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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: April 12, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements • Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements • CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department • Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories • HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications • Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill • RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits • Section 538 industry calls planned • HUD income limits set • CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education • Appraisal threshold increased • Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations • Wage gap for rural women quantified • Disaster survivors’ stories sought

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 12, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 8

Executive Order addresses work requirements.
On April 10 President Trump issued an “Executive Order Reducing Poverty in America by Promoting Opportunity and Economic Mobility.” It establishes “Principles of Economic Mobility” that include strengthening or imposing work requirements for those receiving means-tested federal aid; increasing state and local flexibility in administering aid; combining or eliminating “duplicative or ineffective” programs; and involving the private sector in poverty solutions. Cabinet departments that run assistance programs, including USDA and HUD, must submit reports within 90 days recommending changes consistent with these principles. They must also list which programs restrict benefits to lawful U.S. residents and which do not.

Draft Farm Bill includes SNAP work requirements.
The House Agriculture Committee released the text of H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, on April 12. It proposes new requirements for SNAP participants to work or enroll in work training. The only housing provision updates the definition of rural areas eligible for the RHS housing programs so that it refers to the 2020 Census as well as 2010. The bill reauthorizes several RUS and RBS programs. It also reauthorizes the Delta Regional Authority and the Northern Great Plains Regional Authority, but cuts the authorized funding for the DRA from the current $30 million per year to $12 million and for the NGPRA from $30 million to $2 million. (The DRA’s FY18 appropriation is $25 million. The NGPRA has never received an appropriation.)

CRA recommendations released by Treasury Department.
Treasury published a report on April 3 identifying regulatory and administrative improvements for the Community Reinvestment Act. The suggestions would broaden bank assessment areas to account for technological access in places without physical branches, expand the range of eligible CRA activities, clarify rating criteria and subjective terms such as “excellent,” require timely examinations, and strengthen incentives for banks to avoid low performance ratings.

Opportunity Zones designated in 18 states and territories.
The first round of Opportunity Zones were announced by the Treasury Department and the IRS for the states and territories that nominated areas by March 21. Other states requested 30-day extensions and must make their submissions by April 20. The IRS invites comments as it develops guidance for the program on topics including the certification of Qualified Opportunity Funds and eligible investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones. It does not provide a deadline.

HUD invites Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants applications.
Nonprofits, PHAs, local governments, and tribal entities are eligible for planning grants or planning and action grants focusing on transforming a neighborhood by redeveloping at least one severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing project. Applications are due June 12.

Stakeholders suggest Rural Development provisions for Farm Bill.
HAC and other interested organizations sent a letter to the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees listing recommendations for provisions related to USDA Rural Development that could be included in this year’s Farm Bill. Among the suggestions are incentives for investing in the rural communities with the greatest need, including those with populations under 10,000; authorization for the multifamily housing preservation technical assistance program; and support for infrastructure, including broadband.

RD clarifies asset management fee for nonprofits.
An Unnumbered Letter dated March 30, 2018 explains that nonprofit and cooperative owners of Section 515 and 514/516 properties are eligible for a $7,500 asset management fee per property, rather than per owner. For more information, contact a USDA RD state office.

Section 538 industry calls planned.
During 2018 and 2019, USDA will hold a series of teleconference and/or web conference meetings regarding the Section 538 guaranteed rental housing program. To register to receive information when calls are scheduled, contact Monica Cole, USDA, 202-720-1251.

HUD income limits set.
FY18 median area incomes and income limits for metro areas and nonmetro counties are available online.

CFPB requests comments on its guidance and its consumer financial education.
Comments to help CFPB assess the overall effectiveness and accessibility of its guidance materials and activities (including implementation support) to members of the general public, including regulated entities, are due July 2. For more information, contact Kristin Switzer, CFPB, 202-435-7700. Comments on CFPB’s consumer financial education programs are due July 9. For more information, contact Davida Farrar, CFPB, 202-435-9523.

Appraisal threshold increased.
Effective on April 9, the federal agencies that regulate banks and savings and loans require appraisals for lenders’ real estate transactions above $500,000. The previous threshold was $250,000. Loans secured by residential properties with one to four units are exempt from the appraisal requirement; for those, lenders must instead obtain evaluations that are consistent with safe and sound banking practices. Contacts for further information vary by regulatory agency.

Comments requested to improve FHFA regulations.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency invites comments by June 4 on how its regulations can be made more effective and less burdensome, except for rules of agency organization, procedure, or practice, or regulations adopted or substantially amended since April 2016. For more information, contact Ellen S. Bailey, FHFA, 202-649-3056.

Wage gap for rural women quantified.
The Center for American Progress reports that rural women who work full time, year round, make 76 cents for every dollar that rural men make. Rural African-American and Hispanic women make 56 cents for every dollar made by rural white, non-Hispanic men, while Rural Native American women make 69 cents and rural Asian American and Pacific Islander women make 75 cents.

Disaster survivors’ stories sought.
The Disaster Housing Recovery Coalition developed an online tool to capture disaster survivors’ individual stories. These accounts of unmet need will be used to illustrate the unique housing challenges low-income survivors face after a disaster and to build support for solutions. The coalition asks organizations serving disaster survivors from the hurricanes and wildfires of 2017 to fill out the online questionnaire for any client/individual with a compelling need for direct rental assistance.

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: January 19, 2017

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 19, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 2

Perdue nominated for USDA Secretary, RD staff acting in administrative positions • Carson pledges to enforce laws, supports rental assistance • USDA offers rural broadband loans, loan guarantees, and grants • RD updates handbooks on multifamily ownership transfers and single-family housing • 2016 data show continuing trends for USDA tenants • Administration for Children and Families requests input from Native Americans • HUD revises Rental Assistance Demonstration • Register for notice of calls on Section 538 program • RD updates multifamily loan payoff guidance • FHFA proposes evaluation guidance for Duty to Serve • Duty to Serve Listening Sessions scheduled • OMB approves two fair housing assessment tools • Changes to blood lead level rule adopted • Final rule issued for HECM reverse mortgage program • HOTMA changes to project- and tenant-based vouchers implemented • Rural Voices magazine covers rural housing innovations • HAC seeks proposals for housing projects serving rural veterans

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 19, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 2

Perdue nominated for USDA Secretary, RD staff acting in administrative positions. On January 19, President-elect Trump named former Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, who has a background in agriculture, to become Secretary of Agriculture. Career employees will run RD and its agencies until appointments for those posts are made. Roger Glendenning will serve as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development, Rich Davis as Acting Administrator for RHS, Chad Parker as Acting Administrator for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and Chris McLean as Acting Administrator for the Rural Utilities Service.

Carson pledges to enforce laws, supports rental assistance. At his January 12 confirmation hearing, HUD Secretary nominee Ben Carson advocated for a holistic approach connecting housing with economic development, health, and more. He hopes to enhance HUD’s lead exposure programs to prevent chronic illnesses. He spoke positively about VASH and other rental assistance. When asked about his commitment to fair housing requirements, Carson stated he would “enforce all the laws of the land.” Responding to questions from Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mike Rounds (R-SD), and Jon Tester (D-MT), he expressed concern about Native American housing conditions. His written testimony mentions rural areas once, saying lead is a problem in urban, suburban, and rural places. None of the hearing questions focused on rural housing specifically. The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee is scheduled to vote on January 24 whether to send his nomination to the full Senate for approval.

USDA offers rural broadband loans, loan guarantees, and grants. Loans and loan guarantees from the Rural Broadband Access program can be used for the construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment to provide broadband service for rural areas. There are two application windows this year: March 1-31 and September 1-30. The Community Connect Grant Program offers grants to provide broadband service to all premises in currently unserved, lower-income, and extremely rural areas, with priority for places that demonstrate the greatest need for broadband. Its application deadline is March 13. For more information, contact Shawn Arner, Rural Utilities Service, 202-720-0800.

RD updates handbooks on multifamily ownership transfers and single-family housing. In HB-3-3560, the Project Servicing Handbook for Sections 515 and 514/516, Chapter 7 on ownership transfers has been completely revised, including (among other changes) updated underwriting requirements, incorporation of the Preliminary Assessment Tool, and use of industry-based underwriting standards where possible. There are a number of changes throughout HB-1-3550, which covers the Section 502 direct and Section 504 programs. For more information, contact an RD office.

2016 data show continuing trends for USDA tenants. In its annual release of data on tenant characteristics, RD reports slight changes: a drop in the number of rental units in the portfolio, a decline in the proportion of tenants who are white, an increase in low-income households (and a corresponding decrease in very low-income), and an increase in disabled tenants within the elderly/disabled category. There were 4,220 fewer units in the portfolio in September 2016 than in September 2015, a drop of almost 1%, and more than half the lost units had two bedrooms. The same proportion of Section 515 tenants receive Section 521 Rental Assistance (67%) as in 2015, and the same proportion are cost-burdened (13%).

Administration for Children and Families requests input from Native Americans. ACF, part of the federal Department of Health and Human Services, hopes to identify issues and challenges facing American Indian and Alaska Native populations and to gather recommendations for addressing the needs. Comments are due March 10. For more information, contact Camille Loya, ACF, 202-401-5964.

HUD revises Rental Assistance Demonstration. RAD allows the conversion of public housing and other HUD-assisted properties to project-based Section 8. Send comments to rad@hud.gov by February 21. For more information, contact HUD staff at rad@hud.gov.

Register for notice of calls on Section 538 program. RD will continue holding periodic calls or web meetings with stakeholders about the Section 538 guaranteed rental housing program. To receive notices when calls are scheduled – even if you registered for these calls in the past – contact Monica Cole, USDA, 202-720-1251.

RD updates multifamily loan payoff guidance. An Unnumbered Letter dated December 28, 2016 discusses the options available for handling properties where a Section 515 or 514 mortgage has reached its maturity date. For more information, contact an RD state office.

FHFA proposes evaluation guidance for Duty to Serve. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s draft guidance indicates FHFA’s expectations for developing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve Underserved Markets Plans, and the process for evaluating their performance. Comments on the evaluation guidance are due May 12. For more information, email DutyToServeStakeholders@fhfa.gov.

Duty to Serve Listening Sessions scheduled. FHFA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac will co-host a series of public listening sessions in early 2017 on Duty to Serve. The dates and locations are: January 25, Chicago; February 1, San Francisco; February 8, Washington, DC; February 9, Webinar. For more information and to register visit https://www.fhfa.gov/PolicyProgramsResearch/PROGRAMS/Pages/Duty-to-Serve.aspx.

OMB approves two fair housing assessment tools. The tools will be used by public housing agencies and by local governments that receive CDBG, HOME, ESG, or HOPWA funding when conducting and submitting their Assessments of Fair Housing. PHAs with 1,250 or fewer combined public housing and voucher units will provide less information than those with larger programs. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 866-234-2689.

Changes to blood lead level rule adopted. A final rule adopts a revised definition of “elevated blood lead level” in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. (See HAC News, 9/8/16.) It also establishes more comprehensive testing and evaluation procedures for housing where children under age six reside and makes some other changes. For more information, contact Warren Friedman, HUD, 202-402-7698.

Final rule issued for HECM reverse mortgage program. The Federal Housing Administration’s changes are intended to strengthen the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage program and increase its sustainability. For more information, contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-402-3084.

HOTMA changes to project- and tenant-based vouchers implemented. A HUD notice implements several provisions of the 2016 Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act. (See HAC News, 11/3/16.) Comments are due March 20. For more information, contact HOTMAquestionsPIH@hud.gov.

Rural Voices magazine covers rural housing innovations. Tiny houses, super energy efficiency, intensive planning, and more are included in the winter issue of HAC’s magazine. Sign up online to receive email notices when new issues are published.

HAC seeks proposals for housing projects serving rural veterans. Supported by The Home Depot Foundation, grants 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. Grants will not normally exceed $30,000. Several smaller requests may be granted rather than a few larger ones. Letters of Interest are due February 3. For more information contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: August 25, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 25, 2016

Vol. 45, No. 16

•RD likely to spend all 502 direct funds in FY16 • Resource guides offered for Louisiana flood survivors • Rural places included in HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program • Civil monetary penalties implemented for USDA multifamily housing • RD updates letter on reconciling Section 538 and Section 515 for preservation • FY17 Fair Market Rents to be released August 26 • Section 502 guarantee fees to decrease • Federal Interagency Reentry Council plans work on housing and other challenges • Online tool demonstrates affordable housing finance challenges • NLIHC offers updated congressional district and state rental housing profiles • SAVE THE DATES FOR THE HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE 2016!

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 25, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 16

RD likely to spend all 502 direct funds in FY16. USDA RD has told HAC and other stakeholders that it expects to be able to use all of this year’s available Section 502 direct loan monies and to meet the 40% requirement for very low-income borrowers. Last year it used all the funds, though 31.8% of the total went to very low-income borrowers rather than 40% (see HAC News, 9/30/15). Also, Section 504 loans are being obligated at a higher rate this year than last year. Anticipating exhaustion of Section 502 low-income funds before October 1, an Unnumbered Letter dated July 22, 2016 provides a form for field staff to notify eligible applicants with identified properties that funds are temporarily unavailable. The agency does not know yet the extent to which its income banding pilot (see HAC News, 6/15/16) has improved its ability to make loans to very low-income homebuyers.

Resource guides offered for Louisiana flood survivors. Federal agencies including FEMA, USDA, and HUD have information available online, and HAC has issued a special update to its natural disaster guide, Picking Up the Pieces. To apply for federal assistance, survivors can visit disasterassistance.gov, call 800-621-3362 (toll free), or visit a Disaster Recovery Center. For aid with damaged USDA-funded housing (single-family or multifamily), call the Louisiana state RD office, 866-481-9571 (toll free).

Rural places included in HUD Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program. HUD will select up to 10 communities, four of them rural, to participate in the YHDP to develop and execute coordinated community approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness. Nonprofits and government entities designated as Collaborative Applicants by CoCs in their FY16 registrations are eligible and must apply by November 30. Contact Ebony Rankin, HUD.

Civil monetary penalties implemented for USDA multifamily housing. A new regulation, to be implemented December 21, gives USDA the option to charge monetary penalties for owner defaults, rather than accelerating or foreclosing on mortgages. (See HAC News, 1/10/13.) Since most owners comply with statutes, regulations, and loan documents, USDA estimates that less than 5% of the multifamily portfolio will be affected by this rule. Contact Stephanie White, RD, 202-720-1615.

RD updates letter on reconciling Section 538 and Section 515 for preservation. An Unnumbered Letter dated July 29, 2016 revises one dated July 14, 2015 addressing the procedural differences between the two programs when a Section 538 guaranteed loan is being used to preserve a property with a Section 515 loan. Contact Tammy S. Daniels, RD, 202-720-0021.

FY17 Fair Market Rents to be released August 26. FMRs will be posted at https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/fmr.html and will take effect in 30 days unless “interested parties” request reevaluations and then provide data. This notice also requests feedback on what “material changes” in methodology would require future opportunities for comment. Contact local HUD program staff with questions.

Section 502 guarantee fees to decrease. On October 1, the first day of FY17, USDA’s fees for Section 502 guaranteed purchase and refinance loans will drop. The upfront fee will fall from 2.75% to 1%, and the annual fee from 0.5% to 0.35%. The conditional commitment date of issuance (not the loan closing date) determines the fee schedule for loan requests. Contact a guaranteed loan coordinator or Joshua.Rice@wdc.usda.gov.

Federal Interagency Reentry Council plans work on housing and other challenges. The Council, comprised of over 20 federal agencies including USDA and HUD, works to ensure that individuals returning to the community from prison or jail have a meaningful chance to rebuild their lives and reclaim their futures. A recent report reviewing its work since 2011 says next steps related to housing include providing training and technical assistance to HUD field staff, providing housing assessment and discharge planning guidance to correctional institutions, and distributing information.

Online tool demonstrates affordable housing finance challenges.The Cost of Affordable Housing: Does It Pencil Out?” was developed by the National Housing Conference and the Urban Institute. As the tool’s website explains, “there is a huge gap between what [affordable rental] buildings cost to construct and maintain and the rents most people can pay. Without the help of too-scarce government subsidies for creating, preserving, and operating affordable apartments, building these homes is often impossible. This tool helps explain why.”

NLIHC offers updated congressional district and state rental housing profiles. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s one-page profiles for each congressional district and state provide snapshots of housing affordability for renters, emphasizing those with extremely low incomes.

SAVE THE DATES FOR THE HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE 2016! This year’s national conference will be held November 29-December 2 in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when registration opens.

HAC News: April 6, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 6, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 6

• April is Fair Housing Month • HUD issues guidance on fair housing for those with criminal • New federal rule protects religious liberties of beneficiaries and providers • CFPB proposes to expand provisions for small rural lenders • FY16 income limits released • Section 538 loan guarantees available • ROSS funds offered • Fair housing assessment tool for PHAs released • Medicaid can provide supportive housing services, issue brief says • Housing problems contribute to higher health care spending, researchers report • U.S. lacks 7.2 million rents for extremely low-income renters • USDA spending in FY15 emphasized guarantees, celebrated self-help • HAC presents third CRA webinar

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 6, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 6

April is Fair Housing Month.

HUD issues guidance on fair housing for those with criminal records. HUD’s Office of General Counsel explains that the Fair Housing Act bans discrimination based on criminal history. Contact a HUD local office.

New federal rule protects religious liberties of beneficiaries and providers. USDA, HUD, VA, and other agencies published a joint regulation to implement Executive Order 13559. Beneficiaries receiving federal social service programs’ aid through faith-based organizations cannot be discriminated against based on religion and may request an alternative provider. Agencies’ funding decisions must be based solely on merit, without regard to an organization’s religious affiliation or lack thereof. Contact Norah Deluhery, USDA, 202-720-2032; Paula Lincoln, HUD, 202-708-2404; Stephen B. Dillard, VA, 202-461-7689.

CFPB proposes to expand provisions for small rural lenders. An interim final rule expands the identification of small rural creditors that are eligible to originate balloon-payment qualified mortgages and that are exempt from the requirement to establish escrow accounts for higher-priced mortgages. Comments are due April 25. Contact Carl Owens, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

FY16 income limits released. The median family incomes and income limits are used by HUD, USDA, and other agencies.

Section 538 loan guarantees available. Commitments will be made first to approved and complete applica-tions from prior years’ notices, then to approved applicants applying under this notice through December 31, 2017. Contact a USDA RD state office.

ROSS funds offered. Nonprofits, PHAs, and tribal entities are eligible for HUD’s Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Program, which enables them to hire service coordinators to assess residents’ needs and link them to supportive services. Deadline is May 16. Contact Dina.Lehmann-Kim@hud.gov.

Fair housing assessment tool for PHAs released. Comments are due May 23 on the tool for PHAs to plan fair housing compliance (see HAC News, 3/18/16). Contact Dustin Parks, HUD, 202-708-1112.

Medicaid can provide supportive housing services, issue brief says. The Technical Assistance Collaborative’s Using Medicaid to Finance and Deliver Services in Supportive Housing: Challenges and Opportunities for Community Behavioral Health Organizations and Behavioral Health Authorities reports some states are finding that Medicaid can be a cost-effective resource to finance and deliver some of the flexible services and supports that people with behavioral health disorders need to succeed in settings like integrated permanent supportive housing.

Housing problems contribute to higher health care spending, researchers report.Housing as a Health Care Investment,” by the National Housing Conference and Children’s HealthWatch, says homelessness and unstable or unaffordable housing can harm the health of vulnerable infants and young children and contribute to higher health care spending. It includes policy recommendations.

U.S. lacks 7.2 million rents for extremely low-income renters. The Gap: The Affordable Housing Gap Analysis, 2016, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, documents a shortage of 7.2 million affordable and available rental units for the nation’s 10.4 million extremely low-income renter households, those with incomes at or below 30% of their area median. Three-quarters of ELI renters are severely cost-burdened, spending more than half their income on rent and utilities. The report provides data at the national, state, and metro area levels.

USDA spending in FY15 emphasized guarantees, celebrated self-help. HAC’s annual USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report includes detailed data for each program and each state. The Section 502 program guaranteed 134,000 loans and made 7,000 direct loans. Over 800 self-help loans were made, and USDA celebrated the program’s 50th anniversary and 50,000th house. More than 8,600 rental units were repaired or rehabilitated with multifamily program funds, and 2,187 new units were built. Demand for Section 542 preservation vouchers rose to 4,400 units representing $15.6 million, with half those funds coming from the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization program.

HAC presents third CRA webinar. “CRA in Rural America Part III: Investments in Rural Communities,” set for April 13 at 2:00 Eastern time, will provide an evaluation of lenders that consistently earn outstanding CRA ratings. To register click here. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824. Materials from the first two CRA webinars are posted here.

HAC News: January 13, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 13, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 1

• Next federal funding cycle begins in February • USDA offers Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants • Funding notice revised for HOPWA Project Demonstration and Violence Against Women Act Grants • Transitional housing funds for domestic violence victims offered by Department of Justice • CDFI Bond Guarantee Program opens FY16 funding round • VA will fund housing assistive technology development • HUD releases fair housing Assessment Tool • Promise Zones competition opens • USDA extends temporary authorizations to help spend Section 502 direct funds in FY16 • USDA RD offers guidance on Section 504 and Section 538 • Most veterans in demonstration program avoided homelessness, report says • HAC offers trainings on 502 packaging and financial management

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 13, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 1

Next federal funding cycle begins in February. The Administration’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 will be released February 9. The budget deal reached in October (see HAC News, 10/28/15) requires federal discretionary spending, including housing, to remain essentially the same as in FY16.

USDA offers Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants. Public agencies, nonprofits, tribes, and consortia are eligible to apply by February 12 for these funds, which are then used to fund repairs and rehab for low- and very low-income homeowners or owners of rental property or coops who agree to make their units available to low- and very low-income persons. Contact a USDA RD State Office or Jeaneane Shelton, USDA, 202-720-5443.

Funding notice revised for HOPWA Project Demonstration and Violence Against Women Act Grants. States, local governments, and nonprofits can apply by March 8 to receive both a Housing Opportunities for Persons Living With AIDS grant for housing, and a Transitional Housing Assistance Program grant for supportive services. HUD encourages potential applicants to register for the HOPWA mailing list to receive details about a January 22 webcast. Contact Amy Palilonis, HUD, 202-402-5916.

Transitional housing funds for domestic violence victims offered by Department of Justice. Nonprofits, local and state governments, PHAs, and tribal entities are eligible for grants to provide transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services for survivors. Apply by February 24. Contact DOJ staff, 202-307-6026.

CDFI Bond Guarantee Program opens FY16 funding round. CDFIs can apply by March 4 to become Qualified Issuers of bonds, or can apply by March 18 for credit through the Bond Guarantee Program, which finances community and economic development, including housing. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421, option 5.

VA will fund housing assistive technology development. To encourage development of new technologies such as voice commands, VA offers grants of up to $200,000. Individuals, for-profits, nonprofits, and others can apply by February 29. Contact Robert Mims, VA, 202-632-8816.

HUD releases fair housing Assessment Tool. This tool, along with other resources, is for local jurisdictions that are required to conduct and submit Assessments of Fair Housing. HUD will issue separate Assessment Tools for use by states – which administer programs including HOME and CDBG for many rural areas – as well as for insular areas and for PHAs collaborating with other PHAs. Contact George D. Williams, Sr., HUD, 1-866-234-2689 (toll-free).

Promise Zones competition opens. HUD intends to designate five urban Promise Zones and USDA intends to designate one rural and one tribal community. Eligible lead applicants for rural and tribal PZ designations are local governments; federally recognized tribes; and nonprofits, housing authorities, tribally designated housing entities, local education agencies, or community colleges partnering with local or tribal government. The deadline is February 23. Contact Bryan Herdliska, HUD, 202-402-6758.

USDA extends temporary authorizations to help spend Section 502 direct funds in FY16. An Unnumbered Letter dated January 4, 2016 permits obligations subject to appraisals, removes some restrictions on use of 502 direct loans to refinance non-USDA loans, and allows new rates and terms assumptions to be processed as initial loans. The provisions are effective until September 30, 2016. Contact a USDA RD office.

USDA RD offers guidance on Section 504 and Section 538. Separate Administrative Notices address management control review findings for Section 504 repair loans (AN 4793) and Section 538 multifamily loan guarantees (AN 4792). Contact William Downs, USDA, 202-720-1499.

Most veterans in demonstration program avoided homelessness, report says. The Veterans Homelessness Prevention Demonstration was conducted by the Departments of Labor, HUD, and VA at five urban sites. At program entry, 74% of the participating veteran households were at risk of homelessness, and about 26% were homeless. They received financial assistance and case management for periods from 39 to 146 days; 10.5% reported experiencing homelessness during the six months after exiting the program. Employment levels and incomes increased. It is not clear how much of the improvement would have occurred even without this program.

HAC offers trainings on 502 packaging and financial management. Section 502 Packaging Training for Non-profit Developers, for those with affordable mortgage experience, will be March 8-10. Advanced Financial Management Training for Rural Nonprofits will be March 8-9. Both are in North Charleston, SC. They are concurrent; register for only one. Advance registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: July 3, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 13

• Full Appropriations Committees report USDA and HUD funding bills • Household water well grants available • USDA offers Section 538 guarantees • Senior Preservation Assistance Contracts available for HUD elderly properties • Native Asset Building Initiative accepting applications • HUD seeks input on RAD changes • CFPB proposes mortgage rule changes • White House establishes Council on Native American Affairs • Housing market recovering, but not for all, report says • Register now for training on seniors and veterans housing


July 3, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 13

Full Appropriations Committees report USDA and HUD funding bills. For USDA’s housing programs, the Senate bill’s amounts equal or exceed the House levels (HAC News, 6/21/13) for every program, and they are significantly higher than the Administration’s budget requests for Section 502 direct and Section 523 self-help. The Administration threatened a veto of the House’s USDA funding bill, though it also stated appreciation for the level of Rental Assistance funding provided. t The Senate’s Transportation-HUD bill provides more funding for CDBG, HOME, and SHOP than the House bill or the Administration’s budget. t The House and Senate USDA bills both include language retaining “grandfathering” in FY14 for all places currently eligible for rural housing aid.

USDA Rural Devel. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.
(H.R. 933)a

FY14 Admin. Budget

FY14
House Bill
H.R. 2410

FY14
Senate Bill
S. 1244

502 Single Fam. Direct
(Self-Help Setaside)
(Teacher Setaside)

$900
(5)
0

$360
0
0

$820.2
0
0

$900
(5)
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

28

26.3

25.4

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

29.5

25

18.6

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct

31.3

28.4

28.4

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg.

20.8

23.5

23.9

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg.

7.1

14

8.2

8.3

521 Rental Assistance
(Preservation RA)
(New Cnstr. 515 RA)
(New Cnstr. 514/516 RA)

907.1
0
0
(3)

1,015
0
0
(3)

1,012
0
0
0

1,015
0
0
0

523 Self-Help TA

30

10

17.1

25

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.6

0

0

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

150

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

17.8

20

17.3

20

Rental Prsrv. Revlg. Lns.

0

0

0

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

10

12.6

9.7

12.6

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6.1

0

6

6

a. Figures do not include 5% sequester or 2.5% across the board cut.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY13 Final Approp.a

FY14 Admin. Budget

FY14
House Bill

FY14
Senate Bill
S. 1243

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG
Sustainable Commun. Init.e
Rural Innovation Fund

3,308
2,948
0
0

3,143
2,798
0
0

1,697
1,637
0
0

3,295
3,150
75
0

HOME

1,000

950

700

1,000

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
(Vets. Affairs Spptve. Hsg. Vchrs.)

18,939.4
(75)

19,989.2
(75)

18,610.6
(75)

19,592.2
(78)f

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,339.7

9,872

9,450.7

10,772

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,886

2,000

1,500

2,000

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,262

4,600

4,262

4,600

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

120

400

0d

250

Housing Trust Fund

c

1,000

c

c

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

600

675

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,033

2,381

2,088

2,261

Rural Hsg. Stability Prog.

b

5

b

b

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

334

332

300

332

202 Hsg. for Elderly

377

400

375

400

811 Hsg. for Disabled

165

126

126

126

Fair Housing

70.8

71

55.8

70

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

120

120

50

120

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

13.5

10

10

13.5

Housing Counseling

45

55

35

55

a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester.
b. Funded under Homeless Assistance Grants.
c. National Housing Trust Fund is “mandatory” funding, not discretionary, so does not need to be funded through appropriations legislation, although the Administration did include it in its budget request.
d. Bill would also rescind the entire $120 million FY13 appropriation.
e. Senate bill changes the Sustainable Communities Program to Integrated Planning and Investment Grants.
f. Includes $3 million for a pilot program allowing vouchers to be used on tribal lands to address Native American veterans’ homelessness.

HOUSEHOLD WATER WELL GRANTS AVAILABLE. Nonprofits can apply by July 26 for funds to lend to homeowners to construct or repair wells for existing homes. Contact Joyce M. Taylor, USDA RUS, 202-720-9589.

USDA OFFERS SECTION 538 GUARANTEES. RHS will guarantee loans for new construction or acquisition with rehab of multifamily housing. Applications finalized before September 30 will be eligible for FY13 funds. Contact an RD state office.

SENIOR PRESERVATION ASSISTANCE CONTRACTS AVAILABLE FOR HUD ELDERLY PROPERTIES. HUD will post a NOFA online on July 3 with a 60-day deadline to apply for SPRACs to preserve Section 202 properties and prevent tenant displacement. Contact Margaret Salazar, HUD, 202-708-0001.

NATIVE ASSET BUILDING INITIATIVE ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS. Tribes, Native nonprofits, Native CDFIs, and Native credit unions are eligible for Department of Health and Human Services funds to provide Individual Development Accounts and supportive services. Deadline is July 15. Contact Christina Clark, HHS, 202-401-5399.

HUD SEEKS INPUT ON RAD CHANGES. A July 2 Federal Register notice summarizes revisions to HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration and requests comments by August 1 on eligibility and selection criteria. A revised Program Notice is posted on HUD’s site. Contact HUD staff by email, rad@hud.gov.

CFPB PROPOSES MORTGAGE RULE CHANGES. Comments are due July 22 on amendments to some of the mortgage rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in January 2013. Changes affect points and fees for manufactured home retailers and exemptions for lenders in rural or underserved areas. Contact Whitney Patross, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

WHITE HOUSE ESTABLISHES COUNCIL ON NATIVE AMERICAN AFFAIRS. Executive Order 13547, dated June 26, asserts U.S. policy on government-to-government relations and support for strong Native American communities. The new council includes USDA, HUD, and many other executive branch departments and agencies. It is charged with developing policy recommendations and coordinating engagements with tribes.

HOUSING MARKET RECOVERING, BUT NOT FOR ALL, REPORT SAYS. The annual State of the Nation’s Housing report, released on June 26 by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, describes signs of market recovery along with declining homeownership rates and an ever-increasing cost burden rate, particularly for those with low incomes.

REGISTER NOW FOR TRAINING ON SENIORS AND VETERANS HOUSING. HAC will host “Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development, and Services” in Council Bluffs, IA on August 28-29. Details are available on HAC’s website at www.ruralhome.org.

HAC News: September 12, 2012

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 12, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

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


September 12,2012
Vol. 41, No. 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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