Federal funding expected to continue
The Senate and House are likely to pass H.R. 6833, a continuing resolution to keep the federal government open when fiscal year 2023 begins on October 1, and President Biden is expected to sign the measure. It will keep most federal housing programs at FY22 levels, with an additional $2 billion for the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery program. The CR ends on December 16, so further congressional action on FY23 appropriations will be required by then.
Disaster guides online for survivors of Hurricanes Fiona and Ian
The Housing Assistance Council’s thoughts are with our rural partners and communities affected by the recent hurricanes in the South and the Caribbean. HAC offers online resource guides with information for individuals and families in areas hit by Hurricane Ian and Hurricane Fiona. Other disaster resources from HAC include Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster and a Disaster Response for Rural Communities Guide.
National Rural Housing Conference set for October 2023
Mark your calendars and save the date! HAC’s National Rural Housing Conference will be held October 24-27, 2023 in Washington, DC and online. The conference brings together stakeholders in the field of rural affordable housing from local nonprofits, federal agencies, Congress, state and local governments, and other industry leaders for two-and-a-half days of training, discussion, and networking. We are excited to see you all in DC in 2023!
Rural housing preservation bill introduced in Senate
The Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act, S. 4872, was introduced on September 15 by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tina Smith (D-MN). Like other measures introduced in the past several years, this bill would authorize USDA’s Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, establish a preference for restructuring a property’s USDA mortgage loan when possible, and decouple Section 521 Rental Assistance so that tenants can continue to receive aid when mortgage restructuring is not possible. It would expand eligibility for Section 542 vouchers and would require USDA to improve its technology and submit a plan for preserving its rental portfolio. A companion bill, H.R. 1728, was introduced in the House by Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA) in March 2021.
Senate subcommittee hears ideas for improving USDA housing programs
Witnesses described the successes and shortcomings of the rural housing programs at a September 20 hearing titled Examining the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service: Stakeholder Perspectives, convened by the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development. Recommendations covered single-family and multifamily programs, as well as staffing and technology issues. HAC, the National Housing Law Project, and the National Rural Housing Coalition submitted written testimony.
In rural areas, recipients of disaster recovery aid from FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program received less assistance (about 5.7% less on average) than those in urban areas. Source: Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center at Texas A&M University.
HUD offers Section 202 elderly housing funds
The Section 202 program makes capital advances to sponsors to finance construction, reconstruction, moderate or substantial rehabilitation, or acquisition of a structure with or without rehabilitation, to provide housing to elderly persons who can live independently with some services. This year HUD is also supporting the development of intergenerational housing for elderly caregivers raising children. Applications are due January 25. For more information, contact HUD staff.
REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES
New colonia determination proposed, based on HAC research
The Federal Housing Finance Agency proposes to change the way it determines what geographic areas are considered colonias for purposes of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve activities. Based on research conducted by HAC, FHFA suggests it would identify colonias by census tracts, even when they do not meet a definition of “rural.” Comments will be due 60 days after the proposal is published in the Federal Register.
HOME regulation finalized
HUD has finalized without change an interim final rule issued December 2, 2016. The rule revised how HUD determines compliance with commitment requirements and made revisions to prevent loss of allocated HOME funds when program income is expended. For more information, contact Virginia Sardone, HUD, 202-708-2684.
HUD requests input on new green retrofit program
HUD is designing a new Green and Resilient Retrofit Program that will provide loans and grants to support energy and water efficiency retrofits and climate resilience of HUD-assisted multifamily properties. The department seeks public input by October 27 to inform prioritization of work, treatment of cost-benefit analyses, and key design elements. For more information, contact Lauren Ross, HUD, 202-402-5423.
Meetings will cover aligning HUD’s manufactured housing code with energy conservation standards
HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee will hold meetings on October 18-20 and November 15-17 to discuss rulemaking to align the HUD Code for manufactured housing with the Department of Energy’s Energy Conservation Standards for Manufactured Housing, which have a required compliance date of May 31, 2023. The meetings are open to the public. For more information, contact Teresa B. Payne, HUD, 202-708-6423. To sign up to make comments at a meeting or to submit written comments, contact Home Innovation Research Labs, 1-888-602-4663.
USDA again extends authorization for third-party appraisals
In connection with Section 502 direct loans, USDA will continue to accept appraisals obtained by self-help grantees, certified loan application packagers, agency-approved intermediaries, and leveraged or other participating lenders. The temporary authorization was due to expire September 30, 2022, but now will remain effective through September 30, 2023. The appraisal fee is an out-of-pocket expense to the applicant but may be reimbursed with loan funds at loan closing. For more information, contact a USDA RD office.
Input requested on farm labor shortages and protections
USDA’s Farm Service Agency held listening sessions September 28 and 29 on the recently announced Farm Labor Stabilization and Protection Pilot Grant Program, which aims to address labor shortages in agriculture, reduce “irregular” migration, and improve labor protections for farmworkers. FSA will also consider written comments received by October 24. For more information, contact Linda Cronin, FSA, 202-692-4928.
HAC webinar to cover permanent supportive housing
Permanent Supportive Housing in Rural Areas, scheduled for October 5, will provide information on challenges and opportunities. Permanent supportive housing offers long-term affordable housing with access to supportive services for vulnerable populations. The session will cover supportive housing models and strategies as well as financial resources for acquisition, rehab, and new construction.
Nonprofit finances, homelessness funding, and disaster resilience information posted
Recordings and materials from three recent HAC webinars are available online.
- Nonprofit Finances for Non-Finance Professionals discussed a nonprofit’s fiscal responsibilities and an overview of a nonprofit’s financial statements.
- Funding Opportunities: Learn More About HUD’s Special NOFO to Address Rural Homelessness and New Stability Housing Voucher Program was cosponsored by HAC, the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials.
- Preparing your Organization for Disaster: A Guide to Rural Resilience featured local organizations that have experienced natural disasters, showcased HAC’s Rural Resilience in the Face of Disaster website, and offered tools to help organizations get ready for disaster.
PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA
Data, reports, and more available at Black Wealth Data Center
The Black Wealth Data Center site says it “intends to fuel the creation of a national standard for racial wealth equity and drive nonpartisan, evidence-based decisions with the comprehensive data necessary to unlock innovation.” The center was conceived and funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative and is hosted by Prosperity Now.
Report describes ways to prevent evictions
Home for Good: Strategies to Prevent Eviction and Promote Housing Stability, a recent paper from Enterprise Community Partners, describes holistic strategies for preventing evictions and promoting housing stability. Guidance includes ensuring housing stability and intervening early to help those most vulnerable to evictions.
Inflation Reduction Act’s housing energy provisions summarized
What Does the Inflation Reduction Act Mean for Housing?, a post from the Bipartisan Policy Center, presents a detailed summary of the housing-related efforts that will be supported by the recent Inflation Reduction Act. They focus on energy efficiency and climate resilience.
U.S. territories and mainland rural areas may be losing population for the same reasons
A Washington Post article entitled People are Fleeing Puerto Rico, Guam and Every Other U.S. Territory. What Gives? explores the universal population loss in the U.S. territories over the last decade. The article finds the territories are in a situation very similar to that of many rural areas on the mainland. Policy changes and the rise of China as a dominant manufacturer have meant declining job opportunities. People leave – particularly the best and brightest – and that creates a cycle where there are fewer resources and fewer opportunities for those who remain, so some of them leave, and so on. Climate change and other factors apply also.
Increased costs impact LIHTC developments
Filling Funding Gaps: How State Agencies are Moving to Meet a Growing Threat to Affordable Housing, a report for the National Council of State Housing Agencies, says unexpected cost increases have affected almost all deals that were awarded Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from 2019 to the present. Interviewees reported cost increases of around 30%, with some even larger. Many sought other funding to close the resulting gaps, reducing the resources available for other affordable housing efforts.
Aspen Institute launches new rural development website
The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group’s site features CSG resources including the Thrive Rural Framework, a tool for local assessment, priority setting, and strategy. It will also offer content from partners including HAC.
HAC seeks Research Associate and Housing Specialist – Native American Communities
- The Research Associate conducts original research, manages data, and disseminates information that informs local strategies and national policies to improve conditions for rural Americans. This position is eligible for telecommuting.
- 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.
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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