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HAC News: March 6, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

• RD expects program cuts but no furloughs under sequester • House approves government funding for FY13 • Area eligibility changes still uncertain • Assets for Independence deadlines approach • Bipartisan housing commission report supports rural housing • HUD reports continued increase in worst case housing needs • NLIHC findings highlight housing need for extremely low-income renters • USDA RD recommends 50,000 population threshold for non-housing programs • Indian Housing Development Handbook updated • HAC offers webinar on conducting homeless counts on Native American lands


March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

RD EXPECTS PROGRAM CUTS BUT NO FURLOUGHS UNDER SEQUESTER. RD officials say they do not have authority to allocate cuts across programs, so funding for each loan or grant program will be reduced by 5%. (HAC apologizes for any confusion caused when the HAC News previously reported cuts would be 5.1%). Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts will be paid as long as possible; sometime in September, funding will run out for an estimated 10,340 RA contracts. RD estimates the resulting loss in project income could lead to loan delinquencies at 411 projects. RD also calculates the sequester will reduce FY13 aid by 294 Section 502 direct loans, 24 new Section 515 rental units, and 17 new Section 514/516 farm labor housing units, and will cut 568 jobs. The Section 538 and 502 guarantee programs will not be cut because they are funded by fees charged to program participants, but they could be impacted by factors such as staff cuts. Currently RD expects not to furlough staff. ♦ Information about sequestration at HUD is available from sources including HUD and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

HOUSE APPROVES GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR FY13. On March 6 the House passed H.R. 933, a continuing resolution for the remainder of FY13. The bill keeps FY12 funding levels and the sequester in place for USDA, HUD, and other domestic discretionary programs, adds a 0.098% across the board cut, and reallocates some defense and veterans spending. Each housing program would receive 94.902% of its FY12 funding. The Senate has not yet released a proposed bill.

AREA ELIGIBILITY CHANGES STILL UNCERTAIN. USDA RD has not issued final determinations about changes in geographic eligibility for housing programs that are expected to take effect March 28 (see HAC News, 9/26/12). H.R. 933, the House CR (see item above), contains language that seems to be intended to maintain current eligibility status through September 30, 2013. RD officials say they are reviewing the language, which is not identical to wording in the current CR that funds the government through March 27. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and others have introduced H.R. 858, which would retain current eligibility until 2020 Census data is available.

ASSETS FOR INDEPENDENCE DEADLINES APPROACH. Applications are dueMarch 25 and May 24. This programprovides five-year grants to nonprofits and government agencies that establish individual development accounts for low-income participants. Contact the AFI Resource Center, 1-866-778-6037.

BIPARTISAN HOUSING COMMISSION REPORT SUPPORTS RURAL HOUSING. On February 25 the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission released its report, Housing America’s Future: A New Direction for a National Policy, making recommendations on mortgage finance reform and other issues including rural housing. It recommends keeping the rural housing programs at USDA, extending the current definition of eligible areas, increasing funding, and strengthening local nonprofit users of USDA funds. A summary and links are posted on HAC’s website.

HUD REPORTS CONTINUED INCREASE IN WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS. Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: A Summary Report to Congress shows that the number of unassisted very low-income renters with severe cost burden or severely substandard housing has increased by 19% since 2009 and 43% since 2007. The total number of renters has increased, renter incomes have declined, rents have increased, and the number of affordable rental units available to very low-income renters has decreased. A more detailed report is forthcoming.

NLIHC FINDINGS HIGHLIGHT HOUSING NEED FOR EXTREMELY LOW-INCOME RENTERS.Housing Spotlight: America’s Affordable Housing Shortage and How to End It reports that added affordable housing units have not kept pace with increases in extremely low-income renters (those with incomes below 30% of area median), resulting in a shortage of 4.6 million units. This calculation does not include people who are homeless.

USDA RD RECOMMENDS 50,000 POPULATION THRESHOLD FOR NON-HOUSING PROGRAMS.On February 22 USDA RD submitted a Report on the Definition of “Rural to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. It recommends making the Rural Business, Rural Utilities, and Community Facilities programs available in places with up to 50,000 population. The report suggests that RD could use a number of factors such as population density and economic conditions to target funding to the most rural places and the places with the greatest need.

INDIAN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK UPDATED. The handbook, published by the National American Indian Housing Council, has been updated to include provisions on implementation of the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act and revised BIA leasing regulations.

HAC OFFERS WEBINAR ON CONDUCTING HOMELESS COUNTS ON NATIVE AMERICAN LANDS. Register online for this free one-hour session to be held Wednesday, March 13 at 2 pm eastern time, based on HAC’s new toolkit on this subject (see HAC News, 2/20/13). Contact Eric Oberdorfer, HAC.

HAC News: February 20, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 20, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 4

• USDA and HUD estimate sequestration impacts • Key congressional committees set agendas • USDA allows more debt for energy efficient homes • Section 523 grantees to be funded at 40%, pending appropriations • CDFI bond guarantee program implemented • HUD issues final fair housing rule on discriminatory effects • Regulators set four final rules on mortgages • HAC posts its comments to CFPB on ability to repay • USDA issues final broadband program rule • HUD extends FHA PowerSaver home energy retrofit pilot • HUD proposes some streamlining for FHA single-family insurance • Transit oriented development is subject of HAC blog post • HAC publishes Native American homelessness toolkit


February 20, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 4

USDA AND HUD ESTIMATE SEQUESTRATION IMPACTS. In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that if funding for the remainder of FY13 is cut on March 1 (see HAC News, 2/6/13), USDA will need to eliminate Rental Assistance for 10,000 households, not only making their homes unaffordable but also reducing funds available to owners for maintenance and mortgage payments. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before the committee on February 14, detailing numerous potential program cuts at HUD.

KEY CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES SET AGENDAS. HAC has posted a comparison of the action plans for the 113th Congress set by the congressional committees that have authority over housing programs. The House Financial Services Committee Oversight Plan mentions the impact of 2010 Census data on eligibility for USDA housing programs (see HAC News, 9/26/12). The House committee amended the plan as first proposed by Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), adding a paragraph on veterans housing and deleting language critical of NAHASDA and CDBG.

USDA ALLOWS MORE DEBT FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES. To replace the discontinued Rural Energy Plus program (see HAC News, 9/26/12) for Section 502 direct loans, an Unnumbered Letter dated February 14, 2013 tells agency staff that because energy efficiency lowers utility costs, it may be treated as a “compensating factor” that indicates a homebuyer can safely assume more debt than USDA’s standard amount. Rural Energy Plus remains in place for Section 502 guaranteed loans. Contact Christopher Ketner, RD, 202-690-1530.

SECTION 523 GRANTEES TO BE FUNDED AT 40%, PENDING APPROPRIATIONS. Using funds carried over from FY12 and appropriated for FY13 through March 27, USDA will renew contracts of performing self-help grantees at 40% of the amount of their two-year contracts. New contract language will say each grantee may not start more than 40% of the units proposed for the first year of its contract until additional funds are appropriated.

CDFI BOND GUARANTEE PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED. An interim rule makes this new program effective on April 8, and the CDFI Fund will also accept comments until that date. The CDFI Fund will guarantee bonds issued by approved CDFIs to raise lending capital. Contact Lisa M. Jones, CDFI Fund, 202-653-0421.

HUD ISSUES FINAL FAIR HOUSING RULE ON DISCRIMINATORY EFFECTS. The regulation formalizes the standard and process for determining whether a practice had a discriminatory effect, regardless of whether there was an intent to discriminate. Contact Jeanine Worden, HUD, 202-402-5188.

REGULATORS SET FOUR FINAL RULES ON MORTGAGES, implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued final regulations on mortgage servicing under RESPA and the Truth in Lending Act (contact Whitney Patross, CFPB, 202-435-7700) and on loan originator compensation and related requirements (contact Daniel C. Brown, CFPB, 202-435-7700). Other regulators joined CFPB to set a regulation that requires appraisals for higher-risk mortgages (contact Lorna Neill, Federal Reserve Board, 202-452-3667).

HAC POSTS ITS COMMENTS TO CFPB ON ABILITY TO REPAY. Visit HAC’s website.Comments are due February 25 (see HAC News, 2/6/13). Contact Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

USDA ISSUES FINAL BROADBAND PROGRAM RULE. The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program funds the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for rural broadband service. Contact a Rural Development office.

HUD EXTENDS FHA POWERSAVER HOME ENERGY RETROFIT PILOT. FHA insurance will continue to be available through May 4, 2015 for loans to homeowners to finance energy-saving alterations, repairs, and improvements in existing structures or manufactured homes. Contact Patricia McBarron, HUD, 202-708-2121.

HUD PROPOSES SOME STREAMLINING FOR FHA SINGLE-FAMILY INSURANCE. The changes would eliminate the FHA Inspector Roster and the requirement for a 10-year protection plan for high loan-to-value mortgages for newly constructed single-family homes. Comments are due April 8, 2013. Contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-708-2121.

TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT IS SUBJECT OF HAC BLOG POST. HAC’s latest post on Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog is “What Does the Push for Transit Oriented Development Mean for Rural Areas?” Readers can comment on the blog or on the LinkedIn discussion about this post.

HAC PUBLISHES NATIVE AMERICAN HOMELESSNESS TOOLKIT. Conducting Homeless Counts on Native American Lands – A Toolkit highlights steps, tools, and methods that can be used by American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Home Lands communities to obtain accurate counts. Print copies are available from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600, for $4.00 including shipping and handling.

A Step Toward Addressing Native American Homelessness

A Step Toward Addressing Native American Homelessness

by Eric Oberdorfer and Leslie Strauss

shelterforce_na_blog_postHomes in Indian Country are three times more likely to be crowded than those in the United States as a whole, according to the 2010 Census. Many of the people sleeping on sofas or floors in these crowded dwellings are homeless – not living outdoors or in a car, but not living in permanent homes of their own, either. Strong kinship networks often enable people to find a place to stay and there are few shelters and service providers in places with small, spread-out populations.

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