HAC News: March 6, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

• RD expects program cuts but no furloughs under sequester • House approves government funding for FY13 • Area eligibility changes still uncertain • Assets for Independence deadlines approach • Bipartisan housing commission report supports rural housing • HUD reports continued increase in worst case housing needs • NLIHC findings highlight housing need for extremely low-income renters • USDA RD recommends 50,000 population threshold for non-housing programs • Indian Housing Development Handbook updated • HAC offers webinar on conducting homeless counts on Native American lands

March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

RD EXPECTS PROGRAM CUTS BUT NO FURLOUGHS UNDER SEQUESTER. RD officials say they do not have authority to allocate cuts across programs, so funding for each loan or grant program will be reduced by 5%. (HAC apologizes for any confusion caused when the HAC News previously reported cuts would be 5.1%). Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts will be paid as long as possible; sometime in September, funding will run out for an estimated 10,340 RA contracts. RD estimates the resulting loss in project income could lead to loan delinquencies at 411 projects. RD also calculates the sequester will reduce FY13 aid by 294 Section 502 direct loans, 24 new Section 515 rental units, and 17 new Section 514/516 farm labor housing units, and will cut 568 jobs. The Section 538 and 502 guarantee programs will not be cut because they are funded by fees charged to program participants, but they could be impacted by factors such as staff cuts. Currently RD expects not to furlough staff. ♦ Information about sequestration at HUD is available from sources including HUD and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

HOUSE APPROVES GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR FY13. On March 6 the House passed H.R. 933, a continuing resolution for the remainder of FY13. The bill keeps FY12 funding levels and the sequester in place for USDA, HUD, and other domestic discretionary programs, adds a 0.098% across the board cut, and reallocates some defense and veterans spending. Each housing program would receive 94.902% of its FY12 funding. The Senate has not yet released a proposed bill.

AREA ELIGIBILITY CHANGES STILL UNCERTAIN. USDA RD has not issued final determinations about changes in geographic eligibility for housing programs that are expected to take effect March 28 (see HAC News, 9/26/12). H.R. 933, the House CR (see item above), contains language that seems to be intended to maintain current eligibility status through September 30, 2013. RD officials say they are reviewing the language, which is not identical to wording in the current CR that funds the government through March 27. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and others have introduced H.R. 858, which would retain current eligibility until 2020 Census data is available.

ASSETS FOR INDEPENDENCE DEADLINES APPROACH. Applications are dueMarch 25 and May 24. This programprovides five-year grants to nonprofits and government agencies that establish individual development accounts for low-income participants. Contact the AFI Resource Center, 1-866-778-6037.

BIPARTISAN HOUSING COMMISSION REPORT SUPPORTS RURAL HOUSING. On February 25 the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission released its report, Housing America’s Future: A New Direction for a National Policy, making recommendations on mortgage finance reform and other issues including rural housing. It recommends keeping the rural housing programs at USDA, extending the current definition of eligible areas, increasing funding, and strengthening local nonprofit users of USDA funds. A summary and links are posted on HAC’s website.

HUD REPORTS CONTINUED INCREASE IN WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS. Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: A Summary Report to Congress shows that the number of unassisted very low-income renters with severe cost burden or severely substandard housing has increased by 19% since 2009 and 43% since 2007. The total number of renters has increased, renter incomes have declined, rents have increased, and the number of affordable rental units available to very low-income renters has decreased. A more detailed report is forthcoming.

NLIHC FINDINGS HIGHLIGHT HOUSING NEED FOR EXTREMELY LOW-INCOME RENTERS.Housing Spotlight: America’s Affordable Housing Shortage and How to End It reports that added affordable housing units have not kept pace with increases in extremely low-income renters (those with incomes below 30% of area median), resulting in a shortage of 4.6 million units. This calculation does not include people who are homeless.

USDA RD RECOMMENDS 50,000 POPULATION THRESHOLD FOR NON-HOUSING PROGRAMS.On February 22 USDA RD submitted a Report on the Definition of “Rural to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. It recommends making the Rural Business, Rural Utilities, and Community Facilities programs available in places with up to 50,000 population. The report suggests that RD could use a number of factors such as population density and economic conditions to target funding to the most rural places and the places with the greatest need.

INDIAN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK UPDATED. The handbook, published by the National American Indian Housing Council, has been updated to include provisions on implementation of the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act and revised BIA leasing regulations.

HAC OFFERS WEBINAR ON CONDUCTING HOMELESS COUNTS ON NATIVE AMERICAN LANDS. Register online for this free one-hour session to be held Wednesday, March 13 at 2 pm eastern time, based on HAC’s new toolkit on this subject (see HAC News, 2/20/13). Contact Eric Oberdorfer, HAC.

HAC News: September 12, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

• Congress back in session, CR introduced • Administration’s sequestration report delayed, CBO predicts recession • Poverty remains high in rural America • HAC to make grants for planning and capacity • HUD will offer vouchers for at-risk households in low-vacancy areas • USDA announces Farm Labor Housing technical assistance funds • Continuum of Care registration open • USDA announces loan-to-cost ratio for Section 538 continuous guarantee • FAQs clarify Section 202 prepayment and refi • CFBP proposes changing loan originator compensation • CFPB extends deadlines for comments on HOEPA and mortgage disclosures • HUD reports on affordable housing in energy boom areas • Deadline looms for rural housing award nominations!

September 12,2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

CONGRESS BACK IN SESSION, CR INTRODUCED. A continuing resolution to fund federal programs for the first six months of FY13, starting October 1, is scheduled for votes in the House September 13 and in the Senate next week. H. J. Res. 117 would give most programs, including housing, increases in subsidy (budget authority) needed to remain at FY12 program levels. It does not address grandfathering of housing program eligibility in growing rural communities; the National Rural Housing Coalition continues to work for an extension of current language.

ADMINISTRATION’S SEQUESTRATION REPORT DELAYED, CBO PREDICTS RECESSION. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the Administration needed more time to prepare the report to Congress required by the Sequestration Transparency Act, due on September 6, so the estimates on the impact of Budget Control Act funding cuts will be released later this week. Separately, An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, by the Congressional Budget Office, projects that policy changes scheduled for January 2013, including sequestration, “will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.”

POVERTY REMAINS HIGH IN RURAL AMERICA. An annual Census Bureau report released September 12 shows the overall number of Americans living in poverty is at its highest level in decades, with the official national poverty rate of 15% statistically unchanged from 2010. In nonmetro areas 8 million people (17%) are poor. Median household income declined from 2010 to $50,054 nationwide and is now $40,527 in nonmetro areas, compared to $41,440 in 2010. More information on rural poverty and housing is available on HAC’s website.

HAC TO MAKE GRANTS FOR PLANNING AND CAPACITY. The Rural Housing Project Planning and Capacity Building Initiative will make grants of approximately $20,000 to 10 experienced affordable housing organizations to plan housing activities or build staff capacity. Deadline is October 2. Contact Jeff Mosley, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HUD WILL OFFER VOUCHERS FOR AT-RISK HOUSEHOLDS IN LOW-VACANCY AREAS. Notice PIH-2012-39 has details, including a list of low-vacancy areas. Comments are invited, due on October 10. Then a final notice will be published, providing an application deadline. Contact HUD’s voucher management office, 202-708-0477.

USDA ANNOUNCES FARM LABOR HOUSING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS. USDA will fund three regional contractors to provide technical assistance to those seeking to develop Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing. Deadline is November 5. See Federal Register, 9/6/12 or Contact Mirna Reyes-Bible, 202-720-1753.

CONTINUUM OF CARE REGISTRATION OPEN. CoCs (not project applicants) must register on e-snaps by October 1. HUD expects to issue the FY12 CoC NOFA in mid- to late October. See HUD’s Homelessness Resource Exchange. Submit questions through the HUD HRE Virtual Help Desk.

USDA ANNOUNCES LOAN-TO-COST RATIO FOR SECTION 538 CONTINUOUS GUARANTEE. To be eligible for a single continuous Section 538 rental housing guarantee for construction and permanent loans, the property’s loan-to-cost ratio must be under 50%. See Federal Register, 9/6/12. Contact Monica Cole, USDA.

FAQS CLARIFY SECTION 202 PREPAYMENT AND REFI. A new Frequently Asked Questions document from HUD supplements Notice 12-08, “Updated Requirements for Prepayment and Refinance of Section 202 Direct Loans.”

CFBP PROPOSES CHANGING LOAN ORIGINATOR COMPENSATION. Comment by October 16 on a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposal to implement Dodd-Frank Act provisions on compensation and restrictions on fees. See Federal Register, 9/7/12 or CFBP’s website. Contact CFBP’s Office of Regulations, 202-435-7700.

CFPB EXTENDS DEADLINES FOR COMMENTS ON HOEPA AND MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES. Comments are now due November 6 instead of September 7 on two specific parts of two broader requests for input: the impact of a more inclusive finance charge on Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act coverage, and the proposed definition of a finance charge in combined mortgage disclosures (see HAC News, 8/22/12). See CFBP’s website.

HUD REPORTS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN ENERGY BOOM AREAS. In some rural places increased oil and gas drilling has led to significantly higher rents, and some companies are housing employees in camps or lodges, HUD research found. “New Oil and Gas Drilling Technologies Bring Significant Changes and Challenges to Housing Markets,” an article in U.S. Housing Market Conditions (2nd quarter 2012), includes photos and is available online or from HUD User, 800-245-2691.

DEADLINE LOOMS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARD NOMINATIONS! Nominations are due September 28 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. Use the online nomination form or request a paper form from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600,

HAC News: August 8, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 8, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 16

• Leaders agree on continuing resolution, Congress recesses • House members plan letter requesting rural definition extension in CR • OMB tells agencies to continue spending, advises Congress to change sequestration • Fees for some Section 502 loan guarantees to increase October 1 • FEMA requests comments on emergency housing assistance • Interim Continuum of Care rule issued • IRS proposes rule on submetered utilities in LIHTC properties • Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement for 2012 available • Federal regulators release 2012 list of distressed or underserved tracts for CRA • Senate subcommittee considers changes to HUD’s rental assistance programs • Job growth slower in rural places than urban ones • Different skills result in different wages in rural and urban places, study concludes • Study examines potential for increasing energy efficiency in manufactured homes

August 8, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 16

LEADERS AGREE ON CONTINUING RESOLUTION, CONGRESS RECESSES. In late July Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with the White House, announced they will develop a continuing resolution to fund the government for the first six months of FY13, starting October 1, 2012. Most programs will remain at FY12 funding levels. Congress has recessed until September 10, so the CR will be considered in September.

HOUSE MEMBERS PLAN LETTER REQUESTING RURAL DEFINITION EXTENSION IN CR. The National Rural Housing Coalition reports Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and others will send a letter to House leadership asking that the FY13 CR include an extension of language keeping growing rural communities eligible for USDA rural housing programs. Background information on this issue is posted on HAC’s website.

OMB TELLS AGENCIES TO CONTINUE SPENDING, ADVISES CONGRESS TO CHANGE SEQUESTRATION. A July 31 memo from OMB’s Acting Director tells heads of federal departments and agencies to continue normal spending and operations since Congress has over five months to change the January 1 spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act. On August 7 President Obama signed into law the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, which requires an Administration report within 30 days estimating sequestration’s impact on programs.

FEES FOR SOME SECTION 502 LOAN GUARANTEES TO INCREASE OCTOBER 1. An email has notified stakeholders that, while the upfront fee for purchase transactions will remain at 2%, the upfront fee for refinances will rise from 1.5% in FY12 to 2% in FY13. Annual fees for both purchases and refinances will rise from 0.30% in FY12 to 0.40% next year. Contact Debbie Terrell, RD, 918-534-3254.

FEMA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON EMERGENCY HOUSING ASSISTANCE. Comments are due September 28 on proposed revisions to regulations on FEMA’s housing repair, replacement, and construction assistance. The changes are intended to clarify eligibility criteria and implement legislative changes enacted in 2006, not to create new eligibility requirements or add burdens for applicants. Contact Lumumba T. Yancey, FEMA, 202-212-1000.

INTERIM CONTINUUM OF CARE RULE ISSUED. The regulation takes effect August 30 and comments are due October 1. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

IRS PROPOSES RULE ON SUBMETERED UTILITIES IN LIHTC PROPERTIES. The change would clarify that utility costs paid by a tenant based on actual consumption in a submetered rent-restricted unit are treated as paid by the tenant directly to the utility company. IRS will hold a public hearing on November 27 in Washington, DC. Comments are due October 9. Contact David Selig, IRS, 202-622-3040.

CIRCULAR A-133 COMPLIANCE SUPPLEMENT FOR 2012 AVAILABLE. The supplement provides guidance on audits of federally funded nonprofits and government entities. Comments are due October 31.

FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED FOR FY13. Comments are due September 4 on FMRs that will take effect October 1. Contact local HUD program staff or HUD User, 1-800-245-2691.

FEDERAL REGULATORS RELEASE 2012 LIST OF DISTRESSED OR UNDERSERVED TRACTS FOR CRA. Lender activities in these distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies can receive credit in Community Reinvestment Act evaluations.

SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE CONSIDERS CHANGES TO HUD’S RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. On August 1 the Banking Committee’s Housing Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” Witnesses discussed provisions of several reform bills introduced in Congress.

JOB GROWTH SLOWER IN RURAL PLACES THAN URBAN ONES. The Daily Yonder examined changes in counties’ numbers of jobs from June 2011 to June 2012. Jobs increased by 1.77% in urban counties and by 0.86% in rural counties. One-third of rural and exurban counties lost jobs during this 12-month period.

DIFFERENT SKILLS RESULT IN DIFFERENT WAGES IN RURAL AND URBAN PLACES, STUDY CONCLUDES. “Workforce Skills across the Urban-Rural Hierarchy,” by New York Federal Reserve Bank staff and others, is a preliminary report on research that examined job skills and income levels across a spectrum of places from urban to rural. Researchers found that jobs clustered in urban areas require higher levels of skills than those clustered in rural areas, and that these differences help explain the higher wages in urban areas. Contact Kevin Stolarick

STUDY EXAMINES POTENTIAL FOR INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN MANUFACTURED HOMES. Noting that energy efficiency in manufactured homes lags behind that of site-built homes, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reports that improvements can be made in new construction and existing homes. Contact Patrick Kiker, ACEEE, 202-507-4043.