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HAC News: October 12, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 21

HUD SECRETARY TO SPEAK AT THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE • USDA will reallocate rental assistance that was held in reserve • New report on rural rental housing production released • HAC updates disaster guide and issues supplement for recent hurricanes • Public charge proposal would limit admission to U.S. for immigrants who have used assistance or may need it in the future • AmeriCorps grant competition open • Fannie Mae offers funds for innovative health and housing ideas • Data map shows social mobility for every census tract • USDA launches interactive data tool to help address opioid epidemic • Bi-partisan opioid response bill to become law • USDA moves to modernize homeownership programs’ field staff functions as staffing levels decline • Public input sought for modifications to Fannie Mae’s Duty to Serve plan • Research indicates rural families benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit • USDA manufactured housing pilots expanding further • HAC webinar to cover proposed changes to Community Reinvestment Act

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 21

HUD SECRETARY TO SPEAK AT THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE.
Register now for the conference, to be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. HUD Secretary Ben Carson is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers.

USDA will reallocate rental assistance that was held in reserve.
Over 2,900 units of Section 521 Rental Assistance, which had been used in properties that left USDA’s portfolio during FY 2017 and 2018 and have been held in the Rural Housing Service Administrator’s reserve, are now being reallocated to the states where they were formerly used. USDA’s Unnumbered Letter (dated September 19, 2018) lists the number of units for each state. These units cannot be used as incentives for owners who want to prepay their USDA mortgages. For more information, contact a USDA RD State Office.

New report on rural rental housing production released.
HAC, in conjunction with the Urban Institute, published Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Production. The report analyzes the demand for new affordable rental housing in rural places and suggests ways to increase funding and capacity to deliver new units. It acts as a companion piece to HAC’s Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation.

HAC updates disaster guide and issues supplement for recent hurricanes.
The full disaster guide provides updated contact lists and information on relevant organizations to contact after a disaster including FEMA, HUD and USDA, while a Florence-specific supplement provides more detailed information on short- and long-term resources to residents and communities affected by Florence in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia and a supplement for Hurricane Michael covers Florida and other states. A recent GAO blog post and report explain how decisions about disaster declarations and individual assistance are made, along with recommendations.

Public charge proposal would limit admission to U.S. for immigrants who have used assistance or may need it in the future.
The Department of Homeland Security proposes to revise the standards used to determine whether noncitizens may become “public charges” who need government assistance and to require them “to demonstrate that they have not received, are not currently receiving, nor are likely to receive, public benefits.” Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 and public housing are specifically mentioned. The changes would apply to those who are in the U.S. and want to adjust their status (for example, to obtain a green card), as well as to those wanting to enter the U.S. as nonimmigrants or immigrants. Comments are due December 10. For more information, contact Mark Phillips, DHS, 202-272-8377.

AmeriCorps grant competition open.
Nonprofits, tribes, local and state governments and institutions of higher education can compete for grants that will be used to engage AmeriCorps community service members. FY19 funding priorities are economic opportunity, education, prescription drug and opioid abuse, veterans and military families, rural intermediaries, public safety and faith-based organizations. Deadlines vary by state. For more information, contact Corporation for National and Community Service staff.

Fannie Mae offers funds for innovative health and housing ideas.
Applications are due November 1 for a new round of Fannie Mae’s Innovation Challenge, seeking innovative technologies, policies, practices and/or programs at the intersection of affordable housing and health and wellness. Public, private and nonprofit organizations, as well as individuals and teams, are eligible, with cross-sector teams encouraged.

Data map shows social mobility for every census tract.
A Harvard University team worked with the Census Bureau and Brown University to create a new tool, the Opportunity Atlas. Using data from Census and IRS, it shows average outcomes in adulthood of people who grew up in each census tract, including data on income, graduation, incarceration, and employment rates. It is the first dataset that provides such longitudinal information at a detailed neighborhood level.

USDA launches interactive data tool to help address opioid epidemic.
USDA Assistance Secretary Anne Hazlett has announced the creation of an opioid misuse Community Assessment Tool. It combines substance misuse data with socioeconomic, census and other public information to provide community leaders and policymakers with a more complete understanding of how to address the opioid epidemic on a local level. This tool was launched following President Trump’s declaration of October as National Substance Abuse Prevention Month.

Bi-partisan opioid response bill to become law.
Passed overwhelmingly by the Senate on October 3 and the House on September 28, H.R. 6 addresses the opioid crisis, which has hit hard in rural areas. Among the legislation’s many provisions are amendments to Medicare regulations and authorization of federal funding, to be distributed through states, to provide temporary housing for people in recovery. President Trump is expected to sign the bill into law.

USDA moves to modernize homeownership programs’ field staff functions as staffing levels decline.
Recognizing that RD’s overall staffing has been declining, an Unnumbered Letter (August 31, 2018) explains agency plans to standardize state staffing for the single-family housing programs. The letter also says that, because vacant positions cannot be filled, “core SFH functions in some states will be impacted, in some cases severely,” and promises more information about that impact soon. For more information, contact an RD State Office.

Public input sought for modifications to Fannie Mae’s Duty to Serve plan.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency asks for comments on four of 22 requests from Fannie Mae (none from Freddie Mac) tomodify its Underserved Markets Plan under the Duty to Serve program. The proposed changes relate to distressed properties, manufactured housing chattel loans, rural LIHTC properties and small financial institutions in rural areas. Comments are due November 2. For more information, contact FHFA staff.

Research indicates rural families benefit from the Earned Income Tax Credit.
A new research brief from the Carsey School of Public Policy highlights the Earned Income Tax Credit’s impact on families with children. EITC Continues to Reach Families in Poor Places shows that the share of people who file for the EITC who are also families with children is especially high in the poorest counties, many of which are nonmetropolitan. The researchers argue this data suggests that EITC can provide additional support for families in places where other services may not be readily available or accessible.

USDA manufactured housing pilots expanding further.
One pilot allows the Section 502 direct and guarantee programs to finance existing manufactured homes that are not already financed by USDA. The second reduces the required land lease term for energy-efficient homes in nonprofit communities. RD State Directors can ask for their states to be added to either pilot. For more information, contact an RD State Office.

HAC webinar to cover proposed changes to Community Reinvestment Act.
The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency recently issued a call for input on a proposed new framework to transform and modernize its Community Reinvestment Act rules. Join HAC on October 24 at 2:00 pm Eastern for an overview of the proposed changes and a discussion on how rural communities can weigh in. Registration is free.

HAC offers Section 502 packaging training courses in Nebraska and DC.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE and again December 5-7 in Washington, DC (simultaneously with HAC’s conference). For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan funds provide 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, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. 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).

HAC News: September 28, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 28, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 20

HAC publishes rental housing preservation study • Housing programs funded to December 7 • Farm Bill may expire September 30 • Legislation would increase affordable housing, including rural and tribal housing • USDA extends some deadlines for rental preservation funding • Researchers look at connection between housing and health • Homeland Security to propose rule limiting admission to U.S. for noncitizens expected to use benefits • Rural Voices reviews “What Broadband Means for Rural America” • USDA offers new web resource for mortgage packagers and intermediaries • CFPB requests comments on data collection • September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 28, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 20

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

HAC publishes rental housing preservation study.
Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation presents HAC’s comprehensive assessment of USDA’s multifamily housing investments. This multifaceted review considers not only the property characteristics, but also the tenant and market dynamics in which these properties exist. The ultimate goal of this project is to inform strategies that help preserve this integral housing resource for rural communities and residents. For more information, contact Lance George, HAC.

Housing programs funded to December 7.
Senate and House negotiators have not yet agreed on some non-housing aspects of the “minibus” bill that combines the USDA and Transportation-HUD appropriations measures with Interior-Environment and Financial Services. As a result, those departments will be funded through December 7 by a continuing resolution included in the appropriations bill for the Labor-HHS-Education and Defense departments.

Farm Bill may expire September 30.
The House and Senate have not yet worked out their differences on H.R. 2, the 2014 Farm Bill expiring September 30. Negotiations will continue, with or without a short-term reauthorization measure. Without one, Farm Bill programs such as SNAP (Food Stamps) and crop insurance can continue so long as they are funded in appropriations measures, but a number of smaller programs cannot. USDA’s rural housing programs are not impacted because they are not generally covered in Farm Bills. The 2014 Farm Bill did allow growing places to remain eligible for the rural housing programs until their populations reach 35,000; that provision made a permanent change in the statutory definition and does not expire if the Farm Bill expires.

Legislation would increase affordable housing, including rural and tribal housing.
The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on September 26, would add funding to several existing housing programs. It would provide FY 2019 funding of $140 million for direct Section 502 loans, $28 million for Section 514 loans and $100 million for Section 516 grants, $180 million for Section 515 loans, $75 million for the Section 523 self-help program, and $2.5 billion for Indian Housing Block Grants, as well as $45 billion annually for ten years for the national Housing Trust Fund. Among its other provisions, the bill would also expand the Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income; strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act; incentivize local governments to remove regulatory and zoning barriers that impact the private sector’s ability to develop rental housing for middle-income people; and create some new housing assistance efforts. The bill’s costs would be covered by reforms to the federal estate tax.

USDA extends some deadlines for rental preservation funding.
A funding notice for USDA’s Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program was published September 5, 2017, establishing deadlines in 2017 and 2018. A new notice extends them into 2019. It also makes the payment deferral-only option available to all owners, not just those with USDA mortgages maturing by 2023. For more information, contact Dean Greenwalt, USDA, 314-457-5933.

Researchers look at connection between housing and health.
Articles in the latest issue of HUD’s Cityscape periodical examine the health impact of interventions targeting specific aspects of housing, state and local efforts to bridge the divide between health and housing, and new evidence on the link.

Homeland Security to propose rule limiting admission to U.S. for noncitizens expected to use benefits.
The “public charge” rule has not yet been officially published in the Federal Register. When it is, the Department of Homeland Security announced, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

Rural Voices reviews “What Broadband Means for Rural America.”
A new issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine explores how local rural housing organizations and local governments can help bring broadband to rural America, increasing the potential for innovation, educational opportunity, and economic growth.

USDA offers new web resource for mortgage packagers and intermediaries.
The new page includes resources for packaging Section 502 direct applications, handouts from past packaging trainings, information on upcoming training sessions, and USDA’s Loan Packaging Express newsletter.

CFPB requests comments on data collection.
A new report, Sources and Uses of Data at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, describes the CFPB’s data governance program as well as what data it collects, where the data come from, and how data are used and reused. The CFPB requests input on several subjects including the overall effectiveness and efficiency of its data collections, suggestions for change, ways to reduce reporting burden and ways to make data collections from financial institutions more effective and efficient. Comments are due in late December.

September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training courses in Nebraska and DC.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE and again December 5-7 in Washington, DC (simultaneously with HAC’s conference). For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan funds provide 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, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. 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).