HAC News: April 13, 2023
Deadline approaching for rural community design support
Rural communities are invited to apply to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design (CIRD) by April 21 for design support and technical assistance to host an on-site Local Design Workshop or participate in the Design Learning Cohort. Reach out to CIRD staff at HAC via firstname.lastname@example.org with questions or for assistance with the application – even last minute. HAC carries out CIRD in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional background is available here.
Help HAC plan its future
HAC is currently developing its strategic plan for the next three to five years and seeks involvement from the HAC community! Please help by filling out HAC’s Strategy Survey before April 21. The survey should take no more than five to seven minutes, and asks about our strengths, challenges, and commitment to rural communities. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Colonias definition based on HAC’s research will be used for Duty to Serve
The Federal Housing Finance Administration announced on April 12 it is adopting a new way to determine what geographic areas are considered colonias for purposes of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve activities, based on HAC research. FHFA made no changes from its original proposal, which HAC largely supported.
April is Fair Housing Month
HUD offers events and resources to celebrate the month and the 55th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.
The U.S. Department of Labor certified around 370,000 temporary jobs for H-2A temporary farmworker visas in FY22, more than seven times the number certified in 2005 and double the number in 2016. Source: USDA Economic Research Service.
Recovery community services applications due May 30
The Recovery Community Services Program will make grants of up to $300,000 to state, territorial, local, or Tribal governments, Tribal organizations or health programs, or other public or private nonprofit entities. The provision of recovery housing is an allowable activity. For more information, contact Timothy Jean, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 240-276-1034.
Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants available
PHAs, local governments, Tribal entities, and nonprofits with distressed HUD-assisted housing are eligible for Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to assist communities with severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing in developing a comprehensive neighborhood transformation plan and beginning to build the momentum for implementation. Apply by June 6. For more information, contact HUD, ChoiceNeighborhoods@hud.gov.
EPA offers grants to prepare for wildfire smoke
The Environmental Protection Agency’s new Wildfire Smoke Preparedness in Community Buildings Program will make grants to states, Tribes, nonprofits, and some educational entities for the assessment, prevention, control, and/or abatement of wildfire smoke hazards in community buildings and related activities, particularly those that serve disadvantaged communities or vulnerable populations. The deadline is May 9. For more information, contact EPA, IEDGrantsAdminTeam@epa.gov.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
Extension of HUD’s Buy America waiver for Tribes proposed
HUD waived application of Buy America requirements for Tribes and Tribal entities through May 14, 2023, and now hopes to extend that waiver for another year to obtain more specific Tribal feedback and information. Comments are due April 24. For more information, contact Faith Rogers, HUD, 202-402-7082.
HUD gives more time for fair housing feedback
The deadline for comments on HUD’s proposed Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule has been extended to April 24. For more information, contact Tiffany Johnson, HUD, 202-402-2881.
OMB extends comment period on race and ethnicity
Comments are now due April 27, rather than April 12, on proposals for updating OMB’s race and ethnicity statistical standards. For more information, contact Bob Sivinski, 202-395-1205.
Section 502 guarantee program sets forbearance deadline
Although the national emergency declaration for the coronavirus pandemic is scheduled to end on May 11, servicers of USDA guaranteed homeownership loans have until May 31 to approve borrower requests for initial COVID-19 forbearances. For more information, contact USDA, sfhglpServicing@usda.gov, 202-720-1452.
Equitable Housing Finance Plans for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac revised
The Government-Sponsored Enterprises have prepared annual updates to their Equitable Housing Finance Plans, as well as performance reports on their 2022 progress.
CFPB requests input on “abusive” practices
The 2010 statute that created the CFPB banned “abusive” conduct towards consumers by providers of goods and services, including housing financing, in addition to the “unfair” and “deceptive” practices previously prohibited. CFPB is now accepting comments through July 3 on a policy statement that summarizes how abusive activities have been defined and identified. For more information, contact Bradley Lipton, CFPB, 202-435-7700.
Habibi leaves USDA Rural Housing Service
Jamal Habibi, who has served as Chief of Staff for USDA’s Rural Housing Service since February 2021, has been promoted to Chief of Staff for Trade and Foreign Affairs at USDA.
FEMA’s National Risk Index updated
New data and information have been used to update the National Risk Index, which offers an interactive map and related material for 18 natural hazards. Scores for counties and census tracts indicate their risks from natural hazards, expected annual loss, social vulnerability, and community resilience.
Few spaces remain for workforce housing training
HAC will offer The Future of Rural Workforce Housing: Exploring New Models and Approaches on May 1-3 in Gatlinburg, TN. Participants will explore new and innovative models for creating affordable housing for the rural workforce, with a focus on community-driven solutions. Space is limited to staff of nonprofit, Tribal, and local governmental agencies in rural communities working on affordable housing activities, and the event is nearly full. Register soon! For more information, contact HAC staff, firstname.lastname@example.org.
HAC offers webinars on construction
Overcoming Cost Barriers: Innovative Approaches to Construction with Smart Building Techniques, Volunteers, and Sweat Equity is a series of five webinars:
- Fostering Skilled Labor in Your Community was held March 22, and the materials and recording are posted online;
- Benefits of Using Pre-Assembled Building Components, April 26;
- Implementing Change in Your Organization/Adopting Alternative Construction Techniques, June 7;
- Emerging Construction Techniques, June 14; and
- Modular and Manufactured Homes, June 28.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
Legislative efforts to preserve rural rental housing described
Advocates Eye Farm Bill to Avert Drop in Affordable Rural Housing, an article published by Roll Call, describes efforts in Congress to decouple Section 515 mortgages and Section 521 Rental Assistance. Bills to institute decoupling have been introduced in the last few Congresses but have not yet been adopted. HAC’s Public Policy Director Jonathan Harwitz is one of the experts quoted in the article.
Online disaster guide supports survivors of Midwestern and Southern tornadoes
To assist our rural partners and communities affected by the recent tornadoes in the Midwestern and Southern U.S., HAC offers an online resource guide with information for individuals and families in the disaster area. Other disaster resources from HAC include Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster and a Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.
Reports seek to reveal inequality and its history
Columbia Journalism School commissioned research teams to develop overviews of social science research on inequality in housing, economics, education, criminal justice, and healthcare. Housing Inequality in 20th-century America: A Report is one of five resulting Uncovering Inequality papers.
HAC is hiring a Chief Financial Officer
The Chief Financial Officer is a newly created position responsible for overseeing the accounting, finance, capital markets, and administrative functions of HAC, while also providing overall leadership and strategy to the organization. This executive must have a background in accounting or finance, managing staff, and serving as a senior leader at a sophisticated and multidimensional organization, such as another CDFI, community lending institution, or housing-related nonprofit. The CFO is expected to work in HAC’s downtown Washington, DC office with a portion of their week eligible for remote work.
National Rural Housing Conference set for October
Mark your calendars and save the date! HAC’s National Rural Housing Conference will be held October 24-27 in Washington, DC and online.
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 email@example.com, 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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