Posts

HAC News: April 12, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements • Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements • CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department • Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories • HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications • Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill • RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits • Section 538 industry calls planned • HUD income limits set • CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education • Appraisal threshold increased • Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations • Wage gap for rural women quantified • Disaster survivors’ stories sought

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements.
On April 10 President Trump issued an “Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.” It establishes “Principles of Economic Mobility” that include strengthening or imposing work requirements for those receiving means-tested federal aid; increasing state and local flexibility in administering aid; combining or eliminating “duplicative or ineffective” programs; and involving the private sector in poverty solutions. Cabinet departments that run assistance programs, including USDA and HUD, must submit reports within 90 days recommending changes consistent with these principles. They must also list which programs restrict benefits to lawful U.S. residents and which do not.

Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements.
The House Agriculture Committee released the text of H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, on April 12. It proposes new requirements for SNAP participants to work or enroll in work training. The only housing provision updates the definition of rural areas eligible for the RHS housing programs so that it refers to the 2020 Census as well as 2010. The bill reauthorizes several RUS and RBS programs. It also reauthorizes the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Great Plains Regional Authority, but cuts the authorized funding for the DRA from the current $30 million per year to $12 million and for the NGPRA from $30 million to $2 million. (The DRA’s FY18 appropriation is $25 million. The NGPRA has never received an appropriation.)

CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department.
Treasury published a report on April 3 identifying regulatory and administrative improvements for the Community Reinvestment Act. The suggestions would broaden bank assessment areas to account for technological access in places without physical branches, expand the range of eligible CRA activities, clarify rating criteria and subjective terms such as “excellent,” require timely examinations, and strengthen incentives for banks to avoid low performance ratings.

Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories.
The first round of Opportunity Zones were announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS for the states and territories that nominated areas by March 21. Other states requested 30-day extensions and must make their submissions by April 20. The IRS invites comments as it develops guidance for the program on topics including the certification of Qualified Opportunity Funds and eligible investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones. It does not provide a deadline.

HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications.
Nonprofits, PHAs, local governments, and tribal entities are eligible for planning grants or planning and action grants focusing on transforming a neighborhood by redeveloping at least one severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing project. Applications are due June 12.

Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill.
HAC and other interested organizations sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees listing recommendations for provisions related to USDA Rural Development that could be included in this year’s Farm Bill. Among the suggestions are incentives for investing in the rural communities with the greatest need, including those with populations under 10,000; authorization for the multifamily housing preservation technical assistance program; and support for infrastructure, including broadband.

RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits.
An Unnumbered Letter dated March 30, 2018 explains that nonprofit and cooperative owners of Section 515 and 514/516 properties are eligible for a $7,500 asset management fee per property, rather than per owner. For more information, contact a USDA RD state office.

Section 538 industry calls planned.
During 2018 and 2019, USDA will hold a series of teleconference and/or web conference meetings regarding the Section 538 guaranteed rental housing program. To register to receive information when calls are scheduled, contact Monica Cole, USDA, 202-720-1251.

HUD income limits set.
FY18 median area incomes and income limits for metro areas and nonmetro counties are available online.

CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education.
Comments to help CFPB assess the overall effectiveness and accessibility of its guidance materials and activities (including implementation support) to members of the general public, including regulated entities, are due July 2. For more information, contact Kristin Switzer, CFPB, 202-435-7700. Comments on CFPB’s consumer financial education programs are due July 9. For more information, contact Davida Farrar, CFPB, 202-435-9523.

Appraisal threshold increased.
Effective on April 9, the federal agencies that regulate banks and savings and loans require appraisals for lenders’ real estate transactions above $500,000. The previous threshold was $250,000. Loans secured by residential properties with one to four units are exempt from the appraisal requirement; for those, lenders must instead obtain evaluations that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices. Contacts for further information vary by regulatory agency.

Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency invites comments by June 4 on how its regulations can be made more effective and less burdensome, except for rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice, or regulations adopted or substantially amended since April 2016. For more information, contact Ellen S. Bailey, FHFA, 202-649-3056.

Wage gap for rural women quantified.
The Center for American Progress reports that rural women who work full time, year round, make 76 cents for every dollar that rural men make. Rural African-American and Hispanic women make 56 cents for every dollar made by rural white, non-Hispanic men, while Rural Native American women make 69 cents and rural Asian American and Pacific Islander women make 75 cents.

Disaster survivors’ stories sought.
The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition developed an online tool to capture disaster survivors’ individual stories. These accounts of unmet need will be used to illustrate the unique housing challenges low-income survivors face after a disaster and to build support for solutions. The coalition asks organizations serving disaster survivors from the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 to fill out the online questionnaire for any client/individual with a compelling need for direct rental assistance.

NEED CAPITAL FOR YOUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT?
HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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:

Reports

HAC News: April 12, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements • Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements • CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department • Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories • HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications • Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill • RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits • Section 538 industry calls planned • HUD income limits set • CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education • Appraisal threshold increased • Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations • Wage gap for rural women quantified • Disaster survivors’ stories sought

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements.
On April 10 President Trump issued an “Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.” It establishes “Principles of Economic Mobility” that include strengthening or imposing work requirements for those receiving means-tested federal aid; increasing state and local flexibility in administering aid; combining or eliminating “duplicative or ineffective” programs; and involving the private sector in poverty solutions. Cabinet departments that run assistance programs, including USDA and HUD, must submit reports within 90 days recommending changes consistent with these principles. They must also list which programs restrict benefits to lawful U.S. residents and which do not.

Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements.
The House Agriculture Committee released the text of H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, on April 12. It proposes new requirements for SNAP participants to work or enroll in work training. The only housing provision updates the definition of rural areas eligible for the RHS housing programs so that it refers to the 2020 Census as well as 2010. The bill reauthorizes several RUS and RBS programs. It also reauthorizes the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Great Plains Regional Authority, but cuts the authorized funding for the DRA from the current $30 million per year to $12 million and for the NGPRA from $30 million to $2 million. (The DRA’s FY18 appropriation is $25 million. The NGPRA has never received an appropriation.)

CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department.
Treasury published a report on April 3 identifying regulatory and administrative improvements for the Community Reinvestment Act. The suggestions would broaden bank assessment areas to account for technological access in places without physical branches, expand the range of eligible CRA activities, clarify rating criteria and subjective terms such as “excellent,” require timely examinations, and strengthen incentives for banks to avoid low performance ratings.

Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories.
The first round of Opportunity Zones were announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS for the states and territories that nominated areas by March 21. Other states requested 30-day extensions and must make their submissions by April 20. The IRS invites comments as it develops guidance for the program on topics including the certification of Qualified Opportunity Funds and eligible investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones. It does not provide a deadline.

HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications.
Nonprofits, PHAs, local governments, and tribal entities are eligible for planning grants or planning and action grants focusing on transforming a neighborhood by redeveloping at least one severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing project. Applications are due June 12.

Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill.
HAC and other interested organizations sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees listing recommendations for provisions related to USDA Rural Development that could be included in this year’s Farm Bill. Among the suggestions are incentives for investing in the rural communities with the greatest need, including those with populations under 10,000; authorization for the multifamily housing preservation technical assistance program; and support for infrastructure, including broadband.

RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits.
An Unnumbered Letter dated March 30, 2018 explains that nonprofit and cooperative owners of Section 515 and 514/516 properties are eligible for a $7,500 asset management fee per property, rather than per owner. For more information, contact a USDA RD state office.

Section 538 industry calls planned.
During 2018 and 2019, USDA will hold a series of teleconference and/or web conference meetings regarding the Section 538 guaranteed rental housing program. To register to receive information when calls are scheduled, contact Monica Cole, USDA, 202-720-1251.

HUD income limits set.
FY18 median area incomes and income limits for metro areas and nonmetro counties are available online.

CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education.
Comments to help CFPB assess the overall effectiveness and accessibility of its guidance materials and activities (including implementation support) to members of the general public, including regulated entities, are due July 2. For more information, contact Kristin Switzer, CFPB, 202-435-7700. Comments on CFPB’s consumer financial education programs are due July 9. For more information, contact Davida Farrar, CFPB, 202-435-9523.

Appraisal threshold increased.
Effective on April 9, the federal agencies that regulate banks and savings and loans require appraisals for lenders’ real estate transactions above $500,000. The previous threshold was $250,000. Loans secured by residential properties with one to four units are exempt from the appraisal requirement; for those, lenders must instead obtain evaluations that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices. Contacts for further information vary by regulatory agency.

Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency invites comments by June 4 on how its regulations can be made more effective and less burdensome, except for rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice, or regulations adopted or substantially amended since April 2016. For more information, contact Ellen S. Bailey, FHFA, 202-649-3056.

Wage gap for rural women quantified.
The Center for American Progress reports that rural women who work full time, year round, make 76 cents for every dollar that rural men make. Rural African-American and Hispanic women make 56 cents for every dollar made by rural white, non-Hispanic men, while Rural Native American women make 69 cents and rural Asian American and Pacific Islander women make 75 cents.

Disaster survivors’ stories sought.
The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition developed an online tool to capture disaster survivors’ individual stories. These accounts of unmet need will be used to illustrate the unique housing challenges low-income survivors face after a disaster and to build support for solutions. The coalition asks organizations serving disaster survivors from the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 to fill out the online questionnaire for any client/individual with a compelling need for direct rental assistance.

NEED CAPITAL FOR YOUR AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT?
HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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: