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HAC News: May 21, 2019

News Formats. pdf

May 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 10

Competitive Indian Housing Block Grant funds available • HUD proposes to evict mixed-status families • Comments invited on changing inflation measurement for poverty limits • Mortgage data comment deadlines set • USDA announces top sites for ERS and NIFA relocations, agency staffs vote on unionizing • Congressional updates • Recent publications and media of interest • HAC Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits in Nashville set for June 19-20 • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No.10

Competitive Indian Housing Block Grant funds available.
Tribes and tribally designated housing authorities can apply by August 8 for IHBG funds. HUD will give priority to new construction, rehabilitation work, and infrastructure projects that will enable future construction or rehab of housing. For more information, contact HUD staff.

HUD proposes to evict mixed-status families.
A proposed regulation would require public housing authorities and private landlords with HUD-assisted tenants to check tenants’ immigration status and to evict those who are not eligible for HUD aid. (Eligibility is not determined solely by citizenship or undocumented status. Some non-citizens who are legally in the U.S. are eligible and others are ineligible.) Currently, when ineligible immigrants have family members such as citizen children who are eligible, the dollar amount of the assistance is pro-rated and all members of the mixed-status family are allowed to live in the unit. HUD’s analysis of the proposed change estimates that 25,000 families, including 55,000 children who are eligible for HUD assistance, would have to separate, move or be evicted. Comments are due July 9. Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) has introduced H.R. 2763, which would block the rule. Keep-Families-Together.org also provides an opposing perspective. HUD’s contact for information is John Gibbs, 202-402-4445.

Comments invited on changing inflation measurement for poverty limits.
OMB is considering changing the inflation calculation that is used to adjust the Official Poverty Measure every year. It seeks public comments for consideration by a working group it has assembled to make a recommendation. The poverty guidelines that determine eligibility for a number of housing programs are calculated based on the Official Poverty Measure, so a change in the OPM would lead to a change in eligibility. Comments are due June 25. For more information, contact Bob Sivinski, OMB, 202-395-1205.

Mortgage data comment deadlines set.
Comments are due June 12 on a rule change proposed by the CFPB that would exempt small-volume lenders from Home Mortgage Disclosure Act reporting requirements. Comments are due July 8 on HMDA data points required by a 2015 CFPB rule. For more information, contact CFPB’s Office of Regulations, 202-435-7700, or submit a question online.

USDA announces top sites for ERS and NIFA relocations, agency staffs vote on unionizing.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced the finalists for relocation of the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The proposal to move the agencies has generated opposition from concerned parties in the field, members of Congress and former USDA officials. On May 9, ERS employees voted 138-4 to join the American Federation of Government Employees, and a union vote at NIFA is scheduled for June 11.

Congressional updates

  • A HUD oversight hearing was held by the House Financial Services Committee on May 21. Secretary Ben Carson’s written testimony was posted in advance.
  • Several appropriations bills for FY20 have been developed and passed by the House Appropriations Committee, but work has not yet begun on a USDA spending measure. The Transportation-HUD subcommittee will take up the T-HUD spending bill on May 23. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not considered any FY20 bills. Party leaders and the White House are scheduled to begin discussions May 21 on lifting the spending caps imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act.
  • A disaster assistance bill, H.R. 2157, passed the House on May 10. The Senate may vote on its version of the long-delayed bill the week of May 20.
  • Short-term reauthorization for the National Flood Insurance Programpassed the House on May 14. The program is scheduled to expire May 31. The bill, H.R. 2578, reauthorizes it through September 30.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • USDA Rural Development Housing Funding Activity: FY 2018 Year-End Report, HAC’s annual compilation of data on USDA rural housing spending, reports that 131,487 loans, loan guarantees and grants totaling about $18.4 billion were obligated in FY18. Under the Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 voucher programs, about $1.37 billion assisted 274,867 tenant households. All funding in the Section 502 direct loan program was obligated, with almost 33% of the funds going to very low-income households. The report includes tables and maps showing obligation data by program and by state, as well as data by fiscal year for each of the programs since program inception.
  • As Americans Spread Out, Immigration Plays a Crucial Role in Local Population Growth, published by the Brookings Institution, covers the importance of immigration in U.S. population increases. For the past two years growth rates have declined in large metro areas, while nonmetro areas have gained population.
  • Most of America’s Rural Areas are Doomed to Decline,a recent analysis by an Iowa State University economist, provides a gloomy economic outlook for many rural areas. Data indicates that most “smaller urban areas and rural counties are not growing and will not grow.” This is due, the author writes, to outmigration of people of prime working age and loss of skilled workforce.
  • A Small Bank Tackles Rural Housing Affordabilityis an episode of the ABA Banking Journal Podcast featuring Christie Obenauer, president of the family-owned Union State Bank in Hazen, ND. In the 19-minute conversation Obenauer discusses how her bank addressed a housing crunch brought on by a fracking boom in a neighboring county, approaches for financing housing deals, using manufactured housing to build quickly, and succession planning for small rural organizations.
  • This Map Shows How Much More Expensive It Is to Own a Home than to Rent in Every U.S. Stateis a CNBC analysis of American Community Survey data. The difference varies from $1,100 per month in New Jersey to $300 in Arkansas.

HAC Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits in Nashville set for June 19-20.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held June 19-20. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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: September 13, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 13, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 19

Congress still working on appropriations for FY19 and on Farm Bill • Rural homeownership funds on track to be fully used this fiscal year • Puerto Rican families’ hotel aid ends September 13 • U.S. poverty falls for third year in a row • USDA proposes making two-tier “income banding” permanent for homebuyers • FY19 Fair Market Rents posted •Grants offered for repairs to water and waste systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria • RUS to stop publishing funding notices in Federal Register • HUD to expedite waivers for public housing agencies in major disaster areas • USDA extends deadline for ERS and NIFA headquarters • Common platform suggested for some USDA loan guarantees • Report shows first homes financed by national Housing Trust Fund • States implementing Opportunity Zones, report says

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 13, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 19

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

Congress still working on appropriations for FY19 and on Farm Bill.
Congress has divided appropriations bills for FY19, which begins October 1, into several “minibuses.” The USDA and Transportation-HUD measures are combined with the Interior Department’s bill, and the programs’ funding levels are still under discussion in conference committee. At press time it is not clear which bills may pass before the end of the month and which parts of the government may operate under continuing resolutions or, possibly, be shut down. If the Democrats win a majority in either the House or the Senate in the November elections, they are likely to make changes in FY19 appropriations. Congress is also working to finish negotiations on the Farm Bill because the current version expires September 30.

Rural homeownership funds on track to be fully used this fiscal year.
As of August 31, USDA has made 6,209 mortgages from its Section 502 direct program totaling about $945.6 billion, higher than the $911.7 billion obligated by the same date last year. It seems likely to use all available funds for this program by the end of FY18 on September 30, as it did last year. The proportion of Section 502 direct funds loaned to very low-income borrowers is currently 33.2%, below its 37.6% at this time last year and 38.1% at the end of last year.

Puerto Rican families’ hotel aid ends September 13.
A federal judge has allowed FEMA to end its Temporary Shelter Assistance program for Hurricane Maria evacuees who have been staying in hotels. The judge encouraged FEMA and others to work together to help find temporary housing. Agencies in New York, Florida, and Massachusetts are assisting those who need aid.

U.S. poverty falls for third year in a row.
Annual Census Bureau data on income, poverty, and health insurance show an official U.S. poverty rate of 12.3% in 2017, down from 12.7% in 2016. In nonmetro areas, poverty dropped from 15.8% in 2016 to 14.8% in 2017. National poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanics remained higher than those of other races/ethnicities, at 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively.

USDA proposes making two-tier “income banding” permanent for homebuyers.
A proposed rule would make several changes to the Section 502 direct and guaranteed loans, including adopting a pilot that broadens eligibility and has been tested in select states since FY16. To qualify for a mortgage, a family with between one and four people would need to have an income below HUD’s four-person limit, and a family with between five and eight would need to fall below the eight-person amount. Comments are due October 30. For more information, contact Shannon Chase, RD, 515-305-0399.

FY19 Fair Market Rents posted.
HUD’s Fair Market Rents for FY19 will be effective on October 1 unless HUD receives requests by that date for reevaluation of specific area FMRs. For more information, contact local HUD program staff.

Grants offered for repairs to water and waste systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The Rural Utilities Service has over $163 million to make grants for repairs to drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and the territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted. Contact an RD state office.

RUS to stop publishing funding notices in Federal Register.
Effective immediately, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service will post Notices of Funds Availability only on grants.gov and on its own site. For more information, contact Michele Brooks, RD, 202-690-1078.

HUD to expedite waivers for public housing agencies in major disaster areas.
For the rest of calendar year 2018, HUD will use an expedited process to review requests from PHAs located in major disaster areas for waivers from HUD regulatory and/or administrative requirements. For more information, contact Shelia Bethea, HUD, 202-402-8120.

USDA extends deadline for ERS and NIFA headquarters.
October 15 is now the deadline for submissions of interest for new Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture headquarters. (See HAC News, 8/15/18.) For more information, contact Donald K. Bice, USDA, 202-720-3291.

Common platform suggested for some USDA loan guarantees.
RD proposes to create a “common platform” for making, servicing, and monitoring four (non-housing) guaranteed loan programs: the Community Program Guaranteed loan program, the Water and Waste Disposal Guaranteed loan program, the Business and Industry Guaranteed loan program, and the Rural Energy for America Program guaranteed loans. Comments are due October 22, 2018. Listening sessions are scheduled for several dates, ending September 20. To request government-to-government consultation, a tribe may contact RD’s Native American Coordinator, 720-544-2911. For other information, contact Michele Brooks, USDA, 202-690-1078.

Report shows first homes financed by national Housing Trust Fund.
Issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Getting Started: First Homes Being Built with 2016 National Housing Trust Fund Awards summarizes information from 42 states that are using HTF money to build or preserve rental homes for extremely low-income households. States are prioritizing projects to serve people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, elderly individuals, veterans, and other special needs populations.

States implementing Opportunity Zones, report says.
CDFA Opportunity Zones Report: State of the States, an update from the Council of Development Finance Agencies, includes descriptions of several states’ outreach and planning strategies as they move forward with Opportunity Zones, a new financing vehicle created in the December tax law.

NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training course in Nebraska, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The registration fee is $500. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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).