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Housing Assistance Council to receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Contact: Dan Stern
202-842-8600
dan@ruralhome.org

Washington, DC, February 14, 2019 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is among organizations and individuals receiving funding as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. This Art Works grant of $20,000 will allow HAC to work with local partners and engage visual artists to create a new collection of photos for exhibition, building on and celebrating the legacy of renowned social photographer George Ballis. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program.

George Ballis spent his career advocating for and chronicling vulnerable populations across the United States and around the world. His work with Cesar Chavez helped build the impetus for the creation of the first farmworker housing programs. HAC will use the grant funds to revisit some of the locations where Ballis originally worked and engage a new generation of visual artists to build on Ballis For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“George Ballis was a skilled photographer and equally adept at advocating for persistently poor rural populations and communities,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “His photos and his partnership with Cesar Chavez helped illustrate dire housing conditions for farmworkers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, galvanizing support for this vulnerable population. HAC’s early work intersected with Ballis and HAC is excited to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to create and display new art rooted in Ballis’ still-timely body of work.”

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council helps build homes and communities across rural America. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit and a certified community development financial institution dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

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Materials Posted: Part II of the Financing Farm Labor Housing Webinar Series

Materials Posted

Power Point Presentation | Recording

Join the Housing Assistance Council on February 7, 2018 for the second of three webinars focused on financing farm labor housing. Part 1 | Part 3

Summary

The Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing (FLH) program provides loans and grants for the development of on-farm and off-farm housing. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Programs office (RD).

Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants are provided to buy, build, improve, or repair housing for farm laborers. Funds can be used to purchase a site or a leasehold interest in a site; to construct or repair housing, day care facilities, or community rooms; to pay fees to purchase durable household furnishings; and to pay construction loan interest.

Description

This webinar, the second in the three-part series, will provide information to help project sponsors complete the Final Application process required to close on the loan and/or grant with USDA Rural Housing Services. Information will be presented on finalizing development and operating budgets, securing site control, compliance with environmental review requirements, assembling the development team of architects, engineers and contractors to finalize plans and specifications, and completing the bidding process to award contracts. The process for obtaining USDA approval of construction plans, the Property Management Plan and other RD requirements will be reviewed. Information will also be provided on layering other leveraged funds in coordination with 514/516 funding, and the requirements for completing the loan closing process with USDA Rural Housing Services.

Register Now

SPONSORED BY

Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation and Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation through a grant agreement with USDA Rural Housing Services

About Tierra del Sol Housing (TDS)
TDS was founded in 1973 by a group of community leaders, farm workers, rural families, and churches to help rural New Mexicans achieve “the goal of a decent home and suitable living environment”. The dream for better housing began with Alto de Las Flores, the first of many large-scale homeownership programs and grew over time to encompass the full range of housing opportunities through self-help programs, renovation of existing housing, rural and farm labor rental housing, supportive housing for the elderly and disabled, and temporary housing assistance programs to prevent homelessness. TDS has since become a leading producer of affordable housing, and has worked to empower other collaborating nonprofit providers to increase their capacity to develop, own and manage housing for low income persons. Tierra del Sol has an impressive development record, producing more than 5,000 rental and homeownership units.

TDS has owned and managed rental housing serving low income families and special populations for more than 45 years, and currently owns 1,059 rental housing units that includes 299 units for farm workers.

Today, Tierra del Sol is advancing the needs of farmworkers and rural families by sharing its technical expertise to help other organizations address their community’s housing needs through Farm Labor Housing Technical Assistance, Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities and Workforce Investment Opportunity programs offered throughout the region and nationally.

About Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC)
CRHDC was Incorporated in 1971 to address the intolerable living conditions and lack of adequate housing for migrant farm workers in the rural areas of Colorado. The organization was created to research and develop housing opportunities for low-income rural families through the construction of safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. The mission has expanded over the years to address community needs, both urban and rural, on a state-wide scale. This includes activities geared toward increasing the financial viability and sustainability of families and the communities in which they live and work. Through the use of innovative strategies, CRHDC has closed the gap between the price of private market housing and the ability of low income families to pay.

CRHDC has a history of developing 514/516 projects that leveraged significant other financing and services through partnerships with collaborating agencies. CRHDC has built more than 2,000 units of self-help housing and owns rental housing serving seniors and low-income persons.

As a technical assistance provider, CRHDC specializes in a wide range of services covering all aspects from board development to project development to construction and property management. Through its subsidiary, Colorado Housing Enterprises, CRHDC also serves as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Both CRHDC and TDS have provided technical assistance for the development of farm labor housing since 2002 through agreements with USDA Rural Housing Services.

HOSTED BY HAC

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that assists local organizations to build affordable homes in rural America. Since 1971 HAC has provided assistance in the development of both single- and multi-family homes and promotes homeownership for working low-income rural families through a self-help, “sweat equity” construction method by emphasizing local solutions, empowerment of people in poverty, reduced dependence, and self-help strategies. HAC offers services to public, nonprofit, and private organizations throughout the rural United States and maintains a special focus on high-need groups and regions, particularly: Indian country, the Mississippi Delta, farmworkers, the Southwest border colonias, and Appalachia.

HAC Awards Over $1 Million for Local Self-Help Homeownership Programs

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Dan Stern
202-842-8600, ext. 137
dan@ruralhome.org

HAC Awards Over $1 Million for Local Self-Help Homeownership Programs

Washington, DC, June 2, 2017 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is partnering with six organizations to build 67 self-help homes for low and moderate-income families. HAC provides financing for these projects using $962,325 in funds from the federal Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), which is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Through the SHOP program, families develop sweat-equity in the construction of their homes and create a sense of community by assisting their neighbors with the construction of their homes as well. “Since its inception, HAC has been a supporter of the SHOP program as a means for creating safe, affordable housing and stable communities for low-income rural Americans,” said Moises Loza, HAC’s Executive Director. “HAC is proud to work with local organizations across the nation and help families reach their dreams of homeownership.”

Local affiliates leverage resources from a variety of private and public sources to provide this affordable housing opportunity to low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Many of the families participating in HAC-funded SHOP projects obtain low-interest mortgage loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s homeownership program. By leveraging critical resources, including use of volunteer labor when possible, self-help housing producers are able to create affordable, sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-income homebuyers.

SHOP funds cover costs associated with land acquisition and infrastructure improvements. Community-based organizations will supervise homebuying families who work together in groups to construct their own homes and their neighbors’. HAC’s local SHOP affiliates can use up to $15,000 per unit for eligible development. They are responsible for all construction activities, including securing additional funding, preparing sites, training families, and managing the self-help process.

Since the inception of the SHOP program, HAC has been awarded funding to produce 9,827 units of affordable housing for families. To date, HAC’s local partners have completed 9,124 homes.


About the Housing Assistance Council
HAC, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit corporation that supports the development of rural low-income housing nationwide. HAC provides technical housing services, loans from a revolving fund, housing program and policy assistance, research and demonstration projects, and training and information services. HAC is an equal opportunity lender. [tdborder][/tdborder]

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ORGANIZATION

STATE

TOTAL UNITS

Creative Compassion, Inc.

TN

5

Housing Development Alliance

KY

13

Northwest Regional Housing Authority

AR

5

Self-Help Enterprises

CA

27

Kentucky Highlands Community Development Corporation

KY

10

Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

AK

7

Grand Total

67

HAC News: February 3, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 3, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 2

• February is National African American History Month • House approves bill with new fee for Section 502 guaranteed loans • Farmworker housing loans and grants available • Deadline extended for Section 533 HPG • HUD offers elderly supportive services demo • Capital Magnet Fund competition opens • FEMA considers disaster deductible from state and tribal governments • Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants program implemented • HUD requests input on over-income tenants • Nearly half of American households live paycheck to paycheck, report says • Investing in housing can save on health care • Save the date for the HAC’s third annual symposium on veterans • “Duty to Serve and What it Means for Rural America” HAC webinar planned

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 3, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 2

February is National African American History Month.

House approves bill with new fee for Section 502 guaranteed loans. On February 2 the House of Repre-sentatives unanimously passed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015 (see HAC News, 12/16/15). The bill as passed included an amendment, offered by Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), that adds a fee of up to $50 to each Section 502 guarantee, to be used to enhance RD’s single-family IT and automated underwriting. The bill has not yet been considered in the Senate.

Farmworker housing loans and grants available. Preapplications are due April 12 for off-farm Section 514/ 516 funds for the construction of new off-farm FLH units and related facilities or the purchase and substantial rehabili-tation of existing non-FLH properties. Extra points will be given to projects based in or serving census tracts with poverty rates greater than or equal to 20% over the last 30 years. Request application packages from USDA RD state offices. Contact Mirna Reyes-Bible, RD, 202-720-1753.

Deadline extended for Section 533 HPG. Applications are now due March 15 rather than February 12 (see HAC News, 1/13/16). Contact a USDA RD State Office or Jeaneane Shelton, USDA, 202-720-5443.

HUD offers elderly supportive services demo. Owners of existing elderly-only HUD-assisted multifamily housing with at least 50 units, including Section 515 properties with Section 8, can apply for the Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households by April 18. Contact HUD staff, mfsc@hud.gov.

Capital Magnet Fund competition opens. CDFIs and housing nonprofits are eligible for grants to provide loan loss reserves, capitalize loan funds, make risk-sharing loans, or provide loan guarantees for affordable housing or economic development. Deadline is March 30. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421.

FEMA considers disaster deductible from state and tribal governments. Comments are due March 21 on a proposal to require financial or other commitment from a state, tribal, or territorial government before FEMA will provide disaster assistance. For example, FEMA’s notice says recipients could potentially receive credit toward their deductible requirement through adopting enhanced building codes, or establishing and maintaining a disaster relief fund or self-insurance plan. Contact Jotham Allen, FEMA, 202-646-1957.

Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants program implemented. Send comments to USDA by March 14 on the final rule for a new program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. State and local governments, tribes, and nonprofits are eligible for grants to prepare reports and surveys necessary to request financial assistance to develop community facilities, or to provide an array of technical assistance services to others. Contact Nathan Chitwood, RD, 573-876-0965.

HUD requests input on over-income tenants. HUD is considering requiring PHAs to evict over-income public housing residents in some circumstances, following an inspector general’s report saying more than 25,000 families are over income (see HAC News, 8/5/15). Comments will be due 30 days after the request is published in the Federal Register on February 3. Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732-2056.

Nearly half of American households live paycheck to paycheck, report says. CFED’s annual Assets & Opportunity Scorecard also reports more than half of the nation’s credit users lack the credit scores needed (720+) to borrow money at prime rates. The 2016 Scorecard disaggregates the data for 18 of its 61 outcome measures by race, revealing that, for example, while unemployment rates have dropped nationally, workers of color are still nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers. The report’s interactive website shows data for states and counties.

Investing in housing can save on health care. A research review by the National Housing Conference summarizes and evaluates recent research on the effectiveness of housing interventions to result in health care cost savings. A number of studies that have demonstrated that providing permanent supportive housing to homeless individuals can result in significant savings on public health care expenditures, usually more than enough to offset the cost of providing housing and services.

Save the date for the HAC’s third annual symposium on veterans. This year’s theme is the housing, health, services, and other needs faced by the rapidly expanding population of older veterans. To be held on May 18 in Washington DC, the symposium will showcase model programs that are providing vital assistance to these veterans. Contact Janice Clark, 202-842-8600, or Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

“Duty to Serve and What it Means for Rural America” HAC webinar planned. The session, to be held February 18 at 2:00 pm EST, will cover the proposed rule implementing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s “Duty to Serve” (see HAC News, 12/16/15), focusing on the rural housing component of the rule, and is intended to help inform comments. To register click here or contact Lance George, HAC.

Farmworker Housing Travails from Pennsylvania

Rural Voices - Spring 2015This story appears in the 2015 Spring Edition of Rural Voices

PathStone stayed the course through a ten-year predevelopment process and emerged a stronger real estate developer.

by John Wiltse

Adams County, Pennsylvania, is famous for the Gettysburg battlefields but less well-known outside the immediate vicinity as a major fruit-growing region with a large migrant and seasonal farmworker population. Since 1978, PathStone Corporation, based in Rochester, NY, has been providing critical housing and human services to Adams County farmworkers.

PathStone provided technical assistance to the Adams County Housing Authority for the development of the 12-unit McIntosh Court Apartments, the first off-farm labor housing community in Pennsylvania, which was completed in 1989. We also administered an on-farm housing rehab program in Adams and Berks Counties and developed several other multifamily projects which served both farmworkers and other low income families in the area.Jonathan Court Groundbreaking

In 1995, buoyed by the successful completion of the first USDA Section 514/516 farm labor housing projects in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, PathStone began pre-development work for Jonathan Court. The development is the first-ever Federally funded off-farm migrant housing complex in PathStone’s service area, located down the road from McIntosh Court among the peach and apple orchards of south central Pennsylvania.

This organization was managed by volunteers with no paid staff and no housing development experience whatsoever.

At the time, PathStone was under contract with USDA Rural Development (RD) to provide technical assistance to other non-profits to assist them in developing farm labor housing projects. We secured a commitment from a local faith-based organization, Fruitbelt Ministries, to serve as sponsor/owner of the project, and we helped them modify their organizational structure to conform to the “broad-based membership organization” structure required by RD at the time. This organization was managed by volunteers with no paid staff and no housing development experience whatsoever.

First Lesson Learned: Don’t Try This At Home!

PathStone learned through this and a farmworker housing project located in New Jersey that the development and ownership of a multi-family housing complex is best left to organizations with paid staff trained (or at least in training) to undertake these responsibilities and with affordable housing as a central part of their organizational history and mission.

In the case of the Jonathan Court project, PathStone wound up taking over development of the project due to changes in priorities for Fruitbelt Ministries. In a similar situation in New Jersey, PathStone staff became the de facto staff for the volunteer-run nonprofit membership organization we established to own the first and only 514/516 project in that state.

Our lessons learned here are that change can come very slowly.

The project site for Jonathan Court was an assemblage of three lots, plus two additional parcels with existing family apartments. The existing apartments were going to be part of the project initially, but were later excluded from the deal. There was public water and sewer available and a building boom was going on in the area, so the landowner had no interest in signing our proposed option agreement. After several months of fruitless negotiations, Fruitbelt Ministries borrowed $136,000 from a national nonprofit organization through their revolving loan fund and bought the land. The lender insisted that PathStone guarantee the loan, so it’s not hard to see how we wound up in the driver’s seat on this deal!

pathstome-smiles

For the next eight years or so, this project proceeded down a long and winding development path. PathStone had four different Pennsylvania housing directors over this period and inconsistent project management direction from the Rochester headquarters. The Pennsylvania State Executive Director provided skilled leadership for all PathStone human service programs in the state in addition to housing development, but did not have specific real estate development training or expertise.

Second Lesson Learned:

Make sure housing development staff are directed and supported by experienced housing developers and provide consistent supervision and training, especially through key staff transitions.

Immediately after purchasing the site, we started to receive monthly bills for reservation of sewer capacity from the Possum Valley Sewage Authority. The lack of as-of-right sewer access was overlooked in the due diligence process and wound up adding about $120,000 to the project cost. Another expensive lesson learned!

Getting through the local approvals process proved to be more involved than anticipated, stretching out over two years. Each time we thought we were close to securing the necessary approvals, the local planning board would come forward with a new requirement, report or study that needed to be completed, each of which required the expenditure of additional time and money. We erred in not getting the full scope of the planning board review requirements up front, in writing (though some of these requirements did, in fact, change during the pre-development process).

Working with RD was also challenging, to say the least. RD interpretations of the design guidelines and requirements changed several times during the protracted pre-development stage, necessitating at least three sets of architectural drawings and many months
of additional architectural and engineering work.

In October 1998, the USDA multi-family housing statute was amended to allow owners of off-farm migrant housing projects financed under its Labor Housing Program (Section 514/516) to use RD Rental Assistance funds to provide an annual operating assistance grant to the project (instead of providing individual rental assistance to each household). PathStone decided to take advantage of this new opportunity and the operating budget was revised to show the projected operating assistance in lieu of traditional RA.

In June 2003, five years after the operating assistance change was made to the statute, the National Office of RD finally released a Proposed Rule for the implementation of this change. Although the operating assistance mechanism was put into place by several RD-financed migrant projects in other states, RD in Pennsylvania was unable to process our requests for this subsidy funding.

pathstone-farmworkers

As of this writing, PathStone has amassed operating deficits of over $300,000 from Jonathan Court over the past 10 years and RD has yet to release any operating assistance. Thankfully, RD staff have recently joined in negotiations with PathStone and we hope
to have a resolution to the past due operating assistance by the time this is printed. Our lessons learned here are that change can come very slowly. at RD and that each RD State Office operates with a high degree of autonomy. PathStone had been aware of both of these facts, but Jonathan Court put a very painful price tag on these lessons!

The Good News:

The 14 apartments in the Jonathan Court project have continued to provide decent, safe housing for hundreds of farmworkers and their families over the past 10 years. The housing is operated in close coordination with the PathStone farmworker services office just down the road and our residents are often enrolled in job training programs and are receiving other supportive services. Their children are often served by the Migrant Head Start Center also operated by PathStone.

Which Brings Us to One Final Lesson Learned:

Include supportive services staff on the development team from the beginning.

Our farmworker service staff just down the road from the site could have been much more involved in the project throughout the process if they had been fully engaged by the real estate development staff.

We have been able to carry the operating deficit as a receivable on our books all these years with advances from our unrelated property management reserves. We have made many changes to the way we manage the development of multi-family housing as a result of the mistakes made on Jonathan Court but, as any experienced developer will tell you, every deal presents a fresh set of challenges and opportunities to learn from new mistakes. Our real estate developers in each state now report to the Senior VP for Housing in Rochester and are supported by a strong internal team. The PathStone Asset Management Committee (composed of the President & CEO, CFO, Senior VP for Housing and Senior VP for Property Management) also provides a level of oversight of our development projects that wasn’t in place for Jonathan Court.

John Wiltse is the Senior Operations Director at PathStone Corporation in Rochester, New York. John cut his teeth on rural community development work at the Cranks Creek Survival Center in Harlan County, KY, as a college intern and has worked in the field for 24 years with PathStone.

HAC News: April 3, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

• April is National Fair Housing Month • House and Senate approve nonbinding budget resolutions • NAHASDA reauthorization passes House • USDA offers farmworker housing loans and grants • Housing counseling grants available • HUD requests comment on VAWA rule changes • Broadband demonstration in HUD housing considered • USDA approval for restructuring senior loans explained • Ways to speed agency processing of Section 502 guaranteed loans suggested • HUD sets requirements for rental assistance transfers • Update for Section 3 regulations proposed • Rural housing tenant data for 2014 now available • Homelessness has decreased, change varies widely among states, report says • CFPB updates homebuying toolkit • HAC sets Energy Star webinar for April 8

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD issued a press release describing a new media campaign.

HOUSE AND SENATE APPROVE NONBINDING BUDGET RESOLUTIONS. The House passed H.Con.Res.27 on March 25 and the Senate approved S.Con.Res. 11 on March 27. Both houses would retain sequester spending caps for FY16 and make deeper cuts beginning in FY17. Differences between the two mean there may not be agreement on a joint resolution, which would not have the force of law but would guide development of appropriations bills for FY16.

NAHASDA REAUTHORIZATION PASSES HOUSE. The House passed H.R. 360, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Reauthorization Act, on March 23. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing March 18 on its bill, S. 710.

USDA OFFERS FARMWORKER HOUSING LOANS AND GRANTS. Pre-applications for construction or purchase and sub-stantial rehab of off-farm housing are due June 23. Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available. Projects serving high poverty census tracts will receive additional points. Contact an RD state office for an application package.

HOUSING COUNSELING GRANTS AVAILABLE. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies can apply by May 7. Contact HUD staff.

HUD REQUESTS COMMENT ON VAWA RULE CHANGES. A proposed rule implementing the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act would increase protections for survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault who live in rental housing assisted by HUD. Comments are due June 1. HAC’s website provides a brief summary of the proposal. Separate contacts for HUD programs are listed in the proposed rule. HUD’s proposal covers USDA-funded rental units that have HUD Section 8 assistance, but not other USDA rentals. USDA has implemented the 2013 VAWA through Administrative Notices 4747 (February 10, 2014) and 4778 (January 5, 2015).

BROADBAND DEMONSTRATION IN HUD HOUSING CONSIDERED. HUD requests comments by May 1 on a proposed demonstration aimed at narrowing the digital divide for students in HUD-assisted housing. It wants to partner with local governments, business, and nonprofits “to accelerate broadband adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.” HUD intends to conduct the initial demonstration in about 20 HUD-assisted communities across the country, both urban and rural, and hopes to expand it nationwide eventually. Contact Camille E. Acevedo, HUD, 202-402-5132.

USDA APPROVAL FOR RESTRUCTURING SENIOR LOANS EXPLAINED. An Unnumbered Letter dated February 27, 2015 is intended to clarify the process for obtaining official RD prior approval and permission to restructure a third-party loan to which a Section 515 loan is subordinate. Contact an RD state office.

WAYS TO SPEED AGENCY PROCESSING OF SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS SUGGESTED. An Unnumbered Letter dated March 13, 2015 lists “tips and best practices for increasing operational efficiencies and to eliminate unnecessary unproductive processes.” Contact the Rural Housing Service’s National Office, 202-720-1452.

HUD SETS REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE TRANSFERS. A notice describes the conditions for HUD approval of requests to transfer project-based rental assistance, debt held or insured by HUD, and use restrictions from one or more multifamily housing project to another or others. Contact Nancie-Ann Bodell, HUD, 202-708-2495.

UPDATE FOR SECTION 3 REGULATIONS PROPOSED. HUD suggests strengthening its oversight of Section 3, which requires giving jobs and other economic opportunities generated by HUD assistance to low- and very low-income persons to the extent possible.Comments are due May 26. Contact Staci Gilliam, HUD, 202-402-3468.

RURAL HOUSING TENANT DATA FOR 2014 NOW AVAILABLE. USDA RD’s annual issuance provides figures at the national and state levels for the agency’s multifamily portfolio as a whole and separately for Section 515, Section 514/516, and Rental Assistance. There were 1,645 fewer units in 2014 than in 2013. The average income for Section 515 tenants is now $12,022 and for Rental Assistance recipients $10,258. Elderly and disabled households remain a majority in Section 515 units, at 61.65%, and the proportion of households with disabilities increased.

HOMELESSNESS HAS DECREASED, CHANGE VARIES WIDELY AMONG STATES, REPORT SAYS. The State of Homelessness in America 2015, by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, reports data for states and for subpopulations.

CFPB UPDATES HOMEBUYING TOOLKIT. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised its information booklet, “Your Home Loan Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide.” Contact Julie Vore, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

HAC SETS ENERGY STAR WEBINAR FOR APRIL 8. Register online for HAC’s upcoming webinar, “A Practitioner’s Guide to Energy Star 3.0,” to be held on April 8 at 2 pm Eastern time. Contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: August 14, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 14, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 16

• President announces housing policy • Treviño departs RHS for HUD • USDA offers Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing funds • Rural Community Development Initiative funds available • Some details available on relief for owners with Sec. 521 Rental Assistance shortfall • Regulations proposed for Section 542 vouchers • Section 533 HPG NOFA corrected • VAWA Reauthorization Act covers some USDA and HUD programs and LIHTC • RD addresses legal residence status of applicants for Section 502 guarantees • FY14 Fair Market Rents proposed • Appraisal exceptions proposed for high-risk mortgages • LIHTC has important impact in rural communities, study says • Manufactured housing in metro areas studied • Hunger and housing examined in Rural Voices


August 14, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 16

PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES HOUSING POLICY. The Administration’s approach focuses on private sector financing, winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and homeownership, while acknowledging the need for affordable rental housing. It mentions direct government loans for homeownership and rental housing: “The government should continue to provide direct loan or loan guarantee/insurance for certain underserved borrowers and communities through the FHA, VA, and USDA.” It also recognizes the need for credit in underserved communities.

TREVIÑO DEPARTS RHS FOR HUD. Tammye Treviño has left her position as Administrator of the Rural Housing Service to become Regional Director of HUD’s Region VI, based in Texas. Richard Davis, who has worked in RHS’s national office for a number of years, will serve as Acting Administrator.

USDA OFFERS SECTION 514/516 FARM LABOR HOUSING FUNDS. Preapplications for off-farm projects are due September 13. New Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available. Contact a USDA RD state office.

RURAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE FUNDS AVAILABLE. Intermediaries can apply by November 12 for grants to provide capacity building assistance related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. Contact a USDA RD state office.

SOME DETAILS AVAILABLE ON RELIEF FOR OWNERS WITH SEC. 521 RENTAL ASSISTANCE SHORTFALL. A letter to owners of 900 Section 515 and 514/516 properties that may not have RA contracts renewed in September (see HAC News, 8/1/13), a list of the properties, and a slide presentation used in training USDA staff to develop “RA Relief Plans” with owners are posted on HAC’s website.

REGULATIONS PROPOSED FOR SECTION 542 VOUCHERS. In many respects the proposed rule would continue operating the program, which assists tenants of Section 515 properties that have been prepaid or foreclosed, in the same way as the NOFAs that have governed it since 2006. It would make some changes as well. Comments are due October 15. HAC will post its comments online before that date. Contact Leslie Strauss, HAC, 202-842-8600.

SECTION 533 HPG NOFA CORRECTED. A notice makes minor corrections to the NOFA (see HAC News, 6/21/13), although the deadline was August 2. Contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, USDA, 202-690-0759.

VAWA REAUTHORIZATION ACT COVERS SOME USDA AND HUD PROGRAMS AND LIHTC. HUD requests comments by October 7 as it develops changes in regulations to apply the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to HOME, Sections 202 and 811, homeless programs, and others now covered by changes enacted in March 2013. Contact HUD program staff for more information. The notice does not include the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and USDA Sections 515, 514/516, 533, and 538, all also now covered by VAWA’s tenant protections.

RD ADDRESSES LEGAL RESIDENCE STATUS OF APPLICANTS FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEES. Administrative Notice 4723 describes the RD staff process to verify homebuyers’ status. Contact Joaquin Tremols, RD, 202-720-1452.

FY14 FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED. Comments are due September 4 on HUD’s FMRs for the year starting October 1, 2013. Contact HUD USER, 800-245-2691.

APPRAISAL EXCEPTIONS PROPOSED FOR HIGH-RISK MORTGAGES. The Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other regulatory agencies request comments by September 9 on proposed exemptions from regulations that require appraisals for “higher-risk mortgages.” Transactions secured by manufactured homes (not land) would be exempt, as would streamlined refinancings and transactions of $25,000 or less. Contact Lorna Neill or Mandie Aubrey, Federal Reserve, 202-452-3667.

LIHTC HAS IMPORTANT IMPACT IN RURAL COMMUNITIES, STUDY SAYS. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Overcoming Barriers to Affordable Housing in Rural America, published by Rapoza Associates, reports that the credit has helped preserve and develop over 270,000 rental units in 7,600 rural properties. Nonprofits have produced 19% of rural tax credit units over the program’s history, and 23% from 2006 to 2010. The report recommends that Congress retain the credit as it undertakes comprehensive tax reform.

MANUFACTURED HOUSING IN METRO AREAS STUDIED. Manufactured Housing as a Metropolitan Housing Solution, a new report from CFED’s I’M HOME initiative, summarizes data on manufactured homes and their residents in 10 metro areas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley where many colonias are located. Data snapshots provide details for each metro area, including maps showing manufactured home locations by census tract.

HUNGER AND HOUSING EXAMINED IN RURAL VOICES. Stories in the summer issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine describe initiatives in a number of rural places. A map shows food insecurity by county. One print subscription per organization is free from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.

Reports

Housing Assistance Council to receive $20,000 Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts

Contact: Dan Stern
202-842-8600
dan@ruralhome.org

Washington, DC, February 14, 2019 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is among organizations and individuals receiving funding as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. This Art Works grant of $20,000 will allow HAC to work with local partners and engage visual artists to create a new collection of photos for exhibition, building on and celebrating the legacy of renowned social photographer George Ballis. Art Works is the Arts Endowment’s principal grantmaking program.

George Ballis spent his career advocating for and chronicling vulnerable populations across the United States and around the world. His work with Cesar Chavez helped build the impetus for the creation of the first farmworker housing programs. HAC will use the grant funds to revisit some of the locations where Ballis originally worked and engage a new generation of visual artists to build on Ballis For more information on this National Endowment for the Arts grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.

“The arts enhance our communities and our lives, and we look forward to seeing these projects take place throughout the country, giving Americans opportunities to learn, to create, to heal, and to celebrate,” said Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts.

“George Ballis was a skilled photographer and equally adept at advocating for persistently poor rural populations and communities,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “His photos and his partnership with Cesar Chavez helped illustrate dire housing conditions for farmworkers in the late 1960s and early 1970s, galvanizing support for this vulnerable population. HAC’s early work intersected with Ballis and HAC is excited to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to create and display new art rooted in Ballis’ still-timely body of work.”

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council helps build homes and communities across rural America. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit and a certified community development financial institution dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

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Materials Posted: Part II of the Financing Farm Labor Housing Webinar Series

Materials Posted

Power Point Presentation | Recording

Join the Housing Assistance Council on February 7, 2018 for the second of three webinars focused on financing farm labor housing. Part 1 | Part 3

Summary

The Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing (FLH) program provides loans and grants for the development of on-farm and off-farm housing. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Programs office (RD).

Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants are provided to buy, build, improve, or repair housing for farm laborers. Funds can be used to purchase a site or a leasehold interest in a site; to construct or repair housing, day care facilities, or community rooms; to pay fees to purchase durable household furnishings; and to pay construction loan interest.

Description

This webinar, the second in the three-part series, will provide information to help project sponsors complete the Final Application process required to close on the loan and/or grant with USDA Rural Housing Services. Information will be presented on finalizing development and operating budgets, securing site control, compliance with environmental review requirements, assembling the development team of architects, engineers and contractors to finalize plans and specifications, and completing the bidding process to award contracts. The process for obtaining USDA approval of construction plans, the Property Management Plan and other RD requirements will be reviewed. Information will also be provided on layering other leveraged funds in coordination with 514/516 funding, and the requirements for completing the loan closing process with USDA Rural Housing Services.

Register Now

SPONSORED BY

Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation and Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation through a grant agreement with USDA Rural Housing Services

About Tierra del Sol Housing (TDS)
TDS was founded in 1973 by a group of community leaders, farm workers, rural families, and churches to help rural New Mexicans achieve “the goal of a decent home and suitable living environment”. The dream for better housing began with Alto de Las Flores, the first of many large-scale homeownership programs and grew over time to encompass the full range of housing opportunities through self-help programs, renovation of existing housing, rural and farm labor rental housing, supportive housing for the elderly and disabled, and temporary housing assistance programs to prevent homelessness. TDS has since become a leading producer of affordable housing, and has worked to empower other collaborating nonprofit providers to increase their capacity to develop, own and manage housing for low income persons. Tierra del Sol has an impressive development record, producing more than 5,000 rental and homeownership units.

TDS has owned and managed rental housing serving low income families and special populations for more than 45 years, and currently owns 1,059 rental housing units that includes 299 units for farm workers.

Today, Tierra del Sol is advancing the needs of farmworkers and rural families by sharing its technical expertise to help other organizations address their community’s housing needs through Farm Labor Housing Technical Assistance, Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities and Workforce Investment Opportunity programs offered throughout the region and nationally.

About Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC)
CRHDC was Incorporated in 1971 to address the intolerable living conditions and lack of adequate housing for migrant farm workers in the rural areas of Colorado. The organization was created to research and develop housing opportunities for low-income rural families through the construction of safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. The mission has expanded over the years to address community needs, both urban and rural, on a state-wide scale. This includes activities geared toward increasing the financial viability and sustainability of families and the communities in which they live and work. Through the use of innovative strategies, CRHDC has closed the gap between the price of private market housing and the ability of low income families to pay.

CRHDC has a history of developing 514/516 projects that leveraged significant other financing and services through partnerships with collaborating agencies. CRHDC has built more than 2,000 units of self-help housing and owns rental housing serving seniors and low-income persons.

As a technical assistance provider, CRHDC specializes in a wide range of services covering all aspects from board development to project development to construction and property management. Through its subsidiary, Colorado Housing Enterprises, CRHDC also serves as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Both CRHDC and TDS have provided technical assistance for the development of farm labor housing since 2002 through agreements with USDA Rural Housing Services.

HOSTED BY HAC

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that assists local organizations to build affordable homes in rural America. Since 1971 HAC has provided assistance in the development of both single- and multi-family homes and promotes homeownership for working low-income rural families through a self-help, “sweat equity” construction method by emphasizing local solutions, empowerment of people in poverty, reduced dependence, and self-help strategies. HAC offers services to public, nonprofit, and private organizations throughout the rural United States and maintains a special focus on high-need groups and regions, particularly: Indian country, the Mississippi Delta, farmworkers, the Southwest border colonias, and Appalachia.

HAC Awards Over $1 Million for Local Self-Help Homeownership Programs

NEWS RELEASE

Contact: Dan Stern
202-842-8600, ext. 137
dan@ruralhome.org

HAC Awards Over $1 Million for Local Self-Help Homeownership Programs

Washington, DC, June 2, 2017 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is partnering with six organizations to build 67 self-help homes for low and moderate-income families. HAC provides financing for these projects using $962,325 in funds from the federal Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program (SHOP), which is administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Through the SHOP program, families develop sweat-equity in the construction of their homes and create a sense of community by assisting their neighbors with the construction of their homes as well. “Since its inception, HAC has been a supporter of the SHOP program as a means for creating safe, affordable housing and stable communities for low-income rural Americans,” said Moises Loza, HAC’s Executive Director. “HAC is proud to work with local organizations across the nation and help families reach their dreams of homeownership.”

Local affiliates leverage resources from a variety of private and public sources to provide this affordable housing opportunity to low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Many of the families participating in HAC-funded SHOP projects obtain low-interest mortgage loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s homeownership program. By leveraging critical resources, including use of volunteer labor when possible, self-help housing producers are able to create affordable, sustainable homeownership opportunities for low-income homebuyers.

SHOP funds cover costs associated with land acquisition and infrastructure improvements. Community-based organizations will supervise homebuying families who work together in groups to construct their own homes and their neighbors’. HAC’s local SHOP affiliates can use up to $15,000 per unit for eligible development. They are responsible for all construction activities, including securing additional funding, preparing sites, training families, and managing the self-help process.

Since the inception of the SHOP program, HAC has been awarded funding to produce 9,827 units of affordable housing for families. To date, HAC’s local partners have completed 9,124 homes.


About the Housing Assistance Council
HAC, founded in 1971, is a nonprofit corporation that supports the development of rural low-income housing nationwide. HAC provides technical housing services, loans from a revolving fund, housing program and policy assistance, research and demonstration projects, and training and information services. HAC is an equal opportunity lender. [tdborder][/tdborder]

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ORGANIZATION

STATE

TOTAL UNITS

Creative Compassion, Inc.

TN

5

Housing Development Alliance

KY

13

Northwest Regional Housing Authority

AR

5

Self-Help Enterprises

CA

27

Kentucky Highlands Community Development Corporation

KY

10

Rural Alaska Community Action Program, Inc.

AK

7

Grand Total

67

HAC News: February 3, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 3, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 2

• February is National African American History Month • House approves bill with new fee for Section 502 guaranteed loans • Farmworker housing loans and grants available • Deadline extended for Section 533 HPG • HUD offers elderly supportive services demo • Capital Magnet Fund competition opens • FEMA considers disaster deductible from state and tribal governments • Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants program implemented • HUD requests input on over-income tenants • Nearly half of American households live paycheck to paycheck, report says • Investing in housing can save on health care • Save the date for the HAC’s third annual symposium on veterans • “Duty to Serve and What it Means for Rural America” HAC webinar planned

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 3, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 2

February is National African American History Month.

House approves bill with new fee for Section 502 guaranteed loans. On February 2 the House of Repre-sentatives unanimously passed H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015 (see HAC News, 12/16/15). The bill as passed included an amendment, offered by Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (D-TX), that adds a fee of up to $50 to each Section 502 guarantee, to be used to enhance RD’s single-family IT and automated underwriting. The bill has not yet been considered in the Senate.

Farmworker housing loans and grants available. Preapplications are due April 12 for off-farm Section 514/ 516 funds for the construction of new off-farm FLH units and related facilities or the purchase and substantial rehabili-tation of existing non-FLH properties. Extra points will be given to projects based in or serving census tracts with poverty rates greater than or equal to 20% over the last 30 years. Request application packages from USDA RD state offices. Contact Mirna Reyes-Bible, RD, 202-720-1753.

Deadline extended for Section 533 HPG. Applications are now due March 15 rather than February 12 (see HAC News, 1/13/16). Contact a USDA RD State Office or Jeaneane Shelton, USDA, 202-720-5443.

HUD offers elderly supportive services demo. Owners of existing elderly-only HUD-assisted multifamily housing with at least 50 units, including Section 515 properties with Section 8, can apply for the Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households by April 18. Contact HUD staff, mfsc@hud.gov.

Capital Magnet Fund competition opens. CDFIs and housing nonprofits are eligible for grants to provide loan loss reserves, capitalize loan funds, make risk-sharing loans, or provide loan guarantees for affordable housing or economic development. Deadline is March 30. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421.

FEMA considers disaster deductible from state and tribal governments. Comments are due March 21 on a proposal to require financial or other commitment from a state, tribal, or territorial government before FEMA will provide disaster assistance. For example, FEMA’s notice says recipients could potentially receive credit toward their deductible requirement through adopting enhanced building codes, or establishing and maintaining a disaster relief fund or self-insurance plan. Contact Jotham Allen, FEMA, 202-646-1957.

Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grants program implemented. Send comments to USDA by March 14 on the final rule for a new program created by the 2014 Farm Bill. State and local governments, tribes, and nonprofits are eligible for grants to prepare reports and surveys necessary to request financial assistance to develop community facilities, or to provide an array of technical assistance services to others. Contact Nathan Chitwood, RD, 573-876-0965.

HUD requests input on over-income tenants. HUD is considering requiring PHAs to evict over-income public housing residents in some circumstances, following an inspector general’s report saying more than 25,000 families are over income (see HAC News, 8/5/15). Comments will be due 30 days after the request is published in the Federal Register on February 3. Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732-2056.

Nearly half of American households live paycheck to paycheck, report says. CFED’s annual Assets & Opportunity Scorecard also reports more than half of the nation’s credit users lack the credit scores needed (720+) to borrow money at prime rates. The 2016 Scorecard disaggregates the data for 18 of its 61 outcome measures by race, revealing that, for example, while unemployment rates have dropped nationally, workers of color are still nearly twice as likely to be unemployed as white workers. The report’s interactive website shows data for states and counties.

Investing in housing can save on health care. A research review by the National Housing Conference summarizes and evaluates recent research on the effectiveness of housing interventions to result in health care cost savings. A number of studies that have demonstrated that providing permanent supportive housing to homeless individuals can result in significant savings on public health care expenditures, usually more than enough to offset the cost of providing housing and services.

Save the date for the HAC’s third annual symposium on veterans. This year’s theme is the housing, health, services, and other needs faced by the rapidly expanding population of older veterans. To be held on May 18 in Washington DC, the symposium will showcase model programs that are providing vital assistance to these veterans. Contact Janice Clark, 202-842-8600, or Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

“Duty to Serve and What it Means for Rural America” HAC webinar planned. The session, to be held February 18 at 2:00 pm EST, will cover the proposed rule implementing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s “Duty to Serve” (see HAC News, 12/16/15), focusing on the rural housing component of the rule, and is intended to help inform comments. To register click here or contact Lance George, HAC.

Farmworker Housing Travails from Pennsylvania

Rural Voices - Spring 2015This story appears in the 2015 Spring Edition of Rural Voices

PathStone stayed the course through a ten-year predevelopment process and emerged a stronger real estate developer.

by John Wiltse

Adams County, Pennsylvania, is famous for the Gettysburg battlefields but less well-known outside the immediate vicinity as a major fruit-growing region with a large migrant and seasonal farmworker population. Since 1978, PathStone Corporation, based in Rochester, NY, has been providing critical housing and human services to Adams County farmworkers.

PathStone provided technical assistance to the Adams County Housing Authority for the development of the 12-unit McIntosh Court Apartments, the first off-farm labor housing community in Pennsylvania, which was completed in 1989. We also administered an on-farm housing rehab program in Adams and Berks Counties and developed several other multifamily projects which served both farmworkers and other low income families in the area.Jonathan Court Groundbreaking

In 1995, buoyed by the successful completion of the first USDA Section 514/516 farm labor housing projects in New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania, PathStone began pre-development work for Jonathan Court. The development is the first-ever Federally funded off-farm migrant housing complex in PathStone’s service area, located down the road from McIntosh Court among the peach and apple orchards of south central Pennsylvania.

This organization was managed by volunteers with no paid staff and no housing development experience whatsoever.

At the time, PathStone was under contract with USDA Rural Development (RD) to provide technical assistance to other non-profits to assist them in developing farm labor housing projects. We secured a commitment from a local faith-based organization, Fruitbelt Ministries, to serve as sponsor/owner of the project, and we helped them modify their organizational structure to conform to the “broad-based membership organization” structure required by RD at the time. This organization was managed by volunteers with no paid staff and no housing development experience whatsoever.

First Lesson Learned: Don’t Try This At Home!

PathStone learned through this and a farmworker housing project located in New Jersey that the development and ownership of a multi-family housing complex is best left to organizations with paid staff trained (or at least in training) to undertake these responsibilities and with affordable housing as a central part of their organizational history and mission.

In the case of the Jonathan Court project, PathStone wound up taking over development of the project due to changes in priorities for Fruitbelt Ministries. In a similar situation in New Jersey, PathStone staff became the de facto staff for the volunteer-run nonprofit membership organization we established to own the first and only 514/516 project in that state.

Our lessons learned here are that change can come very slowly.

The project site for Jonathan Court was an assemblage of three lots, plus two additional parcels with existing family apartments. The existing apartments were going to be part of the project initially, but were later excluded from the deal. There was public water and sewer available and a building boom was going on in the area, so the landowner had no interest in signing our proposed option agreement. After several months of fruitless negotiations, Fruitbelt Ministries borrowed $136,000 from a national nonprofit organization through their revolving loan fund and bought the land. The lender insisted that PathStone guarantee the loan, so it’s not hard to see how we wound up in the driver’s seat on this deal!

pathstome-smiles

For the next eight years or so, this project proceeded down a long and winding development path. PathStone had four different Pennsylvania housing directors over this period and inconsistent project management direction from the Rochester headquarters. The Pennsylvania State Executive Director provided skilled leadership for all PathStone human service programs in the state in addition to housing development, but did not have specific real estate development training or expertise.

Second Lesson Learned:

Make sure housing development staff are directed and supported by experienced housing developers and provide consistent supervision and training, especially through key staff transitions.

Immediately after purchasing the site, we started to receive monthly bills for reservation of sewer capacity from the Possum Valley Sewage Authority. The lack of as-of-right sewer access was overlooked in the due diligence process and wound up adding about $120,000 to the project cost. Another expensive lesson learned!

Getting through the local approvals process proved to be more involved than anticipated, stretching out over two years. Each time we thought we were close to securing the necessary approvals, the local planning board would come forward with a new requirement, report or study that needed to be completed, each of which required the expenditure of additional time and money. We erred in not getting the full scope of the planning board review requirements up front, in writing (though some of these requirements did, in fact, change during the pre-development process).

Working with RD was also challenging, to say the least. RD interpretations of the design guidelines and requirements changed several times during the protracted pre-development stage, necessitating at least three sets of architectural drawings and many months
of additional architectural and engineering work.

In October 1998, the USDA multi-family housing statute was amended to allow owners of off-farm migrant housing projects financed under its Labor Housing Program (Section 514/516) to use RD Rental Assistance funds to provide an annual operating assistance grant to the project (instead of providing individual rental assistance to each household). PathStone decided to take advantage of this new opportunity and the operating budget was revised to show the projected operating assistance in lieu of traditional RA.

In June 2003, five years after the operating assistance change was made to the statute, the National Office of RD finally released a Proposed Rule for the implementation of this change. Although the operating assistance mechanism was put into place by several RD-financed migrant projects in other states, RD in Pennsylvania was unable to process our requests for this subsidy funding.

pathstone-farmworkers

As of this writing, PathStone has amassed operating deficits of over $300,000 from Jonathan Court over the past 10 years and RD has yet to release any operating assistance. Thankfully, RD staff have recently joined in negotiations with PathStone and we hope
to have a resolution to the past due operating assistance by the time this is printed. Our lessons learned here are that change can come very slowly. at RD and that each RD State Office operates with a high degree of autonomy. PathStone had been aware of both of these facts, but Jonathan Court put a very painful price tag on these lessons!

The Good News:

The 14 apartments in the Jonathan Court project have continued to provide decent, safe housing for hundreds of farmworkers and their families over the past 10 years. The housing is operated in close coordination with the PathStone farmworker services office just down the road and our residents are often enrolled in job training programs and are receiving other supportive services. Their children are often served by the Migrant Head Start Center also operated by PathStone.

Which Brings Us to One Final Lesson Learned:

Include supportive services staff on the development team from the beginning.

Our farmworker service staff just down the road from the site could have been much more involved in the project throughout the process if they had been fully engaged by the real estate development staff.

We have been able to carry the operating deficit as a receivable on our books all these years with advances from our unrelated property management reserves. We have made many changes to the way we manage the development of multi-family housing as a result of the mistakes made on Jonathan Court but, as any experienced developer will tell you, every deal presents a fresh set of challenges and opportunities to learn from new mistakes. Our real estate developers in each state now report to the Senior VP for Housing in Rochester and are supported by a strong internal team. The PathStone Asset Management Committee (composed of the President & CEO, CFO, Senior VP for Housing and Senior VP for Property Management) also provides a level of oversight of our development projects that wasn’t in place for Jonathan Court.

John Wiltse is the Senior Operations Director at PathStone Corporation in Rochester, New York. John cut his teeth on rural community development work at the Cranks Creek Survival Center in Harlan County, KY, as a college intern and has worked in the field for 24 years with PathStone.

HAC News: April 3, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

• April is National Fair Housing Month • House and Senate approve nonbinding budget resolutions • NAHASDA reauthorization passes House • USDA offers farmworker housing loans and grants • Housing counseling grants available • HUD requests comment on VAWA rule changes • Broadband demonstration in HUD housing considered • USDA approval for restructuring senior loans explained • Ways to speed agency processing of Section 502 guaranteed loans suggested • HUD sets requirements for rental assistance transfers • Update for Section 3 regulations proposed • Rural housing tenant data for 2014 now available • Homelessness has decreased, change varies widely among states, report says • CFPB updates homebuying toolkit • HAC sets Energy Star webinar for April 8

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD issued a press release describing a new media campaign.

HOUSE AND SENATE APPROVE NONBINDING BUDGET RESOLUTIONS. The House passed H.Con.Res.27 on March 25 and the Senate approved S.Con.Res. 11 on March 27. Both houses would retain sequester spending caps for FY16 and make deeper cuts beginning in FY17. Differences between the two mean there may not be agreement on a joint resolution, which would not have the force of law but would guide development of appropriations bills for FY16.

NAHASDA REAUTHORIZATION PASSES HOUSE. The House passed H.R. 360, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Reauthorization Act, on March 23. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing March 18 on its bill, S. 710.

USDA OFFERS FARMWORKER HOUSING LOANS AND GRANTS. Pre-applications for construction or purchase and sub-stantial rehab of off-farm housing are due June 23. Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available. Projects serving high poverty census tracts will receive additional points. Contact an RD state office for an application package.

HOUSING COUNSELING GRANTS AVAILABLE. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies can apply by May 7. Contact HUD staff.

HUD REQUESTS COMMENT ON VAWA RULE CHANGES. A proposed rule implementing the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act would increase protections for survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault who live in rental housing assisted by HUD. Comments are due June 1. HAC’s website provides a brief summary of the proposal. Separate contacts for HUD programs are listed in the proposed rule. HUD’s proposal covers USDA-funded rental units that have HUD Section 8 assistance, but not other USDA rentals. USDA has implemented the 2013 VAWA through Administrative Notices 4747 (February 10, 2014) and 4778 (January 5, 2015).

BROADBAND DEMONSTRATION IN HUD HOUSING CONSIDERED. HUD requests comments by May 1 on a proposed demonstration aimed at narrowing the digital divide for students in HUD-assisted housing. It wants to partner with local governments, business, and nonprofits “to accelerate broadband adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.” HUD intends to conduct the initial demonstration in about 20 HUD-assisted communities across the country, both urban and rural, and hopes to expand it nationwide eventually. Contact Camille E. Acevedo, HUD, 202-402-5132.

USDA APPROVAL FOR RESTRUCTURING SENIOR LOANS EXPLAINED. An Unnumbered Letter dated February 27, 2015 is intended to clarify the process for obtaining official RD prior approval and permission to restructure a third-party loan to which a Section 515 loan is subordinate. Contact an RD state office.

WAYS TO SPEED AGENCY PROCESSING OF SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS SUGGESTED. An Unnumbered Letter dated March 13, 2015 lists “tips and best practices for increasing operational efficiencies and to eliminate unnecessary unproductive processes.” Contact the Rural Housing Service’s National Office, 202-720-1452.

HUD SETS REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE TRANSFERS. A notice describes the conditions for HUD approval of requests to transfer project-based rental assistance, debt held or insured by HUD, and use restrictions from one or more multifamily housing project to another or others. Contact Nancie-Ann Bodell, HUD, 202-708-2495.

UPDATE FOR SECTION 3 REGULATIONS PROPOSED. HUD suggests strengthening its oversight of Section 3, which requires giving jobs and other economic opportunities generated by HUD assistance to low- and very low-income persons to the extent possible.Comments are due May 26. Contact Staci Gilliam, HUD, 202-402-3468.

RURAL HOUSING TENANT DATA FOR 2014 NOW AVAILABLE. USDA RD’s annual issuance provides figures at the national and state levels for the agency’s multifamily portfolio as a whole and separately for Section 515, Section 514/516, and Rental Assistance. There were 1,645 fewer units in 2014 than in 2013. The average income for Section 515 tenants is now $12,022 and for Rental Assistance recipients $10,258. Elderly and disabled households remain a majority in Section 515 units, at 61.65%, and the proportion of households with disabilities increased.

HOMELESSNESS HAS DECREASED, CHANGE VARIES WIDELY AMONG STATES, REPORT SAYS. The State of Homelessness in America 2015, by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, reports data for states and for subpopulations.

CFPB UPDATES HOMEBUYING TOOLKIT. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised its information booklet, “Your Home Loan Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide.” Contact Julie Vore, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

HAC SETS ENERGY STAR WEBINAR FOR APRIL 8. Register online for HAC’s upcoming webinar, “A Practitioner’s Guide to Energy Star 3.0,” to be held on April 8 at 2 pm Eastern time. Contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: August 14, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 14, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 16

• President announces housing policy • Treviño departs RHS for HUD • USDA offers Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing funds • Rural Community Development Initiative funds available • Some details available on relief for owners with Sec. 521 Rental Assistance shortfall • Regulations proposed for Section 542 vouchers • Section 533 HPG NOFA corrected • VAWA Reauthorization Act covers some USDA and HUD programs and LIHTC • RD addresses legal residence status of applicants for Section 502 guarantees • FY14 Fair Market Rents proposed • Appraisal exceptions proposed for high-risk mortgages • LIHTC has important impact in rural communities, study says • Manufactured housing in metro areas studied • Hunger and housing examined in Rural Voices


August 14, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 16

PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES HOUSING POLICY. The Administration’s approach focuses on private sector financing, winding down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and homeownership, while acknowledging the need for affordable rental housing. It mentions direct government loans for homeownership and rental housing: “The government should continue to provide direct loan or loan guarantee/insurance for certain underserved borrowers and communities through the FHA, VA, and USDA.” It also recognizes the need for credit in underserved communities.

TREVIÑO DEPARTS RHS FOR HUD. Tammye Treviño has left her position as Administrator of the Rural Housing Service to become Regional Director of HUD’s Region VI, based in Texas. Richard Davis, who has worked in RHS’s national office for a number of years, will serve as Acting Administrator.

USDA OFFERS SECTION 514/516 FARM LABOR HOUSING FUNDS. Preapplications for off-farm projects are due September 13. New Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available. Contact a USDA RD state office.

RURAL COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE FUNDS AVAILABLE. Intermediaries can apply by November 12 for grants to provide capacity building assistance related to housing, community facilities, or community and economic development. Contact a USDA RD state office.

SOME DETAILS AVAILABLE ON RELIEF FOR OWNERS WITH SEC. 521 RENTAL ASSISTANCE SHORTFALL. A letter to owners of 900 Section 515 and 514/516 properties that may not have RA contracts renewed in September (see HAC News, 8/1/13), a list of the properties, and a slide presentation used in training USDA staff to develop “RA Relief Plans” with owners are posted on HAC’s website.

REGULATIONS PROPOSED FOR SECTION 542 VOUCHERS. In many respects the proposed rule would continue operating the program, which assists tenants of Section 515 properties that have been prepaid or foreclosed, in the same way as the NOFAs that have governed it since 2006. It would make some changes as well. Comments are due October 15. HAC will post its comments online before that date. Contact Leslie Strauss, HAC, 202-842-8600.

SECTION 533 HPG NOFA CORRECTED. A notice makes minor corrections to the NOFA (see HAC News, 6/21/13), although the deadline was August 2. Contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, USDA, 202-690-0759.

VAWA REAUTHORIZATION ACT COVERS SOME USDA AND HUD PROGRAMS AND LIHTC. HUD requests comments by October 7 as it develops changes in regulations to apply the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 to HOME, Sections 202 and 811, homeless programs, and others now covered by changes enacted in March 2013. Contact HUD program staff for more information. The notice does not include the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and USDA Sections 515, 514/516, 533, and 538, all also now covered by VAWA’s tenant protections.

RD ADDRESSES LEGAL RESIDENCE STATUS OF APPLICANTS FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEES. Administrative Notice 4723 describes the RD staff process to verify homebuyers’ status. Contact Joaquin Tremols, RD, 202-720-1452.

FY14 FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED. Comments are due September 4 on HUD’s FMRs for the year starting October 1, 2013. Contact HUD USER, 800-245-2691.

APPRAISAL EXCEPTIONS PROPOSED FOR HIGH-RISK MORTGAGES. The Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other regulatory agencies request comments by September 9 on proposed exemptions from regulations that require appraisals for “higher-risk mortgages.” Transactions secured by manufactured homes (not land) would be exempt, as would streamlined refinancings and transactions of $25,000 or less. Contact Lorna Neill or Mandie Aubrey, Federal Reserve, 202-452-3667.

LIHTC HAS IMPORTANT IMPACT IN RURAL COMMUNITIES, STUDY SAYS. The Low Income Housing Tax Credit: Overcoming Barriers to Affordable Housing in Rural America, published by Rapoza Associates, reports that the credit has helped preserve and develop over 270,000 rental units in 7,600 rural properties. Nonprofits have produced 19% of rural tax credit units over the program’s history, and 23% from 2006 to 2010. The report recommends that Congress retain the credit as it undertakes comprehensive tax reform.

MANUFACTURED HOUSING IN METRO AREAS STUDIED. Manufactured Housing as a Metropolitan Housing Solution, a new report from CFED’s I’M HOME initiative, summarizes data on manufactured homes and their residents in 10 metro areas, including the Lower Rio Grande Valley where many colonias are located. Data snapshots provide details for each metro area, including maps showing manufactured home locations by census tract.

HUNGER AND HOUSING EXAMINED IN RURAL VOICES. Stories in the summer issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine describe initiatives in a number of rural places. A map shows food insecurity by county. One print subscription per organization is free from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.