Inflation Reduction Act includes housing energy provisions
On August 16, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act, the scaled-back version of the Build Back Better Act. BBB would have put substantial funding into existing USDA and HUD housing programs, whereas the IRA’s housing provisions focus on increasing energy efficiency and climate resilience. They include creation of a new HUD-administered program that will make loans and grants to properties assisted by HUD’s Section 202, 811, and 236 programs, and those with Section 8 project-based vouchers.
Loan payment program for Black farmers replaced
The Inflation Reduction Act replaces the loan repayment program for Black and other disadvantaged farmers that was created in the 2021 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Implementation of the ARPA effort had been frozen pending the resolution of several lawsuits claiming that basing repayments on race was discriminatory. The IRA’s version will provide payments to anyone who experienced past discrimination in USDA farm lending programs. It also includes grants and loans “to improve land access (including heirs’ property and fractionated land issues) for underserved farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners.” Additional funds are allocated for outreach, education, research, equity commissions, and other aid.
Assistance available for transferring Section 515 properties
USDA recently awarded funding to technical assistance providers, including HAC, to help nonprofits acquire and preserve Section 515 rental properties. HAC will assist properties located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Current owners of 515 properties who are interested in transferring ownership to a nonprofit organization, or nonprofits who are interested in acquiring one, can reach out to Kristin Blum, HAC. To find a TA provider in another state, click the Contact tab at this link. TA is also available for transfers of Section 514/516 farmworker properties in some states; click the Contact tab at this link.
Census estimates housing units undercounted in rural and Native areas, requests input
- Nationwide, there was no statistically significant undercount or overcount of housing units in the 2020 decennial census, the Census Bureau calculates. The bureau’s Post-Enumeration Survey report on the housing unit count does identify some statistically significant variations at the regional and state levels. It also estimates a 4.2% net undercount in the most remote rural places where internet and mail delivery are limited. It calculates a national net undercount of 7% for housing units on American Indian Reservations, though not in other types of Native lands. PES reports on the 2020 counts of population and of certain characteristics were published earlier this year.
- The Census Bureau requests comments on improving participation in the 2030 Census. It is particularly interested in ways to reach the Black, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Hispanic or Latino populations, as well as young children aged 0-4, because these groups were undercounted in 2020 and previous years. Comments are due November 15. For more information, contact Jennifer Reichert, Census, 301-763-6712.
Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator offers support
The Housing Stability Evaluation Incubator will assist housing service providers to increase their capacity to generate and utilize evidence about programs that aim to address homelessness or foster housing stability. The Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab offers funding, training, and technical support for nonprofits, government agencies, and others to design randomized evaluations of their programs. An existing data collection infrastructure is not necessary, and sample sizes can be small for some projects. J-PAL will hold a webinar for potential applicants on August 25. Letters of interest are due October 17. For more information, sign up for a conversation with J-PAL staff or contact Bridget Mercier, J-PAL.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
Fair lending data to be required for mortgage loans in secondary market
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will require lenders that service loans to obtain and maintain fair lending data on borrowers’ age, race, ethnicity, gender, and preferred language. The data will transfer with servicing throughout the mortgage term. Servicers must implement this change starting on March 1, 2023.
New multifamily benchmarks proposed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
The Federal Housing Finance Agency proposes to set 2023 and 2024 multifamily housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac based on percentages of loan purchases rather than number of units. Comments are due October 17. For more information, contact Ted Wartell, FHFA, 202-649-3157.
Ahmad becomes RD Deputy Under Secretary
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
New tool maps environmental justice and health by location
An Environmental Justice Index from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides census tract level analysis ranking the cumulative impacts of environmental injustice on health. CDC suggests this tool can be used by organizations, researchers, and others to “identify and prioritize areas that may require special attention or additional action to improve health and health equity, educate and inform the public about their community, analyze the unique, local factors driving cumulative impacts on health to inform policy and decision-making, and establish meaningful goals and measure progress towards environmental justice and health equity.”
Treasury makes economic argument for racial equity
In the first of a planned series of blog posts detailing the strain that racial inequality places on the economy, Treasury Department officials outline the origins and persistence of racial inequality and its importance for U.S. economic growth. As an example of its impact, they note that up to 40% of growth in U.S. GDP per capita between 1960 and 2010 can be attributed to increases in the shares of women and Black men working in highly skilled occupations. “Our economy as a whole cannot be as productive as possible,” the authors write, “unless all individuals are given the opportunity to be as productive as possible.”
Survey finds CDBG Disaster Recovery program important to grantees
The Bipartisan Policy Center and the Council of State Community Development Agencies surveyed officials from 36 Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program grantees about the program’s benefits and difficulties, as well as their priorities for reform. Almost all (94%) said CDBG-DR funding was very or somewhat important to their state or community’s recovery. A majority (69%) said that housing was the most important unmet need CDBG-DR addressed. Respondents strongly supported permanent statutory authorization of the program as well as more standardized program forms and templates.
Climate change brings higher temperatures
An analysis of current and future heat events released by First Street Foundation predicts that much of the middle of the U.S. will experience heat indices above 125 degrees by 2053. Find your home’s risk factors on First Street’s map. For a different perspective, Brown University’s Climate Opportunity Map shows local benefits that would result from investment in clean energy and climate solutions.
Annual Kids Count report focuses on mental health
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2022 KIDS COUNT® Data Book presents annual data about economic well-being, education, health, and family and community at the national and state levels, and ranks states in overall child well-being. This year the report focuses on the mental health crisis in American children, linking it to poverty, housing cost burdens, and under-resourced communities. Challenges are greater for BIPOC children than for white children.
Most young adults stay close to home, even if wages are higher elsewhere
An interactive data tool created by the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University allows users to examine migration patterns from or to specific “commuting zones,” which are clusters of counties with strong commuting ties. An accompanying study, The Radius of Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Migration and Local Labor Markets, reports that 80% of young adults live within 100 miles of where they grew up. White young adults are more likely to leave their childhood CZ than their Black peers and to travel farther when they do leave. Those from higher-income families are also more likely to move. The researchers conclude that the individuals who benefit most from local wage growth are those who grew up nearby.
Paper examines links between housing justice and gender justice
The current housing crisis is based in underinvestment and policies that stripped wealth from women, people of color, and people with disabilities, says a report from the National Women’s Law Center, the Insight Center, and the Groundwork Collaborative. The Roots of Discriminatory Housing Policy: Moving Toward Gender Justice in Our Economy explains that before the coronavirus pandemic, women – particularly women of color – were more likely to rent their homes and to spend the majority of their income on housing. During the pandemic, Black and Latina women have been more likely than white, non-Hispanic men to be behind on rent and mortgage payments and to be at risk of eviction. The report’s recommendations for change are based on treating housing as a public good, not a commodity.
Dramatic overdose increases predicted for opioid epidemic’s fourth wave
Research from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine predicts that the historic high rates of overdose deaths will continue to grow exponentially in a coming fourth wave. The study’s primary author states that the combination of synthetic opioids and stimulants will continue to increase overdoses across both rural and urban counties.
HAC seeks Housing Specialist – Native American Communities; and Loan Officer, Rental Preservation
- The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities is responsible for providing direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal communities, tribal housing departments, tribal housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations serving tribal communities. Travel is required. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
- The Loan Officer, Rental Preservation, conducts rental housing lending and preservation technical assistance activities. This work includes marketing, originating, and underwriting new loan transactions. The Loan Officer also provides hands-on technical assistance to nonprofits that are seeking to acquire and preserve existing USDA-financed (Section 515) rental developments. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
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 firstname.lastname@example.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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