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HAC Accepting Nominees for Rural Housing Awards

HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13, 2018. The awards will be presented at the 2018 Rural Housing Conference (RHC) in December. Complete the online nomination form.

Questions? Contact HAC’s Lilla Sutton at (202) 842-8600 or lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC Seeks Nominations For Rural Housing Awards

On the evening of December 4, 2014, the Housing Assistance Council will present rural housing awards as part of the Rural Housing Awards Banquet at the National Rural Housing Conference. An individual or individuals providing outstanding and enduring service on the national level will be honored with the Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor. A local leader or leaders in rural housing development will receive the Skip Jason Community Service Award.


Award Descriptions

NATIONAL SERVICE AWARD

The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor honors individuals who have provided outstanding and enduring service, with national impact, for the betterment of housing conditions for the rural poor, with emphasis on the poorest of the poor in the most rural areas.

The award is named after Clay Cochran and Arthur M. Collings, Jr. Dr. Cochran was a mentor and pioneer in the rural housing movement whose work in low-income rural housing dates back to the 1930s and 1940s. Mr. Collings’ dedication to improving housing conditions for low-income rural Americans was unmatched. His feistiness and humor, added to his extensive knowledge of USDA’s rural housing programs, made him unique and well-loved around the country. Dr. Cochran passed away in 1982. Art Collings passed away in March 2010.

Previous winners of this award include Clay Cochran, Obediah Baker, Thomas Carew, Peter Carey, Gordon Cavanaugh, Arthur M. Collings, Jr., Cushing Dolbeare, Eileen Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Herring, Robert Rapoza, Shirley Sherrod, William Simpson, Arnold Sternberg, and four members of Congress: Eva Clayton, Rubén Hinojosa, Stan Lundine, Bennie Thompson and Ed Pastor.

Criteria for Competition

Significant achievements and/or contributions in any or all of the following areas:

  • Leadership in national housing organizations;
  • Substantial impact on national housing legislation;
  • Improving or maintaining funding for rural housing programs that serve the poor, particularly the poorest of the poor;
  • Development of new housing programs, preservation of housing programs, or special adaptations to existing programs, which enhance service to the rural poor;
  • Improving advocacy and/or enhancing coalition building that leads to improved rural housing opportunities
  • Overall enduring service with a national impact towards improving conditions of the ill-housed rural poor, particularly the poorest of the poor.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

The Skip Jason Community Service Award recognizes people whose efforts have improved the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities. The award acknowledges people who work “in the trenches” and usually go unrecognized outside their communities.

The award is named after Robert “Skip” Jason, a long-time housing activist with considerable community experience, who died in 1982 while employed as HAC’s Government Services Director.

Prior recipients of this award include David Arizmendi, Clanton Beamon, Lorna Bourg, Guillermo Castaneda, Emma Clifford, John P. David, Paul Douglas, Cora Esquibel, Rose Garcia, Owyne Gardner, Manuel Gauna, Alfred Gold, Arturo C. Gonzales, Patty Griffiths, Dana M. Jones, Stan Keasling, Lewis Kellom, Steve Kirk, Barbara Lamphere, Jerome Little, Sabino Lopez, Griffin Lotson, Lynn Luallen, Steve Mainster, Selvin McGahee, Rito Medina, Madeline Miller, Polly Nichol, John “Jack” Rivel, Jr., Linda Smith, Ted Smith, Lauretta Brice Stephens, Bessie Swan, Mario Villanueva, Sharon Walden, Jim Wilcox, Dwayne Yost, and John Zippert.

Criteria for Competition

Significant achievements and/or contributions in any or all of the following areas:

  • Improving the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities and protecting and enhancing the rights of the poor in housing;
  • Community achievement in community development and/or housing;
  • Unrecognized efforts that extend outside recipient’s community;
  • Increasing the number of housing units produced or preserving existing affordable housing;
  • Producing innovative or difficult housing;
  • Advocating for affordable housing;
  • Any other specific and significant community contribution in the field of low-income rural housing.

~For information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC Seeks Nominations For Rural Housing Awards

On the evening of December 4, 2014, the Housing Assistance Council will present rural housing awards as part of the Rural Housing Awards Banquet at the National Rural Housing Conference. An individual or individuals providing outstanding and enduring service on the national level will be honored with the Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor. A local leader or leaders in rural housing development will receive the Skip Jason Community Service Award.


Award Descriptions

NATIONAL SERVICE AWARD

The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor honors individuals who have provided outstanding and enduring service, with national impact, for the betterment of housing conditions for the rural poor, with emphasis on the poorest of the poor in the most rural areas.

The award is named after Clay Cochran and Arthur M. Collings, Jr. Dr. Cochran was a mentor and pioneer in the rural housing movement whose work in low-income rural housing dates back to the 1930s and 1940s. Mr. Collings’ dedication to improving housing conditions for low-income rural Americans was unmatched. His feistiness and humor, added to his extensive knowledge of USDA’s rural housing programs, made him unique and well-loved around the country. Dr. Cochran passed away in 1982. Art Collings passed away in March 2010.

Previous winners of this award include Clay Cochran, Obediah Baker, Thomas Carew, Peter Carey, Gordon Cavanaugh, Arthur M. Collings, Jr., Cushing Dolbeare, Eileen Fitzgerald, Elizabeth Herring, Robert Rapoza, Shirley Sherrod, William Simpson, Arnold Sternberg, and four members of Congress: Eva Clayton, Rubén Hinojosa, Stan Lundine, Bennie Thompson and Ed Pastor.

Criteria for Competition

Significant achievements and/or contributions in any or all of the following areas:

  • Leadership in national housing organizations;
  • Substantial impact on national housing legislation;
  • Improving or maintaining funding for rural housing programs that serve the poor, particularly the poorest of the poor;
  • Development of new housing programs, preservation of housing programs, or special adaptations to existing programs, which enhance service to the rural poor;
  • Improving advocacy and/or enhancing coalition building that leads to improved rural housing opportunities
  • Overall enduring service with a national impact towards improving conditions of the ill-housed rural poor, particularly the poorest of the poor.

COMMUNITY SERVICE AWARD

The Skip Jason Community Service Award recognizes people whose efforts have improved the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities. The award acknowledges people who work “in the trenches” and usually go unrecognized outside their communities.

The award is named after Robert “Skip” Jason, a long-time housing activist with considerable community experience, who died in 1982 while employed as HAC’s Government Services Director.

Prior recipients of this award include David Arizmendi, Clanton Beamon, Lorna Bourg, Guillermo Castaneda, Emma Clifford, John P. David, Paul Douglas, Cora Esquibel, Rose Garcia, Owyne Gardner, Manuel Gauna, Alfred Gold, Arturo C. Gonzales, Patty Griffiths, Dana M. Jones, Stan Keasling, Lewis Kellom, Steve Kirk, Barbara Lamphere, Jerome Little, Sabino Lopez, Griffin Lotson, Lynn Luallen, Steve Mainster, Selvin McGahee, Rito Medina, Madeline Miller, Polly Nichol, John “Jack” Rivel, Jr., Linda Smith, Ted Smith, Lauretta Brice Stephens, Bessie Swan, Mario Villanueva, Sharon Walden, Jim Wilcox, Dwayne Yost, and John Zippert.

Criteria for Competition

Significant achievements and/or contributions in any or all of the following areas:

  • Improving the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities and protecting and enhancing the rights of the poor in housing;
  • Community achievement in community development and/or housing;
  • Unrecognized efforts that extend outside recipient’s community;
  • Increasing the number of housing units produced or preserving existing affordable housing;
  • Producing innovative or difficult housing;
  • Advocating for affordable housing;
  • Any other specific and significant community contribution in the field of low-income rural housing.

~For information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: December 12, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 24

• Congressional committee leaders announced • Streamlining HUD’s rental assistance again considered by Senate committee • Lead paint grants offered • Final rule issued for IHBG and Title VI loan guarantees • Input sought on Native American access to capital and credit • Downpayment sources for FHA mortgages addressed • HUD report shows homelessness rate statistically unchanged • Concentration of poverty growing in nonmetro areas, ERS reports • Rural poverty and housing need persist, HAC report says • HAC honors six for rural housing work


December 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 24

CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE LEADERS ANNOUNCED. Key positions will change in the 113th Congress, which starts in January. On the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) will be the new chairman and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) will be the new ranking member (top Democrat). For the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY) will be the new ranking member, while Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY) continues as chairman. Some House subcommittee leadership spots and Senate positions will also change but have not yet been announced. The HAC News will provide further updates as available.

STREAMLINING HUD’S RENTAL ASSISTANCE AGAIN CONSIDERED BY SENATE COMMITTEE. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a second hearing December 11 titled “Streamlining and Strengthening HUD’s Rental Housing Assistance Programs.” The first hearing on this subject was held in August.

LEAD PAINT GRANTS OFFERED. Applications are due February 4 for HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant programs, subject to congressional appropriation of program funds for FY13. States, counties, tribes, and other local governments are eligible, and funds can be used in owner-occupied or rental housing. Contact Michelle M. Miller, HUD, 202-402-5769.

FINAL RULE ISSUED FOR IHBG AND TITLE VI LOAN GUARANTEES. Changes in the regulations reflect consensus decisions by HUD and tribal representatives in a negotiated rulemaking process and implement changes enacted in several statutes, including the 2008 NAHASDA reauthorization act. Contact Rodger J. Boyd, HUD, 202-401-7914.

INPUT SOUGHT ON NATIVE AMERICAN ACCESS TO CAPITAL AND CREDIT. The CDFI Fund requests comments from tribes and others on research about access to capital and credit in Native communities, updating a 2001 study. It hopes to provide a baseline of information on the subject and to identify barriers and provide options to address them. Comments can be submitted in writing or in webcast meetings on January 15 and 17. Contact CDFI Fund staff.

DOWNPAYMENT SOURCES FOR FHA MORTGAGES ADDRESSED. Comments are due January 4 on a regulation clarifying that state and local government programs that provide funds for all or part of homebuyers’ downpayments for FHA mortgages are exempt from statutory prohibitions on some sources of downpayment funds. Contact Millicent Potts, HUD, 202-708-2212.

HUD REPORT SHOWS HOMELESSNESS RATE STATISTICALLY UNCHANGED. Data collected in January 2012 shows the number of homeless people nationwide almost the same as in January 2011, although there were increases and decreases in some states, and homeless veterans declined by 7%. The 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report counts people in shelters, transitional housing, safe havens, and places not intended for human habitation. Data for every state and Continuum of Care are also posted.

CONCENTRATION OF POVERTY GROWING IN NONMETRO AREAS, ERS REPORTS. An analysis of American Com-munity Survey data by USDA’s Economic Research Service found that many counties with newly high poverty rates are adjacent to those that had high poverty rates in 2000. ERS’s findings are similar to HAC’s in Taking Stock (see next article below) and HAC’s accompanying poverty map; the two analyses were conducted independently and use different definitions of rural.

RURAL POVERTY AND HOUSING NEED PERSIST, HAC REPORT SAYS. HAC’s decennial analysis of data from the Census and other sources describes demographic changes such as growth in the elderly and Hispanic populations, economic challenges like the foreclosure crisis, and ongoing housing problems including high housing costs, homelessness, and housing quality issues. HAC also looked in depth at five high needs regions and populations including the colonias near the U.S.-Mexico border, Central Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, Native American lands, and farmworkers. Taking Stock: Rural People, Poverty, and Housing in the 21st Century is free on HAC’s site or $30 from HAC, including shipping and handling.

HAC HONORS SIX FOR RURAL HOUSING WORK. At the National Rural Housing Conference last week, HAC presented the Skip Jason Community Service Award to John David, founder and director of the Southern Appalachian Labor School in West Virginia; Owyne Gardner, T&MA Regional Manager at Little Dixie Community Action Agency in Oklahoma; Al Gold, Executive Director of Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation in Colorado; and Patty Griffiths, Housing Program Manager for the Community Action Commission of Fayette County in Ohio. The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor went to Shirley Sherrod, founder of the Sherrod Institute in Georgia. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, retiring after more than 20 years in Congress, received the Henry B. Gonzáles Award.

HAC News: September 12, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

• Congress back in session, CR introduced • Administration’s sequestration report delayed, CBO predicts recession • Poverty remains high in rural America • HAC to make grants for planning and capacity • HUD will offer vouchers for at-risk households in low-vacancy areas • USDA announces Farm Labor Housing technical assistance funds • Continuum of Care registration open • USDA announces loan-to-cost ratio for Section 538 continuous guarantee • FAQs clarify Section 202 prepayment and refi • CFBP proposes changing loan originator compensation • CFPB extends deadlines for comments on HOEPA and mortgage disclosures • HUD reports on affordable housing in energy boom areas • Deadline looms for rural housing award nominations!


September 12,2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

CONGRESS BACK IN SESSION, CR INTRODUCED. A continuing resolution to fund federal programs for the first six months of FY13, starting October 1, is scheduled for votes in the House September 13 and in the Senate next week. H. J. Res. 117 would give most programs, including housing, increases in subsidy (budget authority) needed to remain at FY12 program levels. It does not address grandfathering of housing program eligibility in growing rural communities; the National Rural Housing Coalition continues to work for an extension of current language.

ADMINISTRATION’S SEQUESTRATION REPORT DELAYED, CBO PREDICTS RECESSION. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters the Administration needed more time to prepare the report to Congress required by the Sequestration Transparency Act, due on September 6, so the estimates on the impact of Budget Control Act funding cuts will be released later this week. Separately, An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, by the Congressional Budget Office, projects that policy changes scheduled for January 2013, including sequestration, “will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.”

POVERTY REMAINS HIGH IN RURAL AMERICA. An annual Census Bureau report released September 12 shows the overall number of Americans living in poverty is at its highest level in decades, with the official national poverty rate of 15% statistically unchanged from 2010. In nonmetro areas 8 million people (17%) are poor. Median household income declined from 2010 to $50,054 nationwide and is now $40,527 in nonmetro areas, compared to $41,440 in 2010. More information on rural poverty and housing is available on HAC’s website.

HAC TO MAKE GRANTS FOR PLANNING AND CAPACITY. The Rural Housing Project Planning and Capacity Building Initiative will make grants of approximately $20,000 to 10 experienced affordable housing organizations to plan housing activities or build staff capacity. Deadline is October 2. Contact Jeff Mosley, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HUD WILL OFFER VOUCHERS FOR AT-RISK HOUSEHOLDS IN LOW-VACANCY AREAS. Notice PIH-2012-39 has details, including a list of low-vacancy areas. Comments are invited, due on October 10. Then a final notice will be published, providing an application deadline. Contact HUD’s voucher management office, 202-708-0477.

USDA ANNOUNCES FARM LABOR HOUSING TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FUNDS. USDA will fund three regional contractors to provide technical assistance to those seeking to develop Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing. Deadline is November 5. See Federal Register, 9/6/12 or grants.gov. Contact Mirna Reyes-Bible, 202-720-1753.

CONTINUUM OF CARE REGISTRATION OPEN. CoCs (not project applicants) must register on e-snaps by October 1. HUD expects to issue the FY12 CoC NOFA in mid- to late October. See HUD’s Homelessness Resource Exchange. Submit questions through the HUD HRE Virtual Help Desk.

USDA ANNOUNCES LOAN-TO-COST RATIO FOR SECTION 538 CONTINUOUS GUARANTEE. To be eligible for a single continuous Section 538 rental housing guarantee for construction and permanent loans, the property’s loan-to-cost ratio must be under 50%. See Federal Register, 9/6/12. Contact Monica Cole, USDA.

FAQS CLARIFY SECTION 202 PREPAYMENT AND REFI. A new Frequently Asked Questions document from HUD supplements Notice 12-08, “Updated Requirements for Prepayment and Refinance of Section 202 Direct Loans.”

CFBP PROPOSES CHANGING LOAN ORIGINATOR COMPENSATION. Comment by October 16 on a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposal to implement Dodd-Frank Act provisions on compensation and restrictions on fees. See Federal Register, 9/7/12 or CFBP’s website. Contact CFBP’s Office of Regulations, 202-435-7700.

CFPB EXTENDS DEADLINES FOR COMMENTS ON HOEPA AND MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES. Comments are now due November 6 instead of September 7 on two specific parts of two broader requests for input: the impact of a more inclusive finance charge on Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act coverage, and the proposed definition of a finance charge in combined mortgage disclosures (see HAC News, 8/22/12). See CFBP’s website.

HUD REPORTS ON AFFORDABLE HOUSING IN ENERGY BOOM AREAS. In some rural places increased oil and gas drilling has led to significantly higher rents, and some companies are housing employees in camps or lodges, HUD research found. “New Oil and Gas Drilling Technologies Bring Significant Changes and Challenges to Housing Markets,” an article in U.S. Housing Market Conditions (2nd quarter 2012), includes photos and is available online or from HUD User, 800-245-2691.

DEADLINE LOOMS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARD NOMINATIONS! Nominations are due September 28 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. Use the online nomination form or request a paper form from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org

HAC News: August 22, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 22, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 17

• USDA to use FY12 Section 515 funds for prepayment incentives • CBS News airs story on Section 502 guarantee foreclosures • Grants offered for senior volunteers in specific places • HUD releases general section for FY13 NOFAs • Funds exhausted for Section 502 guarantee program refinances • FHFA requests comments about eminent domain for foreclosures • Public Housing Assessment System scoring process explained • CFPB proposes regulations on high cost mortgages and homeownership counseling • Some mortgage disclosures to be combined • Blueprint for better farmworker housing published • HAC Seeks Nominations for Rural Housing Awards • Register Now for the National Rural Housing Conference!


August 22,2012
Vol. 41, No. 17

USDA TO USE FY12 SECTION 515 FUNDS FOR PREPAYMENT INCENTIVES. An email message from USDA to congressional offices explains that the department has canceled its NOFA for new construction funding. A Supreme Court ruling in a different context (Salazar v. Ramah Navajo Chapter) required the government to pay amounts to fulfill contractual obligations even if Congress did not appropriate enough funds. Owners of over 100 Section 515 properties have been on a waiting list for incentives (equity loans and/or Rental Assistance) from USDA to keep these properties in the program, so the FY12 funds will be used for those incentives.

CBS NEWS AIRS STORY ON SECTION 502 GUARANTEE FORECLOSURES. Like a May 25 Wall Street Journal article, the August 16 CBS story criticizes USDA’s collection tactics when a borrower with high medical bills fell behind on mortgage payments.

GRANTS OFFERED FOR SENIOR VOLUNTEERS IN SPECIFIC PLACES. The Corporation for National and Community Service requests letters of intent by September 10 from public agencies, tribes, nonprofits, and institutions of higher education interested in Retired and Senior Volunteer Program funding. RSVP grants can be used to cover expenses such as volunteer recruitment, training, and travel for purposes including low-income housing. Partial matching funds are required. Applications are due October 11. A draft NOFA, list of program areas, information about technical assistance calls, and more are posted on CNCS’s site.

HUD RELEASES GENERAL SECTION FOR FY13 NOFAS. The general section’s information applies to next year’s NOFAs and does not itself offer funding. Contact HUD’s grants management office, 202-402-4802.

FUNDS EXHAUSTED FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEE PROGRAM REFINANCES. USDA has used all its FY12 money for this program. Lenders can submit loan applications reflecting FY13 fees (upfront guarantee fee of 2% and annual fee of 0.4%) to USDA, which will hold them until FY13 funding becomes available. Contact an RD office.

FHFA REQUESTS COMMENTS ABOUT EMINENT DOMAIN FOR FORECLOSURES. The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank system, is considering taking action on its “significant concerns” about the impact on lenders when local governments use eminent domain powers to seize properties before foreclosure in order to provide affordable housing. Comments are due September 7. See Federal Register, 8/9/12. Contact FHFA, eminentdomainOGC@fhfa.gov.

PUBLIC HOUSING ASSESSMENT SYSTEM SCORING PROCESS EXPLAINED. HUD provides additional information about the process for issuing scores under the Physical Condition Indicator of the PHAS under a February 23, 2011 notice, applicable to HUD-assisted multifamily and public housing properties. See Federal Register, 8/9/12 or HUD’s site. Contact Claudia J. Yarus, HUD, 202-475-8830.

CFPB PROPOSES REGULATIONS ON HIGH COST MORTGAGES AND HOMEOWNERSHIP COUNSELING.Comments are due September 7 on Consumer Financial Protection Bureau changes to implement provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act that expand the types of mortgage loans subject to the Home Ownership and Equity Protection Act of 1994, revise triggers for HOEPA coverage, impose other restrictions on HOEPA mortgages, including a counseling re-quirement, and impose homeownership counseling requirements in connection with the Truth in Lending Act and the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. See CFPB’s site or regulations.gov. Contact Paul Seja, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

SOME MORTGAGE DISCLOSURES TO BE COMBINED. To implement another Dodd-Frank provision, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposes to combine some of the disclosures and forms required by the Truth in Lending Act and RESPA. Comments are due November 6. See CFPB’s site or regulations.gov. Contact David Friend, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

BLUEPRINT FOR BETTER FARMWORKER HOUSING PUBLISHED. The report summarizes policy and research changes identified at a California Rural Legal Assistance forum, and a working group on health and housing will continue the effort. Contact spodesta@crla.org.

HAC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARDS. Nominations are due September 28 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 form to submit a nomination or contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org to request a paper form.

REGISTER NOW FOR THE NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
HAC has opened registration for the 2012 National Rural Housing Conference, which will take place December 6-7, with pre-conference activities on December 5, at the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Register now to take advantage of the special early bird discount! Start networking in advance – join the conference LinkedIn group. Questions? Contact Dan Stern, HAC, dan@ruralhome.org or 202-842-8600.

HAC News: July 25, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 25, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 15

• Congress enacts bill giving Native American tribes more control over land use • Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing funds offered • Reserve account regulation revised for new USDA multifamily developments • Preservation Revolving Loan Fund monies available • USDA emphasizes colonias for Section 306C water and waste disposal funds • HUD implements full Rental Assistance Demonstration • List of exclusions from income published by HUD • Senate hearing highlights housing development partnerships in native and rural regions • White House hosts session on tribal housing • Uniform Manufactured Housing Act approved by commission • HAC releases “Rural Economies and Industry” research brief • “Why Keep Rural Housing Programs at USDA?” • HAC seeks nominations for rural housing awards


July 25, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 15

CONGRESS ENACTS BILL GIVING NATIVE AMERICAN TRIBES MORE CONTROL OVER LAND USE. The Senate passed H.R. 205, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership (HEARTH) Act of 2012 (not related to the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009), on July 17. The House passed the bill in May, and President Obama will sign it into law. The act allows tribes to lease restricted lands for housing or economic development without Bureau of Indian Affairs approval.

SECTION 514/516 FARM LABOR HOUSING FUNDS OFFERED. Preapplications for off-farm loans and grants are due to USDA RD state offices on September 17. Rental Assistance and operating assistance are also available. Contact an RD state office for an application package.

PRESERVATION REVOLVING LOAN FUND MONIES AVAILABLE. Intermediaries can apply by August 17 for PRLF funds to relend for Section 514/516 or 515 preservation. Contact Sherry Engel, RD, 715-345-7677.

USDA EMPHASIZES COLONIAS FOR SECTION 306C WATER AND WASTE DISPOSAL FUNDS. Colonias that lack access to water or waste disposal systems and face significant health problems will receive additional priority points in the program’s funding competition. Contact Jacqueline M. Ponti-Lazaruk, Rural Utilities Service, 202-720-2670.

HUD IMPLEMENTS FULL RENTAL ASSISTANCE DEMONSTRATION. RAD will test conversion of public housing and other HUD-assisted properties to project-based Section 8. Partial implementation was announced in March (see HAC News, 3/7/12). Contact rad@hud.gov.

LIST OF EXCLUSIONS FROM INCOME PUBLISHED BY HUD. A July 24 Federal Register noticelists amounts specifically excluded by any federal statute from consideration as income for purposes of determining eligibility or benefits, and lists federal statutes that require certain income sources to be disregarded for specific HUD programs. Contacts vary by program and are listed in the notice.

SENATE HEARING HIGHLIGHTS HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PARTNERSHIPS IN NATIVE AND RURAL REGIONS. On July 24, witnesses before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs described successful housing development projects on tribal lands and stressed the importance of flexibility and coordination in federal programs to promote additional development. A recording and written testimony are available at the Banking Committee website.

WHITE HOUSE HOSTS SESSION ON TRIBAL HOUSING. A White House Forum on Tribal Housing on July 26 discussed Administration initiatives and federal resources available from HUD, USDA, the Interior Department and others to tribal entities for housing creation. A draft of discussion topics is available from the National American Indian Housing Council. Contact April Hale, NAIHC, 202-454-0946, ahale@naihc.net.

UNIFORM MANUFACTURED HOUSING ACT APPROVED BY COMMISSION. The Uniform Law Commission approved the UMHA earlier this month. The commission’s press release says UMHA “provides an efficient and effective method” for an owner to choose to have a manufactured home classified as real property (rather than personal property) at the time of the first retail sale. State legislatures may consider adopting the UMHA. Contact ULC, 312-450-6600.

HAC RELEASES “RURAL ECONOMIES AND INDUSTRY” RESEARCH BRIEF. Employment data analyzed by HAC show that, while rural economies are often perceived as relying heavily on farming and other natural resource industries, these industries employ only 5.5% of rural and small town workers. Overall, the sector-by-sector employment profile of rural America is surprisingly similar to that of suburban and urban America, according to this new Rural Research Note.

“WHY KEEP RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS AT USDA?” HAC’s most recent contribution to Shelterforce’s Rooflines blog explains why rural housing professionals believe USDA’s rural housing programs should not be moved to HUD. (See HAC News, 5/25/11 and 9/14/11).

HAC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARDS.
Nominations are due September 28 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. Details will be available soon at www.ruralhome.org or from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: May 30, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 30, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 11

Wall Street Journal criticizes USDA foreclosure actions • VA analyzes factors linked to homelessness among veterans • Housing and ACS funding bills have not advanced • Notice addresses liquidation value appraisals for Section 502 guaranteed • Rural prepayment clarifications issued • USDA reminds field staff about documentation for Sections 514, 515, and 516 • USDA RD field staff have access to new cost data tool • Minorities and renters undercounted in 2010 Census • Vacancy rate higher in rural America, HAC reports • HAC blogs about rental housing policy • HOME program examined in new issue of Rural Voices • HAC seeks nominations for rural housing awards


May 30, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 11

WALL STREET JOURNAL CRITICIZES USDA FORECLOSURE ACTIONS. A May 25 article headlined “USDA is a Tough Collector When Mortgages Go Bad” describes USDA’s efforts to collect funds from borrowers who obtained Section 502 guaranteed mortgages, then lost income and lost their homes to foreclosure. Links to the article, online comments, and responses from HAC, the National Rural Housing Coalition, and others are posted on HAC’s site.

VA ANALYZES FACTORS LINKED TO HOMELESSNESS AMONG VETERANS.Homeless Incidence and Risk Factors for Becoming Homeless in Veterans” reports that the presence of mental illness and/or substance-related disorders was the strongest predictor of becoming homeless after discharge. Homeless vets were also more likely to have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. In the population studied, Afghanistan/Iraq vets and women were most likely to use HUD-VASH vouchers. The VA study did not include urban-rural or other geographic information. The Daily Yonder reports that Census data show that generally vets disproportionately live in rural and exurban communities, although those who served after 1990 are not overrepresented in rural America.

HOUSING AND ACS FUNDING BILLS HAVE NOT ADVANCED. Dates have not been determined for full Senate consideration of FY13 funding bills for USDA, HUD, or the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (see HAC News, 5/16/12). The HAC News and HAC’s website will report updates when available.

NOTICE ADDRESSES LIQUIDATION VALUE APPRAISALS FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED. Administrative Notice 4646 provides direction on obtaining a liquidation appraisal report to determine USDA’s loss claim for a 502 guaranteed property that has been taken into REO by the lender. Contact a USDA RD field office.

RURAL PREPAYMENT CLARIFICATIONS ISSUED. Subjects covered by USDA in an Unnumbered Letter dated May 14, 2012 include the distinction between prepayment and partial or final payments, and handling of incentives for property owners if ownership is transferred. Contact a USDA RD field office.

USDA REMINDS FIELD STAFF ABOUT DOCUMENTATION FOR SECTIONS 514, 515, AND 516. Administrative Notice 4645 addresses weaknesses identified in a 2011 management control review. Contact a USDA RD field office.

USDA RD FIELD STAFF HAVE ACCESS TO NEW COST DATA TOOL. An Unnumbered Letter dated April 20, 2012 announces the availability for staff of data reports that can be used to compare costs in multifamily housing and for other purposes. Contact a USDA RD field office.

MINORITIES AND RENTERS UNDERCOUNTED IN 2010 CENSUS. The Census Bureau has calculated that overall the 2010 Census was accurate although, as in previous decades, certain groups were undercounted. African Americans were undercounted by 2.1% and Hispanics by 1.5%. Asians and Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders had no statistically significant error rate. American Indians and Alaska Natives living on reservations were undercounted by 4.9%, while there was no statistically significant error rate for those not living on reservations. Renters were undercounted by 1.1%.

VACANCY RATE HIGHER IN RURAL AMERICA, HAC REPORTS. A new Rural Research Note,Housing Occupancy and Vacancy in Rural America,” reports that housing vacancy rates in rural and small town areas are approximately 7 percentage points higher than the national level. Much of the higher vacancy rate in rural areas is due to the number of homes unoccupied for seasonal, recreational, or occasional use. Nearly 60% of all vacant seasonal or recreational homes nationwide are in rural and small town areas.

HAC BLOGS ABOUT RENTAL HOUSING POLICY. In the first of a series of contributions to the National Housing Institute’s Rooflines blog, HAC wonders, “What Does an Affordable Rural Rental Housing Strategy Look Like? and suggests both general and specific components of such a strategy.

HOME PROGRAM EXAMINED IN NEW ISSUE OF RURAL VOICES. The spring issue of HAC’s quarterly magazine includes over 25 brief success stories from rural organizations that have used the HOME program to develop housing, create jobs, and provide decent affordable housing, as well as pieces from Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and former HUD official Mercedes Marquez and a summary of what proposed changes in HOME regulations could mean for rural places.

HAC SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR RURAL HOUSING AWARDS. Nominations are due September 28 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. Details will be available soon at https://ruralhome.org or from Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600, lilla@ruralhome.org.

Past Recipients of HAC’s Rural Housing Service Awards

What are the Rural Housing Service Awards?

Once every two years at the HAC Rural Housing Conference, HAC acknowledges rural housing leaders whose efforts have led to improved housing in rural America. The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor honors individuals who have provided outstanding and enduring service, with national impact, for the betterment of housing conditions for the rural poor. The Skip Jason Community Service Award recognizes individuals whose efforts have improved the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities. Below is a list of past awardees.

2018 Awardees

Skip Jason Award

Cochran/Collings Award
Henry B. González Award

2016 Awardees

Skip Jason Award

Cochran/Collings Award
Henry B. González Award

2014 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Cochran/Collings Award
  • The Honorable Christopher “Kit” Bond, U.S. Senate (Retired), Missouri
Henry B. González Award

2012 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Cochran/Collings Award
  • Shirley Sherrod, Founder, The Sherrod Institute, Albany, Georgia
Henry B. González Award
  • The Honorable Barney Frank, U.S. House of Representatives (D – Massachusetts)

2010 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Cochran/Collings Award
Henry B. González Award

2008 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Cochran/Collings Award
Henry B. González Award
  • The Honorable Geoff Davis, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Kentucky)
  • The Honorable Ed Pastor, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Arizona)

2006 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Clay Cochran Award
  • The Honorable Rubén Hinojosa, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Texas)

2004 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Clay Cochran Award
Special Recognition
  • The Honorable Artur Davis, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Alabama)
  • The Honorable Rubén Hinojosa, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Texas)
  • The Honorable Rick Renzi, U.S. House of Representatives (R-Arizona)
  • The Honorab
    le Rep. Walsh, U.S. House of Representatives
  • Harry Bowie, HAC Board of Directors
  • Art Collings, HAC Staff

2002 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
  • Lynn Luallen, Chief Executive Officer, Kentucky Housing Corporation, Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Madeleine Miller, Executive Director, Wil-Low Nonprofit Housing, Hayneville, Alabama
Clay Cochran Award

2000 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
  • Lauretta Brice Stephens, Florida Non-Profit Housing, Inc., Sebring, Florida
  • Cora Esquibel, Arizona
  • Arturo C. Gonzales, Southeastern Wisconsin Housing Corporation, Burlington, Wisconsin
  • Dana M. Jones, Southern Maryland Tri-County Community Action Association, Hughesville, Maryland
Clay Cochran Award
  • Eileen Fitzgerald, Washington, DC

1998 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
  • Guillermo Castaneda
  • Dwayne Yost
  • John Zippert
Clay Cochran Award
  • Arnold Sternberg

1996 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Clay Cochran Award
  • Maureen Kennedy, Former Administrator, Rural Housing Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC
Special HAC 25th Anniversary Award
  • The Honorable Henry B. González (D-Texas), U.S. House of Representatives

1994 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Clay Cochran Award
  • The Honorable Eva M. Clayton, U.S. House of Representatives (D-North Carolina)
  • The Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, U.S. House of Representatives (D-Mississippi)

1991 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
  • Bessie Swann
  • Ted Smith (posthumous award)
Clay Cochran Award

1985 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
  • James Wilcox
Clay Cochran Award
  • Art Collings

1983 Awardees

Skip Jason Award
Clay Cochran Award

1981 Awardees

Community Service Award
  • Moriah Milton, Hardwood, Louisiana
Clay Cochran Award
  • Gordon Cavanaugh, former Executive Director, Housing Assistance Council, and former Administrator, Farmers Home Administration, Washington, DC

1979 Awardee

Clay Cochran Award
  • Clay Cochran, former Executive Director, Rural America, Washington, DC

Rural Housing Awards

Skip Jason Community Service Award
Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing
Henry B. González Award

Skip Jason Community Service Award

Past Recipients of the Skip Jason Award

The Skip Jason Community Service Award acknowledges people whose efforts have improved the housing conditions of the rural poor in their communities.

The award acknowledges people who work “in the trenches” and usually go unrecognized outside their communities. The award was originally called the Community Service Award and was named for Robert “Skip” Jason, a long-time housing activist with considerable community experience, after he died in 1982 while employed as HAC’s Government Services Director.

SKIP JASON (1939-1982)

Robert Mayer (Skip) Jason, a former HAC employee and housing advocate, was committed to improving living conditions for the rural poor.

Skip was a native of Bluefield, West Virginia where he first learned about the challenges facing poor rural residents. In 1963, he became one of the first Peace Corp Volunteers to be sent to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).

Upon his return to the United States, he worked for community action agencies in Indiana, West Virginia, Vermont, and the District of Columbia. In 1974, he helped to set up Buffalo Housing, Inc. in southern West Virginia, a nonprofit organization established to help victims of the Buffalo Creek flood disaster.

Skip first joined HAC in its Atlanta office. In 1978, he moved to HAC’s Government Services Division in Washington, D.C. As a HAC employee, he worked on the Community Development Block Grant program, which included a set-aside for small cities and rural communities. Skip was also instrumental in developing the Farmers Home Administration’s Homeownership Assistance Program which, although never funded, resulted in a Congress that was more supportive and more aware of rural housing issues.

Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing

Past Recipients of the Cochran/Collings Award

The Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing honors individuals who have provided outstanding and enduring service, with national impact, for the betterment of housing conditions for the rural poor.

The award is named for two men who dedicated their careers to improving housing for rural Americans.

CLAY COCHRAN (1915-1982)

Clay L. Cochran was a fierce housing advocate who has often been credited as the founder of the U.S. rural housing movement. Clay, a fiery commentator on housing and basic needs, strongly believed that the federal government must not shirk its responsibility of providing basic shelter for low-income rural people. He also believed that the people, given the power to govern themselves, had the capacity to “create a society where there is less human anguish than yesterday.”

Some of his many accomplishments were to organize the Rural Housing Alliance, Rural America, the National Rural Housing Coalition, and the International Self-Help Housing Association. He claimed that his enthusiasm for decent housing resulted from a winter during his teens when his family lost its farm and lived out the coldest months in a tent on the West Texas plains.

ART COLLINGS (1928-2010)

Arthur M. (Art) Collings, Jr. began working in rural housing in 1955. He started in New Jersey as an assistant county supervisor at the Farmers Home Administration (FmHA), quickly moving up to county supervisor and then to a variety of other positions in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Beginning in 1972, the year in which the newly created Housing Assistance Council began hiring staff, Art’s jobs at FmHA alternated with periods at HAC. He served as special assistant to FmHA Administrator Gordon Cavanaugh from 1977 to 1980. From 1986 until his reluctant retirement at the end of 2004, Art served as HAC’s senior housing specialist.

Gordon Cavanaugh, HAC’s first executive director, once explained that he hired Art because he was told Art was the most liberal staffer at FmHA. “He taught the rest of us everything we knew,” said Cavanaugh. “Arthur was just extraordinarily dedicated, well informed, and a good-humored gentleman.”

Art wrote dozens of publications about USDA’s rural housing programs, from manuals on how to use them to analyses of how they could be improved. He authored a number of amendments to these programs, advised people all over the country on their use, and conducted countless training sessions.

Art’s dedication to improving housing conditions for low-income rural Americans was unmatched. His feistiness and humor, added to his extensive knowledge of USDA’s rural housing programs, made him unique, sometimes frustrating to work with, and well-loved around the country.

Henry B. González Award

Past Recipients of the Henry B. González Award

The Henry B. González Award recognizes individuals who have contributed to the improvement of housing conditions for low-income rural Americans through elected office.

REP. HENRY B. GONZALEZ

The award is named for Rep. Henry B. González, who represented the 20th District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1961 until ill health forced him to retire in 1998.

Beginning in 1981, he chaired first the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development and eventually the full Committee on Banking, Finance, and Urban Affairs (now the Financial Services Committee). In these powerful positions he championed numerous bills to improve housing conditions for people in both urban and rural areas. Rep. Gonzalez passed away in 2000.