HAC News

HAC News: June 14, 2019

News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities • June is National Homeownership Month • House moves appropriations forward • House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals • Disaster funding bill becomes law • Flood insurance program extended • HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies • USDA moving ERS and NIFA to Kansas City • Revised income limits for HUD programs posted • RuralSTAT • Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing • RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas • Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes • A Piece of Mississippi: Retrospective on Rural Generation for CIRDReservation ProfilesSpeak Your Piece: Rural Strength and Possibility •Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is accepting applications through July 22 for stipends and technical assistance to enable rural and tribal communities to host rural design workshops or participate in a Learning Cohort. A webinar offering application guidance from HAC, the National Endowment for the Arts and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is available online. “Open office hour” events will also be hosted by [bc] on Facebook live on June 18 and July 10. For more information, contact CIRD@bcworkshop.org.

June is National Homeownership Month.

USDA’s press release highlights the department’s homeownership programs.

House moves appropriations forward.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the proposed FY20 spending bills for USDA and HUD on June 4. Those two measures have been combined with the bills for Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment and Military Construction-VA to create a second “minibus” that is scheduled for a vote in the full House the week of June 17. The House began debate June 12 on the first minibus, comprised of appropriations bills for Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations and Energy. The Financial Services bill, not included in either minibus, passed the House Appropriations Committee on June 11 and includes $300 million for CDFI Fund programs, compared to $250 million in FY19. The Senate has not yet begun to consider its appropriations bills.

House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals.

H.R. 3018, passed by the House Financial Services Committee on June 12, would block HUD’s proposal to allow homeless shelters to treat transgender and gender non-conforming people according to the sex they were assigned at birth. Similar language is included in the House’s HUD appropriations bill for FY20. Also approved by the committee was H.R. 2763, prohibiting implementation of HUD’s proposed rule to end housing benefits for families with mixed immigration status. Finally, H.R. 3154 clarifies that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients cannot be denied federally backed mortgage loans based on their DACA status; after the bill passed, a letter from a HUD official to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) became public confirming that FHA considers DACA recipients ineligible for its mortgage guarantees, a policy previously denied by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Disaster funding bill becomes law.

On June 6, President Trump signed the disaster relief bill into law, providing $17.2 billion for recovery from 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Flood insurance program extended.

The new disaster relief law extends authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2019, the end of the current fiscal year. The program would be authorized through the end of fiscal 2024 by H.R. 3167, which received unanimous approval from the House Financial Services Committee on June 12. That bill and H.R. 3111, also passed unanimously by the committee, make other changes to the program as well.

HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies.

Nonprofits, for-profits, PHAs, state or local governments, tribes and educational institutions can apply by July 11 for HUD Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grants to improve detection and control of housing-related health and safety hazards. For more information, contact J. Kofi Berko, HUD.

USDA says ERS and NIFA will move to Kansas City.

The Kansas City region has been selected as the new location for the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on June 13. With its press release, USDA provided the first publicly available cost-benefit analysis for the controversial move. The House’s FY20 appropriations bill for USDA includes language prohibiting use of FY20 funds for the relocation, but a timeline in the cost-benefit document shows the Department intends to begin the relocation by August 1 and complete it by September 30, before FY20 begins on October 1. NIFA workers voted on June 11 to join the American Federation of Government Employees, as ERS employees did in May.

Revised income limits for HUD programs posted.

The 2019 income limits for CDBG, HOME, HTF, HOPWA and NSP will be effective June 29. The limits for ESG are effective as of April 24.

RuralSTAT. The citizenship question on the 2020 Census has been hotly debated as of late. Data on citizenship already exists in the American Community Survey. From the ACS, the Census Bureau estimates that 2.8% of the rural and small town population are not U.S. citizens. To view the data for your community and its reliability, visit HAC’s Rural Data Portal.

Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing.

A new Iowa program, based on one in South Dakota, aims to help alleviate the state’s rural affordable housing shortage by recruiting the state’s prison population to build modular affordable housing. The program also hopes to provide inmates with training and apprenticeships that can help them find jobs upon reentry.

RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas.

An open house event allowed visitors to see a finished home where a family lived throughout construction, beginning with a small “core” house erected in three days and intended to replace a FEMA trailer after a natural disaster. The family occupied the core while the rest of the home was built onto it. Texas Housers, one of the partners in developing and testing the concept, declared this RAPIDO home ready to move to large scale use in future disaster rebuilding. Other partners were buildingcommunityWorkshop, Enterprise Community Partners, the Texas Organizing Project and Covenant Community Capital. A past issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine (p. 27) describes how the concept can be used for affordable housing in non-disaster situations as well.

Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes.

HUD is proposing changes in how it calculates trend factors that are used in determining Fair Market Rents. The changes are intended to make the determinations more local. Comments are due July 5. For more information, contact HUD’s Program Parameters and Research Division, 202-402-2409.

Recent publications and media of interest

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan funds provide 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, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development and construction/rehabilitation. 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).