News

HAC News: May 12, 2022

TOP STORIES

Community Reinvestment Act proposal released.

Comments are due August 5 on a proposed new CRA rule issued jointly by the three federal agencies that regulate banks and other lenders: the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Board, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Along with many other changes, the proposed rule would revise the way CRA assessment areas are delineated. It would create new performance tests for large banks (those with assets of at least $2 billion) and intermediate banks (those with assets between $600 million and $2 billion), including a Community Development Financing Test and a Community Development Services Test. Small banks (with under $600 million in assets) would be evaluated under the current CRA performance standards unless they opted into the new Retail Lending Test. For more information, contact Heidi Thomas, OCC, 202-649-5490.

May is Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

President Biden’s proclamation and other federal information about the observance are available online.

RuralSTAT

In March 2022 the unemployment rate outside of metropolitan areas dropped to 3.9%, continuing a general decline in the rural joblessness rate since the height of the pandemic. Source: Housing Assistance Council tabulations of Bureau of Labor Statistics LAUS Data.

OPPORTUNITIES

Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants available.

PHAs, local governments, tribal entities, and nonprofits are eligible for funds that support the development of comprehensive plans to revitalize severely distressed public housing and/or HUD-assisted housing and the surrounding neighborhood. Apply by July 28. For more information, contact HUD staff.

Webinars cover subdivision development for affordable housing.

Subdivision development is a complex undertaking that requires both a vision of what is possible and an eye for detail throughout the entire process. HAC offers a free three-part webinar series, covering the process from start to finish, the financial risks and rewards for rural housing organizations, and more. Recordings are posted online from Session 1: An Overview and Session 2:  From Project Inception Through Land Acquisition. Session 3:  From Land Acquisition to Completion will be on May 25.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Some additional non-citizens temporarily eligible for Section 502 guaranteed loans.

For one year, beginning May 2, 2022, non-citizens with valid Social Security Numbers and work authorization, as evidenced by documentation such as an Employment Authorization Document, Form I-766, are temporarily eligible for USDA Section 502 guaranteed mortgages. USDA’s announcement explains that it intends to change its regulations to make this eligibility expansion permanent. For more information, contact a USDA RD service center.

Nonprofits and others will have new opportunity to purchase some foreclosed homes.

The Federal Housing Administration has modified its Claims Without Conveyance of Title post-foreclosure sale process, through which lenders can sell foreclosed properties that were FHA-insured directly to third parties rather than conveying them to FHA. Mortgagee Letter 2022-08 creates a 30-day exclusive sales period for owner-occupants, HUD-approved nonprofits, and governmental entities to purchase foreclosed homes before investors are allowed to bid. For more information, contact the FHA Resource Center, 1-800-CALL-FHA.

Deadline extended for Emergency Solutions Grants-COVID program.

A recent notice from HUD moves the deadline for ESG-CV recipients (states, localities, and nonprofits) to spend their program allocations to September 30, 2023 instead of September 30, 2022. The notice also explains how unused funds will be reallocated. For more information, contact an ESG-CV recipient.

Updated FAQs posted for homeowner assistance and state and local recovery funds.

VA sets goal for housing veterans experiencing homelessness.

Noting that progress towards ending veteran homelessness has stalled since 2016, the Department of Veterans Affairs has established a nationwide goal to house 38,000 homeless veterans during calendar year 2022. VA offers resources to support communities in achieving this target, including bi-weekly office hours calls with recordings and notes posted online, FAQs, and other information.

2022 compliance supplement for audits released.

The 2022 Compliance Supplement to OMB’s Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements applies to audits of fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2021 for nonprofits, state and local governments and tribes receiving federal funds. Comments are due July 11. For more information, contact the relevant federal agency.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Online series addresses fair housing and racial equity.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity has posted a series of “Table Talks” that aim to educate regarding fair housing, discuss partnership in communities, and address fair housing policies and programs.

Black farmers’ land loss estimated.

Black families’ real estate ownership peaked in the early 1900s and by 1997 they had lost about 90% of their farmland, according to a new research report. The process – and USDA’s role in it – are described in How the Government Helped White Americans Steal Black Farmland, an article in the New Republic by a team of scholars whose academic report will be published by the American Economic Association. They calculated that the current value of the lost land and income from it would be about $326 billion. “This enormous loss not only cost the families who saw their land and dreams taken from them,” they write, “but destroyed a rural Black middle class that had, by sheer will, emerged in the aftermath of slavery.”

Emergency Housing Voucher use discussed.

Using EHVs to Get People Housed: Focus Group Discussions on Challenges and Current Strategies, a report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness, explores experience with these vouchers, created by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 for people experiencing homelessness. Continuums of Care and PHAs have faced challenges and developed strategies that could assist other communities and policymakers.

Answers updated about coronavirus aid based on immigration status.

A new version of Frequently Asked Questions: Eligibility for Assistance Based on Immigration Status, also available in Spanish, has been released by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, the National Housing Law Project, and the National Immigration Law Center. The update adds information on the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program and the Low-Income Household Water Assistance Program and reflects the Treasury Department’s guidance on Emergency Rental Assistance programs’ use of Social Security Numbers.

Resources help address structural and systemic racism in housing policy.

A new webpage offers resources on policy, research, and advocacy related to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Anti-racism, and Systems-thinking (IDEAS) from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and its partners. For more information, contact Renee M. Willis, NLIHC.

CDBG important for community improvements, report says.

CDBG: Improving Lives and Strengthening Communities, a report by the CDBG Coalition, offers national data and local examples from rural and urban places around the country to inform stakeholders about the importance of the Community Development Block Grant program.

HAC

HAC seeks Housing Specialist and Community Placemaking Manager.

  • The Housing Specialist is based primarily 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 Placemaking Manager helps rural residents use their unique artistic and cultural resources to guide local development and shape the future design of their communities. The manager will cultivate the capacity of partner organizations and local communities, facilitate peer-to-peer learning engagements, manage day-to-day program functions and activities, communicate program success, and prepare funding applications. Travel is required. This position is telecommuting eligible.

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).