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HAC News: July 23, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 23, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 14

• Congress starts recess on August 1 • Continuum of Care registration open • USDA issues nondiscrimination rule • HUD proposes revisions to PHA consortium rules • USDA hopes to speed processing of Section 502 direct loans • Meetings and webinars set to discuss Keepseagle funds distribution • HUD guidebook discusses housing-transportation strategies • Data show characteristics of HUD-assisted households • Rural Voices magazine asks, “Is the Housing Crisis Over?” • Some spaces remain in workshops on new HOME rule • Register now for upcoming HAC trainings • Nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards

July 23, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 15

CONGRESS STARTS RECESS ON AUGUST 1. Legislators will return to work on Monday, September 8.

CONTINUUM OF CARE REGISTRATION OPEN. Applicants for FY14 CoC funds must register by August 6.

USDA ISSUES NONDISCRIMINATION RULE. The final rule is effective immediately. USDA’s complaint office is now required to offer alternative dispute resolution services. Each USDA agency is required to collect, maintain and annually compile data (when provided voluntarily by applicants and program participants) on the race, ethnicity, and gender of program applicants and participants by county and state. Also, two new categories are protected: political beliefs and gender identity. Contact Anna Stroman, 202-205-5953.

HUD PROPOSES REVISIONS TO PHA CONSORTIUM RULES. The changes are intended to increase administrative efficiencies associated with forming a consortium and to help ensure maximum family choice in locating suitable
housing. Comments are due September 9. Contact Michael Dennis, HUD, 202-402-3882.

USDA HOPES TO SPEED PROCESSING OF SECTION 502 DIRECT LOANS. An Unnumbered Letter dated July 7, 2014 authorizes three temporary steps to speed processing of Section 502 direct loans before the fiscal year ends on September 30. (See HAC News, 6/25/14.) USDA Rural Development field staff can now approve and obligate 502 direct loans subject to receipt of an appraisal, make new loans rather doing loan assumptions, and refinance existing loans in some circumstances when there is a high risk of foreclosure. Contact a USDA Rural Development office.

MEETINGS AND WEBINARS SET TO DISCUSS KEEPSEAGLE FUNDS DISTRIBUTION. About $380 million from the settlement of the Keepseagle v. Vilsack suit, which charged that USDA farm loan programs discriminated against Native Americans, will be distributed to nonprofits that work with Native American farmers and ranchers. To provide input about this process, attend in-person meetings or webinars/conference calls to be held between July 30 and August 26, or email indianfarmclass@gmail.com. For general information contact the Claims Administrator, 1-888-233-5506.

HUD GUIDEBOOK DISCUSSES HOUSING-TRANSPORTATION STRATEGIES. Creating Connected Communities: A Guidebook for Improving Transportation Connections for Low- and Moderate-Income Households in Small and Mid-Sized Cities intends to provide localities with transportation strategies for residents of affordable housing. It targets places up to 250,000 population, but at least one case study is from a city of 8,500.

DATA SHOW CHARACTERISTICS OF HUD-ASSISTED HOUSEHOLDS. The National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy has begun analyzing “Picture of Subsidized Households” figures recently released by HUD. Nationwide, 39% of households receiving assistance are families with children, 34% percent are non-senior disabled (there is overlap in these categories), and 33% are seniors age 62 and older. Forty-four percent are African-American, 17% are Hispanic, 4% Asian or Pacific Islander, and 1% are Native American. About 6.3% live in places with urban centers under 10,000 population or without urban centers.

RURAL VOICES MAGAZINE ASKS, “IS THE HOUSING CRISIS OVER?” Experts write about the crisis and its impact on rural America. This issue also covers CRA, foreclosures, and housing counseling, and RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez describes his priorities.

SOME SPACES REMAIN IN WORKSHOPS ON NEW HOME RULE. HUD will offer “CHDO Workshop: Understanding the 2013 HOME Final Rule” in August and September. Registration is free for CHDO staff. HUD has some travel scholarships available, funded partly by HAC. Contact Rachael Ballard, rballard@ tdainc.org, 203-241-2410.

Register now for upcoming HAC webinars:

and place-based trainings:

Nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards.
Nominations are due September 30 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. The honors will be presented at the National Rural Housing Conference in December. Complete the online nomination form or request a paper form from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HAC News: July 9, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 9, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 14

• Castro confirmed as HUD secretary • Civil rights anniversary noted • Section 514/516 preapplications due September 2 • HUD offers FY14 and FY15 HOPE VI Main Street funds • Treasury and HUD announce rental housing initiative • CRA regulators update list of distressed or underserved nonmetro middle-income geographies • New report examines rural rental housing • New York Times piece on rural poverty draws criticism • HAC calculates 8,000 USDA properties will pay off loans by 2020 • Concentration of poverty has increased, Census Bureau reports • HAC’s website redesigned

July 9, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 14 [tdborder][/tdborder]

CASTRO CONFIRMED AS HUD SECRETARY. On July 9 by a 71-26 vote the full Senate confirmed Julián Castro to replace Shaun Donovan as Secretary of HUD. The Senate has not yet voted on Donovan’s nomination as the new OMB director. (See HAC News, 5/28/14.)

CIVIL RIGHTS ANNIVERSARY NOTED. President Obama proclaimed July 2, 2014, as the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 2, 1964.

SECTION 514/516 PREAPPLICATIONS DUE SEPTEMBER 2. Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants can be used for new construction or purchase and substantial rehabilitation of rental housing for farmworkers. Section 521 Rental Assistance is available. The maximum award is $3 million. Contact a USDA RD state office.

HUD OFFERS FY14 AND FY15 HOPE VI MAIN STREET FUNDS. Governments of counties, cities, and townships with populations under 50,000 are eligible for grants to replace unused commercial space with affordable housing in historic or traditional central business districts. Deadline is August 18. Contact Lawrence Gnessin, HUD, lawrence .gnessin@hud.gov.

TREASURY AND HUD ANNOUNCE RENTAL HOUSING INITIATIVE. The Treasury Department’s Federal Financing Bank will finance mortgages made by Housing Finance Agencies and insured by FHA under its risk-sharing programs. Treasury is also extending the Making Home Affordable homeowner assistance program for at least one year and requesting public input by August 8 on ways to improve the private label securities market for housing finance.

CRA REGULATORS UPDATE LIST OF DISTRESSED OR UNDERSERVED NONMETRO MIDDLE-INCOME GEOGRAPHIES. The annual list identifies census tracts where bank activities will be considered as “community development” under the Community Reinvestment Act. There are slightly fewer tracts on the list in 2014 than in 2013, presumably reflecting some improvement in the economy.

NEW REPORT EXAMINES RURAL RENTAL HOUSING. Rural America’s Rental Housing Crisis: Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rental Housing in Rural Communities, published by the National Rural Housing Coalition, documents the successes of USDA’s rental housing programs and the challenges facing them now, including preservation and Section 521 Rental Assistance funding.

NEW YORK TIMES PIECE ON RURAL POVERTY DRAWS CRITICISM. “What’s the Matter with Eastern Kentucky?” by Annie Lowrey describes economic decline in Clay County, KY and wonders whether moving away might be residents’ best option. Tim Marema and Betsy Taylor respond with critical posts on the Daily Yonder.

HAC CALCULATES 8,000 USDA PROPERTIES WILL PAY OFF LOANS BY 2020. The oldest Section 515 and 514 loans are reaching the end of their 50-year mortgage terms. “Maturating USDA Multi-Family Housing Loans will Impact Ten-ants explains that when a Section 515 or 514 loan is paid off, some tenant benefits (such as Section 521 Rental Assistance) are terminated. Tenant protection rules apply to prepayments but not to payoffs of mature loans. HAC’s Rural Policy Note recommends that USDA ask project owners to notify tenants well in advance of payoff.

CONCENTRATION OF POVERTY HAS INCREASED, CENSUS BUREAU REPORTS. The proportion of U.S. residents living in census tracts with poverty rates of 20% or higher fell from 1990 to 2000, then increased from 18.1% in 2000 to 25.7% in 2010. While the overall U.S. population grew by 10% over the decade, the number of people in these high poverty areas increased by about 56%. Of the people living in high poverty tracts in 2010, 51.1% lived in cities at the center of metropolitan areas, 28.6% in suburbs, and 20.4% in nonmetro areas. Census’s report, Changes in Areas with Concentrated Poverty: 2000 to 2010, includes maps and tables with data by state, race, age, and more.

HAC’S WEBSITE REDESIGNED. There’s a new look to the same great information at www.ruralhome.org.

Register now for upcoming HAC webinars:

and place-based trainings:

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