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 1, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • AmeriCorps expansion to include housing work • Rural utilities administrator named • HUD launches new homelessness program • Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program begins • New Markets Tax Credit NOFA amended • Energy weatherization amendments adopted • HUD releases income data • Federal Home Loan Bank capitalization comments deadline extended to May 15 • Comments requested on housing tax credit data • USDA housing appeals results now online • HUD delays income verification rule • Vilsack housing remarks posted on HAC’s website • Congressman asks Vilsack about USDA office closings

April 1, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 7

AMERICORPS EXPANSION TO INCLUDE HOUSING WORK. H.R. 1388, the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, would greatly increase the number of AmeriCorps workers and would make a number of affordable housing activities eligible for the program. It passed the House on March 18 and the Senate on March 26, and a compromise version is expected to be adopted this week. H.R. 1388 is available at https://thomas.loc.gov.

RURAL UTILITIES ADMINISTRATOR NAMED. On March 25, President Obama named Jonathan S. Adelstein to be Administrator of USDA RD’s Rural Utilities Service. Visit https://www.rurdev.usda.gov.

HUD LAUNCHES NEW HOMELESSNESS PROGRAM. The Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, created by the recent stimulus bill, will cover rent and some other costs for up to 15 months for very low-income individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. HPRP grants will go to states, territories, metro cities, and urban counties, which must first submit substantial amendments to their 2008 Consolidated Plans. They can make subgrants to local governments and nonprofits by September 30, 2009. Visit https://www.hud.gov/recovery/homeless-prevention.cfm. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 1-800-998-9999, or submit a question at the bottom of https://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewHPRP.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND CONSERVATION BLOCK GRANT PROGRAM BEGINS. States can apply to the Department of Energy by May 26 and local governments (cities over 35,000 population or the 10 largest cities in a state) and tribes by June 25. Each state must subgrant at least 60% of its funds to places not eligible to apply directly. Eligible activities include improving buildings’ energy efficiency. Visit https://www.eecbg.energy.gov/#le1. Contact Lisa Kuzniar, DOE, lkuzni@netl.doe.gov.

NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT NOFA AMENDED. Deadline is still April 8. See Federal Register, 3/26/09 or https://www.cdfifund.gov. Contact CDFI Fund staff, cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, 202-622-6355.

ENERGY WEATHERIZATION AMENDMENTS ADOPTED. Among the changes to the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program for Low-Income Persons regulations are: people with incomes up to 200% of poverty (instead of 150%) are now eligible, each state must spend a minimum average of $6,500 per unit (rather than $2,500), and Puerto Rico is now treated as a state. See Federal Register, 3/25/09 or https://apps1.eere.energy.gov/weatherization/. Contact Jean Diggs, DOE, 202-586-8506, jean.diggs@ee.doe.gov.

HUD RELEASES INCOME DATA. Estimated median family incomes and income limits for FY 2009 are available at https://www.huduser.org/datasets/il/il09/index.html. For the first time, HUD has also developed a new set of income limits specifically for projects that use Low Income Housing Tax Credits or tax-exempt bonds. Information on limits for these “Multifamily Tax Subsidy Projects” is at https://www.huduser.org/datasets/mtsp.html.

FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANK CAPITALIZATION COMMENTS DEADLINE EXTENDED TO MAY 15. (See HAC News, 2/4/09.) See Federal Register, 3/26/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Julie Paller, Federal Housing Finance Agency, 202-408-2842.

COMMENTS REQUESTED ON HOUSING TAX CREDIT DATA. Comments are due May 29 on standards for collecting data about Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties’ residents. See Federal Register, 3/30/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Michael K. Hollar, HUD, 202-402-5878, Michael.K.Hollar@hud.gov.

USDA HOUSING APPEALS RESULTS NOW ONLINE. At the bottom right of https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs/ are links to lists of dispositions of National Appeals Division housing cases, identified by NAD case numbers.

HUD DELAYS INCOME VERIFICATION RULE. Changes to income determination requirements (see HAC News, 2/4/09 and 2/18/09) will become effective on September 30 instead of March 30. See Federal Register, 3/27/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Nicole Faison, HUD, 202-708-0744.

VILSACK HOUSING REMARKS POSTED ON HAC’S WEBSITE. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack was a keynote speaker at a rental housing conference in Washington, D.C. on March 17 sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the National Housing Conference. Visit https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009USDASEC.php.

CONGRESSMAN ASKS VILSACK ABOUT USDA OFFICE CLOSINGS. Rep. Lincoln Davis (D-Tenn.) recently expressed concerns to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack about the closing of local RD offices and asked for details about office closures since 2000. Visit https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009Davis.php.

GREEN CLINICS AND SYMPOSIUM OFFERED BY NEIGHBORWORKS IN PHOENIX, MAY 4-6. Visit https://www.nw.org/network/training/upcoming/PHXNTI09.asp.

HAC News: March 18, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • Tonsager nominated to head Rural Development • Senators release rural agenda • RBOG grants competition open • Census seeks input on providing better data for small areas • Comments sought on suspending new H-2A farmworker rules • Capital Magnet Fund comments requested • New deadlines set for OMB review and RD guaranteed loan platform • Q&A describes HUD VA veterans vouchers • HUD warns of deceptive website • Fannie Mae streamlines loan lookup site for borrowers • State foreclosure laws studied • Guides help improve manufactured housing ownership • USDA RD spending in FY 2008 consistent with recent past, HAC finds • Survey on rural use of Neighborhood Stabilization Program

March 18, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 6

TONSAGER NOMINATED TO HEAD RURAL DEVELOPMENT. President Obama has announced he will appoint Dallas P. Tonsager to be USDA’s Under Secretary for Rural Development. Tonsager served as South Dakota state RD director in the Clinton Administration. For details, visit https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/.

SENATORS RELEASE RURAL AGENDA. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas), Chair of Rural Outreach for the Senate Democratic Caucus, recently unveiled a rural outreach website and an agenda at https://www.democrats.senate.gov/rural/.

RBOG GRANTS COMPETITION OPEN. Contact RD state offices for Rural Business Opportunity Grant program application information. Deadline is March 31. See Federal Register, 3/12/09 or https://www.grants.gov.

CENSUS SEEKS INPUT ON PROVIDING BETTER DATA FOR SMALL AREAS. The Census Bureau requests comments by April 20 on its plans to provide American Community Survey data estimates for five-year periods, which would include small area data. See Federal Register, 3/06/09 or https://www.census.gov/acs. Contact Susan Schechter, Census, 301-763-8950, Susan.Schechter.Bortner@census.gov.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON SUSPENDING NEW H-2A FARMWORKER RULES. The Department of Labor is considering suspending its new rules on certifying H-2A workers and enforcing employers’ contractual obligations. The previous rules would be reinstated temporarily. Comments on the proposed suspension are due March 27. See Federal Register, 3/17/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact William Carlson, DOL, 202-693-3010.

CAPITAL MAGNET FUND COMMENTS REQUESTED. Comments are due May 5 regarding the CDFI Fund’s design, implementation, and administration of the Capital Magnet Fund created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. See Federal Register, 3/6/09 or https://www.cdfifundgov. Contact cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov.

NEW DEADLINES SET FOR OMB REVIEW AND RD GUARANTEED LOAN PLATFORM. t Comments on improving OMB’s regulatory review process (see HAC News, 3/4/09) are now due March 31. See Federal Register, 3/17/09. Contact Mabel Echols, OMB, 202-395-6880. • USDA’s unified platform for some guaranteed loans (not including housing; see HAC News, 1/7/09) will be effective on June 1. See Federal Register, 3/6/09. Contact Michael Foore, RD, Michael.Foore@wdc.usda.gov, 202-690-4730.

Q&A DESCRIBES HUD VA VETERANS VOUCHERS. A chart explaining the HUD VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program is at https://www.hudhre.info/documents/HUD_VASH_QA.pdf

HUD WARNS OF DECEPTIVE WEBSITE. HUD warns that https://bailout.hud-gov.us is a “bogus and deceptive website” that mimics government sites and asks for personal information from people looking for help to avoid foreclosure. Real government sites on the subject are https://www.financialstability.gov/makinghomeaffordable and https://www.hud.gov/recovery.

FANNIE MAE STREAMLINES LOAN LOOKUP SITE FOR BORROWERS. A homeowner can now determine whether Fannie Mae owns his/her mortgage by entering the street address at https://loanlookup.fanniemae.com/loanlookup. Freddie Mac’s lookup at https://ww3.freddiemac.com/corporate requires additional information including a Social Security Number.

STATE FORECLOSURE LAWS STUDIED. The National Consumer Law Center reports that many state laws do not adequately protect homeowners facing foreclosure. Foreclosing a Dream: State Laws Deprive Homeowners of Basic Protections is free at https://www.consumerlaw.org/issues/foreclosure/PR_report.shtml.

GUIDES HELP IMPROVE MANUFACTURED HOUSING OWNERSHIP. Available free at https://www.cfed.org/go/mhtoolkit, Titling Homes as Real Property assesses the benefits of converting from personal to real property and gives information on strong policies that help. Promoting Resident Ownership of Communities has been updated to include new state legislation.

USDA RD SPENDING IN FY 2008 CONSISTENT WITH RECENT PAST, HAC FINDS. HAC’s annual review of rural housing program activities shows that Section 502 guaranteed borrowers had much higher incomes than direct borrowers, 43% of direct Section 502 loans went to very low-income borrowers, and Section 515 financed 805 new units while mortgages on 1,877 were prepaid. RD’s mortgage foreclosure rates rose but remain lower than in comparable portfolios such as FHA. The report is free at https://ruralhome.org/rhs/08report/index.php.

SURVEY ON RURAL USE OF NEIGHBORHOOD STABILIZATION PROGRAM. HAC is interested in knowing how rural organizations are using NSP funds to address foreclosure issues. If you have a project, please take a few minutes to share your experiences by participating in the brief survey posted at https://ruralhome.org.

Hac News: March 4, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • FY 2009 spending bill nears completion • Obama budget outline for 2010 released • Allocation of stimulus funding begins, web resources established • HUD seeks suggestions for NAHASDA committee • OMB invites comments on its review of regulations • Senate report addresses housing response errors after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita • HUD extends DHAP assistance for hurricane survivors • HUDclips website changed again • Per capita income higher in rural areas than urban

March 4 , 2009
Vol. 38, No. 5

FY 2009 spending bill nears completion. The House of Representatives on February 25 passed H.R. 1105, an omnibus appropriations bill to fund federal programs for fiscal 2009. The Senate is now considering the bill, with the current CR set to expire on March 6. Most HUD and USDA programs received increases or level funding. For USDA rural housing, the bill does not accept the drastic cuts in the Bush administration’s original 2009 budget proposal. The text of H.R. 1105 and an explanatory statement are available at https://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app09.html.

USDA Rural Development Program
(dollars in millions)

FY 2008 Approp.

FY 2009 Proposed Budget

FY 2009 Omnibus Bill
H.R. 1105

Loans

502 Single Fam. Direct

$1,129.4

$0

$1,121.5

502 Single Family Guar.

4,220

4,849

6,223.9

504 Very Low-inc. Repair

34.7

17.7

34.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg.

27.7

0

20

515 Rental Hsg. Direct

70

0

69.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

130

300

129.1

Rental Prsrv. Revlg. Loans

3

0

2.9

Grants and Payments

504 Very Low-inc. Repair

30

30

29.7

516 Farm Labor Hsg.

10

0

9.1

523 Self-Help TA

39

0

38.7

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

9

12

8.9

521 Rental Assistance (a)

482.1

997

902.5

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

5

0

5

Multifam. Prsrv. & Revit. (MPR)

20

0

20

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6.3

0

6.3

a. Rental Assistance contracts were for four years in FY 2006, two years in FY 2007, and one year in FYs 2008 and 2009. H.R. 1105 includes $2 million in RA for new Section 515 units and $3.4 million for new Section 514/516 units.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY 2008 Approp.

FY 2009 Proposed Budget

FY 2009 Omnibus Bill
H.R. 1105

Cmty. Devel. Block Grants
(Econ. Devel. Init. Grants)

$3,865.8

$3,000

$3,900
(165.3)

HOME

1,704

1,967

1,825

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
(inc. HUD-VASH Vets. Vouchers)

16,426

16,039

16,817

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

6,381.8

7,000

7,100

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

2,439

2,024

2,450

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,200

4,300

4,455

Pub. Hsg. Revtlztn. (HOPE VI)

100

0

120

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

630

627

645

Housing Opp. for Persns w/AIDs

300.1

300.1

310

Homeless Assistance Grants

1,586

1,636

1,677

202 Housing for Elderly

735

540

765

811 Housing for Disabled

237

160

250

Fair Housing

50

51

53.5

Rural Hsg. & Ec. Dev. (RHED)

17

0

26 (a)

Self-Help Hmownshp. (SHOP)

26.5

39

26.5

Lead Hazard Control

145

116

140

Housing Counseling

50

65

65

a. Includes $5.0 million for tribal economic development and entrepreneurship.

Obama budget outline for 2010 released. Housing programs fared well in the summary of President Obama’s first budget, released February 26. Full details are coming in April. No details were available on USDA housing, but HUD programs would include $4.5 billion for CDBG, a first ever $1 billion for the National Housing Trust Fund, increased funding for Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance, a new energy innovation fund, and a New Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (for “transformative interventions in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty”). The outline states, without details, that reforms to HUD’s Rural Housing and Economic Development program will be suggested. Budget documents are available at https://www.omb.gov.

Allocation of stimulus funding begins, web resources established. A summary of the American Recovery and Revitalization Act’s changes to HUD’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program is posted at https://www.enterprisecommunity.org/public_policy/legislative.asp. HUD’s use of NSP and other funds, including allocations to specific places, is described at https://www.hud.gov/recovery and its homelessness prevention plans are at https://www.hudhre.info. Information about USDA’s allocation of new Section 502 direct and guaranteed funds should become available at https://www.usda.gov/recovery. The Administration’s site for the entire federal government’s recovery efforts is https://www.recovery.gov.

HUD seeks suggestions for NAHASDA committee. Nominations are due May 1 for a negotiated rulemaking committee to implement changes adopted in the 2008 law reauthorizing the Native American Housing and Self-Determination Act. See Federal Register, 3/2/09, pp. 9100-01 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Rodger J. Boyd, HUD, 202-401-7914.

OMB invites comments on its review of regulations. The Office of Management and Budget will accept comments by March 16 on the principles and procedures governing its review of proposed federal regulations, as it develops recommendations for changes requested by President Obama. See Federal Register, 2/26/09, p. 8819. Contact Mabel Echols, OMB, 202-395-6880.

Senate report addresses housing response errors after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Far From Home: Deficiencies in Federal Disaster Housing Assistance after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and Recommendations for Improvement, by the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery, is free at https://landrieu.senate.gov/releases/09/2009226C39.html.

HUD extends DHAP assistance for hurricane survivors. Disaster Housing Assistance Program vouchers will be available through August 31 for renters holding DHAP vouchers issued after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and for others eligible for HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program. Visit https://www.hud.gov/offices/pih/publications/hurricane.cfm or contact a local PHA for details.

HUDclips website changed again. The site providing access to HUD policies, procedures, notices, and more is now https://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/index.cfm (see HAC News, 1/16/08).

Per capita income higher in rural areas than urban. The Economic Research Service reports that in fiscal year 2005, for the first time in its almost 40 years of analysis, rural areas received more in total per capita federal funding ($7,473) than urban areas ($7,391). ERS suggests the change is related to urban homebuyers’ increased use of subprime mortgages from private lenders instead of federally insured mortgages in 2005. Visit https://www.ers.usda.gov/AmberWaves/March09/Findings/RuralFederalFunding.htm

Hac News: February 18, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • Final economic stimulus law includes 502, NSP, and other housing funds • CFED offers funds for Innovations in Manufactured Homes (I’M HOME) • Comments sought on changes to metropolitan and micropolitan statistical area standards • Effective date delayed for new RD guaranteed loan platform • HAC offers rural homelessness capacity building grants • HUD delays effective date for tenant income verification • Homeownership and vacancy rates unchanged from late 2007 to late 2008 • Counties’ green initiatives collected in online database • Rural poverty data on foundation website • Civil rights in Low Income Housing Tax Credit program studied

February 18, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 4

FINAL ECONOMIC STIMULUS LAW INCLUDES 502, NSP, AND OTHER HOUSING FUNDS. On February 17, President Barack Obama signed into law H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Revitalization Act of 2009. The final bill provides $1 billion for USDA direct Section 502 loans and $10.472 billion for Section 502 guaranteed loans, $510 million for Native American housing block grants, $4 billion for public housing, $1 billion for CDBG, $2 billion for the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, and more, as well as funding for rural community facilities, business, and water/wastewater programs. It also requires that at least 10% of the spending for each of the RD community facilities, business, and water/waste programs included in the bill must be allocated to persistent poverty counties (those with poverty rates of 20% or more in the 1980, 1990, and 2000 decennial censuses). (This does not apply to Sec. 502 funding.) Details are available at https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009EconRecovery.php.

CFED OFFERS FUNDS FOR INNOVATIONS IN MANUFACTURED HOMES (I’M HOME). To address barriers to asset building in the manufactured housing sector, funds are available for new and replacement development and for public policy activities. Concept papers are due March 20 and must be submitted online. For information, visit https://www.cfed.org/go/imhome or email questions to imhome@cfed.org.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON CHANGES TO METROPOLITAN AND MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREA STANDARDS. The Office of Management and Budget is considering recommendations from a review committee. Comments are due April 13. See Federal Register, 2/12/09 or www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/2009.aspx. Contact James D. Fitzsimmons, Census Bureau, 301-763-1465, pop.fr.notice@census.gov.

EFFECTIVE DATE DELAYED FOR NEW RD GUARANTEED LOAN PLATFORM. RD’s uniform platform for community facility, water and waste disposal, business and industry, and rural energy guaranteed loans (see HAC News, 1/7/09) is delayed until March 9, and RD requests comment on whether to delay the rule to June 1. Comments are due February 20. See Federal Register, 2/13/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Michael Foore, RD, Michael.Foore@wdc.usda.gov, 202-690-4730.

HAC OFFERS RURAL HOMELESSNESS CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS. Faith- and community-based organizations in rural areas may apply for up to $15,000 in capacity building funds. Deadline is March 16. HAC is hosting an Audio-Web Conference on February 23, 2009 at 1:00 PM EST to advise participants on the application process. Visit https://ruralhome.org/rhcbfinancehome.php, call 1-877-842-RHCB, or email Darren Favello, HAC, darren@ruralhome.org.

HUD DELAYS EFFECTIVE DATE FOR TENANT INCOME VERIFICATION. Comments are due March 13 regarding the delay or other aspects of the rule published January 27, 2009 (see HAC News, 2/4/09). See Federal Register, 2/11/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Nicole Faison, HUD, 202-708-0744.

HOMEOWNERSHIP AND VACANCY RATES UNCHANGED FROM LATE 2007 TO LATE 2008. New Census Bureau data show that, when adjusted for seasonal variation, the national homeownership rate in the fourth quarter of 2008 (67.5%) was not significantly different from the rate in third quarter 2008 (67.7%) or in fourth quarter 2007 (67.8%). Vacancy rates and homeownership rates have fallen since 2004. In nonmetro areas, vacancy rates in both rental and homeownership units were statistically unchanged over the year. Homeownership rates were statistically unchanged from fourth quarter 2007 to fourth quarter 2008 in the U.S. as a whole (67.5%) and in nonmetro places (75.4%). Visit www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/hvs/qtr408/q408ind.html.

COUNTIES’ GREEN INITIATIVES COLLECTED IN ONLINE DATABASE. The National Association of Counties has launched a searchable database of U.S. counties’ pro-environment and energy-efficient practices, policies, and programs. Users can search by keyword, state, county size, type of document or issue. Visit https://www.naco.org, click “Learn About Counties” and then “Counties Go Green.”

RURAL POVERTY DATA ON FOUNDATION WEBSITE. Spotlight on Poverty, a site launched by several major foundations, includes research on rural poverty as well as relevant news and commentaries in major media. Visit https://spotlightonpoverty.org/rural_poverty.aspx.

CIVIL RIGHTS IN LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT PROGRAM STUDIED. A review of Qualified Allocation Plans in all 50 states discusses LIHTC program features that can promote new housing opportunities for families and help states meet their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. Building Opportunity: Civil Rights Best Practices in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program is available from the Poverty and Race Research Action Council at https://www.prrac.org/LIHTC.php.

Hac News: February 4, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • House approves economic stimulus, Senate version under consideration • Senators propose Rural Revitalization Act • HAC offers Rural Homelessness Capacity Building grants • Funding for homeless veterans programs available • Bank Enterprise Award funds offered, comments sought on interim rule • HUD implements upfront tenant income verification process • FHFA proposes capitalization requirements for Federal Home Loan Banks • Housing Solutions Week 2009 planned • USDA updates state data sheets • Income tax credit outreach information available • Awards offered by Home Depot Foundation, Affordable Housing Finance magazine

February 4 , 2009
Vol. 38, No. 3

HOUSE APPROVES ECONOMIC STIMULUS, SENATE VERSION UNDER CONSIDERATION. The House of Representatives passed its economic stimulus bill, H.R. 1, on January 28. The Senate version, S. 1, is on the Senate floor at press time. S. 336, the version passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee on January 27, would fund a variety of rural housing and economic development programs, including $1 billion in Section 502 direct loans and $10.5 billion in guaranteed loans. H.R. 1 would fund Section 502 direct loans at $4 billion and guaranteed loans at $18 billion. For details, links, and updates, visit https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009EconRecovery.php.

SENATORS PROPOSE RURAL REVITALIZATION ACT. Senators Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) have introduced S. 323, the Rural Revitalization Act of 2009. It would fund a number of rural programs and, like H.R. 1, it would provide $4 billion in Section 502 direct loans and $18 billion in unsubsidized guaranteed loans. Find the bill’s text at https://thomas.loc.gov.

HAC OFFERS RURAL HOMELESSNESS CAPACITY BUILDING GRANTS. Faith- and community-based organizations serving homeless populations in places with under 25,000 population may apply for up to $15,000 in capacity building funds. Deadline is March 16. Visit https://ruralhome.org/rhcbfinancehome.php, call 1-877-842-RHCB, or email Darren Favello, HAC, darren@ruralhome.org.

FUNDING FOR HOMELESS VETERANS PROGRAMS AVAILABLE. The Department of Veterans Affairs Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program is offering three types of funding, all with a March 25 deadline. State and local governments, tribes, and faith- and community-based organizations can apply for capital funds to expand or develop transitional housing projects. Nonprofits with expertise can request Technical Assistance grants to help community-based nonprofit groups to apply for homeless vets funding from any source. Current Grant and Per Diem Special Need recipients are eligible for grants to cover some additional operational costs. See Federal Register, 1/23/09, or https://www.va.gov/homeless/page.cfm?pg=3. Contact Chelsea Watson, VA, 1-877-332-0334.

BANK ENTERPRISE AWARD FUNDS OFFERED, COMMENTS SOUGHT ON INTERIM RULE. Applications are due March 13. Comments on revised regulations are due March 2. See Federal Register, 1/30/09, or https://www.cdfifund.gov. Contact CDFI Fund, cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, 202-622-6355.

HUD IMPLEMENTS UPFRONT TENANT INCOME VERIFICATION PROCESS. PHAs and owners and managers of other assisted housing will be required to use HUD’s Enterprise Income Verification system, effective March 30. See Federal Register, 1/27/09, or https://www.hudclips.org. Contact Nicole Faison, HUD, 202-708-0744.

FHFA PROPOSES CAPITALIZATION REQUIREMENTS FOR FEDERAL HOME LOAN BANKS. Comments are due April 30. See Federal Register, 1/30/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Julie Paller, FHFA, 202-408-2842.

HOUSING SOLUTIONS WEEK 2009 PLANNED. Two new web resources for state and local policymakers and practitioners will be launched on February 18 and 19. Foreclosure-Response.org will provide information to help prevent foreclosures and stabilize affected communities. The HousingPolicy.org Discussion Forum will enable users to share ideas and questions. Visit https://www.knowledgeplex.org/xchat.html or contact Laura Woods, National Housing Conference, lwoods@nhc.org.

USDA UPDATES STATE DATA SHEETS. The Economic Research Service’s State Fact Sheets, which contain data on population, income, poverty, unemployment, and agriculture characteristics, have been updated with 2007 figures. Visit https://www.ers.usda.gov/StateFacts/.

INCOME TAX CREDIT OUTREACH INFORMATION AVAILABLE. Materials about the Earned Income Credit and the Child Tax Credit are available from a number of sources including the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, https://www.cbpp.org/eic2009, eickit@cbpp.org, 202-408-1080 and the National Women’s Law Center, https://www.nwlc.org/details.cfm?id=3134&section=tax.

AWARDS OFFERED BY HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION, AFFORDABLE HOUSING FINANCE MAGAZINE. Nonprofits are eligible for the Home Depot Foundation’s Awards of Excellence for developing affordable homeownership or rental properties using green building techniques. Letters of inquiry must be submitted online by March 31. Visit https://www.homedepotfoundation.org/awards.html. • AHF’s Readers’ Choice Awards will go to Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects opening in 2008 or 2009; nominations are due April 17. General partner developers of LIHTC properties can be nominated for a “top 50” list by February 13 and young leaders (under age 40) by March 13. Visit https://www.housingfinance.com/newsletters/2009/ahfu011409.htm (Events/Announcements heading) or contact Donna Kimura, dkimura@hanleywood.com, 415-315-1241 ext. 309.

HAC News: January 23 , 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • Senate confirms Vilsack and Donovan • Congress working on economic stimulus legislation, housing included • Section 538 guarantees for rental housing loans offered • New Markets Tax Credits applications due April 8 • Self-help funding falls short for FY 09 • RD clarifies Community Facilities funding for assisted living • Income limit changes for Section 502 guaranteed loans delayed • Section 8 annual adjustment factors released • HUD corrects SuperNOFA phone and hours • Indian CDBG job-pirating rule final • RD water and waste programs interest rates changed • Toll-free number offered to locate housing counselors • Survey on foreclosure and homelessness underway • Population, housing data updated for midsized places

January 23, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 2

SENATE CONFIRMS VILSACK AND DONOVAN. Tom Vilsack was confirmed as the Secretary of Agriculture on January 20 and Shaun Donovan as HUD Secretary on January 22.

CONGRESS WORKING ON ECONOMIC STIMULUS LEGISLATION, HOUSING INCLUDED. The House may vote during the week of January 26 on an $825 billion, two-year economic stimulus package. The bill, approved by the House Appropriations Committee and now under review by several other committees, includes funds for both HUD and USDA housing programs, plus support for other USDA RD initiatives and Low Income Housing Tax Credit projects. Not included are the National Housing Trust Fund, Section 8, rural rental programs, and some other housing programs that had been sought by advocates. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not released information about the contents of its bill, scheduled for Appropriations Committee mark up on January 27. Updates will be added as available to HAC’s site, https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009EconRecovery.php.

SECTION 538 GUARANTEES FOR RENTAL HOUSING LOANS OFFERED. USDA RD will review applications on a rolling basis. FY 2009 funding includes $2 million for 2008 disaster areas. See Federal Register, 1/21/09, https://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/fedreg/a090121c.html. Contact an RD state office listed in the FR notice or at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/recd_map.html.

NEW MARKETS TAX CREDITS APPLICATIONS DUE APRIL 8. Apply by March 3 for Community Development Entity status. By law, rural CDEs must receive a proportionate share of awards. See Federal Register, 1/22/09 or https://www.cdfifund.gov. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-622-6355, cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov.

SELF-HELP FUNDING FALLS SHORT FOR FY 09. Expecting demand to exceed resources for Section 523 funding again this year, RD will not fund new and predevelopment grants. Existing grantees will receive up to 75% of the amount requested, with the rest obligated later if funds are available. See Unnumbered Letter (January 5, 2009), available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/ul_list.html or from RD offices.

RD CLARIFIES COMMUNITY FACILITIES FUNDING FOR ASSISTED LIVING. An Unnumbered Letter explains that CF can finance assisted living facilities but not multi-generational family housing, residential care, or continuing care facilities. The UL (January 6, 2009) is available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/ul_list.html or from RD offices.

INCOME LIMIT CHANGES FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS DELAYED. The simplified system (see HAC News, 11/5/08) will take effect on March 20 rather than January 20. See Federal Register, 1/13/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Joaquin Tremols, RD, 202-720-1465, joaquin.tremols@wdc.usda.gov.

SECTION 8 ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT FACTORS RELEASED. See Federal Register, 1/12/09 or https://www.huduser.org/datasets/aaf.html. Contact David Vargas, HUD, 202-708-2815.

HUD CORRECTS SUPERNOFA PHONE AND HOURS. The Central Contractor Registration number and hours of operation listed in the HUD SuperNOFA General Section are incorrect. The correct number is 1-888-227 (not 277) -2423. CCR’s hours of operation are Monday-Friday, 9:00-5:00 Eastern time. Visit https://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/grants/fundsavail.cfm for more HUD NOFA information.

INDIAN CDBG JOB-PIRATING RULE FINAL. HUD is adopting its proposed rule, published September 8, 2008, without change. ICDBG funds may not be used to facilitate the relocation of for-profit businesses from one labor market area to another if the relocation is likely to result in significant job loss. See Federal Register, 1/13/09 or https://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/hudclips/fr/. Contact Deborah Lalancette, HUD, 303-675-1600.

RD WATER AND WASTE PROGRAMS INTEREST RATES CHANGED. A rule implementing a provision of the 2008 Farm Bill will become effective unless RD receives adverse comments by February 5. See Federal Register, 1/6/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Cheryl Francis, RD, 202-720-9589, cheryl.francis@wdc.usda.gov.

TOLL-FREE NUMBER OFFERED TO LOCATE HOUSING COUNSELORS. To find a HUD-approved agency, call 1-877-HUD-1515 (1-877-483-1515) or visit https://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/hcc/hcs.cfm. HUD offers the number as part of a new “Keep Your Home. Know Your Loan” campaign launched in six large cities.

SURVEY ON FORECLOSURE AND HOMELESSNESS UNDERWAY. The National Coalition for the Homeless and other national organizations request responses by February 6 from advocates, service providers, and people surviving foreclosure. Visit www.nationalhomeless.org to take the one-page survey online or to obtain printable copies.

POPULATION, HOUSING DATA UPDATED FOR MIDSIZED PLACES. For the first time since the 2000 Census these data are available for counties, cities, and towns with populations of 20,000-64,999, through the American Community Survey. Visit https://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2004/NewsMediaKit.html.

Hac News: January 7, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • House subcommittee votes to maintain most USDA housing levels • Senate committee passes FY 2009 HUD spending bill • Senate sends housing bill back to House • House bills would help small PHAs, homeless vets • HAC offers green building and single-family housing workshops • Nominations due September 15 for rural housing awards!

January 7, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 1

CONGRESS SWORN IN, MAY CONSIDER APPROPRIATIONS BEFORE STIMULUS. The new 111th Congress took office on January 6, and President-elect Obama will be inaugurated on January 20. Reports are that Congress may finish a 2009 omnibus appropriations bill (including USDA and HUD funding) in January, but that a very large economic stimulus package may take up to six weeks. The stimulus bill may also have substantial housing funds. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-Texas), Chair of the Congressional Rural Housing Caucus, is leading efforts to include $750 million in budget authority (the program level would be higher) for USDA rural housing programs.

PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA ANNOUNCES CHOICES FOR USDA AND HUD SECRETARIES. For more information about former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack (USDA) and New York City housing commissioner Shaun Donovan (HUD), visit https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2008CabinetAppts.php.

HUD RELEASES GENERAL NOFA INFORMATION, WILL ISSUE SEPARATE PROGRAM NOFAS THIS YEAR. NOFAs for specific programs will be published between January and June. See Federal Register, 12/29/08, or https://ruralhome.org/infoAnnouncements_2009HUDNOFAs.php. Contact HUD, 202-708-0667.

RD SETS GUIDELINES ON LENDER CHARGES AND FEES FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED BORROWERS. See Administrative Notice 4407 (December 3, 2008), available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/an_list.html or from RD offices. Contact David Chaput, RD, 202-720-1452, david.chaput@wdc.usda.gov.

HUD PROPOSES NEW SINGLE-FAMILY HOME SALE PROGRAM. Comments are due February 20 on a proposed rule implementing a Sale of HUD-Owned Single Family Assets in Revitalization Areas program. “Preferred purchasers” are nonprofits, local governments, states, and tribes; for-profits are also eligible. See Federal Register, 12/22/08, or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Vance T. Morris, HUD, 202-708-1672.

HOPE FOR HOMEOWNERS PROGRAM WIDENS. HUD is implementing provisions of the Emergency Eco-nomic Stabilization Act, signed into law October 3, expanding the number of eligible borrowers and participating lenders and servicers. Comments are due March 9. See Federal Register,1/7/09, or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Emmanuel Yeow, HUD, 202-708-3600.

REVISED CRA QS AND AS PUBLISHED. The federal agencies that oversee lenders subject to the Community Reinvestment Act have adopted new questions and answers to help interpret CRA. Comments are due March 9 on new and revised topics including provision of affordable housing targeted to low- or moderate-income residents. See Federal Register, 1/6/09, or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Karen Tucker, OCC, 202-874-4428.

FORMALDEHYDE COMMENTS SOUGHT. The Environmental Protection Agency requests input by February 2 as it decides whether to issue rules on emissions in pressed wood products. EPA’s website says it will work closely with HUD on issues related to manufactured housing. See Federal Register, 12/3/08, or https://www.epa.gov/opptintr/chemtest/formaldehyde/index.htm. Contact Colby Linter, EPA, TSCA-Hotline@epa.gov, 202-564-1264.

H-2A FARMWORKER RULES CHANGED. A final Department of Labor rule alters the process for employer permission to hire H-2A workers and enhances enforcement of employers’ contractual obligations. See Federal Register,12/18/08, or https://www.foreignlaborcert.doleta.gov/. Contact William L. Carlson, DOL, 202-693-3010.

MORTGAGE LICENSING MODEL STATUTE AVAILABLE. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Mortgage Licensing Act, enacted as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, requires states to adopt mortgage licensing requirements that meet minimum standards. Model legislation for states is available at https://www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/reguprog.cfm. Contact William Matchneer, HUD, 202-708-6401.

RD SETS UNIFIED GUARANTEE PLATFORM FOR NON-HOUSING PROGRAMS. An interim rule replacing current loan guarantee regulations for community facility, water and waste, business and industry, and energy programs is effective January 16. Comments are due February 17. See Federal Register,12/17/08, or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Michael Foore, RD, Michael.Foore@wdc.usda.gov, 202-690-4730.

CUSHING NILES DOLBEARE MEDIA AWARDS ENTRIES SOUGHT. Print journalists who make a dedicated effort to inform the public about the inequities in housing can be nominated by February 16 for the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s awards. Visit https://www.nlihc.org/template/page.cfm?id=135 or contact Taylor Materio, NLIHC, taylor@nlihc.org, 202-662-1530 ext. 227.

RURAL HOUSING PLATFORM POSTED ON HAC’S WEBSITE. Eleven one-page issue papers, developed with input from attendees at the National Rural Housing Conference 2008, are posted at https://ruralhome.org/infoBlog.php. Comments can be submitted to Leslie Strauss, HAC, leslie@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.