HAC News

HAC News: September 16, 2009

Access a pdf version of this HAC News. • Spending bills on track? • HUD seeks input on holding Section 8 income limits harmless • NOFAs issued for 202, 811, ALCP, and Service Coordinators • Continuous guarantee demonstration offered for Section 538 • Flood insurance regulations changed • New regulation proposed for H-2A workers • USDA audit guide updated for programs including Section 515 • Recession’s rural impacts summarized • Poverty remains higher in rural areas • Guidebook published for ACS rural data • Lower and higher income people help others in different ways, research finds

September 16, 2009
Vol. 38, No. 19

SPENDING BILLS ON TRACK? With the 2010 fiscal year starting October 1, a continuing resolution appears certain for at least part of the government over at least a short period of time. USDA’s appropriations bill passed both the House (H.R. 2997) and Senate (S. 1406) in mid-summer. The Transportation-HUD bill (H.R. 3288) passed the House in July and is likely to pass the Senate this week. Updates will be posted at https://ruralhome.org and the bills are available at https://thomas.loc.gov/home/approp/app10.html.

HUD SEEKS INPUT ON HOLDING SECTION 8 INCOME LIMITS HARMLESS. Comments are due October 14 on discontinuing HUD’s “hold harmless” policy, which keeps Section 8 income limits from changing when HUD estimates or methodological changes would reduce them. See Federal Register, 9/14/09, https://www.huduser.org/datasets/il.html, or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Marie L. Lihn or Lynn A. Rodgers, HUD, 202-708-0590.

NOFAS ISSUED FOR 202, 811, ALCP, AND SERVICE COORDINATORS. Applications are due Nov. 13 for Section 202 elderly housing, Nov. 16 for Section 811 housing for people with disabilities, Nov. 5 for the Assisted Living Conversion Program, and Nov. 5 for Service Coordinators in Multifamily Housing. See Federal Register, 9/8/09 or https://www.hud.gov/offices/adm/grants/fundsavail.cfm. Contact Aretha M. Williams, HUD, 202-402-2480.

CONTINUOUS GUARANTEE DEMONSTRATION OFFERED FOR SECTION 538. For projects using Low Income Housing Tax Credits that have USDA Section 538 guarantee commitments approved in 2008 or 2009 but not yet closed, lenders can apply to receive continuous loan note guarantees through the construction and permanent loan financing phases. While funds last, selections will be made once a month starting September 18 and ending in December 2009. See Federal Register, 9/15/09. Contact Tammy Daniels, RD, tammy.daniels@wdc.usda.gov.

FLOOD INSURANCE REGULATIONS CHANGED. FEMA is finalizing regulations that implement the Severe Repetitive Loss program, which offers mitigation assistance for National Flood Insurance Program properties that have had repeated flood claims. Regulations are also modified for other flood related programs. See Federal Register, 9/16/09. Contact Cecelia Rosenberg, FEMA, 202-646-3321, cecelia.rosenberg@dhs.gov.

NEW REGULATION PROPOSED FOR H-2A WORKERS. After withdrawing the Bush Administration’s proposal (see HAC News, 6/10/09), the Department of Labor has proposed new changes for the certification of H-2A temporary farmworkers and the enforcement of employers’ contractual obligations. Comments are due October 5. See Federal Register, 9/4/09 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact William L. Carlson, DOL, 202-693-3010.

USDA AUDIT GUIDE UPDATED FOR PROGRAMS INCLUDING SECTION 515. Audits of recipients of some RD funding, including Section 515 rental housing loans but no other housing programs, must be conducted in accordance with this guide. See Unnumbered Letter dated September 1, 2009 and USDA Rural Development Audit Program, available at https://www.rurdev.usda.gov/regs/ul/ulseptember09.pdf or from RD offices.

RECESSION’S RURAL IMPACTS SUMMARIZED. Rural America At A Glance, 2009 Edition describes the effects of the current recession on rural America, including employment, homeownership, and poverty, and is available at https://www.ers.usda.gov/Publications/EIB59/ or from USDA, 1-800-999-6779.

POVERTY REMAINS HIGHER IN RURAL AREAS. Census Bureau estimates released September 10 show the national poverty rate rose from 2007 to 2008. The nonmetro poverty rate did not change, but at 15.5% remains higher than the 13.2% national rate. Nationwide household median income fell from $52,163 in 2007 to $50,303 in 2008. The nonmetro median was $40,785 in 2008, down 3.3 percentage points from 2007. A data summary is available at https://ruralhome.org, and the full report, Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2008, is available at https://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-236.pdf.

GUIDEBOOK PUBLISHED FOR ACS RURAL DATA. A Compass for Understanding and Using American Community Survey Data: What Users of Data for Rural Areas Need to Know is intended to introduce the ACS to those who use rural social, economic, and housing data. ACS will provide regularly updated data that can be updated frequently and will replace some of the data previously provided in the decennial Census. The guide is at https://www.census.gov/acs/www/Downloads/ACSRuralAreaHandbook.pdf.

LOWER AND HIGHER INCOME PEOPLE HELP OTHERS IN DIFFERENT WAYS, RESEARCH FINDS. An annual National Conference on Citizenship study of civic engagement broadened its scope this year to include giving food, money, or shelter to others in addition to volunteering, and found that lower income people were more likely to share with others than to undertake traditional volunteer activities. America’s Civic Health Index 2009: Civic Health in Hard Times is free at https://www.ncoc.net or $2.50 plus shipping from NCOC, 202-331-2098, info@ncoc.net.