HUD announces thousands of new vouchers, some with provisions to help rural applicants
- HUD will use over $43 million to support around 4,000 new incremental vouchers for a new Stability Voucher program, which is intended to work with the special Continuum of Care funding targeted to unsheltered and rural homelessness. Stability Vouchers may assist households who are homeless, at risk of homelessness, fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking, and veterans and families that include a veteran family member who meets one of these criteria. Program details are set out in HUD Notice PIH 2022-24. Stability Vouchers will be allocated to PHAs that administer Housing Choice Voucher programs, demonstrate a strategy to coordinate assistance with services available in the community, and register their interest with HUD by October 20.
- HUD will award about 19,700 new regular Housing Choice Vouchers to PHAs, using $200 million that were included in its FY22 appropriation for this purpose. After the first year, these vouchers will roll into each PHA’s renewals. As explained in Notice PIH 2022-29, HUD will allocate as few as three vouchers per PHA to encourage rural and small PHAs to use them. HUD planned to notify PHAs of their awards by August 26 and PHAs were asked to inform HUD by September 2 if they chose to decline their awards.
Temporary Buy America waiver approved for USDA Rural Development
USDA RD has not yet determined whether it will consider housing and community facilities to be infrastructure and therefore subject to the Build America, Buy America (BABA) Act requirements adopted in the 2021 Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. It has, however, activated a six-month waiver so that from August 4, 2022 through February 3, 2023, recipients of Rural Development funds will not have to consider the origin of iron, steel, manufactured products, and construction materials used in infrastructure projects unless specifically instructed to do so. The currently open funding round of the ReConnect Program is not covered by the waiver, so BABA does apply to those awards. RD states that the waiver will allow it time “to implement the new requirements and shepherd its customers through a transition to BABA.” A request for a longer-term waiver for de minimis, small grants, and minor components of infrastructure projects financed by all USDA agencies is still pending.
HAC’s Shonterria Charleston appointed to USDA Equity Commission subcommittee
USDA recently announced the 12 members of its Equity Commission’s Subcommittee on Rural Community Economic Development, including Shonterria Charleston, HAC’s Director of Training and Technical Assistance. The RCED subcommittee, along with the full commission and its Subcommittee for Agriculture, will meet on September 20 and 21. The meetings are open to the public online. USDA invites public comments to firstname.lastname@example.org on issues that should be considered by the commission and its subcommittees.
A study of rural communities in 10 states found that nonfatal overdoses occurred more often in people using both methamphetamine and opioids (22%) than in those using opioids alone (14%) or methamphetamine alone (6%). Source: National Rural Opioid Initiative.
HUD offers grants to modify older adults’ homes
The Older Adult Home Modification Program makes grants to experienced nonprofits, state and local governments, and PHAs for comprehensive programs that make low-cost, high-impact safety and functional home modifications to enable low-income elderly homeowners to remain in their homes. One third of the funding is set aside for communities with “substantial rural populations.” The deadline is October 13. For more information, contact Dr. Taneka Blue, HUD, 202-402-6846.
ReConnect broadband program funding available
From September 6 through November 2, USDA will accept applications for loans and grants under the fourth round of funding from the ReConnect Program. Funds can be used for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment to facilitate broadband deployment in rural areas. Eligible applicants include nonprofit or for-profit organizations, partnerships, cooperatives, states or local governments, Tribes, and U.S. territories or possessions. This funding round is not covered by USDA’s six-month waiver of Buy America requirements, so projects will need to comply with those mandates. For more information, contact Laurel Leverrier, USDA, 202-720-9554.
Heirs’ Property Relending Program announces lenders, seeks more
- USDA has selected three intermediary lenders for its new Heirs’ Property Relending Program: Akiptan, Inc., the Cherokee Nation Economic Development Trust Authority, and the Shared Capital Cooperative, which has a partnership with the Federation of Southern Cooperatives. These entities will make loans to help agricultural producers and landowners resolve heirs’ land ownership and succession issues. Details about geographic coverage and contacts for the lenders are posted on USDA’s HPRP site.
- USDA’s Farm Service Agency is accepting applications from additional CDFIs to become HPRP intermediaries. For more information, contact Raenata Walker, USDA, 202-720-4671.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
Rules revised for Section 502 guaranteed loans
Changes to program regulations for the Section 502 Single-Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program, effective on November 29, will update the requirements for lenders, provide guidance for processing applicants with delinquent child support payments, and align builder requirements with the credit program requirements of other federal agencies. For more information, contact Laurie Mohr, USDA, 314-679-6917.
Fair Market Rents posted
FEMA plans to address disasters affecting Tribal lands
The 2022-2026 FEMA National Tribal Strategy is intended to help the agency “to better address its responsibilities to federally recognized tribal nations when responding to and preparing for disasters affecting tribal lands.” The strategy calls for FEMA to initiate a national study on Tribal emergency management capacity and capabilities, develop a program guide, develop Tribal-specific technical assistance resources, convene an annual meeting of national and regional Tribal liaisons, and expand training opportunities for Tribal nations.
HUD supports HIV/AIDS plan
Noting that “access to safe, stable, and affordable housing is a critical social determinant of health,” HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge committed to take several actions in support of the recently issued National HIV/AIDS Strategy Federal Implementation Plan for the United States, 2022-2025. HUD will distribute HIV prevention information to people who administer and people who receive HUD-assisted housing programs, including youth in HUD-assisted housing; partner with other agencies to address situations where homelessness or unstable housing is an identified factor for HIV/AIDS; make efforts to ensure racial and LGBTQ+ equity in access to Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS housing and services; and use scoring points to incentivize communities to address inequities.
Advisory committee to focus on affordable, equitable, and sustainable housing
The Federal Housing Finance Agency is establishing a Federal Advisory Committee on Affordable, Equitable, and Sustainable Housing to advise the agency as it oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank System. FHFA will publish a notice in the future soliciting applications for committee membership from people representing diverse communities, points of view, institution asset sizes, and geographical locations. For more information, contact Erin Barry, FHFA, 202-649-3287.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
Most Native American veterans cannot take advantage of VA home loan program
National Public Radio reports how rarely Native American veterans on tribal land use the VA’s Native American Direct Loan program to finance their homes. Barriers include limited data about the program’s results, out-of-date user manuals, and the fact that only 20% of the country’s almost 600 tribes have Memorandums of Understanding with VA, which are required before the VA can legally make loans on tribal land. GAO released a report in April with recommendations on ways for the VA to increase mortgage loan program participation.
Attorneys differ regarding Supreme Court decision’s impact on fair housing
Could This Supreme Court Ruling Affect Fair Housing?, a Shelterforce article, compiles the views of several housing attorneys on the possible impact of the court’s West Virginia v. Environmental Protection Agency decision, which held that EPA could not adopt a regulation with a significant economic impact because Congress had not explicitly granted it the authority to do so. The lawyers quoted in the article, all fair housing experts, reached varying conclusions about whether the same rationale could be used to challenge regulations on affirmatively furthering fair housing or on disparate impact.
HAC offers career opportunities
- The Housing Specialist – Native American Communities is responsible for providing direct technical assistance, coaching, and training to tribal communities, tribal housing departments, tribal housing authorities, and nonprofit organizations serving tribal communities. Travel is required. 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.
- 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 eligible for telecommuting.
- 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.
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 email@example.com, 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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