how the list of such PHAs will be updated, the assessment process, financial data submissions, and more. For more information, contact Lara Philbert, HUD, 202-475-8930.

VA seeks comment on minimum property requirements

The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering changing the minimum property requirements for VA-guaranteed and direct loans. It requests public input regarding improvements, including whether VA should consider aligning its approach with other industry-wide property standards already in existence. Comments are due February 9. For more information, contact Stephanie Li, VA, 202-632-8862.

Federal agencies call for housing providers to help fight the overdose epidemic

HUD, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a joint statement urging public health departments and housing providers to make overdose reversal medications readily available at assisted housing facilities.

EVENTS

Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day is December 21

National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day takes place annually on December 21, the longest night of the year. The National Coalition for the Homeless, the National Consumer Advisory Board, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council offer an organizing manual to help communities hold memorial events or take other steps to remember people experiencing homelessness who have died in the past year. They are also collecting the names of those being honored.

National Alliance to End Homelessness launches course on providing trauma-informed care

The new online course, Providing Trauma-Informed Care in Homeless Response, covers the causes and effects of trauma and how to integrate this care into homeless response.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

U.S. not ready to provide housing and care for elders in coming decade

Housing America’s Older Adults 2023, a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, highlights housing statistics and conditions for the country’s growing older adult population, ages 65 and older. An all-time high of 11.2 million older adult households are housing cost burdened. Rural communities have higher concentrations of older adults, 40% of whom have annual incomes under $30,000. Racial homeownership and income gaps persist in the older adult population. Black and Hispanic older adults have less income and home equity than white seniors.

Housing shortages lead to healthcare worker shortages

Housing Shortages Are Making Recruitment and Retention Even More Challenging for Some Rural Healthcare Providers, an article on the Rural Health Information Hub, reports that towns without available rental and homeownership housing cannot find or keep much-needed workers in fields like health and education. The article relies on information from HAC, among others, about the shortfall.

Research identifies flood-prone “Climate Abandonment Areas”

The First Street Foundation has designated Climate Abandonment Areas in the contiguous United States, locations where population loss from 2000 to 2020 can be directly attributed to climate change related flood risk. First Street found that 113 million people live in areas where flood risk has already been impacting housing choice. The most extreme cases, Climate Abandonment Areas, saw a cumulative net loss of over 3.2 million in population in the last two decades, directly attributed to flooding. The report, Integrating Climate Change Induced Flood Risk into Future Population Projections, published in Nature-Communications, projects that over the next 30 years, the current Climate Abandonment Areas will continue to lose population while other flood risk places will begin losing residents and then will become Climate Abandonment Areas.

HAC

HAC’s office is moving

After 43 years in our current D.C. location, HAC is moving. Our new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, will be 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number will remain 202-842-8600.

HAC is hiring

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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HAC News: November 30, 2023

Vol. 52, No. 24

TOP STORIES

HAC provides preliminary analysis of new CRA rule’s rural implications

The new Community Reinvestment Act rule announced in October includes some important provisions for rural housing and community development. A new post on HAC’s website offers a preliminary look at these changes. For example, community development and retail lending are now given equal weight in the exams for large and intermediate sized banks. Also, it is now clear that all of a bank’s community development activities, even those not located in the bank’s defined Assessment Areas, count for CRA purposes. Other revisions are explained as well.

Research posters from HAC conference posted online, awards announced

Explore research posters online from the 2023 National Rural Housing Conference’s research poster session! The posters examine some of the most pressing issues facing rural America. HAC is thrilled to announce our poster contest award winners:

Fannie Mae extends pilot that reports positive rent payments to credit bureaus

Fannie Mae’s Positive Rent Payment pilot is being extended through December 2024, after its first year saw credit scores increase for almost 58% of participants. Fannie Mae will cover the costs of collecting and disseminating rent payment data for a 12-month period for multifamily property owner/operators of Fannie Mae financed properties who use an approved vendor to collect the data. Owners can enroll online. An explanation for renters is also posted online.

RuralSTAT

Rural America has historically had high homeownership rates. Rates in rural places and nationwide, however, are substantially lower for nonwhite residents than for white non-Hispanic households. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey.

OPPORTUNITIES

Environmental justice grants competition opens

EPA’s Community Change Grants program offers funds for environmental and climate justice activities to benefit disadvantaged communities through projects that reduce pollution, increase community climate resilience, and build community capacity to address environmental and climate justice challenges. Eligible applicants are community-based nonprofit organizations that partner with other CBOs, Tribes, local governments, or institutions of higher education. One of the program’s two tracks offers the option to focus on Tribes, U.S. territories, small unincorporated areas, or communities near the U.S.-Mexico border. Technical assistance is available. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis until November 21, 2024. For more information, email CCGP@epa.gov.

Grants offered for states and Tribes to create home efficiency rebate programs

State energy offices and Tribal entities are eligible for Department of Energy grants to create programs for Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates for high-efficiency electric homes and Home Efficiency Rebates for energy-saving retrofits in single-family and multifamily buildings. Rolling application processes are now open for states for both programs, and for Tribes for the Home Electrification and Appliance Rebates program. The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy offers information on ways to make these programs work for low-income residents.

Guidance available on tax credits for energy efficiency and community energy projects

The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act created new tax credits and improved existing ones for both property owners and builder/developers, for both housing retrofits and new construction. An overview of new programs is offered by Novogradac. A more detailed chart, published by Home Innovation Research Labs, covers eligibility, requirements, possible combinations with other programs, and more. A Treasury Department post focuses on use of these resources for multifamily housing.

The Section 45L New Energy Efficient Home Tax Credit for developers, including those using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, is summarized by Novogradac and IRS guidance is offered in Notice 2023-65.

The Department of Energy continues to accept applications for the Low-Income Communities Bonus Credit program, which provides up to a 20 percentage point boost to the Investment Tax Credit for qualified solar or wind facilities in low-income communities. The IRS released final rules and guidance on the program, also called Section 48(e), in August.

Nominations open for historic preservation award

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and HUD offer the 2024 ACHP/HUD Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation, which will recognize developers, organizations, and agencies for success in advancing historic preservation goals while providing affordable housing and/or expanded economic opportunities for low- and moderate-income people. Eligible projects must promote the use of historic buildings for affordable housing, community development, and/or expanded economic opportunities; include HUD funds, financing, or other assistance; meet preservation guidelines; and contribute to local and/or Tribal community revitalization efforts. Nominations are due December 18.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Revisions proposed for Section 502 direct, Section 504, and Section 306C

USDA proposes to amend the regulations for these programs “to reduce the regulatory burdens on applicants, borrowers, and partners by enhancing program delivery, expanding customer service, promoting consistency between the direct and guaranteed SFH loan programs where feasible and aligning the programs with current housing market conditions and mortgage loan practices.” Comments are due January 19. For more information, contact Sonya Evans, USDA, 423-268-4333.

HUD proposes eviction notice for assisted tenants

A proposed rule would require that when tenants who live in public housing or in properties receiving HUD project-based rental assistance face eviction for nonpayment of rent, PHAs and owners would need to provide written notice at least 30 days before beginning a formal eviction procedure. Comments are due January 30. Contacts for more information vary by program and are listed in HUD’s notice.

Treasury clarifies timing for spending Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds

In an interim final rule, the Treasury Department proposes to amend the definition of “obligation” in its regulations for the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund and the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The changes, which will clarify when monies must be committed and spent, are effective November 20, but Treasury will accept comments until December 20. For more information, contact Jessica Milano, Treasury, 844-529–9527.

EVENTS

HUD to offer “Manufactured Housing and Tribal Communities” webinar

The session, set for December 6, will discuss specific considerations and recommendations for Tribal grantees interested in developing manufactured housing. It is the latest in a series of HUD manufactured housing webinars. Recordings and materials of past sessions will be posted online.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

USICH releases homelessness research agenda

On November 30, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness published the first federal homelessness research agenda in more than a decade. The document, titled From Evidence to Action, is intended to shape federal investments in homelessness research and offer a roadmap to understand what works to prevent and end homelessness in the United States. It acknowledges that guidance must be tailored for specific populations and geographies including remote, rural, and Tribal lands.

ERS publishes rural data overview

USDA’s Economic Research Service has released its 2023 Rural America at a Glance report. The annual publication describes important demographic, economic, social, and housing trends over the last year. This year it shows that rural employment and annual growth rates are nearly back to pre-pandemic levels. A recorded webinar covering the report will also be available online.

HAC

HAC’s office is moving

After 43 years in our current D.C. location, HAC is moving. Our new street address, effective on January 1, 2024, will be 1828 L Street, N.W., Suite 505, Washington, DC 20036. Our phone number will remain 202-842-8600.

HAC is hiring

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan fund provides low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

Want to reprint a HAC News item?

Please credit the HAC News and provide a link to HAC’s website. Thank you!