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HAC News: March 2, 2017

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 2, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 5

Trump FY18 budget outline expected March 16 • Senate approves Ben Carson as HUD Secretary • Task forces forming to consider reducing regulations • CDFI funds offered, including for CDFIs serving Native American communities • Comments sought on standards for federal data on race and ethnicity • Research shows severity of affordable housing shortage for lowest-income renters • New data on U.S. farmworkers published • HUD offers Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program • Duty to Serve overview video posted • Webinar, March 6: “How President Trump’s First Budget Could Impact Affordable Housing”

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 2, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 5

Trump FY18 budget outline expected March 16. The Administration wants to keep the 2011 Budget Control Act spending caps, but change the requirement that cuts in defense and non-defense funding must be proportional. It will request a $54 billion (10%) increase in defense spending. To stay under the cap, the same amount would have to be cut from non-defense funding; that calculation does not take account of tax cuts, deficit reduction, and mandatory spending on programs like Social Security. A more detailed budget proposal will be released in May.

Senate approves Ben Carson as HUD Secretary. The Senate confirmed Carson on March 2 by a 58-41 vote. The Senate Agriculture Committee has not yet scheduled a hearing on Sonny Perdue’s nomination to be USDA Secretary.

Task forces forming to consider reducing regulations. In a February 24 Executive Order, President Trump expanded on his January 30 Executive Order requiring elimination of two existing regulations for each new one (see HAC News, 2/2/17). The head of each agency is required to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer and create a Regulatory Reform Task Force to evaluate existing regulations and recommend repeal, replacement, or change. Each task force must seek input from stakeholders. Each task force must report to its agency head within 90 days.

CDFI funds offered, including for CDFIs serving Native American communities. The CDFI Program makes Financial Assistance awards (in the form of loans, grants, equity investments, deposits, or credit union shares) to Certified CDFIs and Technical Assistance grants to Certified, Certifiable, and Emerging CDFIs to build their organizational capacity. The Native American CDFI Program offers the same to CDFIs serving Native communities. For each program, the application process has two steps with deadlines of March 24 and April 28. For more information, contact the CDFI Fund Help Desk, 202-653-0421.

Comments sought on standards for federal data on race and ethnicity. OMB requests comments by May 1 on a report drafted by a federal interagency working group suggesting revisions to OMB’s Standards for Maintaining, Collecting, and Presenting Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity. The standards are used in the decennial census, other surveys, forms such as mortgage applications, and more. This notice lists specific questions, including whether to add a “Middle Eastern or North African” classification and what sub-categories to use for American Indian or Alaska Native, Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, and other major classifications. For more information, contact Jennifer Park, OMB.

Research shows severity of affordable housing shortage for lowest-income renters. The GAP: A Shortage of Affordable Homes, released March 2 by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, reports there are only 35 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renter households nationwide, and 71% of ELI renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half their income on rent and utilities. ELI renters are those with incomes below 30% of area median or below the poverty level, whichever is higher. The report includes recommendations for better targeting of federal housing expenditures, including reform of the mortgage interest deduction and Low Income Housing Tax Credit.

New data on U.S. farmworkers published. Findings from the National Agricultural Workers Survey (NAWS) 2013-2014: A Demographic and Employment Profile of United States Farmworkers, recently released by the Department of Labor, covers housing as well as other topics. Thirteen percent of all farmworkers surveyed lived free in employer-provided housing. Among all those who paid for housing, 74% paid less than $600 per month, but the report does not compare rent to income. Those without work authorization were less likely than authorized workers to live in single-family homes, and more likely to live in mobile homes (23% and 15% respectively) or apartments (23% and 11%). Migrant workers lived in crowded dwellings more often than settled workers (40% compared to 29%), and unauthorized workers were twice as likely as authorized workers to be overcrowded (41% and 21%). Nationwide, only 3.3% of homes are overcrowded.

HUD offers Manufactured Home Dispute Resolution Program. The program resolves disputes between manufacturers, retailers, and installers when the parties cannot agree on a solution to a construction and/or safety defect within the first year of the first installation of a manufactured home. HUD’s DRP functions in 24 states; the other 26 have state programs. For more information visit https://www.huddrp.net, email info@huddrp.net, or call 571-882-2928.

Duty to Serve overview video posted. The three-minute video covers the basics of Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve program. Data and other tools from the Federal Housing Finance Agency are also available online.

Webinar, March 6: “How President Trump’s First Budget Could Impact Affordable Housing” The Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding will hold a webinar on Monday, March 6 at 3-4:00 Eastern time, about the significant threats facing affordable housing and community development programs, including USDA rural housing, and how you can help protect them. At the webinar, CHCDF will also launch a new report and new information tools, including factsheets, sample op-eds, and statewide data on the economic impact of HUD and USDA rural housing investments

HAC News: December 8, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 8, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 23

Next continuing resolution may last through April 28 • 21st Century Cures Act and CR provide opioid funding • President-elect Trump selects Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary • Materials from HAC 2016 Rural Housing Conference posted online • Household Water Well System Grants available • RUS to make water/wastewater grants for loan funds • Final public housing smoke-free rule published • Change proposed for HOME commitment requirement • IHBG program allocation formula revised • HUD explains implementation of income limit for public housing • USDA RD marketing flyers available • Rural economies improved in 2015 • 45 Years. 45 Stories. celebrates HAC anniversary

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 8, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 23

Next continuing resolution may last through April 28. House leaders released the text of a new CR (H.R. 2028) on December 7, but at press time on December 8 it was not clear whether the bill would overcome objections related to coal miners’ pensions. A shorter interim CR might be required to keep the government operating past midnight on December 9. To keep spending within the required caps, H.R. 2028 imposes a 0.19% across-the-board cut. It includes “anomalies” – specific deviations from FY16 funding – allowing flexibility in when funds are spent on USDA Section 538 loan guarantees and Tribal HUD-VASH vouchers, but does not increase funding for these programs or others. If final FY17 appropriations enacted by the new Congress do not increase funds for USDA and HUD vouchers, renewal funds for over 130,000 contracts will not be available. The CR also provides new CDBG disaster funds.

21st Century Cures Act and CR provide opioid funding. The 21st Century Cures Act, which passed the House on November 28 and the Senate on December 7, is expected to be signed into law by President Obama. It includes medical research and mental health provisions, and also authorizes $1 billion for opioid abuse prevention efforts. The first half of that spending is appropriated in the CR that will fund the government through April 28. HAC’s recent conference included USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and National Rural Health Association CEO Alan Morgan speaking on the opioid addiction crisis in rural areas, and discussion papers they wrote are available online.

President-elect Trump selects Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary. Nominees for other HUD posts and for USDA have not yet been announced.

Materials from HAC 2016 Rural Housing Conference posted online. Workshop presentations, discussion papers, and more are available at https://event.crowdcompass.com/buildingrural. To access workshop materials, click the Schedule icon.

Household Water Well System Grants available. The Rural Utilities Service will make grants to nonprofits to establish lending programs for homeowners to borrow up to $11,000 to construct or repair household water wells for existing homes. Grantees are encouraged to focus on high-poverty areas; areas with inadequate systems, particularly colonias or underserved trust areas; and places impacted by severe drought. Apply by February 6, 2017. For more information contact Derek Jones, RUS, 202-720-9640.

RUS to make water/wastewater grants for loan funds. Nonprofits that will lend the funds to entities eligible for RUS’s water, waste disposal, and wastewater loan and grant programs may apply by February 6, 2017. Grantees are encouraged to direct loans to the smallest communities with the lowest incomes and to areas needing plumbing and modern sewage disposal systems (such as colonias and underserved trust lands), and to emphasize energy- and water-efficient components. Obtain application guides and materials online or from Lisa Chesnel, RUS, 202-720-0499.

Final public housing smoke-free rule published. PHAs administering public housing must implement a smoke-free policy by August 2018. PHAs must ban the use of prohibited tobacco products and waterpipes in all public housing living units, public housing indoor common areas, PHA administrative office buildings, and outdoor areas up to 25 feet from the buildings. For more information, contact Leroy Ferguson, HUD, 202-402-2411.

Change proposed for HOME commitment requirement. An interim final rule would allow participating jurisdictions to identify the grant year of funds they are using, rather than HUD’s system automatically assuming they are using their oldest funds, in order to reduce loss of funds considered not to have been committed within 24 months. Comments are due January 3, 2017. For information contact Virginia Sardone, HUD, 202-708-2684.

IHBG program allocation formula revised. HUD’s final rule on Indian Housing Block Grant allocations reflects consensus decisions reached by HUD and tribal representatives. For information contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-401-7914.

HUD explains implementation of income limit for public housing. The 2016 Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act added an income limit to the public housing program. Comments are due December 29 on HUD’s proposal to implement the change. Contact HUD staff, HOTMAquestions@hud.gov.

USDA RD marketing flyers available. Rural housing groups are welcome to print and use the brochures about housing programs and other assistance.

Rural economies improved in 2015. The 2016 edition of Rural America at a Glance, published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, reports that rural unemployment continued to decline in 2015, falling close to levels last seen before the Great Recession, as employment continued to grow. After declining for several years, rural population stabilized. Median annual earnings rose in rural areas and poverty fell markedly in 2015, as in urban areas; the rise in earnings occurred across most major industry sectors.

45 Years. 45 Stories. celebrates HAC anniversary. A collection of 45 brief stories celebrates HAC’s 45th anniversary, illustrating decades of efforts and accomplishments. The report is available on HAC’s website (it is a large document and takes time to open).