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HAC News: April 3, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 7

• April is Fair Housing Month • Budget release set for April 10 • HUD offers funds for Choice Neighborhoods and fair housing programs • Rules proposed for Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program • USDA limits post-foreclosure collections • Guidance issued on grandfathered rural definition • Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas revised • Daily Yonder series considers 50,000 population threshold for defining rural • Tonsager leaving USDA • All HUD offices to close for seven days • Section 538 industry forums scheduled • Sequestration could cut 140,000 Section 8 vouchers • Indian Housing Development Handbook updated • HAC responds to Reuters criticism of Section 502 guarantee program •


April 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 7

APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD has launched a national media campaign to educate people about the Fair Housing Act. To file a complaint visit HUD’s website or call 1-800-669-9777, or use HUD’s fair housing discrimination app for iPhone and iPad.

BUDGET RELEASE SET FOR APRIL 10. The Obama Administration’s budget for FY14 will be released April 10. HAC will post information and analyses at ruralhome.org as early as possible that day.

HUD OFFERS FUNDS FOR CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS AND FAIR HOUSING PROGRAMS. PHAs, tribal entities, local governments, nonprofits, and for-profits applying with a public entity are eligible to apply for Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants by May 28; contact HUD staff, choiceneighborhoods@hud.gov. Eligibility for Fair Housing Initiatives Program funds varies by component; apply by June 11. Fair housing enforcement organizations and nonprofits can apply by April 22 for Fair Housing Organization Initiative Continuing Development funds. The contact for all the fair housing programs is Myron P. Newry, HUD, 202-402-7095.

RULES PROPOSED FOR RURAL HOUSING STABILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. RHSP, a new HUD program, was authorized by the 2009 HEARTH Act to help address rural homelessness. The grants are intended for counties, who may designate nonprofits or local governments as applicants. The proposed rule would create a new definition of “rural.” It would also revise HUD’s definition of “chronically homeless.” Comments are due May 28. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

USDA LIMITS POST-FORECLOSURE COLLECTIONS. After critical coverage by the Wall Street Journal and CBS News, RD has decided to stop collecting its losses from Section 502 direct and guaranteed borrowers who lose their homes to foreclosure. The agency will not drop collection efforts that have already begun, however, and will also pursue borrowers whom it believes have the resources to repay government losses. More details are provided in a press release from HAC and the National Housing Law Project and in a second Wall Street Journal article.

GUIDANCE ISSUED ON GRANDFATHERED RURAL DEFINITION. USDA RD issued Administrative Notice 4711 on March 28, explaining that community facilities, business, and utilities programs must apply 2010 Census data to area eligibility determinations as of March 27, but the final FY13 appropriations bill delays the change for housing programs until September 30 (see HAC News, 3/21/13). The housing programs will base area eligibility on pre-2010 Census determinations, including grandfathering, for applications that are complete by September 30, 2013 or filed in response to NOFAs published by September 30, 2013, provided that funds are obligated by December 31, 2013 or the agency administrator grants a waiver. For more information, contact an RD office.

METROPOLITAN AND MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS REVISED. An Office of Management and Budget bulletin lists new area delineations. HAC’s initial analysis will be posted online soon.

DAILY YONDER SERIES CONSIDERS 50,000 POPULATION THRESHOLD FOR DEFINING RURAL. The online rural news site has published three commentaries examining USDA RD’s recent recommendation (see HAC News, 3/6/13) to increase the size of places eligible for its non-housing programs, and welcomes additional submissions.

TONSAGER LEAVING USDA. Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager has resigned. An official statement does not indicate his future plans.

ALL HUD OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR SEVEN DAYS. HUD has posted frequently asked questions on its sequestration information page, explaining that virtually all HUD staff will be furloughed and offices closed on seven days between May and August. The exact dates will be posted online when available.

SECTION 538 INDUSTRY FORUMS SCHEDULED. USDA will hold phone or web meetings about the guaranteed rental program in July and November. To receive announcements by email, contact Monica Cole, RD, 202-720-1251.

SEQUESTRATION COULD CUT 140,000 SECTION 8 VOUCHERS. A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities paper, “Sequestration Could Deny Rental Assistance to 140,000 Families: Cuts Come at a Time of Rising Need for Housing Assistance and Will Exacerbate Homelessness,” notes that thousands of others could face rent increases. A CBPP blog post summarizing the report is also online.

INDIAN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK UPDATED. The 2013 version of the National American Indian Housing Coalition’s guide covers planning, funding sources, homeownership strategies, and a summary of relevant Indian law.

HAC RESPONDS TO REUTERS CRITICISM OF SECTION 502 GUARANTEE PROGRAM. HAC’s analysis of Reuters’ article (see HAC News, 3/21/13) is available on HAC’s site and on Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog.