HAC News: January 23, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 23, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 2

• OMB tells agencies to plan for sequester, CBPP reports smaller cuts • Administration’s FY14 budget will be late • Congressional leadership changes still in process • Secretaries Vilsack and Donovan to remain in new Administration • NOFAs issued for Housing Counseling, ICDBG, Healthy Homes, YouthBuild, SHOP • Some rural mortgages exempt from new escrow rule • New poverty guidelines released • HUD compiles environmental training webinars • Many Blacks and Latinos would be impacted by sequestration • Smart Growth America supports reexamination of priorities • HAC blog post tackles Native American homelessness

January 23, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 2

OMB tells agencies to plan for sequester, CBPP reports smaller cuts. A memo from the Office of Management and Budget advises federal agencies to intensify planning for possible sequestration, but not to take action yet. Unless Congress changes the law, federal funding will be cut on March 1. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that because of changes made in the tax deal (see HAC News, 1/10/13) the cut for non-defense discretionary programs including housing will be 5.1% rather than the previously expected 8.2%.

Administration’s FY14 budget will be late. OMB informed House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan on January 11 that delays in congressional action on the “fiscal cliff” delayed the Administration’s FY14 budget preparations and the budget will be submitted after the February 4 due date. OMB does not give a specific release date.

Congressional leadership changes still in process. In the 113th Congress, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is the new chair of Senate Appropriations. For House Appropriations, Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) is the new ranking member (top Democrat) on the Transportation-HUD Subcommittee. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) continues as ranking member on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The new chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet been announced, nor have the top Senate Republicans on both Appropriations and Banking. All committees also have some new members, as in any new Congress.

Secretaries Vilsack and Donovan to remain in new Administration. Tom Vilsack will continue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture and Shaun Donovan as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

NOFAs issued for Housing Counseling, ICDBG, Healthy Homes, YouthBuild, SHOP. Housing Counseling applications are due March 18; contact HUD staff, Indian Community Development Block Grant applications are due March 18; contact Roberta Youmans, HUD, 202-402-3316. Academics, nonprofits, for-profits, state and local governments, and tribes can apply for Healthy Homes Technical Studies funds by March 19; contact Dr. Peter Ashley, HUD, 202-402-7595. YouthBuild applications from nonprofits, state and local governments, and tribes are due to the Employment and Training Administration by March 19; contact Kia Mason, ETA, 202-693-2606. Intermediaries can apply by April 24 for Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program funds to be loaned to others; contact Ginger Macomber, HUD, 202-402-4605.

Some rural mortgages exempt from new escrow rule. Effective June 1, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will require private mortgage lenders to maintain escrow accounts for “higher-priced” loans for five years rather than one year. Small portfolio lenders that serve primarily rural or underserved areas and do not escrow for other mortgages are exempt. “Rural” is defined on a county basis: “a county is rural if it is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area.” CFBP will publish a list of these counties. Contact David Friend, CFPB, 202-435–7700.

New poverty guidelines released. The Department of Health and Human Services has adjusted its poverty guidelines to account for a 2.1% increase in the cost of living from 2011 to 2012. For programs that use this benchmark, the 2013 poverty line for a family of four in the continental U.S. is $23,550.

HUD compiles environmental training webinars. Online sessions from 2011 and 2012 covering a variety of topics related to environmental reviews are at

Many Blacks and Latinos would be impacted by sequestration. A study by the Center for Social Inclusion found higher numbers (not percentages) of Blacks and Latinos than Whites will be impacted if sequestration goes into effect. Based on program funding cuts of 8.2% (not the 5.1% currently estimated by CBPP; see first item in this HAC News) to non-defense discretionary programs, about 115,000 Black and Latino individuals would lose HUD tenant-based vouchers, 90,000 would lose homelessness assistance, and almost 850,000 would lose LIHEAP home energy aid. Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff? Race, Opportunity and Sequestration also includes data for a few individual states.

Smart Growth America supports reexamination of priorities. Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Examination reports that in 2008 federal housing spending (direct and through taxes) averaged $6,253 for households with incomes of $200,000 and above, $254 for those with incomes in the $30,000-40,000 range, and $833 for those with incomes under id=”mce_marker”0,000. It also notes that 84% of federal real estate funding supports home-ownership while 35% of households are renters. SGA suggests that federal policy be targeted to support balanced housing choices; reinvest in existing places and properties; provide a safety net; and help more Americans reach the middle class.

HAC blog post tackles Native American homelessness. Based on a forthcoming guide from HAC and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, “Counting Better: A Step Toward Addressing Native American Homelessness” recommends local counts of homeless people on Native lands to document the need for assistance.

HAC News: December 12, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 24

• Congressional committee leaders announced • Streamlining HUD’s rental assistance again considered by Senate committee • Lead paint grants offered • Final rule issued for IHBG and Title VI loan guarantees • Input sought on Native American access to capital and credit • Downpayment sources for FHA mortgages addressed • HUD report shows homelessness rate statistically unchanged • Concentration of poverty growing in nonmetro areas, ERS reports • Rural poverty and housing need persist, HAC report says • HAC honors six for rural housing work

December 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 24

CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE LEADERS ANNOUNCED. Key positions will change in the 113th Congress, which starts in January. On the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) will be the new chairman and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) will be the new ranking member (top Democrat). For the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) will be the new ranking member, while Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) continues as chairman. Some House subcommittee leadership spots and Senate positions will also change but have not yet been announced. The HAC News will provide further updates as available.

STREAMLINING HUD’S RENTAL ASSISTANCE AGAIN CONSIDERED BY SENATE COMMITTEE. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a second hearing December 11 titled “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” The first hearing on this subject was held in August.

LEAD PAINT GRANTS OFFERED. Applications are due February 4 for HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant programs, subject to congressional appropriation of program funds for FY13. States, counties, tribes, and other local governments are eligible, and funds can be used in owner-occupied or rental housing. Contact Michelle M. Miller, HUD, 202-402-5769.

FINAL RULE ISSUED FOR IHBG AND TITLE VI LOAN GUARANTEES. Changes in the regulations reflect consensus decisions by HUD and tribal representatives in a negotiated rulemaking process and implement changes enacted in several statutes, including the 2008 NAHASDA reauthorization act. Contact Rodger J. Boyd, HUD, 202-401-7914.

INPUT SOUGHT ON NATIVE AMERICAN ACCESS TO CAPITAL AND CREDIT. The CDFI Fund requests comments from tribes and others on research about access to capital and credit in Native communities, updating a 2001 study. It hopes to provide a baseline of information on the subject and to identify barriers and provide options to address them. Comments can be submitted in writing or in webcast meetings on January 15 and 17. Contact CDFI Fund staff.

DOWNPAYMENT SOURCES FOR FHA MORTGAGES ADDRESSED. Comments are due January 4 on a regulation clarifying that state and local government programs that provide funds for all or part of homebuyers’ downpayments for FHA mortgages are exempt from statutory prohibitions on some sources of downpayment funds. Contact Millicent Potts, HUD, 202-708-2212.

HUD REPORT SHOWS HOMELESSNESS RATE STATISTICALLY UNCHANGED. Data collected in January 2012 shows the number of homeless people nationwide almost the same as in January 2011, although there were increases and decreases in some states, and homeless veterans declined by 7%. The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report counts people in shelters, transitional housing, safe havens, and places not intended for human habitation. Data for every state and Continuum of Care are also posted.

CONCENTRATION OF POVERTY GROWING IN NONMETRO AREAS, ERS REPORTS. An analysis of American Com-munity Survey data by USDA’s Economic Research Service found that many counties with newly high poverty rates are adjacent to those that had high poverty rates in 2000. ERS’s findings are similar to HAC’s in Taking Stock (see next article below) and HAC’s accompanying poverty map; the two analyses were conducted independently and use different definitions of rural.

RURAL POVERTY AND HOUSING NEED PERSIST, HAC REPORT SAYS. HAC’s decennial analysis of data from the Census and other sources describes demographic changes such as growth in the elderly and Hispanic populations, economic challenges like the foreclosure crisis, and ongoing housing problems including high housing costs, homelessness, and housing quality issues. HAC also looked in depth at five high needs regions and populations including the colonias near the U.S.-Mexico border, Central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, Native American lands, and farmworkers. Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in the 21st Century is free on HAC’s site or $30 from HAC, including shipping and handling.

HAC HONORS SIX FOR RURAL HOUSING WORK. At the National Rural Housing Conference last week, HAC presented the Skip Jason Community Service Award to John David, founder and director of the Southern Appalachian Labor School in West Virginia; Owyne Gardner, T&MA Regional Manager at Little Dixie Community Action Agency in Oklahoma; Al Gold, Executive Director of Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation in Colorado; and Patty Griffiths, Housing Program Manager for the Community Action Commission of Fayette County in Ohio. The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor went to Shirley Sherrod, founder of the Sherrod Institute in Georgia. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, retiring after more than 20 years in Congress, received the Henry B. Gonzáles Award.

HAC News: November 28, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

November 28, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 23

• Congressional leadership will change for housing • Claim filing period open for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers • CFPB to consolidate more mortgage disclosure requirements • FHFA sets new housing goals and rating system for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac • HUD reopens comment period on smoke-free policies • RUS proposes targeting changes for rural broadband program • NSP closeout requirements revised • New rating system adopted for examining GSEs • Deficit reduction without substantial revenues likely to require deep housing cuts • Census briefs show recession’s impact

November 28, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 23

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP WILL CHANGE FOR HOUSING. The 113th Congress, which starts work in January, will have changes in key committee leadership positions and in committee rosters. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) is retiring, so his chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will move to someone else. Iowa’s Tom Harkin is next in line. Democratic Reps. Barney Frank and John Olver of Massachusetts are also retiring, so their ranking member (top minority party) slots on the House Financial Services Committee and the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee will change. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Financial Services and Ed Pastor (D-AZ) on THUD are next in line. Also on House Financial Services, Housing Subcommittee Chair Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) lost her re-election bid. Rep. Jen Hensarling (R-TX) will be the new chair of the full Financial Services Committee, as current chair Spencer Bachus (R-AL) rotates due to term limits on chairmen. Also moving due to term limits will be Senate Banking Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL). HAC will provide further updates as information becomes available.

CLAIM FILING PERIOD OPEN FOR HISPANIC AND WOMEN FARMERS AND RANCHERS. Anyone improperly denied farm loan benefits by USDA between 1981 and 2000 because s/he is Hispanic or female can file a claim before March 25, 2013 for cash payment or loan forgiveness. Call 1-888-508-4429 or visit

CFPB TO CONSOLIDATE MORE MORTGAGE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule in July (see HAC News, 8/22/12) proposing to integrate some disclosures required for homebuyers, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. CFPB will delay some other new disclosure requirements until it finalizes its July proposal. See Federal Register, 11/23/12. Contact Michael G. Silver, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

FHFA SETS NEW HOUSING GOALS AND RATING SYSTEM FOR FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC. In a final rule the Federal Housing Finance Agency sets new levels for Fannie’s and Freddie’s purchases of affordable housing mortgages in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The existing structure of the goals remains (with targets for low- and very low-income homeowners and affordable rentals, but no specifically rural targets). The new single-family goals are lower than those for 2010 and 2011. The new multifamily goals are higher than for 2010 and 2011, but they decrease each year from 2012 through 2014. See Federal Register, 11/13/12 or FHFA’s website. Contact Paul Manchester, FHFA, 202-649-3115.

HUD REOPENS COMMENT PERIOD ON SMOKE-FREE POLICIES. The deadline is now January 22, 2013 to comment on smoke-free policies for public and multifamily housing (see HAC News, 10/10/12). See Federal Register, 11/23/12, or Contact Shauna Sorrells, HUD, 202-402-2769.

RUS PROPOSES TARGETING CHANGES FOR RURAL BROADBAND PROGRAM. USDA’s Rural Utilities Service proposes to amend its regulations for the Community Connect Grant Program enabling it to target resources to geographical as well as technological areas of need. Comments are due January 15, 2013. See Federal Register, 11/16/12 or Contact Kenneth Kuchno, RUS, 202-690-4673.

NSP CLOSEOUT REQUIREMENTS REVISED. HUD is making requirements for closing out grants under all three rounds of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program “nearly identical” to those for CDBG. See Federal Register, 11/27/12. Contact Stanley Gimont, HUD, 202-708-3587.

NEW RATING SYSTEM ADOPTED FOR EXAMINING GSES. FHFA will use a new rating system when examining Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Banks’ Office of Finance. The system will assess capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk, and operational risk (“CAMELSO”). See Federal Register, 11/13/12 or FHFA’s website. Contact Karen Walter, FHFA, 202-649-3405.

DEFICIT REDUCTION WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL REVENUES LIKELY TO REQUIRE DEEP HOUSING CUTS. The alternatives to sequestration could force even greater cuts in housing assistance, according to Deficit Reduction Deal Without Substantial New Revenues Would Almost Certainly Force Deep Cuts in Housing Assistance, a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

CENSUS BRIEFS SHOW RECESSION’S IMPACT. Three briefs, using statistics from the American Community Survey, describe increases in household sharing and public assistance. Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011 reports the proportion of adults living with others who are not immediate family increased from 2007 to 2011. That paper, as well as Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households by State: 2010 and 2011 and Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2010 and 2011, include data for each state as well as the United States. A Census Bureau summary is also posted online.