Tag Archive for: sequestration

HAC News: November 13, 2013

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November 13, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 22

• November is Native American Heritage Month • November 16-24 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week • Fewer rural jobs, more poverty, and declining population, research shows • RD changes multifamily transfer process • HUD considers risk sharing initiative for small multifamily properties • FEMA issues final rule on assistance for housing damage • Housing counseling comment period extended • USDA used most Section 502 funds, but not Section 504 loans, in FY13 • USDA encourages local partnerships to address veteran homelessness • HUD and DOT launch site on housing and transportation costs • Sequestration’s impact on government activities, including housing, described • Research from sources including HAC covers veterans housing issues • Record share of young adults living at home • HAC reports on farmworker housing

November 13, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 22

NOVEMBER IS NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH. President Obama’s proclamation also designates November 29 as Native American Heritage Day. A USDA press release highlights support for Native Americans.

NOVEMBER 16-24 IS NATIONAL HUNGER AND HOMELESSNESS AWARENESS WEEK. Information, planned events, and ideas are available from the National Coalition for the Homeless.

FEWER RURAL JOBS, MORE POVERTY, AND DECLINING POPULATION, RESEARCH SHOWS. The USDA Econom-ic Research Service’s annual “Rural America at a Glance” report says rural unemployment is declining, but – with exceptions in some areas – the change is due to declining populations rather than job creation. An article in the online rural news source the Daily Yonder summarizes ERS’s findings. A separate Daily Yonder analysis of unemploy-ment data in August 2012 and August 2013 includes an interactive map with figures for every county in the U.S.

RD CHANGES MULTIFAMILY TRANSFER PROCESS. An Unnumbered Letter dated September 30, 2013 focuses on determining the financial feasibility of a transfer or preservation transaction, including reducing Rental Assistance. Contact RD State Office preservation staff.

HUD CONSIDERS RISK SHARING INITIATIVE FOR SMALL MULTIFAMILY PROPERTIES. Comments are due January 3 on a proposal for mission-driven lenders, including CDFIs, to originate, underwrite, and service loans with HUD mortgage insurance for refinancing or rehab of small properties. Lenders would assume 50% of the risk on each loan. Contact Lynn Wehrli, HUD, 202-402-5210.

FEMA ISSUES FINAL RULE ON ASSISTANCE FOR HOUSING DAMAGE. Revisions to FEMA’s repair, replacement, and housing construction assistance regulations are intended to clarify the eligibility criteria for assistance and to implement legislative changes. Contact John Carleton, FEMA, 202-212-1000.

HOUSING COUNSELING COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED. Comments are now due December 12 on changes to HUD’s housing counseling program regulations, published September 13 (see HAC News, 9/11/13). Contact Ruth Román, HUD, 202-708-0317.

USDA USED MOST SECTION 502 FUNDS, BUT NOT SECTION 504 LOANS, IN FY13. Despite USDA’s success-ful efforts to attract borrowers near the end of the year (see HAC News, 8/1/13 and 8/28/13), HAC estimates that USDA used only 53% of its Section 504 home repair loan funds in FY13. Section 504 grant funds were fully used, and Section 502 direct and guaranteed loans were almost entirely obligated. HAC’s final USDA obligations reports for the year are posted online.

USDA ENCOURAGES LOCAL PARTNERSHIPS TO ADDRESS VETERAN HOMELESSNESS. An Unnumbered Letter dated November 8, 2013 suggests that RD field staff inform local organizations about RD housing programs.

HUD AND DOT LAUNCH SITE ON HOUSING AND TRANSPORTATION COSTS. The Location Affordability Portal is intended to provide consumers, researchers, and policymakers with data and resources on combined housing and transportation costs for all parts of the U.S. including remote rural areas.

SEQUESTRATION’S IMPACT ON GOVERNMENT ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING HOUSING, DESCRIBED. Faces of Austerity: How Budget Cuts Have Made Us Sicker, Poorer, and Less Secure, published by NDD United, compiles data, quotes, and individual stories. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has updated its data on use of HUD vouchers, including the number of vouchers that will be lost in each state if sequestration continues in FY14.

RESEARCH FROM SOURCES INCLUDING HAC COVERS VETERANS HOUSING ISSUES. “Housing Our Heroes: Veterans in Rural America,” a HAC research brief, summarizes data on demographics, housing conditions, and homelessness. USDA’s Economic Research Service provides demographic and economic data in “Rural Veterans at a Glance.” (ERS uses data for nonmetro areas, while HAC uses a definition of rural based on census tracts.) Housing Instability Among Our Nation’s Veterans, a National Low Income Housing Coalition report, examines housing issues for veterans nationwide. “Rental Assistance Helps More Than 300,000 Veterans Afford Homes, But Large Unmet Needs Remain,” from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, also covers the topic on a national basis.

RECORD SHARE OF YOUNG ADULTS LIVING AT HOME. More than one-third of Millennials aged 18-31 are living with their parents, according to A Rising Share of Young Adults Live in Their Parents’ Home, published by the Pew Research Center. A Forbes analysis of the report suggests that federal policies favoring homeownership led to high housing prices that young adults cannot afford.

HAC REPORTS ON FARMWORKER HOUSING. Housing Conditions for Rural Farmworkers explains character-istics of farmworker housing and obstacles to its improvement.

HAC News: March 6, 2013

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March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

• RD expects program cuts but no furloughs under sequester • House approves government funding for FY13 • Area eligibility changes still uncertain • Assets for Independence deadlines approach • Bipartisan housing commission report supports rural housing • HUD reports continued increase in worst case housing needs • NLIHC findings highlight housing need for extremely low-income renters • USDA RD recommends 50,000 population threshold for non-housing programs • Indian Housing Development Handbook updated • HAC offers webinar on conducting homeless counts on Native American lands

March 6, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 5

RD EXPECTS PROGRAM CUTS BUT NO FURLOUGHS UNDER SEQUESTER. RD officials say they do not have authority to allocate cuts across programs, so funding for each loan or grant program will be reduced by 5%. (HAC apologizes for any confusion caused when the HAC News previously reported cuts would be 5.1%). Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts will be paid as long as possible; sometime in September, funding will run out for an estimated 10,340 RA contracts. RD estimates the resulting loss in project income could lead to loan delinquencies at 411 projects. RD also calculates the sequester will reduce FY13 aid by 294 Section 502 direct loans, 24 new Section 515 rental units, and 17 new Section 514/516 farm labor housing units, and will cut 568 jobs. The Section 538 and 502 guarantee programs will not be cut because they are funded by fees charged to program participants, but they could be impacted by factors such as staff cuts. Currently RD expects not to furlough staff. ♦ Information about sequestration at HUD is available from sources including HUD and the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

HOUSE APPROVES GOVERNMENT FUNDING FOR FY13. On March 6 the House passed H.R. 933, a continuing resolution for the remainder of FY13. The bill keeps FY12 funding levels and the sequester in place for USDA, HUD, and other domestic discretionary programs, adds a 0.098% across the board cut, and reallocates some defense and veterans spending. Each housing program would receive 94.902% of its FY12 funding. The Senate has not yet released a proposed bill.

AREA ELIGIBILITY CHANGES STILL UNCERTAIN. USDA RD has not issued final determinations about changes in geographic eligibility for housing programs that are expected to take effect March 28 (see HAC News, 9/26/12). H.R. 933, the House CR (see item above), contains language that seems to be intended to maintain current eligibility status through September 30, 2013. RD officials say they are reviewing the language, which is not identical to wording in the current CR that funds the government through March 27. Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) and others have introduced H.R. 858, which would retain current eligibility until 2020 Census data is available.

ASSETS FOR INDEPENDENCE DEADLINES APPROACH. Applications are dueMarch 25 and May 24. This programprovides five-year grants to nonprofits and government agencies that establish individual development accounts for low-income participants. Contact the AFI Resource Center, 1-866-778-6037.

BIPARTISAN HOUSING COMMISSION REPORT SUPPORTS RURAL HOUSING. On February 25 the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Housing Commission released its report, Housing America’s Future: A New Direction for a National Policy, making recommendations on mortgage finance reform and other issues including rural housing. It recommends keeping the rural housing programs at USDA, extending the current definition of eligible areas, increasing funding, and strengthening local nonprofit users of USDA funds. A summary and links are posted on HAC’s website.

HUD REPORTS CONTINUED INCREASE IN WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS. Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: A Summary Report to Congress shows that the number of unassisted very low-income renters with severe cost burden or severely substandard housing has increased by 19% since 2009 and 43% since 2007. The total number of renters has increased, renter incomes have declined, rents have increased, and the number of affordable rental units available to very low-income renters has decreased. A more detailed report is forthcoming.

NLIHC FINDINGS HIGHLIGHT HOUSING NEED FOR EXTREMELY LOW-INCOME RENTERS.Housing Spotlight: America’s Affordable Housing Shortage and How to End It reports that added affordable housing units have not kept pace with increases in extremely low-income renters (those with incomes below 30% of area median), resulting in a shortage of 4.6 million units. This calculation does not include people who are homeless.

USDA RD RECOMMENDS 50,000 POPULATION THRESHOLD FOR NON-HOUSING PROGRAMS.On February 22 USDA RD submitted a Report on the Definition of “Rural to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees. It recommends making the Rural Business, Rural Utilities, and Community Facilities programs available in places with up to 50,000 population. The report suggests that RD could use a number of factors such as population density and economic conditions to target funding to the most rural places and the places with the greatest need.

INDIAN HOUSING DEVELOPMENT HANDBOOK UPDATED. The handbook, published by the National American Indian Housing Council, has been updated to include provisions on implementation of the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Homeownership Act and revised BIA leasing regulations.

HAC OFFERS WEBINAR ON CONDUCTING HOMELESS COUNTS ON NATIVE AMERICAN LANDS. Register online for this free one-hour session to be held Wednesday, March 13 at 2 pm eastern time, based on HAC’s new toolkit on this subject (see HAC News, 2/20/13). Contact Eric Oberdorfer, HAC.

HAC News: February 20, 2013

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February 20, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 4

• USDA and HUD estimate sequestration impacts • Key congressional committees set agendas • USDA allows more debt for energy efficient homes • Section 523 grantees to be funded at 40%, pending appropriations • CDFI bond guarantee program implemented • HUD issues final fair housing rule on discriminatory effects • Regulators set four final rules on mortgages • HAC posts its comments to CFPB on ability to repay • USDA issues final broadband program rule • HUD extends FHA PowerSaver home energy retrofit pilot • HUD proposes some streamlining for FHA single-family insurance • Transit oriented development is subject of HAC blog post • HAC publishes Native American homelessness toolkit

February 20, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 4

USDA AND HUD ESTIMATE SEQUESTRATION IMPACTS. In a letter to Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack stated that if funding for the remainder of FY13 is cut on March 1 (see HAC News, 2/6/13), USDA will need to eliminate Rental Assistance for 10,000 households, not only making their homes unaffordable but also reducing funds available to owners for maintenance and mortgage payments. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testified before the committee on February 14, detailing numerous potential program cuts at HUD.

KEY CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEES SET AGENDAS. HAC has posted a comparison of the action plans for the 113th Congress set by the congressional committees that have authority over housing programs. The House Financial Services Committee Oversight Plan mentions the impact of 2010 Census data on eligibility for USDA housing programs (see HAC News, 9/26/12). The House committee amended the plan as first proposed by Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), adding a paragraph on veterans housing and deleting language critical of NAHASDA and CDBG.

USDA ALLOWS MORE DEBT FOR ENERGY EFFICIENT HOMES. To replace the discontinued Rural Energy Plus program (see HAC News, 9/26/12) for Section 502 direct loans, an Unnumbered Letter dated February 14, 2013 tells agency staff that because energy efficiency lowers utility costs, it may be treated as a “compensating factor” that indicates a homebuyer can safely assume more debt than USDA’s standard amount. Rural Energy Plus remains in place for Section 502 guaranteed loans. Contact Christopher Ketner, RD, 202-690-1530.

SECTION 523 GRANTEES TO BE FUNDED AT 40%, PENDING APPROPRIATIONS. Using funds carried over from FY12 and appropriated for FY13 through March 27, USDA will renew contracts of performing self-help grantees at 40% of the amount of their two-year contracts. New contract language will say each grantee may not start more than 40% of the units proposed for the first year of its contract until additional funds are appropriated.

CDFI BOND GUARANTEE PROGRAM IMPLEMENTED. An interim rule makes this new program effective on April 8, and the CDFI Fund will also accept comments until that date. The CDFI Fund will guarantee bonds issued by approved CDFIs to raise lending capital. Contact Lisa M. Jones, CDFI Fund, 202-653-0421.

HUD ISSUES FINAL FAIR HOUSING RULE ON DISCRIMINATORY EFFECTS. The regulation formalizes the standard and process for determining whether a practice had a discriminatory effect, regardless of whether there was an intent to discriminate. Contact Jeanine Worden, HUD, 202-402-5188.

REGULATORS SET FOUR FINAL RULES ON MORTGAGES, implementing provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued final regulations on mortgage servicing under RESPA and the Truth in Lending Act (contact Whitney Patross, CFPB, 202-435-7700) and on loan originator compensation and related requirements (contact Daniel C. Brown, CFPB, 202-435-7700). Other regulators joined CFPB to set a regulation that requires appraisals for higher-risk mortgages (contact Lorna Neill, Federal Reserve Board, 202-452-3667).

HAC POSTS ITS COMMENTS TO CFPB ON ABILITY TO REPAY. Visit HAC’s website.Comments are due February 25 (see HAC News, 2/6/13). Contact Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

USDA ISSUES FINAL BROADBAND PROGRAM RULE. The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program funds the costs of construction, improvement, and acquisition of facilities and equipment for rural broadband service. Contact a Rural Development office.

HUD EXTENDS FHA POWERSAVER HOME ENERGY RETROFIT PILOT. FHA insurance will continue to be available through May 4, 2015 for loans to homeowners to finance energy-saving alterations, repairs, and improvements in existing structures or manufactured homes. Contact Patricia McBarron, HUD, 202-708-2121.

HUD PROPOSES SOME STREAMLINING FOR FHA SINGLE-FAMILY INSURANCE. The changes would eliminate the FHA Inspector Roster and the requirement for a 10-year protection plan for high loan-to-value mortgages for newly constructed single-family homes. Comments are due April 8, 2013. Contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-708-2121.

TRANSIT ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT IS SUBJECT OF HAC BLOG POST. HAC’s latest post on Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog is “What Does the Push for Transit Oriented Development Mean for Rural Areas?” Readers can comment on the blog or on the LinkedIn discussion about this post.

HAC PUBLISHES NATIVE AMERICAN HOMELESSNESS TOOLKIT. Conducting Homeless Counts on Native American Lands – A Toolkit highlights steps, tools, and methods that can be used by American Indian, Alaska Native, and Hawaiian Home Lands communities to obtain accurate counts. Print copies are available from Dan Stern, HAC, 202-842-8600, for $4.00 including shipping and handling.

HAC News: January 23, 2013

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January 23, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 2

• OMB tells agencies to plan for sequester, CBPP reports smaller cuts • Administration’s FY14 budget will be late • Congressional leadership changes still in process • Secretaries Vilsack and Donovan to remain in new Administration • NOFAs issued for Housing Counseling, ICDBG, Healthy Homes, YouthBuild, SHOP • Some rural mortgages exempt from new escrow rule • New poverty guidelines released • HUD compiles environmental training webinars • Many Blacks and Latinos would be impacted by sequestration • Smart Growth America supports reexamination of priorities • HAC blog post tackles Native American homelessness

January 23, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 2

OMB tells agencies to plan for sequester, CBPP reports smaller cuts. A memo from the Office of Management and Budget advises federal agencies to intensify planning for possible sequestration, but not to take action yet. Unless Congress changes the law, federal funding will be cut on March 1. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that because of changes made in the tax deal (see HAC News, 1/10/13) the cut for non-defense discretionary programs including housing will be 5.1% rather than the previously expected 8.2%.

Administration’s FY14 budget will be late. OMB informed House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan on January 11 that delays in congressional action on the “fiscal cliff” delayed the Administration’s FY14 budget preparations and the budget will be submitted after the February 4 due date. OMB does not give a specific release date.

Congressional leadership changes still in process. In the 113th Congress, Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) is the new chair of Senate Appropriations. For House Appropriations, Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ) is the new ranking member (top Democrat) on the Transportation-HUD Subcommittee. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) continues as ranking member on the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The new chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has not yet been announced, nor have the top Senate Republicans on both Appropriations and Banking. All committees also have some new members, as in any new Congress.

Secretaries Vilsack and Donovan to remain in new Administration. Tom Vilsack will continue to serve as Secretary of Agriculture and Shaun Donovan as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

NOFAs issued for Housing Counseling, ICDBG, Healthy Homes, YouthBuild, SHOP. Housing Counseling applications are due March 18; contact HUD staff, housing.counseling@hud.gov. Indian Community Development Block Grant applications are due March 18; contact Roberta Youmans, HUD, 202-402-3316. Academics, nonprofits, for-profits, state and local governments, and tribes can apply for Healthy Homes Technical Studies funds by March 19; contact Dr. Peter Ashley, HUD, 202-402-7595. YouthBuild applications from nonprofits, state and local governments, and tribes are due to the Employment and Training Administration by March 19; contact Kia Mason, ETA, 202-693-2606. Intermediaries can apply by April 24 for Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program funds to be loaned to others; contact Ginger Macomber, HUD, 202-402-4605.

Some rural mortgages exempt from new escrow rule. Effective June 1, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will require private mortgage lenders to maintain escrow accounts for “higher-priced” loans for five years rather than one year. Small portfolio lenders that serve primarily rural or underserved areas and do not escrow for other mortgages are exempt. “Rural” is defined on a county basis: “a county is rural if it is neither in a metropolitan statistical area nor in a micropolitan statistical area that is adjacent to a metropolitan statistical area.” CFBP will publish a list of these counties. Contact David Friend, CFPB, 202-435–7700.

New poverty guidelines released. The Department of Health and Human Services has adjusted its poverty guidelines to account for a 2.1% increase in the cost of living from 2011 to 2012. For programs that use this benchmark, the 2013 poverty line for a family of four in the continental U.S. is $23,550.

HUD compiles environmental training webinars. Online sessions from 2011 and 2012 covering a variety of topics related to environmental reviews are at www.onecpd.info/learning-center/environmental-review-training/.

Many Blacks and Latinos would be impacted by sequestration. A study by the Center for Social Inclusion found higher numbers (not percentages) of Blacks and Latinos than Whites will be impacted if sequestration goes into effect. Based on program funding cuts of 8.2% (not the 5.1% currently estimated by CBPP; see first item in this HAC News) to non-defense discretionary programs, about 115,000 Black and Latino individuals would lose HUD tenant-based vouchers, 90,000 would lose homelessness assistance, and almost 850,000 would lose LIHEAP home energy aid. Falling Off the Fiscal Cliff? Race, Opportunity and Sequestration also includes data for a few individual states.

Smart Growth America supports reexamination of priorities. Federal Involvement in Real Estate: A Call for Examination reports that in 2008 federal housing spending (direct and through taxes) averaged $6,253 for households with incomes of $200,000 and above, $254 for those with incomes in the $30,000-40,000 range, and $833 for those with incomes under id=”mce_marker”0,000. It also notes that 84% of federal real estate funding supports home-ownership while 35% of households are renters. SGA suggests that federal policy be targeted to support balanced housing choices; reinvest in existing places and properties; provide a safety net; and help more Americans reach the middle class.

HAC blog post tackles Native American homelessness. Based on a forthcoming guide from HAC and the Corporation for Supportive Housing, “Counting Better: A Step Toward Addressing Native American Homelessness” recommends local counts of homeless people on Native lands to document the need for assistance.

HAC News: January 10, 2013

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January 10, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 1

• Tax deal delays sequestration • USDA offers MPR preservation funds • ROSS Service Coordinators applications invited • Funds available for CDFIs • CFPB changes “qualified residential mortgage” definition • USDA RD proposes civil money penalties • Comments sought on Section 202 preservation rental aid • Farmworker housing RA being monitored • New guide explains how to combine HOME and LIHTC • HUD describes new fair housing assessment and planning process • Report describes successes of Section 502 direct and Section 523 self-help • HAC blog posts cover data, review 2012

January 10, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 1

TAX DEAL DELAYS SEQUESTRATION. The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the deal reached by the Administration and Congress to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” delays until March 1 the 8.2% across-the-board spending cuts that would have been effective January 1 (see HAC News, 9/26/12), while lowering the caps for FY13 discretionary spending. It also extends for one year a 9% credit floor for Low Income Housing Tax Credit deals and extends the New Markets Tax Credit for 2012 and 2013. In February and March Congress will be faced with decisions about sequestration, the U.S. debt ceiling, and the continuing resolution for FY13 funding that expires on March 27.

USDA OFFERS MPR PRESERVATION FUNDS. Pre-applications for the Multi-Family Housing Preservation and Revitalization Demonstration Program for Sections 515 and 514/516 are due February 28. Unfunded applications from previous years will receive priority. No new Rental Assistance is available. The notice and pre-application form are available in the Federal Register and on RD’s website. Contact an RD state office, Sherry Engel, RD, 715-345-7677, or Tiffany Tietz, RD, 616-942-4111, ext. 126.

ROSS SERVICE COORDINATORS APPLICATIONS INVITED.Nonprofits, PHAs, tribes/TDHEs, and resident associations can apply by February 19 for Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Service Coordinator funding. Details are posted on HUD’s website and at grants.gov. Contact Dina Lehmann-Kim, HUD, 202-402-2430.

FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR CDFIS. Community Development Financial Institutions and Native CDFIs can apply by February 28 for financial or technical assistance monies from the CDFI Fund, subject to appropriations. Contact agency staff, 202-653-0421.

CFPB CHANGES “QUALIFIED RESIDENTIAL MORTGAGE” DEFINITION. A regulation proposed in May 2011, intended to ensure that consumers receive mortgages they can repay, would have strongly discouraged non-governmental mortgages with downpayments under 20%. The final rule, announced on January 10, drops the downpayment standard and uses instead a 43% debt-to-income ratio, along with numerous other requirements. Some balloon payment mortgages would be allowed if made by small creditors in rural and underserved areas. CFPB requests comment on some amendments, including one to define as QRMs all mortgages made and held in portfolio by small creditors. The comment deadline will be set when the rule is published in the Federal Register.

USDA RD PROPOSES CIVIL MONEY PENALTIES. Comments are due February 4 on a proposed rule intended to create more effective civil monetary penalties, along with due process protections, for violations of housing program statutes, regulations, and loan documents. Contact Stephanie White, RD, 202-720-1615.

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON SECTION 202 PRESERVATION RENTAL AID. Comments are due March 11 on proposed 20-year Senior Preservation Rental Assistance Contracts that would prevent displacement when Section 202 properties are refinanced or recapitalized. Contact Margaret Salazar, HUD, 202-708-2495.

FARMWORKER HOUSING RA BEING MONITORED. An Unnumbered Letter issued December 13, 2012 explains that USDA is monitoring transfer of Section 521 Rental Assistance from Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing properties to ensure RA is transferred to other FLH properties when possible, in compliance with the continuing resolution that funds the program through March 27. Contact Janet Stouder, RD, 202-720-9728.

NEW GUIDE EXPLAINS HOW TO COMBINE HOME AND LIHTC. HOME and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Guidebook, published by HUD, addresses compliance with the requirements of both programs.

HUD DESCRIBES NEW FAIR HOUSING ASSESSMENT AND PLANNING PROCESS. In its Statement of Regulatory Priorities for FY13, HUD says it plans to issue a proposed rule in April changing how it administers its obligation to affirmatively further fair housing. It will replace the existing analysis of impediments requirement with a fair housing assessment and planning process, hoping to create a more direct link between fair housing and Consolidated Plans or PHA Plans. Contact Patrick Pontius, HUD, 202-402-3273.

REPORT DESCRIBES SUCCESSES OF SECTION 502 DIRECT AND SECTION 523 SELF-HELP. A new National Rural Housing Coalition publication shows how these programs have expanded homeownership opportunities to some of the nation’s poorest rural families at little expense to the federal government. The report is free online or $10 from NRHC. Contact Sarah Mickelson, NRHC, 202-393-5225.

HAC BLOG POSTS COVER DATA, REVIEW 2012. In December HAC contributed two posts to Shelterforce magazine’s Rooflines blog. “Basic Challenges Outlast Housing Crisis in Rural America” presents some key findings from HAC’s Taking Stock report. “10 Things That Did Not Happen in Rural Housing in 2012” lists several things that should have happened but did not, and also observes that housing advocates did not give up.