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Annual Report 2014

ar2014-coverThe mantra ‘retool, rebuild, renew’ resonated throughout the year as HAC continued its work improving housing conditions for the rural poor. Even as the economy begins to improve, many rural communities and Americans continue to struggle with the aftermath of the national housing crisis and recession. Similarly, some rural housing providers have scaled back their efforts in response to critical funding cuts and uncertain markets. Adversity and change have never discouraged HAC or the partners we have developed such strong relationships with across the nation. HAC continues pressing forward to retool our collective talents, rebuild the innovative spirit that got us where we are, and renew our passion for the mission that guides us.

For the entirety of its existence, HAC has worked to recognize housing inadequacies and help facilitate remedies through affordable lending products, technical assistance, and accessible information. As traditional problems linger, new and more complicated constraints of housing distress have emerged. The past decade has taught us the importance of housing to our nation’s economy, communities, and families. As the nation’s fiscal outlook grows more complicated and public sector investment decreases, HAC becomes increasingly integral to the success of building capacity and providing affordable, quality homes in rural America.

All of our efforts serve one goal: to improve housing conditions for the poorest of the poor in the most rural of places. HAC remains dedicated to this mission and to the partners that work tirelessly in pursuit of the day when every family in rural America will have a safe, affordable place to call home.

MATERIALS POSTED: Practitioner’s Guide to Meeting Energy Star 3.0 – HVAC Part A.

MATERIALS POSTED: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System Contractors Checklist

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording | Additional Resources

Follow the discussion online #ruralgreen.

Please join us for Practitioner’s Guide to Meeting Energy Star 3.0 – HVAC Part A on 5/20/2015 2:00 PM Eastern Time.

MATERIALS POSTED: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System Contractors Checklist

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording | Additional Resources

Follow the discussion online #ruralgreen.

Please join us for Practitioner’s Guide to Meeting Energy Star 3.0 – HVAC Part A on 5/20/2015 2:00 PM Eastern Time.

All homes permitted after January 1, 2012 seeking ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 rating must meet ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 standards. Verification partners, including HERS raters and Field Inspectors, must complete ENERGY STAR Version 3 Rater Training through an Accredited Training Provider in order to service and/or inspect homes that seek ENERGY STAR Version 3.0 rating. There are two paths to certify a home to earn the ENERGY STAR. The Prescriptive Path is based on a predefined package of improvements, while the Performance Path is based on a customized package of upgrades. The National Program Requirements define the core energy efficiency specifications for both the Prescriptive and Performance Paths.

Both the Performance and Prescriptive Paths require completion of four inspection checklists:

  • Heating and Cooling Contractor Checklist,
  • Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) System Quality Installation Rater Checklist,
  • HVAC System Quality Installation Contractor Checklist, and
  • Water Management System Builder Checklist

A quality installs HVAC system promotes improved comfort, indoor air quality, and durability in certified homes. This webinar provides an overview of the HVAC Contractor checklist and its requirements as prescribed the Energy Star and ICCE 2009. Topics covered will include:

  • ACCA Manuals J, S, and D
  • HVAC System Contractor Checklist

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Additional Resources
  1. Thermal Enclosure System Rater Checklist Guidebook (.pdf)
  2. ACCA Manuals J, S, and D
  3. www.resnet.us/energystar
  4. www.energystar.gov
  5. www.epa.gov/watersense
  6. www.usgbc.org
  7. greenhomeguide.com/program/leed-for-homes
  8. youtu.be/czlCDo00Scs

Funded by: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and U.S. Department of Agriculture – Rural Development

Ending Rural Veteran Homelessness in 2015

Ensuring that veterans have access to safe, secure housing is critical, and President Obama and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have made a significant push to end veteran homelessness by the end of 2015. Data shows declines in the homeless veteran population across the country, including in Rural America. However, in rural areas where accurate homeless counts are more difficult, this data may not tell the whole story. Read HAC’s latest post on the Rooflines blog to learn why.

Photo: Stormi GreenerPhoto: Stormi Greener

HUD Releases Worst Case Housing Report Summary

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development released the executive summary to their 2015 Worse Case Housing Needs Report to Congress. The report found that the unmet need for decent, safe, and affordable rental housing continues to outpace the ability of federal, state, and local governments to supply housing assistance. Although worst case housing needs have decreased since 2013, the shortage of affordable rental housing is still problematic. In 2015, 6 of 10 extremely low-income renters and 3 of 10 very low-income renters still did not have access to affordable and available housing units.

A Conversation with the HUD Secretary

Moises Loza interviews Secretary Julian Castro #R3ConfHAC was fortunate to be visited by two Cabinet Secretaries and several members of Congress at the 2014 HAC Rural Housing Conference. During one of those visit, HUD Secretary Julián Castro sat down with HAC’s Executive Director Moises Loza to discuss HUD’s role in rural America, his passion for public service, and how he thinks HUD can better serve rural communities across the country.

View the entire discussion on Youtube

Moises began the discussion by asking How is HUD working in Rural America and what should HUD’s role be in rural places?

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Secretary Castro then shared his most poignant experience at HUD so far – visiting the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He went on to discuss what HUD could do to address housing issues and challenges on Native American Lands.

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The theme of the 2014 HAC Rural Housing Conference, Retool, Rebuild, Renew, emphasizes the need for housing organizations to train and engage the next generation of rural housing professionals to take over the field as many of the current practitioners transition towards retirement. While this topic was discussed at length in the opening plenary session, Moises asked Secretary Castro for his perspective on motivating young people to enter the afordable housing and public service fields.

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Mr. Castro also spoke to the importance of a strong public housing infrastructure as a means of providing affordable housing in rural areas…

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And expressed his support for the CDBG program as a vehicle for community and housing development in rural and urban areas.

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More from the chat

In a surprising moment, Moises revealed that he had known the Secretary’s “activist” mother from his days in Texas, which lead to a conversation about what compelled Mr. Castro to seek a career in public service.

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The Secretary reflects on how his experience as Mayor of San Antonio will help him at HUD.

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Moises asked the Secretary what can and should be done about credit standards and their impact on homeownership.

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From around the web

Secretary Castro on The Daily Show with John Stewart

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.

Understanding HAC Loan Products: An Overview on Uses, Eligibility, Requirements and Restrictions

Materials Posted

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording

As funding requirements become more rigorous, it is increasingly important for borrowers to be aware of and understand lender restrictions and overall requirements. This webinar is specifically designed to enhance current HAC borrower knowledge and provide potential nonprofits, for profits and government borrowers with an overview of HAC’s available loan products. Participants will hear directly from HAC’s senior loan fund staff and be able to obtain answers to many loan product related questions.

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Don’t miss this opportunity to obtain first-hand information and guidance; register now and join the Housing Assistance Council for a detailed overview of its loan products, borrow eligibility and uses!

USDA Speeds Processing of Section 502 Direct Loans

July 14, 2014 – USDA’s Rural Housing Service has temporarily authorized three steps to speed processing of Section 502 direct loans, hoping to use all FY14 funding for these mortgages before the fiscal year ends on September 30. USDA Rural Development field staff are authorized to:

  1. approve and obligate Section 502 direct loans subject to receipt of an appraisal, rather than waiting for the appraisal before approving the loan;
  2. make a new loan when a borrower is purchasing a property from a seller who also has a Section 502 direct loan, rather than using the lengthier process of having the borrower assume the seller’s loan; and
  3. refinance existing loans in some circumstances when there is a high risk of foreclosure.

The authorizations are explained in an Unnumbered Letter dated July 7, 2014. For further information, contact a USDA Rural Development office.

USDA Offers 514/516 Farmworker Housing Funds

Pre-applications are due September 2, 2014 requesting Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants for off-farm housing for farmworkers. Funds can be used for new construction or for purchase and substantial rehabilitation of a property that does not currently have USDA Section 514/516 financing. Section 521 Rental Assistance is available for new construction. Applicants may request up to $3 million (total for loan and grant).

Pre-application packets should be available on USDA’s website, or contact a USDA Rural Development state office for a packet.

Shared Equity for Rural Homebuyers

How have shared equity housing models created positive impacts on the supply of affordable housing?

by Mike Feinberg

Shared equity models are often locally (neighborhood) based. The homes financed may carry resale restrictions on value appreciation and may only be sold to an income-eligible purchaser. These models may not be conducive to rural areas with vast geographies and limited markets.

Read the complete blog post on the Bipartisan Policy Center’s site.