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HAC News: September 25, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 25, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 19

• National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated September 15-October 15 • Shutdown possible? • CR will extend area eligibility for USDA rural housing programs • Assisted Living Conversion funds offered • USDA RD to review online homebuyer counseling programs • Agencies propose aligning definitions of qualified mortgages • CFPB amends some mortgage regulations including rural and underserved exemption • Nonmetro poverty increased in 2012 while national rate remained the same • Low-power FM radio opportunities offered in October • HUD offers website and email list for Native American housing study • HAC report describes colonias • Between 2000 and 2010, more than one-third of U.S. counties lost population. How has your community changed?


September 25, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 19

NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH CELEBRATED SEPTEMBER 15-OCTOBER 15. President Obama’s proclamation is posted online.

SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE? Congress this week continues to debate passage of a continuing resolution to begin FY 2014 on October 1. “Non-essential” federal functions could be shut down if no agreement is reached. On September 17 OMB sent a memo to federal agencies telling them to plan for a shutdown. At press time, neither USDA nor HUD has issued guidelines for shutting down. When a possible shutdown loomed in 2011, USDA Rural Development’s contingency plan said no new loans or guarantees would be made without an appropriation, and all offices would close except for the Washington, D.C. national office and the St. Louis finance office. St. Louis would be the contact for loan servicing. HAC will provide updates at www.ruralhome.org.

CR WILL EXTEND AREA ELIGIBILITY FOR USDA RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. H.J.Res. 59, the continuing resolution passed by the House on September 20, would extend grandfathering of currently eligible places for as long as the CR lasts. At press time the Senate had not yet voted on the CR, but the language allowing for the extension is not in dispute, so it is expected to be included in any final version.

ASSISTED LIVING CONVERSION FUNDS OFFERED. Nonprofit owners of several types of HUD-assisted properties, including Section 515 developments with Section 8, can apply by November 18 for grants to convert to assisted living facilities or service enriched housing. Contact Katina Washington, HUD, 202-708-3000.

USDA RD TO REVIEW ONLINE HOMEBUYER COUNSELING PROGRAMS. Currently one online education provider is approved by USDA for use by first-time homebuyers receiving Section 502 direct loans. (Courses can also be taken in classrooms, by phone, or by self-study.) RD invites other providers of online courses to apply by October 23 for approval. Contact Shantelle Gordon, RD, 202-205-9567.

AGENCIES PROPOSE ALIGNING DEFINITIONS OF QUALIFIED MORTGAGES. HUD and other federal agencies jointly responsible for implementing the credit risk retention requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act suggest defining “qualified residential mortgages” the same way as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines “qualified mortgages.” In 2011 (see HAC News, 6/8/11) the agencies suggested a QRM definition that would have favored homebuyers with 20% downpayments. The new proposal would make other regulatory changes as well. Comments are due October 30. Contact Michael P. Nixon, HUD, 202-402-5216 or Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

CFPB AMENDS SOME MORTGAGE REGULATIONS INCLUDING RURAL AND UNDERSERVED EXEMPTION. On October 1 a final rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be published in the Federal Register making some changes to a proposed rule published in June (see HAC News, 7/3/13).

NONMETRO POVERTY INCREASED IN 2012 WHILE NATIONAL RATE REMAINED THE SAME. A HAC analysis of new Census Bureau data shows the official poverty rate in nonmetropolitan areas was 17.7%, up from 17.0% in 2011 and nearly 3 percentage points higher than the national level. Overall, 8.5 million nonmetro residents had incomes below the poverty line in 2012, a statistically significant increase of more than 400,000 persons from the 2011 level. Details are published by HAC and the Daily Yonder.

LOW-POWER FM RADIO OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED IN OCTOBER. The Federal Communications Commission offers a rare opportunity for nonprofits, tribes, and local governments to apply between October 15 and October 29 for licenses for non-commercial low-power FM radio stations. FCC will hold a webinar for potential applicants on October 3. Contact FCC staff, 202-418-2700.

HUD OFFERS WEBSITE AND EMAIL LIST FOR NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING STUDY. A congressionally mandated study of the housing needs of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians is underway and the final report is expected in December 2014. Survey instruments and other information are posted at https://www.huduser.org/portal/native_american_assessment/home.html, where one can also sign up for email updates.

HAC REPORT DESCRIBES COLONIAS. Housing in the Border Coloniasdetails the social, economic, and housing characteristics of the colonias region on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Most residents are of Mexican heritage. Poor housing conditions are common in the colonias with an old, deteriorating housing stock, combined with newer units that do not meet building codes. To order a printed copy, contact Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.

BETWEEN 2000 AND 2010, MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF U.S. COUNTIES LOST POPULATION. HOW HAS YOUR COMMUNITY CHANGED? Find out at HAC’s Rural Data Portal, www.ruraldataportal.org.

HAC News: September 11, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 11, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 18

• Continuing Resolution anticipated for federal funding • USDA temporarily speeds processing of applications for Section 502 direct loans • New housing counseling certification requirements proposed • RCDI NOFA contact information corrected • HUD changes HECM, requests comments on financial assessments • Comments sought on increasing fees for HUD Section 184 guaranteed loans • Poor housing quality tied to children’s problems • African-American housing and wealth studied • HAC launches expanded, updated Rural Data Portal and schedules webinar • 10,000 Friends of Rural America seeks to improve attention and respect


September 11, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 18

CONTINUING RESOLUTION ANTICIPATED FOR FEDERAL FUNDING. Congress is back in session this week and is expected to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution to begin FY14 on October 1. USDA rural housing and HUD programs will be continued at 2013 spending levels for the term of the CR, and could be further extended for the balance of 2014. This CR, like previous CRs in 2013, is likely to extend USDA’s current rural definition for all com-munities currently eligible for RD housing programs.

USDA TEMPORARILY SPEEDS PROCESSING OF APPLICATIONS FOR SECTION 502 DIRECT LOANS. To help obligate funds by the end of FY13 on September 30, a letter informs RD State Directors that loans may be approved and obligated subject to receipt of appraisals. Also, 502 direct loans for purchasers of homes with existing 502 direct loans will be treated as initial loans that will pay off the existing loans. Contact an RD office.

NEW HOUSING COUNSELING CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS PROPOSED. Implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act, HUD suggests changes including creation of a system to certify individual counselors as well as counseling agencies. The proposal will be in the September 13 Federal Register and at https://www.regulations.gov, with comments due in 60 days. Contact Ruth Román, HUD, 202-708-0317.

RCDI NOFA CONTACT INFORMATION CORRECTED. RD’s August 14 funding notice for the Rural Community Development Initiative included errors in the addresses and phone numbers for RD state offices. A Federal Register notice to be published September 13 will make corrections. The deadline remains November 12.

HUD CHANGES HECM, REQUESTS COMMENTS ON FINANCIAL ASSESSMENTS. On September 3, 2013, Mortgagee Letter 2013-27 announced changes to the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program. HUD seeks comments by October 5, 2013 on requirements for financial assessments, which evaluate borrowers’ ability to comply with mortgage requirements. Other new requirements will take effect September 30, 2013. Contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-708-4308.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON INCREASING FEES FOR HUD SECTION 184 GUARANTEED LOANS. HUD has written to tribal leaders requesting their feedback on increasing borrower fees to 1.5% of the loan amount from the current 1%. The higher amount would supplement congressional appropriations which, the letter says, will not be sufficient to meet program demand. Contact HUD staff, Section184Consultation@hud.gov.

POOR HOUSING QUALITY TIED TO CHILDREN’S PROBLEMS. A research brief published by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation reports on a six-year study that examined how five housing characteristics – quality, stability, affordability, ownership, and receiving a subsidy – impacted education, emotional problems, and behavioral problems. Poor housing quality was the most consistent and strongest predictor of emotional and behav-ioral problems, and was also related to school performance for adolescents. “Cumulative residential instability” was also highly relevant. “Poor Housing Quality is Tied to Children’s Emotional and Behavioral Problems” concludes that housing assistance programs are important and suggests stronger local housing codes and enforcement could help as well.

AFRICAN-AMERICAN HOUSING AND WEALTH STUDIED. The State of Housing in Black America 2013, published by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, reports that black homeownership rates began to decline before the recession began in 2007, and the recession resulted in significant loss of wealth. Recommendations include redesigning the housing finance system with a focus on borrowers, ensuring adequate credit for rental housing development, and establishing a housing and community infrastructure bank.

HAC LAUNCHES EXPANDED, UPDATED RURAL DATA PORTAL AND SCHEDULES WEBINAR. The portal, online at www.ruraldataportal.org, is an easy-to-use resource with over 350 data indicators providing essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the U.S. – including not only rural places, but the nation, states, and suburban and urban areas also. Most of the information comes from HAC tabulations of the 2010 Census, the American Community Survey, and Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Join HAC for a webinar overview on Wednesday, September 18.

10,000 FRIENDS OF RURAL AMERICA SEEKS TO IMPROVE ATTENTION AND RESPECT. The movement, sponsored by a coalition of 25 rural nonprofits and supporters, including HAC, is designed to mobilize individuals and organizations willing to speak up for the real Rural America. To learn more and join, visit 10000friends .ruralamerica.org/stand_up/.