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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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HAC News: September 28, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 28, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 20

HAC publishes rental housing preservation study • Housing programs funded to December 7 • Farm Bill may expire September 30 • Legislation would increase affordable housing, including rural and tribal housing • USDA extends some deadlines for rental preservation funding • Researchers look at connection between housing and health • Homeland Security to propose rule limiting admission to U.S. for noncitizens expected to use benefits • Rural Voices reviews “What Broadband Means for Rural America” • USDA offers new web resource for mortgage packagers and intermediaries • CFPB requests comments on data collection • September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 28, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 20

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

HAC publishes rental housing preservation study.
Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation presents HAC’s comprehensive assessment of USDA’s multifamily housing investments. This multifaceted review considers not only the property characteristics, but also the tenant and market dynamics in which these properties exist. The ultimate goal of this project is to inform strategies that help preserve this integral housing resource for rural communities and residents. For more information, contact Lance George, HAC.

Housing programs funded to December 7.
Senate and House negotiators have not yet agreed on some non-housing aspects of the “minibus” bill that combines the USDA and Transportation-HUD appropriations measures with Interior-Environment and Financial Services. As a result, those departments will be funded through December 7 by a continuing resolution included in the appropriations bill for the Labor-HHS-Education and Defense departments.

Farm Bill may expire September 30.
The House and Senate have not yet worked out their differences on H.R. 2, the 2014 Farm Bill expiring September 30. Negotiations will continue, with or without a short-term reauthorization measure. Without one, Farm Bill programs such as SNAP (Food Stamps) and crop insurance can continue so long as they are funded in appropriations measures, but a number of smaller programs cannot. USDA’s rural housing programs are not impacted because they are not generally covered in Farm Bills. The 2014 Farm Bill did allow growing places to remain eligible for the rural housing programs until their populations reach 35,000; that provision made a permanent change in the statutory definition and does not expire if the Farm Bill expires.

Legislation would increase affordable housing, including rural and tribal housing.
The American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on September 26, would add funding to several existing housing programs. It would provide FY 2019 funding of $140 million for direct Section 502 loans, $28 million for Section 514 loans and $100 million for Section 516 grants, $180 million for Section 515 loans, $75 million for the Section 523 self-help program, and $2.5 billion for Indian Housing Block Grants, as well as $45 billion annually for ten years for the national Housing Trust Fund. Among its other provisions, the bill would also expand the Fair Housing Act to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, and source of income; strengthen the Community Reinvestment Act; incentivize local governments to remove regulatory and zoning barriers that impact the private sector’s ability to develop rental housing for middle-income people; and create some new housing assistance efforts. The bill’s costs would be covered by reforms to the federal estate tax.

USDA extends some deadlines for rental preservation funding.
A funding notice for USDA’s Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program was published September 5, 2017, establishing deadlines in 2017 and 2018. A new notice extends them into 2019. It also makes the payment deferral-only option available to all owners, not just those with USDA mortgages maturing by 2023. For more information, contact Dean Greenwalt, USDA, 314-457-5933.

Researchers look at connection between housing and health.
Articles in the latest issue of HUD’s Cityscape periodical examine the health impact of interventions targeting specific aspects of housing, state and local efforts to bridge the divide between health and housing, and new evidence on the link.

Homeland Security to propose rule limiting admission to U.S. for noncitizens expected to use benefits.
The “public charge” rule has not yet been officially published in the Federal Register. When it is, the Department of Homeland Security announced, the public will have 60 days to submit comments.

Rural Voices reviews “What Broadband Means for Rural America.”
A new issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine explores how local rural housing organizations and local governments can help bring broadband to rural America, increasing the potential for innovation, educational opportunity, and economic growth.

USDA offers new web resource for mortgage packagers and intermediaries.
The new page includes resources for packaging Section 502 direct applications, handouts from past packaging trainings, information on upcoming training sessions, and USDA’s Loan Packaging Express newsletter.

CFPB requests comments on data collection.
A new report, Sources and Uses of Data at the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection, describes the CFPB’s data governance program as well as what data it collects, where the data come from, and how data are used and reused. The CFPB requests input on several subjects including the overall effectiveness and efficiency of its data collections, suggestions for change, ways to reduce reporting burden and ways to make data collections from financial institutions more effective and efficient. Comments are due in late December.

September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training courses in Nebraska and DC.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE and again December 5-7 in Washington, DC (simultaneously with HAC’s conference). For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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

HAC’s Moises Loza: Administration’s Housing Budget “Strikes Particularly Hard at Rural and Tribal Communities”

Moises Loza Speaking by Moises Loza, HAC’s Executive Director

I have worked in rural housing since 1973 and I have never seen a budget proposal that is indifferent to the needs of the most vulnerable rural people. Until now.

Vast proposed cuts to federal housing programs couple with a wholesale ripping of the social safety net for the most vulnerable. The budget strikes particularly at tribal and rural communities. Many of these communities, in decline for decades, are now awash in a national opioid crisis and are far-removed from Wall Street’s economic recovery. The budget falls hardest on those whom HAC’s partners serve: the elderly and/or disabled, often with incomes of $15,000 per year or less. Eliminating housing, food, and related assistance for vulnerable rural people destabilizes communities and upends families.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Housing Service—a linchpin of rural affordable housing built on public-private partnerships—would become a shell of its former self under the budget proposal. Doing away with rural housing, water, sewer, and other rural development mainstays would derail decades of infrastructure investment, particularly in rural counties mired in persistent poverty. Though much work remains, investments in rural America have improved the quality of life for millions.

Today’s budget proposal sends a message to the nation: Rural America is not worthy of investment.

How do we respond to this? HAC and our partners will continue to do what we have always done: Innovate with already meager resources to bring safe, decent, and affordable housing to those who most need it. In carrying out such efforts, I encourage HAC’s partners to make sure that members of Congress and the Administration are aware of this indispensable work. We invite USDA Secretary Perdue and HUD Secretary Carson to meet with HAC and our rural partners to hear this message.
I am heartened that Republicans and Democrats alike are speaking up to defend rural investments that make us all stronger.

Time and time again, leaders across the political spectrum have stepped forward to champion investment in rural housing and communities upon seeing the impact of such work in their communities. We need champions for rural America now more than ever.

HAC Seeks Proposals for Housing Projects Serving Rural Veterans

January 2017

homedepotfoundationlogoSupported by The Home Depot Foundation, grants 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. Letters of Interest are due Feb. 3, 2017.

ELIGIBILITY. The applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, tribally designated housing entity (TDHE), or housing authority acting as a nonprofit, that serves veterans at or below 80% of area median income. RURAL SERVICE AREA. The applicant must apply to support programs working in nonmetropolitan areas or in counties that meet the USDA definition of rural for housing (Sec. 520 of the Housing Act of 1949). Please check the USDA Property Eligibility Site, https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov, to determine rural eligibility.

Contact Shonterria Charleston, Program Manager, 404-892-4824.


HAC News: February 17, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 17, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 3

• Administration’s budget offers small changes for USDA, focus on family homelessness for HUD • Funds available for CDFIs and Native CDFIs • HUD has HOPE VI Main Street grants • CDFI Fund proposes Capital Magnet Fund rule changes • Final rule issued for Section 502 guarantee program • RD offers guidelines for refinancing Section 502 direct or guaranteed loans • Annual tenant data shows continued loss of USDA rentals • Diane Yentel selected for NLIHC position • “Community Reinvestment Act” HAC webinar upcoming

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 17, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 3 [tdborder][/tdborder]

Administration’s budget offers small changes for USDA, focus on family homelessness for HUD. The Obama Administration’s final budget request, released February 9, would keep funding at current levels for USDA homeownership programs, except for Section 523 self-help technical assistance. Funds for Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 vouchers would be increased to aid tenants in properties whose Section 515 mortgages are due to mature. More details are posted on HAC’s website.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Budget Proposal

FY16
Approp.

FY17 Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$900
0

$900
5

$900
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

26

28.7

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

28.4

42.3

28.4

33.1

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.6

23.9

23.9

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,110

1,089

1,172

1,390

1,405

523 Self-Help TA

25

27.5

10

27.5

18.5

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

3.5

0

3.5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

200

150

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

20

17

19

22

19.4

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

12.6

7

15

15

18

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6

4

4

4

4

HUD’s budget would increase several programs’ funding and offers some new initiatives, including added monies to address family homelessness. It would reduce funding for CDBG while raising the setaside for colonias on the U.S.-Mexico border from 10% to 15%. It would keep HOME at its FY16 funding level but eliminate the setaside for CHDOs, a statutory change that would need to be adopted by Congress. Like past budgets from this Administration, this one would turn SHOP into a $10 million setaside within HOME. Additional information is on HAC’s site.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Budget
Proposal

FY16
Approp.

FY17 Budget Proposal

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

2,880
2,800

HOME

1,000

900

1,060

950

950

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

10a

10

10a

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
b

19,628
60

20,854
7d

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,622

10,816

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,900

1,865

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,500

4,569

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

90

80

250

125

200

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

660

650

700

Homeless Assistance Grantsc

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,250

2,664

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

330

330

332

335

335

202 Hsg. for Elderly

385.3

436

455

432.7

505

811 Hsg. for Disabled

126

135

177

150.6

154

Fair Housing

66

65.3

71

65.3

70

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

110

120

110

110

Housing Counseling

45

47

60

47

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

300e

a. The FY17 Administration budget, like past budget requests, proposes to make SHOP a setaside in HOME. Congress has consistently rejected that proposal. b. The FY16 budget would have made VASH vouchers for homeless veterans part of a new $177.5 million account covering others as well. c. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational. d. The FY17 budget proposes $7 million for a tribal VASH setaside. e. Proposed as mandatory spending.

Action on FY17 funding now moves to Congress, where Budget Committee Chairs Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) declined to invite OMB Director Shaun Donovan to speak about the budget. When the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee heard budget testimony from USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack on February 11, both Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) and Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt (R-AL) mentioned rural housing favorably. The House and Senate appropriations subcommittees have not yet scheduled hearings on USDA RD’s or HUD’s budgets.

Funds available for CDFIs and Native CDFIs. The CDFI Program offers Financial Assistance and Technical Assistance awards to certified Community Development Financial Institutions and TA awards to emerging CDFIs. The Native American CDFI Assistance Program will make FA or TA awards to certified or emerging Native American CDFIs. Deadline is April 18 for both programs. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421.

HUD has HOPE VI Main Street grants. Local governments of communities with populations under 50,000 can apply by April 12 for FY16 or FY17 HOPE VI Main Street Program grants to replace unused commercial space with affordable housing. Contact Lawrence Gnessin, HUD.

CDFI Fund proposes Capital Magnet Fund rule changes. An interim rule makes updates, including revisions to some definitions and project level requirements to align better with Low Income Housing Tax Credits and HOME. Comments are due April 8. Contact Marcia Sigal, CDFI Fund. The deadline for CMF grant applications remains March 30 (see HAC News, 2/3/16).

Final rule issued for Section 502 guarantee program. USDA’s changes in the interim final rule that was issued December 9, 2013, are intended to improve program management and reduce its risk of loss. Contact Lilian Lipton, RD, 202-720-1452.

RD offers guidelines for refinancing Section 502 direct or guaranteed loans. In some states, borrowers with direct or guaranteed loans are eligible for the Rural Refinance Pilot, which provides a streamlined process for refinancing into new Section 502 guaranteed loans. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 21, 2016 says a new final rule will be published soon, making the pilot permanent and available in all states. Contact a USDA RD office.

Annual tenant data shows continued loss of USDA rentals. The 2015 Multi-Family Housing Annual Fair Housing Occupancy Report reflects a loss during FY15 of 186 Section 515 properties and 19 Section 514/516 proper-ties (a total decrease of 2,646 units), compared to an FY14 loss of 145 Section 515 and 45 Section 514/516 properties (1,645 units). The proportion of very-low income households declined very slightly, from 92.77% in 2014 to 92.25%. The proportion of elderly and disabled households in Section 515 properties increased slightly, from 61.65% in 2014 to 62.09% in 2015.

Diane Yentel selected for NLIHC position. Yentel, who has served most recently as Vice President of Public Policy and Government Affairs at Enterprise Community Partners, will become President and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition in April when Sheila Crowley retires.

“Community Reinvestment Act” HAC webinar upcoming. This webinar, the first in a series of three, will provide an overview of the CRA and how it touches rural communities. To register click here. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

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.

HAC News: January 13, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 13, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 1

• Next federal funding cycle begins in February • USDA offers Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants • Funding notice revised for HOPWA Project Demonstration and Violence Against Women Act Grants • Transitional housing funds for domestic violence victims offered by Department of Justice • CDFI Bond Guarantee Program opens FY16 funding round • VA will fund housing assistive technology development • HUD releases fair housing Assessment Tool • Promise Zones competition opens • USDA extends temporary authorizations to help spend Section 502 direct funds in FY16 • USDA RD offers guidance on Section 504 and Section 538 • Most veterans in demonstration program avoided homelessness, report says • HAC offers trainings on 502 packaging and financial management

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 13, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 1

Next federal funding cycle begins in February. The Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 will be released February 9. The budget deal reached in October (see HAC News, 10/28/15) requires federal discretionary spending, including housing, to remain essentially the same as in FY16.

USDA offers Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants. Public agencies, nonprofits, tribes, and consortia are eligible to apply by February 12 for these funds, which are then used to fund repairs and rehab for low- and very low-income homeowners or owners of rental property or coops who agree to make their units available to low- and very low-income persons. Contact a USDA RD State Office or Jeaneane Shelton, USDA, 202-720-5443.

Funding notice revised for HOPWA Project Demonstration and Violence Against Women Act Grants. States, local governments, and nonprofits can apply by March 8 to receive both a Housing Opportunities for Persons Living With AIDS grant for housing, and a Transitional Housing Assistance Program grant for supportive services. HUD encourages potential applicants to register for the HOPWA mailing list to receive details about a January 22 webcast. Contact Amy Palilonis, HUD, 202-402-5916.

Transitional housing funds for domestic violence victims offered by Department of Justice. Nonprofits, local and state governments, PHAs, and tribal entities are eligible for grants to provide transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services for survivors. Apply by February 24. Contact DOJ staff, 202-307-6026.

CDFI Bond Guarantee Program opens FY16 funding round. CDFIs can apply by March 4 to become Qualified Issuers of bonds, or can apply by March 18 for credit through the Bond Guarantee Program, which finances community and economic development, including housing. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421, option 5.

VA will fund housing assistive technology development. To encourage development of new technologies such as voice commands, VA offers grants of up to $200,000. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits, and others can apply by February 29. Contact Robert Mims, VA, 202-632-8816.

HUD releases fair housing Assessment Tool. This tool, along with other resources, is for local jurisdictions that are required to conduct and submit Assessments of Fair Housing. HUD will issue separate Assessment Tools for use by states – which administer programs including HOME and CDBG for many rural areas – as well as for insular areas and for PHAs collaborating with other PHAs. Contact George D. Williams, Sr., HUD, 1-866-234-2689 (toll-free).

Promise Zones competition opens. HUD intends to designate five urban Promise Zones and USDA intends to designate one rural and one tribal community. Eligible lead applicants for rural and tribal PZ designations are local governments; federally recognized tribes; and nonprofits, housing authorities, tribally designated housing entities, local education agencies, or community colleges partnering with local or tribal government. The deadline is February 23. Contact Bryan Herdliska, HUD, 202-402-6758.

USDA extends temporary authorizations to help spend Section 502 direct funds in FY16. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 4, 2016 permits obligations subject to appraisals, removes some restrictions on use of 502 direct loans to refinance non-USDA loans, and allows new rates and terms assumptions to be processed as initial loans. The provisions are effective until September 30, 2016. Contact a USDA RD office.

USDA RD offers guidance on Section 504 and Section 538. Separate Administrative Notices address management control review findings for Section 504 repair loans (AN 4793) and Section 538 multifamily loan guarantees (AN 4792). Contact William Downs, USDA, 202-720-1499.

Most veterans in demonstration program avoided homelessness, report says. The Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration was conducted by the Departments of Labor, HUD, and VA at five urban sites. At program entry, 74% of the participating veteran households were at risk of homelessness, and about 26% were homeless. They received financial assistance and case management for periods from 39 to 146 days; 10.5% reported experiencing homelessness during the six months after exiting the program. Employment levels and incomes increased. It is not clear how much of the improvement would have occurred even without this program.

HAC offers trainings on 502 packaging and financial management. Section 502 Packaging Training for Non-profit Developers, for those with affordable mortgage experience, will be March 8-10. Advanced Financial Management Training for Rural Nonprofits will be March 8-9. Both are in North Charleston, SC. They are concurrent; register for only one. Advance registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.