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HAC News: July 5, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 5, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 14

HAC seeks workshop proposals for the 2018 Rural Housing Conference • Nominate local and national leaders for HAC awards • HAC offers grants to affordable housing projects serving rural veterans. • Farmworker housing loans and grants available from USDA. • HHS will make grants for new Rural Communities Opioid Response Program • Judge extends FEMA housing aid in Puerto Rico to July 23 • Carson questioned about moving RHS programs to HUD • KIDS COUNT data book warns of Census undercount, shows mixed progress on well-being • Housing aid could reduce child poverty almost 21%, says Children’s Defense Fund • Housing a key in rural economies, members of Congress report • Senate passes Farm Bill • USDA posts webinar trainings for Section 502 direct program • Webinars offer information to engage low-income renters in elections

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 5, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 14

HAC seeks workshop proposals for the 2018 Rural Housing Conference.
HAC is looking to our constituents and partners for proposals for workshop sessions that engage participants and facilitate an active exchange of approaches and ideas to improve housing conditions in rural America. Check the online call for proposals and submit online by July 11. For more information, contact Mike Feinberg, 202-842-8600, or Kelly Cooney, 678-649-3831.

Nominate local and national leaders for HAC awards.
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HAC offers grants to affordable housing projects serving rural veterans.
These grants, supported by The Home Depot Foundation, 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. Applications are due July 9. For more details, contact Shonterria Charleston or Anselmo Telles, HAC.

Farmworker housing loans and grants available from USDA.
Pre-applications are due August 27 for USDA’s Section 514 Farm Labor Housing loans and Section 516 FLH grants for the construction or purchase and substantial rehabilitation of off-farm rental units and related facilities for domestic farmworkers. For more information, contact Mirna Reyes-Bible, USDA, 202-720-1753.

HHS will make grants for new Rural Communities Opioid Response Program.
The Federal Office of Rural Health Policy in the Department of Health and Human Services offers one-year planning grants to nonprofits, for-profits, tribes, and tribal organizations to form consortia and plan for treatment and prevention of substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder, in high-risk rural counties. Applications are due July 30. Contact Allison Hutchings, HHS, 301-945-9819. Nonprofit and tribal entities are also eligible to apply by August 10 for a grant to provide technical assistance to new or existing consortia. Contact Michael McNeely, HHS, 301-443-5812.

Judge extends FEMA housing aid in Puerto Rico to July 23.
A federal judge has ordered FEMA’s Temporary Shelter Assistance program to continue paying hotels through July 23 to house more than 950 Puerto Ricans evacuated after Hurricane Maria. Aid was set to terminate on June 30, but LatinoJustice PRLDEF and others sued because many homes remain uninhabitable. The short-term extension will cover shelter while the litigation continues.

Carson questioned about moving RHS programs to HUD.
At a House Financial Services Committee HUD oversight hearing on June 27, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) asked HUD Secretary Ben Carson about the Administration’s proposal to move some of USDA’s rural housing programs to HUD. He asked why HUD is better equipped than USDA to meet rural housing needs. Carson responded that moving programs would not be “a very difficult shift” because HUD already has more activity in rural places than USDA’s rural housing programs. He said the change would reduce duplication and increase efficiency to help address the nation’s “severe fiscal crisis.”

KIDS COUNT data book warns of Census undercount, shows mixed progress on well-being.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation’s yearly report measures child well-being nationwide and in each state. This year it estimates about 1 million children under age five could be left out of the 2020 Census count and warns of “troubling consequences” because Census data determine the allocation of much federal assistance. The research shows upward trends in economic indicators of child well-being, but mixed results or stalled progress in education, health, and family and community indicators.

Housing aid could reduce child poverty almost 21%, says Children’s Defense Fund.
CDF’s Ending Child Poverty Now report states that without federal safety net programs child poverty would be 68% higher. Even so, more than one in five American children is poor and the rate is three times higher for African-American children. Investing another 2% of the national budget and making other changes would reduce child poverty by 60% and improve economic circumstances for the families of almost all poor children. Currently only one in four eligible families with children receives federal housing aid, but making it available to all who are eligible would alone reduce child poverty nearly 21%.

Housing a key in rural economies, members of Congress report.
Investing in Rural America: Bringing Progress and Economic Opportunity to Rural Communities, released by Democratic members of the Congressional Joint Economic Committee, covers housing, education, health care, infrastructure, and more. The housing chapter notes challenges related to substandard housing, Indian Country’s unique situation, fewer rental options, limited access to mortgage credit, and loss of federal aid as rental housing mortgages mature. Its recommendations include empowering nonprofit organizations.

Senate passes Farm Bill.
The full Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, S. 3042, on June 28, without the controversial work requirements for food stamp recipients that are included in H.R. 2, the House bill. The Senate accepted two amendments offered by Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND); one of them establishes a technical assistance program to improve tribal access to USDA rural development programs, including housing, and another that creates Tribal Promise Zones. Next, a conference committee will need to resolve differences between the two bills.

USDA posts webinar trainings for Section 502 direct program.
Webinars on income calculations, credit requirements, and intermediaries have been posted along with other resources on USDA’s website (select the Forms and Resources link).

Webinars offer information to engage low-income renters in elections.
A series of six webinars beginning July 17 will provide strategies for nonpartisan voter registration, candidate engagement, and voter education. The series is sponsored by the National Low Income Housing Coalition’s Our Homes, Our Votes campaign.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when conference registration opens and when the hotel room block is available for reservations.

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

HAC News: October 06, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 06, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 19

• Federal government funded through December 9 • Temporary preference given to certified packaged 502 loans • USDA suggests above-code standards for single-family housing • Administration housing toolkit addresses local barriers • GAO recommends improvements for services in HUD Section 202 properties • RAD may not be reaching rural places well • Black-white wage gaps are larger today than in 1979 • Register by October 21 for the 2016 HAC Rural Housing Conference!

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 06, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 19

Federal government funded through December 9. A continuing resolution, passed along with the full Military Construction/VA appropriations bill and emergency funding for the Zika virus, provides FY16 funding levels for federal programs and an 0.5% across-the-board cut. As expected (see HAC News, 9/8/16), it allows USDA to spend a disproportionate amount of Section 521 Rental Assistance funds early in the fiscal year in order to renew contracts when they expire. Congress is now in recess until November 14, after the election.

Temporary preference given to certified packaged 502 loans. USDA is temporarily classifying Section 502 direct applications submitted through the certified loan application packaging process as its fourth funding priority because funds are insufficient to serve all program-eligible applicants. This reclassification will remain in effect until further notice. The priority does not apply to certified packaging bodies working without an intermediary. Contact Tammy Repine, USDA, 360-753-7677.

USDA suggests above-code standards for single-family housing. In an Unnumbered Letter dated October 4, 2016, RD recommends – but does not require – that Section 502 and 504 homeowners, lenders, and others use building standards that exceed building codes. It provides information about standards that could be used for wind hazard resistance and water efficiency, and also discusses “location efficiency.” That refers to a home’s nearness to jobs, schools, and essential goods and services, impacting the greenhouse gas emissions generated by transportation. Contact a USDA RD state office.

Administration housing toolkit addresses local barriers. A Housing Development Toolkit issued by the White House focuses on ways states and localities can “promote healthy, responsive, affordable, high-opportunity housing markets.” It provides examples of “modern housing strategies” such as taxing vacant land or donating it to nonprofit developers, streamlining permitting processes and timelines, eliminating off-street parking requirements, allowing accessory dwelling units, employing inclusionary zoning, and using property tax abatements.

GAO recommends improvements for services in HUD Section 202 properties. To review how Section 202 properties connect residents to services and HUD’s related monitoring efforts, the Government Accountability Office researched the presence of service coordinators, how properties without coordinators connect residents with services, and HUD’s monitoring of Section 202 properties’ efforts to connect residents with supportive services. Elderly Housing: HUD Should Do More to Oversee Efforts to Link Residents to Services(GAO-16-758) recommends that HUD improve the accuracy of relevant data, develop written guidance on assessing compliance with supportive services requirements, and develop procedures for verifying and analyzing performance data.

RAD may not be reaching rural places well. HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, which began in 2012, allows PHAs to convert public housing units to project-based Section 8 contracts in order to attract additional financing. An interim report on RAD by HUD consultant Econometrica presents early results on subjects such as PHAs’ choices whether to participate and what external capital sources they used. Small PHAs had a low participation rate. Among the reasons given for not taking part were lower area rents and a perceived lack of investor interest in small towns and rural areas. Econometrica recommended HUD offer examples of successful use of RAD in rural places. A final report will be issued in three years, after RAD has been in effect long enough for its impacts to be studied.

Black-white wage gaps are larger today than in 1979. Research by the Economic Policy Institute found that the gaps grew during the early 1980s, shrank in the late 1990s – due in part to tighter labor markets and minimum wage increases – and have grown again since 2000. As of 2015, relative to the average hourly wages of white men with the same education, experience, metro status, and region of residence, black men make 22.0% less, and black women make 34.2% less. Black-White Wage Gaps Expand with Rising Wage Inequality notes the gaps have expanded most for college graduates, so education alone is not a solution. EPI attributes the increase to discrimination and the growth in income gaps in general, and suggests policy solutions. Another study on this topic was covered in the HAC News, 8/10/16.

Register by October 21 for the 2016 HAC Rural Housing Conference! Registration fees rise after October 21. The national conference will be held November 30-December 2 in Washington, DC with pre-conference activities on November 29. Information about registration, scholarships, exhibiting, and more is now online.

HAC News: September 22, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 22, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 18

• Continuing resolution likely to run to December 9 • Census Bureau surveys yield differing conclusions about nonmetro economic growth • USDA releases database of rural multifamily loans and projected “exit” dates • Final rule addresses harassment in housing • HUD mandates program access based on gender identity • House and Senate hearings consider HUD changes • Tenant services are not allowable RD project expenses • Nonprofits and public bodies can buy some Section 502 homes • Report addresses rural affordable housing credit • Research finds disconnect between experts’ and public’s understandings of healthy housing • Guidance set for independent students’ access to Section 8 • REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR THE 2016 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 22, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 18

Continuing resolution likely to run to December 9. Congressional leaders are still working to resolve differences regarding the contents of a CR to keep the government operating when the fiscal year ends on September 30. The measure will also fund other items such as Zika virus control and Louisiana flood relief; a letter from OMB Director Shaun Donovan to key members of Congress requests $2.6 billion in emergency CDBG funding for Louisiana.

Census Bureau surveys yield differing conclusions about nonmetro economic growth. On September 13 the Census Bureau released Income and Poverty in the United States: 2015, showing improvements in poverty rates and median incomes from 2014 to 2015 both nationwide and in metro areas, but no statistically significant change in nonmetro areas. The data came from the Current Population Survey, which used different boundaries for metro and nonmetro areas in 2014 than in 2015, making the year-to-year comparison unreliable. On September 16, a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of data from the American Community Survey, a larger sample that used consistent boundaries, showed incomes grew 3.4% in nonmetro areas and 3.6% in metro. CBPP found poverty rates dropped by almost 1% in both, to 17.2% in nonmetro places and 14.3% in metro areas.

USDA releases database of rural multifamily loans and projected “exit” dates. HAC recently published an analysis of data on maturity dates of mortgages in USDA’s multifamily portfolio and an interactive map of the properties (see HAC News, 9/8/16). Now USDA has released the loan level data to the public in spreadsheet form.

Final rule addresses harassment in housing. HUD has set formal standards in its fair housing regulations to be used when someone complains of harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, familial status, or disability. The rule specifies how HUD will evaluate complaints of quid pro quo harassment and hostile environment harassment under the Fair Housing Act, defines the terms, and clarifies direct and vicarious liability in the Fair Housing Act context. Contact Lynn Grosso, HUD, 202-402-5361.

HUD mandates program access based on gender identity. A final rule, effective on October 21, requires providers that operate single-sex projects using funds from HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development to provide all individuals with access to programs, benefits, services, and accommodations in accordance with their gender identity without being subjected to intrusive questioning or being asked to provide documentation. Contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

House and Senate hearings consider HUD changes. On September 21 the House Financial Services Committee’s Housing Subcommittee held a session called “The Future of Housing in America: A Better Way to Increase Efficiencies for Housing Vouchers and Create Upward Economic Mobility,” and a Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee hearing was entitled “Housing Vulnerable Families and Individuals: Is There a Better Way?” Both focused largely on ways to reduce administrative costs and facilitate tenant self-sufficiency. Some members pointed out that small rural PHAs may face particular challenges to consolidating or forming consortia.

Tenant services are not allowable RD project expenses. In an August 8, 2016 Unnumbered Letter USDA RD reminds stakeholders that tenant services cannot be charged against project income in the operating budgets of Section 514 and 515 properties. It encourages service provision using other funding sources. Contact an RD State Office.

Nonprofits and public bodies can buy some Section 502 homes. An Unnumbered Letter dated August 26, 2016 explains when these organizations can purchase in voluntary short sales by homeowners or RD REO sales. Community Facilities financing may be an option for properties in communities with populations up to 20,000. Contact Barry Ramsey, RD, 202-720-5378.

Report addresses rural affordable housing credit.Opportunities for Promoting Credit for Affordable Housing in Rural America” follows a May roundtable convened by the White House Rural Council and USDA’s Rural Housing Service and facilitated by the Center for American Progress. HAC was among the participants. Identified opportunities fell into categories such as addressing issues of scale, providing capital, preserving and producing affordable rental housing, providing rental assistance, promoting manufactured housing, supporting CDFIs, and distributing more information to affect outcomes.

Research finds disconnect between experts’ and public’s understandings of healthy housing. The complex set of cultural models the public uses to make sense of housing does not always match experts’ views, according to the FrameWorks Institute’s “A House, a Tent, a Box”: Mapping the Gaps Between Expert and Public Understandings of Healthy Housing. Experts in the field explain housing problems based on structural or systemic factors, FrameWorks reports, while members of the public focus on individual responsibility. The researchers suggest that a change in how the media portrays and frames the issue of housing could foster better understanding of housing issues, raise the salience of these issues in public thinking, and generate support for needed policies.

Guidance set for independent students’ access to Section 8. HUD’s revisions to guidance issued in 2006 expand the definition of “independent student” consistent with the Department of Education’s definition. Contact Rebecca L. Primeaux, HUD, 202-402-6050.

REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR THE 2016 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE! This year’s national conference will be held November 30-December 2 in Washington, DC with pre-conference activities on November 29. Information about registration, scholarships, exhibiting, award nominations, and more is now online.

HAC News: July 27, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 27, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 14

• Senate passes housing act unanimously • Major party platforms approach affordable housing differently • HUD requests input on CoC distribution formula • Data and factsheets available on federal rental assistance in U.S. and each state • Early research results show housing counseling’s benefits • CRA questions and answers revised by regulators • HUD creates AFFH listserve • Brief summarizes impact of homelessness on children’s health and education • SAVE THE DATES FOR THE HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE 2016!

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 27, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 14

Senate passes housing act unanimously. On July 14 the Senate approved H.R. 3700, the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act, passed by the House in February (see HAC News, 2/3/16). When signed by President Obama, the bill will become law. It imposes a fee on each Section 502 guarantee, with the proceeds to be used to enhance RD’s single-family IT and automated underwriting. It also authorizes USDA to delegate Section 502 underwriting to approved lenders. Most of its provisions (summarized here by the National Low Income Housing Coalition) deal with HUD programs.

Major party platforms approach affordable housing differently. Adopted at the parties’ conventions this month, both the Republican platform and the Democratic platform support homeownership, an end to homelessness among veterans, and expansion of broadband service in rural areas. Both recognize tribal sovereignty. In other ways, the two documents are very different.

The Republican platform emphasizes the need to avoid another housing crisis. “We must scale back the federal role in the housing market, promote responsibility on the part of borrowers and lenders, and avoid future taxpayer bailouts. Reforms should provide clear and prudent underwriting standards and guidelines on predatory lending and acceptable lending practices. . . . We call for a comprehensive review of federal regulations, especially those dealing with the environment, that make it harder and more costly for Americans to rent, buy, or sell homes.” It criticizes Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Dodd-Frank Act, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as well as “lending quotas to specific groups” and the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulation.

The Democratic platform cites the CFPB, as well as fair housing law and regulations, as factors contributing to the strong housing market it hopes to foster. It also supports existing federal housing programs that address both homeownership and affordable rental housing, committing to expand them and increase their funding. It specifically mentions additional monies for the National Housing Trust Fund.

To solve veteran homelessness, the Republican platform pledges better health care, including mental health care, and discusses the importance of employment. The Democratic platform calls for “robust [federal] funding” to end homelessness, mentioning families and veterans specifically.
Rural housing is not mentioned separately in either platform, but the rural economy is in both. The Republican platform strongly supports agriculture. The Democratic platform backs “a stronger rural and agricultural economy.” It also calls for “stronger agricultural worker protections including regulation of work hours, elimination of child labor, ensuring adequate housing for migrant workers, and sanitary facilities in the field.”

Native Americans are covered in both platforms. The Republican document promises to reduce federal regulations relating to Indian Country, while the Democratic commits to “strengthen the operation of tribal housing programs, and reauthorize the Indian Housing Block Grant Program. We will increase affordable and safe housing and fight to significantly reduce homelessness on and off Indian reservations, especially among Native youth and veterans.”

Both documents also address poverty. The Republican platform describes current safety net programs as “the false compassion of the status quo,” and proposes to replace them with “the dynamic compassion of work requirements in a growing economy.” It calls for “removal of structural impediments which progressives throw in the path of poor people: Over-regulation of start-up enterprises, excessive licensing requirements, [and] needless restrictions on formation of schools and day-care centers serving neighborhood families.” It urges “greater state and local responsibility for, and control over, public assistance programs.”

The Democratic platform “reaffirm[s] our commitment to eliminate poverty.” It pledges to focus on persistent poverty communities by, for example, using “the 10-20-30 model, which directs 10 percent of program funds to communities where at least 20 percent of the population has been living below the poverty line for 30 years or more.” It supports existing programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit and the New Markets Tax Credit. It also acknowledges the “racial wealth gap” and says federal policy must help eliminate it.

HUD requests input on CoC distribution formula. Comments are due September 23 on proposed changes to the formula used to distribute Continuum of Care homeless assistance funds, and on ways to target funding to urban and rural areas most in need. Contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

Data and factsheets available on federal rental assistance in U.S. and each state. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities offers national and state factsheets, as well as data in Excel, and includes both HUD and USDA programs. Topics include who uses and who needs rental assistance, the metro/nonmetro distribution of assisted housing by state and program, and the impacts of sequestration on HUD’s Housing Choice Voucher program.

Early research results show housing counseling’s benefits. The First-Time Homebuyer Education and Counseling Demonstration: Early Insights reports that early findings from a large HUD study are encouraging and suggest homebuyer education and counseling may lead to favorable results for first-time homebuyers in terms of mortgage literacy and preparedness, homebuyer outcomes, and loan performance. Over 5,800 prospective buyers in 28 metro areas were randomly assigned to receive remote counseling (online and telephone-based), in-person counseling (in groups and individually), or neither. HUD found that 65% of those who were offered remote education and counseling initiated services, compared to 25% of those who were offered in-person services. Participants then performed better on a mortgage literacy quiz and had higher credit scores.

CRA questions and answers revised by regulators. The federal agencies that regulate banks and savings and loans publish Q&As to help explain their Community Reinvestment Act regulations. The most recent Q&A revisions were issued July 25. Agency contacts are listed in the document.

HUD creates AFFH listserve. The new list will provide information and updates on topics directly related to Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, including HUD’s 2115 AFFH rule. To subscribe to this or any of HUD’s other mailing lists, visit the HUD Exchange. Additional AFFH information from HUD is also online.

Brief summarizes impact of homelessness on children’s health and education. A factsheet by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness describes the short- and long-term impacts of family homelessness, along with solutions.

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: June 29, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 29, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 12

• Non-priority low-income Section 502 funds are fully committed • Housing bill introduced in Senate • Senate hearing reviews USDA RD aid to Native Americans • HUD adopts tribal consultation policy, considers creating advisory committee • USDA RD sets this year’s voucher policies and procedures • Continuum of Care NOFA published • Housing market recovery yields to affordability challenges, says State of the Nation’s Housing 2016 • Poll shows Americans agree affordable housing needs more attention • List of nonmetro areas to receive CRA community development credit released • Data on kids shows improvements in health and education but not poverty • Webinars set to cover RD’s Limited English Proficiency guidance • HAC offers webinar on VA grant program

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 29, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 12

Non-priority low-income Section 502 funds are fully committed. RD staff tell HAC that FY16 funds for direct Section 502 loans to low-income borrowers are being pooled on June 30 and will be used on a case-by-case basis for low-income applicants purchasing program REO properties or working with Section 523 self-help grantees or intermediary packagers. Direct Section 502 funds for very low-income borrowers will be re-distributed to states, as will Section 504 repair grants. Section 504 repair loans are available to obligate in all states/territories without restrictions. All unobligated funds will be repooled August 15. RD expects to use the Section 502 direct funds for very low-income borrowers (40% of the total) by late August or early September.

Housing bill introduced in Senate. S. 3083, filed last week by a bipartisan group of Senators, is a companion to H.R. 3700, which passed the House on Feb. 2 (see HAC News, 2/3/16). Both are named “the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act” or HOTMA.

Senate hearing reviews USDA RD aid to Native Americans. On June 22 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held an oversight hearing on “Accessing USDA Rural Development Programs in Native Communities.” A witness who focused on housing praised RD’s past and current efforts, but identified tribal capacity and the amount of required documentation as barriers to better tribal use of the housing programs.

HUD adopts tribal consultation policy, considers creating advisory committee. The department is adopting without change the proposed Tribal Government-to-Government Consultation Policy published in 2015 (see HAC News, 4/29/15), outlining principles and procedures for HUD employees with regard to federally recognized Indian or Alaska Native tribes. HUD requests comments by July 25 on establishing a Tribal Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, consisting of tribal representatives, to help HUD further develop and maintain its Indian housing programs. Contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-401-7914.

USDA RD sets this year’s voucher policies and procedures. The provisions of this notice govern the program in FY16. Section 542 vouchers are available to tenants when a property owner either prepays a Section 515 loan or USDA action results in a foreclosure after September 30, 2005. Contact Stephanie B.M. White, USDA, 202-720-1615.

Continuum of Care NOFA published. Applications for FY16 CoC funds are due September 14. Contact a local HUD CPD office.

Housing market recovery yields to affordability challenges, says State of the Nation’s Housing 2016. The Joint Center for Housing Studies’ annual study includes an interactive mapping utility and analyzes demographic drivers, rental and owner-occupied housing, and housing challenges for communities across the U.S. It examines how the strengthening market has led to affordability challenges that outstrip the availability of federal housing assistance. There are a record high 11.4 million severely cost-burdened renter households. The report also details ongoing challenges facing nonmetro and tribal areas.

Poll shows Americans agree affordable housing needs more attention. Nearly two-thirds of adults (63%) believe actions can be taken to solve problems of housing affordability. Poll respondents across political parties – 74% of Democrats, 66% of Independents, and 49% of Republicans – believe the issue has not received enough attention from the 2016 presidential candidates. The 2016 How Housing Matters Survey is the fourth annual national survey of housing attitudes commissioned by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, this year with additional support from the Kresge Foundation and the Melville Charitable Trust.

List of nonmetro areas to receive CRA community development credit released. The federal bank regulatory agencies’ 2016 list of distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income geographies, where revitalization or stabilization activities will receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration as community development, is based on local economic conditions, including unemployment, poverty, and population changes.

Data on kids shows improvements in health and education but not poverty. The 2016 Kids Count Data Book reports that nationwide, despite rising employment numbers, 22% of children lived in poverty in both 2013 and 2014, and almost one in three children live in families where no member of the household has full-time, year-round employment. In 2006-2010, 11% of children lived in high-poverty areas and now that figure is 14%. The Annie E. Casey Foundation publication offers data for every state.

Webinars set to cover RD’s Limited English Proficiency guidance. USDA RD’s Office of Civil Rights will host webinars on July 7 and 14 (each with the same content). They are open to all, and the agency particularly encourages attendance by those involved in the certified loan application packaging process and/or the self-help program. To register, email Darren.kaihlanen@wdc.usda.gov.

HAC offers webinar on VA grant program. “VA Housing Resources for Heroes Part II: An Overview on the VA Specially Adapted Housing Grant Program” will be on July 13 at 2:00 Eastern. The webinar is free but registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: September 30, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

• Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open • USDA uses all 502 direct funds • House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance • AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period • Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans • CFPB amends rule on rural credit access • EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers • HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs • Continuum of Care NOFA released • Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations • Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014 • Increase in cost-burdened renters projected

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 30, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 20

Continuing Resolution keeps federal government open. Funding will continue, mostly at FY15 levels, through December 11. The CR includes language providing a short-term fix for Section 521 Rental Assistance contracts that run out of funds before their one-year term ends and could not be renewed (see HAC News, 9/2/15): it gives USDA authority to waive the prohibition on early renewals. It also includes the “anomaly” the Administration requested (see HAC News, 9/2/15), enabling USDA to spend a disproportionate amount of RA dollars early in the fiscal year.

USDA uses all 502 direct funds. By September 22, USDA RD obligated 7,043 Section 502 direct loans, using all of its Section 502 direct funds for FY15. This is the first time since FY12 all available money for that program was used. Very low-income borrowers received 31.8% of the total. Another 6,104 applications were submitted by September 22. RD also used all its FY15 Section 504 grant funds, but not all of the Section 504 loan money.

House Financial Services Committee chair invites suggestions to improve housing assistance. Committee chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) requests specific proposals and recommendations on HUD restructuring, innovative approaches to address housing affordability that respect individual rights and promote individual responsibility, targeting housing assistance to address generational cycles of poverty, and examples of successful implementation of such proposals. Send ideas to transformhousing@mail.house.gov.

AmeriCorps opens FY16 application period. The Corporation for National and Community Service covers part or all of the cost of a community service position. Funding priorities include disaster services, veterans and military families, and more. Organizations that propose to operate in only one state must apply through State or Territory Commissions. Deadlines vary among states.A separate funding notice for Tribes will be released later this fall. Contact americorpsgrants@cns.gov.

Whole house inspections instituted for 502 direct loans. Beginning October 1, a Section 502 direct borrower purchasing an existing home must have a whole house inspection rather than separate inspections on the home’s major systems. Contact a USDA RD local office.

CFPB amends rule on rural credit access. A new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau final rule on mortgage lending by small creditors makes changes including expanding the definitions of small creditors and rural places. Contact Jeffrey Haywood, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

EPA rule adds pesticide protections for farmworkers. A new final rule enhances requirements for training, recordkeeping, protective equipment, and more. The rule requires workers applying pesticides to be 18 or over. On family-owned farms, immediate family members are exempt from many provisions. Most changes will take effect in about 14 months. Contact Kathy Davis, EPA, 703-308-7002.

HUD publishes General Section for FY16 NOFAs. The General Section’s provisions apply to funding notices issued during the fiscal year.

Continuum of Care NOFA released. CoCs can apply by November 20 for FY15 homelessness program funds. Contact a local HUD CPD Field Office or ask questions at https://www.hudexchange.info/get-assistance/.

Administration selects Rural IMPACT poverty reduction locations. Ten sites will participate in the “Rural Integration Models for Parents and Children to Thrive” (Rural IMPACT) technical assistance demonstration. HHS will run the effort in collaboration with USDA and others, providing technical assistance to the selected sites to plan and implement changes to alleviate child poverty.

Rural mortgage lending declined in 2014. A HAC analysis of recently released Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data shows that home mortgage lending in rural areas dropped by about 25% from 2013 levels. Almost the entire change was due to decreases in refinances. The rate of high cost mortgage lending increased from 2013 to 2014. The level of high cost rural loans for manufactured homes was six times higher than the national rate for single-family homes. Additional analysis will be posted at www.ruralhome.org. Contact Keith Wiley, HAC, 202-842-8600.

Increase in cost-burdened renters projected. The number of households spending 50% or more of their income on rent is expected to rise at least 11% by 2025, according to Projecting Trends in Severely Cost-Burdened Renters: 2015-2025 by Enterprise Community Partners and the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The numbers of severely burdened households ages 65 to 74 will rise by 42% and those ages 75 and older by 39%. Hispanic households will have the largest increase among racial and ethnic groups, with the number of severely burdened Hispanic households increasing by 27%.

HAC News: September 16, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19

• September 15-October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month • Government shutdown possible • USDA likely to spend all 502 direct funds but not 504 loan funds • Rural poverty rate unchanged, incomes stagnant, Census Bureau reports • Home Depot Foundation seeks proposals for rural veteran housing projects • Members of House Ag Committee question USDA officials • Section 502 packaging rule delayed again • Procedure changed for completing manufactured homes onsite • PHAs to get more flexibility for flat rents • FY16 Fair Market Rents proposed • GAO reports on overlap in rental housing programs • Two HAC trainings offered November 19-20

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 16, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 19

SEPTEMBER 15-OCTOBER 15 IS NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN POSSIBLE. It seems unlikely Congress will pass final versions of any appropriations bills before the October 1 start of the new fiscal year, and the Administration has threatened presidential vetoes of the bills passed so far because of their low funding levels. Issues including Iran, abortion, tax measures, and the federal debt ceiling may be involved in efforts to pass a short-term Continuing Resolution, possibly lasting into December, that would keep the government working at FY15 funding levels. A government shutdown is also a possibility.

USDA LIKELY TO SPEND ALL 502 DIRECT FUNDS BUT NOT 504 LOAN FUNDS. As of September 15, USDA RD’s year-end efforts seem to be working: the agency has obligated 90.3% of its FY15 Section 502 direct loan dollars and expects to commit the rest by September 30. While 98.1% of Section 504 grant funds have been obligated, Section 504 loans are at only 51.3%. Contact a state or local USDA RD office.

RURAL POVERTY RATE UNCHANGED, INCOMES STAGNANT, CENSUS BUREAU REPORTS. The national (14.8%) and nonmetro (16.5%) poverty rates were statistically unchanged from 2013 to 2014, according to Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014, as were national and rural median incomes. In nonmetro places the rates of people lacking health insurance dropped from 12.8% in 2013 to 10.7% in 2014. HAC’s summary of the Census Bureau’s data is posted online.

HOME DEPOT FOUNDATION SEEKS PROPOSALS FOR RURAL VETERAN HOUSING PROJECTS. Awards will go to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Concept papers are due October 30. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

MEMBERS OF HOUSE AG COMMITTEE QUESTION USDA OFFICIALS. Hearings on September 15 and 16 covered all of USDA’s mission areas including Rural Development. Members mentioned overlap between HUD and USDA housing programs and the Section 502 mortgage programs’ “duplication” of private sector offerings. RD Under Secretary Lisa Mensah and RHS Administrator Tony Hernandez described the unique features of USDA’s housing programs, noted that staff cuts pose serious challenges for program delivery, promised increasing automation of loan processing, and emphasized the value of “trusted nonprofits” and “partners.”

SECTION 502 PACKAGING RULE DELAYED AGAIN. The final rule creating a certified loan application packaging process for Section 502 direct loans (see HAC News, 4/29/15), set to become effective on October 1, 2015 (see HAC News, 6/10/15), has now been deferred until October 1, 2016. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

PROCEDURE CHANGED FOR COMPLETING MANUFACTURED HOMES ONSITE. A new HUD regulation is intended to simplify the process. Contact Pamela B. Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

PHAS TO GET MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR FLAT RENTS. Comments are due November 9 on a HUD interim rule that supersedes part of an earlier proposed rule (see HAC News, 1/7/15). Contact Todd Thomas, HUD, 678-732-2056.

FY16 FAIR MARKET RENTS PROPOSED. These are the first FMRs using metropolitan area definitions issued by OMB in 2013, incorporating the 2010 Decennial Census data. HUD also invites feedback on alternative methodologies for setting FMRs. Comments are due October 8. Contact HUD USER, 800-245-2691.

GAO REPORTS ON OVERLAP IN RENTAL HOUSING PROGRAMS. Affordable Rental Housing: Assistance Is Provided by Federal, State, and Local Programs, but There Is Incomplete Information on Collective Performancereiterates earlier GAO findings about overlap among federal housing programs, and adds a sample of state and local programs. The report notes that overlap can have positive effects, such as helping to meet program objectives. It reviews activities of the Rental Policy Working Group, which includes representatives from several federal agencies and works with state and local agencies, and it notes collaboration efforts by state and local agencies. GAO recommends HUD work with the Rental Policy Working Group, states, and localities “to develop an approach for compiling and reporting on the collective performance of federal, state, and local rental assistance programs.”

TWO HAC TRAININGS OFFERED NOVEMBER 19-20. The cost is $75 each for these courses in North Charleston, SC. Register online for either Sharpening Your Skills: Financial Management for Rural Nonprofits or Utilizing the Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program: Creating and Preserving Affordable Housing. These are concurrent sessions; register for only one. Advance registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: June 25, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 25, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 13

• House subcommittee keeps most USDA spending at FY15 levels • Senate committee advances HUD bill with large cut in HOME • Supreme Court approves use of disparate impact for fair housing claims • Indian Country needs capital, witnesses tell Senate panel • Funds for housing and health research offered • Reminder: USDA has email lists for single-family housing loan programs • RD alters multifamily reserve account countersignature requirements • HUD Rental Assistance Demonstration changed • Federal homelessness plan revised • Homeownership down, renters’ cost burden rates increasing, Harvard reports • Partnership opportunities expand for housing and health providers

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 25, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 13

HOUSE SUBCOMMITTEE KEEPS MOST USDA SPENDING AT FY15 LEVELS. Approved by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on June 18, the FY16 agriculture appropriations bill holds funding for Section 523 self-help at $27.5 million and increases Rental Assistance funds slightly to $1.167 billion, the amount the Administration said will be needed to keep up with inflation. It does not include minimum rent for tenants and does not provide vouchers for tenants in maturing mortgage properties. Details are on HAC’s website. The full House Appropriations Committee postponed a June 25 markup, and the Senate has not yet released an agriculture funding bill. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.a

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Budget Proposal

FY16 House Subcmte. Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$900
5

$900
5

$900
0

$900
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

28

26.3

26.3

26.3

26.3

504 VLI Repair Grants

29.5

28.7

28.7

26

28.7

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

31.3

28.4

28.4

42.3

28.4

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

20.8

23.9

23.6

23.9

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

7.1

8.3

8.3

8.3

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

907.1

1,110

1,089

1,172

1,167

523 Self-Help TA

30

25

27.5

10

27.5

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.6

3.5

3.5

0

3.5

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

150

150

200

150

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

17.8

20

17

19

17

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

10

12.6

7

15

7

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

6.1

6

4

4

4

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

SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES HUD BILL WITH LARGE CUT IN HOME. On June 25 the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a HUD funding bill for FY16 (not yet available online). The measure cuts the HOME program by 93%, from $900 million in FY15 to $66 million. An amendment to restore HOME funding was offered by Sen. Christopher Coons (D-DE) but was defeated. The bill does not make changes to the National Housing Trust Fund.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.a

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16
Budget
Proposal

FY16
House Bill
(H.R. 2577)

FY16 Sen. Approps. Cmte. Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,308
2,948

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

2,900
2,900

HOME
SHOP setaside

1,000
b

1,000
b

900
b

1,060
10

767
b

66
b

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

13.5

10

10

b

10

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

18,939.4
75

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
c

19,919

19,934
75

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,339.7

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,254

10,426

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,886

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,681

1,743

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,262

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,440

4,500

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

120

90

80

250

20

65

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

650

660

650

650

Homeless Assistance Grantsd

2,033

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,185

2,235

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

334

330

330

332

332

330

202 Hsg. for Elderly

377

385.3

436

455

416.5

420

811 Hsg. for Disabled

165

126

135

177

152

137

Fair Housing

70.8

66

65.3

71

65.3

69.5

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

120

110

110

120

75

110

Housing Counseling

45

45

47

60

47

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester. b. In FY13, FY14, and FY15 SHOP was funded under the Self-Help & Assisted Homeownership Opportunity Program account. Recent Obama budgets have proposed making the program a setaside in HOME. Congress has rejected that proposal. c. VASH vouchers for homeless veterans would be part of a new $177.5 million account of incremental rental vouchers for families, veterans, and tribal families experiencing homelessness and for victims of domestic violence. d. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational.

SUPREME COURT APPROVES USE OF DISPARATE IMPACT FOR FAIR HOUSING CLAIMS. On June 25 the court ruled in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. that a Fair Housing Act claim may be based on a disproportionately adverse impact on minorities even where there is no discriminatory intent.

INDIAN COUNTRY NEEDS CAPITAL, WITNESSES TELL SENATE PANEL. “Accessing Capital in Indian Country,” an oversight hearing by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, focused on business financing, but touched on housing as well. Witnesses spoke favorably of HUD’s Section 184 program, CRA, and the Native American CDFI program. One recommended allocating Low Income Housing Tax Credits directly to tribes.

FUNDS FOR HOUSING AND HEALTH RESEARCH OFFERED. Nonprofits, for-profits, tribes, PHAs, state and local govern-ments, and others can submit preapplications by July 16 for Healthy Homes Technical Studies grants. Contact Dr. Peter Ashley, HUD, 202-402-7595.

REMINDER: USDA HAS EMAIL LISTS FOR SINGLE-FAMILY HOUSING LOAN PROGRAMS. Sign up for a list that distributes information about Section 502 direct, 504, and 523, or for others covering the Section 502 guarantee program, at https://www.rdlist.sc.egov.usda.gov/listserv/mainservlet.

RD ALTERS MULTIFAMILY RESERVE ACCOUNT COUNTERSIGNATURE REQUIREMENTS. A final rule provides that when a property has both a Section 515 or 514 loan and also a Section 538 loan, USDA’s countersignature will not be required to draw funds from the reserve account. (See HAC News, 8/20/14.) The rule also requires guarantee fees to be paid from operating accounts, not reserve accounts. Contact Tammy S. Daniels, RD, 202-720-0021.

HUD RENTAL ASSISTANCE DEMONSTRATION CHANGED. A notice in the June 26 Federal Register will expand and amend RAD, which allows some public housing to convert to long-term, project-based Section 8 rental assistance. Comments will be due in 30 days. Contact rad@hud.gov.

FEDERAL HOMELESSNESS PLAN REVISED. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness updated its “Opening Doors” strategy and added an operational definition of ending homelessness: “An end to homelessness does not mean that no one will ever experience a housing crisis again. . . . [It] means that every community will have a systematic response in place that ensures homelessness is prevented whenever possible or is otherwise a rare, brief, and non-recurring experience.” USICH also says chronic homelessness can be ended in 2017 (rather than the original 2015 goal) if Congress funds new permanent supportive housing.

HOMEOWNERSHIP DOWN, RENTERS’ COST BURDEN RATES INCREASING, HARVARD REPORTS. In its annual State of the Nation’s Housing study, the Joint Center on Housing Studies says that in 2013, almost half of all renters had housing cost burdens, including more than a quarter who were paying more than 50% of income for housing). The report notes that cuts in federal funds and increases in subsidy costs add to the problem, and that expiring affordability requirements will be a serious issue over the next decade.

PARTNERSHIP OPPORTUNITIES EXPAND FOR HOUSING AND HEALTH PROVIDERS. Affordable Housing’s Place in Medicaid Reform: Opportunities Created by the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Reform examines how changes in health care law create the potential for affordable housing providers to collaborate with health care providers and others. The report, published by the National Housing Conference, includes examples of programs already underway.

HAC News: June 10, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 10, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 12

• House passes THUD spending bill • Lead hazard funding offered • RD seeks 502 packaging intermediary applications, delays rule’s effective date • New comments invited on Emergency Solutions Grants • HUD considers small area FMRs • Meetings set on Section 538 guarantees • People with disabilities receiving SSI cannot afford housing • Materials available on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule • CFPB consumer advisory warns about reverse mortgage advertising • Americans believe housing crisis ongoing, many still aspire to homeownership • HAC to present Practitioner’s Guide to Meeting Energy Star 3.0 Part B • HAC offers Section 502 Packaging Training for Nonprofit Housing Developers

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 10, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 12

HOUSE PASSES THUD SPENDING BILL. On June 9, the House passed the FY16 Transportation-HUD spending bill(H.R. 2577) with only one change in HUD funding levels (see HAC News, 4/29/15): $2.5 million was added for Section 202 elderly housing, offset by reduced funding for HUD’s Policy Development and Research office. The bill directs National Housing Trust Fund funding to the HOME program. Amendments adopted by the House prohibit funding the private enforcement initiative under HUD’s Fair Housing Initiative Program, and enforcing HUD’s affirmatively furthering fair housing rule (see HAC News, 7/17/13) and disparate impact rule (see HAC News, 2/20/13). Last week, the House passed an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science spending bill barring the Department of Justice from enforcing the disparate impact rule. A Supreme Court decision on a disparate impact case is expected later this month. The Senate has not begun action on its THUD bill.

LEAD HAZARD FUNDING OFFERED. Governments of states, counties, cities, townships, and tribes can apply by June 23 for HUD’s FY15 Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program and the Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program. Contact Eric Hornbuckle, HUD, 202-402-7599.

RD SEEKS 502 PACKAGING INTERMEDIARY APPLICATIONS, DELAYS RULE’S EFFECTIVE DATE. July 9 is the deadline for experienced nonprofits and state HFAs to apply to be intermediaries for the Section 502 direct packaging process. Pilot program intermediaries must reapply. (The April application invitation reported in the HAC News, 4/15/15, was for the pilot program.) A separate notice defers effectiveness of the final packaging rule to October 1, 2015 rather than July 28. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

NEW COMMENTS INVITED ON EMERGENCY SOLUTIONS GRANTS. HUD requests comments by August 3 on the ESG interim rule published December 5, 2011 (see HAC News, 12/14/11). Contact Norm Suchar, HUD, 202-708-4300.

HUD CONSIDERS SMALL AREA FMRS. HUD requests comments by July 2 on the use of small area FMRs for the Housing Choice Voucher program in some metro areas. Small areas FMRs vary by ZIP code and support a greater range of payment standards than can be achieved under existing regulations. Contact Marie L. Lihn, HUD, 202-402-5866.

MEETINGS SET ON SECTION 538 GUARANTEES. USDA will discuss the rental guarantee program with stakeholders. To register for email notices when calls or web meetings are scheduled, contact Monica Cole, 202-720-1251.

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES RECEIVING SSI CANNOT AFFORD HOUSING. Priced Out in 2014, released by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Housing Task Force, reports that the national average rent for a one-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent is greater than the entire Supplemental Security Income payment of a person with a disability. Data are provided for states, metro areas, and the total nonmetro part of each state.

MATERIALS AVAILABLE ON AFFIRMATIVELY FURTHERING FAIR HOUSING RULE. Anticipating a final AFFH regulation soon, the National Fair Housing Alliance has compiled links to information about the proposed rule. NFHA and The Opportunity Agenda also offer suggestions for talking about AFFH and fair housing with a range of audiences.

CFPB CONSUMER ADVISORY WARNS ABOUT REVERSE MORTGAGE ADVERTISING. Ads targeting senior homeowners can be misleading, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says. The agency’s website provides facts and a guide.

AMERICANS BELIEVE HOUSING CRISIS ONGOING, MANY STILL ASPIRE TO HOMEOWNERSHIP. The 2015 How Housing Matters survey for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation also found 80% believe housing affordability is a problem, a majority (55%) believe the federal government is more involved in housing-related issues today than in the past two decades, and most (53%) say that addressing housing affordability is not its responsibility (39% say it is.)

HAC TO PRESENT PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO MEETING ENERGY STAR 3.0 PART B. The HVAC Raters Checklist and Water Management System Builder Checklist will be covered in this free webinar on June 24 at 2:00 eastern time. Follow the discussion online at #ruralgreen.

HAC OFFERS SECTION 502 PACKAGING TRAINING FOR NONPROFIT HOUSING DEVELOPERS. This advanced course will be held July 7-9 in Denver. Learn how to assist potential borrowers and work in partnership with RD staff, as well as other nonprofit organizations and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 direct loan packages. Following the course, participants are encouraged to take the online certification exam. The registration fee is $400. Follow the discussion online at #rural502.

CONTACT Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: October 29, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 29, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 21

• Rent aid kept over 3 million people out of poverty in 2013 • Regulatory agencies align QRM with QM, drop requirement for large downpayments • HUD posts general section of FY15 NOFAs • Electronic signatures now accepted for Section 502 guaranteed loans • CFPB lists rural and underserved counties for 2015 • Public housing demolition and disposition proposal corrected • HUD provides guide to establishing smoke-free properties • GAO offers framework for assessing housing finance reform • Guide helps nonprofits to preserve Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties • 2013 American Housing Survey data released • Household participation in banking system increased, 2011 to 2013 • Have you investigated HAC’s Rural Data Portal? • HAC News e-mail subscribers get news faster

October 29, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 22

RENT AID KEPT OVER 3 MILLION PEOPLE OUT OF POVERTY IN 2013. The Supplemental Poverty Measure: 2013, published by the Census Bureau, presents data with adjustments that are not taken into account in the official poverty measure (see HAC News, 9/17/14), including the impact of government programs assisting low-income people. A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of the data shows that rental assistance alone kept 3 million people out of poverty, and all assistance programs lifted 39 million people above the poverty line.

REGULATORY AGENCIES ALIGN QRM WITH QM, DROP REQUIREMENT FOR LARGE DOWNPAYMENTS. As proposed in September 2013 (see HAC News, 9/25/13), final credit risk retention regulations define “qualified residential mortgages” the same way as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau defines “qualified mortgages.” Private mortgage lenders are expected to focus on QRM lending when the rule takes effect in October 2015, so a 2011 proposal that included a 20% downpayment in the QRM definition would have made it more difficult for low-income, minority, and first-time homebuyers to obtain mortgages. USDA Section 502 mortgages are all considered QRMs until USDA issues its own regulations on the subject. Contact Ronald P. Sugarman, FHFA, 202-649-3208 or Mike Feinberg, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HUD POSTS GENERAL SECTION OF FY15 NOFAS. As in the past, the general section will apply to all of HUD’s funding announcements for individual programs when they are issued. Contact HUD’s Office of Strategic Planning and Management, 202-708-0667.

ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES NOW ACCEPTED FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS. Administrative Notice 4776 (September 23, 2014) “clarifies that lenders may use electronic signatures as long as the lender perfects and maintains a first lien position, an enforceable promissory note, and meets all other agency requirements.” Contact USDA RD’s Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Division, 202-720-1452.

CFPB LISTS RURAL AND UNDERSERVED COUNTIES FOR 2015. The designations apply to several Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations.

PUBLIC HOUSING DEMOLITION AND DISPOSITION PROPOSAL CORRECTED. The proposed rule (see HAC News, 10/17/14) included an erroneous definition. Comments are still due December 15.

HUD PROVIDES GUIDE TO ESTABLISHING SMOKE-FREE PROPERTIES. Change is in the Air: An Action Guide for Establishing Smoke-Free Public Housing and Multifamily Properties provides reasons, best practices, and step by step guidance.

GAO OFFERS FRAMEWORK FOR ASSESSING HOUSING FINANCE REFORM. Housing Finance System: A Framework for Assessing Potential Changes (GAO-15-131) describes and analyzes market developments since 2000 that have led to changes in the federal government’s role in the single-family housing finance system, and proposes a way to assess potential changes to the system. Contact Matt Scirè, GAO, 202-512-8678.

GUIDE HELPS NONPROFITS TO PRESERVE LOW INCOME HOUSING TAX CREDIT PROPERTIES. Beyond Year 15: Preserving Housing Credit Projects & Portfolio, published by Enterprise Community Partners, includes organizational procedures for preparing for Year 15 events as well as strategies for repositioning communities for the long term. It covers all types of LIHTC projects but focuses on issues around the most challenging projects and approaches to address those challenges.

2013 AMERICAN HOUSING SURVEY DATA RELEASED. HUD’s press release highlights the findings from questions on new subjects including neighborhood involvement, disaster planning, and use of public transportation. AHS data also include housing conditions, ownership rates, costs, and more. Nationwide, from 2011 to 2013, costs for renters rose slightly, while owners’ costs fell. Summary tables are posted in Excel format.

HOUSEHOLD PARTICIPATION IN BANKING SYSTEM INCREASED, 2011 TO 2013. A report on the 2013 FDIC National Survey of Unbanked and Underbanked Households credits changes in economic conditions and household demographics for the decline in “unbanked” households. In both 2011 and 2013, FDIC’s survey found the highest unbanked rates among non-Asian minorities and households who were lower-income, younger, or unemployed, though the unbanked rate for Hispanics dropped from 2011 to 2013. The report includes data at the national, state, and metro levels.

HAVE YOU INVESTIGATED HAC’S RURAL DATA PORTAL? The Rural Data Portal is an easy-to-use, on-line resource that provides essential information on the social, economic, and housing characteristics of communities in the United States. It is targeted toward rural communities, but a wide range of information is presented for the nation, states, and counties for rural, suburban, and urban areas.

HAC NEWS E-MAIL SUBSCRIBERS GET NEWS FASTER. Subscribe to the HAC News by e-mail and receive it sooner, plus updates when important news occurs between issues.