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HAC News: May 22, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 22, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 10

• Rural definition grandfathering provision included in Senate Farm Bill • Section 538 multifamily loan guarantees available • USDA working to cover Rental Assistance shortfall • Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program comment deadline extended • CFPB confirms its definition of rural • HUD publishes Annual Adjustment Factors • High homeownership rates lead to higher unemployment, research finds • People with disabilities receiving SSI can’t afford housing • HUD invites tribes/TDHEs to participate in online housing needs survey • Register now for training on Section 502 loan packaging • HAC to offer training on senior and veteran housing


May 22, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 10

RURAL DEFINITION GRANDFATHERING PROVISION INCLUDED IN SENATE FARM BILL. This week the Senate is considering S. 954, which includes an extension of current area eligibility for USDA housing programs through the 2020 Census and raises the population limit of grandfathered places to 35,000. Communities up to 50,000 would become eligible for non-housing programs. H.R. 1947, the Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee on May 15, does not address these issues.

SECTION 538 MULTIFAMILY LOAN GUARANTEES AVAILABLE. Loans must be for new construction or acquisition and rehab of affordable rural rental housing. Approved applications from prior years will be funded first. Lenders may submit NOFA responses through December 31. Conditional commitments will be issued before September 30 until FY13 funds are expended. The NOFA will be published in the Federal Register on May 23 and on RD’s site. Contact a USDA RD state office or Tammy Daniels, RD, 202-720-0021.

USDA WORKING TO COVER RENTAL ASSISTANCE SHORTFALL. USDA RD is taking steps to avoid displacing an estimated 15,000 tenants from 500-600 properties because of the anticipated gap in FY13 Section 521 RA funding (see HAC News, 5/1/13). An Unnumbered Letter issued May 1 requires all RA transfers to be approved by the national office rather than state offices. Contact Stephanie White, RD, 202-720-1615. RD will also use special servicing actions to enable owners to cover costs with reserve funds, defer mortgage payments temporarily, and the like, and will train employees over a four-week period starting in late May so that actions will be consistent nationwide.

RURAL HOUSING STABILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM COMMENT DEADLINE EXTENDED. Comments are now due July 1 on the RHSP proposed regulation published March 27, 2013 (see HAC News, 4/3/13). Comments on the definition of chronically homeless are still due May 28. Contact Ann Marie Oliva, HUD, 202-708-4300.

CFPB CONFIRMS ITS DEFINITION OF RURAL. Amendments issued on May 23, 2013 clarify how rural and underserved areas will be identified for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau mortgage-related regulations. The rural designation relies on the USDA Economic Research Service’s Urban Influence Codes. CFPB has posted a final list of rural and underserved counties for June-December, 2013. Contact Whitney Patross, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

HUD PUBLISHES ANNUAL ADJUSTMENT FACTORS. FY13 AAFs are used to change rents on Section 8 contract anniversaries. Contact Michael S. Dennis, HUD, 202-708-1380.

HIGH HOMEOWNERSHIP RATES LEAD TO HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT, RESEARCH FINDS. A working paper published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics reports that states with increases in homeownership experience increases in unemployment as much as five years later. The authors write that owners are not disproportionately unemployed, but the housing market can produce negative externalities upon the labor market. Ownership leads to less labor mobility, greater commuting times, and – perhaps because of NIMBY reactions or zoning restricttions – fewer new businesses. Does High Home-Ownership Impair the Labor Market? and a related New York Times op-ed are available online.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES RECEIVING SSI CAN’T AFFORD HOUSING. Priced Out in 2012, a study by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, shows the national average rent for a modestly priced one-bedroom apartment is higher than the Supplemental Security Income payment of a person with a disability. TAC’s website offers data by metro areas and statewide nonmetro areas.

HUD INVITES TRIBES/TDHES TO PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE HOUSING NEEDS SURVEY. As part of its study of housing needs for Native Americans, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians, HUD is conducting an invitation-only online survey of some tribes and Tribally Designated Housing Entities (researchers are visiting others). Lists of invitees, information about the entire study, and more are posted online. Contact Jennifer Stoloff, HUD.

REGISTER NOW FOR TRAINING ON SECTION 502 LOAN PACKAGING. Join HAC June 18-20 in Knoxville, TN for “Section 502 Packaging Training for Nonprofit Developers” and learn how to assist potential borrowers and work in partnership with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. This course is intended for and specifically framed for those experienced in utilizing Section 502 and/or other affordable housing mortgage products. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824 ext. 27.

HAC TO OFFER TRAINING ON SENIOR AND VETERAN HOUSING. “Housing Seniors and Veterans in Rural America: Preservation, Development, and Services” will be held in Council Bluffs, IA on August 28-29. Details will be announced on HAC’s website and in the HAC News and emailed to the Rural Senior Housing and Rural Veterans Housing stakeholder lists. To become a stakeholder in either initiative, contact Janice Clark, HAC.

HAC News: May 1, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 1, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 9

• Sequestration, funding cuts to impact rural Rental Assistance and RD employees • Rep. Mel Watt nominated to head FHFA • Senate committee holds hearing on Native American housing • Senate bill would continue area eligibility for rural housing programs • HUD to close and consolidate some field offices • CFPB proposes amendments to some final mortgage rules • Fair housing guidance addresses design and construction, assistance animals • USDA RD, others will continue efforts to address Indian Country water/wastewater needs • Oglala Sioux “take the reservation to Washington.” • Market impact of changing mortgage interest deduction not clear, UI reports • 2013 Advocates’ Guide to Housing and Community Development Policy available • HAC offers webinar on home repair for rural seniors


May 1, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 9

SEQUESTRATION, FUNDING CUTS TO IMPACT RURAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE AND RD EMPLOYEES. FY13 was discussed at two hearings on USDA’s FY14 budget request held in April by the House Appropriations Committee’s Agriculture Subcommittee. On April 16, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that FY13 funding will fall short for 15,000 RA households while the $1.015 billion requested by the Administration would allow renewal of all expiring contracts in FY14. In response to questioning, he also stated that RD and Farm Service Agency employees could be furloughed for up to ten days. On April 24, responding to a question, Acting Under Secretary for RD Doug O’Brien said the FY14 budget did not include enough RA funding to make up for the FY13 shortfall. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) asked why USDA does not work through housing authorities in places where they exist, and expressed frustration at delays in issuing regulations that would allow nonprofits to package loan applications.

REP. MEL WATT NOMINATED TO HEAD FHFA. On May 1 President Obama nominated Rep. Melvin Watt (D-NC) as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Watt has been a member of Congress since 1992 and a member of the Financial Services Committee, which oversees housing programs.

SENATE BILL WOULD CONTINUE AREA ELIGIBILITY FOR RURAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. S. 766, introduced April 18 by Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD), is similar to H.R. 858, which was introduced February 27 (see HAC News, 3/6/13) by Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE). Both would revise the rural housing programs’ definition of “rural” to extend grandfathering of currently eligible places through the 2020 Census. The House bill would retain current law ending grandfathering if a place reaches 25,000 population; the Senate bill would increase that limit to 35,000.

HUD TO CLOSE AND CONSOLIDATE SOME FIELD OFFICES. Sixteen of HUD’s 80 field offices will close by early FY14, leaving at least one HUD office in each state. HUD’s Office of Multifamily Housing Programs will consolidate 50 offices into five Multifamily Hubs and five satellite offices by the end of 2015. Positions and workloads will be changed as well. Affected employees will be offered early retirements, buyouts, or relocation.

CFPB PROPOSES AMENDMENTS TO SOME FINAL MORTGAGE RULES. On May 2 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will propose changes to Real Estate Settlement Procedure Act and Truth In Lending Act regulations finalized in January 2013. The amendments relate to state laws, the small servicer exemption from certain servicing rules, and Qualified Mortgages. Comments will be due in 30 days. Contact Whitney Patross, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

FAIR HOUSING GUIDANCE ADDRESSES DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION, ASSISTANCE ANIMALS. The Departments of Justice and HUD have released new guidance on the Fair Housing Act’s requirements for design and construction of multifamily housing. HUD also issued a notice reaffirming that housing providers must make reasonable accommodations for people with assistance animals. Contacting HUD’s Fair Housing Office, 800-669-9777.

USDA RD, OTHERS WILL CONTINUE EFFORTS TO ADDRESS INDIAN COUNTRY WATER/WASTEWATER NEEDS. A new Memorandum of Understanding among EPA, HHS, HUD, the Department of the Interior, and USDA agrees to continue federal coordination in delivering water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and solid waste management services to tribal communities. Contact Jacki Ponti, USDA, 202-690-2670.

OGLALA SIOUX “TAKE THE RESERVATION TO WASHINGTON.” In April, the Trail of Hope for Indian Housing initiative trucked the façade of an aging, overcrowded house from Pine Ridge, SD to Washington, DC and held a rally near the U.S. Capitol to show Congress the state of Indian housing in tribal communities.

MARKET IMPACT OF CHANGING MORTGAGE INTEREST DEDUCTION NOT CLEAR, UI REPORTS.How Would Reforming the Mortgage Interest Deduction Affect the Housing Market?”summarizes past research and a roundtable hosted by the Urban Institute. It concludes that “the best available evidence predicts far less dire effects [than some forecasts anticipate], and some reforms to the MID could actually bolster the housing market recovery.” UI plans to conduct additional research.

2013 ADVOCATES’ GUIDE TO HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT POLICY AVAILABLE. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s annual guide covers programs and policies and provides advocacy tools. It is free online or can be ordered from Christina Sin, NLIHC, christina@nlihc.org, 202-662-1530 ext. 224.

HAC OFFERS WEBINAR ON HOME REPAIR FOR RURAL SENIORS. Save the date! Aging in Place will be held on June 19 at 3:00 Eastern time. Topics will include using the USDA Section 504 grant program and leveraging weatherization dollars. Details and registration information will be posted at www.ruralhome.org when available. Contact Janice Clark, HAC, janice@ruralhome.org.