Tag Archive for: government shutdown

HAC News: January 25, 2019

News Formats. pdf

January 25, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 2

Deal reached to reopen federal government • HAC calls for shutdown to end, citing severe impact on rural towns and families, suggests ways to help • USDA working to resolve rental assistance shortfalls and inform landlords • USDA rural housing programs remain closed • USDA Secretary reopens Farm Service Administration, leaves Rural Development closed • Indian Country substantially impacted by shutdown • Shutdown delays Puerto Rico disaster funds • Legal impacts of shutdown on HUD and USDA tenants summarized • Tribal housing survey finds focus on HUD, new units and rehab • Unsheltered homelessness increasing • New infographic explains rapid re-housing • Federal Reserve examines link between millennial migration and student loan debt • Holistic Housing Podcast focuses on rural housing issues • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 25, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 2

Deal reached to reopen federal government. As HAC staff prepared to send this issue of the HAC News to subscribers, President Trump announced he had reached agreement with congressional leaders to reopen the government for three weeks. HAC will post updates on its website as information becomes available about the shutdown’s aftermath.
Note that the articles in this issue were written before the deal to reopen the government was announced.

HAC calls for shutdown to end, citing severe impact on rural towns and families, suggests ways to help.
“Every day,” HAC’s statement points out, “Americans are losing out on billions of dollars’ worth of affordable housing, clean drinking water, and community facilities, like town halls, fire stations and hospitals.” HAC has posted links to news articles covering rural housing impacts, and will keep updating the list. As the shutdown continues, HAC will be reaching out to stakeholders to help spread the word on the damage it is causing to communities across the country, pressure lawmakers to come to a resolution and share your own stories of hardship. Visit HAC’s website to sign up for information and resources.

USDA working to resolve rental assistance shortfalls and inform landlords.
USDA reports that all 521 Rental Assistance contracts that are expiring in January will be renewed. The Department acknowledges that there is no money left to renew further RA contracts, including the approximately 700 RA contracts expiring in February and 1,000 in March. USDA is considering short-term measures, such as allowing owners to use project reserves to cover costs, but has yet to finalize any plans or notify property owners. The need for such notification became clear when managers of USDA-financed properties in Arkansas and in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi sent notices to tenants telling them their RA was ending in January and they would be responsible for paying their full rent, then backpedaled when informed by USDA the RA will be paid.

USDA rural housing programs remain closed.
No new direct or guaranteed loans or grants have been made in over 30 days. When open and operating, USDA’s Rural Housing Service obligates an average of 28,927* transactions (loans, grants, assistance payments) per month. January 25 is the 35th day of the government shutdown. For more information on USDA’s rural housing activity, visit HAC’s website.
* HAC estimate from monthly USDA obligation data.

USDA Secretary reopens Farm Service Agency, leaves Rural Development closed.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has ordered 9,700 field staff in local Farm Service Agency offices across the country to return to work without pay, although not all FSA services are available. FSA has reopened programs such as the Tree Assistance Program and Marketing Assistance Loans.

Indian Country substantially impacted by shutdown.
Calculating a dollar amount is not possible, reports the Center for Indian Country Development, but the effect is “substantial and unique” because government employment is disproportionately high in Indian Country, tribal staff such as those who plow reservation roads are furloughed, and education funds may be cut. Because of the unique relationship between the U.S. and tribes, tribal services are often closely tied to federal funding.

Shutdown delays Puerto Rico disaster funds.
In response to Hurricane Maria, which tore through Puerto Rico in 2017, Congress appropriated $20 billion in CDBG disaster relief funding. Only $1.5 billion of that money was approved before the shutdown, and HUD will not disburse it until the shutdown ends. HUD approval of disaster spending plans or amendments from California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and the U.S. Virgin Islands is also on hold. Even before this delay, an analysis by scholars from the University of Michigan and University of Utah found the federal response in funding and staff was larger and faster after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida than after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Legal impacts of shutdown on HUD and USDA tenants summarized.
A memo from the National Housing Law Project explains the rights of federally assisted tenants during the government shutdown.

Tribal housing survey finds focus on HUD, new units and rehab.
HUD is the primary source of housing development funding for tribes, according to results of a 2018 survey of Tribally Designated Housing Entities by the National American Indian Housing Council and the Center for Indian Country Development. Respondents expressed interest in other financing sources as well, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits and USDA RD housing programs. Although the low response means this survey may not represent Indian Country overall, a large majority of respondents were developing new rental and homeownership units, and all were maintaining and rehabilitating existing units.

Unsheltered homelessness increasing.
In its annual homeless assessment report to congress, HUD states homelessness has increased for the second year in a row. Rural Continuums of Care had the highest rates of unsheltered homeless persons (40%). Homeless individuals in largely rural areas were more likely to be women than those in other areas. Predominantly rural areas also had the highest rates of unsheltered homelessness among people in families with children.

New infographic explains rapid re-housing.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness has released an infographic based on data from the Urban Institute explaining what rapid re-housing is – an approach that ends people’s homelessness quickly by helping them to find and move into a home in their community, then to address other challenges – as well as who it helps and what effect it has.

Federal Reserve examines link between millennial migration and student loan debt.
“Rural Brain Drain”: Examining Millennial Migration Patterns and Student Loan Debt, an analysis by the Federal Reserve Board Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, shows that student loan borrowers are more likely to leave rural areas than non-borrowers. The study notes this does not show that loan balances cause borrowers to leave. It analyzes credit outcomes, economic conditions and migration patterns of rural student loan borrowers. The writers recommend further study to create community development models that could address the outmigration issue.

Holistic Housing Podcast focuses on rural housing issues.
HAC CEO David Lipsetz appeared on “Rock on, Rural America,” the 18th episode of NACCED’s Holistic Housing Podcast, discussing HAC’s work in rural areas, the inspiration he gets from working with local organizations across the country, why rural and urban America need not be at odds and how public policy could change to embrace more rural-focused development. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

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).

It is past time to end this shutdown

Housing Assistance Council Statement on Federal Government Shutdown

by David Lipsetz, CEO, Peter Carey, Chair, Peggy Wright, President

It is past time to end the government shutdown. As the budget stalemate continues, the impact on small towns and rural families grows more severe. Every day Americans are losing out on billions of dollars’ worth of affordable housing, clean drinking water, and community facilities, like town halls, fire stations and hospitals. Like it or not, the federal government does important work, and must be reopened now.

The shutdown has thrown countless rural home sales into limbo. U.S. Department of Agriculture offices are closed, so the department’s Rural Housing Service is not making mortgages, guaranteeing mortgages made by banks, or processing requests for new mortgages.

The homebuying industry is central to the entire U.S. economy. Because USDA is closed, rural residents and businesses have lost the annual equivalent of more than $25 billion of business. Some of that activity will go forward when the government reopens, but some will not. Sellers have found other buyers. Buyers are losing out on the stability and wealth-building of home ownership. Businesses are not selling furniture and other goods and services to new home buyers. Realtors and local banks are losing time, money and, potentially even worse for the long-term health of the housing market, their customers’ confidence in publicly-backed privately-managed mortgages. Ripples from these, and all the other shutdown-related missed opportunities, will extend to the national economy, and will get bigger as the shutdown continues.

Rural Stop Landscape - Antelope Island Utah - Pink Sherbert Photography CC

The Housing Assistance Council has been hearing about these ripple effects from rural community organizations we work with around the country. A group in Utah has to find $1.3 million to reimburse electricians, plumbers and others for work they have already done on USDA-financed houses under construction. A realtor in a small town in Tennessee has lost 90 percent of their business without USDA mortgages. In Alaska and elsewhere, families are hearing from their insurance companies that USDA has not made their homeowners’ insurance payments – the money is there, escrowed from the residents’ monthly mortgage payments to USDA, but there are no staff at USDA to send out the funds.

HAC is also keeping in close contact with rural tenants and landlords who rely on USDA. More than 268,000 tenant families receive USDA rental assistance. Their annual incomes average less than $11,000 and two-thirds of them are elderly or disabled. If the shutdown continues into February, USDA will run out of money to help thousands of those tenants pay their rent. This is putting renters and their landlords into an impossible situation. Renters will have to decide whether to divert their grocery money to cover the gap in rent or to risk eviction. Landlords will have to decide whether to punish renters for non-payment or stop paying for other things like insurance, taxes and property management staff.

At the same time, USDA’s multi-billion dollar loan programs for water systems, rural health clinics, schools and fire halls are shut down; tens of thousands of low-income tenants who rely on the Department of Housing and Urban Development for similar programs are losing their rent support; and countless other Americans are suffering in myriad ways.


This is no way to manage the public’s programs. End this shutdown now!

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.

US Capital building

How Will a Federal Government Shutdown Impact Rural Housing?

It seems likely that parts of the federal government will close at midnight on Friday, December 21, 2018. Some departments and agencies have been approved for funding through September 30, 2019, but others have not. The offices at risk of closing down include the Departments of Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, Transportation, Treasury and State, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Internal Revenue Service.

Official contingency plans for use if funding lapses are available online from USDA, HUD, and other agencies. Generally, federal staff in the affected agencies will not work and will not be paid unless their functions are considered “essential.” Employees are also not allowed to do their jobs voluntarily while they are furloughed. In the past, Congress and the President have usually agreed to pay furloughed employees retroactively after a shutdown ends, but they are not required to do so.

USDA Rural Development

The plan for USDA Rural Development explains that RD offices at the state level and below will be shut down completely if funding ends. Some functions located at the national office in Washington, D.C. and the servicing center in St. Louis will continue “for the purpose of preserving the Government’s property.” Government property is deemed to include RD’s loan portfolio, so some payments to and from RD financial systems will be processed. Loan escrow accounts will be serviced as well.

RD borrowers will not be able to make loan payments, however. Closings for direct loans will not take place. Applications will not be processed, and “no new RD rural housing loans or guarantees would be issued.” Borrowers already approved for Section 502 loan guarantees have the option to close their loans with their private lenders – at their own risk, because guarantees will not be issued until after the shutdown ends.

“System generated disbursements for previously obligated Rental Assistance funds will continue.” The contingency plan does not mention disbursements for Section 542 vouchers.

The contingency plan also notes that “if a shutdown occurred in December, RD borrowers would not receive critical information to file income tax returns.” The plan does not indicate how long it might take after a shutdown ends to send the needed tax information.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

HUD has posted an FAQ to accompany its contingency plan. Summaries are also available from several organizations:

· Affordable Housing Online

· Enterprise Community Partners

· LeadingAge

· National Association of Realtors

HAC News: September 30, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

• Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open • USDA uses all 502 direct funds • House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance • AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period • Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans • CFPB amends rule on rural credit access • EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers • HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs • Continuum of Care NOFA released • Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations • Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014 • Increase in cost-burdened renters projected

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open. Funding will continue, mostly at FY15 levels, through December 11. The CR includes language providing a short-term fix for Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts that run out of funds before their one-year term ends and could not be renewed (see HAC News, 9/2/15): it gives USDA authority to waive the prohibition on early renewals. It also includes the “anomaly” the Administration requested (see HAC News, 9/2/15), enabling USDA to spend a disproportionate amount of RA dollars early in the fiscal year.

USDA uses all 502 direct funds. By September 22, USDA RD obligated 7,043 Section 502 direct loans, using all of its Section 502 direct funds for FY15. This is the first time since FY12 all available money for that program was used. Very low-income borrowers received 31.8% of the total. Another 6,104 applications were submitted by September 22. RD also used all its FY15 Section 504 grant funds, but not all of the Section 504 loan money.

House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance. Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) requests specific proposals and recommendations on HUD restructuring, innovative approaches to address housing affordability that respect individual rights and promote individual responsibility, targeting housing assistance to address generational cycles of poverty, and examples of successful implementation of such proposals. Send ideas to transformhousing@mail.house.gov.

AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period. The Corporation for National and Community Service covers part or all of the cost of a community service position. Funding priorities include disaster services, veterans and military families, and more. Organizations that propose to operate in only one state must apply through State or Territory Commissions. Deadlines vary among states.A separate funding notice for Tribes will be released later this fall. Contact americorpsgrants@cns.gov.

Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans. Beginning October 1, a Section 502 direct borrower purchasing an existing home must have a whole house inspection rather than separate inspections on the home’s major systems. Contact a USDA RD local office.

CFPB amends rule on rural credit access. A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau final rule on mortgage lending by small creditors makes changes including expanding the definitions of small creditors and rural places. Contact Jeffrey Haywood, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers. A new final rule enhances requirements for training, recordkeeping, protective equipment, and more. The rule requires workers applying pesticides to be 18 or over. On family-owned farms, immediate family members are exempt from many provisions. Most changes will take effect in about 14 months. Contact Kathy Davis, EPA, 703-308-7002.

HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs. The General Section’s provisions apply to funding notices issued during the fiscal year.

Continuum of Care NOFA released. CoCs can apply by November 20 for FY15 homelessness program funds. Contact a local HUD CPD Field Office or ask questions at https://www.hudexchange.info/get-assistance/.

Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations. Ten sites will participate in the “Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive” (Rural IMPACT) technical assistance demonstration. HHS will run the effort in collaboration with USDA and others, providing technical assistance to the selected sites to plan and implement changes to alleviate child poverty.

Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014. A HAC analysis of recently released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data shows that home mortgage lending in rural areas dropped by about 25% from 2013 levels. Almost the entire change was due to decreases in refinances. The rate of high cost mortgage lending increased from 2013 to 2014. The level of high cost rural loans for manufactured homes was six times higher than the national rate for single-family homes. Additional analysis will be posted at www.ruralhome.org. Contact Keith Wiley, HAC, 202-842-8600.

Increase in cost-burdened renters projected. The number of households spending 50% or more of their income on rent is expected to rise at least 11% by 2025, according to Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015-2025 by Enterprise Community Partners and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The numbers of severely burdened households ages 65 to 74 will rise by 42% and those ages 75 and older by 39%. Hispanic households will have the largest increase among racial and ethnic groups, with the number of severely burdened Hispanic households increasing by 27%.

HAC News: September 16, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19

• September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month • Government shutdown possible • USDA likely to spend all 502 direct funds but not 504 loan funds • Rural poverty rate unchanged, incomes stagnant, Census Bureau reports • Home Depot Foundation seeks proposals for rural veteran housing projects • Members of House Ag Committee question USDA officials • Section 502 packaging rule delayed again • Procedure changed for completing manufactured homes onsite • PHAs to get more flexibility for flat rents • FY16 Fair Market Rents proposed • GAO reports on overlap in rental housing programs • Two HAC trainings offered November 19-20

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19


GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE. It seems unlikely Congress will pass final versions of any appropriations bills before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year, and the Administration has threatened presidential vetoes of the bills passed so far because of their low funding levels. Issues including Iran, abortion, tax measures, and the federal debt ceiling may be involved in efforts to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution, possibly lasting into December, that would keep the government working at FY15 funding levels. A government shutdown is also a possibility.

USDA LIKELY TO SPEND ALL 502 DIRECT FUNDS BUT NOT 504 LOAN FUNDS. As of September 15, USDA RD’s year-end efforts seem to be working: the agency has obligated 90.3% of its FY15 Section 502 direct loan dollars and expects to commit the rest by September 30. While 98.1% of Section 504 grant funds have been obligated, Section 504 loans are at only 51.3%. Contact a state or local USDA RD office.

RURAL POVERTY RATE UNCHANGED, INCOMES STAGNANT, CENSUS BUREAU REPORTS. The national (14.8%) and nonmetro (16.5%) poverty rates were statistically unchanged from 2013 to 2014, according to Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, as were national and rural median incomes. In nonmetro places the rates of people lacking health insurance dropped from 12.8% in 2013 to 10.7% in 2014. HAC’s summary of the Census Bureau’s data is posted online.

HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR RURAL VETERAN HOUSING PROJECTS. Awards 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. Concept papers are due October 30. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

MEMBERS OF HOUSE AG COMMITTEE QUESTION USDA OFFICIALS. Hearings on September 15 and 16 covered all of USDA’s mission areas including Rural Development. Members mentioned overlap between HUD and USDA housing programs and the Section 502 mortgage programs’ “duplication” of private sector offerings. RD Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez described the unique features of USDA’s housing programs, noted that staff cuts pose serious challenges for program delivery, promised increasing automation of loan processing, and emphasized the value of “trusted nonprofits” and “partners.”

SECTION 502 PACKAGING RULE DELAYED AGAIN. The final rule creating a certified loan application packaging process for Section 502 direct loans (see HAC News, 4/29/15), set to become effective on October 1, 2015 (see HAC News, 6/10/15), has now been deferred until October 1, 2016. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

PROCEDURE CHANGED FOR COMPLETING MANUFACTURED HOMES ONSITE. A new HUD regulation is intended to simplify the process. Contact Pamela B. Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

PHAS TO GET MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR FLAT RENTS. Comments are due November 9 on a HUD interim rule that supersedes part of an earlier proposed rule (see HAC News, 1/7/15). Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732-2056.

FY16 FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED. These are the first FMRs using metropolitan area definitions issued by OMB in 2013, incorporating the 2010 Decennial Census data. HUD also invites feedback on alternative methodologies for setting FMRs. Comments are due October 8. Contact HUD USER, 800-245-2691.

GAO REPORTS ON OVERLAP IN RENTAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. Affordable Rental Housing: Assistance Is Provided by Federal, State, and Local Programs, but There Is Incomplete Information on Collective Performancereiterates earlier GAO findings about overlap among federal housing programs, and adds a sample of state and local programs. The report notes that overlap can have positive effects, such as helping to meet program objectives. It reviews activities of the Rental Policy Working Group, which includes representatives from several federal agencies and works with state and local agencies, and it notes collaboration efforts by state and local agencies. GAO recommends HUD work with the Rental Policy Working Group, states, and localities “to develop an approach for compiling and reporting on the collective performance of federal, state, and local rental assistance programs.”

TWO HAC TRAININGS OFFERED NOVEMBER 19-20. The cost is $75 each for these courses in North Charleston, SC. Register online for either Sharpening Your Skills: Financial Management for Rural Nonprofits or Utilizing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing. These are concurrent sessions; register for only one. Advance registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: October 9, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 9, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 20

• Federal shutdown impacting housing programs, websites, data • Home Depot Foundation offers funds for rural veterans housing • HUD proposes to designate some mortgages as QMs • NHLP invites others to sign its comments on USDA’s voucher program • Fair Market Rents published for FY14 • HUD sets process for reporting manufactured home problems • PHA administrative fee factors issued • Importance of federal spending varies widely across states • “What is the QRM? And What Does it Mean for Rural Mortgage Markets?” • Missed a HAC webinar? • Need data on housing or demographics while the Census Bureau’s website is unavailable?

October 9, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 20

FEDERAL SHUTDOWN IMPACTING HOUSING PROGRAMS, WEBSITES, DATA. Under its shutdown plan, USDA has furloughed all of its 3,336 Rural Development field staff. A total of 53 RD staff in Washington, D.C., and St. Louis, out of 1,394, are still on the job. On October 1 Under Secretary for Rural Development Doug O’Brien sent an email to RD offices explaining that “many [RD] services will be delayed or interrupted. For example, Rural Development will not be able to make any new loans or grants; the only exceptions will be for emergency purposes and to protect the Government’s interest. Automatic disbursements for previously obligated Rental Assistance (RA) funds will continue, but no RA contracts will be renewed or issued.” Over 600 properties whose RA contracts were not renewed in September did not establish alternative payment plans with USDA and expected to receive renewals in October using FY14 funds, which are not yet available. • At HUD, 337 of 8,709 employees are still working. HUD updated its shutdown contingency plan and is expected to issue another update this week. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has estimated the shutdown’s impact on HUD’s housing programs. • Some federal websites, including USDA’s and the Census Bureau’s, are offline, so archived information is not accessible. Others, including HUD’s, remain live but are not being updated. Several news reports note the uncertainties raised by lack of federally generated data, including one by the Daily Yonder. • The Federal Register is publishing essential items but has announced that “documents related to normal or routine activities of Federal agencies, even if funded under prior year appropriations, will not be published.” • Check HAC’s website for links to media coverage of rural housing shutdown issues and for general updates.

HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION OFFERS FUNDS FOR RURAL VETERANS HOUSING. Projects must be bricks and mortar; either new construction or rehab, with priority given to renovation and rehab projects; and must be in progress or close to starting. Awards will range from $25,000 to $40,000. Concept papers are due November 15 and must be on an approved template. Email Janice Clark at HAC for a copy of the template.

HUD PROPOSES TO DESIGNATE SOME MORTGAGES AS QMS. The Dodd-Frank Act requires HUD to define what HUD-funded loans are qualified mortgages and therefore assumed to meet requirements for consumers’ ability to repay. Comments are due October 31 on a proposed rule stating that Title I (home improvement), Section 184 (Indian housing), and Section 184A (Native Hawaiian housing) loans would be QMs. For FHA-insured mortgages, HUD proposes two categories similar but not identical to those established in the CFPB’s final QM rule. Contact Michael P. Nixon, HUD, 202-402-5216, ext. 3094.

NHLP INVITES OTHERS TO SIGN ITS COMMENTS ON USDA’S VOUCHER PROGRAM. Comments are due October 15 on proposed regulations (see HAC News, 8/14/13). Those wishing to sign the National Housing Law Project’s comments should contact Gideon Anders, ganders@nhlp.org, by October 13.

FAIR MARKET RENTS PUBLISHED FOR FY14. FMRs are used by HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher, Moderate Rehabilitation, and project-based voucher programs and others. Contact local HUD staff for each program.

HUD SETS PROCESS FOR REPORTING MANUFACTURED HOME PROBLEMS. A final rule establishes procedures that manufacturers, retailers, distributors, state agencies, and inspection agencies must follow. Contact Henry S. Czauski, HUD, 202-708-6409.

PHA ADMINISTRATIVE FEE FACTORS ISSUED. The annual factors for determining PHAs’ calendar year 2013 administrative fees for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Moderate Rehabilitation Programs are posted on HUD’s website. Contact Miguel Fontanez, HUD, 202-402-2934.

IMPORTANCE OF FEDERAL SPENDING VARIES WIDELY ACROSS STATES. The Pew Charitable Trusts compared the value of federal payments to individuals, grants, procurement, and wages to state GDPs and created a graphic depiction comparing states. The analysis includes funds affected and not affected by the government shutdown. Pew’s Fiscal Federalism Initiative has produced other fact sheets as well.

“WHAT IS THE QRM? AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR RURAL MORTGAGE MARKETS?” A new Rural Policy Note published by HAC provides background and explains the qualified residential mortgage concept. Comments on a proposed rule are due October 30 (see HAC News, 9/25/13). Contact Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

MISSED A HAC WEBINAR? Materials from webinars are posted on HAC’s site after the events. The most recent additions are about the Rural Data Portal and rental housing preservation for seniors.


HAC News: September 25, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 25, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 19

• National Hispanic Heritage Month celebrated September 15-October 15 • Shutdown possible? • CR will extend area eligibility for USDA rural housing programs • Assisted Living Conversion funds offered • USDA RD to review online homebuyer counseling programs • Agencies propose aligning definitions of qualified mortgages • CFPB amends some mortgage regulations including rural and underserved exemption • Nonmetro poverty increased in 2012 while national rate remained the same • Low-power FM radio opportunities offered in October • HUD offers website and email list for Native American housing study • HAC report describes colonias • Between 2000 and 2010, more than one-third of U.S. counties lost population. How has your community changed?

September 25, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 19

NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH CELEBRATED SEPTEMBER 15-OCTOBER 15. President Obama’s proclamation is posted online.

SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE? Congress this week continues to debate passage of a continuing resolution to begin FY 2014 on October 1. “Non-essential” federal functions could be shut down if no agreement is reached. On September 17 OMB sent a memo to federal agencies telling them to plan for a shutdown. At press time, neither USDA nor HUD has issued guidelines for shutting down. When a possible shutdown loomed in 2011, USDA Rural Development’s contingency plan said no new loans or guarantees would be made without an appropriation, and all offices would close except for the Washington, D.C. national office and the St. Louis finance office. St. Louis would be the contact for loan servicing. HAC will provide updates at www.ruralhome.org.

CR WILL EXTEND AREA ELIGIBILITY FOR USDA RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. H.J.Res. 59, the continuing resolution passed by the House on September 20, would extend grandfathering of currently eligible places for as long as the CR lasts. At press time the Senate had not yet voted on the CR, but the language allowing for the extension is not in dispute, so it is expected to be included in any final version.

ASSISTED LIVING CONVERSION FUNDS OFFERED. Nonprofit owners of several types of HUD-assisted properties, including Section 515 developments with Section 8, can apply by November 18 for grants to convert to assisted living facilities or service enriched housing. Contact Katina Washington, HUD, 202-708-3000.

USDA RD TO REVIEW ONLINE HOMEBUYER COUNSELING PROGRAMS. Currently one online education provider is approved by USDA for use by first-time homebuyers receiving Section 502 direct loans. (Courses can also be taken in classrooms, by phone, or by self-study.) RD invites other providers of online courses to apply by October 23 for approval. Contact Shantelle Gordon, RD, 202-205-9567.

AGENCIES PROPOSE ALIGNING DEFINITIONS OF QUALIFIED MORTGAGES. HUD and other federal agencies jointly responsible for implementing the credit risk retention requirements of the Dodd-Frank Act suggest defining “qualified residential mortgages” the same way as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines “qualified mortgages.” In 2011 (see HAC News, 6/8/11) the agencies suggested a QRM definition that would have favored homebuyers with 20% downpayments. The new proposal would make other regulatory changes as well. Comments are due October 30. Contact Michael P. Nixon, HUD, 202-402-5216 or Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

CFPB AMENDS SOME MORTGAGE REGULATIONS INCLUDING RURAL AND UNDERSERVED EXEMPTION. On October 1 a final rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will be published in the Federal Register making some changes to a proposed rule published in June (see HAC News, 7/3/13).

NONMETRO POVERTY INCREASED IN 2012 WHILE NATIONAL RATE REMAINED THE SAME. A HAC analysis of new Census Bureau data shows the official poverty rate in nonmetropolitan areas was 17.7%, up from 17.0% in 2011 and nearly 3 percentage points higher than the national level. Overall, 8.5 million nonmetro residents had incomes below the poverty line in 2012, a statistically significant increase of more than 400,000 persons from the 2011 level. Details are published by HAC and the Daily Yonder.

LOW-POWER FM RADIO OPPORTUNITIES OFFERED IN OCTOBER. The Federal Communications Commission offers a rare opportunity for nonprofits, tribes, and local governments to apply between October 15 and October 29 for licenses for non-commercial low-power FM radio stations. FCC will hold a webinar for potential applicants on October 3. Contact FCC staff, 202-418-2700.

HUD OFFERS WEBSITE AND EMAIL LIST FOR NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING STUDY. A congressionally mandated study of the housing needs of Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians is underway and the final report is expected in December 2014. Survey instruments and other information are posted at https://www.huduser.org/portal/native_american_assessment/home.html, where one can also sign up for email updates.

HAC REPORT DESCRIBES COLONIAS. Housing in the Border Coloniasdetails the social, economic, and housing characteristics of the colonias region on the U.S. side of the U.S.-Mexico border. Most residents are of Mexican heritage. Poor housing conditions are common in the colonias with an old, deteriorating housing stock, combined with newer units that do not meet building codes. To order a printed copy, contact Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600.

BETWEEN 2000 AND 2010, MORE THAN ONE-THIRD OF U.S. COUNTIES LOST POPULATION. HOW HAS YOUR COMMUNITY CHANGED? Find out at HAC’s Rural Data Portal, www.ruraldataportal.org.