Debt ceiling compromise limits spending, rescinds some HUD and USDA housing funds
The Fiscal Responsibility Act – the recently enacted compromise that suspends the debt ceiling until January 1, 2025 – makes fewer cuts than the Limit, Save, Grow Act passed by the House in April, but it almost certainly will limit federal spending on housing aid for the next two fiscal years. In addition to the well-publicized work requirements for SNAP and TANF recipients, reallocation of IRS funding, and revised environmental reviews, the measure includes a variety of other provisions, several of which impact rural housing.
USDA rural housing funds in two accounts: any unspent funds from the $39 million for Section 502 direct loans and 504 loans that was provided in the American Rescue Plan Act. and $2 million appropriated for preservation technical assistance for FY21. That $2 million was included in a currently open notice of funding availability from USDA offering $6.9 million from several appropriations years. Correction: The deleted language was included erroneously in the HAC News as distributed on June 8. The Fiscal Responsibility Act did not rescind rental preservation technical assistance funds. HAC apologizes for any confusion.
Further information is available on HAC’s website about HUD funding rescissions, caps on future spending, and provisions intended to give Congress incentives to enact regular appropriations bills for FY24 and FY25.
Rural veterans and local nonprofits receive critical housing support in partnership with The Home Depot Foundation
Veterans and their families in 14 rural communities will have better lives, thanks to The Home Depot Foundation and HAC. The Foundation is awarding grants totaling $366,907 to 14 local nonprofit housing agencies around the country to preserve housing for veterans in rural America. The grants are part of The Home Depot Foundation’s mission to provide affordable and accessible housing solutions to U.S. veterans and invest $500 million in veteran causes by 2025. As part of its Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans Initiative, HAC works with The Home Depot Foundation to administer grants that bolster and support the work of rural nonprofit housing agencies to deliver critical housing support to veterans.
HAC extends poster session deadline
Researchers and policymakers at all levels can apply by July 1 to share their research and innovative ideas through a series of poster sessions at the 2023 National Rural Housing Conference, October 24-27 in Washington, DC. The research must be related to rural America and can be on housing or another field such as public health, community development, race and ethnicity, or creative placemaking. Posters will be reviewed and judged by a distinguished panel of rural experts. For more information, contact Manda LaPorte and Natasha Moodie, HAC.
June is National Homeownership Month, National Healthy Homes Month, and Pride Month
- For National Homeownership Month, USDA is featuring its homeownership programs in its Twitter and YouTube feeds. HUD is launching “Let’s Make Home the Goal,” a campaign to generate awareness among communities of color about the availability and benefits of pre-purchase counseling provided by HUD-certified housing counselors.
- HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes declared June as National Healthy Homes Month. The 2023 campaign theme is “Connecting Home, Health, and You.” Events and resources are available online.
- President Biden proclaimed June 2023 to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Pride Month and the White House announced actions to protect LGBTQI+ communities. HUD launched an LGBTQI+ Youth Homelessness Initiative that will provide technical assistance, training, and information.
According to the 2021 American Community Survey, there are 33.3 million homeowners in rural America. The rural homeownership rate is 72.5% compared to 64.6% for all households nationally. Source: HAC Tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2021 American Community Survey. For more information on rural homeownership visit Rural Research Brief: Homeownership in Rural America.
EPA to help Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund applicants find partners
Potential applicants, coalition members, and partners wanting to find others interested in the three GGRF funds can fill out brief forms by June 19. EPA will compile a list and share it among those who provide their information. Consultants and other for-profit vendors will not be included. The agency expects to publish notices of funding opportunities this summer. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PHAs can request funding for Housing Mobility or Jobs Plus
PHAs that administer Housing Choice Vouchers can apply for Housing Mobility-Related Services funds to increase access to opportunity neighborhoods for families with children. The deadline is August 30. For more information, contact Alison Bell, email@example.com.
Fannie Mae offers first look at REO properties to community organizations
Community First by Fannie Mae™ manages the sale of REO properties to public entities, nonprofits, public funds users, and community-minded investors across the country. Approved partners receive access to Fannie Mae REO properties before the homes are traditionally listed for sale. The properties are made available with price concessions to facilitate affordable and sustainable housing. All interested organizations are required to register for approval to participate in the program. For more information or a demonstration of the platform, contact Fannie Mae’s Community First Sales Team, firstname.lastname@example.org.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
Axne and Hsu join USDA
Cindy Axne, formerly a member of the House of Representatives from Iowa, has been appointed Senior Advisor for Rural Engagement, Delivery and Prosperity at USDA. Yvonne Hsu has been appointed Chief of Staff for the Rural Housing Service. She previously worked at the National Asian-Pacific American Women’s Forum, the National Council of State Housing Agencies, and HUD, and on Capitol Hill.
Temporary Buy America waivers for Tribes proposed by USDA, finalized by HUD
USDA is proposing a one-year department-wide waiver for Tribes of the Buy America domestic content procurement preference in order to conduct more Tribal consultation. An earlier Tribal consultation waiver for USDA RD has now expired. Comments on the new request are due June 16. For more information or to submit comments, email email@example.com with the subject “Tribal Consultation Waiver in the Public Interest for Indian Tribes.”
USDA sets schedule for feedback on decoupling as a rental preservation tool
USDA RD seeks stakeholder input as it compiles a required report to Congress on how it could implement decoupling of Section 521 Rental Assistance from Section 515 mortgages so that some tenants can continue to receive RA after their properties’ mortgages end. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 31; attend an in-person session on June 15 at a National Council of State Housing Agencies conference or on June 27 at a Council for Affordable and Rural Housing conference; or join a virtual session on July 19 or July 25.
Comments sought on tenant protections
The Federal Housing Finance Agency requests input on tenant protections at multifamily properties with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA asks for information that highlights tenants’ experiences and stakeholders’ perspectives, as well as ideas for improved data collection. Comments are due July 31. Several tenant-supporting organizations have also set up a joint website to help tenants to comment.
Agencies propose rule on appraisal technology
A rule proposed by the Federal Reserve Board, CFPB, FDIC, FHFA, National Credit Union Administration, and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency would establish standards for computer models used in property appraisals. These “automated valuation models” help appraise real estate that will be used as collateral for mortgage loans. A CFPB blog post explains that automated valuations rely on mathematical formulas and large amounts of data to estimate a property’s value but can embed bias and discrimination, depending on the information they are given and how they are programmed. Comments on the proposal will be due 60 days after it is published in the Federal Register. For more information, contact Julie Giesbrecht, FHFA, 202-557-9866.
Freddie Mac launches mortgage product for Native American homebuyers
HeritageOne mortgages will provide conventional financing without income limitations for enrolled members of federally recognized Tribes. They will be available beginning in October for single-family homes on the lands of Tribes that are on HUD’s Section 184 Participating Tribes List or have memoranda of understanding with Freddie Mac. Lenders interested in originating these mortgages should contact their Freddie Mac account executive or the Customer Support Contact Center (800-FREDDIE). HeritageOne was developed under Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plan.
FHFA plans online listening sessions on Duty to Serve
The Federal Housing Finance Agency will hold virtual Duty to Serve Markets Public Listening Sessions on July 17 (rural housing), July 18 (manufactured housing), and July 19 (affordable housing preservation). Register to attend or to speak. FHFA will provide more information soon about how to submit written comments. For more information, email DutytoServeStakeholders@fhfa.gov.
FHA considers new approach to help struggling homeowners
The Federal Housing Administration requests comments on a new Payment Supplement Partial Claim to help struggling homeowners with FHA loans to reduce their mortgage payments temporarily. Mortgage servicers would use the FHA Partial Claim, which is an interest-free loan secured by a subordinate mortgage, both to bring a borrower’s mortgage current and to provide temporary reductions to their monthly mortgage payments for up to five years. The homeowner would repay FHA when they sell their home or refinance. Comments are due June 30.
HUD announces third round of unsheltered and rural homelessness funding
HUD has awarded $45 million for 3,379 Stability Vouchers to 135 PHAs and partnering Continuum of Care communities across the country to address homelessness among people in unsheltered settings and in rural communities. The effort to address homelessness in these places began in June 2022 with a notice of funding opportunity, and earlier funding rounds were announced in February and April 2023.
HAC continues webinar series on construction
Overcoming Cost Barriers: Innovative Approaches to Construction with Smart Building Techniques, Volunteers, and Sweat Equity is a series of five webinars. Two will be held later this month:
Three sessions have already been held, and the materials and recordings are posted online:
- Fostering Skilled Labor in Your Community;
- Benefits of Using Pre-Assembled Building Components; and
- Implementing Change in Your Organization/Adopting Alternative Construction Techniques.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
Local nonprofit partners develop energy efficient affordable housing on the Pine Ridge reservation
The Western Organization of Resource Councils reports how Red Cloud Renewable and InOurHands are working together to build naturally insulated cellular concrete tiny homes that can be heated with a small solar panel. In the next phase, Lakota businesses will build the homes and the Lakota Federal Credit Union will underwrite the mortgages.
Housing supply limits growth for small Illinois towns, article says
Rural Illinois Towns Defend their Quiet Communities, originally published in the Chicago Tribune, reports that the lack of growth in rural Illinois towns may indicate limited housing supply rather than economic decline – businesses and school enrollment may be stable. The town of Dieterich used tax increment financing to prepare 130 new lots where developers have built new homes, and also created a local community development corporation. Both efforts have contributed to substantial population growth and a stronger local economy.
New resources available for smaller distressed communities
HUD recently updated its Distressed Cities and Persistent Poverty Technical Assistance Program library with new resources including upcoming funding opportunities, webinars, and toolkits. For more information, contact email@example.com.
National Rural Housing Conference set for October
Mark your calendars and save the date! HAC’s National Rural Housing Conference will be held October 24-27 in Washington, DC and online.
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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