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HAC News: December 14, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 14, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 25

2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference educates, inspires, and advances the rural housing community. • Federal Reserve Board of Governors chairman Jerome Powell addresses HAC conference • HAC awards recognize national, local and federal leadership for rural housing • USDA and HUD spending now expiring December 21 • Congress passes Farm Bill • Increased staff specialization planned for USDA Rural Development • Mark Calabria named to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency • Kathy Kraninger becomes head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau • Perdue announces RD initiative for broadband and e-connectivity • Executive Order encourages development in Opportunity Zones • HAC’s Rural Voices magazine covers capacity building • Census Bureau releases new data for counties, towns, Native lands and more • Study examines trust lands and manufactured homes in Indian Country

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 14, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 25

2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference educates, inspires, and advances the rural housing community.
Over 600 registrants from 48 states heard from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (see item below), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Rusty Smith from Rural Studio , HAC CEO David Lipsetz, former HAC Executive Director Moises Loza and former Deputy Director Joe Belden, as well as USDA and HUD staff and dozens of other experts. Materials from conference sessions are available through the conference app . Check out photos, comments and daily wrap-up videos on HAC’s social media: Twitter , Facebook , and YouTube . Watch HAC’s website and the HAC News for announcements as additional items, including videos of plenary sessions, become available.

Federal Reserve Board of Governors chairman Jerome Powell addresses HAC conference.
Speaking at the HAC Rural Housing Conference on December 6, Chairman Powell discussed the strength of the economy while acknowledging that not everyone has enjoyed the benefits of the strong economy equally. He stressed the importance of the Community Reinvestment Act and praised HAC’s research on the subject as beneficial to the Fed’s plans around potential CRA reform. His remarks garnered press coverage from the New York Times and Reuters.

HAC awards recognize national, local and federal leadership for rural housing.
At the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference, the Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor went to Starry Krueger, President of the Rural Development Leadership Network. Four local leaders received the Skip Jason Community Service Award: Salvador Estrada (Tierra del Sol, NM), Cassie Hicks (University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies, MS), Dennis Lalor (South County Housing, CA) (posthumous) and Joe Myer (NCALL Research, DE). Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) received the Henry B. González Award for an elected official.

USDA and HUD spending now expiring December 21.
The deadline for negotiations on FY19 appropriations was extended to December 21 because congressional activity was slowed by the death of former President George H.W. Bush on November 30. Various end results, including a government shutdown, are still possible.

Congress passes Farm Bill.
House and Senate conferees reached an agreement on a new five-year Farm Bill, dropping provisions that would have imposed stricter work requirements on food stamp recipients. The Senate passed it on December 11 and the House on December 12. President Trump is expected to sign it into law. The bill requires USDA to have an Under Secretary for Rural Development and requires the appointee be confirmed by the Senate. The Under Secretary position had been eliminated in a 2017 reorganization, replaced by an Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. Anne Hazlett has served in that role since June 2017. The bill also maintains local eligibility for USDA rural housing programs after the 2020 Census, so long as a place’s population does not exceed 35,000 and it remains “rural in character.” The bill authorizes a new Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program, a concept HAC supported, to create rural job accelerators and related programming. HAC and others suggested additional improvements to the bill’s Rural Development title, but in general the 2018 RD title is much like the 2014 version.

Increased staff specialization planned for USDA Rural Development.
At the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference, RD officials explained some staffing changes, which are also described in letters from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees. An October 10 letter says that applications for the Section 538 rental guarantee program and Section 515 rental loan program will no longer be processed or underwritten in each state office. Twenty-five staff, who will remain in their current state office locations, will work exclusively on either 538 or 515. According to a November 30 letter, instead of handling the Section 502 guaranteed program in each of the 47 state offices, the agency will create a single unit, so the program will be delivered by 275 employees rather than 300. In addition, appraisers, architects, engineers, and others will be “realigned” into the RD Business Center. The November letter says that affected staff will remain in their current locations and implies that unneeded staff will be reassigned rather than laid off. The November letter enumerates other changes being made in the RUS, RBS, and Community Facilities staffs, and additional changes are described in the HAC News, 11/30/18.

Mark Calabria named to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency.
President Trump will nominate Calabria, currently chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to serve a five-year term as director of FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank system. The term of Melvin Watt, the current director, ends in January. FHFA director nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.

Kathy Kraninger becomes head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Kraninger, most recently an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, was confirmed by the Senate on December 6 and sworn in on December 10. She takes over from Mick Mulvaney, head of OMB, who has been CFPB’s acting director.

Perdue announces RD initiative for broadband and e-connectivity.
On December 13 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a new ReConnect Program to provide broadband infrastructure in rural areas with populations under 20,000. State and local governments, tribes, nonprofits, for-profits, limited liability companies, and coops are eligible for funding. Applications for grants are due April 29, for loan and grant combinations May 29, and for low-interest loans June 28. For more information, contact Chad Parker, RUS, 202-720-9555.

Executive Order encourages development in Opportunity Zones.
On December 12, President Trump signed an order creating a White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, to be comprised of 13 federal agencies and chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. The council is charged with targeting existing federal programs to “urban and economically distressed areas,” including Opportunity Zones, and to engage with all levels of government on revitalizing low-income communities. A list and map of all Opportunity Zones are available on the CDFI Fund’s website. A supportive statement issued by Anne Hazlett, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, says “USDA Rural Development programs will award priority points on applications from private sector intermediaries for projects built in opportunity zone census tracts as well as in other select programs for projects that directly benefit communities located in Opportunity Zones.”

HAC’s Rural Voices magazine covers capacity building.
The conference issue of Rural Voicesdescribes what it means to build the capacity of rural housing organizations, why it is important, who does it, how it is done and how it is financed.

Census Bureau releases new data for counties, towns, Native lands and more.
The newest American Community Survey data has been released on the Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder website. This five-year data provides estimates of demographic characteristics, income, housing, education and other subjects for states, counties, and smaller areas such as zip codes, census tracts, and American Indian Areas/Alaska Native Areas/Hawaiian Home Lands. For the first time, broadband-related data is included.

Study examines trust lands and manufactured homes in Indian Country.
The Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released new research, reported in a blog post titled “Race, Location, and Manufactured-Home Loans on American Indian Reservations.” They examine the statistically higher rate of loan applications at the intersection of manufactured housing, American Indian identity, and reservation trust land. Much of this research was shared at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference session “Homeownership in Indian Country – Creating the Opportunity for Choice.”

Happy holidays from HAC!
The board and staff of the Housing Assistance Council wish peace, prosperity and affordable housing to all! HAC’s offices will be closed from December 24 to January 1.

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: June 22, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 22, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 13

Rescission bill fails in Senate • Rents remain unaffordable at minimum wage • Harvard report addresses housing affordability • Administration proposes moving some rural housing programs to HUD • Sec. 533 Housing Preservation Grants available • Water and wastewater grants available for relending • HUD offers Jobs Plus funds • Grants available to reduce lead paint hazards • Comments invited on fair housing and disparate impact • Strategies for addressing rural homelessness offered in new report • Senate Committee and full House pass different Farm Bills •Changes proposed for construction to permanent mortgages guaranteed by USDA • Final set of Opportunity Zones announced • HUD designates EnVision Centers in 17 communities • Deadline extended for commenting on USDA regulations • Kraninger nominated to be CFPB director

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 22, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 13

Rescission bill fails in Senate.
On June 20 the Senate voted 50-48 against the Administration’s request to rescind previously appropriated funds, including $40 million from USDA’s Section 521 Rental Assistance program and additional amounts from other housing-related programs. The Senate could reconsider the bill, but is unlikely to. The House passed its version of the bill on June 7.

Rents remain unaffordable at minimum wage.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 Out of Reach report shows that, as has been the case for years, there is no county in the U.S. where a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rental at HUD’s Fair Market Rent while working a standard 40-hour week. A full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment in only 22 of the more than 3,000 U.S. counties. Data for each state and county is available through an interactive map.

Harvard report addresses housing affordability.
Another annual research report, the State of the Nation’s Housing, was released this week by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. It recommends collaboration among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to tackle the conditions creating the housing affordability gap, and notes that “a more robust federal response is essential to any meaningful progress.” The report states that increases in federal assistance for renters have lagged far behind the growth in renters with very low incomes. It notes that income inequality and the inability of income growth to keep pace with the economy’s growth over the past 30 years have contributed to current affordability challenges.

Administration proposes moving some rural housing programs to HUD.
On June 21 the Trump Administration released recommendations for reorganizing federal government agencies and programs, including moving USDA’s loan guarantee and rental assistance programs to HUD. It would also privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is not clear whether Congress will consider enacting the proposals.

Sec. 533 Housing Preservation Grants available.
A request for applications for grants to repair owner-occupied or rental housing will be published on June 25. Nonprofit, local government agencies, and tribes are eligible. Applications are due in early August. For more information, contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, RD, 202-690-0759.

Water and wastewater grants available for relending.
The Rural Utilities Service is offering grants to nonprofits under two programs. Household Water Well System grants can be used to create lending programs for homeowners to construct or repair household water wells. Revolving Fund Program grants establish funds that make loans to entities eligible for RUS water and wastewater programs. Applications for both programs are due July 20. For more information, contact Derek Jones, RUS, 202-720-9640.

HUD offers Jobs Plus funds.
Public housing authorities (not tribes or tribally designated housing entities) that did not receive Jobs Plus grants in 2014-2017 can apply by August 14. For more information, contact HUD staff.

Grants available to reduce lead paint hazards.
State, local, and tribal governments are eligible for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction grants to identify and remediate lead paint in owner-occupied or rental housing. Applications are due August 2.

Comments invited on fair housing and disparate impact.
HUD is reviewing its regulation implementing the disparate impact standard – which applies the Fair Housing Act to practices with discriminatory effect even if the discrimination was not intended – to determine whether changes are appropriate based on the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling upholding the use of disparate impact analysis, the Administration’s efforts to reduce regulatory burden, or for other reasons. Comments are due August 20. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 202-402-6577.

Strategies for addressing rural homelessness offered in new report.
In Strengthening Systems for Ending Rural Homelessness: Promising Practices and Considerations, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness describes tactics such as obtaining technical assistance, partnering with service providers, developing creative outreach, identifying crisis housing options, and more.

Senate Committee and full House pass different Farm Bills.
The House Farm Bill, H.R. 2, was defeated in May but passed on June 21. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version, S. 3042, on June 18. The Senate bill does not contain controversial House provisions such as expanded work requirements, so after the full Senate votes (possibly before the end of June) a compromise will need to be developed.

Changes proposed for construction to permanent mortgages guaranteed by USDA.
USDA’s Rural Housing Service has proposed amendments intended to increase lenders’ willingness to use Section 502 guaranteed loans that cover both the construction and permanent mortgage phases. Along with other changes, lenders would be allowed to charge a higher interest rate for the construction phase and to escrow principal as well as other payments during construction. Comments are due August 20. For more information, contact Kate Jenson, USDA, 503-810-6855.

Final set of Opportunity Zones announced.
Opportunity Zones have now been designated in all states and territories. The IRS welcomes comments as it develops guidance on Opportunity Funds and eligible investments for taxpayers with capital gains.

HUD designates EnVision Centers in 17 communities.
The Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma is one of the locations selected for Secretary Ben Carson’s initiative, which intends to leverage public-private partnerships to connect HUD-assisted households with services and help them achieve self-sufficiency.

Deadline extended for commenting on USDA regulations.
In July 2017 USDA requested comments on improving its regulations, with a deadline of July 17, 2018. The deadline is now extended by a year to July 18, 2019. For more information, contact Michael Poe, USDA, 202-720-5303.

Kraninger nominated to be CFPB director.
President Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger to become director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She currently works at OMB for Mick Mulvaney, who is OMB director and acting CFPB director.

HAC OFFERS GRANTS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS SERVING RURAL VETERANS These grants, supported by The Home Depot Foundation, will go to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Applications are due July 9. For more information, contact Shonterria Charleston or Anselmo Telles.

HAC SEEKS WORKSHOP PROPOSALS.
HAC is trying something new for the 2018 Rural Housing Conference. We are looking to our constituents and partners for proposals for workshop sessions that engage participants and facilitate an active exchange of approaches and ideas to improve housing conditions for the rural poor. Check the online call for proposals and submit online by July 11. For more information, contact Mike Feinberg, 202-842-8600, or Kelly Cooney, 678- 649-3831.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when conference registration opens and when the hotel room block is available for reservations.

NOMINATE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS FOR HAC AWARDS..
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

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: May 25, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 11

HUD changes course on 2015 fair housing regulation• Senate committee approves 2019 USDA funding bill • House begins work on 2019 HUD funding • Dodd-Frank provisions rolled back for banks, manufactured homes • GAO makes recommendations to USDA and Congress on preserving rural rentals • Revised bills propose changes to preserve rural rental housing • Advocate’s guide to rural housing preservation published • Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants offered • USDA seeks partnerships in the Section 502 direct loan program • More Opportunity Zones announced • Farm Bill fails in House • Tribal VASH notices updated • Inclusionary zoning map shows local and state programs • African Americans and Hispanics still far from equal with whites, National Urban League reports

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 11

HUD changes course on 2015 fair housing regulation.
In January, HUD suspended implementation of a 2015 regulation that required local jurisdictions to prepare Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs) to help meet their obligations to affirmatively further fair housing. On May 8, civil rights groups sued HUD for suspending the rule. HUD has now canceled January’s suspension, and instead has withdrawn the Assessment Tool that local governments were using to develop their AFHs. Like the January notice, this one means local governments will keep using the older Analysis of Impediments rather than the AFH. HUD says it is planning a series of national listening sessions regarding the Assessment Tool. Comments on the Assessment Tool are due July 23. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 202-402-6577. HUD also announced recently that it plans to request public comment on whether its 2013 regulation on the use of disparate impact to identify housing discrimination is consistent with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on the subject.

Senate committee approves 2019 USDA funding bill.
On May 24 the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 funding bill for USDA. Most of its rural housing funding amounts are the same as the FY18 levels, with slight increases for MPR and vouchers. The Senate bill provides slightly lower levels than the House bill – which passed the House Appropriations Committee on May 16 – for Section 514 and 516 farm labor housing, Section 533, MPR, and vouchers.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 House Bill

FY19 Senate Bill (S. 2976)

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setasidea

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

0
0

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

28

0

28

28

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

30

0

30

30

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

35

40

0

40

40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23

0

27.5

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.4

0

10

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,405

1,345

1,331.4

1,331.4

1,331.4

523 Self-Help TA

30

30

0

30

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

5

10

0

15

10

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

230

230

250

230

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

0

25

24

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

19.4

25

20

28

26

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

4

6

  1. Figures shown represent budget authority, not program levels.

House begins work on 2019 HUD funding.
On May 23 the House Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 funding bill for HUD. The bill would provide more funding than the Administration’s budget, but some reductions from FY18 levels. It introduces a new mobility demonstration that would allow families with children to move to areas with greater opportunity. The Senate will begin considering HUD appropriations the first week of June.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Final Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 House Bill

CDBG

$3,000

$3,300

0

$3,300

HOME

950

1,362

0

1,200

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

0

10

Veterans Home Rehab

4

4

0

0

Tenant-Based Rental Assstnce.
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

20,292
40
7

22,015
40
5

20,550*
0
4

22,476
40
5

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,816

11,515

10,952

11,347

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,942

2,750

0

2,750

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,550

3,279*

4,550

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

137.5

150

0

150

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grt.

654

655

600

655

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,383

2,513

2,383

2,546

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

356

375

330

393

202 Hsg. for Elderly

502.4

678

563

678

811 Hsg. for Disabled

146.2

230

132

154

Fair Housing

65.3

65

62.3

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

145

230

145

230

Housing Counseling

55

55

45

55

* Includes amounts added by an Administration addendum to its budget request.

Dodd-Frank provisions rolled back for banks, manufactured homes.
On May 24 President Trump signed into law S. 2155, which passed the House on May 22 and the Senate in March. The measure does not affect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but it removes some oversight for smaller banks, exempts 85% of lenders from some HMDA reporting, allows manufactured home retailers to make financing recommendations, and expands the ability of smaller lenders to make “Qualified Mortgages.” It also provides permanent authorization for HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

GAO makes recommendations to USDA and Congress on preserving rural rentals.
The Government Accountability Office reviewed RHS’s efforts to address the possible loss of affordable rural rental housing due to maturing mortgages and made six recommendations. Rural Housing Service: Better Data Controls, Planning, and Additional Options Could Help Preserve Affordable Rental Units suggests that Congress consider authorizing Section 521 Rental Assistance and vouchers for tenants in properties whose mortgages have matured. Its recommendations for RHS include improving data accuracy, updating online preservation information regularly, and setting, monitoring, and reporting on preservation goals.

Revised bills propose changes to preserve rural rental housing.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced new versions of the Rural Housing Preservation Act, introduced in 2016 in the previous Congress but not acted upon then. This year’s H.R. 5352 and S. 2574 would authorize vouchers for tenants in maturing mortgage properties, decouple Rental Assistance from Section 515 and 514 mortgages so it could be available for tenants in maturing mortgage properties, require uniform standards for transfers of Section 515 properties with LIHTCs, and permanently authorize USDA’s Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Program. Committee action has not been scheduled for either bill.

Advocates’ guide to rural housing preservation published.
The National Housing Law Project has released An Advocate’s Guide to Rural Housing Preservation: Prepayments, Mortgage Maturities, and Foreclosures. Intended for advocates and legal services attorneys, the guide provides information, strategies, references, and sample pleadings and case materials. For more information, contact Jessica Cassella , NHLP.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants offered.
Local and tribal governments, PHAs and IHAs, and owners of HUD-assisted housing may apply by September 17 for grants to implement Transformation Plans that address distressed housing, improved household outcomes, and reinvestment in neighborhoods. For more information, contact HUD staff.

USDA seeks partnerships in the Section 502 direct loan program.
USDA RD wants to increase participation with intermediaries, qualified nonprofit packagers, and self-help grantees across the U.S. to raise their packaging of Section 502 loans from the current 18% to 25% in FY19. In May RD will begin publishing a quarterly newsletter for loan packagers and self-help grantees. For more information, contact Tammy Repine, USDA, 360-999-0251.

More Opportunity Zones announced.
As of May 18, the Treasury Department had designated Opportunity Zones in 46 states, as well as in DC and five U.S. territories. Designations for Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Utah are pending.

Farm Bill fails in House.
On May 18 the House voted on H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, but it did not pass. The Senate is expected to release its draft Farm Bill in June.

Tribal VASH notices updated.
A new HUD notice consolidates previous Federal Register notices from October 21, 2015 and December 6, 2016 on the Tribal HUD-VASH program and adds procedures for issuing renewal funding. For more information, contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-402-7914.

Inclusionary zoning map shows local and state programs.
The Grounded Solutions Network has developed an interactive map that shows the characteristics of inclusionary housing programs as well as state laws regarding adoption of such local programs. It also offers an interactive Inclusionary Housing Calculator, designed to explore the relationship between local incentives and the development of mixed income housing.

African Americans and Hispanics still far from equal with whites, National Urban League reports.
The annual State of Black America report shows the 2018 “Equality Index” is 72.5% for African Americans and 79.3% for Hispanics. Full equality with whites would be 100%.

NOMINATE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS FOR HAC AWARDS..
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

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: 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: October 31, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 31, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 21

• Agencies working to catch up after federal shutdown • USDA Rental Assistance contracts renewed but another shortfall coming • Senate will not vote on Watt’s FHFA nomination • Farm Bill conference committee begins work • Funds offered for CDFIs and Native American CDFIs • Comment period extended for 502 packaging rule • CDFI Fund requires audited financials from nonprofits • CFPB requests comments on lender-borrower communications •USDA changes rulemaking policy • HUD updates Public Housing Capital Fund Program regulations • Subscribe online to email lists on Section 502 guarantee program • New paper covers opinion and messaging research on affordable housing • HAC finds rural mortgage activity has increased but some problems remain • New data available


October 31, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 21

AGENCIES WORKING TO CATCH UP AFTER FEDERAL SHUTDOWN. Federal government offices are clearing the backlog of work left by the shutdown that ended October 17 with a Continuing Resolution that provides funding through January 15. USDA RD has confirmed that the CR extends the current definition of eligible rural areas. USDA RD’s and the Census Bureau’s websites are active, and Census has revised release dates for some data. USDA RD expects to be caught up with tenant certifications and multifamily mortgage processing by October 30.

USDA RENTAL ASSISTANCE CONTRACTS RENEWED BUT ANOTHER SHORTFALL COMING. USDA RD has begun renewing Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts that expired in September and October. Because funding under the current Continuing Resolution is for FY14 only, property owners whose contracts expired in September will not receive payment for that month. Also, because USDA is renewing more contracts at one time than usual, the appropriated amount will run out well before the CR ends in January, leaving another group of properties without Rental Assistance for some period of time. Watch the HAC News and https://ruralhome.org for updates.

SENATE WILL NOT VOTE ON WATT’S FHFA NOMINATION. On October 31 the Senate voted on but did not pass a motion to proceed to consider the nomination of Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

FARM BILL CONFERENCE COMMITTEE BEGINS WORK. Selected members of the House and Senate met for the first time on October 30 to seek a compromise between the two versions of a new Farm Bill. The Senate bill includes an extension of housing program eligibility for “grandfathered” rural places (see HAC News, 7/17/13).

FUNDS OFFERED FOR CDFIS AND NATIVE AMERICAN CDFIS. Applicants for the CDFI Program and Native American CDFI Assistance Program must be certified or have applied for certification as CDFIs. The deadline is December 23. Contact CDFI Fund staff, cdfihelp@cdfi.treas.gov, 202-653-0421, option 1.

COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED FOR 502 PACKAGING RULE. (See HAC News, 8/28/13.) A notice in the November 1 Federal Register will extend the deadline to November 22. Comments by HAC and by the Federation of Appalachian Housing Enterprises are posted online. Contact Brooke Baumann, USDA, 202-690-4250.

CDFI FUND REQUIRES AUDITED FINANCIALS FROM NONPROFITS. Effective immediately, an interim rule from the CDFI Fund requires nonprofit grantees to submit audited financial statements rather than financials reviewed by an accountant. Comments are due December 30. Contact Adam Martinez, CDFI Fund.

CFPB REQUESTS COMMENTS ON LENDER-BORROWER COMMUNICATIONS. Comments are due November 22 on a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau interim final rule that seeks to clarify some provisions of mortgage regulations issued in January. Contact Joseph Devlin, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

USDA CHANGES RULEMAKING POLICY. USDA has revoked a Statement of Policy published in 1971 that required USDA agencies to follow the Administrative Procedure Act’s notice-and-comment rulemaking procedures in situations where the APA does not require it. Contact Adam J. Hermann, USDA, 202-720-9425.

HUD UPDATES PUBLIC HOUSING CAPITAL FUND PROGRAM REGULATIONS. A final rule consolidates regulations and information from annual notices, with some changes. Contact Jeffrey Riddel, HUD, 202-708-1640.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO EMAIL LISTS ON SECTION 502 GUARANTEE PROGRAM. A single site offers several lists, some for individual states, as well as some non-housing lists.

NEW PAPER COVERS OPINION AND MESSAGING RESEARCH ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING. Building Support for Affordable Homeownership and Rental Choices: A Summary of Research Findings on Public Opinion and Messaging on Affordable Housing, by the Center for Housing Policy, includes recommendations for effective communication with the public and policymakers. The National Housing Conference, CHP’s parent, has established an online Housing Communications Hub on the subject.

HAC FINDS RURAL MORTGAGE ACTIVITY HAS INCREASED BUT SOME PROBLEMS REMAIN. A HAC analysis of recently released HMDA data finds that the numbers of mortgage applications and approvals increased in 2012. The denial rate was higher in rural areas than nationwide, however, and more rural loans had high interest rates. Rural minorities fared even worse: about 40% of rural African American and 35% of Native American applicants were denied mortgages, twice the denial rate for all U.S. applicants.

NEW DATA AVAILABLE! Access 2012 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data for your community at HAC’s Rural Data Portal: www.ruraldataportal.org.

HAC News: July 17, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 17, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 14

• Cordray confirmed as CFPB director • DeMarco faces litigation over National Housing Trust Fund • Senate Farm Bill includes rural housing definition extension, House does not • Border Community Capital Initiative funding offered • HUD proposes new Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule • OMB issues 2013 Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement • CFPB updates list of rural or underserved counties for 2014 • Origination fees increased for Section 502 refinance pilot • HUD data shows decline in public housing, increases in vouchers and tax credits • Two HUD studies find discrimination continues • 2013 Kids Count data show higher ratings for education, health, and poverty • Op-ed describes sequestration’s impacts on Pine Ridge • Bipartisan Policy Center Housing Commission to hold regional forums • Register now for training on seniors and veterans housing


July 17, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 14

CORDRAY CONFIRMED AS CFPB DIRECTOR. After resolution of a partisan stand-off, on July 16 the Senate confirmed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

DEMARCO FACES LITIGATION OVER NATIONAL HOUSING TRUST FUND. The National Low Income Housing Coalition, the Right to the City Alliance, and several individuals filed suit on July 9 against Ed DeMarco, acting head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, claiming he has violated the law by not requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to finance the trust fund created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.

SENATE FARM BILL INCLUDES RURAL HOUSING DEFINITION EXTENSION, HOUSE DOES NOT. All places currently eligible for USDA housing funds would remain eligible until the 2020 Census – so long as their populations remain below 35,000 – under Section 6202 of S. 954, passed by the Senate on June 10. H.R. 2642, passed by the House on July 11, is silent on the subject. A National Rural Housing Coalition petition is available online.

BORDER COMMUNITY CAPITAL INITIATIVE FUNDING OFFERED. Local nonprofits and tribes can apply by August 26 for funds to provide affordable housing, small business and community facilities to benefit colonias residents. Contact HUD’s Office of Rural Housing and Economic Development, 877-787-2526.

HUD PROPOSES NEW AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING RULE. Comments will be due 60 days after Federal Register publication on July 19. Changes include HUD data, clarification of the AFFH process’s goals, and a new mechanism for HUD review and oversight. Contact Camille Acevedo, HUD, 202-708-1793.

OMB ISSUES 2013 CIRCULAR A-133 COMPLIANCE SUPPLEMENT. Comments are due October 31 on the annual supplement to this circular, which governs audits of states, nonprofits, and local organizations receiving federal funds. For more information contact a funding agency.

CFPB UPDATES LIST OF RURAL OR UNDERSERVED COUNTIES FOR 2014. The list is used for several different regulations. Some counties have been added and about 50 have been removed. Contact CFPB, 202-435-7700.

ORIGINATION FEES INCREASED FOR SECTION 502 REFINANCE PILOT. Administrative Notice 4720 (July 16, 2013) allows fees at 2% of the loan amount or $3,000, whichever is less, rather than the 1% previously permitted. Contact an RD office or Kristina Zehr, RD, 309-452-0830 ext. 111.

HUD DATA SHOWS DECLINE IN PUBLIC HOUSING, INCREASES IN VOUCHERS AND TAX CREDITS. HUD recently released its Picture of Subsidized Households data for 2009 through 2012. A National Low Income Housing Coalition analysis found that since 2009 the average median income of households living in subsidized housing has dropped. The number of public housing units fell nationwide, while the numbers of housing choice vouchers and Low Income Housing Tax Credit units increased. Voucher recipients and public housing residents had similar economic situations, but heads of voucher households were more likely to be single mothers and less likely to be elderly.

TWO HUD STUDIES FIND DISCRIMINATION CONTINUES. Housing Discrimination Against Racial and Ethnic Minorities 2012 reports that in paired tests conducted in metro areas, minorities were shown fewer homes or apartments than whites. An Estimate of Housing Discrimination Against Same-Sex Couples reports on the first study of its kind, also using paired testing in metro areas. Same-sex couples received significantly fewer responses to e-mail inquiries about advertised units than heterosexual couples.

2013 KIDS COUNT DATA SHOW HIGHER RATINGS FOR EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND POVERTY. Tracking 16 indicators of child well-being, the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2013 Kids Count Data Book reports that education and health continue to make gains although poverty rates are growing, as are disparities by income and family structure.

OP-ED DESCRIBES SEQUESTRATION’S IMPACTS ON PINE RIDGE. Former North Dakota Senator Byron Dorgan wrote in the New York Times on July 10 that funding cuts are reducing the already inadequate resources for housing, health care, and education on the reservation, and recommended tribes be exempt from sequestration.

BIPARTISAN POLICY CENTER HOUSING COMMISSION TO HOLD REGIONAL FORUMS. Free and open to the public, the events on August 13 in Dallas, August 22 in Ketcham, ID, and August 27 in Columbus, OH will feature panels discussing issues including the state of the housing market, affordable rental housing, rural housing, and reform of the U.S mortgage system. Register online at https://bipartisanpolicy.org/events/upcoming.

REGISTER NOW FOR TRAINING ON SENIORS AND VETERANS HOUSING. HAC will host “Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development, and Services” in Council Bluffs, IA on August 28-29. Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) will speak on August 28. Visit HAC’s website, www.ruralhome.org.

Area Eligibility for USDA Housing Programs Could Change on October 1, 2012

Fri., Sept. 28, 2012 – USDA issued a new version of Administrative Notice (AN) 4679, dated September 27 rather than September 25, that eliminates a confusing sentence in the summary on page 5. In the first version released, the paragraph read as follows. The italicized sentence has now been deleted.

Usage of 2010 Census and ACS data when determining population and income eligibility ensures that program funds are utilized in accordance with program statutes. Complete applications on hand as of March 27, 2013, maybe processed using 2000 Census data provided that written determination of eligibility and evidence of all documents necessary to be deemed complete exist, and that the application can be obligated no later than September 30, 2013. This does not apply to applications on hand where the applicant is eligible as the result of legislative provisions that expire upon receipt of the next decennial census.

Wed., Sept. 26, 2012 – USDA has announced that current area eligibility will remain unchanged until March 27, 2013. In other words, until that date 2010 Census data will not be used to determine what places fit the definition of rural that determines eligibility for USDA Rural Development programs.

Wed., Aug. 15 – On Aug. 10 the National Rural Housing Coalition reported that 24 members of the House had signed Rep. Fortenberry’s letter to House leadership asking for a one-year grandfathering provision in the continuing resolution: Reps. Dan Boren (D-OK), Charles W. Boustany, Jr. (R-LA), Francisco Canseco (R-TX), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lois Capps (D-CA), William Cassidy (R-LA), Kathy Castor (D-FL), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Frank Guinta (R-NH), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), William Keating (D-MA), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Jim Matheson (D-UT), Mike McIntyre (D-NC), Michael Michaud (D-ME), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Tim Ryan (D-OH), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS).

Two updates – Tues., Aug. 14, 2012 – HAC sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on August 13 asking him to postpone applying the 2010 Census data to the definition of rural for USDA’s housing programs.

The issue is still pending in Congress as well. The previously expected vehicles – the USDA appropriations bill or the Farm Bill – will not be enacted before the new fiscal year begins, so Rep. Fortenberry is now seeking cosigners for a letter to House leadership asking them to include a one-year rural housing grandfathering provision in the continuing resolution or any omnibus appropriations bills. Additional information is available from the National Rural Housing Coalition.

Wed., July 11– There are now 14 cosponsors to Rep. Fortenberry’s amendment, and his office continues to add more. The current cosponsors are Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Lois Capps (D-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Joe Courtney (D-CT), Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Don Manzullo (R-IL), Ron Paul (R-TX), Steve Pearce (R-NM), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), and Don Young (R-AK)

Wed., June 27 – HAC supports an effort now underway to add a grandfathering provision to the House’s USDA appropriations bill for FY13. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is currently seeking cosponsors for an amendment that would extend eligibility through the end of FY13 for places that were eligible before the 2010 Census and have current populations under 35,000 but would become ineligible because of population growth between the 2000 and 2010 Censuses.

The House is not expected to vote on the agriculture appropriations bill until the week of July 9 at the earliest.

The National Rural Housing Coalition obtained a draft spreadsheet from USDA listing 923 communities that may become ineligible for USDA rural housing funds on October 1 if Congress does not pass legislation to extend their eligibility. USDA’s “impact key” explaining the shorthand used in the spreadsheet is also available.

Background information on this issue is available here.

Senate Farm Bill Amendment

Thurs., June 21 – The Farm Bill, including the Nelson Amendment, passed the Senate.

Wed. afternoon, June 20 – Amendment 2242 (details below) passed the Senate by a voice vote. No one spoke in opposition.

Senate votes on Farm Bill amendments will be completed today or tomorrow. The House has not yet begun its consideration of the Farm Bill, however, so final enactment of the bill and this provision are not imminent.

As noted below, the USDA appropriations bill for FY13 remains a possible vehicle for a one-year grandfathering provision because language is included in the bill that passed the Senate Appropriations Committee. It is not, however, included in the appropriations bill that passed the House Committee on June 19.

Wed. morning, June 20 – The Senate did not vote on amendment 2242 yesterday, but will take up the Farm Bill again today.

Tues., June 19, 2012 – The Senate is expected to vote soon on language to address the issue of eligibility for USDA’s rural housing programs for places that were eligible before the 2010 Census but gained population and could become ineligible based on their 2010 population size. The Housing Assistance Council supports this change, as does the National Rural Housing Coalition.

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) has offered an amendment (#2242) to the Farm Bill (S. 3240) that would keep these places eligible so long as their population in 2010 was below 35,000. (The population cap is 25,000 in the current grandfathering provision, which applies to places that were eligible before the 1990 and 2000 Censuses.) The Senate is scheduled to begin voting on Farm Bill amendments this afternoon (June 19) and continue in future days. It is not clear exactly when this amendment will be considered.

Nelson’s amendment would maintain the status quo until the 2020 Census; it is not a one-year grandfathering provision, like the one included in the FY13 USDA appropriations bill passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

This amendment does not impact the general population limits for eligibility in non-grandfathered places. That is a separate issue and is not currently under active consideration on the Hill.

Background Information

HAC post on Shelterforce’s Rooflines blog

National Rural Housing Coalition summary

USDA draft spreadsheet listing 923 communities that may become ineligible, and “impact key” explaining the shorthand used in the spreadsheet

HAC paper estimating the impact on eligibility if grandfathering is not adopted (estimating 500 eligible places could become ineligible on October 1, 2012)

Posted: June 19, 2012
Last updated: August 14, 2012

If you have difficulty with any of the links on this page, contact Leslie Strauss at HAC.

HAC News: July 11, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 11, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 14

• Ag spending bill up next • House committee considering Farm Bill • Reserve account regulation revised for new USDA multifamily developments • USDA RD rule confirms annual fees for Section 502 guarantees • CFPB requests public comment about reverse mortgages • CFPB study on reverse mortgages identifies risks to consumers • Data access could help USDA monitor Rental Assistance payments, GAO says • Report highlights uses of American Community Survey data • Guide describes programs of Administration for Children and Families • HAC provides more rural poverty resources • SAVE THE DATE! 2012 National Rural Housing Conference! Promises to Keep in Challenging Times


July 11, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 14

AG SPENDING BILL UP NEXT. Following a July 4 recess at home, the House may take up 2013 appropriations for USDA soon. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) is expected to offer an amendment to keep growing rural communities eligible for RD housing programs. Similar amendments passed in the Senate as part of the Farm Bill in June and its USDA appropriations bill in April. There will be a continuing resolution to begin FY13 on October 1, 2012. Final budget decisions for 2013 will come in a post-election session, or in the new Congress next year.

HOUSE COMMITTEE CONSIDERING FARM BILL. The House Agriculture Committee began marking up its Farm Bill on July 11. The bill differs from S. 3240, approved by the Senate, and does not include housing provisions.

RESERVE ACCOUNT REGULATION REVISED FOR NEW USDA MULTIFAMILY DEVELOPMENTS. A final rule published in the Federal Register, 7/9/12, applies only to new construction Section 515 or 514/516 properties. Their reserve account deposits must be based on life-cycle analyses or Capital Needs Assessments prepared by third parties, rather than on the total development cost, as required in the past. Contact Michael Steininger, RD, 202-720-1610.

USDA RD RULE CONFIRMS ANNUAL FEES FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEES. Implementing a provision of USDA’s FY12 appropriations act, a final regulation in the Federal Register, 7/11/12, enables RD to charge an annual fee as well as an up-front guarantee fee, in order to make the program self-supporting (see HAC News, 11/1/11). The fee amount will be announced each fiscal year. Contact an RD office or Cathy Glover, RD, 202-720-1460.

CFPB REQUESTS PUBLIC COMMENT ABOUT REVERSE MORTGAGES. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which regulates reverse mortgage transactions, seeks “detailed information from the public on the factors that influence reverse mortgage consumers’ decision-making, consumers’ use of reverse mortgage loan proceeds, longer-term consumer outcomes of a decision to obtain a reverse mortgage, and differences in market dynamics and business practices among the broker, correspondent, and retail channels for reverse mortgages.” Comments are due August 31. Contact Monica Jackson, CFPB, 202-435-7275.

CFPB STUDY ON REVERSE MORTGAGES IDENTIFIES RISKS TO CONSUMERS. In a report required by Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau surveys the reverse mortgage market, identifies consumer protection concerns, and describes new challenges. It concludes that reverse mortgages are complex and hard for consumers to understand, misleading advertising and other scams occur, and the currently available consumer counseling may not be sufficient. It identifies roles for itself including regulation, education, and complaint resolution. Complaints on reverse mortgages can be submitted through CFPB’s website or by phone, 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).

DATA ACCESS COULD HELP USDA MONITOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS, GAO SAYS. To identify RA payment errors due to unreported tenant income, legislation is needed to allow USDA to match tenant data with federal income data collected by other departments, according to a new GAO report, Rural Housing Service: Efforts to Identify and Reduce Improper Rental Assistance Payments Could Be Enhanced (GAO-12-624). GAO also suggests internal improvements that do not require legislation. For print copies, contact GAO, 866-801-7077 (toll free).

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS USES OF AMERICAN COMMUNITY SURVEY DATA. The Census Project compiled “Eliminating America’s Playbook,” a collection of case studies and comments from a range of organizations about the ACS’s importance to both government and business. The House voted in May to eliminate ACS funding from the Commerce Department’s FY13 appropriations bill (see HAC News, 5/16/12); the Senate has not yet voted on its bill.

GUIDE DESCRIBES PROGRAMS OF ADMINISTRATION FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES. ACF is part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services. It offers Assets for Opportunity IDA grants and resources for economic development, health care, refugee assistance, and other needs. Its program guide also includes basics for those new to requesting federal funding from any agency as well as links to capacity building resources.

HAC PROVIDES MORE RURAL POVERTY RESOURCES. In addition to its decennial rural poverty map (see HAC News, 6/27/12) HAC has issued a Rural Research Note on “Poverty in Rural America” and posted a recording of a recent webinar on the subject.

SAVE THE DATE! 2012 NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
PROMISES TO KEEP IN CHALLENGING TIMES

December 6-7 with pre-conference activities December 5
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC
Registration information will be announced here and at www.ruralhome.org when available.