Tag Archive for: rural definition

HAC News: June 21, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 21, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 12

• House committee approves USDA FY14 funding and rural definition extension • Congress begins work on FY14 HUD appropriations • Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant funds offered • USDA has vouchers for tenants in prepaid Section 515 properties • HUD finalizes 202/811 rule changes • CFPB sets final ability-to-repay and Qualified Mortgage regulations • Deadlines announced for Section 515 setasides • CDFI Fund launches Bond Guarantee Program

June 21, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 12

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES USDA FY14 FUNDING AND RURAL DEFINITION EXTENSION. On June 13 the House Appropriations Committee approved the rural housing funding levels reported in the HAC News, 6/5/13. The committee also adopted an amendment by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) that would maintain area eligibility for rural housing funds through the end of FY14. The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a funding bill on June 20 providing $1.015 billion for Section 521 Rental Assistance and $900 million for Section 502 direct loans. When the Senate’s dollar amounts for the other rural housing programs are released, HAC will post them on its website.

CONGRESS BEGINS WORK ON FY14 HUD APPROPRIATIONS. On June 19 the House Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee approved an FY14 funding bill that would maintain tenant rental assistance but impose large cuts on many other programs, including HOME and CDBG. The Senate subcommittee will consider its version of the bill on June 25.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY13 Final Approp.a

FY14 Admin. Budget

FY14 House Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund (incl. CDBG)
Sustainable Commun. Init.
Rural Innovation Fund








Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
(Vets. Affairs Spptve. Hsg. Vchrs.)




Project-Based Rental Asstnce.




Public Hsg. Capital Fund




Public Hsg. Operating Fund




Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative




Housing Trust Fund




Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant




Homeless Assistance Grants




Rural Hsg. Stability Prog.




Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS




202 Hsg. for Elderly




811 Hsg. for Disabled




Fair Housing




Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.




Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)c




Housing Counseling




a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester. b. Funded under Homeless Assistance Grants. c. Funded separately before FY14 budget, and proposed in the FY14 budget to be funded via a set-aside of HOME funds. d. Bill would also rescind the entire id=”mce_marker”20 million FY13 appropriation.

SECTION 533 HOUSING PRESERVATION GRANT FUNDS OFFERED. Government entities and nonprofits must submit preapplications by August 2. Contact a local USDA RD office.

USDA HAS VOUCHERS FOR TENANTS IN PREPAID SECTION 515 PROPERTIES. Families must request vouchers within ten months after prepayment or foreclosure. Contact Stephanie B.M. White, 202-720-1615.

HUD FINALIZES 202/811 RULE CHANGES. The changes are intended to attract private capital by streamlining requirements for mixed-finance developments. Contact Aretha Williams, HUD, 202-708-3000.

CFPB SETS FINAL ABILITY-TO-REPAY AND QUALIFIED MORTGAGE REGULATIONS. The rule changes Truth in Lending Act regulations. Contact Jennifer B. Kozma or Eamonn K. Moran, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

DEADLINES ANNOUNCED FOR SECTION 515 SETASIDES. Funds not obligated for nonprofits and for underserved counties and colonias will be pooled. Contact Melinda Price, USDA, 614-255-2403.

CDFI FUND LAUNCHES BOND GUARANTEE PROGRAM. CDFIs, groups of CDFIs, or entities designated by CDFIs can apply to become Qualified Issuers and to be approved for guarantees. The program guarantees these bonds, and the CDFIs use the proceeds to make loans to other borrowers. Applications are due July 17. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421.

HAC News: April 3, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 7

• April is Fair Housing Month • Budget release set for April 10 • HUD offers funds for Choice Neighborhoods and fair housing programs • Rules proposed for Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program • USDA limits post-foreclosure collections • Guidance issued on grandfathered rural definition • Metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas revised • Daily Yonder series considers 50,000 population threshold for defining rural • Tonsager leaving USDA • All HUD offices to close for seven days • Section 538 industry forums scheduled • Sequestration could cut 140,000 Section 8 vouchers • Indian Housing Development Handbook updated • HAC responds to Reuters criticism of Section 502 guarantee program •

April 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 7

APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD has launched a national media campaign to educate people about the Fair Housing Act. To file a complaint visit HUD’s website or call 1-800-669-9777, or use HUD’s fair housing discrimination app for iPhone and iPad.

BUDGET RELEASE SET FOR APRIL 10. The Obama Administration’s budget for FY14 will be released April 10. HAC will post information and analyses at ruralhome.org as early as possible that day.

HUD OFFERS FUNDS FOR CHOICE NEIGHBORHOODS AND FAIR HOUSING PROGRAMS. PHAs, tribal entities, local governments, nonprofits, and for-profits applying with a public entity are eligible to apply for Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants by May 28; contact HUD staff, choiceneighborhoods@hud.gov. Eligibility for Fair Housing Initiatives Program funds varies by component; apply by June 11. Fair housing enforcement organizations and nonprofits can apply by April 22 for Fair Housing Organization Initiative Continuing Development funds. The contact for all the fair housing programs is Myron P. Newry, HUD, 202-402-7095.

RULES PROPOSED FOR RURAL HOUSING STABILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM. RHSP, a new HUD program, was authorized by the 2009 HEARTH Act to help address rural homelessness. The grants are intended for counties, who may designate nonprofits or local governments as applicants. The proposed rule would create a new definition of “rural.” It would also revise HUD’s definition of “chronically homeless.” Comments are due May 28. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

USDA LIMITS POST-FORECLOSURE COLLECTIONS. After critical coverage by the Wall Street Journal and CBS News, RD has decided to stop collecting its losses from Section 502 direct and guaranteed borrowers who lose their homes to foreclosure. The agency will not drop collection efforts that have already begun, however, and will also pursue borrowers whom it believes have the resources to repay government losses. More details are provided in a press release from HAC and the National Housing Law Project and in a second Wall Street Journal article.

GUIDANCE ISSUED ON GRANDFATHERED RURAL DEFINITION. USDA RD issued Administrative Notice 4711 on March 28, explaining that community facilities, business, and utilities programs must apply 2010 Census data to area eligibility determinations as of March 27, but the final FY13 appropriations bill delays the change for housing programs until September 30 (see HAC News, 3/21/13). The housing programs will base area eligibility on pre-2010 Census determinations, including grandfathering, for applications that are complete by September 30, 2013 or filed in response to NOFAs published by September 30, 2013, provided that funds are obligated by December 31, 2013 or the agency administrator grants a waiver. For more information, contact an RD office.

METROPOLITAN AND MICROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS REVISED. An Office of Management and Budget bulletin lists new area delineations. HAC’s initial analysis will be posted online soon.

DAILY YONDER SERIES CONSIDERS 50,000 POPULATION THRESHOLD FOR DEFINING RURAL. The online rural news site has published three commentaries examining USDA RD’s recent recommendation (see HAC News, 3/6/13) to increase the size of places eligible for its non-housing programs, and welcomes additional submissions.

TONSAGER LEAVING USDA. Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager has resigned. An official statement does not indicate his future plans.

ALL HUD OFFICES TO CLOSE FOR SEVEN DAYS. HUD has posted frequently asked questions on its sequestration information page, explaining that virtually all HUD staff will be furloughed and offices closed on seven days between May and August. The exact dates will be posted online when available.

SECTION 538 INDUSTRY FORUMS SCHEDULED. USDA will hold phone or web meetings about the guaranteed rental program in July and November. To receive announcements by email, contact Monica Cole, RD, 202-720-1251.

SEQUESTRATION COULD CUT 140,000 SECTION 8 VOUCHERS. A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities paper, “Sequestration Could Deny Rental Assistance to 140,000 Families: Cuts Come at a Time of Rising Need for Housing Assistance and Will Exacerbate Homelessness,” notes that thousands of others could face rent increases. A CBPP blog post summarizing the report is also online.

INDIAN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK UPDATED. The 2013 version of the National American Indian Housing Coalition’s guide covers planning, funding sources, homeownership strategies, and a summary of relevant Indian law.

HAC RESPONDS TO REUTERS CRITICISM OF SECTION 502 GUARANTEE PROGRAM. HAC’s analysis of Reuters’ article (see HAC News, 3/21/13) is available on HAC’s site and on Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog.

HAC News: August 8, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 8, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 16

• Leaders agree on continuing resolution, Congress recesses • House members plan letter requesting rural definition extension in CR • OMB tells agencies to continue spending, advises Congress to change sequestration • Fees for some Section 502 loan guarantees to increase October 1 • FEMA requests comments on emergency housing assistance • Interim Continuum of Care rule issued • IRS proposes rule on submetered utilities in LIHTC properties • Circular A-133 Compliance Supplement for 2012 available • Federal regulators release 2012 list of distressed or underserved tracts for CRA • Senate subcommittee considers changes to HUD’s rental assistance programs • Job growth slower in rural places than urban ones • Different skills result in different wages in rural and urban places, study concludes • Study examines potential for increasing energy efficiency in manufactured homes

August 8, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 16

LEADERS AGREE ON CONTINUING RESOLUTION, CONGRESS RECESSES. In late July Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with the White House, announced they will develop a continuing resolution to fund the government for the first six months of FY13, starting October 1, 2012. Most programs will remain at FY12 funding levels. Congress has recessed until September 10, so the CR will be considered in September.

HOUSE MEMBERS PLAN LETTER REQUESTING RURAL DEFINITION EXTENSION IN CR. The National Rural Housing Coalition reports Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and others will send a letter to House leadership asking that the FY13 CR include an extension of language keeping growing rural communities eligible for USDA rural housing programs. Background information on this issue is posted on HAC’s website.

OMB TELLS AGENCIES TO CONTINUE SPENDING, ADVISES CONGRESS TO CHANGE SEQUESTRATION. A July 31 memo from OMB’s Acting Director tells heads of federal departments and agencies to continue normal spending and operations since Congress has over five months to change the January 1 spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act. On August 7 President Obama signed into law the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, which requires an Administration report within 30 days estimating sequestration’s impact on programs.

FEES FOR SOME SECTION 502 LOAN GUARANTEES TO INCREASE OCTOBER 1. An email has notified stakeholders that, while the upfront fee for purchase transactions will remain at 2%, the upfront fee for refinances will rise from 1.5% in FY12 to 2% in FY13. Annual fees for both purchases and refinances will rise from 0.30% in FY12 to 0.40% next year. Contact Debbie Terrell, RD, 918-534-3254.

FEMA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON EMERGENCY HOUSING ASSISTANCE. Comments are due September 28 on proposed revisions to regulations on FEMA’s housing repair, replacement, and construction assistance. The changes are intended to clarify eligibility criteria and implement legislative changes enacted in 2006, not to create new eligibility requirements or add burdens for applicants. Contact Lumumba T. Yancey, FEMA, 202-212-1000.

INTERIM CONTINUUM OF CARE RULE ISSUED. The regulation takes effect August 30 and comments are due October 1. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

IRS PROPOSES RULE ON SUBMETERED UTILITIES IN LIHTC PROPERTIES. The change would clarify that utility costs paid by a tenant based on actual consumption in a submetered rent-restricted unit are treated as paid by the tenant directly to the utility company. IRS will hold a public hearing on November 27 in Washington, DC. Comments are due October 9. Contact David Selig, IRS, 202-622-3040.

CIRCULAR A-133 COMPLIANCE SUPPLEMENT FOR 2012 AVAILABLE. The supplement provides guidance on audits of federally funded nonprofits and government entities. Comments are due October 31.

FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED FOR FY13. Comments are due September 4 on FMRs that will take effect October 1. Contact local HUD program staff or HUD User, 1-800-245-2691.

FEDERAL REGULATORS RELEASE 2012 LIST OF DISTRESSED OR UNDERSERVED TRACTS FOR CRA. Lender activities in these distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies can receive credit in Community Reinvestment Act evaluations.

SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE CONSIDERS CHANGES TO HUD’S RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS. On August 1 the Banking Committee’s Housing Subcommittee held a hearing titled “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” Witnesses discussed provisions of several reform bills introduced in Congress.

JOB GROWTH SLOWER IN RURAL PLACES THAN URBAN ONES. The Daily Yonder examined changes in counties’ numbers of jobs from June 2011 to June 2012. Jobs increased by 1.77% in urban counties and by 0.86% in rural counties. One-third of rural and exurban counties lost jobs during this 12-month period.

DIFFERENT SKILLS RESULT IN DIFFERENT WAGES IN RURAL AND URBAN PLACES, STUDY CONCLUDES. “Workforce Skills across the Urban-Rural Hierarchy,” by New York Federal Reserve Bank staff and others, is a preliminary report on research that examined job skills and income levels across a spectrum of places from urban to rural. Researchers found that jobs clustered in urban areas require higher levels of skills than those clustered in rural areas, and that these differences help explain the higher wages in urban areas. Contact Kevin Stolarick

STUDY EXAMINES POTENTIAL FOR INCREASING ENERGY EFFICIENCY IN MANUFACTURED HOMES. Noting that energy efficiency in manufactured homes lags behind that of site-built homes, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy reports that improvements can be made in new construction and existing homes. Contact Patrick Kiker, ACEEE, 202-507-4043.

Defining “Rural” for USDA’s Housing Programs

Defining “Rural” for USDA’s Housing Programs

By Leslie Strauss
June 8, 2012

This part is simple: a property must be in a rural place to be eligible for USDA rural housing funding. Beyond that simple statement, things get complicated. What places are rural, and why does it matter?

Congress used three characteristics to define rural for USDA’s housing programs: population size, rural character, and a serious shortage of mortgage credit. In various circumstances, the maximum population size can be 10,000 or 20,000 or 25,000. As a practical matter, it’s far easier to enter a property address at USDA’s property eligibility Web site than to try to figure out whether it fits the definition. And note that everything in this paragraph applies only to USDA’s housing programs; the rural eligibility definitions for community facilities, utilities, and business programs are different.

Read the full blog post