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HAC News: June 14, 2019

News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities • June is National Homeownership Month • House moves appropriations forward • House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals • Disaster funding bill becomes law • Flood insurance program extended • HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies • USDA moving ERS and NIFA to Kansas City • Revised income limits for HUD programs posted • RuralSTAT • Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing • RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas • Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes • A Piece of Mississippi: Retrospective on Rural Generation for CIRDReservation ProfilesSpeak Your Piece: Rural Strength and Possibility •Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is accepting applications through July 22 for stipends and technical assistance to enable rural and tribal communities to host rural design workshops or participate in a Learning Cohort. A webinar offering application guidance from HAC, the National Endowment for the Arts and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is available online. “Open office hour” events will also be hosted by [bc] on Facebook live on June 18 and July 10. For more information, contact CIRD@bcworkshop.org.

June is National Homeownership Month.

USDA’s press release highlights the department’s homeownership programs.

House moves appropriations forward.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the proposed FY20 spending bills for USDA and HUD on June 4. Those two measures have been combined with the bills for Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment and Military Construction-VA to create a second “minibus” that is scheduled for a vote in the full House the week of June 17. The House began debate June 12 on the first minibus, comprised of appropriations bills for Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations and Energy. The Financial Services bill, not included in either minibus, passed the House Appropriations Committee on June 11 and includes $300 million for CDFI Fund programs, compared to $250 million in FY19. The Senate has not yet begun to consider its appropriations bills.

House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals.

H.R. 3018, passed by the House Financial Services Committee on June 12, would block HUD’s proposal to allow homeless shelters to treat transgender and gender non-conforming people according to the sex they were assigned at birth. Similar language is included in the House’s HUD appropriations bill for FY20. Also approved by the committee was H.R. 2763, prohibiting implementation of HUD’s proposed rule to end housing benefits for families with mixed immigration status. Finally, H.R. 3154 clarifies that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients cannot be denied federally backed mortgage loans based on their DACA status; after the bill passed, a letter from a HUD official to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) became public confirming that FHA considers DACA recipients ineligible for its mortgage guarantees, a policy previously denied by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Disaster funding bill becomes law.

On June 6, President Trump signed the disaster relief bill into law, providing $17.2 billion for recovery from 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Flood insurance program extended.

The new disaster relief law extends authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2019, the end of the current fiscal year. The program would be authorized through the end of fiscal 2024 by H.R. 3167, which received unanimous approval from the House Financial Services Committee on June 12. That bill and H.R. 3111, also passed unanimously by the committee, make other changes to the program as well.

HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies.

Nonprofits, for-profits, PHAs, state or local governments, tribes and educational institutions can apply by July 11 for HUD Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grants to improve detection and control of housing-related health and safety hazards. For more information, contact J. Kofi Berko, HUD.

USDA says ERS and NIFA will move to Kansas City.

The Kansas City region has been selected as the new location for the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on June 13. With its press release, USDA provided the first publicly available cost-benefit analysis for the controversial move. The House’s FY20 appropriations bill for USDA includes language prohibiting use of FY20 funds for the relocation, but a timeline in the cost-benefit document shows the Department intends to begin the relocation by August 1 and complete it by September 30, before FY20 begins on October 1. NIFA workers voted on June 11 to join the American Federation of Government Employees, as ERS employees did in May.

Revised income limits for HUD programs posted.

The 2019 income limits for CDBG, HOME, HTF, HOPWA and NSP will be effective June 29. The limits for ESG are effective as of April 24.

RuralSTAT. The citizenship question on the 2020 Census has been hotly debated as of late. Data on citizenship already exists in the American Community Survey. From the ACS, the Census Bureau estimates that 2.8% of the rural and small town population are not U.S. citizens. To view the data for your community and its reliability, visit HAC’s Rural Data Portal.

Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing.

A new Iowa program, based on one in South Dakota, aims to help alleviate the state’s rural affordable housing shortage by recruiting the state’s prison population to build modular affordable housing. The program also hopes to provide inmates with training and apprenticeships that can help them find jobs upon reentry.

RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas.

An open house event allowed visitors to see a finished home where a family lived throughout construction, beginning with a small “core” house erected in three days and intended to replace a FEMA trailer after a natural disaster. The family occupied the core while the rest of the home was built onto it. Texas Housers, one of the partners in developing and testing the concept, declared this RAPIDO home ready to move to large scale use in future disaster rebuilding. Other partners were buildingcommunityWorkshop, Enterprise Community Partners, the Texas Organizing Project and Covenant Community Capital. A past issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine (p. 27) describes how the concept can be used for affordable housing in non-disaster situations as well.

Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes.

HUD is proposing changes in how it calculates trend factors that are used in determining Fair Market Rents. The changes are intended to make the determinations more local. Comments are due July 5. For more information, contact HUD’s Program Parameters and Research Division, 202-402-2409.

Recent publications and media of interest

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: April 6, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 6, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 6

• April is Fair Housing Month • HUD issues guidance on fair housing for those with criminal • New federal rule protects religious liberties of beneficiaries and providers • CFPB proposes to expand provisions for small rural lenders • FY16 income limits released • Section 538 loan guarantees available • ROSS funds offered • Fair housing assessment tool for PHAs released • Medicaid can provide supportive housing services, issue brief says • Housing problems contribute to higher health care spending, researchers report • U.S. lacks 7.2 million rents for extremely low-income renters • USDA spending in FY15 emphasized guarantees, celebrated self-help • HAC presents third CRA webinar

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 6, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 6

April is Fair Housing Month.

HUD issues guidance on fair housing for those with criminal records. HUD’s Office of General Counsel explains that the Fair Housing Act bans discrimination based on criminal history. Contact a HUD local office.

New federal rule protects religious liberties of beneficiaries and providers. USDA, HUD, VA, and other agencies published a joint regulation to implement Executive Order 13559. Beneficiaries receiving federal social service programs’ aid through faith-based organizations cannot be discriminated against based on religion and may request an alternative provider. Agencies’ funding decisions must be based solely on merit, without regard to an organization’s religious affiliation or lack thereof. Contact Norah Deluhery, USDA, 202-720-2032; Paula Lincoln, HUD, 202-708-2404; Stephen B. Dillard, VA, 202-461-7689.

CFPB proposes to expand provisions for small rural lenders. An interim final rule expands the identification of small rural creditors that are eligible to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and that are exempt from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for higher-priced mortgages. Comments are due April 25. Contact Carl Owens, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

FY16 income limits released. The median family incomes and income limits are used by HUD, USDA, and other agencies.

Section 538 loan guarantees available. Commitments will be made first to approved and complete applica-tions from prior years’ notices, then to approved applicants applying under this notice through December 31, 2017. Contact a USDA RD state office.

ROSS funds offered. Nonprofits, PHAs, and tribal entities are eligible for HUD’s Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Program, which enables them to hire service coordinators to assess residents’ needs and link them to supportive services. Deadline is May 16. Contact Dina.Lehmann-Kim@hud.gov.

Fair housing assessment tool for PHAs released. Comments are due May 23 on the tool for PHAs to plan fair housing compliance (see HAC News, 3/18/16). Contact Dustin Parks, HUD, 202-708-1112.

Medicaid can provide supportive housing services, issue brief says. The Technical Assistance Collaborative’s Using Medicaid to Finance and Deliver Services in Supportive Housing: Challenges and Opportunities for Community Behavioral Health Organizations and Behavioral Health Authorities reports some states are finding that Medicaid can be a cost-effective resource to finance and deliver some of the flexible services and supports that people with behavioral health disorders need to succeed in settings like integrated permanent supportive housing.

Housing problems contribute to higher health care spending, researchers report.Housing as a Health Care Investment,” by the National Housing Conference and Children’s HealthWatch, says homelessness and unstable or unaffordable housing can harm the health of vulnerable infants and young children and contribute to higher health care spending. It includes policy recommendations.

U.S. lacks 7.2 million rents for extremely low-income renters. The Gap: The Affordable Housing Gap Analysis, 2016, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, documents a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental units for the nation’s 10.4 million extremely low-income renter households, those with incomes at or below 30% of their area median. Three-quarters of ELI renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half their income on rent and utilities. The report provides data at the national, state, and metro area levels.

USDA spending in FY15 emphasized guarantees, celebrated self-help. HAC’s annual USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report includes detailed data for each program and each state. The Section 502 program guaranteed 134,000 loans and made 7,000 direct loans. Over 800 self-help loans were made, and USDA celebrated the program’s 50th anniversary and 50,000th house. More than 8,600 rental units were repaired or rehabilitated with multifamily program funds, and 2,187 new units were built. Demand for Section 542 preservation vouchers rose to 4,400 units representing $15.6 million, with half those funds coming from the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program.

HAC presents third CRA webinar. “CRA in Rural America Part III: Investments in Rural Communities,” set for April 13 at 2:00 Eastern time, will provide an evaluation of lenders that consistently earn outstanding CRA ratings. To register click here. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824. Materials from the first two CRA webinars are posted here.