Tag Archive for: rural issues

A look back at the 2014 HAC Conference

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to share with you a report on the 2014 HAC Rural Housing Conference held in Washington, DCin December 2014. The Conference was a tremendous success, according to evaluation results that are summarized in the Conference Report.

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is pleased to share with you a report on the 2014 HAC Rural Housing Conference held in Washington, DC this past December. The Conference was a tremendous success, according to evaluation results that are summarized in the Conference Report. The Report briefly reviews the plenary sessions, workshops and other Conference events. Links to videos of each plenary session as well as materials from select workshops are also made available in the Report.

Hope to see you at the 2016 HAC Rural Housing Conference!

Download the Report


Watch the Plenaries


Materials from the Conference


Discussion Topics, HAC National Rural Housing Conference 2014

Conversation is one of the best things about HAC’s Rural Housing Conference. Every two years the Conference offers a unique opportunity for discussion among hundreds of rural housers from across the U.S. who are not often in the same place at the same time. Many exchanges are informal, during meals or in the halls between workshops. Others are more structured, and in 2014 HAC will provide an opportunity for facilitated discussions on six topics. HAC asked expert rural housing practitioners to write two-page papers on each of these subjects. On the second day of the conference, attendees will choose among these topics and participate in discussions during a working lunch. Each discussion group will report its thoughts and recommendations to the conference as a whole.

PDF containing all six papers

You do not need to attend the conference to contribute your thoughts! The discussions are beginning now on LinkedIn.

HAC News: November 28, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

November 28, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 23

• Congressional leadership will change for housing • Claim filing period open for Hispanic and women farmers and ranchers • CFPB to consolidate more mortgage disclosure requirements • FHFA sets new housing goals and rating system for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac • HUD reopens comment period on smoke-free policies • RUS proposes targeting changes for rural broadband program • NSP closeout requirements revised • New rating system adopted for examining GSEs • Deficit reduction without substantial revenues likely to require deep housing cuts • Census briefs show recession’s impact

November 28, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 23

CONGRESSIONAL LEADERSHIP WILL CHANGE FOR HOUSING. The 113th Congress, which starts work in January, will have changes in key committee leadership positions and in committee rosters. Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) is retiring, so his chairmanship of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will move to someone else. Iowa’s Tom Harkin is next in line. Democratic Reps. Barney Frank and John Olver of Massachusetts are also retiring, so their ranking member (top minority party) slots on the House Financial Services Committee and the Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee will change. Maxine Waters (D-CA) on Financial Services and Ed Pastor (D-AZ) on THUD are next in line. Also on House Financial Services, Housing Subcommittee Chair Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) lost her re-election bid. Rep. Jen Hensarling (R-TX) will be the new chair of the full Financial Services Committee, as current chair Spencer Bachus (R-AL) rotates due to term limits on chairmen. Also moving due to term limits will be Senate Banking Committee ranking member Richard Shelby (R-AL). HAC will provide further updates as information becomes available.

CLAIM FILING PERIOD OPEN FOR HISPANIC AND WOMEN FARMERS AND RANCHERS. Anyone improperly denied farm loan benefits by USDA between 1981 and 2000 because s/he is Hispanic or female can file a claim before March 25, 2013 for cash payment or loan forgiveness. Call 1-888-508-4429 or visit www.farmerclaims.gov.

CFPB TO CONSOLIDATE MORE MORTGAGE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a rule in July (see HAC News, 8/22/12) proposing to integrate some disclosures required for homebuyers, as mandated by the Dodd-Frank Act. CFPB will delay some other new disclosure requirements until it finalizes its July proposal. See Federal Register, 11/23/12. Contact Michael G. Silver, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

FHFA SETS NEW HOUSING GOALS AND RATING SYSTEM FOR FANNIE MAE AND FREDDIE MAC. In a final rule the Federal Housing Finance Agency sets new levels for Fannie’s and Freddie’s purchases of affordable housing mortgages in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The existing structure of the goals remains (with targets for low- and very low-income homeowners and affordable rentals, but no specifically rural targets). The new single-family goals are lower than those for 2010 and 2011. The new multifamily goals are higher than for 2010 and 2011, but they decrease each year from 2012 through 2014. See Federal Register, 11/13/12 or FHFA’s website. Contact Paul Manchester, FHFA, 202-649-3115.

HUD REOPENS COMMENT PERIOD ON SMOKE-FREE POLICIES. The deadline is now January 22, 2013 to comment on smoke-free policies for public and multifamily housing (see HAC News, 10/10/12). See Federal Register, 11/23/12, or www.regulations.gov. Contact Shauna Sorrells, HUD, 202-402-2769.

RUS PROPOSES TARGETING CHANGES FOR RURAL BROADBAND PROGRAM. USDA’s Rural Utilities Service proposes to amend its regulations for the Community Connect Grant Program enabling it to target resources to geographical as well as technological areas of need. Comments are due January 15, 2013. See Federal Register, 11/16/12 or https://www.regulations.gov. Contact Kenneth Kuchno, RUS, 202-690-4673.

NSP CLOSEOUT REQUIREMENTS REVISED. HUD is making requirements for closing out grants under all three rounds of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program “nearly identical” to those for CDBG. See Federal Register, 11/27/12. Contact Stanley Gimont, HUD, 202-708-3587.

NEW RATING SYSTEM ADOPTED FOR EXAMINING GSES. FHFA will use a new rating system when examining Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the Federal Home Loan Banks, and the Banks’ Office of Finance. The system will assess capital, asset quality, management, earnings, liquidity, sensitivity to market risk, and operational risk (“CAMELSO”). See Federal Register, 11/13/12 or FHFA’s website. Contact Karen Walter, FHFA, 202-649-3405.

DEFICIT REDUCTION WITHOUT SUBSTANTIAL REVENUES LIKELY TO REQUIRE DEEP HOUSING CUTS. The alternatives to sequestration could force even greater cuts in housing assistance, according to Deficit Reduction Deal Without Substantial New Revenues Would Almost Certainly Force Deep Cuts in Housing Assistance, a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

CENSUS BRIEFS SHOW RECESSION’S IMPACT. Three briefs, using statistics from the American Community Survey, describe increases in household sharing and public assistance. Poverty and Shared Households by State: 2011 reports the proportion of adults living with others who are not immediate family increased from 2007 to 2011. That paper, as well as Food Stamp/Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households by State: 2010 and 2011 and Public Assistance Receipt in the Past 12 Months for Households: 2010 and 2011, include data for each state as well as the United States. A Census Bureau summary is also posted online.

HAC News: November 7, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

November 7, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 22

• November is National Native American Heritage Month • November 10-18 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week • Rural housing on Senate Majority Leader’s list • Disaster recovery information available from USDA and HAC • VA offers funds to help families’ housing stability • LIHTC can serve extremely low-income tenants, research finds • Some income exclusions apply to USDA RD multifamily occupants • USDA RD offers guidance on using Section 538 loans for Section 515 properties • Treatment of farmworkers and others by large food companies varies, research finds • CBO reports on income tax’s effect on owning and renting • Child poverty increased in rural areas and nationwide from 2010 to 2011 • National Rural Housing Conference early bird registration deadline is November 9!

November 7, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 22

NOVEMBER IS NATIONAL NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH. President Obama’s proclamation also names November 23 (the day after Thanksgiving) Native American Heritage Day.

NOVEMBER 10-18 IS NATIONAL HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS WEEK. Information about this annual event, sponsored by the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, is posted online.

RURAL HOUSING ON SENATE MAJORITY LEADER’S LIST. The National Journal published a list of unfinished legislative items compiled by the staff of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and noted there are too many to complete during Congress’s lame duck session, which will begin soon. “Rural housing” appears on the list without further explanation, probably referring to the effort to preserve eligibility for housing programs in places with growing populations. See HAC News, 9/26/12.

DISASTER RECOVERY INFORMATION AVAILABLE FROM USDA AND HAC. HAC has updated Picking up the Pieces, its guide to resources for rural housing in disaster areas, and published a Hurricane Sandy supplement. USDA is sending letters to Section 502 direct and guaranteed borrowers in and around the Hurricane Sandy disaster areas summarizing available loan servicing assistance, including possible payment moratoria for direct borrowers. Owners and renters in USDA assisted properties should contact USDA RD offices. Vacant houses and apartments with USDA financing may be available for hurricane survivors through FEMA, 800-621-FEMA. Additional federal disaster information is posted at https://www.disasterassistance.gov.

VA OFFERS FUNDS TO HELP FAMILIES’ HOUSING STABILITY. The Supportive Services for Veteran Families program makes grants to nonprofits, consumer coops, and Tribally Designated Housing Entities to provide or coordinate supportive services to very low-income veteran families to remain in or transition into permanent housing. Deadline is February 1, 2013. Contact John Kuhn, VA, 877-737-0111, SSVF@va.gov.

SOME INCOME EXCLUSIONS APPLY TO USDA RD MULTIFAMILY OCCUPANTS. An Unnumbered Letter (October 9, 2012) provides a copy of a July 24 HUD Federal Register notice (see HAC News, 7/25/12) listing exclusions to income for numerous programs, and announces that RD Handbook changes will be published soon. Contact Laura Horn, RD, 202-720-5443.

USDA RD OFFERS GUIDANCE ON USING SECTION 538 LOANS FOR SECTION 515 PROPERTIES. Section 538 guaranteed loans can finance revitalization of existing properties with Section 515 direct loans. An Unnumbered Letter (October 9, 2012) instructs USDA staff on reconciling procedural differences between the programs. Contact Tammy Daniels, RD, 202-720-0021.

TREATMENT OF FARMWORKERS AND OTHERS BY LARGE FOOD COMPANIES VARIES, RESEARCH FINDS. Worker Equity in Food and Agriculture, published by the Tellus Institute and Sustainalytics, examines wages and working conditions (not housing) at the 100 largest U.S. companies in food and agriculture. “Worker equity” is evaluated at the farm, factory, retail, and restaurant stages.

CBO REPORTS ON INCOME TAX’S EFFECT ON OWNING AND RENTING. A Congressional Budget Office working paper, “Taxation of Owner-Occupied and Rental Housing,” concludes that federal income tax advantages tend to make owning more advantageous than renting for higher-income households, but lower-income households can find renting cheaper than owning. The paper also examines how four different possible changes to the tax code (including repealing the mortgage interest deduction) would affect these calculations. Contact Larry Ozanne, CBO, larry.ozanne@cbo.gov.

CHILD POVERTY INCREASED IN RURAL AREAS AND NATIONWIDE FROM 2010 TO 2011. The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire reports that American Community Survey data show 45% of U.S. children live below 200% of the poverty level, and 10.1% live below 50% of poverty. “Over Sixteen Million Children in Poverty in 2011” includes data for urban/rural/suburban geographies, regions, and states.

NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 9! The 2012 conference, “Promises to Keep in Challenging Times,” will be 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: October 24, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 24, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 21

• October 21-27 is National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week • HAC invites applications for rural veterans assistance • Section 8 OCAFs announced • Federal homelessness plan amended • Toolkit offered for Independent Foreclosure Review outreach • LIHTC can serve extremely low-income tenants, research finds • Census reports on sheltered population • HUD launches app for FMRs and Income Limits • LIHEAP assistance to older manufactured homes higher per square foot • GAO raises concerns about air exchange standards in HUD Code • National Rural Housing Conference early bird registration deadline is November 9!

October 24, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 21

OCTOBER 21-27 IS NATIONAL CHILDHOOD LEAD POISONING PREVENTION WEEK. Details and resources are available from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, leadinfo@cdc.gov.

HAC INVITES APPLICATIONS FOR RURAL VETERANS ASSISTANCE. A new HAC initiative will provide grants of up to $30,000 to support bricks-and-mortar projects that help rural low-income, elderly, and disabled veterans and active military personnel with housing needs. Send a letter of intent by 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on October 31. Application guidelines are posted on HAC’s website. Contact Janice Clark, HAC.

SECTION 8 OCAFS ANNOUNCED. HUD’s new Operating Cost Adjustment Factors apply to project-based assistance contracts with an anniversary date on or after February 11, 2013. See Federal Register, 10/16/12. Contact Stan Houle, HUD, 202-402-2572.

FEDERAL HOMELESSNESS PLAN AMENDED. In September the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness amended Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness, its plan to end homelessness among families, children, and youth by 2020. The amendment offers strategies and supports to improve educational outcomes for children and youth and steps to assist unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. Contact USICH, 202-708-4663.

TOOLKIT OFFERED FOR INDEPENDENT FORECLOSURE REVIEW OUTREACH. The Federal Reserve Board has made materials available to help local nonprofits reach residents whose homes were foreclosed in 2009-2010 by any of 14 mortgage servicers and who are eligible for an independent review. Call 888-952-9105.

LIHTC CAN SERVE EXTREMELY LOW-INCOME TENANTS, RESEARCH FINDS. The Furman Center and Moelis Institute at New York University examined data from urban, suburban, and rural Low-Income Housing Tax Credit properties in 16 states and found that 40% of the units are occupied by extremely low-income tenants (with incomes below 30% of area median). Because almost 70% of those ELI tenants receive some form of rental assistance, researchers concluded that “rental assistance is currently an indispensable part of the equation to serve those households.” The results are reported in “What Can We Learn about the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program by Looking at the Tenants?”

CENSUS REPORTS ON SHELTERED POPULATION. The Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population: 2010 summarizes data on age, sex, and race/ethnicity for the 209,000 people counted in such shelters nationwide by the 2010 Census (not the entire homeless population). Data are aggregated by state and a map shows the number of people in shelters in every county. Over 60% of counties have no sheltered population.

HUD LAUNCHES APP FOR FMRS AND INCOME LIMITS. The map-based app for Android and iPhone allows users to search Fair Market Rents and Income Limits.

LIHEAP ASSISTANCE TO OLDER MANUFACTURED HOMES HIGHER PER SQUARE FOOT. A Government Accountability Office study found that the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program provided about 33¢ per square foot of assistance to pre-1976 manufactured homes compared to about 20¢ per square foot for site-built homes. About 3% of total LIHEAP funds went to older manufactured homes. The study used data for 2005, the most recent available. Worker and Family Assistance: Home Energy Assistance for Low-Income Occupants of Manufactured Homes (GAO-12-848R) is available online or from GAO, 866-801-7077. Contact Frank Rusco, GAO, 202-512-3841.

GAO RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT AIR EXCHANGE STANDARDS IN HUD CODE. Standards for placement of air intake and exhaust vents are outdated and ventilation systems are not tested, GAO reports, in manufactured homes built after 1976 under HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards. Manufactured Housing Standards: Testing and Performance Evaluation Could Better Ensure Safe Indoor Air Quality (GAO-13-52) is available online or from GAO, 866-801-7077. Contact Mathew J. Scirè, GAO, 202-512-8678.

NATIONAL RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE EARLY BIRD REGISTRATION DEADLINE IS NOVEMBER 9! The 2012 conference, “Promises to Keep in Challenging Times,” will be 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: October 10, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 10, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 20

• Presidential candidates’ and parties’ positions limited on rural and housing • USDA and BIA commit to work together for Indian Country housing improvement • Continuum of Care comment deadline extended • HUD requests comment on smoke-free policies • FY12 Fair Market Rents finalized • Difficult Development Areas announced • Additional instructions provided on RAD • Poll Finds Support for Modifying Mortgage Interest Deduction

October 10, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 20

PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES’ AND PARTIES’ POSITIONS LIMITED ON RURAL AND HOUSING. The candidates on rural issues: On October 9 the Romney campaign released “Agricultural Prosperity: Mitt Romney’s Vision for a Vibrant Rural America,” which addresses taxes, trade, regulation, and energy as they relate to farmers and ranchers. The Obama campaign’s web page entitled “Rural America” mentions agriculture, rural businesses, rural veterans, and energy and another post responds to Romney’s rural paper. The parties on rural issues: The Republican platform discusses agriculture but does not include other rural issues. The Democratic platform mentions rural small business, education, and infrastructure – though not housing – in addition to agriculture and energy. The candidates on housing: Romney’s white paper on housing, “Securing the American Dream and the Future of Housing Policy,” covers the housing finance crisis and the Romney-Ryan plan to “revitalize the private sector’s role in the housing market.” The issues section of Obama’s campaign website does not include housing, although a site search retrieved information about Administration initiatives on foreclosure and housing finance. The parties on housing and poverty: The Republican Party platform supports homeownership and mortgage finance reform, and acknowledges a role for government in “enforcing non-discrimination laws and assisting low-income families and the elderly with safe and adequate shelter, especially through the use of housing vouchers.” Its anti-poverty plank calls for “the federal government’s entire system of public assistance [to] be reformed to ensure that it promotes work.” The Democratic Party platform sup-ports homeownership and foreclosure relief, but does not mention rental housing. It states, “We must make ending poverty a national priority” through jobs, safety net programs, lending, an increased minimum wage, a strong labor movement, education, and attention to inequality. The parties on Native peoples: Both parties acknowledge the federal government’s special relationship with American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians. Both support tribal self-governance and respect Native culture.

USDA AND BIA COMMIT TO WORK TOGETHER FOR INDIAN COUNTRY HOUSING IMPROVEMENT. Two Memoranda of Understanding, effective for five years, apply to housing as well as other rural development programs, farm programs, and conservation. They pledge better understanding and coordinated processes related to housing. Contact Tedd Buelow, RD, 720-544-2911.

CONTINUUM OF CARE COMMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED. Interim CoC regulations were published July 31 with comments due October 1. The deadline is now November 16. See Federal Register, 9/28/12, or regulations.gov. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

HUD REQUESTS COMMENT ON SMOKE-FREE POLICIES. The department requests best practices and practical strategies from housing providers who have implemented smoke-free policies and input from housing providers that have decided not to implement such a policy and from those impacted by that decision. Comments are due November 5. See Federal Register, 10/4/12 or regulations.gov. Contact Shauna Sorrells, HUD, 202-402-2769.

FY12 FAIR MARKET RENTS FINALIZED. See Federal Register, 10/5/12, or HUDUser.org. Contact local HUD program staff.

DIFFICULT DEVELOPMENT AREAS ANNOUNCED. HUD designates DDAs for purposes of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit. Adoption of small area DDAs (see HAC News, 11/1/11) has been delayed. Qualified Census Tracts for 2013 were designated in April 2012 (see HAC News, 5/2/12). See Federal Register, 9/28/12 or HUDUser.org. Contact Michael K. Hollar, HUD, 202-402-5878.

ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS PROVIDED ON RAD. HUD’s information is for PHAs and owners applying under the Rental Assistance Demonstration to convert public and assisted housing to long-term, project-based Section 8 rental assistance. See Federal Register, 9/28/12, or HUD’s website. Contact HUD RAD staff.

POLL FINDS SUPPORT FOR MODIFYING MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION. A poll conducted in August for the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that 56% of Americans favor replacing the mortgage interest deduction with a tax credit that would provide the same percentage benefit for all households regardless of income. Nearly two-thirds (63%) support capping the size of mortgage for which one can get a tax break at $500,000. In addition, 68% believe that not being able to find affordable housing is a large or very large national problem. Strong majorities support federal programs to build or rehabilitate affordable rental housing (69%) and federal programs to help low-income families pay their rent (59%). When asked how to use the savings the federal government would gain from the proposed modifications to the mortgage interest deduction, 63% of those polled would make ending homelessness a top or high priority use. Contact Amy Clark, NLIHC, 202-662-1530, ext. 227.