News

HAC News: January 6, 2022

Vol. 51, No. 1

TOP STORIES

Congress faces funding deadline.

Having reconvened after the holidays, Congress must act again on appropriations for fiscal year 2022, which started October 1, 2021. The current continuing resolution that holds programs at FY21 funding levels will expire February 18.

HAC to hold online forum on rural veterans’ housing grants.

Register now for a January 12 briefing by HAC program staff on the Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative, which helps local nonprofit housing development organizations to meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural places. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly, and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. This initiative is funded through the generous support of The Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due January 21. For more information, contact HAC staff. No phone calls please.

RuralSTAT

The average purchase price of a new manufactured home (without land) is now estimated at $118,700* – up 41% from July 2020 to July 2021. Source: U.S. Census Bureau’s Manufactured Housing Survey. *Includes both single and multi-sections.

OPPORTUNITIES

HAC seeks Loan Processor Associate, Housing Specialist, and Community Facilities Housing Specialist.

  • The Loan Processor Associate is an entry-level position and will assist in managing HAC’s portfolio of loans made to entities engaged in affordable housing activities throughout the rural U.S. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Housing Specialist is primarily based in either the Southwest or Western states (within two hours of a major airport) and works with local partner organizations to identify financial resources and funding opportunities to support the preservation and development of affordable housing and community and economic development strategies specifically throughout expanses of Southwest and/or Western rural America. This position is remote location eligible.
  • The Community Facilities Housing Specialist identifies and engages community stakeholders and provides direct technical assistance to rural organizations that are developing facilities such as parks, community centers, public libraries and childcare centers. This is a two-year position and is eligible for telecommuting.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

USDA offers guidance on community facilities funding priorities.

A guidance document explains how RD State Directors and the RHS Administrator can allocate discretionary points to support RD’s FY22 priorities when scoring applications for community facilities direct loans and grants. (Discretionary points are not available for CF guaranteed loans.) The three priorities are to help rural communities recover economically from the pandemic’s impacts; ensure all rural residents have equitable access to RD programs and benefits from RD-funded projects; and reduce climate pollution and increase resilience to the impacts of climate change. CF applications are accepted year-round. For more information, contact an RD State Office.

Duty to Serve proposals need revisions.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced on January 5 that it has reviewed Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s revised Duty to Serve Proposed Plans for 2022-24 and has directed both of them to submit additional revisions to improve the plans’ impact on all three DTS underserved markets (manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation, and rural housing). In the meantime, FHFA states, DTS implementation will continue without interruption based on objectives in the current proposed plans.

Input requested on rural minority businesses.

The Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency seeks information on rural minority businesses as it establishes a new Rural Business Center Program authorized by the November 2021 infrastructure act. It asks a variety of questions, including what are the financial, operational, and logistical needs of rural business enterprises; do rural and remote minority businesses face unique challenges; and how can community-based organizations be involved? Comments are due January 25. For more information, contact Danae Pauli, MBDA, 202-482-2332.

HUD announces regulatory waivers for Native American programs in disaster areas.

HUD has published a list of waivers and flexibilities from HUD requirements that can be used during calendar years 2022 and 2023 by Indian Housing Block Grant, Indian CDBG, and Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant grantees in areas covered by presidentially declared disasters. Separate notices were issued previously for HUD’s Native American coronavirus relief programs. For more information, contact Hilary Atkin, HUD.

Expedited waiver process set for public housing and Section 8 in disaster areas.

During presidentially declared disasters in calendar years 2022 and 2023, HUD will use an expedited process to consider PHA requests for waivers and flexibilities from regulatory and administrative requirements applicable to the public housing and Section 8 programs. For more information, contact Tesia Irinyenikan, 202-402-7026.

Two Rural Development State Directors appointed.

President Biden has named USDA RD State Directors for Montana and for New Hampshire and Vermont. The administration previously announced the State Directors for Alabama, Colorado, Delaware and Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

News stories describe 3D printing as an affordable housing solution.

How 3D Printing Can be the Solution to the Nation’s Affordable Housing Crisis, from NBC News, reports that building a home with wood costs approximately $150,000 but constructing homes with a 3D printer using concrete can reduce costs up to 15% and complete construction in half the time. ISU Project Hopes to Create a New Solution for the State’s Affordable Housing Crisis, an Iowa Public Radio story, explains that Iowa State University received $1.4 million from the Iowa Economic Development Authority and will purchase a 3D printer to print the vertical framing for homes. It will help fill the gap of Iowa’s workforce shortage and help speed construction of affordable housing.

Housing insecurity high for older renters of color.

Older Renters of Color Have Experienced High Rates of Housing Insecurity During the Pandemic, a Joint Center for Housing Studies blog post, reports the Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey data shows that in the last year older households of color struggled to pay rent or mortgages at higher rates than white, non-Hispanic households. Disparities based on race, ethnicity, and tenure type are particularly apparent among older renters. During the last year, Black households were twice as likely as white households to be behind on rent. In addition, over a quarter of older Asian renters reported being behind on housing payments.

Hotel/motel conversions studied.

Addressing Homelessness Through Hotel Conversions presents an analysis of 13 hotel/motel acquisition projects from towns and cities of varying sizes, focusing on conversions aimed at providing housing for people experiencing homelessness. The report was published by the Terner Center for Housing Innovation as part of the Housing Crisis Research Collaborative.

Podcasts cover rural issues and housing.

  • UCLA Housing Voice features interviews with housing researchers, intended to help make sense of their work and how it can be applied in the real world. Topics have included the legacy of redlining, state housing mandates, and fair housing.
  • The Home Front from the National Low Income Housing Coalition focuses on housing policy priorities and advocacy.
  • The Yonder Report is a short roundup of rural news released weekly, featuring a variety of rural voices.

Solar farm to be constructed on former coal mine site.

The New York Times, in Coming Soon to this Coal County: Solar in a Big Way, describes the development of a large solar power project on a former mountain top coal site in Martin County, KY. In this economically distressed county coal jobs, which once helped fuel the area’s economy, are nearly gone. While about half of the project’s 300 jobs would be temporary, they would pay an average of $25 to $30 per hour.

Pharmacists retiring in rural America.

Seeking Refills: Aging Pharmacists Leave Drugstores Vacant in Rural America, published by Kaiser Health News, discusses the shortage of candidates available to fill vacancies created by retiring pharmacists and associated impacts for rural communities.

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 hacloanfund@ruralhome.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).