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Policy News from the Administration

Biden’s USDA Housing Budget Proposes Increases in Section 502 Mortgages and Rental Preservation

The Biden administration’s first full budget request, covering the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2021, would maintain this year’s spending levels on rural housing programs and make available more loans for rural homebuyers. The Section 502 direct loan program, though which USDA makes loans directly to first-time purchasers, would be raised from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The Section 502 guarantee program, which guarantees mortgages made by banks, would increase from $24 billion to $30 billion.

Fiscal year 2022 funding for most rural housing programs would remain at the same levels as in fiscal year 2021, with modest increases for self-help housing, rental assistance, and rental vouchers. The budget also indicates that the American Jobs Plan – the administration’s infrastructure proposal – would provide an additional $2 billion in rural housing spending. It does not give any details about how that money would be used.

The budget proposes to eliminate some protections for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA). It would delete a requirement that recaptured RA be reused for rehab, preservation, or RA, and it would eliminate longstanding provisions requiring a 12-month delay before recapturing unused RA from Section 514/516 farmworker housing and mandating that farmworker housing RA be reused in other farmworker housing if possible. Language that allows recaptured RA to be used for “current needs” would be left in place.

Also deleted would be a provision from FY20 and FY21 appropriations that allows owners to request RA renewals for 20-year periods, subject to annual appropriations, which fund RA contracts for one year at a time.

The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, the Section 542 voucher program, and both farmworker housing programs would be shifted to new places in the budgetary scheme, an administrative move that would not alter the functioning of any of these programs.

The administration’s budget is the first step in the annual appropriations process. Each house of Congress will now craft its own proposal and differences will be worked out in the months to come.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY 22 Admin. Budget
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6 $1,500
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6

a The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.

 

FY18 Spending Agreement Increases Funds for Some Housing Programs

Congressional negotiatiors agreed March 21, 2018 on an omnibus appropriations package for FY18, the fiscal year that began October 1, 2017. The bill is expected to pass both the House and Senate, and to be signed into law by President Trump, before midnight on March 23. The bill maintains or increases funding levels for both USDA and HUD housing programs. In fact, because the cap on FY18 spending levels was raised, funding levels for several programs were increased above the amounts in both the House and Senate FY18 bills. These include Section 502 direct homeownership loans, Section 515 direct rental loans, Section 542 vouchers, and others at USDA. At HUD, there are increases for HOME, CDBG, Section 202, Section 811, the Public Housing Capital Fund, tenant-based and project-based vouchers, and others.

The final bill does not include the Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants proposed in the Administration’s FY18 budget.

Congress has recently taken the first steps towards FY19 funding decisions, beginning to hold hearings on the Administration’s budget requests. HAC will continue to report on this process as it moves forward.

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USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 House Bill (H.R. 3268)

FY18 Senate Bill (S. 1603)

FY18 Final Approp.

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

$900
5

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

24

26.3

28

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

28.7

30

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

28.4

35

40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

15

23.8

23

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

6

8.3

8.4

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405

1,345

1,345

1,345

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

25

30

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

a

5

10

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

230

230

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

15

22

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20

19.4

25

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

4

4

a. Section 504 grants and Section 533 grants would have been rolled into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program. This change is not included in the final bill.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 House Bill (H.R. 3353)

FY18 Senate Bill (S. 1655)

FY18 Final Approp.

CDBG

$3,000

$3,000

$2,900

3,000

3,300

HOME

950

950

850

950

1,362

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

10

10

10

Veterans Home Rehab

5.7

4

0

4

4

Tenant-Based RA
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

19,628
60
0

20,292
40
7

20,487
577b
7

21,365
40
5

22,015
40
5

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,622

10,816

11,082

11,507

11,515

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,900

1,942

1,850

1,945

2,750

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,500

4,400

4,400

4,500

4,550

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

125

137.5

20

50

150

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

654

654

655

655

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,250

2,383

2,383

2,456

2,513

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

335

356

356

330

375

202 Hsg. for Elderly

432.7

502.4

573

573

678

811 Hsg. for Disabled

150.6

146.2

147

147

230

Fair Housing

65.3

65.3

65.3

65.3

65

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

145

130

160

230

Housing Counseling

47

55

50

47

55

FY19 Budget Proposes to Eliminate Most Rural Housing Programs

Guarantees for bank loans would remain at current levels and basic rent aid for tenants would continue, but other rural housing assistance would be wiped out under the Trump Administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2019 released on February 12, 2018. Although tenants would continue receiving assistance, they would face a new requirement to pay at least $50 per month in rent unless they are deemed to experience economic hardship.

This budget is much the same as last year’s proposal for rural housing. Last year the Section 504 grant program – which offers small grants to elderly homeowners with very low incomes to repair health and safety hazards in their homes – would have been rolled into a new pool of money called the Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program. This year’s budget does not include that infrastructure grant proposal, and would simply eliminate Section 504 grants. The House incorporated the infrastructure grant idea into its FY18 appropriations bill, but both the House and the Senate rejected most of the program eliminations proposed by the Administration last year.

The guarantee programs that would remain – Section 502 guarantees for homebuyers and Section 538 guarantees for builders of rental housing in rural places – cover their own costs through fees, so the government pays only the costs of administering them.

USDA’s Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 voucher programs, which assist tenants in two different sets of circumstances, would be funded at levels similar to current amounts. The $20 million proposed for vouchers, however, is too low to help all eligible tenants who want vouchers. HAC believes at least $27 million will be needed for these renters whose landlords pay off their USDA mortgages, either early or at maturity.

In addition to the new $50 rent requirement, the budget proposes to allow USDA to recapture Rental Assistance funds from past years’ agreements if the department determines a property no longer needs RA, and to use those funds for other properties. It would also let USDA transfer unneeded RA or voucher funds to any other rural housing programs. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 House Bill (H.R. 3268)a

FY18 Senate Bill (S. 1603)a

FY19 Admin Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

24

26.3

0

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

c

28.7

0

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

28.4

35

0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

15

23.8

0

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

6

8.3

0

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405b

1,345

1,345

1,331.4b

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

25

30

0

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

a

5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

230

230

250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

15

22

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20

19.4

20

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

4

0

a. FY18 appropriation is not yet final.
b. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18, so total available in FY17 was $1.365 billion and total available in FY18 would be $1.385 billion. The FY19 budget assumes that this “forward funding” continues, so more than $1.331 billion would be available in FY19.
c. Section 504 loans and other non-housing loans would have been rolled into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program.

Broadband to house - USDA

Senate Committee Approves FY18 USDA Funding Bill

On July 20 the Senate Appropriations Committee passed S. 1603, which would fund USDA, including the rural housing programs, for fiscal year 2018. The Senate bill keeps most rural housing programs at current levels, somewhat higher than the levels in the House bill.

The Senate bill does not include some changes in programs proposed in H.R. 3268, passed by the House Appropriations Committee on July 12. It does not mention the Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program, which in the House bill would combine Section 504 grants and Section 533 grants with some utilities and business grant programs. In addition, it does not make H-2A visa holders eligible for Section 514/516 farmworker housing, a change in the House bill that was adopted at the committee level.

The Senate’s Committee Report (S.Rept. 115-131) discusses the need for solutions to the maturing mortgage issue for Section 515 rental housing, not mentioned in the House bill or report.

The Committee is very concerned about the alarming number of multi-family housing mortgages scheduled to mature in the next few years. As these mortgages mature, projects and units will be removed from USDA’s affordable rural housing program, placing very low income rural residents in jeopardy of untenable rent increases and possible eviction. In spite of numerous requests from the Committee, the Department has failed to identify and develop potential solutions to this looming crisis.

The Secretary is directed to engage affordable housing advocates, project owners, tenants, and others as practicable, to find acceptable and effective long term solutions that will retain projects in the affordable rural housing program. The need for affordable rural housing is too great to allow the program to expire.

As of noon on July 24, neither the Senate nor the House has scheduled USDA appropriations for floor action.

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USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

House Bill (H.R. 3268)

Senate Bill
(S. 1603)

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

$900
5

$1,000
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

0

24

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

a

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

0

28.4

35

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

(-11)b

15

23.8

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

0

6

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405c

1,345

1,345

1,345

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

(-4)b

25

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

0

a

5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

250

230

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

(-4)b

15

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

16

20

19.4

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

0

4

a. Would become part of Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program.
b. Budget proposes to rescind unobligated funds from three programs: $11 million from Sec. 523 self-help, $4 million from Sec. 514/516 farm labor housing, and $4 million from MPR.
c. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18, so total available in FY17 is $1.365 billion and total available in FY18 would be $1.385 billion.

HAC News: July 20, 2017

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 20, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 15

USDA RD leader encourages full use of 502 direct funds • USDA funding moves to Senate • House takes up HUD funding bill • House leaders proposes budget resolution • Congressional committee holds field hearing on NAHASDA • USDA requests comments on improving its regulations • Comment on new HUD veterans rehab and modification pilot • Committee reviews HUD nominations • Programs, including housing, help children succeed, report says

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 20, 2017
Vol. 46, No. 15

USDA RD leader encourages full use of 502 direct funds. With ten weeks remaining in the fiscal year, Anne Hazlett, Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, has asked single-family program directors in RD state offices to “establish a high priority” for spending all available Section 502 direct funds. She encouraged RD staff to reach out to partners for assistance, and promised additional guidance on tools and resources. For more information, contact state office single-family program directors.

USDA funding moves to Senate. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved an FY18 spending bill for USDA on July 20. The bill has not yet been released to the public. Funding levels for a few of the rural housing programs are available in statements released by the subcommittee, and would keep most rural housing programs at current levels, somewhat higher than the levels in the House bill. The committee included a provision requiring USDA to have an Undersecretary for Rural Development at USDA. Watch www.ruralhome.org for updates on the Senate bill’s contents.
The House Appropriations Committee completed work on its FY18 USDA bill on July 12. It adopted one housing-related change to its subcommittee’s bill, making H-2A visa holders eligible for Section 514/516 farmworker housing.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

House Bill

Senate Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

$900
5

$1,000d

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000d

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

0

24

e

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

a

e

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

0

28.4

35d

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

(-11)b

15

23.9d

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

0

6

8.3d

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405c

1,345

1,345

1,345d

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

(-4)b

25

e

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

0

a

e

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

250

230

e

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

(-4)b

15

e

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

16

20

19.4d

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

0

e

a. Would become part of Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program.

b. Budget proposes to rescind unobligated funds from three programs: $11 million from Sec. 523 self-help, $4 million from Sec. 514/516 farm labor housing, and $4 million from MPR.

c. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18, so total available in FY17 is $1.365 billion and total available in FY18 would be $1.385 billion.

d. Preliminary, pending release of bill text.

e. Unknown as of press time, pending release of bill text.

House takes up HUD funding bill. On July 17 the House Appropriations Committee approved an FY18 HUD funding bill that would cut most HUD programs. HOME and CDBG would both be reduced. The bill also would eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. The National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities estimate that the House bill would eliminate at least 140,000 vouchers in FY18 because its funding levels for Housing Choice Vouchers and Project-Based Rental Assistance are inadequate. The committee did adopt an amendment to the bill expanding the Rental Assistance Demonstration to include Section 202 Rental Assistance Contracts. The Senate has not yet begun work on its HUD bill.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

FY18 House Bill

CDBG

$3,000

$3,000

$0

$2,900

HOME

950

950

0

850

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

0

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

19,628
60
0

20,292
40
7

19,318
0
7

20,487
577a
7

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,622

10,816

10,351

11,082

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,900

1,942

628

1,850

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,500

4,400

3,900

4,400

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

125

137.5

0

20

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

654

600

654

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,250

2,383

2,250

2,383

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

335

356

330

356

202 Hsg. for Elderly

432.7

502.4

510

573

811 Hsg. for Disabled

150.6

146.2

121

147

Fair Housing

65.3

65.3

65

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

145

130

130

Housing Counseling

47

55

47

50

a. The House bill specifies that its entire VASH appropriation is for renewals.

House leaders propose budget resolution. The House resolution released by the House Budget Committee on July 18, would set caps for FY18 spending at the levels the House is currently using as it develops its versions of FY18 appropriations bills. That limit is below the cap required by the Budget Control Act. In later years, funding for domestic programs – both discretionary and mandatory – would drop sharply. The budget resolution also includes significant tax cuts and may become the vehicle for tax reform legislation.

Congressional committee holds field hearing on NAHASDA. On July 21, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance will hold a hearing in Wisconsin titled “NAHASDA: 20 Years On.” HAC will submit written testimony for the record.

USDA requests comments on improving its regulations. The department requests ideas on modifying, streamlining, expanding, or repealing regulations, guidance documents, or any other policy documents. Comments are due July 17, 2018. USDA will review comments in four batches: those submitted by September 15, 2017, then by November 14, 2017, then February 12, 2018, and finally July 17, 2018. For more information, contact Michael Poe, USDA, 202-720-5303. The Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity is also still accepting comments on legislative, regulatory, and policy changes (see HAC News, 6/22/17).

Comment on new HUD veterans rehab and modification pilot. HUD requests input by September 11 on the design of a new pilot program that will make grants to nonprofit organizations that provide nationwide or statewide programs serving primarily veterans or low-income individuals. The grants may be used to modify or rehabilitate eligible veterans’ primary residences or to provide grantees’ affiliates with technical, administrative, and training support in connection with those services. Email comments to rhed@hud.gov. For more information, contact Sylvia Y. Purvis, HUD, 877-787-2526 (toll-free) or 202-708-2290.

Committee reviews HUD nominations. On July 18 the Senate Banking Committee considered several nominations, including three for HUD positions: J. Paul Compton, Jr. as General Counsel; Anna M. Farias as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity; and Neal J. Rackleff as Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development. The Committee has not yet voted whether to recommend Senate confirmation of these nominees.

Programs, including housing, help children succeed, report says. “Economic Security Programs Help Low-Income Children Succeed Over Long Term, Many Studies Find,” from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, summarizes the findings of numerous researchers. Economic security programs such as housing subsidies, food assistance, and working-family tax credits not only help families afford basic needs, but also help children do better in school and increase their earning power as adults.

HAC Weighs in on House Ag Appropriations Bill

HAC Executive Director Applauds Improvements over Administration’s Budget proposal, but calls for bringing back the Rural Community Development Initiative Program

The Housing Assistance Council’s (HAC) Executive Director Moises Loza recently wrote to Robert Aderholt and Sandford Bishop, the Chairman and Ranking Member, respectively, of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, weighing in on the Subcommittee’s fiscal year 2018 appropriations bill, which it marked up on June 17. Loza was one of many rural leaders bringing attention to the Administration’s budget proposal, which he said, “strikes particularly hard at rural and tribal communities.”

“The bill is a substantial improvement over the Administration’s budget request for rural development programs. And I appreciated members of the Subcommittee pledging to work toward an even better bill. A better bill starts with funding the Rural Community Development Initiative (RCDI),” Loza said. The competitive RCDI program allows experienced rural-focused organizations to bring capacity building to grassroots entities that take on affordable housing and economic development.

Loza’s letter noted that “without exception” HAC’s rural partners say that capacity building is “vital” to their work, and hard to access with limited philanthropic support in rural communities. Loza added that increased capacity of grassroots housing and community development organizations via RCDI makes federal investment go further.

Loza’s letter encouraged “sufficient” funding for the Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 vouchers “while funding other rural housing and community development programs at no less than the fiscal year 2017 level.” Loza offered that the USDA Section 504 and Section 533 grants should remain stand-alone programs. The bill grouped both programs along with several others, into an infrastructure program. Loza noted that Section 504 and 533 grants “provide some of the poorest rural Americans with the opportunity to remain in their homes via the removal of health and safety hazards and other upgrades such as handicap accessibility.” Loza believes that grouping both programs with infrastructure needs will “divert” resources from the rural poor, who have “no other options.”

The text of Loza’s letter is here.

HAC News: June 1, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 1, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 10

• Senate committee approves FY17 USDA funding bill • HUD funding for FY17 passes House committee • Modest rental housing remains out of reach nationwide for minimum wage earners • RD encourages multifamily properties to offer summer meal program for kids • Permission restored for states to transfer unused Rental Assistance • YouthBuild funds available • RUS seeks comments on energy efficiency loans • Revisions to IHBG formula proposed • FHA offers changes to its reverse mortgage program • Report recommends better integration of health care and housing for seniors • Native CDFIs have helped improve access to capital and credit • Locations of new businesses show economic recovery weaker in rural America • HAC to hold webinar on VA home loan guaranty program

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 1, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 10

Senate committee approves FY17 USDA funding bill. S. 2956 funds most rural housing programs at their FY16 levels, and provides increases requested by the Administration’s budget for Sections 521, 542, and 538. It also raises Section 515 rental housing to $40 million, higher than either the budget or the House bill.The Committee’s report tells the department to work with others to find long-term solutions to rural rental housing issues, particularly maturing mortgages. To encourage nonprofits and PHAs to purchase USDA-financed rental housing, the bill provides returns on investment, increased asset management fees, and a $1 million pilot program offering technical assistance to purchasers. The bill also requires USDA to report quarterly on Rental Assistance use. Unlike the House bill (see HAC News, 4/20/16), the Senate’s version would not expand use of Section 542 vouchers to include tenants in properties whose mortgages mature. More details are posted on HAC’s website. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16
Approp.

FY17 Budget Proposal

FY17 House Cmte. Bill (H.R. 5054)

FY17 Senate Cmte. Bill
(S. 2956)

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
0

$1,000
5

$900
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

28.7

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

33.1

35

40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

23.9

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405

1,405

1,405

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

18.5

30

27.5

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

0

5

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

200

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

19.4

22

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

18

18

18

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

4

4

HUD funding for FY17 passes House committee. On May 24 the full House Appropriations Committee approved the Transportation-HUD bill summarized in the HAC News, 5/19/16.

Modest rental housing remains out of reach nationwide for minimum wage earners. Out of Reach 2016: No Refuge for Low Income Renters, by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, says there is no state, metropolitan area, or county in the U.S. where a full-time worker earning minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom apartment at HUD’s Fair Market Rent. An interactive map online provides data for states and localities.

RD encourages multifamily properties to offer summer meal program for kids. More information is available in an Unnumbered Letter dated May 10, 2016 and online.

Permission restored for states to transfer unused Rental Assistance. For a one-year trial, state directors will be allowed to reallocate unused RA within each state. RA lost to prepayment, foreclosure, or mortgage maturity will continue to be recaptured by the national office. Contact a USDA RD state office.

YouthBuild funds available. The Department of Labor offers YouthBuild grants to provide education, occupational skills training, and employment services to disadvantaged youth who serve their communities. Apply by July 6. Contact Kia Mason, DOL, 202-693-2606.

RUS seeks comments on energy efficiency loans. The new Rural Energy Savings Program will make loans to rural families and small businesses to implement cost-saving energy efficiency measures. The Rural Utilities Service asks for input by June 23 on measuring results and on providing technical assistance and training to entities carrying out RESP. Contact Titilayo Ogunyale, RUS, 202-720-0736.

Revisions to IHBG formula proposed. Comments are due August 1 on the Indian Housing Block Grant program allocation formula. The proposed changes reflect consensus decisions reached by HUD and the NAHASDA negotiated rule-making committee. Contact Randall R. Akers, HUD, 202-402-7598.

FHA offers changes to its reverse mortgage program. To reduce risks to its Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, FHA proposes to amend regulations to strengthen its Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. Comments are due July 18. Contact Karin Hill, HUD, 202-402-3084.

Report recommends better integration of health care and housing for seniors. Healthy Aging Begins at Home, published by the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Senior Health and Housing Task Force, examines the need for housing affordable to low-income seniors and for integrating health care and supportive services with housing. It recommends making ending senior homelessness a major national priority; investing in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit; establishing a new senior-supportive housing program; making federal regulatory policies more encouraging; engaging the private and nonprofit sectors more broadly; and adopting state and local land-use policies that promote a range of affordable housing options for their seniors.

Native CDFIs have helped improve access to capital and credit. Access to Capital and Credit in Native Communities, commissioned from the Native Nations Institute by the CDFI Fund, concludes there are better options today than in 2001, and finds the CDFI Fund’s Native programs have been critical sources of technical assistance and training in addition to capital. Native Communities still need additional capital and credit, however. To address the needs, the report identifies key strategies for Native communities and the federal government. A related data review will be released on the CDFI Fund’s site.

Locations of new businesses show economic recovery weaker in rural America. The New Map of Economic Growth and Recovery, published by the Economic Innovation Group, surveys the economic landscape emerging from the Great Recession and compares it to previous recovery periods. It finds fewer new businesses have been started, those that do start are concentrated in a smaller number of more populous counties, and counties driving the nation’s economic recoveries have shifted from smaller to larger ones. “Many communities will see fewer employment opportunities as a result,” the report states, “and depressed entrepreneurship will leave their local economies more vulnerable to the downsides of inevitable economic shifts to come.”

HAC to hold webinar on VA home loan guaranty program. “VA Housing Resources for Heroes: An In-depth Overview of the VA Home Loan Guaranty Benefit” is set for Wednesday, June 8, at 2:00 Eastern time. The webinar is free but registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: May 19, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 19, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 9

• Senate adopts FY17 HUD funding measure, House releases bill • USDA FY17 funding consideration begins in Senate • Some Continuums of Care see renewal funding cut • Correction: streamlined refinancing applies to Section 502 direct loans also • Sexual orientation and gender protection proposed for Native American programs • HUD seeks comment on broadband and on climate change hazards • Stakeholder calls on Section 515 to continue • RD corrects environmental regs • Guidance on implementation of Section 502 packaging available • Rural child poverty increased as income inequality grew • HAC report describes older veterans

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 19, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 9

Senate adopts FY17 HUD funding measure, House releases bill. The Senate passed its Transportation-HUD appropriations bill on May 19, after adopting an amendment lifting until 2019 the two-year commitment deadline for HOME funds, and rejecting an amendment that would have stopped HUD implementation of its Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations. The Administration has threatened a veto of the Senate bill, listing numerous objections including the funding levels for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance and for Homeless Assistance Grants. The House version of the bill would keep many programs at FY16 levels, with decreases in tenant vouchers and an increase in housing counseling. The House T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee approved it on May 18, and the full committee will take it up on May 24. Updates will be posted on HAC’s website when available. [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY16
Approp.

FY17 Budget Proposal

FY17 House Subcmte. Bill

FY17 Senate Cmte. Bill
H.R. 2577

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,060
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

3,000
3,000

HOME

950

950

950

950

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10a

10

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

19,628
60

20,854
7c

20,189
7c

20,432
57

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,622

10,816

10,901

10,901

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,900

1,865

1,900

1,925

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,500

4,569

4,500

4,675

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

125

200

100

80

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

700

655

647

Homeless Assistance Grantsb

2,250

2,664

2,487

2,330

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

335

335

335

335

202 Hsg. for Elderly

432.7

505

505

505

811 Hsg. for Disabled

150.6

154

154

154

Fair Housing

65.3

70

65.3

65

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

110

110

130

135

Housing Counseling

47

47

55

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300d

a. The FY17 Administration budget, like past budget requests, proposes to make SHOP a setaside in HOME. Congress has consistently rejected that proposal. b. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational. c. Tribal VASH setaside. d. Proposed as mandatory spending.

USDA FY17 funding consideration begins in Senate. TheSenate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommit-tee approved a spending bill on May 17 and the full committee will consider it on May 19. A press release says the bill includes $900 million for Section 502 loans, $24 billion for Section 502 loan guarantees, and $1.4 billion for Rental Assistance. The bill’s text has not yet been released. The House committee passed its version, H.R. 5054, in April (see HAC News, 4/20/16).

Some Continuums of Care see renewal funding cut. As a result of changes to HUD’s FY15 homelessness funding competition, some CoCs received increases but a number of others had funding for ongoing projects reduced. HUD emphasized rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing, while awards for transitional housing fell. HUD acknowledges that some grantees now “face the difficult task of finding alternative funding for, downsizing, or closing down longstanding programs,” but says the total number of people served nationwide will increase. The National Alliance to End Homelessness’s blog offers analysis and suggestions. Find an area CoC here.

Correction: streamlined refinancing applies to Section 502 direct loans also. The May 4, 2016 HAC News reported that USDA RD adopted amendments to the regulations for Section 502 guaranteed loans but did not note that one of them, a new refinance option, is available for Section 502 direct borrowers also. Contact Lilian Lipton, RD, 202-260-8012.

Sexual orientation and gender protection proposed for Native American programs. A proposed rule would require HUD’s Native American and Native Hawaiian programs to be open to all regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. HUD promulgated this rule for other programs in 2012. Comments are due July 8. Contact Camille E. Acevedo, HUD, 202-708-1793.

HUD seeks comment on broadband and on climate change hazards. Comments are due July 18 on two proposed rules. One would require installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation of multifamily rental housing funded or supported by HUD, with limited exceptions. Contact people vary by program and are listed in the proposed regulation. The second would require jurisdictions to include broadband and natural hazard risks in their Consolidated Plans. They would have to describe existing broadband access in low- and moderate-income housing, and consider providing access where there is none. They would also have to “consider incorporating resilience to natural hazard risks, taking care to anticipate how risks will increase due to climate change.” Contact Lora Routt, HUD, 202-402-4492.

Stakeholder calls on Section 515 to continue. To register for announcements of upcoming quarterly calls on the Section 515 program, contact Timothy James, RD, 919-873-2056. Those who have registered in the past do not need to register again. (These are separate from the Section 538 calls announced in the HAC News, 5/4/16.)

RD corrects environmental regs. The changes apply to a rule issued in March (see HAC News, 3/4/16).

Guidance on implementation of Section 502 packaging available. RD published anUnnumbered Letter (dated May 6, 2016) that provides guidance on the implementation of the certified loan application packaging process, which becomes effective on May 19. Contact Tammy Repine, RD, 360-753-7677.

Rural child poverty increased as income inequality grew. A USDA Economic Research Service report, Understanding the Rise in Rural Child Poverty, 2003-14, and an article based on the report, explain that nonmetro child poverty rates rose 2003-2011 during economic growth and recession periods, then fell 2012-1014 but remained well above 2003 levels. ERS determined that growth in income inequality accounted for most of the increase in rural child poverty.

HAC report describes older veterans. Over two-thirds of U.S. veterans are age 55 and older and their numbers are rising, according to Aging Veterans in the United States, an analysis of data on the older veteran population. The majority are homeowners, and more than half of older veteran renters are cost burdened.

HAC News: April 20, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 20, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 7

• House committee passes FY17 USDA spending bill • Senate subcommittee addresses FY17 HUD spending • RUS offers rural broadband loans, guarantees, and grants • Indian CDBG application period opens • Jobs Plus funds available • 2016 New Markets Tax Credits combined with 2015 funding round • Homelessness data examined at national and state levels • Typical low-income household’s expenses exceeded income in 2014 • HAC offers Section 502 packaging training June 28-30

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 20, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 7

House committee passes FY17 USDA spending bill. On April 19, the House Appropriations Committee approved a bill that provides steady or increased funding levels for USDA’s rural housing programs. It increases Section 523 self-help technical assistance funding to $30 million and raises Section 502 direct to $1 billion. Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 vouchers would receive amounts that, according to the Administration’s budget, will allow for renewal of all current aid, new RA for new farmworker housing properties, and new vouchers for tenants in properties leaving the Section 515 program for any reason, including mortgage maturity. It also includes Administration language that would extend voucher eligibility and allow USDA to set priorities for voucher distribution.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY15
Approp.

FY16
Approp.

FY17 Budget Proposal

FY17 House Cmte. Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$900
0

$1,000
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

28.7

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

28.4

33.1

35

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.6

23.9

23.9

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,089

1,390

1,405

1,405

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

27.5

18.5

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

3.5

0

5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

230

200

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

17

22

19.4

22

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

7

15

18

18

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

4

4

The Committee’s report tells USDA to provide it with a list of criteria used to define ‘‘rural in character’’ in determining what places are considered rural and therefore eligible for housing program funding.

Senate subcommittee addresses FY17 HUD spending. The Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee approved a bill on April 19. The measure’s text will not be released until the full committee considers it on April 21, but the committee did announce the bill provides $950 million for HOME and $300 billion for CDBG. The subcommittee’s top Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), released a statement supporting the bill. HAC will post updates at ruralhome.org when available.

RUS offers rural broadband loans, guarantees, and grants. Nonprofits, for-profits, and governments or tribes can apply for Community Connect grants by June 17. Those entities as well as coops can apply for Farm Bill Broadband Loans and Loan Guarantees by July 7. For either program, contact Shawn Arner, RUS, 202-720-0800.

Indian CDBG application period opens.CDBG for Indian Tribes and Alaska Native Villages applications from tribes and tribal organizations are due June 14. Contact a HUD ONAP Regional Office.

Jobs Plus funds available. PHAs with at least 200 non-elderly-only households are eligible, and the deadline is June 13. Contact HUD staff.

2016 New Markets Tax Credits combined with 2015 funding round. The CDFI Fund will not hold a new allocation round this year. It will allocate $3.5 billion for 2015 and $3.5 billion for 2016 under its 2015 NMTC funding notice. The deadline was December 16, 2015.

Homelessness data examined at national and state levels.The State of Homelessness in America 2016, by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, examines recent trends and also those from before the Great Recession to the present. For example, although doubled-up households fell 9% from 2013 to 2014, the number of poor people living doubled up was 52% higher in 2014 than in 2007.

Typical low-income household’s expenses exceeded income in 2014. A Pew Charitable Trusts Issue Brief on “Household Expenditures and Income” shows that by 2014 the median expenditures of working-age households had returned to pre-recession levels, but income did not. In 2004, the typical household in the lowest one-third of income levels had $1,500 of income left over after expenses, but in 2014 their expenses exceeded income by $2,300. Housing costs for those with incomes in the lowest third grew by 50% from 1996 to 2014. (Figures were adjusted for inflation).

HAC offers Section 502 packaging training June 28-30. “Section 502 Packaging Certification Training for Nonprofit Housing Developers,” to be held in Burlington, VT, is an advanced course for those experienced in using Section 502 direct and/or other affordable housing mortgage products. Following the course, participants are encouraged to take the online certification exam. Register online. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: October 14, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 14, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 21

• Deadline approaches for rural veteran housing projects • Celebration of Service supports rural veterans through November 11 • Hensarling request for suggestions includes USDA housing programs • FY15 USDA housing spending went mostly to guarantees, rental assistance • USDA implements integrated mortgage disclosure for direct Section 502 and 504 loans • Bill would authorize preservation program, allow some lenders to approve Section 502 guarantees • Section 8 OCAFs set • HUD issues guidance on determining homeless status of youth • Child poverty fell in 2014 but remains higher than in 2009 • Profiles show housing affordability for renters by state and locality

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 14, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 21

Deadline approaches for rural veteran housing projects. The Home Depot Foundation will make grants to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Concept papers are due October 30. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

Celebration of Service supports rural veterans through November 11. Each Monday until November 11, the Home Depot Foundation’s Team Depot Facebook page will highlight one of its nonprofit partners (HAC was featured September 21). For each like, comment, and share of these spotlight posts the foundation will donate $1 (up to $1 million total), which will be split between HAC and eight other nonprofits serving veterans. Dollars will also be donated for #ServiceSelfie posts on Twitter or Instagram.

Hensarling request for suggestions includes USDA housing programs. The September 30, 2015 HAC News reported that House Financial Services Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) seeks proposals for improvements to HUD and its programs. HAC has learned that the committee is also interested in ideas on USDA rural housing. The request includes specific topics for comment. Contact transformhousing@mail.house.gov.

FY15 USDA housing spending went mostly to guarantees, rental assistance. HAC’s analysis of USDA data shows that as of the end of September – the end of FY15 – USDA obligated 149,108 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $19.9 billion. This is $312 million less and 4,743 fewer (in number) obligations than at the same time last year. About 94% of the total loan and grant dollars obligated represent Section 502 guaranteed loans. USDA also obligated 249,468 units of tenant assistance representing over $1.1 billion through the Section 521 Rental Assistance and Section 542 Rural Housing Voucher programs. This represents about $19.96 million or 7,051 fewer units than this time last year. Watch the HAC News and ruralhome.org for a more detailed analysis of FY15 spending. Contact Michael Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

USDA implements integrated mortgage disclosure for direct Section 502 and 504 loans. A Section 502 or 504 loan is now subject to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new Truth in Lending Act and Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act Integrated Mortgage Disclosures (TRID) rule if a security interest will be taken on the property. In an email to stakeholders, USDA RD explains this regulation is expected to impact almost every aspect of mortgage transactions. RD has developed training materials and conducted webinars for its staff, and will issue an Unnumbered Letter. Sign up online to receive emails with information about RD’s single-family housing programs.

Bill would authorize preservation program, allow some lenders to approve Section 502 guarantees. The Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act, H.R. 3700, was recently introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO). It includes two provisions for USDA rural housing programs: it would authorize the Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization demonstration that has been funded for several years, and would allow USDA to delegate its Section 502 loan guarantee authority to preferred lenders. It would make a number of changes to HUD programs, some relating to income calculations and limits; it would also allow public housing agencies to create replacement reserves, extend the Family Unification Program, create inspection policies for PHAs’ units, and change utility reimbursements.

Section 8 OCAFs set. HUD’s new operating cost adjustment factors will apply to Section 8 project-based assistance contracts with anniversary dates on or after February 11, 2016. Contact Stan Houle, HUD, 202-402-2572.

HUD issues guidance on determining homeless status of youth. The document uses hypothetical scenarios to help providers understand how youth meet HUD’s definition of homelessness to receive Continuum of Care or Emergency Solutions Grants housing and services. An October 28 webinar will review the guidance and provide over-views of resources available to serve youth who meet and do not meet HUD’s definition of homeless.

Child poverty fell in 2014 but remains higher than in 2009. Research from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire analyzing American Community Survey data found that child poverty declined in rural places, suburbs, and cities, with the largest declines in rural America. Overall poverty rates are 38.4% for African-American children, 13.0% for non-Hispanic white children, and 32.1% for Hispanic children. Half (51.1%) of all rural African-American children live in poverty.

Profiles show housing affordability for renters by state and locality. The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Housing Profiles, updated with Out of Reach 2015 data (see HAC News, 5/27/15), give one-page snapshots of affordable rental housing stock and affordability in each state and congressional district.