Senate proposes FY23 funding levels
On July 28, the Senate Appropriations Committee released its version of all appropriations bills for fiscal 2023, which begins on October 1, 2022. HAC has posted summaries and tables of relevant parts of the USDA and HUD bills. The Senate has not scheduled action on any of these measures. The House has passed a “minibus” bill that combines appropriations measures for several agencies, including USDA and HUD, but the fiscal year is expected to begin with a continuing resolution holding government spending at FY22 levels. Final appropriations are not likely to be completed until after the midterm elections.
- Like the administration’s budget request and the bill passed by the House, the Senate committee’s USDA bill would keep many rural housing programs at or near their current funding levels. It would provide $100 million for Section 515, twice as much as in FY22 but lower than the amounts proposed by the administration and the House. It would not extend new RA contracts created under the American Rescue Plan Act. It includes $10 million for the Rural Partners Network and $15 million for the Institute for Rural Partnerships.
- The Senate’s Transportation-HUD bill would increase funding for many HUD programs, including raising SHOP to $17 million from its current $12.5 million. It does not cover the new $500 million manufactured housing program that was in the House’s HUD appropriations bill or the Housing Supply Fund proposed in the administration’s budget, and does not match the House’s or administration’s numbers of new vouchers.
- The Senate’s HUD bill would reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act (NAHASDA). It would also permanently authorize the CDBG Disaster Recovery program and make other changes intended to get disaster recovery aid to survivors more quickly; similar provisions were also included in the House’s minibus appropriations bill.
HUD issues economic justice agenda to help renters build assets
Bridging the Wealth Gap: An Agenda for Economic Justice and Asset Building for Renters enumerates actions HUD will take to help low-income renters build assets through increased savings, access to mainstream banking, and credit score improvement. The agenda describes the expansion of asset building practices for renters as “a reparative tool for economic justice.”
HAC submits Community Reinvestment Act comments
In its response to a proposed rule from the three federal agencies that regulate banks, HAC generally supported their efforts to overhaul the process for determining whether lenders are complying with the Community Reinvestment Act, which requires them to meet the credit needs of the communities where they work. To increase CRA’s impact on underserved rural communities, HAC suggested the regulators should explicitly consider bank activities in rural areas and their performance based on race, should not raise the size threshold for determining whether a bank receives a more stringent evaluation, and should give more weight to community development activities.
40% of the most remote counties outside metro areas had no places with sufficient primary medical care in 2017, compared with only 16% of metro counties that lacked those resources. Source: Economic Research Service, USDA.
HUD funds available for homelessness, Native housing, and self-sufficiency; HAC summarizes rural funding offer
- FY22 annual Continuum of Care Program applications are due by September 30. Nonprofits, state and local governments, Tribes, tribally designated housing entities, and PHAs can apply to CoCs to have projects included in the CoC applications. For more information, email CoCNOFO@hud.gov.
- Indian Community Development Block Grant funds can be used by Tribes and tribally designated housing entities for a range of affordable housing activities. The deadline is October 24. For more information, email ONAP-ICDBG@hud.gov.
- Indian Housing Block Grant competitive program monies are also available to Tribes and tribally designated housing entities. Apply by November 17. For more information, email IHBGCompetitiveProgram@hud.gov.
- Family Self-Sufficiency Program grants enable PHAs to hire program coordinators who help participating families progress toward economic independence. The deadline is October 3. For more information, email email@example.com.
- Unsheltered and rural homelessness are targeted under a HUD notice offering CoC funds, separate from the annual competition, summarized in a new HAC post. CoCs’ deadline is October 20. For more information, email SpecialCoCNOFO@hud.gov.
Changes encourage governments to use recovery funds for housing
The Treasury Department has updated its guidance to state and local governments on their use of State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds for pandemic-related housing needs. Items 2.14 and 4.9 in Treasury’s FAQs address allowable affordable housing expenditures, including those made in conjunction with USDA’s MPR rental preservation program. A new Affordable Housing How-To Guide explains how to combine SLFRF monies with other federal housing funds. For more information, email SLFRF@treasury.gov.
Uses updated for unobligated Emergency Rental Assistance funds
Revisions to the Treasury Department’s FAQs on the Emergency Rental Assistance program give some added flexibilities to state and local governments that spend most of their ERA2 funds by October 1. They can use the unobligated monies for affordable housing construction, rehabilitation, and preservation and for operations of affordable housing projects where ERA2 funds have been previously used.
Fed requests survey responses on pandemic impacts
The Federal Reserve System and partners are conducting a survey to learn how the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are evolving within low- to moderate-income communities and among the organizations serving them. Questions address supply chain disruptions, inflation, housing instability, employee retention, and more. Responses are requested by August 23. For more information, contact Surekha Carpenter, Federal Reserve.
New congressional caucuses address CDFIs and disasters
The website of the newly formed Senate Community Development Finance Caucus says the body “will be the platform where policymakers can coordinate and expand on public and private-sector efforts in support of the missions of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs).” In the House, a new Congressional Disaster Preparedness and Recovery Caucus intends to advance legislation and policies that provide efficient, equitable relief for disaster survivors, help communities to recover, and support disaster preparedness.
Senate committee hears about rental housing affordability
An August 2 hearing convened by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, The Rent Eats First: How Renters and Communities are Impacted by Today’s Housing Market, included testimony from eviction expert Matthew Desmond and National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel. They offered data and recommendations for policy changes to support renters.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
USDA proposes to let lenders approve Section 502 loan guarantees
USDA review and approval is currently required at two stages in the process of making a Section 502 guaranteed loan. To streamline the process, USDA is proposing to allow lenders to obtain Delegated Lender status to approve Section 502 guaranteed loans with limited to no USDA involvement. Comments are due October 3. For more information, contact Sara Thieleke, USDA, 314-457-5242.
Revisions proposed for VA Homeless Grant and Per Diem Program
The Department of Veterans Affairs proposes to amend the regulations that govern its Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem Program. It would change the allowable per diem rate VA provides to grant recipients and eligible entities for homeless veterans, establish a new rate for homeless veterans who care for a minor dependent, and make technical corrections. Comments are due September 30. For more information, contact Chelsea Watson, VA, 813-979-3570.
Comments sought on minority CDFIs
The CDFI Fund requests comments on the criteria and process it will use to designate a Community Development Financial Institution as a Minority Lending Institution. No federal funding is currently connected to an MLI designation, but the CDFI Fund hopes to recognize these CDFIs and to identify barriers they experience in providing access to capital. Comments are due November 25. For more information, contact Jeff Merkowitz, CDFI Fund.
Rural and Tribal communities to receive wastewater assistance
USDA and the EPA have launched a pilot initiative to help address wastewater management issues in 11 rural and Tribal communities. The agencies intend to help historically underserved communities identify and pursue federal funding opportunities to address their wastewater needs. EPA plans to offer more information online about getting technical assistance for community wastewater.
Webinar series to address Housing First
Four webinars from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and National Alliance to End Homelessness will cover topics related to homelessness and Housing First. The sessions are designed to push back against increasingly negative attitudes about people experiencing homelessness. They begin on August 15 and continue every other Monday.
White House hosts summit on eviction reform.
A White House Summit on Building Lasting Eviction Prevention Reform held on August 2 emphasized the importance of creating long-term policy solutions to ensure Americans can remain in their homes. Speakers emphasized that eviction reform requires input and buy-in from many different sectors and is most successful when communities have a multifaceted approach.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
Renters struggle as costs far outpace wage changes
The average minimum wage worker in the U.S. would have to work 96 hours per week to afford a modest two-bedroom rental home, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Out of Reach: The High Cost of Housing 2022 report. The annual study highlights the disparity between what renters can afford and what is available in the rental market. Information available on NLIHC’s site includes state summaries and the raw data.
HAC posts guide for Kentucky flood survivors
HAC offers an online resource guide as a source of information for individuals and families dealing with housing loss and damage from the recent rain and flooding in eastern Kentucky. Other disaster resources from HAC include Rural Resilience and a Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.
National Tribal broadband strategy recommended
Tribal Broadband: National Strategy and Coordination Framework Needed to Increase Access reports on a Government Accountability Office review of federal efforts to improve broadband on Tribal lands. Based on its research, GAO recommends that the White House and Commerce Department specifically address tribal needs within a national broadband strategy and within the American Broadband Initiative.
HAC seeks Training Coordinator and Loan Officer, Rental Preservation.
- The Training Coordinator will support the successful management and delivery of HAC’s training activities as well as its biennial National Rural Housing Conference. The role requires strong logistical training events experience, exceptional attention to detail, and a passion for creating high-quality training events for attendees. 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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