Posts

HAC News: October 14, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 14, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 21

• Deadline approaches for rural veteran housing projects • Celebration of Service supports rural veterans through November 11 • Hensarling request for suggestions includes USDA housing programs • FY15 USDA housing spending went mostly to guarantees, rental assistance • USDA implements integrated mortgage disclosure for direct Section 502 and 504 loans • Bill would authorize preservation program, allow some lenders to approve Section 502 guarantees • Section 8 OCAFs set • HUD issues guidance on determining homeless status of youth • Child poverty fell in 2014 but remains higher than in 2009 • Profiles show housing affordability for renters by state and locality

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 14, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 21

Deadline approaches for rural veteran housing projects. The Home Depot Foundation will make grants to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Concept papers are due October 30. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

Celebration of Service supports rural veterans through November 11. Each Monday until November 11, the Home Depot Foundation’s Team Depot Facebook page will highlight one of its nonprofit partners (HAC was featured September 21). For each like, comment, and share of these spotlight posts the foundation will donate $1 (up to $1 million total), which will be split between HAC and eight other nonprofits serving veterans. Dollars will also be donated for #ServiceSelfie posts on Twitter or Instagram.

Hensarling request for suggestions includes USDA housing programs. The September 30, 2015 HAC News reported that House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) seeks proposals for improvements to HUD and its programs. HAC has learned that the committee is also interested in ideas on USDA rural housing. The request includes specific topics for comment. Contact transformhousing@mail.house.gov.

FY15 USDA housing spending went mostly to guarantees, rental assistance. HAC’s analysis of USDA data shows that as of the end of September – the end of FY15 – USDA obligated 149,108 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $19.9 billion. This is $312 million less and 4,743 fewer (in number) obligations than at the same time last year. About 94% of the total loan and grant dollars obligated represent Section 502 guaranteed loans. USDA also obligated 249,468 units of tenant assistance representing over $1.1 billion through the Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 Rural Housing Voucher programs. This represents about $19.96 million or 7,051 fewer units than this time last year. Watch the HAC News and ruralhome.org for a more detailed analysis of FY15 spending. Contact Michael Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

USDA implements integrated mortgage disclosure for direct Section 502 and 504 loans. A Section 502 or 504 loan is now subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Mortgage Disclosures (TRID) rule if a security interest will be taken on the property. In an email to stakeholders, USDA RD explains this regulation is expected to impact almost every aspect of mortgage transactions. RD has developed training materials and conducted webinars for its staff, and will issue an Unnumbered Letter. Sign up online to receive emails with information about RD’s single-family housing programs.

Bill would authorize preservation program, allow some lenders to approve Section 502 guarantees. The Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, H.R. 3700, was recently introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). It includes two provisions for USDA rural housing programs: it would authorize the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization demonstration that has been funded for several years, and would allow USDA to delegate its Section 502 loan guarantee authority to preferred lenders. It would make a number of changes to HUD programs, some relating to income calculations and limits; it would also allow public housing agencies to create replacement reserves, extend the Family Unification Program, create inspection policies for PHAs’ units, and change utility reimbursements.

Section 8 OCAFs set. HUD’s new operating cost adjustment factors will apply to Section 8 project-based assistance contracts with anniversary dates on or after February 11, 2016. Contact Stan Houle, HUD, 202-402-2572.

HUD issues guidance on determining homeless status of youth. The document uses hypothetical scenarios to help providers understand how youth meet HUD’s definition of homelessness to receive Continuum of Care or Emergency Solutions Grants housing and services. An October 28 webinar will review the guidance and provide over-views of resources available to serve youth who meet and do not meet HUD’s definition of homeless.

Child poverty fell in 2014 but remains higher than in 2009. Research from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire analyzing American Community Survey data found that child poverty declined in rural places, suburbs, and cities, with the largest declines in rural America. Overall poverty rates are 38.4% for African-American children, 13.0% for non-Hispanic white children, and 32.1% for Hispanic children. Half (51.1%) of all rural African-American children live in poverty.

Profiles show housing affordability for renters by state and locality. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Housing Profiles, updated with Out of Reach 2015 data (see HAC News, 5/27/15), give one-page snapshots of affordable rental housing stock and affordability in each state and congressional district.

HAC News: September 30, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

• Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open • USDA uses all 502 direct funds • House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance • AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period • Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans • CFPB amends rule on rural credit access • EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers • HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs • Continuum of Care NOFA released • Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations • Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014 • Increase in cost-burdened renters projected

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open. Funding will continue, mostly at FY15 levels, through December 11. The CR includes language providing a short-term fix for Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts that run out of funds before their one-year term ends and could not be renewed (see HAC News, 9/2/15): it gives USDA authority to waive the prohibition on early renewals. It also includes the “anomaly” the Administration requested (see HAC News, 9/2/15), enabling USDA to spend a disproportionate amount of RA dollars early in the fiscal year.

USDA uses all 502 direct funds. By September 22, USDA RD obligated 7,043 Section 502 direct loans, using all of its Section 502 direct funds for FY15. This is the first time since FY12 all available money for that program was used. Very low-income borrowers received 31.8% of the total. Another 6,104 applications were submitted by September 22. RD also used all its FY15 Section 504 grant funds, but not all of the Section 504 loan money.

House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance. Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) requests specific proposals and recommendations on HUD restructuring, innovative approaches to address housing affordability that respect individual rights and promote individual responsibility, targeting housing assistance to address generational cycles of poverty, and examples of successful implementation of such proposals. Send ideas to transformhousing@mail.house.gov.

AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period. The Corporation for National and Community Service covers part or all of the cost of a community service position. Funding priorities include disaster services, veterans and military families, and more. Organizations that propose to operate in only one state must apply through State or Territory Commissions. Deadlines vary among states.A separate funding notice for Tribes will be released later this fall. Contact americorpsgrants@cns.gov.

Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans. Beginning October 1, a Section 502 direct borrower purchasing an existing home must have a whole house inspection rather than separate inspections on the home’s major systems. Contact a USDA RD local office.

CFPB amends rule on rural credit access. A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau final rule on mortgage lending by small creditors makes changes including expanding the definitions of small creditors and rural places. Contact Jeffrey Haywood, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers. A new final rule enhances requirements for training, recordkeeping, protective equipment, and more. The rule requires workers applying pesticides to be 18 or over. On family-owned farms, immediate family members are exempt from many provisions. Most changes will take effect in about 14 months. Contact Kathy Davis, EPA, 703-308-7002.

HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs. The General Section’s provisions apply to funding notices issued during the fiscal year.

Continuum of Care NOFA released. CoCs can apply by November 20 for FY15 homelessness program funds. Contact a local HUD CPD Field Office or ask questions at https://www.hudexchange.info/get-assistance/.

Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations. Ten sites will participate in the “Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive” (Rural IMPACT) technical assistance demonstration. HHS will run the effort in collaboration with USDA and others, providing technical assistance to the selected sites to plan and implement changes to alleviate child poverty.

Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014. A HAC analysis of recently released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data shows that home mortgage lending in rural areas dropped by about 25% from 2013 levels. Almost the entire change was due to decreases in refinances. The rate of high cost mortgage lending increased from 2013 to 2014. The level of high cost rural loans for manufactured homes was six times higher than the national rate for single-family homes. Additional analysis will be posted at www.ruralhome.org. Contact Keith Wiley, HAC, 202-842-8600.

Increase in cost-burdened renters projected. The number of households spending 50% or more of their income on rent is expected to rise at least 11% by 2025, according to Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015-2025 by Enterprise Community Partners and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The numbers of severely burdened households ages 65 to 74 will rise by 42% and those ages 75 and older by 39%. Hispanic households will have the largest increase among racial and ethnic groups, with the number of severely burdened Hispanic households increasing by 27%.

HAC Featured on Team Depot Facebook Page to Raise Funds for Rural Veterans

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is honored to be one of nine organizations chosen as Service Ambassadors for Team Depot and The Home Depot Foundation’s “Celebration of Service.” This effort runs through November 11, 2015.

The Team Depot Facebook page has published HAC’s spotlight post.

[facebook1][/facebook1]

Likes, comments and shares of these spotlight posts will also equal $1 toward the $1 million goal. Mark your calendar for the HAC’s spotlight post will be published onMonday, September 21!

About HAC’s participation in the Celebration of Service

HAC will be working to raise funds for three grass-roots organizations in rural areas and partnering with Team Depot volunteers to improve housing conditions for aging and service-connected disabled veterans. These are veterans like Ben Mitchell, a cook in the Korean war. With HAC and Home Depot support Western Maine Community Action, one of the local partners, was able to complete an emergency replacement on his septic system to ensure his large family could remain in their home safely. Ben is featured in the Team Depot Spotlight post.

Rural Poverty Remains Unchanged: Incomes Also Stagnant in Rural Areas

Download HAC's Research NoteThe number of rural Americans living in poverty has remained relatively unchanged, according to a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau. Overall, the official poverty rate for the United States was 14.8 percent in 2014 – the same as in 2013. Released today, the U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report, Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, estimates that 46.7 million people had incomes below the poverty line in 2014, making this the fourth year without a statistically significant change in the number of people in poverty at the national level.

HAC News: September 16, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19

• September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month • Government shutdown possible • USDA likely to spend all 502 direct funds but not 504 loan funds • Rural poverty rate unchanged, incomes stagnant, Census Bureau reports • Home Depot Foundation seeks proposals for rural veteran housing projects • Members of House Ag Committee question USDA officials • Section 502 packaging rule delayed again • Procedure changed for completing manufactured homes onsite • PHAs to get more flexibility for flat rents • FY16 Fair Market Rents proposed • GAO reports on overlap in rental housing programs • Two HAC trainings offered November 19-20

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19

SEPTEMBER 15-OCTOBER 15 IS NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE. It seems unlikely Congress will pass final versions of any appropriations bills before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year, and the Administration has threatened presidential vetoes of the bills passed so far because of their low funding levels. Issues including Iran, abortion, tax measures, and the federal debt ceiling may be involved in efforts to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution, possibly lasting into December, that would keep the government working at FY15 funding levels. A government shutdown is also a possibility.

USDA LIKELY TO SPEND ALL 502 DIRECT FUNDS BUT NOT 504 LOAN FUNDS. As of September 15, USDA RD’s year-end efforts seem to be working: the agency has obligated 90.3% of its FY15 Section 502 direct loan dollars and expects to commit the rest by September 30. While 98.1% of Section 504 grant funds have been obligated, Section 504 loans are at only 51.3%. Contact a state or local USDA RD office.

RURAL POVERTY RATE UNCHANGED, INCOMES STAGNANT, CENSUS BUREAU REPORTS. The national (14.8%) and nonmetro (16.5%) poverty rates were statistically unchanged from 2013 to 2014, according to Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, as were national and rural median incomes. In nonmetro places the rates of people lacking health insurance dropped from 12.8% in 2013 to 10.7% in 2014. HAC’s summary of the Census Bureau’s data is posted online.

HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR RURAL VETERAN HOUSING PROJECTS. Awards will go to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Concept papers are due October 30. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

MEMBERS OF HOUSE AG COMMITTEE QUESTION USDA OFFICIALS. Hearings on September 15 and 16 covered all of USDA’s mission areas including Rural Development. Members mentioned overlap between HUD and USDA housing programs and the Section 502 mortgage programs’ “duplication” of private sector offerings. RD Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez described the unique features of USDA’s housing programs, noted that staff cuts pose serious challenges for program delivery, promised increasing automation of loan processing, and emphasized the value of “trusted nonprofits” and “partners.”

SECTION 502 PACKAGING RULE DELAYED AGAIN. The final rule creating a certified loan application packaging process for Section 502 direct loans (see HAC News, 4/29/15), set to become effective on October 1, 2015 (see HAC News, 6/10/15), has now been deferred until October 1, 2016. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

PROCEDURE CHANGED FOR COMPLETING MANUFACTURED HOMES ONSITE. A new HUD regulation is intended to simplify the process. Contact Pamela B. Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

PHAS TO GET MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR FLAT RENTS. Comments are due November 9 on a HUD interim rule that supersedes part of an earlier proposed rule (see HAC News, 1/7/15). Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732-2056.

FY16 FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED. These are the first FMRs using metropolitan area definitions issued by OMB in 2013, incorporating the 2010 Decennial Census data. HUD also invites feedback on alternative methodologies for setting FMRs. Comments are due October 8. Contact HUD USER, 800-245-2691.

GAO REPORTS ON OVERLAP IN RENTAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. Affordable Rental Housing: Assistance Is Provided by Federal, State, and Local Programs, but There Is Incomplete Information on Collective Performancereiterates earlier GAO findings about overlap among federal housing programs, and adds a sample of state and local programs. The report notes that overlap can have positive effects, such as helping to meet program objectives. It reviews activities of the Rental Policy Working Group, which includes representatives from several federal agencies and works with state and local agencies, and it notes collaboration efforts by state and local agencies. GAO recommends HUD work with the Rental Policy Working Group, states, and localities “to develop an approach for compiling and reporting on the collective performance of federal, state, and local rental assistance programs.”

TWO HAC TRAININGS OFFERED NOVEMBER 19-20. The cost is $75 each for these courses in North Charleston, SC. Register online for either Sharpening Your Skills: Financial Management for Rural Nonprofits or Utilizing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing. These are concurrent sessions; register for only one. Advance registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

50 Years, 50,000 Homes

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
50 Years, 50,000 Homes

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

Views from Washington

Successful Federal-Local Partnerships
by U.S. Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers

Local partners help USDA housing programs make meaningful impacts to the lives of local rural residents

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Build a Better Life
by U.S. Representative Sam Farr

A program that helped create the real American Dream for over 50 years.

With Many Dedicated Partners, USDA Helps 50,000 Families Achieve the American Dream
by Secretary Tom Vilsack

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses USDA’s Self-Help Housing Program.

FEATURES

So Much Progress, So Much Left To Do!
by Peter Carey

A simple concept still holds promise in a complicated housing world

Looking Back: The Beginnings and Evolution of USDA’s Self-Help Housing Movement
by Bob Marshall

Early efforts in rural California became a Self-Help Housing model for the nation

Building Forward: Self-Help For All
by Russell Huxtable

Let’s build on fifty years of history and expand this life changing program!

Self-Help Housing Changed Our Lives
by Noelle McKay and Stefanie Kompathoum

Families share their experience with the Self-Help Housing Program

An Emerging Self-Help Leader
by Mi’shell French

Discusses personal growth and sustaining the momentum through Self-Help Housing

Self-Help Housing and “SHOP” in the Rio Grande Valley
by Nancy Hanson

HUD’s Self -Help Homeownership Opportunity Program helps make self-help building sites affordable

Technical Assistance is the Essential Ingredient to Self-Help Housing
by Suzy Huard

USDA’S Section 523 Technical Assistance Grants make Mutual Self-Help housing possible

Expanding Service in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
by Mike Shimon

A local Habitat for Humanity provider reaches more families using the USDA Mutual Self-Help program

Neither Wind, Nor Rain…Can Stop a Determined Self-Help Provider
by Linda Smith

A local nonprofit is up to the challenge when disaster strikes twice.

Additional Content

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselvesCelebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(8.5″ X 11″ printable pdf)

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(25.5″ X 11″ original document)

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

Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans

Materials Posted

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording | Webinar Q&A Transcript

A disproportionate number of veterans come from and return to small towns and rural America. Join this webinar to learn more about ways to serve this sometimes forgotten group. Participants in the webinar will hear from two key agencies of the US Dept. of Veterans’ Affairs — the Office of Rural Health and the Center on Homelessness. Leaders of these agencies will discuss opportunities for rural nonprofits to work with the VA to provide housing and services to veterans. Rural homeless veterans face a lack of opportunities for safe shelter compared to urban or suburban veterans. Participants will also learn more about the challenges of serving rural veterans and the impact of successful VA programs on such service.

rural-veteran-fy14 Page 16

Some Mistakes Have Been Made

Rural Housers Share Their Favorite Mistakes, and What They Learned from Them

This edition of Rural Voices features stories from rural housing professionals who share notable mistakes they or their organization made. These candid and even humorous accounts of mistakes in rural housing are intended to convey that blunders are inevitable, but assessing and learning from mistakes can actually improve your organization and its efforts.

Rural Housers Share Their Favorite Mistakes, and What They Learned from Them

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
rvspring15-cover
This edition of Rural Voices features stories from rural housing professionals who share notable mistakes they or their organization made. These candid and even humorous accounts of mistakes in rural housing are intended to convey that blunders are inevitable, but assessing and learning from mistakes can actually improve your organization and its efforts.

A VIEW FROM WASHINGTON

HUD Secretary Julián Castro Discusses Rural Housing
by the Housing Assistance Council

Newly Appointed Under Secretary of Rural Development Lisa Mensah
by Lisa Mensah

FEATURES

“My House Is Backwards!”
by Scott McReynolds

The Housing Development Alliance takes a calm but straightforward approach to mistakes: admit them, fix them, and learn from them in hopes of not making the same mistake twice.

A Promising Concept… With a Harsh Realization
by Laura Buxbaum

After self-examination, a housing nonprofit in Maine asks, “How did we get here? What might we have done differently? And would we ever, under any circumstances, do it again?”

The Gray Panthers of El Dorado, Amador, and Placer Counties: How the Good Guys Finally Won
by John Frisk

A local citizenboard and a group of rural “housers” kept a project afloat after near-collapse in its early years resulting in a development that now serves the community with 40 units of senior housing.

Always Improving, One Misstep at a Time
by Nick Mitchell-Bennet and Kathy Tyler

“I have not failed. I have just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison was no stranger to failures, but he took a healthy approach to mistakes.

Farmworker Housing Travails from Pennsylvania
by John Wiltse

PathStone stayed the course through a ten-year predevelopment process and emerged a stronger real-estate developer.

Underestimating Bureaucracy in Bureaus
by Marvin Ginn

Cutting through red tape on tribal lands comes with unique pitfalls

Trust AND Verify
by Wilbur Cave

A seemingly small oversight can become a big problem quickly

Additional Content

rvspring15-infographic-thumbMortgage Lending and Access in Rural America

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

Stories of Poverty in Rural Appalachia

In the second installment of his series on “America’s Poorest Towns” for www.thinkprogress.org, Scott Rodd writes a series of essays profiling people trying to cope with persistent poverty in Beattyville, KY.

alt

Rodd interviews several residents of Beattyville in an effort to identify the root cause of the town’s continued poverty and economic struggles. These stories help to illustrate the depth and breadth of challenges a persistently poor rural community faces.

Read the first story in the series, which profiles Campti, LA.

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

2014-conference-report-cover

Watch the Plenaries

castro-youtube

Materials from the Conference

ap-scs