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Rural Voices: Hope After Disaster: Rural Resilience and Recovery

Wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes and other disasters leave serious damage in their wake and can cause housing crises. No community is immune, but rural areas can experience greater challenges due to a lack of existing disaster recovery infrastructure and fewer local organizations with capacity. Low-income renters, the elderly or those with disabilities and many owners of manufactured homes are disproportionately affected because they lack the financial resources to recover.

This issue of Rural Voices magazine provides perspectives on disaster recovery contributed by entities ranging from local housing organizations to national lenders. They offer resources for affected families, lessons learned and policy solutions. Several of the articles agree that successful disaster recovery requires dedicated financial resources for the affected families and a coordinated effort between the local and federal governments, housing organizations and service providers.

VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

Iowa Flooding Shows Links between Disaster Recovery and Rural Housing
Representative Cindy Axne

Increased capacity and investment can help make disaster recovery successful.

FEATURES

Rural Disasters: Preparedness, Response, Recovery
by Ilene J. Jacobs and Christina Davila

An equitable recovery is possible.

The RAPIDO Model: Disaster Preparation to Improve Disaster Recovery
by Nick Mitchell-Bennett and Omar Hakeem

Texas nonprofit partnership develops innovative disaster recovery model.

Providing Resources and Stability for Disaster Recovery
by Connie Wright

Wells Fargo accelerates recovery for customers with Mobile Response Unit.

Risk Models can Improve Rural Disaster Preparation
by Howard A. Kunst

Wildfire and flooding impacts can be minimized using risk models.

Paradise Lost: Impacts Extend Beyond the Disaster Area
by Karl Ory

A northern California wildfire offers lessons learned.

Driving Change in Disaster Recovery
by Timothy Carpenter

GSE improves program to serve disaster-affected families.


INFOGRAPHIC

Impacts of Disaster Felt Far and Wide

Impacts of Natural Disasters Felt Far and Wide (PDF) (JPG)


Rural Voices would like to hear what you have to say about one, or all, of these issues. Please comment on these stories by sending a tweet to #RuralVoices, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.

HAC News: November 15, 2019

News Formats. pdf

November 15, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 23

One-month federal funding extension in processHousing discrimination and hate crimes rose in 2018HUD announces veteran homelessness decline continuesGrants offered for community infrastrcuture for homeless individuals and familiesSenate committee reviews bills on cabon monoxide alarms and manufactured housing2020 Census news: rural participation, minority and low-income undercountys, hiringComments requested on Opportunity Zones reporting formImproved transportation and housing recommended to address rural food insecurityRural placemakers gather in Minnesota for Rural Arts and Culture SummitLIHTC in Rural Lower Mississippi DeltaPoverty in Rural Michigan: Relentless Aging and Few Opportunities for Those of Working AgeRural America at a Glance: 2019 EditionRural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People BehindHAC News to be published after Thanksgiving • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

November 15, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 23

November is Native American Heritage Month.

One-month federal funding extension in process.

The House and Senate are expected to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 20 at FY19 funding levels. To keep the government open, President Trump will have to sign the legislation as well. The current CR ends on November 21.

Housing discrimination and hate crimes rose in 2018.

The National Fair Housing Alliance released its 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report, “Defending Against Unprecedented Attacks on Fair Housing. NFHA’s research found 2018 had the highest number of housing discrimination complaints since 1995 and hate crime offenses increased by 14.7% since 2017. At the same time, NFHA reports, HUD, the agency charged with enforcing the Fair Housing Act, is working actively to undermine it, most notably by eliminating local governments’ ability to implement 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations and by proposing to make it almost impossible to prove claims when policies have a “disparate impact” on protected classes.

HUD announces veteran homelessness decline continues.

The total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness fell by 2.1% from 2018 to 2019, says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Estimates of homeless veterans for each state and Continuum of Care are available online. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness lists 78 communities and three states that have ended veteran homelessness. The director of one of them, Mississippi’s Balance of State Continuum of Care, wrote a blog post for the National Alliance to End Homelessness offering “Three Tips for Ending Veteran Homelessness in a Balance of State CoC.

Grants offered for community infrastructures for homeless individuals and families.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals program funds community-based public and private nonprofits to develop and/or expand local implementation of a community infrastructure that integrates substance use disorder treatment, housing services and other critical services for individuals (including youth) and families experiencing homelessness. Deadline is December 16. For more information, contact Michelle Daly, SAMHSA, 240-276-2789.

Senate committee reviews bills on carbon monoxide alarms and manufactured housing.

On November 7, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing entitled “Examining Bipartisan Bills to Promote Affordable Housing Access and Safety.” The hearing covered several bipartisan bills, including the Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident to Safety Act, H.R. 1690, which passed the House in September, and the HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act, S. 1804. The House Subcommittee on Housing will hold a hearing November 20 themed “Safe and Decent? Examining the Current State of Residents’ Health and Safety in HUD Housing.”

2020 Census news: rural participation, minority and low-income undercounts, hiring.

Commentary in the Daily Yonder suggests How Rural Areas Can Avoid Being Undercounted in the Census: become census partners, use data to target outreach, provide internet access in community spaces and partner with schools or employers. Black and Hispanic respondents to a Pew Research Center survey, as well as those with incomes under $30,000, are the most likely to say they may not participate in the 2020 count. (The sample size was too small to provide results for Native Americans, Asians and other racial and ethnic groups.) The Census Bureau is accepting applications online as it recruits about half a million temporary workers to help with the census.

Comments requested on Opportunity Zones reporting form.

The IRS has drafted a new version of Form 8996, used by Qualified Opportunity Funds to report their investments in Opportunity Zones. No deadline is set for comments. The draft does not request information on investments’ impacts on residents’ incomes or other changes. That kind of information would be collected if S. 1344/H.R. 2593 become law, but the bills have not moved forward in Congress.

Improved transportation and housing recommended to address rural food insecurity.

In a recently released data dashboard, the Urban Institute highlights the interrelatedness of housing and food insecurity. UI maps counties by “peer groups” based on their level of food insecurity and the correlating risk factors. Rural counties with low food insecurity tend to have a good supply of affordable housing, while rural counties with high food insecurity tend to be experiencing economic challenges and are concentrated in high-needs regions of the Southeast. A corollary list of strategies communities can use to disrupt food insecurity includes efforts that target rural communities’ food capacity by improving transportation to increase food access and promoting affordable housing as a baseline for supporting food security. These strategies connect to HAC’s Rural Voices edition on hunger and housing in rural America, and its rural research note on childhood hunger in rural America.

Rural placemakers gather in Minnesota for Rural Arts and Culture Summit.

PBS News hour recently brought national attention to a Rural Arts conference hosted by Art of the Rural on October 3-5. This gathering was a continuation of the growing nationwide conversation around the role of arts and culture in rural economic development, including the Rural Generation Summit in Jackson, MS last May and the recent CIRD Learning Cohort Summit in Thomas, WV. Community developers are continuing to recognize the role of creative placemaking as a way of combatting narratives of rural decline.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • LIHTC in Rural Lower Mississippi Delta, a recent white paper by Freddie Mac, highlights the importance of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program in providing affordable housing in the rural Lower Mississippi Delta.
  • Poverty in Rural Michigan: Relentless Aging and Few Opportunities for Those of Working Age is a Detroit Free Press description of economic struggles in rural Michigan. The region has high poverty rates, an aging population and limited opportunities.
  • Rural America at a Glance: 2019 Edition, published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, examines demographic and socioeconomic trends since the end of the Great Recession. Poverty rates in all types of nonmetro counties have fallen, but the gap between poverty rates in the most rural, isolated places and others has grown. Population has increased in metro counties and counties closest to metro areas, while others have lost residents. Employment has grown in all types of counties except for completely rural counties not adjacent to metro areas, with the fastest growth in metro counties.
  • Rural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People Behind presents National Institute for Health Care Management infographics detailing the state of rural healthcare. They include looks at the impact of population shift toward urban environments, rural population, the number of rural providers and what initiatives exist to address the challenges.

Next HAC News to be published after Thanksgiving.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be three weeks, instead of the usual two, between this HAC News and the next. In the meantime, check HAC on the web, Twitter and Facebook for updates about federal funding.

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: October 7, 2019

News Formats. pdf

October 7, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 20

President signs continuing resolution to keep government open • Rural rental preservation bill re-introduced along with others • HUD announces DDAs and QCTs for FY20 • USDA updates environmental policies and procedures • Newspaper ads for domestic farmworkers replaced by online job registry • Duty to Serve listening sessions scheduled • Factsheets on disaster housing recovery • Iowa Free Land Giveaways Can be Imperfect Fix for Rural Housing Shortage • Measuring and Understanding Home Repair Costs: A National Typology of Households • New Financing Options for Affordable and Attractive Factory-Built Homes • Silicon Valley in Iowa: Congressman’s Fight for Tech Jobs in Rural America • The Value of HMDA Coverage of Home Lending in Rural Areas and Indian Country • HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 7, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 20

President signs continuing resolution to keep government open.

On September 23 President Trump signed into law a continuing resolution, H.R. 4378, to fund the federal government through November 21. A disagreement over funding for the border wall – the issue that led to last year’s lengthy shutdown – is expected to arise again as Congress and the Administration try to resolve differences on full-year appropriations. Congress is in recess October 1-14.

Rural rental preservation bill re-introduced along with others.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has introduced S. 2567, the Rural Housing Preservation Act, which would expand availability of vouchers for USDA tenants in properties leaving the Section 515 or 514/516 portfolios, allow Section 521 Rental Assistance to continue for tenants in properties whose mortgages have matured, establish uniform standards for transfers involving Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and authorize the MPR program. The measure has been introduced in previous Congresses in both the House and Senate, although it has not yet been taken up by either house. Sen. Shaheen also introduced a bill encouraging manufactured home park owners who are interested in selling their property to sell to their residents, and another that would terminate FHA mortgage insurance payments when the loan balance reaches 78% of the home’s value.

HUD announces DDAs and QCTs for FY20.

Difficult Development Areas and Qualified Census Tracts, calculated every year, are used to target Low Income Housing Tax Credits.

USDA updates environmental policies and procedures.

USDA Rural Development published a direct final rule on November 23, 2018 to update its environmental policies and procedures, but did not put it into effect because some adverse comments were submitted. A September 23, 2019 notice makes the rule effective as of that date, giving the RHS, RBS and RUS administrators some flexibility to obligate funds for infrastructure projects – including broadband, electric, water and sewer – before environmental review is completed, conditioned on the full and satisfactory completion of environmental review. For more information, contact Edna Primrose, USDA RD, 202-720-0986.

Newspaper ads for domestic farmworkers replaced by online job registry.

The Labor Department is eliminating the existing requirement for most employers who want to hire H-2A farmworkers to first advertise their job opportunities in print newspapers. Instead of requiring them to run ads online, as it first proposed, DOL will instead post these jobs on its electronic job registry, seasonaljobs.dol.gov, effective October 21, 2019. For more information, contact Thomas M. Dowd, DOL, 202-513-7350.

Duty to Serve listening sessions scheduled.

As Fannie Mae and Freddie Mae develop plans to carry out their 2021-23 duty to serve underserved markets such as rural America, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has scheduled listening sessions between Nov. 19 and Dec. 11 in St. Louis, Los Angeles, Washington, DC and online in order to get public input. Details and registration are online.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • Factsheets on disaster housing recovery from the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition describe the housing impact of the largest disasters from 2017 and 2018 as well as major failures and deficiencies in disaster recovery efforts afterward.
  • In Iowa Free Land Giveaways Can be Imperfect Fix for Rural Housing Shortage describes the challenges involved as, in an effort to overcome an aging housing stock and encourage new housing construction, at least four rural Iowa communities are experimenting with land giveaways to spur development.
  • Measuring and Understanding Home Repair Costs: A National Typology of Households, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and PolicyMap, calculates housing quality problems taking into account the cost of the repairs needed. The authors estimate that extremely low-income households in single-family units typically have the costliest repair needs, totaling $50.8 billion in 2018.
  • New Financing Options for Affordable and Attractive Factory-Built Homes suggests modular and manufactured housing can help solve the affordable housing shortage in rural areas. As opposed to stick-built housing built on-site, manufactured and modular housing is factory-built and delivered to the site, saving time and money.
  • Silicon Valley in Iowa: Congressman’s Fight for Tech Jobs in Rural America describes an effort involving several large tech companies to bring jobs and job training to Jefferson County, Iowa. Spearheaded by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), the program would create software development education and training opportunities through local community colleges and also involve the commitment to local job creation from large tech firms.
  • The Value of HMDA Coverage of Home Lending in Rural Areas and Indian Country, a working paper from the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, notes that the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act applies to a wide range of financial institutions involved in home lending, but many small and nonmetropolitan lenders are exempt from reporting. The research analyzes data coverage and identifies some limitations but concludes HMDA data is a useful and important source of information about lending in Indian Country and rural areas.

HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa.

HUD’s final rule on new certification requirements for housing counselors requires that by August 1, 2020 counseling for or in connection with any HUD programs, must be provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors. Get ready! Elevate your knowledge in the six essential competency areas, including financial management, housing affordability, homeownership, avoiding foreclosure, tenancy and fair housing. Set yourself up for success in meeting HUD’s counselor certification requirements by starting your prep with this three-day course scheduled for Tampa, FL on November 12-14. The registration fee is $500. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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: September 9, 2019

News Formats. pdf

September 9, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 18

Administration releases housing finance reform proposal • Congress to resume work on FY20 appropriations • House will consider rural rental preservation bill • USDA offers Community Facilities grants for disaster relief • Eligibility calculations for Section 504 repair loans and grants revised • Comments requested on economic development in distressed areas • Census Bureau hiring for help with 2020 Census • Fair market rents released • USDA extends manufactured housing pilots • Vermont incentivizes local and rural job creation “Colonias Investment Areas – Texas” webinar set for September 26 • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 9, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 18

Administration releases housing finance reform proposal.

The Trump Administration’s proposed housing finance reform plan was released on September 5. In addition to the Treasury Department plan to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government conservatorship and limit the federal role in the housing market, a separate document presents a HUD plan for FHA and Ginnie Mae. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has scheduled a September 10 hearing on “Housing Finance Reform: Next Steps.” HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria will be witnesses and the hearing will be webcast live.

Congress to resume work on FY20 appropriations.

The week of September 9, after the House and Senate return from their August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin to consider funding bills for FY20, which starts on October 1, 2019. Earlier this year the House developed its 12 appropriations bills and passed 10 of them, though its numbers will need to be adjusted because the summer budget deal provided a lower amount for non-defense and a higher amount for defense than the House bills assumed. The House is expected to vote the week of September 16 on a continuing resolution carrying FY19 funding levels until late November or early December. Bloomberg reports the Administration has requested a number of “anomalies” – changes in FY19 provisions to be included in a CR. No rural housing anomalies are listed, but the request does include authority for HUD to renew contracts for rental assistance to Section 202 properties for the elderly, as well as additional funding for the 2020 Census.

House will consider rural rental preservation bill.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to take up H.R. 3620, the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019, on September 10, 11 or 12. The bill, which passed the House Financial Services Committee unanimously in July, would authorize the MPR and preservation technical assistance programs, authorize vouchers for tenants after a mortgage matures or is foreclosed (in addition to after prepayment), allow decoupling of Rental Assistance as a last resort, require USDA to develop a preservation plan and establish a stakeholders’ committee to advise USDA.

USDA offers Community Facilities grants for disaster relief.

Community Facilities grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to public bodies, nonprofits and tribes in rural areas impacted by FEMA-recognized natural disasters. For more information, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.

Eligibility calculations for Section 504 repair loans and grants revised.

USDA revisions to Handbook HB-1-3550, announced in Procedure Notice 527, change the methodology for determining eligibility for loan, grant and combination assistance. They also provide clarification to other program eligibility criteria including credit analysis, medical deductions, property considerations and construction contract considerations. The Section 504 program offers loans to low-income rural homeowners and grants to those who are age 62 or older. For more information, contact a local USDA Rural Development office.

Comments requested on economic development in distressed areas.

In connection with its work on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, the Commerce Department seeks recommendations on spurring economic development in Opportunity Zones and other distressed areas. Comments are due October 18. For more information, contact Mara Quintero Campbell, 202-482-5479.

Census Bureau hiring for help with 2020 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire hundreds of thousands of workers to complete the upcoming census. Temporary jobs include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff, with locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Fair Market Rents released.

HUD has posted Fair Market Rents for FY20, effective October 1, 2019. Prices are available at the county and zip code levels for efficiency, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom units.

USDA extends manufactured housing pilots.

Two pilot programs are extended through the end of August 2020. One allows the Section 502 direct and guarantee programs to finance existing manufactured homes that are not already financed by USDA. The second reduces the required land lease term for energy-efficient homes in nonprofit communities. For more information related to Section 502 direct, contact Jeremy Anderson, USDA, 202-690-3971; related to Section 502 guaranteed, contact Kevin Smith, USDA, 517-883-6147.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • South Carolina Housing Needs Assessment estimates that high housing costs in the state cost a total of $8.4 billion in public assistance, private charity or personal deprivation. The report mentions that the housing crisis looks different in rural areas, where incomes are lower.
  • #MapMonday is a weekly social media series from the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities at the University of Montana. For a new map each week related to people living with disabilities in rural America, follow RTC:Rural on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Vermont incentivizes local and rural job creation.

The Remote Worker Grant Program, which offers remote workers as much as $10,000 in payments and incentives to relocate to Vermont, has seen greater than expected participation and engagement. Since January 2019 a total of 170 people have relocated to the state as part of this program (this number includes family members that moved with the workers). The Vermont Department of Economic Development is hoping to expand on this success by offering another incentive program aimed at creating local jobs, with higher payouts for jobs created in rural communities.

Colonias Investment AreasTexas” webinar set for September 26.
HAC, in partnership with Fannie Mae, will hold a webinar presenting data and research on Colonias Investment Areas, a geographic concept developed to target strategies and opportunities for mortgage finance and resource investment in colonia communities along the southwest U.S. border. The September 26 session will focus on colonias in Texas. Recent webinars on colonias in New Mexico and Arizona are available on HAC’s YouTube channel. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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).

Housing Assistance Council Names Eileen Neely Director of Lending

Contact: Dan Stern
202-842-8600
dan@ruralhome.org

Housing Assistance Council Names Eileen Neely Director of Lending

Eileen will manage HAC’s multi-million-dollar loan funds and investment in rural communities.

Washington, DC, February 4, 2019 – The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to announce that Eileen Neely is joining HAC as the new Director of Lending. Eileen brings 30 years of experience in finance and impact investment. She will be the entrepreneurial leader and manager of HAC’s lending and community investment functions that provide low-cost capital to local nonprofits, for-profits and local governments developing affordable housing in rural communities throughout the United States.

Eileen joins HAC after working as a consultant for housing and impact investment organizations across the country. Prior to that she served as the Director of Capital Innovation at Living Cities, the Director of Strategy for the District of Columbia Housing Authority, the COO of the Fresno Housing Authority, and Director of Public Entity Lending at Fannie Mae.

“We are thrilled to bring Eileen on board as part of the HAC team,” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “Our loan fund is a critical tool for building the capacity of rural organizations, and I am pleased to see it in such capable hands.”

To learn more about the HAC Loan Fund, visit www.ruralhome.org/lending.

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council helps build homes and communities across rural America. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit and a certified community development financial institution dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

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Solutions to rural poverty the focus of HAC Rural Housing Conference

Contact: Dan Stern
(202) 842-8600
dan@ruralhome.org

Over 600 rural builders and advocates gather in Washington, DC

Washington, DC, December 17, 2018 – Over 600 stakeholders from 48 state who work in the field of rural community development came together recently for two-and-a-half days at the Housing Assistance Council‘s (HAC) 2018 National Rural Housing Conference. Attendees from local nonprofits, federal agencies, Congress, state and local governments, and other industry leaders met to learn, discuss, and network in support of affordable housing and building rural prosperity.

The Conference featured over 40 workshops where participants learned best practices for rural housing development, organizational management, and resource development, as well as innovative approaches to housing and community development. The event included a pre-Conference day packed with gatherings for coalitions, associations, and working groups.

Participants heard from Federal Reserve Board of Governors chairman Jerome Powell, who revealed the central bank’s growing focus on communities that have been left out of the overall economic expansion. Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV) also addressed the conference and called for her colleagues to work alongside her and community developers from across the country who want to improve rural areas.

“We love hosting the Rural Housing Conference every two years,”” said HAC CEO David Lipsetz. “It brings over 600 local leaders and practitioners together to learn from each other and share our passion for building better rural communities. We hope everyone goes home with new ideas for their work, and that they are excited to work with HAC to make them a reality!”

For more information on the HAC Conference, download the HAC Trainings App, access photos from the event here, visit HAC’s YouTube channel where content from the Conference will be posted, and check back with www.ruralhome.org for any additional updates about HAC and the Rural Housing Conference.

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council helps build homes and communities across rural America. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit and a certified community development financial institution dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.

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HAC research explores the possibilities for improved mortgage finance on reservations

Contact: Christina Davila, christinad@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600
Dan Stern, dan@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600

Washington, D.C., May 22, 2018- HAC’s recently released rural research report, Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities for Mortgage Finance in Indian Country, confirms mortgage lending activity is limited on many reservations and explores possible solutions to addressing the issues. The current lending conditions on many reservation lands include low origination rates, high denial rates, and involve a high proportion of loans for manufactured homes.

The report provides a sweeping picture of the mortgage market on reservations, where:

  • Fewer than 1,000 mortgage loans are made annually
  • Nearly half of mortgage loan applications are denied annually
  • Almost one-fifth of homes are manufactured homes
  • Two of the 20 largest-volume lenders are Native-owned institutions

Considering the findings in this report, HAC recommends that efforts to address the challenges of mortgage lending on reservations include improvements in education of lenders and borrowers, expanding the capacity of tribes, small lenders, and federal regulators, better targeted financial policies, and increased access to data.

“HAC is proud to present this report said David Lipsetz, HAC’s Executive Director. “This report improves our understanding of mortgage lending on tribal reservations and for Native American people, and we look forward to expanding our efforts to better serve organizations providing housing on tribal lands. HAC would like to thank the Wells Fargo Housing Foundation for their support of this research.”

“This report is a great resource for anyone working in housing on reservations,’ said Marvin Ginn, Executive Director of Native Community Finance based in Laguna, New Mexico. “It illustrates the challenges we face as housers for Native American populations, and provides recommendations that can help ease those challenges. This sort of research can help us better target our efforts and improve our work on reservations.”

HAC will present a more detailed analysis of the findings, and how they impact real-world practitioners in a webinar training on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at 2 PM Eastern.

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council helps build homes and communities across rural America. Founded in 1971 and headquartered in Washington, D.C., HAC is a national nonprofit dedicated to helping local rural organizations build affordable homes by providing below-market financing, technical assistance, training, research, and information services. To learn more, visit www.ruralhome.org.
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FHFA Publishes Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans

Updated: December 18, 2017

FHFA Publishes Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has published Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plans for 2018-2020 under the Duty to Serve program. The Plans become effective January 1, 2018.

Fannie Mae’s Underserved Markets Plan

Freddie Mac’s Underserved Markets Plan

HAC Comments on Duty to Serve Underserved Market Plans – July 10, 2017

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) appreciates the opportunity to comment on Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans for Rural Markets. As a strong advocate for the Duty to Serve provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, HAC appreciates the time, effort, and resources FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac have undertaken to develop these underserved market plans. The core of HAC’s work for over four decades has been rural and underserved communities. HAC understands the complexities and difficulties of working in these communities. HAC also understands the promise and possibility of Duty to Serve to affect real and measurable change in these long overlooked and largely forgotten communities and people. We appreciate that FHFA and the Enterprises have not forgotten them, and we look forward to assisting you and the Duty to Serve effort generally to achieve its mandate to improve liquidity and access to affordable housing in underserved markets.

Given its organizational focus on rural housing, HAC focused largely on the Rural Markets component of the plans. HAC presents comments on each Enterprise’s plan separately. After the Enterprise-specific comments, HAC presents general comments and suggestions to the Enterprises and FHFA on issues of rural multifamily housing and preservation.

Read HAC’s full comments.


Fannie Mae Rural Purchase Activity, 2013-2015

dts-fannie-mae

Freddie Mac Rural Purchase Activity, 2013-2015

dts-freddie-mac


The Federal Housing Finance Agency issued a final rule to implement the Duty to Serve provisions which require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve three specified underserved markets – manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing – by improving the distribution and availability of mortgage financing in a safe and sound manner for residential properties that serve very low-, low- and moderate-income families.

Visit FHFA.gov/DTS for the press release, final rule, fact sheet, public listening session details, timeline and more.

HAC Will provide a summary of the Duty to Serve Rule soon.

Stakeholder Webinar

FHFA will provide a high-level overview of the final rule and answer stakeholder questions via webinar on Monday, Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. ET.

You may submit questions in advance by emailing DutyToServeStakeholders@FHFA.gov with “webinar question” in the subject line. Please submit your questions by COB Thursday, Dec. 15.


The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 mandates that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have a ‘Duty to Serve’ three traditionally underserved markets of:

  • Rural Housing
  • Manufactured Housing
  • Affordable Housing Preservation

The GSEs are tasked with increasing liquidity and investment capital in these markets.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a Proposed Rule on Duty to Serve on December 15, 2015. Comments to the Rule were due on March 17, 2016.

Link to Proposed Rule sent to Federal Register

HAC Resources on Duty to Serve

HAC Comments on Proposed Duty to Serve Rule – March, 17 2016

HAC Comments on Proposed Duty to Serve Rule – July 22, 2010

HAC Comments on Duty to Serve Advanced Notice of Rule Making – September 18, 2009

HAC Webinar on Duty to Serve

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) convened an interactive e-learning experience to assist housing providers and policymakers better understand the Duty to Serve Rule, and what it may mean for Rural America. The session was also intended to help inform comments to the Duty to Serve Rule.

Introduction | Power Point Presentation (22 MB) |Webinar Recording

Additional Resources on Duty to Serve

Interactive Map of Proposed Duty to Serve Rural Area

screen-capture-of-mapping-rural-america map

HAC’s Rural and Small Town Typology Database – Technical Documentation

Map of HAC’s Recommended Changes to FHFA Proposed Rural Area

DutyToServeMap FHFA HAC Recommended Changes

Map of GSE Loan Activity in Rural Areas

GSE Activity 2012 2014  Map

Map of FHFA Proposed Rural High-Need Areas and Persistent Poverty Counties

High Need Persistent Poverty Map

List of Suburban Tracts in FHFA Proposed Duty to Serve ‘Rural Areas’

List of Rural and Small Town Tracts Omitted From FHFA Proposed Duty to Serve ‘Rural Areas’

HAC News: August 20, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 20, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 17

• USDA RD to revise guidance on domestic violence • Section 502 direct processing improvements scheduled • RD to delay implementing new rule for Section 502 guaranteed loans • HAC recommends notice to tenants about maturing USDA mortgages, asks for dialogue • Amendments proposed to reserve account rules for properties with 515 and 538 loans • Fair Market Rents for FY15 proposed • HUD to change environmental review form • Manufactured housing label fee increased • FHFA requests comments on its strategic plan • Study documents digital divide for tribal libraries • Permanent supportive housing found to reduce chronic homelessness • Conference on farmworker housing and health set for November • Please nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards!

August 20, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 17

USDA RD TO REVISE GUIDANCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. HAC and a number of other organizations signed on to a letter from the National Housing Law Project to USDA rural housing administrator Tony Hernandez requesting changes in AN 4747, which applies the Violence Against Women Act to USDA’s multifamily programs (see HAC News, 3/5/14). In a response dated August 6, Hernandez agreed to make most of the changes.

SECTION 502 DIRECT PROCESSING IMPROVEMENTS SCHEDULED. Administrator Tony Hernandez gave HAC a summary showing that in FY15 USDA will automate underwriting for Section 502 direct loans, revise its packaging regulations, allow packagers to submit applications electronically, and establish an imaging system for documents.

RD TO DELAY IMPLEMENTING NEW RULE FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS. An email sent to stakeholders on August 19 says a notice will be published in the Federal Register delaying the rule’s effectiveness to December 1, 2014 rather than September 1, the date originally scheduled. Contact USDA, 202-720-1452.

HAC RECOMMENDS NOTICE TO TENANTS ABOUT MATURING USDA MORTGAGES, ASKS FOR DIALOGUE. In an August 9 letter to Tony Hernandez, HAC expressed concern about tenants who will lose Section 521 Rental Assistance when USDA mortgages end. HAC urged USDA to ask owners to notify tenants well in advance of mortgage maturities, and suggested further discussions about ways to maintain the affordability of these units.

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO RESERVE ACCOUNT RULES FOR PROPERTIES WITH 515 AND 538 LOANS. USDA’s countersignature would no longer be required for rental projects that have both Section 538 guaranteed loans and Section 515 direct loans; the Section 538 regulations would apply. The change would also clarify that loan guarantee fees must be paid from operating accounts, not reserve accounts. Comments are due October 14. Contact Tammy S. Daniels, USDA, 202-702-0021.

FAIR MARKET RENTS FOR FY15 PROPOSED. Comments are due September 15 on the FMRs HUD will use in FY15. Contact local HUD program staff.

HUD TO CHANGE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FORM. A final rule allows HUD to develop a single form to be used by HUD employees and other responsible entities. Contact Danielle Schopp, HUD, 202-402-4442.

MANUFACTURED HOUSING LABEL FEE INCREASED. The increase, proposed in May (see HAC News, 5/14/14), is effective September 12, 2014. Manufacturers will pay $100 for each new transportable section produced. Contact Pamela B. Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

FHFA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON ITS STRATEGIC PLAN. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s plan “reflects the agency’s priorities as regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and as regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” and is the first under new director Mel Watt. Comments are due September 15.

STUDY DOCUMENTS DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR TRIBAL LIBRARIES. Digital Inclusion in Native Communities: The Role of Tribal Libraries, a report by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides the first comprehensive data on the subject. Research found that 89% of tribal libraries offer access to the internet and 86% have public computer workstations, compared to 100% of public libraries. At least 40% of tribal libraries studied do not have a broadband internet connection. Contact Susan Feller, ATALM, 405-401-8293.

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FOUND TO REDUCE CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS. An examination of data at the community level confirms findings at the individual level: over time, increased investment in permanent supportive housing is associated with decreased rates of chronic homelessness. “The Relationship between Community Investment in Permanent Supportive Housing and Chronic Homelessness” was published in Social Service Review 88.2 (2014).

CONFERENCE ON FARMWORKER HOUSING AND HEALTH SET FOR NOVEMBER. “Farmworker Housing Quality and Health: A Transdisciplinary Conference” will be held on November 11 in Arlington, VA. Registration is $50 until October 1 and $70 after that date.

Please nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards! Nominations are due September 30 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. Complete the online nomina-tion form. Questions? Contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

From Cargo Shipping to Home Sweet Home?

Livable buildings can be created from shipping containers, the big rectangular corrugated metal things stacked at docks by giant cranes. There are large and impressive shipping container homes in numerous countries. Containers can be used for affordable housing too; for example, in Washington, DC an apartment building for students is being constructed from containers. And single containers can make affordable single-family homes. Kentucky Habitat for Humanity is constructing a prototype in Upton, a town of 680 an hour south of Louisville.

What does a container house look like? Most photos online show corrugated, painted exteriors. The interiors vary widely depending on the size of the container(s) used and how many containers are combined.

Read the complete blog post at Rooflines.