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HAC News: July 25, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 25, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 15

• Congress enacts bill giving Native American tribes more control over land use • Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing funds offered • Reserve account regulation revised for new USDA multifamily developments • Preservation Revolving Loan Fund monies available • USDA emphasizes colonias for Section 306C water and waste disposal funds • HUD implements full Rental Assistance Demonstration • List of exclusions from income published by HUD • Senate hearing highlights housing development partnerships in native and rural regions • White House hosts session on tribal housing • Uniform Manufactured Housing Act approved by commission • HAC releases “Rural Economies and Industry” research brief • “Why Keep Rural Housing Programs at USDA?” • HAC seeks nominations for rural housing awards


July 25, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 15

CONGRESS ENACTS BILL GIVING NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES MORE CONTROL OVER LAND USE. The Senate passed H.R. 205, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012 (not related to the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009), on July 17. The House passed the bill in May, and President Obama will sign it into law. The act allows tribes to lease restricted lands for housing or economic development without Bureau of Indian Affairs approval.

SECTION 514/516 FARM LABOR HOUSING FUNDS OFFERED. Preapplications for off-farm loans and grants are due to USDA RD state offices on September 17. Rental Assistance and operating assistance are also available. Contact an RD state office for an application package.

PRESERVATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND MONIES AVAILABLE. Intermediaries can apply by August 17 for PRLF funds to relend for Section 514/516 or 515 preservation. Contact Sherry Engel, RD, 715-345-7677.

USDA EMPHASIZES COLONIAS FOR SECTION 306C WATER AND WASTE DISPOSAL FUNDS. Colonias that lack access to water or waste disposal systems and face significant health problems will receive additional priority points in the program’s funding competition. Contact Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, Rural Utilities Service, 202-720-2670.

HUD IMPLEMENTS FULL RENTAL ASSISTANCE DEMONSTRATION. RAD will test conversion of public housing and other HUD-assisted properties to project-based Section 8. Partial implementation was announced in March (see HAC News, 3/7/12). Contact rad@hud.gov.

LIST OF EXCLUSIONS FROM INCOME PUBLISHED BY HUD. A July 24 Federal Register noticelists amounts specifically excluded by any federal statute from consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility or benefits, and lists federal statutes that require certain income sources to be disregarded for specific HUD programs. Contacts vary by program and are listed in the notice.

SENATE HEARING HIGHLIGHTS HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS IN NATIVE AND RURAL REGIONS. On July 24, witnesses before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs described successful housing development projects on tribal lands and stressed the importance of flexibility and coordination in federal programs to promote additional development. A recording and written testimony are available at the Banking Committee website.

WHITE HOUSE HOSTS SESSION ON TRIBAL HOUSING. A White House Forum on Tribal Housing on July 26 discussed Administration initiatives and federal resources available from HUD, USDA, the Interior Department and others to tribal entities for housing creation. A draft of discussion topics is available from the National American Indian Housing Council. Contact April Hale, NAIHC, 202-454-0946, ahale@naihc.net.

UNIFORM MANUFACTURED HOUSING ACT APPROVED BY COMMISSION. The Uniform Law Commission approved the UMHA earlier this month. The commission’s press release says UMHA “provides an efficient and effective method” for an owner to choose to have a manufactured home classified as real property (rather than personal property) at the time of the first retail sale. State legislatures may consider adopting the UMHA. Contact ULC, 312-450-6600.

HAC RELEASES “RURAL ECONOMIES AND INDUSTRY” RESEARCH BRIEF. Employment data analyzed by HAC show that, while rural economies are often perceived as relying heavily on farming and other natural resource industries, these industries employ only 5.5% of rural and small town workers. Overall, the sector-by-sector employment profile of rural America is surprisingly similar to that of suburban and urban America, according to this new Rural Research Note.

“WHY KEEP RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS AT USDA?” HAC’s most recent contribution to Shelterforce’s Rooflines blog explains why rural housing professionals believe USDA’s rural housing programs should not be moved to HUD. (See HAC News, 5/25/11 and 9/14/11).

HAC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARDS.
Nominations are due September 28 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. The honors will be presented at the National Rural Housing Conference in December. Details will be available soon at www.ruralhome.org or from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: June 13, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 13, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 12

• House subcommittees act on FY13 USDA and HUD funding • The House’s USDA appropriations bill • The House’s HUD appropriations bill • HUD, USDA RD, and the CDFI Fund announce new Border Community Capital Initiative • FHFA requests comments on housing goals and preservation impact • USDA examines immigration policy’s impacts on agriculture • USDA announces June is National Homeownership Month • HAC sets webinar on “Mapping Poverty in Rural America”


June 13, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 12

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEES ACT ON FY13 USDA AND HUD FUNDING. House appropriations subcommittees have approved both bills and the full House Appropriations Committee is expected to act on them in the next few weeks. The Senate bills (see HAC News, 5/2/12) still await consideration by the full Senate. Congress continues to move appropriations on a faster track this year than in the recent past, but final passage of most appropriations bills may not occur until a post-election lame duck session.

THE HOUSE’S USDA APPROPRIATIONS BILL would provide lower amounts than the Senate’s bill for almost all rural housing programs. It allocates slightly more to the Section 515 rural rental housing program than the Senate bill, although the House’s $31.3 million is less than half of the $64.5 million Section 515 received in FY12. The House bill also contains new language in every provision relating to housing programs and in some, but not all, provisions relating to other Rural Development programs, requiring USDA to provide detailed spending plans within 15 days of enactment. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Devel. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY11
Approp.a

FY 12
Approp.

FY13
Admin. Budget

FY13
Sen. Bill
(S. 2375)

FY13 House Subcomm. Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
(Self-Help Setaside)
(Teacher Setaside)

$1,121

$900

$652.8
(141)
(67)

$900
(5)
0

$652.8
0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

23.4

10

28

28

10

504 VLI Repair Grants

34

29.5

28.2

b

c

515 Rental Hsg. Direct

69.5

64.5

0

28.4

31.3

514 Farm Labor Hsg.

25.7

20.8

26

26

d

516 Farm Labor Hsg.

9.8

7.1

8.9

8.9

d

521 Rental Assistance
(Preservation RA)
(New Cnstr. 515 RA)
(New Cnstr. 514/516 RA)

955.6
0
(2.03)
(3)

904.7
0
(1.5)
(2.5)

907.1
0
0
(3)

907.1
0
0
(3)

886.6f
0
(1.5)
(2.5)

523 Self-Help TA

37

30

10

30

15

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

10

3.6

0

b

c

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

30.9

130

150

150

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

15

2

34.4

16.8

2

Rental Prsrv. Revlg. Lns.

1

0

0

0

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

14

11

12.6

11

10.8

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

5

3.6

8

6.1

3.5e

a. Figures shown do not include 0.2% across the board reduction.
b. Total for 504 grants and 533 grants is $33.1 million.
c. Total for 504 grants and 533 grants is $17 million.
d. Total budget authority for Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants is $13.8 million, compared to the Senate bill’s total of $17.5 million.
e. Of the $3.549 million total for RCDI, $3.302 million is directed to community facilities grants to tribal colleges.
f. HAC originally reported the House subcommittee’s level for Rental Assistance was $866.6 million, but the correct figure is $886.6 million. HAC apologizes for any confusion.

THE HOUSE’S HUD APPROPRIATIONS BILL boosts funding for HOME, Section 202, CDBG, and SHOP above the levels in FY12 and in the Senate’s bill. The Rural Innovation Fund is not funded and seems dead after being left out of HUD’s budget proposal again. The Rural Housing Stability Program is funded as part of homeless assistance grants. Veterans housing vouchers are funded at $75 million and Native American Block Grants are at $650 million, maintaining 2012 levels for both programs. The House bill does not fund Choice Neighborhoods or Sustainable Communities.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY11
Approp.a

FY12
Approp.

FY13
Admin. Budget

FY13
Sen. Bill
(S. 2322)

FY13 House Subcomm.
Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund (incl. CDBG)
Sustainable Commun. Init.
Rural Innovation Fund

3,508
(100)
0

3,308.1
0
0

3,143
100
0

3,210 b
50
0

3,404 b
0
0

HOME

1,610

1,000

1,000

1,000

1,200

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
Vets. Affairs Spptve Hsg. Vchrs

18,408
(50)

18,914.4
(75)

19,074.3
(75)

19,396.3
(75)

19,134.3
(75)

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,257.4

9,339.7

8,700.4

9,875.8

8,700.4

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

2,044

1,875

2,070

1,985

1,985

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,626

3,961.9

4,524

4,591

4,524

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

0

120

150

120

Housing Trust Fund

0

0

1,000

0

0

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

650

650

650

Homeless Assistance Grants

1,905

1,901.2

2,231

2,146

2,000

Rural Hsg. Stability Prog.

5

c

c

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

335

332

330

330

330

202 Hsg. for Elderly

400

374.6

475

375

425

811 Hsg. for Disabled

150

165

150

150

165

Fair Housing

72

70.8

68

68

68

Healthy Homes & Ld. Haz. Cntl.

120

120

120

120

120

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

27

13.5

0

13.5

20

Housing Counseling

0

45

55

55

45

a. Figures shown do not include 0.2% across the board reduction. b. Includes $3.1 billion in Senate and $3.34 billion in House for CDBG. c. Funded under Homeless Assistance Grants.

HUD, USDA RD, AND THE CDFI FUND ANNOUNCE NEW BORDER COMMUNITY CAPITAL INITIATIVE. Community development lenders and investors, which can include local rural nonprofits and federally recognized tribes, will be eligible for funds and technical assistance to support their lending or investing related to affordable housing, small businesses, and community facilities in the colonias along the U.S.-Mexico border. The collaboration may later be extended to other persistent poverty regions of the country. The announcement does not indicate when a NOFA may be issued. Contact Russell Quiniola or Thann Young, HUD, 1-877-787-2526.

FHFA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON HOUSING GOALS AND PRESERVATION IMPACT. The Federal Housing Finance Agency proposes continuing the existing structure of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac housing goals (with no rural goals or subgoals) for 2012-2014, with new benchmark levels. FHFA also seeks comments on whether the regulation should address the possibility that Fannie or Freddie would receive credit under the housing goals for purchasing a multifamily mortgage that facilitates conversion of the property from affordable rents to market rate. Comments are due July 26, 2012. Contact Paul Manchester, FHFA, 202-649-3115.

USDA EXAMINES IMMIGRATION POLICY’S IMPACTS ON AGRICULTURE. As Congress considers possible changes in immigration laws, an Economic Research Service study finds that an increase in H2-A temporary workers would increase U.S. agricultural production and reduce wages. A decrease in the undocumented workforce would decrease production and raise wages. The study does not address impacts on housing.

USDA ANNOUNCES JUNE IS NATIONAL HOMEOWNERSHIP MONTH.

HAC SETS WEBINAR ON “MAPPING POVERTY IN RURAL AMERICA.” As a prelude to the 2012 edition of Taking Stock – HAC’s decennial report on social, economic, and housing conditions in rural America – HAC is releasing an updated poster map showing county-level poverty data from 2010 Census figures, as well as information on historic, regional, and persistent poverty in the United States. Register now for a webinar presentation of the poverty map and a discussion of poverty in rural America on Thursday, June 28, 2:00-2:45 pm (EDT).

HAC News: May 30, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 30, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 11

Wall Street Journal criticizes USDA foreclosure actions • VA analyzes factors linked to homelessness among veterans • Housing and ACS funding bills have not advanced • Notice addresses liquidation value appraisals for Section 502 guaranteed • Rural prepayment clarifications issued • USDA reminds field staff about documentation for Sections 514, 515, and 516 • USDA RD field staff have access to new cost data tool • Minorities and renters undercounted in 2010 Census • Vacancy rate higher in rural America, HAC reports • HAC blogs about rental housing policy • HOME program examined in new issue of Rural Voices • HAC seeks nominations for rural housing awards


May 30, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 11

WALL STREET JOURNAL CRITICIZES USDA FORECLOSURE ACTIONS. A May 25 article headlined “USDA is a Tough Collector When Mortgages Go Bad” describes USDA’s efforts to collect funds from borrowers who obtained Section 502 guaranteed mortgages, then lost income and lost their homes to foreclosure. Links to the article, online comments, and responses from HAC, the National Rural Housing Coalition, and others are posted on HAC’s site.

VA ANALYZES FACTORS LINKED TO HOMELESSNESS AMONG VETERANS.Homeless Incidence and Risk Factors for Becoming Homeless in Veterans” reports that the presence of mental illness and/or substance-related disorders was the strongest predictor of becoming homeless after discharge. Homeless vets were also more likely to have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. In the population studied, Afghanistan/Iraq vets and women were most likely to use HUD-VASH vouchers. The VA study did not include urban-rural or other geographic information. The Daily Yonder reports that Census data show that generally vets disproportionately live in rural and exurban communities, although those who served after 1990 are not overrepresented in rural America.

HOUSING AND ACS FUNDING BILLS HAVE NOT ADVANCED. Dates have not been determined for full Senate consideration of FY13 funding bills for USDA, HUD, or the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (see HAC News, 5/16/12). The HAC News and HAC’s website will report updates when available.

NOTICE ADDRESSES LIQUIDATION VALUE APPRAISALS FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED. Administrative Notice 4646 provides direction on obtaining a liquidation appraisal report to determine USDA’s loss claim for a 502 guaranteed property that has been taken into REO by the lender. Contact a USDA RD field office.

RURAL PREPAYMENT CLARIFICATIONS ISSUED. Subjects covered by USDA in an Unnumbered Letter dated May 14, 2012 include the distinction between prepayment and partial or final payments, and handling of incentives for property owners if ownership is transferred. Contact a USDA RD field office.

USDA REMINDS FIELD STAFF ABOUT DOCUMENTATION FOR SECTIONS 514, 515, AND 516. Administrative Notice 4645 addresses weaknesses identified in a 2011 management control review. Contact a USDA RD field office.

USDA RD FIELD STAFF HAVE ACCESS TO NEW COST DATA TOOL. An Unnumbered Letter dated April 20, 2012 announces the availability for staff of data reports that can be used to compare costs in multifamily housing and for other purposes. Contact a USDA RD field office.

MINORITIES AND RENTERS UNDERCOUNTED IN 2010 CENSUS. The Census Bureau has calculated that overall the 2010 Census was accurate although, as in previous decades, certain groups were undercounted. African Americans were undercounted by 2.1% and Hispanics by 1.5%. Asians and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders had no statistically significant error rate. American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations were undercounted by 4.9%, while there was no statistically significant error rate for those not living on reservations. Renters were undercounted by 1.1%.

VACANCY RATE HIGHER IN RURAL AMERICA, HAC REPORTS. A new Rural Research Note,Housing Occupancy and Vacancy in Rural America,” reports that housing vacancy rates in rural and small town areas are approximately 7 percentage points higher than the national level. Much of the higher vacancy rate in rural areas is due to the number of homes unoccupied for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. Nearly 60% of all vacant seasonal or recreational homes nationwide are in rural and small town areas.

HAC BLOGS ABOUT RENTAL HOUSING POLICY. In the first of a series of contributions to the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog, HAC wonders, “What Does an Affordable Rural Rental Housing Strategy Look Like? and suggests both general and specific components of such a strategy.

HOME PROGRAM EXAMINED IN NEW ISSUE OF RURAL VOICES. The spring issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine includes over 25 brief success stories from rural organizations that have used the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable housing, as well as pieces from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and former HUD official Mercedes Marquez and a summary of what proposed changes in HOME regulations could mean for rural places.

HAC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARDS. Nominations are due September 28 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. The honors will be presented at the National Rural Housing Conference in December. Details will be available soon at https://ruralhome.org or from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: May 2, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf, epub, mobi

May 2, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 9

• Senate committee rejects parts of Administration’s housing budget • Senate bill would add one year of eligibility for rural housing programs • Household Water Well System grants available • IDA funding offered for refugee programs • HUD issues final rule changes for State CDBG program • IRS rule addresses sale of LIHTC properties • List of Qualified Census Tracts for LIHTC updated • RD shifts from newspapers to electronic notices of changes in eligibility boundaries • Minorities account for three-quarters of rural population growth

[tdborder][/tdborder]
May 2, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 9

SENATE COMMITTEE REJECTS PARTS OF ADMINISTRATION’S HOUSING BUDGET. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed FY13 bills for HUD on April 19 and for USDA April 26. House committee action has not yet been scheduled. S. 2375 would fund most USDA housing programs at the higher of the FY12 appropriations level or the President’s FY13 budget request, although Section 515 and the MPR preservation demonstration would receive less than half their FY12 funding. The committee report chastises USDA for proposing different approaches to rental pre-servation in its FY12 and FY13 budgets and asks USDA for “an effective long-term strategy” for rental housing.

USDA Rural Devel. Program
(dollars in millions)

FY11 Approp.a

FY12 Final Approp.

FY13 Admin. Budget

FY13 Sen. Bill (S. 2375)

502 Single Fam. Direct
(Self-Help Setaside)
(Teacher Setaside)

$1,121

$900

$652.8
(141)
(67)

$900
(5)
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

23.4

10

28

28

504 VLI Repair Grants

34

29.5

28.2

b

515 Rental Hsg. Direct

69.5

64.5

0

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg.

25.7

20.8

26

26

516 Farm Labor Hsg.

9.8

7.1

8.9

8.9

521 Rental Assistance
(Preservation RA)
(New Constr. 515 RA)
(New Constr. 514/516 RA)

955.6
0
(2.03)
(3)

904.7
0
(1.5)
(2.5)

907.1
0
0
(3)

907.1
0
0
(3)

523 Self-Help TA

37

30

10

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

10

3.6

0

b

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

30.9

130

150

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

15

2

34.4

16.8

Rental Prsrv. Revlg. Lns.

1

0

0

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

14

11

12.6

11

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

5

3.6

8

6.1

S. 2322 would keep SHOP at its FY12 level of $13.5 million. The National Housing Trust Fund would not be funded. Assistance for tenants, both project-based and tenant-based, would fare better than under the Administration’s budget, but Section 202 elderly housing would fare worse and Section 811 for people with disabilities would see a reduction from its FY12 level. HUD tenants would not be required to pay $75 minimum monthly rent.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY11
Approp. a

FY 12 Approp.

FY13 Admin. Budget

FY13 Sen. Bill (S. 2322)

Cmty. Devel. Block Grants
(Sustainable Commun. Init.)
(Rural Innovation Fund)

3,508
(100)
0

3,308.1
0
0

3,143
(100)
0

3,210 b
(50)
0

HOME

1,610

1,000

1,000

1,000

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
(Vets. Affairs Spptve Hsg. Vchrs)

18,408
(50)

18,914.4
(75)

19,074.3
(75)

19,396.3
(75)

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,257.4

9,339.7

8,700.4

9,875.8

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

2,044

1,875

2,070

1,985

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,626

3,961.9

4,524

4,591

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

0

120

150

120

Housing Trust Fund

0

0

1,000

0

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

650

650

Homeless Assistance Grants

1,905

1,901.2

2,231

2,146

Rural Hsg. Stability Prog.

c

5

c

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

335

332

330

330

202 Hsg. for Elderly

400

374.6

475

375

811 Hsg. for Disabled

150

165

150

150

Fair Housing

72

70.8

68

68

Healthy Homes & Ld. Haz. Cntl.

120

120

120

120

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

27

13.5

0

13.5

Housing Counseling

0

45

55

55

a. Figures shown do not include 0.2% across the board reduction.
b. Includes $3.1 billion for CDBG.
c. Funded under Homeless Assistance Grants; amount not specified.

SENATE BILL WOULD ADD ONE YEAR OF ELIGIBILITY FOR RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. The Senate USDA appropriations bill, S. 2375, includes a grandfathering provision for places that have gained population and would otherwise become ineligible for USDA housing aid. (See HAC News, 9/28/11.) The bill would keep them eligible through the end of FY13 on September 30, 2013.

HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL SYSTEM GRANTS AVAILABLE. Nonprofits can apply to the Rural Utilities Service to establish lending programs for homeowners. The deadline will be included in the notice in the Federal Register, 5/3/12 and at grants.gov. Contact Joyce M. Taylor, RD, 202-720-9589.

IDA FUNDING OFFERED FOR REFUGEE PROGRAMS. Nonprofits, government agencies, and educational institutions can apply to the Department of Health and Human Services for grants to establish and manage Individual Development Accounts for low-income refugees, to be used for purposes including homeownership. Deadline is June 18. Contact Yimeem Vu, HHS, 202-401-4825. The next deadline for the standard Assets for Independence IDA pro-gram is May 25. Contact James Gatz, HHS, 866-778-6037.

HUD ISSUES FINAL RULE CHANGES FOR STATE CDBG PROGRAM. The changes update the State CDBG program regulations and clarify program income requirements. A provision requiring entitlement jurisdictions to receive only an incidental benefit from State CDBG program expenditures is replaced by one that allows expenditures in entitlement areas if the activities significantly benefit residents of the state grant recipient and meet the nonentitlement jurisdiction’s needs, and if the entitlement jurisdiction makes a meaningful contribution to the project. See Federal Register, 4/23/12. Contact Eva C. Fontheim, HUD, 202-708-1322.

IRS RULE ADDRESSES SALE OF LIHTC PROPERTIES. A final rule to be published in the Federal Register, 5/3/12, provides guidance on contracts to sell properties at the end of their extended use periods and computation of sales prices. Contact David Selig, IRS, 202-622-3040.

LIST OF QUALIFIED CENSUS TRACTS FOR LIHTC UPDATED. The list of Difficult Development Areas published 10/27/11 remains in effect. Visit HUDUser.org. Paper copies are available for a fee to cover costs, 800-245-2691.

RD SHIFTS FROM NEWSPAPERS TO ELECTRONIC NOTICES OF CHANGES IN ELIGIBILITY BOUNDARIES. An Unnumbered Letter dated April 17, 2012 says email and web posts are more effective than local newspapers to notify stakeholders before changing the boundaries determining eligibility for rural housing programs, and lists types of entities that should be contacted. It also eliminates the use of narrative descriptions of boundaries, stating they have not proved useful. Contact an RD office.

MINORITIES ACCOUNT FOR THREE-QUARTERS OF RURAL POPULATION GROWTH. From 2000 to 2010, Hispanics became a higher proportion of the nationwide rural and small town population than African Americans, with variations among localities. A new HAC Rural Research Note on “Race and Ethnicity in Rural America” presents these facts and other current data. Contact Lance George, HAC, 202-842-8600.