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Policy News from Congress

Updated July 29 – FY22 Funding Bill Moves Forward in House

Updated, July 29, 2021 – The full House passed H.R. 4502, a “minibus” containing several FY22 appropriations bills, including the bills for both HUD and USDA.

 

Update, July 16, 2021 – The House Appropriations Committee has approved the Transportation-HUD funding bill. It is expected to be considered by the full House as part of a “minibus” package of several FY22 appropriations bills, which will also include the Agriculture bill.

 

On July 16, 2021 the House Appropriations Committee will consider a fiscal year 2022 funding bill for the Departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. The bill was approved on July 12 by the T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee.

The House bill would set funding levels for many HUD programs at or above the amounts requested in the President’s budget and would provide substantial increases above FY21 levels for almost all programs. Details are provided in the table below.

 

HUD Program

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. FY22 Admin. Budget FY22 House Bill
CDBG $3,425 $3,475 $3,770 $4,688
HOME 1,350 1,350 1,850 1,850
Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP) 10 10 10 15
Veterans Home Rehab 4 4 4
Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce. 23,874 25,778 30,442 29,216
    VASH setaside 40 40 20
    Tribal VASH 1 5 5 5
Project-Based Rental Asstnce. 12,570 13,465 14,060 14,010
Public Hsg. Capital Fund 2,870 2,942 3,678 3,718
Public Hsg. Operating Fund 4,549 4,864 4,917 4,922
Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative 175 200 250 400
Native Amer. Hsg. 825 825 1,000 950
Homeless Assistance Grants 2,777 3,000 3,500 3,420
Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS 410 430 450 600
202 Hsg. for Elderly 793 855 928 1,033
811 Hsg. for Disabled 202 227 272 352
Fair Housing 70.3 72.6 85 85
Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl. 290 360 400 460
Housing Counseling 53 57.5 85.9 100

 

Policy News from the Administration

Biden’s USDA Housing Budget Proposes Increases in Section 502 Mortgages and Rental Preservation

The Biden administration’s first full budget request, covering the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2021, would maintain this year’s spending levels on rural housing programs and make available more loans for rural homebuyers. The Section 502 direct loan program, though which USDA makes loans directly to first-time purchasers, would be raised from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The Section 502 guarantee program, which guarantees mortgages made by banks, would increase from $24 billion to $30 billion.

Fiscal year 2022 funding for most rural housing programs would remain at the same levels as in fiscal year 2021, with modest increases for self-help housing, rental assistance, and rental vouchers. The budget also indicates that the American Jobs Plan – the administration’s infrastructure proposal – would provide an additional $2 billion in rural housing spending. It does not give any details about how that money would be used.

The budget proposes to eliminate some protections for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA). It would delete a requirement that recaptured RA be reused for rehab, preservation, or RA, and it would eliminate longstanding provisions requiring a 12-month delay before recapturing unused RA from Section 514/516 farmworker housing and mandating that farmworker housing RA be reused in other farmworker housing if possible. Language that allows recaptured RA to be used for “current needs” would be left in place.

Also deleted would be a provision from FY20 and FY21 appropriations that allows owners to request RA renewals for 20-year periods, subject to annual appropriations, which fund RA contracts for one year at a time.

The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, the Section 542 voucher program, and both farmworker housing programs would be shifted to new places in the budgetary scheme, an administrative move that would not alter the functioning of any of these programs.

The administration’s budget is the first step in the annual appropriations process. Each house of Congress will now craft its own proposal and differences will be worked out in the months to come.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY 22 Admin. Budget
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6 $1,500
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6

a The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.

 

Administration Again Proposes Eliminating Many Housing Programs

The Trump Administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2020, much like its FY19 and FY18 budgets, would eliminate most of USDA’s rural housing programs, along with CDBG, HOME, and SHOP. It would require tenants in both USDA and HUD properties to pay more for their homes. It would also cut USDA Rural Development staff below their already reduced levels.

Register Now for HAC’s webinar on the Administration’s FY 2020 Budget.

USDA

Like the Administration’s FY19 budget, this year’s proposal would zero out funding for all rural housing programs except Section 502 guarantees, Section 538 guarantees for rental housing production, and renewals of existing Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 vouchers. It would require tenants in USDA-assisted rental housing to pay at least $50 per month unless they apply for and receive a hardship exemption from USDA. It would also rescind $40 million from the Section 521 Rental Assistance program; that amount represents funding carried over from one year to the next to avoid potential shortfalls in funding availability to renew RA contracts at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Voucher funding would be combined with RA in a single account. USDA’s budget summary shows a $1.407 billion line item for Rental Assistance, but that amount includes $32 million for vouchers and does not account for the $40 million proposed rescission. USDA says this is enough to renew current contracts.

The budget calls for 3,776 Rural Development employees, saying this is 613 staff years below the 2019 estimate.

USDA Rural Development Appropriations[tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 Final Approp.

FY 20 Admin. Budget

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside*

$1,100
5

0
0

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000 24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

28

0

28 0

504 VLI Repair Grants

30

0

30 0

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

40

0

40 0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23

0

27.5 0

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.4

0

10 0

521 Rental Assistance

1,345

1,331.4

1,331.4 1,335**

523 Self-Help TA

30

0

30 0

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

10

0

15 0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

230

250

230 250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

0

24.5 0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

25

20

27 32**

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

0

6 ***

Rental Prsrv. TA

1

0

1 0

* For the self-help setaside in Section 502 direct, the figures in the table represent budget authority, not program levels.
** The budget would move vouchers into the Rental Assistance account.
*** The budget documents available on March 11 do not mention RCDI. Details scheduled to be released on March 18 should confirm whether the Administration proposes any funding for this capacity building program.

HUD

The budget would decrease HUD’s funding by 16.4 percent. It would eliminate CDBG, HOME, SHOP, and support for public housing’s capital needs.

It would impose work requirements on HUD-assisted tenants and would include the Administration’s April 2018 proposed rent increases. It would moderately increase HUD’s staffing and would finance improvements to outdated technology. HUD’s summary of the request says rental assistance would be maintained for all currently assisted tenants.

HUD Appropriations [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 Final Approp.

FY20 Admin. Budget

CDBG

$3,300

0

$3,300 0

HOME

1,362

0

1,250 0

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

0

10 0

Veterans Home Rehab

4

0

4 0

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

22,015
40
5

20,550
0
4

22,598
40
4
22,244
?
?

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

11,515

10,952

11,747 12,021

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

2,750

0

2,775 0

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,550

3,279

4,653 2,863

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

150

0

150 0

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grt.

655

600

655 600

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,513

2,383

2,636 2,599

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

375

330

393 330

202 Hsg. for Elderly

678

563

678 644

811 Hsg. for Disabled

230

132

184 157

Fair Housing

65.3

62.3

65.3 62

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

230

145

279 290

Housing Counseling

55

45

50 45

Moises Loza's Statement on the Trump Administration's "Skinny" Budget

Statement from Moises Loza, Housing Assistance Council (HAC) Executive Director in Response to the Administration’s Budget Proposal:

Moises Loza, HAC's Executive DirectorMoises Loza, HAC’s Executive DirectorI began my career in rural housing in 1973, and over the decades, I’ve been heartened as Republican and Democratic advocates for sensible rural priorities on Capitol Hill have worked together toward a stronger rural America. Such efforts are needed now more than ever.

The proposed budget would upend efforts by hard-working low-income families who put forth sweat equity to construct their own modest homes.  It eliminates clean water and sewer investments which are essential to poor rural and tribal communities. The elimination of HOME and CDBG programs would undermine local efforts to provide decent housing, community facilities, and a foundation for economic development in rural communities. And de-funding national rural capacity building programs sends a stark message to the private sector:  Rural America is not worthy of investment. 

I have and will continue to invite Administration officials to see the firsthand impact of the investments that they propose to eliminate.  I am confident that such interactions with rural America’s most vulnerable and the HAC partners working to meet their needs would convince even the most cynical of the impact of the programs slated for de-funding.

Moreover, the wholesale nature of the proposed cuts and the accompanying austerity would exacerbate the opioid crisis, which is also a housing infrastructure issue. The strains on the rural social fabric are many, and the budget proposal, if enacted, would represent a breaking point for local and county governments in the persistently poor communities where HAC works.

I join my colleagues and HAC’s partners across the country in hoping that members of Congress will see the disproportionately deep impact of the proposed cuts on our rural and tribal communities. 

HAC News: June 29, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 29, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 12

• Non-priority low-income Section 502 funds are fully committed • Housing bill introduced in Senate • Senate hearing reviews USDA RD aid to Native Americans • HUD adopts tribal consultation policy, considers creating advisory committee • USDA RD sets this year’s voucher policies and procedures • Continuum of Care NOFA published • Housing market recovery yields to affordability challenges, says State of the Nation’s Housing 2016 • Poll shows Americans agree affordable housing needs more attention • List of nonmetro areas to receive CRA community development credit released • Data on kids shows improvements in health and education but not poverty • Webinars set to cover RD’s Limited English Proficiency guidance • HAC offers webinar on VA grant program

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 29, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 12

Non-priority low-income Section 502 funds are fully committed. RD staff tell HAC that FY16 funds for direct Section 502 loans to low-income borrowers are being pooled on June 30 and will be used on a case-by-case basis for low-income applicants purchasing program REO properties or working with Section 523 self-help grantees or intermediary packagers. Direct Section 502 funds for very low-income borrowers will be re-distributed to states, as will Section 504 repair grants. Section 504 repair loans are available to obligate in all states/territories without restrictions. All unobligated funds will be repooled August 15. RD expects to use the Section 502 direct funds for very low-income borrowers (40% of the total) by late August or early September.

Housing bill introduced in Senate. S. 3083, filed last week by a bipartisan group of Senators, is a companion to H.R. 3700, which passed the House on Feb. 2 (see HAC News, 2/3/16). Both are named “the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” or HOTMA.

Senate hearing reviews USDA RD aid to Native Americans. On June 22 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on “Accessing USDA Rural Development Programs in Native Communities.” A witness who focused on housing praised RD’s past and current efforts, but identified tribal capacity and the amount of required documentation as barriers to better tribal use of the housing programs.

HUD adopts tribal consultation policy, considers creating advisory committee. The department is adopting without change the proposed Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy published in 2015 (see HAC News, 4/29/15), outlining principles and procedures for HUD employees with regard to federally recognized Indian or Alaska Native tribes. HUD requests comments by July 25 on establishing a Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, consisting of tribal representatives, to help HUD further develop and maintain its Indian housing programs. Contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-401-7914.

USDA RD sets this year’s voucher policies and procedures. The provisions of this notice govern the program in FY16. Section 542 vouchers are available to tenants when a property owner either prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure after September 30, 2005. Contact Stephanie B.M. White, USDA, 202-720-1615.

Continuum of Care NOFA published. Applications for FY16 CoC funds are due September 14. Contact a local HUD CPD office.

Housing market recovery yields to affordability challenges, says State of the Nation’s Housing 2016. The Joint Center for Housing Studies’ annual study includes an interactive mapping utility and analyzes demographic drivers, rental and owner-occupied housing, and housing challenges for communities across the U.S. It examines how the strengthening market has led to affordability challenges that outstrip the availability of federal housing assistance. There are a record high 11.4 million severely cost-burdened renter households. The report also details ongoing challenges facing nonmetro and tribal areas.

Poll shows Americans agree affordable housing needs more attention. Nearly two-thirds of adults (63%) believe actions can be taken to solve problems of housing affordability. Poll respondents across political parties – 74% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 49% of Republicans – believe the issue has not received enough attention from the 2016 presidential candidates. The 2016 How Housing Matters Survey is the fourth annual national survey of housing attitudes commissioned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this year with additional support from the Kresge Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust.

List of nonmetro areas to receive CRA community development credit released. The federal bank regulatory agencies’ 2016 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies, where revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration as community development, is based on local economic conditions, including unemployment, poverty, and population changes.

Data on kids shows improvements in health and education but not poverty. The 2016 Kids Count Data Book reports that nationwide, despite rising employment numbers, 22% of children lived in poverty in both 2013 and 2014, and almost one in three children live in families where no member of the household has full-time, year-round employment. In 2006-2010, 11% of children lived in high-poverty areas and now that figure is 14%. The Annie E. Casey Foundation publication offers data for every state.

Webinars set to cover RD’s Limited English Proficiency guidance. USDA RD’s Office of Civil Rights will host webinars on July 7 and 14 (each with the same content). They are open to all, and the agency particularly encourages attendance by those involved in the certified loan application packaging process and/or the self-help program. To register, email Darren.kaihlanen@wdc.usda.gov.

HAC offers webinar on VA grant program. “VA Housing Resources for Heroes Part II: An Overview on the VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant Program” will be on July 13 at 2:00 Eastern. The webinar is free but registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: December 16, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 25

• FY16 funding bill increases Rental Assistance and HOME • Tax extenders bill would make 9% LIHTC and EITC permanent • Highway law includes HUD housing provisions • House committee approves housing bill • FHFA proposes new duty to serve rule for Fannie and Freddie • HUD final rule defines chronic homelessness • FY16 Fair Market Rents set • Comments on manufactured home code requested • Rental housing study finds growing demand • KEEP YOUR HAC NEWS COMING – BY EMAIL!

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 25

FY16 funding bill increases Rental Assistance and HOME. The omnibus appropriations bill, which is expected to become law, raises some of USDA’s rental housing programs above the levels previously considered by House and Senate committees. Increases were possible because the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act raised the spending cap for FY16 (see HAC News, 10/28/15); caps will be lower for FY17. Section 521 Rental Assistance, which did not have enough funding in FY15 (see HAC News 11/11/15), gets almost $1.39 billion, $75 million of which is set aside for renewing RA contracts that use up their funds before the end of their 12-month contract periods. USDA is required to provide quarterly reports on Rental Assistance use. Section 542 vouchers – for tenants in properties whose Section 515 loans have been prepaid – are allocated $15 million. The MPR rental preservation program receives $22 million. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Budget Proposal

FY16 House Cmte. Bill
(H.R. 3049)

FY16 Senate Cmte. Bill
(S. 1800)

FY16
Omnibus
Approps. Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$900
0

$900
5

$900
5

$900
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

26

28.7

28.7

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

28.4

42.3

28.4

28.4

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.6

23.9

23.9

23.6

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,110

1,089

1,172

1,167

1,167

1,390

523 Self-Help TA

25

27.5

10

27.5

27.5

27.5

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

3.5

0

3.5

3.5

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

200

150

200

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

20

17

19

17

17

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

12.6

7

15

7

7

15

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6

4

4

4

4

4

Despite previously proposed cuts in the House and Senate funding bills, the omnibus raises HOME program funding above its FY15 level to $950 million. CDBG remains at $3 billion, and SHOP continues at $10 million.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16
Budget
Proposal

FY16
House Bill
H.R. 2577

FY16 Sen. Apps. Cmte. Bill (H.R. 2577)

FY16
Omnibus
Approps. Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

2,900
2,900

3,060
3,000

HOME

1,000

900

1,060

767

66

950

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

10a

10

10

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
b

19,919

19,934
75

19,628
60

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,254

10,426

10,622

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,681

1,743

1,900

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,440

4,500

4,500

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

90

80

250

20

65

125

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

660

650

650

650

Homeless Assistance Grantsc

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,185

2,235

2,250

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

330

330

332

332

330

335

202 Hsg. for Elderly

385.3

436

455

416.5

420

432.7

811 Hsg. for Disabled

126

135

177

152

137

150.6

Fair Housing

66

65.3

71

65.3

69.5

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

110

120

75

110

110

Housing Counseling

45

47

60

47

47

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

a. The FY16 Administration budget, like past budget requests, would have made SHOP a setaside in HOME. Congress has consistently rejected that proposal. b. The 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.

Tax extenders bill would make 9% LIHTC and EITC permanent. Congressional leaders negotiated a tax bill that would make the 9% minimum Low Income Housing Tax Credit floor permanent and retroactive to January 1, 2015. It would extend the New Markets Tax Credit for five years at $3.5 million per year. It also makes permanent the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. The House may vote on December 17, and the Senate after that.

Highway law includes HUD housing provisions. The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (H.R. 22), signed into law on December 4, included four housing measures that passed the House earlier in 2015. One lets public and assisted housing administrators verify income once every three years instead of annually for tenants with fixed incomes. One allows private nonprofits to administer permanent housing rental assistance provided through the Continuum of Care Program. Another permits owners (including nonprofits) of HUD multifamily housing to use property income. The fourth authorizes a HUD demonstration program for energy- and water-saving agreements.

House committee approves housing bill. On December 10, the House Committee on Financial Services approved H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2015. The bill makes some changes in HUD rental programs, including altering tenants’ income calculations.

FHFA proposes new duty to serve rule for Fannie and Freddie. The Federal Housing Finance Agency regulation will implement a statutory requirement for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve the rural, manufactured housing, and affordable housing preservation markets. An FHFA webinar on December 22 will explain the rule and address questions submitted in advance. Comments will be due 90 days after publication in the Federal Register. Contact Jim Gray, FHFA, 202-649-3124. HAC will hold a webinar focusing on the rural component of the rule, probably in January, and will post its comments at ruralhome.org before the deadline. Contact Lance George, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HUD final rule defines chronic homelessness. The definition will be used in HUD’s Continuum of Care Program and in jurisdictions’ ConPlans. Contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

FY16 Fair Market Rents set. HUD’s final FMRs took effect Dec. 11. Contact a local HUD program office.

Comments on manufactured home code requested. HUD invites the public to propose changes to update and revise its Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. Comments are due March 31 and will be submitted to the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee for review and consideration. Contact Pamela Beck Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

Rental housing study finds growing demand. America’s Rental Housing:Expanding Options for Diverse and Growing Demand, by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, documents increases in households renting their homes, resulting in increased cost burden rates at all income levels from 2001 to 2014. The lowest-income households far outnumber the rental units affordable to them.

KEEP YOUR HAC NEWS COMING – BY EMAIL! Beginning in 2016, the print version of the HAC News will no longer be available. The News will still be published every two weeks, will still provide the same concise updates on issues important to rural housers, and will still be free. Back issues will continue to be available online at https://ruralhome.org. Sign up now to receive the News by email: https://oi.vresp.com/?fid=d6efb14510.

HAC News: May 13, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 13, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 10

• House committee approves THUD spending bill • Senate passes budget agreement • HUD offers lead-paint grants • New version of USDA’s multifamily Preliminary Assessment Tool available • HUD and USDA determine new energy efficiency standards will apply • Guidance released to extend CDBG disaster grants from Hurricane Sandy • Dates set for Section 538 calls • FHFA announces extension of HARP • Worst Case Housing Needs 2015 Report to Congress released • Limits on GSE lending for multifamily mortgages eased • Federal rental assistance and Housing Choice voucher fact sheets released • Webinar recording on Native American housing available • HAC conference on “Serving Veterans in Rural America” set for May 20

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 13, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 10

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES THUD SPENDING BILL. On May 13, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Transportation-HUD subcommittee’s FY16 appropriations bill without changes to HUD spending levels (see HAC News, 4/29/15). The committee rejected an amendment to provide $1.06 million for HOME without diverting money from the National Housing Trust Fund, offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

SENATE PASSES BUDGET AGREEMENT. On May 5, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to approve the House budget, which adds military spending while keeping cuts affecting social programs in place (see HAC News, 4/3/15). The budget is not binding and does not require presidential signature, but it does impose overall caps on federal spending.

HUD OFFERS LEAD-PAINT GRANTS. Local, county, state, and tribal governments can apply for the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration and Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grant programs by June 23. Contact Eric Hornbuckle, HUD, 202-402-7599.

NEW VERSION OF USDA’S MULTIFAMILY PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT TOOL AVAILABLE. Version 4.0 of the tool for Section 515 or 514 borrowers (see HAC News, 12/22/14) should be used when applying to transfer ownership or for the Multi-Family Housing Revitalization Demonstration Program (at the links, click the “Forms & Resources” tabs). Borrowers that used older PAT guidelines and submitted transactions after December 16, 2014 must use the new version. Contact an RD State Office.

HUD AND USDA DETERMINE NEW ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS WILL APPLY. New standards will be required for newly constructed homes with USDA Section 502 direct and guaranteed loans and for FHA-insured multifamily and single-family properties. For the HOME program, the standards will apply after publication of guidance by HUD. For more information contact Meghan Walsh, USDA, 202-205-9590.

GUIDANCE RELEASED TO EXTEND CDBG DISASTER GRANTS FROM HURRICANE SANDY. Expenditure extensions can be made for 24 months. For more information, contact Stanley Gimont, HUD, 202-708-3587.

DATES SET FOR SECTION 538 CALLS. To receive emails announcing dates for calls or web meetings in 2015 and 2016, contact Monica Cole at 202-720-1251. Topics will include program activities, perspectives on the current state of debt financing and its impact on the Section 538 program, enhancing the use of program financing with the transfer or preservation of Section 515 units, and the impact of LIHTC program changes on Section 538 program financing.

FHFA ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF HARP. The Home Affordable Refinance Program will continue through the end of 2016. Launched in 2009 to provide relief to borrowers through lowering monthly payments, HARP was originally set to expire December 31, 2013.

WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS 2015 REPORT TO CONGRESS RELEASED. HUD reports that although very low-income renters with worst case needs (those who do not receive government housing aid and paid more than half their income for rent, lived in severely inadequate conditions, or both) decreased slightly from 2011 to 2013, need remains high. Nonmetro areas experience less worst case need overall, but face other challenges including high utility costs.

LIMITS ON GSE LENDING FOR MULTIFAMILY MORTGAGES EASED. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can increase their financing of multifamily mortgages this year in order to avoid tighter multifamily credit and borrowing costs. Caps will remain at $30 billion each; however, multifamily loans that meet certain qualifications can be excluded. Qualifications are based on the percentage of units priced under a certain area median income, whether the property is in a high cost market, if the units target seniors, and if the property is mixed-income targeted affordable housing.

FEDERAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE AND HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER FACT SHEETS RELEASED. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fact sheets provide state level data on the impacts of HUD rental assistance, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Housing Choice Voucher utilization data, and sequestration cuts in Housing Choice Vouchers.

WEBINAR RECORDING ON NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING AVAILABLE. On March 24, HUD hosted a panel discussion and webcast entitled “Native American Housing: Obstacles and Opportunities.” Speakers provided data and described best practices.

HAC CONFERENCE ON “SERVING VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA” SET FOR MAY 20. Cosponsored by HAC and The Home Depot Foundation, this event in Washington, DC will provide information on housing, health, and employment needs and programs for rural veterans, with a special focus on successful local projects. There is no charge, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, email janice@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: April 29, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 29, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 9

• House acts on HUD funding • USDA RD issues final 502 packaging rule • RD revises UL on tenant notifications for loan payoffs • HUD offers ICDBG funds to address mold • HUD has tenant protection vouchers for low-vacancy areas • Continuum of Care registration opens • VA requests comments on Veterans Choice Program • HUD changes Distressed Asset Stabilization Program • Broadband comments requested • HUD revising tribal consultation policy • HUD required to use procurement contracts for Section 8 funding • Administration adds new Promise Zones • GAO recommends changes in HOPWA funding formula • HUD releases Rental Market Dynamics 2009-2011 report • HAC blogs on ending rural veteran homelessness • Veterans and LIHTC subjects of HAC webinars • HAC conference on “Serving Veterans in Rural America” set for May 20

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 29, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 9

HOUSE ACTS ON HUD FUNDING. The House Appropriations Transportation-HUD Subcommittee on April 29 approved a bill to fund HUD and other programs in fiscal year 2016, beginning October 1. The bill would reduce appropriations for HOME from $900 million in 2015 to $767 million in 2016, but would make up the difference by channeling receipts from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to HOME rather than to the National Housing Trust Fund, where current law requires them to go. The bill has level funding for CDBG, Native American housing, public housing operating funds, fair housing, and housing counseling. Some other reductions and increases would also occur, as the table below indicates. A full committee mark-up is the next step in the process and will probably occur soon. The Senate committee has not yet scheduled its action on a T-HUD bill. Also not yet clear is when a final appropriations act will pass and what the impact of a required budget sequester could be. [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.a

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Admin. Budget
Proposal

FY16
House Subcmte. Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,308
2,948

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

HOME
SHOP setaside

1,000
b

1,000
b

900
b

1,060
10

767

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

13.5

10

10

b

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

18,939.4
75

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
c

19,919

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,339.7

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,254

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,886

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,681

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,262

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,440

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

120

90

80

250

20

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

650

660

650

Homeless Assistance Grantsd

2,033

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,185

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

334

330

330

332

332

202 Hsg. for Elderly

377

385.3

436

455

414

811 Hsg. for Disabled

165

126

135

177

152

Fair Housing

70.8

66

65.3

71

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

120

110

110

120

75

Housing Counseling

45

45

47

60

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester.
b. Recent Obama budgets have proposed making the SHOP program a setaside in HOME. Congress has rejected that proposal.
c. VASH vouchers for homeless veterans are not funded. The President’s budget proposed making VASH part of a new account of incremental rental vouchers for families, veterans, and tribal families experiencing homelessness and for victims of domestic violence.
d. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational.

USDA RD ISSUES FINAL 502 PACKAGING RULE. Revisions to the rule proposed on August 23, 2013 (see HAC News, 8/28/13) will strengthen qualification requirements for intermediaries, require all loans to go through intermediaries unless a packaging organization gets a USDA waiver, cap fees at $1,500 initially, exempt self-help loans from packaging, and make other changes. The final rule is effective July 28. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

RD REVISES UL ON TENANT NOTIFICATIONS FOR LOAN PAYOFFS. An Unnumbered Letter dated April 28, 2015 supersedes one issued on January 15, 2015 (see HAC News, 2/4/15) and includes sample notifications for borrowers and tenants. Contact a USDA RD state office.

HUD OFFERS ICDBG FUNDS TO ADDRESS MOLD. Tribes and tribal organizations can apply by June 22 for Mold Remediation and Prevention grants to be used for housing units owned or operated by tribes and TDHEs or previously assisted with HUD funding. Contact Roberta Youmans, HUD, 202-402-3316.

HUD HAS TENANT PROTECTION VOUCHERS FOR LOW-VACANCY AREAS. Property owners can apply on a rolling basis for either enhanced vouchers or project-based vouchers for tenants in listed low-vacancy counties whose rents rise when a HUD-insured, HUD-held or Section 202 loan matures; a rental assistance contract expires; or HUD affordability restrictions expire. Contact HUD’s Housing Voucher Management and Operations Division, 202-708-0477.

CONTINUUM OF CARE REGISTRATION OPENS. CoC Collaborative Applicants (not project applicants) must register by May 18 in order to compete for FY15 funds. Contact a HUD CPD field office.

VA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM. Comments are due May 26 for the Veterans Choice Program interim final rule, which uses driving distance rather than straight lines to measure the distance from a veteran’s residence to the nearest VA medical facility. Contact Kristin Cunningham, VA, 202-382-2508.

HUD CHANGES DISTRESSED ASSET STABILIZATION PROGRAM. Loan servicers must now delay foreclosure for a year and evaluate borrowers for loss mitigation programs. Other changes are intended to increase HUD’s first 2015 sale is planned for June.

BROADBAND COMMENTS REQUESTED. The Rural Utilities Service and National Telecommunications and Information Administration seek input by June 10 about federal actions to promote broadband deployment, adoption, and competition, including by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Contact Denise Scott, RUS, 202-720-1910.

HUD REVISING TRIBAL CONSULTATION POLICY. Comments are due June 8 on changes to HUD’s government-to-government policy, which intended to enhance communication and coordination between HUD and federally recognized Indian tribes, and to outline guiding principles and procedures under which all HUD employees are to operate with regard to federally recognized tribes. Contact Rodger Boyd, HUD, 202-401-7914.

HUD REQUIRED TO USE PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS FOR SECTION 8 FUNDING. On April 20 the Supreme Court denied an appeal petition, leaving standing a lower court’s ruling that HUD cannot continue to use cooperative agreements with states and PHAs to run the Project-Based Rental Assistance (voucher) program. HUD must now use the federal procurement process, and has said it will need 18-24 months to implement the decision.

ADMINISTRATION ADDS NEW PROMISE ZONES. As PZs, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and the South Carolina Low Country, along with six cities, will receive technical assistance and some funding preferences.

GAO RECOMMENDS CHANGES IN HOPWA FUNDING FORMULA. Persons with HIV: Funding Formula for Housing Assistance Could Be Better Targeted, and Performance Data Could Be Improved recommends revising the funding formula to letter reflect the number of living persons with HIV.

HUD RELEASES RENTAL MARKET DYNAMICS 2009-2011 REPORT. The report finds that while the number of afford-able units increased nationally, their percentage of the overall rental stock decreased.

HAC BLOGS ON ENDING RURAL VETERAN HOMELESSNESS. Accounting for Our Sometimes Hidden Homeless Veterans” highlights strategies to ensure rural veterans are included in VA efforts to end veteran homelessness in 2015.

VETERANS AND LIHTC SUBJECTS OF HAC WEBINARS. “Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans” is set for May 6. “Utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits: An Introduction” will be on May 13; follow the discussion online at #ruralLIHTC. Both will be at 2:00 eastern time and are free; registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, 404-892-4824.

HAC CONFERENCE ON “SERVING VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA” SET FOR MAY 20. Cosponsored by HAC and The Home Depot Foundation, this event in Washington, DC will provide information on housing, health, and employment needs and programs for rural veterans, with a special focus on successful local projects. There is no charge, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, email janice@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: April 15, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 15, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 8

• House approves bills on QM and manufactured housing • USDA expanding Section 502 direct loan intermediary pilot • CDFI Fund offers bond guarantees, eases applications for some • RHS encourages processing Section 502 direct applications • RD’s Capital Needs Assessment guidance reissued • FHFA adopts rule prohibiting pass-through of NHTF and CMF costs • Study finds administrative fees for HUD vouchers do not cover costs • Report documents innovative financing for permanent supportive housing • GAO report on government programs’ overlap includes NMTC recommendations • HUD offers healthy housing awards • Upcoming HAC webinars cover HVAC, veterans

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 15, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 8

HOUSE APPROVES BILLS ON QM AND MANUFACTURED HOUSING. On April 14 the House passed H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2015, and H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Supporters say the bills would clarify provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and increase consumer options. The Obama Administration has threatened to veto both H.R. 685 and H.R. 650, saying both “would weaken key consumer protections and provisions” of Dodd-Frank.

USDA EXPANDING SECTION 502 DIRECT LOAN INTERMEDIARY PILOT. Nonprofits and public agencies can apply by May 13 to become intermediaries, which train and assist other nonprofits to package Section 502 direct loan applications. New intermediaries must work in specific states not covered by current intermediaries. For further information, contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

CDFI FUND OFFERS BOND GUARANTEES, EASES APPLICATIONS FOR SOME. Certified CDFIs or entities designated by certified CDFIs can apply by June 5 to become qualified issuers, and qualified issuers can apply by June 12 for guarantees under the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421, option 5. Comments are due June 9 on an interim rule that would give the CDFI Fund more flexibility to approve a CDFI that is an affiliate of another CDFI for the Bond Guarantee Program only. Contact CDFI Fund staff.

RHS ENCOURAGES PROCESSING SECTION 502 DIRECT APPLICATIONS. RHS has told stakeholders, including HAC, that Administrator Tony Hernandez and USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah recently encouraged field staff to allocate adequate resources to process applications for Section 502 direct loans. The National Office has provided states with new tools for data analysis and management, and states are encouraged to partner with others as needed to speed loan processing and fully utilize FY 2015 allocations.

RD’S CAPITAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT GUIDANCE REISSUED. An Unnumbered Letter dated March 16, 2015 is substantially the same as a 2013 UL. It provides detail on developing a CNA, required for transactions involving USDA financed multifamily properties. Contact a USDA RD state office.

FHFA ADOPTS RULE PROHIBITING PASS-THROUGH OF NHTF AND CMF COSTS. No changes were made in the interim rule issued in December (see HAC News, 12/22/14) stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cannot pass to loan originators the costs of their National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund allocations.

STUDY FINDS ADMINISTRATIVE FEES FOR HUD VOUCHERS DO NOT COVER COSTS. Conducted byAbt Associates for HUD, the research included public housing authorities of all sizes in urban, rural, and suburban places. A draft report, Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Fee Study, says in 2013 the average cost of administering a voucher was $70.03 per month and the average fee from HUD was $51.64. Costs in the smallest PHAs (fewer than 50 vouchers) were 91% higher than in the largest PHAs (200 to 249 vouchers), even though rural labor costs were lower. Only 52% of the costs in those smallest PHAs were covered by fees. The report recommends a new formula for calculating fees.

REPORT DOCUMENTS INNOVATIVE FINANCING FOR PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING. Creating New Integrated Permanent Supportive Housing Opportunities for ELI Households: A Vision for the Future of the National Housing Trust Fund, released by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, highlights state innovations in financing for permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income (30% of area median) households, consistent with recommendations in NLIHC’s report, Aligning Federal Low Income Housing Programs with Housing Need.

GAO REPORT ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS’ OVERLAP INCLUDES NMTC RECOMMENDATIONS. The Government Accountability Office’s 2015 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits(GAO-15-404SP) makes no new recommendations on housing programs. It suggests the CDFI Fund issue further guidance on how other government programs can be combined with New Markets Tax Credits; ensure adequate controls to limit the risks of unnecessary duplication and above-market rates of return; and ensure that more complete and accurate data are collected.

HUD OFFERS HEALTHY HOUSING AWARDS. Applications are due April 30 for awards in three categories: public housing/multifamily supported housing, public policy, and cross-program coordination.

UPCOMING HAC WEBINARS COVER HVAC, VETERANS. “A Practitioner’s Guide to Energy Star 3.0: HVAC (Part A)” will be on April 22 at 2:00 eastern (registration available soon) and “Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans” on May 6 at 2:00 eastern. Both are free; registration is required. Contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: April 3, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

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

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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