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HAC News: October 21, 2019

News Formats. pdf

October 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 21

Senate may begin considering FY20 spending bills the week of October 21 • Apply by November 15 for grants to support housing aid to rural veterans • HUD offers funds for new Section 811 housing and rental aid for persons with disabilities • USDA obligated all Section 502 direct funds for FY19, but not Section 504 • USDA to begin accepting Section 538 rental guarantee applications continuously • Lawsuit charges Texas’s Hurricane Harvey recovery discriminates against low-income renters of color • Executive Orders increase scrutiny of agency guidance • Administration tells agencies to pay as they go • Senate committee considers homeownership in Indian Country • USDA names Deputy Administrator for rental housing office • Threshold raised for single-family appraisal requirements • HUD sets expediated process for PHAs in disaster countries • NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits, Nov. 12-14 in Tampa • HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 21

Senate may begin considering FY20 spending bills the week of October 21.

The first FY20 appropriations bill to be debated on the Senate floor may be a package that includes funding for HUD and USDA, along with other agencies. Even after the Senate passes its measures, differences between its bills and the House’s will need to be resolved, as will differences with White House priorities.

Apply by November 15 for grants to support housing aid to rural veterans.

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural areas. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners and/or secure affordable rental housing. This initiative is funded through the generous support of the Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due November 15 by 5:00 pm Eastern time. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org.

HUD offers funds for new Section 811 housing and rental aid for persons with disabilities.

For the first time since 2010, capital advances and rental assistance contracts are available for nonprofits to develop permanent supportive rental housing for very low-income adults with disabilities. For the first time since 2013, project-based rental subsidies are also offered to state agencies, to be used for existing, rehabilitated or new permanent supportive housing units that do not have capital advances from HUD’s Section 811 or 202 programs. Applications for both funding pools are due February 10, 2020. For more information, contact HUD staff at FY18811NOFA@hud.gov.

USDA obligated all Section 502 direct funds for FY19, but not Section 504.

Despite the federal government shutdown early in the fiscal year, USDA obligated all available funds for Section 502 direct loans this year, using just over $1 billion for a total of 6,194 mortgage loans to new low-income homebuyers. About 37% of the loans and 42% of the dollars went to very low-income applicants. HAC appreciates RHS Administrator Bruce Lammers’s approval of overtime for field staff and other special authorizations, which made this possible.

There was, however, a significant shortfall in the agency’s use of Section 504 loans and grants for repairs to homes owned by very low-income people. USDA obligated 2,735 Section 504 loans, representing $17.4 million of the $28 million available, and 3,908 grants, using $24.8 million of the $30 million appropriated. The remaining grant funds can be used in FY20, but the loan monies cannot.

Use of resources for rental housing preservation exceeded last year’s performance, with 85 loans from Section 515 and 205 loans and three grants from the MPR program.

More information is provided in HAC’s obligation report, and HAC will also publish a more detailed FY19 performance report.

USDA to begin accepting Section 538 rental guarantee applications continuously.

As proposed in December, USDA will no longer publish annual NOFAs for the Section 538 rental housing guarantee program. It will publish an announcement when funds are available and will then accept applications at any time. For more information, contact Monica Cole, RD, 202-720-1251.

Lawsuit charges Texas’s Hurricane Harvey recovery discriminates against low-income renters of color.

Low-income Hispanic and African-American renters have sued HUD and the state of Texas alleging discrimination in the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The suit claims that the state’s decision to target aid to homeowners, landlords and developers while excluding renters is discriminatory because low-income renters are more likely to be African-American or Hispanic.

Executive Orders increase scrutiny of agency guidance.

On October 9 President Trump signed two Executive Orders, one requiring federal executive agencies such as USDA and HUD to increase transparency around their use of guidance documents and the other limiting agency reliance on past enforcement activities to establish standards of compliance with laws or regulations. The Office of Management and Budget is given authority to implement the provisions on guidance documents, including to require OMB review of “significant” guidance documents. The Executive Order does not refer to OMB review authorities announced in an April 11, 2019 memo from OMB’s Acting Director Russell Vought, though the two seem to overlap.

Administration tells agencies to pay as they go.

An Executive Order issued on October 10 intends to “reinvigorate administrative PAYGO,” requiring federal departments and agencies to reduce spending in one area when they propose a spending increase in another area unless a law requires the increase. OMB is given authority to waive the requirements and to issue instructions for implementing the order.

Senate committee considers homeownership in Indian Country.

On October 16, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled “Lending Opportunities: Opening the Door to Homeownership in Indian Country.” Witnesses included HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Hunter Kurtz, Governor Max Zuni of the Pueblo of Isleta, Council Member Nate Mount of the Ft. Belknap Indian Community, BIA Director Darryl LaCounte and Patrice Kunesh from the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Discussions focused on the need for capital in Indian Country, the role Native CDFIs can play in bringing lending capacity to tribal areas and potential modernizations to the HUD Section 184 program. For more on challenges and opportunities for mortgage finance in Indian Country, review HAC’s recent report here.

USDA names Deputy Administrator for rental housing office.

Nancie-Ann Bodell, who became Acting Deputy Administrator for Multi-Family Housing several months ago, has been selected to fill the position on a permanent basis. She oversees USDA’s programs for the production and preservation of rental housing as well as the existing portfolio of affordable rental housing and farm labor housing.

Threshold raised for single-family appraisal requirements.

The agencies that regulate banks and thrifts are raising the threshold level at which appraisals are not required for single-family (one to four units) real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. Some rural properties are exempt from the appraisal requirement altogether. When appraisals are not required, lenders must obtain evaluations, consistent with safe and sound banking practices. For more information, contact G. Kevin Lawton, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 202-649-7152.

HUD sets expedited process for PHAs in disaster counties.

HUD has established an expedited process to review requests for relief from HUD regulatory and/or administrative requirements for public housing agencies in counties that are included in major disaster declarations in calendar year 2019. For more information, contact HUD staff, PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov.

*NEW!* HAC offers Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits, Nov. 12-14 in Tampa.

This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held in Tampa, FL on November 12-14. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa.

HUD’s final rule on new certification requirements for housing counselors requires that by August 1, 2020 counseling for or in connection with any HUD programs must be provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors. Get ready! Elevate your knowledge in the six essential competency areas, including financial management, housing affordability, homeownership, avoiding foreclosure, tenancy and fair housing. Set yourself up for success in meeting HUDs counselor certification requirements by starting your prep with this three-day course scheduled for Tampa, FL on November 12-14. The registration fee is $500. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC News: September 9, 2019

News Formats. pdf

September 9, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 18

Administration releases housing finance reform proposal • Congress to resume work on FY20 appropriations • House will consider rural rental preservation bill • USDA offers Community Facilities grants for disaster relief • Eligibility calculations for Section 504 repair loans and grants revised • Comments requested on economic development in distressed areas • Census Bureau hiring for help with 2020 Census • Fair market rents released • USDA extends manufactured housing pilots • Vermont incentivizes local and rural job creation “Colonias Investment Areas – Texas” webinar set for September 26 • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 9, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 18

Administration releases housing finance reform proposal.

The Trump Administration’s proposed housing finance reform plan was released on September 5. In addition to the Treasury Department plan to release Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from government conservatorship and limit the federal role in the housing market, a separate document presents a HUD plan for FHA and Ginnie Mae. The Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs has scheduled a September 10 hearing on “Housing Finance Reform: Next Steps.” HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mark Calabria will be witnesses and the hearing will be webcast live.

Congress to resume work on FY20 appropriations.

The week of September 9, after the House and Senate return from their August recess, the Senate Appropriations Committee will begin to consider funding bills for FY20, which starts on October 1, 2019. Earlier this year the House developed its 12 appropriations bills and passed 10 of them, though its numbers will need to be adjusted because the summer budget deal provided a lower amount for non-defense and a higher amount for defense than the House bills assumed. The House is expected to vote the week of September 16 on a continuing resolution carrying FY19 funding levels until late November or early December. Bloomberg reports the Administration has requested a number of “anomalies” – changes in FY19 provisions to be included in a CR. No rural housing anomalies are listed, but the request does include authority for HUD to renew contracts for rental assistance to Section 202 properties for the elderly, as well as additional funding for the 2020 Census.

House will consider rural rental preservation bill.

The House of Representatives is scheduled to take up H.R. 3620, the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act of 2019, on September 10, 11 or 12. The bill, which passed the House Financial Services Committee unanimously in July, would authorize the MPR and preservation technical assistance programs, authorize vouchers for tenants after a mortgage matures or is foreclosed (in addition to after prepayment), allow decoupling of Rental Assistance as a last resort, require USDA to develop a preservation plan and establish a stakeholders’ committee to advise USDA.

USDA offers Community Facilities grants for disaster relief.

Community Facilities grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to public bodies, nonprofits and tribes in rural areas impacted by FEMA-recognized natural disasters. For more information, contact a USDA Rural Development state office.

Eligibility calculations for Section 504 repair loans and grants revised.

USDA revisions to Handbook HB-1-3550, announced in Procedure Notice 527, change the methodology for determining eligibility for loan, grant and combination assistance. They also provide clarification to other program eligibility criteria including credit analysis, medical deductions, property considerations and construction contract considerations. The Section 504 program offers loans to low-income rural homeowners and grants to those who are age 62 or older. For more information, contact a local USDA Rural Development office.

Comments requested on economic development in distressed areas.

In connection with its work on the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, the Commerce Department seeks recommendations on spurring economic development in Opportunity Zones and other distressed areas. Comments are due October 18. For more information, contact Mara Quintero Campbell, 202-482-5479.

Census Bureau hiring for help with 2020 Census.

The U.S. Census Bureau needs to hire hundreds of thousands of workers to complete the upcoming census. Temporary jobs include census takers, recruiting assistants, office staff and supervisory staff, with locations throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Fair Market Rents released.

HUD has posted Fair Market Rents for FY20, effective October 1, 2019. Prices are available at the county and zip code levels for efficiency, one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom and four-bedroom units.

USDA extends manufactured housing pilots.

Two pilot programs are extended through the end of August 2020. One allows the Section 502 direct and guarantee programs to finance existing manufactured homes that are not already financed by USDA. The second reduces the required land lease term for energy-efficient homes in nonprofit communities. For more information related to Section 502 direct, contact Jeremy Anderson, USDA, 202-690-3971; related to Section 502 guaranteed, contact Kevin Smith, USDA, 517-883-6147.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • South Carolina Housing Needs Assessment estimates that high housing costs in the state cost a total of $8.4 billion in public assistance, private charity or personal deprivation. The report mentions that the housing crisis looks different in rural areas, where incomes are lower.
  • #MapMonday is a weekly social media series from the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities at the University of Montana. For a new map each week related to people living with disabilities in rural America, follow RTC:Rural on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

Vermont incentivizes local and rural job creation.

The Remote Worker Grant Program, which offers remote workers as much as $10,000 in payments and incentives to relocate to Vermont, has seen greater than expected participation and engagement. Since January 2019 a total of 170 people have relocated to the state as part of this program (this number includes family members that moved with the workers). The Vermont Department of Economic Development is hoping to expand on this success by offering another incentive program aimed at creating local jobs, with higher payouts for jobs created in rural communities.

Colonias Investment AreasTexas” webinar set for September 26.
HAC, in partnership with Fannie Mae, will hold a webinar presenting data and research on Colonias Investment Areas, a geographic concept developed to target strategies and opportunities for mortgage finance and resource investment in colonia communities along the southwest U.S. border. The September 26 session will focus on colonias in Texas. Recent webinars on colonias in New Mexico and Arizona are available on HAC’s YouTube channel. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC News: October 25, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 22

EARLY BIRD RATE ENDS OCTOBER 31 FOR 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE• Comments on USDA income banding proposal due October 30, HAC posts draft response • Proposed regulations released for Opportunity Zones • HUD reports homelessness fell in cities over past ten years, increased in suburban and rural areas • Indian Community Development Block Grant funds available • Information from HAC’s Community Reinvestment Act webinar posted • USDA used all Section 502 direct funding in FY 2018, Section 504 fell short • Water infrastructure bill becomes law • Census data guide the targeting of over $30 billion in federal funds per year for rural areas • New poll shows rural optimism, mixed with concern for jobs and the opioid epidemic • Changes proposed for H-2A temporary farmworker visa forms • Economic growth is uneven within rural and urban places, not just between rural and urban, researcher notes •Framing the conversation helps build support for affordable housing • Interactive maps show who’s most impacted by Hurricane Florence • Almost one-quarter of housing tax credit units may lose affordability by 2030, says new report • Housing tax credit target area designations released

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 22

EARLY BIRD RATE ENDS OCTOBER 31 FOR 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE.
Register now for the conference, to be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. HUD Secretary Ben Carson is confirmed as one of the keynote speakers.

Comments on USDA income banding proposal due October 30, HAC posts draft response.
On August 31 USDA published a proposed rule for its single-family housing direct loan and grant programs that would adopt a two-tier income limit structure, revise the methodology to determine area loan limits and make other changes. The proposed change to the income limit structure is intended to minimize the observed disconnect between minimum wages and the low median income in many areas. The proposed change to the methodology is intended to streamline the process and improve the reliability of the data set used to establish the area loan limits. HAC agrees that these are desirable goals, but HAC’s draft comment letter expresses concern that the proposed solutions will divert limited program resources to applicants with much higher incomes. HAC strongly urges USDA to take positive steps to assure the program continues to serve those who are most in need.

Proposed regulations released for Opportunity Zones.
The IRS’s proposed regulations and other guidance were released on October 19, explaining how individuals, corporations and others can delay or eliminate capital gains taxes by investing in Qualified Opportunity Funds that undertake development in designated Opportunity Zones. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet been scheduled. The IRS will hold a public hearing on the proposal on January 10, 2019. For more information, contact Erika C. Reigle, IRS, 202-317-7006.

HUD reports homelessness fell in cities over past ten years, increased in suburban and rural areas.
The first part of HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, released in December, focused on people who were homeless on a single night in January 2017. The just-released second part presents nationwide data on those who were homeless at any time during fiscal year 2017. It includes figures for rural (nonmetropolitan) areas, usually combining them with numbers for suburbs. From 2007 to 2017, the share of people experiencing homelessness decreased in principal cities from 76.9% to 72.5% and increased in suburban and rural areas from 23.1% to 27.5%, while the shares of population and poverty population did not change.

Indian Community Development Block Grant funds available.
Tribal governments and tribal organizations can apply by January 7, 2019 for HUD ICDBG grants to provide housing, living environments, or economic opportunities primarily for low- and moderate-income people. For more information, contact HUD staff.

Information from HAC’s Community Reinvestment Act webinar posted.
A recording and slides from HAC’s October 24 webinar on “Proposed Changes to CRA – What Does it Mean for Rural America?” is posted online. Comments on the proposed CRA changes are due to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency by November 19.

USDA used all Section 502 direct funding in FY 2018, Section 504 fell short.
USDA obligated about $1.1 billion for 7,199 Section 502 direct loans, up from $999.99 million (7,187 loans) last year. Obligations to very low-income borrowers accounted for 33% of that total, less than last year’s 38%. Only 71% of the $28 million available for Section 504 homeowner repair loans was used, along with 94% of the $30 million for Section 504 grants; there were 206 fewer loans than in FY17 and 178 fewer grants. On the multifamily side, USDA obligated the entire $1.35 billion available for 268,514 Section 521 Rental Assistance units. Last year, it funded 302,451 units ($1.37 billion). There were also 6,353 rural housing vouchers totaling $26.7 million in FY18, compared to last year’s 5,609 vouchers representing $22.0 million. More information is provided in HAC’s obligation report, and a more detailed HAC report on FY18 performance is forthcoming.

Water infrastructure bill becomes law.
On October 23, President Trump signed into law the bipartisan Water Infrastructure Act of 2018. Intended to provide safe drinking water for communities across the country, the act includes new programs with specific priorities benefiting rural Americans.

Census data guide the targeting of over $30 billion in federal funds per year for rural areas.
The annual total for all 320 census-guided federal assistance programs – including those that are not specifically rural – was $850 billion in FY16, according to George Washington University’s Institute of Public Policy, which presented findings and other details to the Congressional Rural Caucus on October 11. For more information, contact Prof. Andrew Reamer, GWU, 202-994-7866.

New poll shows rural optimism, mixed with concern for jobs and the opioid epidemic.
According to a new poll from National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, rural Americans are largely concerned about opioids and economic conditions in their communities, but are optimistic overall. Eight in 10 said they feel their lives are turning out either as expected, or better. Nationally 25% of rural residents cited drug addiction/abuse as the biggest problem facing their community, compared to 21% who cited economic concerns.

Changes proposed for H-2A temporary farmworker visa forms.
The Department of Labor has suggested revisions to the forms and information employers submit to DOL for its determination whether U.S. farmworkers are available and whether conditions for U.S. workers would be affected by hiring workers from other countries through the temporary H-2A visa program. Comments are due in mid-December. For more information, contact William W. Thompson II, DOL, 202-513-7350.

Economic growth is uneven within rural and urban places, not just between rural and urban, researcher notes.
Rural America is not a monolithic entity mired in economic depression while urban/suburban areas are thriving, writes scholar Richard Florida in the first of a series of articles for CityLab. Other pieces in the series cover jobs, economic mobility, and wages, with future items on the urban-rural divide expected to cover population growth, college grads, and the knowledge-based creative class.

Framing the conversation helps build support for affordable housing.
Finding a Frame for Affordable Housing, by the FrameWorks Institute and Enterprise Community Partners, presents research findings and a companion piece, Piecing it Together: A Framing Playbook for Affordable Housing Advocates, illustrates ways for advocates to use these techniques in their communications. The authors recommend describing housing and development issues in terms of fairness.

Interactive maps show who’s most impacted by Hurricane Florence.
Maps for North and South Carolina, posted along with information about the need for civil legal aid after disasters, show where vulnerable groups such as children, people with disabilities, farmworkers and more live in the storm-affected parts of the states.

Almost one-quarter of housing tax credit units may lose affordability by 2030, says new report.
Balancing Priorities: Preservation and Neighborhood Opportunity in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program Beyond Year 30, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corporation, reports that the Low Income Housing Tax Credit has financed about 3 million affordable rental housing units nationwide. Federal law requires most of them to remain affordable for at least 30 years, with some states extending the affordability period beyond that. Eleven percent of these properties, and 5.6% of the units, also have loans from USDA’s Section 515 program. Nationwide, almost 500,000 LIHTC units will reach the 30-year mark by 2030. Around the same time, unless preventive action is taken, rural places will also experience significant annual loss of Section 515 properties, as detailed in HAC’s recent report, Rental Housing for a 21st Century Rural America: A Platform for Preservation.

Housing tax credit target area designations released.
HUD has published its annual designations of Difficult Development Areas and Qualified Census Tracts for purposes of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. For more information, contact Michael K. Hollar , HUD, 202-402-5878.

HAC offers Section 502 packaging training in December.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held December 5-7 in Washington, DC (simultaneously with HAC’s conference). For more information, contact HAC staff , 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

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.

USDA RD Section 502 Direct Loan and Section 504 Loan and Elderly Grant Repair Program – An Overview

To have an event posted on our calendar*, please e-mail Dan Stern. Or send event description or brochure to:

Housing Assistance Council
Attn: Dan Stern
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW
Suite 606
Washington, DC 20005

Or fax to (202) 347-3441
Attn: Dan Stern

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*Calendar Posting Guidelines:

HAC’s calendar posts announcements about periodic conferences, training sessions, audioconferences, and the like. Topics must be relevant to professionals in the rural housing and community development arena. HAC reserves the right to accept or decline any request to post an item. We do not include sessions provided by entities (for-profit or nonprofit) that offer numerous regularly scheduled training events; links to such entities are provided below.

Community Connections
IPED

HUD Calendar
NeighborWorks
Novogradac and Compan

Back to Trainings

USDA RD Section 502 Direct Loan and Section 504 Loan and Elderly Grant Repair Program – An Overview

Date: May 15, 2013
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT
Registration: https://cc.readytalk.com/r/5506ay5lpun7

The Housing Assistance Council invites you to participate in a webinar on USDA Rural Development’s Section 502 single-family housing direct and guaranteed loan and Section 504 Repair Loan and Elderly Grant Programs. Discussion will include the purpose, eligibility requirements, loan terms, and regulations of each of the programs. Participants will also learn about the conditional commitment process as a unique program feature and how these soft commitments can be the basis for developing a single unit or multiple units more efficiently.

This webinar is supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Pre-Registration Required. Register Now!! https://cc.readytalk.com/r/5506ay5lpun7