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HAC News: February 11, 2019

News Formats. pdf

February 11, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 3

February is Black History Month • Government funded to February 15, another shutdown possible • Rural Rental Assistance payments obligated through April • USDA explains status of homeownership programs • HAC offers grants for housing aid to rural veterans • Puerto Rico disaster funds available • FY2020 budget process begins in March • Senator releases housing finance reform outline, White House developing a proposal • HAC symposium on rural veterans’ housing and services scheduled for April in Arkansas • Hazlett leaving USDA, Baxley to move to Secretary’s office • Rural broadband application deadlines to be extended • USDA raises loan-to-cost ratio for guaranteed rental housing loans

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 11, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 3

February is Black History Month.

House subcommittee to hold hearing on rural housing.
HAC will be one of several organizations testifying in a hearing titled “The Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural America: Assessing the Federal Response,” convened by the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. The hearing will be broadcast live online, February 14 at 10 a.m. eastern.

Government funded to February 15, another shutdown possible.
The partial government shutdown that began December 22 ended on January 25 with a short-term continuing resolution lasting through February 15. It is possible the same government agencies will close again if Congress and the President do not reach agreement on appropriations and border security.

Rural Rental Assistance payments obligated through April.
USDA RD shared with HAC a notice sent to owners and managers of USDA-financed properties with Section 521 Rental Assistance: “We are pleased to inform you that Rental Assistance for Section 514/515 properties has been obligated through April. The Management Interactive Network Connection (MINC) has been updated to reflect these obligations. We understand that the most recent lapse in appropriations created anxiety and uncertainty regarding the status of your contract obligations. We are hopeful that this communique and the fact that all contracts are obligated through April will provide you reassurance and operational predictability in your management of these critical low-income resources throughout rural America. Thank you for your partnership in delivering the Rural Housing Service affordable housing mission.”

USDA explains status of homeownership programs.
USDA’s single-family programs office says it will issue new Certificates of Eligibility to all Section 502 direct applicants who had valid COEs on December 21 before the government shut down. The agency does not have enough funding to obligate more Section 502 direct loans until it receives funding beyond February 15, however. Section 504 repair loans and grants are available; applicants with immediate health and safety hazards will receive priority. A funding plan for Section 523 self-help grantee organizations is being developed.

HAC offers grants for housing aid to rural veterans.
HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural areas. Grants may be up to $30,000 and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. This initiative is funded through the generous support of the Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due March 11. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org.

Puerto Rico disaster funds available.
HUD has released the initial $1.5 billion of CDBG-DR funds for Puerto Rico that were approved before the shutdown and then delayed.

FY2020 budget process begins in March.
Preparation of the Administration’s budget for the year that begins October 1, 2019 was delayed by the shutdown. Reportedly, summary budget information will be released the week of March 11 and details the week of March 18. Unless Congress and the President agree to raise the Budget Control Act caps on federal spending, as they have in recent years, the caps will come back into effect for FY20 and force significant cuts in appropriations.

Senator releases housing finance reform outline, White House developing a proposal.
Senate Banking Committee Chair Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on February 1 released an outline for housing finance reform. The proposal would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and would allow other mortgage guarantors as well. The current affordable housing goals and Duty to Serve requirements would be replaced by a new Market Access Fund. Funding for the Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, and Market Access Fund would be funded through an assessment on total annual loan volume. Joseph Otting, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, has reportedly told FHFA staff the Administration also plans to move forward on housing finance reform; a White House statement said their framework is still in development.

HAC symposium on rural veterans’ housing and services scheduled for April in Arkansas.
HAC’s 5th Annual National Symposium on Veterans Housing Issues will be held April 18-19 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, sponsored by the Home Depot Foundation. This year’s theme centers on addressing the critical needs around housing, homelessness and aging solutions for rural veterans, within the context of the Delta Regional Authority’s eight-state service area. There is no fee to attend, but space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Cobbler, HAC.

Hazlett leaving USDA, Baxley to move to Secretary’s office.
Anne Hazlett is leaving her position as Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA to go to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Joel Baxley, currently RHS Administrator, will become the Acting Assistant to the Secretary for RD. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and the White House are working to find a nominee for the position of Under Secretary for Rural Development. That job was eliminated by Perdue but the recent Farm Bill required it to be filled. USDA’s announcement does not name an Acting RHS Administrator but Rich Davis, RHS Deputy Administrator for Community Facilities, is expected to serve in that role.

Rural broadband application deadlines to be extended.
The first application deadline for USDA RD’s new ReConnect Program was initially set for April, but the agency has announced it will shift that to May 31 or later. Specific deadlines will be posted in the Federal Register in late February.

USDA raises loan-to-cost ratio for guaranteed rental housing loans.
Effective February 7, 2019, the low loan-to-cost ratio required for a continuous guarantee (a single guarantee for construction and permanent loans) through the Section 538 rental guarantee program will be 70% rather than the previous 50%. For more information, contact Tammy Daniels, USDA, 202-720-0021.

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

HAC News: May 28, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 28, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 11

• USDA funding bills advance without major cuts • House committee approves FY15 T-HUD bill • Senate committee passes housing finance reform bill • Donovan nominated for OMB, Castro for HUD • Section 538 guarantees for rental housing loans are available • Lead hazard funding NOFA issued • USDA offers Intermediary Relending Program funds • HUD allows alternative accessibility standard • HUD allows alternative accessibility standard • Housing counseling pilot proposed by FHA • 2014 OMB Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement available • National Standard for Healthy Housing released • Research briefs link housing with education, employment, health, and other outcomes • Advocates’ Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy available online and in print • Draft handbook for Section 502 guaranteed loans posted • Homelessness decreased slightly from 2012 to 2013, research finds • Rural Data Portal updated with 2008-2012 ACS Data

May 28, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 11

USDA FUNDING BILLS ADVANCE WITHOUT MAJOR CUTS. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee passed its FY15 agriculture appropriations bill on May 20, and the full House committee will consider the measure on May 29. The full Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version, S. 2389, on May 22. Both bills reject many of the Administration’s budget proposals and retain funding for Section 502 direct loans, Section 523 self-help, and the capacity-building Rural Community Development Initiative. Neither house adopted the Administration’s request for minimum rents. Both bills include language prohibiting renewal of Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts that use up their funding before their full 12-month terms. The House bill supports expansion of the demonstration packaging program for Section 502 direct loans, while the Senate bill is silent on the matter.[tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.a

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Admin. Budget

FY15 House Subcmte. Bill

FY15 Senate
Cmte. Bill
S. 2389

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$360
0

$1,042
5

$900
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

28

26.3

26.3

26.4

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

29.5

28.7

25

27

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

31.3

28.4

28.4

28.3

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

20.8

23.9

23.9

23.6

23.8

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

7.1

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistanceb

907.1

1,110

1,089

1,089

1,094

523 Self-Help TA

30

25

10

30

25

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.6

3.5

0

0

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

150

150

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

17.8

20

20

20

20

Rental Prsrv. Revlg. Lns.

0

0

0

0

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

10

12.6

8

8

8

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6.1

6

0

5

6

a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester or 2.5% across the board cut. b. None of the FY15 documents propose RA setasides for preservation or for new Section 514/516 housing. The final FY13 appropriation included a $3 million 514/516 setaside, and the final FY14 appropriation has no setasides.

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES FY15 T-HUD BILL. On May 21 the full House Appropriations Committee passed the Transportation-HUD spending bill as reported by its T-HUD subcommittee and summarized in the May 14 HAC News. The Senate subcommittee is expected to consider its bill on June 3.

SENATE COMMITTEE PASSES HOUSING FINANCE REFORM BILL. S. 1217, the Johnson-Crapo Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act, was approved by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs on May 15. The full Senate is not expected to vote on the bill, however, and it has not been introduced in the House. It is likely to provide a starting point for finance reform efforts in the next Congress.

DONOVAN NOMINATED FOR OMB, CASTRO FOR HUD. President Obama has nominated HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to head the Office of Management and Budget, and San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro to replace Donovan at HUD. Both positions require Senate confirmation.

SECTION 538 GUARANTEES FOR RENTAL HOUSING LOANS ARE AVAILABLE. Funds can be used for new construction or acquisition with rehabilitation of affordable rural rental housing, including USDA-financed properties. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. Contact Monica Cole, USDA, 202-720-1251.

LEAD HAZARD FUNDING NOFA ISSUED. States, local governments, and tribes can apply by June 27 for HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grants or Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grants. Contact Michelle Miller, HUD, 202-402-5769.

USDA OFFERS INTERMEDIARY RELENDING PROGRAM FUNDS. Intermediaries that relend funds for business facilities and community developments in rural areas can apply by June 30 for IRP loans. Contact a USDA RD state office.

HUD ALLOWS ALTERNATIVE ACCESSIBILITY STANDARD. HUD funding recipients may comply with accessibility requirements by using either the 2010 Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design (with specific exceptions) or the Uniform Federal Accessibility Standards. This instruction is effective from May 23 until HUD completes an update of its accessibility regulations. Contact Cheryl Kent, HUD, 202-402-7058.

HOUSING COUNSELING PILOT PROPOSED BY FHA. The Federal Housing Administration requests comments by July 14 on a four-year housing counseling pilot to be called Homeowners Armed With Knowledge (HAWK) for New Homebuyers. In exchange for participating, first-time homebuyers will get “substantial reductions” in the pricing of their FHA insurance. Email questions to housing.counseling@hud.gov with “HAWK Notice Question” in the subject line. Contact Arlene Nunes, HUD, 202-402-2532.

2014 OMB CIRCULAR A-133 COMPLIANCE SUPPLEMENT AVAILABLE. Comments on this year’s supplement are due October 31. Contact a federal awarding agency.

NATIONAL STANDARD FOR HEALTHY HOUSING RELEASED. The National Center for Healthy Housing and the American Public Health Association have issued a standard intended to be used by property owners, elected officials, code agency staff, and others. Written in code language for easy adoption, the document covers existing owner-occupied and rental housing. Contact NCHH, info@nchh.org, 410-992-0712.

RESEARCH BRIEFS LINK HOUSING WITH EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, HEALTH, AND OTHER OUTCOMES. Produced by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation’s “How Housing Matters to Families and Communities Initiative, “ the briefs present findings from longer research pieces and are intended to help inform policy discussions.

ADVOCATES’ GUIDE TO HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLICY AVAILABLE ONLINE AND IN PRINT. The 2014 guide published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition provides brief overviews of housing programs and advocacy tools. To purchase a print copy, contact Christina Reyes, 202-662-1530 x224.

DRAFT HANDBOOK FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS POSTED. The handbook accompanies the program’s interim final rule, which was issued in December 2013 and will take effect on September 1, 2014. Contact USDA RD’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Division, 202-720-1452.

HOMELESSNESS DECREASED SLIGHTLY FROM 2012 TO 2013, RESEARCH FINDS. Nevertheless, nationally there are about 184,000 more homeless persons than beds available to assist them, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness’s State of Homelessness in America report for 2014.

HAC’s RURAL DATA PORTAL now features the most recent 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS) data. Visit www.ruraldataportal.org to start “taking stock” of your community today.

The RURAL DATA PORTAL is a simple, easy to use, on-line resource that provides essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States.

The RURAL DATA PORTAL is targeted toward rural communities, but a wide range of information is presented for the nation, states, and counties for rural, suburban, and urban areas.