HAC News: August 20, 2014

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 20, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 17

• USDA RD to revise guidance on domestic violence • Section 502 direct processing improvements scheduled • RD to delay implementing new rule for Section 502 guaranteed loans • HAC recommends notice to tenants about maturing USDA mortgages, asks for dialogue • Amendments proposed to reserve account rules for properties with 515 and 538 loans • Fair Market Rents for FY15 proposed • HUD to change environmental review form • Manufactured housing label fee increased • FHFA requests comments on its strategic plan • Study documents digital divide for tribal libraries • Permanent supportive housing found to reduce chronic homelessness • Conference on farmworker housing and health set for November • Please nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards!

August 20, 2014
Vol. 43, No. 17

USDA RD TO REVISE GUIDANCE ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. HAC and a number of other organizations signed on to a letter from the National Housing Law Project to USDA rural housing administrator Tony Hernandez requesting changes in AN 4747, which applies the Violence Against Women Act to USDA’s multifamily programs (see HAC News, 3/5/14). In a response dated August 6, Hernandez agreed to make most of the changes.

SECTION 502 DIRECT PROCESSING IMPROVEMENTS SCHEDULED. Administrator Tony Hernandez gave HAC a summary showing that in FY15 USDA will automate underwriting for Section 502 direct loans, revise its packaging regulations, allow packagers to submit applications electronically, and establish an imaging system for documents.

RD TO DELAY IMPLEMENTING NEW RULE FOR SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS. An email sent to stakeholders on August 19 says a notice will be published in the Federal Register delaying the rule’s effectiveness to December 1, 2014 rather than September 1, the date originally scheduled. Contact USDA, 202-720-1452.

HAC RECOMMENDS NOTICE TO TENANTS ABOUT MATURING USDA MORTGAGES, ASKS FOR DIALOGUE. In an August 9 letter to Tony Hernandez, HAC expressed concern about tenants who will lose Section 521 Rental Assistance when USDA mortgages end. HAC urged USDA to ask owners to notify tenants well in advance of mortgage maturities, and suggested further discussions about ways to maintain the affordability of these units.

AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO RESERVE ACCOUNT RULES FOR PROPERTIES WITH 515 AND 538 LOANS. USDA’s countersignature would no longer be required for rental projects that have both Section 538 guaranteed loans and Section 515 direct loans; the Section 538 regulations would apply. The change would also clarify that loan guarantee fees must be paid from operating accounts, not reserve accounts. Comments are due October 14. Contact Tammy S. Daniels, USDA, 202-702-0021.

FAIR MARKET RENTS FOR FY15 PROPOSED. Comments are due September 15 on the FMRs HUD will use in FY15. Contact local HUD program staff.

HUD TO CHANGE ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEW FORM. A final rule allows HUD to develop a single form to be used by HUD employees and other responsible entities. Contact Danielle Schopp, HUD, 202-402-4442.

MANUFACTURED HOUSING LABEL FEE INCREASED. The increase, proposed in May (see HAC News, 5/14/14), is effective September 12, 2014. Manufacturers will pay $100 for each new transportable section produced. Contact Pamela B. Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.

FHFA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON ITS STRATEGIC PLAN. The Federal Housing Finance Agency’s plan “reflects the agency’s priorities as regulator of the Federal Home Loan Bank System and as regulator and conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac” and is the first under new director Mel Watt. Comments are due September 15.

STUDY DOCUMENTS DIGITAL DIVIDE FOR TRIBAL LIBRARIES. Digital Inclusion in Native Communities: The Role of Tribal Libraries, a report by the Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides the first comprehensive data on the subject. Research found that 89% of tribal libraries offer access to the internet and 86% have public computer workstations, compared to 100% of public libraries. At least 40% of tribal libraries studied do not have a broadband internet connection. Contact Susan Feller, ATALM, 405-401-8293.

PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING FOUND TO REDUCE CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS. An examination of data at the community level confirms findings at the individual level: over time, increased investment in permanent supportive housing is associated with decreased rates of chronic homelessness. “The Relationship between Community Investment in Permanent Supportive Housing and Chronic Homelessness” was published in Social Service Review 88.2 (2014).

CONFERENCE ON FARMWORKER HOUSING AND HEALTH SET FOR NOVEMBER. “Farmworker Housing Quality and Health: A Transdisciplinary Conference” will be held on November 11 in Arlington, VA. Registration is $50 until October 1 and $70 after that date.

Please nominate national or local rural housing leaders for HAC awards! Nominations are due September 30 for the Cochran/Collings Award for national rural housing service and the Skip Jason Community Service Award. The honors will be presented at the National Rural Housing Conference in December. Complete the online nomina-tion form. Questions? Contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

USDA Speeds Processing of Section 502 Direct Loans

July 14, 2014 – USDA’s Rural Housing Service has temporarily authorized three steps to speed processing of Section 502 direct loans, hoping to use all FY14 funding for these mortgages before the fiscal year ends on September 30. USDA Rural Development field staff are authorized to:

  1. approve and obligate Section 502 direct loans subject to receipt of an appraisal, rather than waiting for the appraisal before approving the loan;
  2. make a new loan when a borrower is purchasing a property from a seller who also has a Section 502 direct loan, rather than using the lengthier process of having the borrower assume the seller’s loan; and
  3. refinance existing loans in some circumstances when there is a high risk of foreclosure.

The authorizations are explained in an Unnumbered Letter dated July 7, 2014. For further information, contact a USDA Rural Development office.

USDA RD Section 502 Direct Loan and Section 504 Loan and Elderly Grant Repair Program – An Overview

To have an event posted on our calendar*, please e-mail Dan Stern. Or send event description or brochure to:

Housing Assistance Council
Attn: Dan Stern
1025 Vermont Avenue, NW
Suite 606
Washington, DC 20005

Or fax to (202) 347-3441
Attn: Dan Stern


*Calendar Posting Guidelines:

HAC’s calendar posts announcements about periodic conferences, training sessions, audioconferences, and the like. Topics must be relevant to professionals in the rural housing and community development arena. HAC reserves the right to accept or decline any request to post an item. We do not include sessions provided by entities (for-profit or nonprofit) that offer numerous regularly scheduled training events; links to such entities are provided below.

Community Connections

HUD Calendar
Novogradac and Compan

Back to Trainings

USDA RD Section 502 Direct Loan and Section 504 Loan and Elderly Grant Repair Program – An Overview

Date: May 15, 2013
Time: 2:00 – 3:00 pm EDT

The Housing Assistance Council invites you to participate in a webinar on USDA Rural Development’s Section 502 single-family housing direct and guaranteed loan and Section 504 Repair Loan and Elderly Grant Programs. Discussion will include the purpose, eligibility requirements, loan terms, and regulations of each of the programs. Participants will also learn about the conditional commitment process as a unique program feature and how these soft commitments can be the basis for developing a single unit or multiple units more efficiently.

This webinar is supported by The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Pre-Registration Required. Register Now!!

HAC News: January 10, 2013

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 10, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 1

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

January 10, 2013
Vol. 42, No. 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Status of Section 502 Funds in the FY 2013 Continuing Resolution

On Thursday, October 25, Tom Carew of FAHE notified HAC that some USDA RD State offices are saying that they are out of Section 502 direct funds until the spring.

HAC spoke to USDA RD staff, who provided the explanation below of how 502 direct funds were distributed under the CR for the first six months of FY 2013. Some states asked for and have already used their full six months allocation. But some funds also were held back and are still available for special cases, as outlined below.

Explanation from USDA RD

Under the FY 2013 six month Continuing Resolution (CR), the Single Family Housing Direct 502 Loan Program received $347 Million in FY2013 loan level funding. The final Direct 502 loan annual appropriations have yet to be determined and the balance we receive for the remainder of the year will depend on what program level is approved. It is expected that the funds received from the CR may have to support our programs for the next six months.
Of the $347 Million received for 502 Direct Loans, 25% percent was kept in the National Office Reserve Fund (NORF) and the remaining 75% was distributed to the states, as follows
National Office Reserve Fund equals 25% of the total received.
-$70 Million (20%) is reserved for special loan types (Self Help, RHLP, CDFI, and applications packaged under an approved intermediary agreement) States that have these special loan types are not expected to use their formula allocations to obligate these loans, but rather request funding from the National Office reserve to cover them.
-$17 Million (5%) is reserved for NORF requested priorities (REO, subsequent, Colonias, Underserved, and Hardships loans).
State allocations represent 75% of the total received
-The remaining $260M (75%) was allocated to states. Each state* received a base allocation of $2 Million ($1.2M Low, $800K VL) with remaining funds allocated according to the 1940-L state allocation formula, with 60% of allocated funds to Low and 40% to Very low income categories.
*With the exception of West Pac which received an administrative allocation of $1 Million

Trainings from the Housing Assistance Council


To keep updated on HAC’s training and conference plans, subscribe to the HAC News or Get information on HAC trainings and conferences on TWITTER! HAC’s Twitter feed is at @RuralHome. To get started, visit

  • HAC sponsors periodic intensive training workshops in different parts of the country, emphasizing housing development, financing, construction, and nonprofit management.
  • HAC also regularly convenes the National Rural Housing Conference, which features a strong training component.
  • If you are having difficulty downloading the files, please contact Dan Stern at and request that they be sent to you via email.
  • HAC also conducts several web-based trainings and information sessions throughout the year. Go to our web-based trainings page for list of upcoming web trainings and an archive of past events.


Upcoming Trainings

Materials from the 2012 HAC Conference
Promises to Keep in Challenging Times

Events List

Past Trainings

May 15, 2013: USDA Section 502 Direct Loan and Section 504 Loan and Elderly Grant Repair – An Overview
Presentation, Powerpoint

May 1, 2013: The Silver Tsunami: Are We Prepared for a Senior Population Boom in Rural America?
Presentation, Powerpoint

April 23-25, 2013: Sustainable Affordable Housing: Developing Healthy and Energy Efficient Homes for CHDOs in Las Cruces, NM

March 20-21, 2013: Asset Management Training in Jackson, MS

March 13, 2013: Conducting Homeless Counts on Native American Lands
Presentation, Report

September 19, 2012: Green Building Webinar
Presentation, Powerpoint

September 5-7, 2012: Building HOME and Lead Paint in Columbia, SC

August 21-23, 2012: Sustainable Affordable Housing: Developing Healthy and Energy Efficient Homes for CHDOs in Kansas City, MO

June 28, 2012: Mapping Poverty in Rural AmericaPresentation, Powerpoint, Poverty Materials

May16, 2012: Grant Writing
Presentation, Powerpoint

April 24-26, 2012: Section 502 Packaging Training for Nonprofit Developers in Milwaukee, WI.

April 24, 2012: Rural Housing: New Opportunities for Alabama in Thomasville, AL

April 18, 2012: Fundraising for NonprofitsPresentation, Powerpoint

March 21, 2012: Strategic PlanningWebinar Materials.

March 20-21, 2012: Advanced Financial Management
in Macon, GA

2011: December 5-6 Construction Management and Advanced Financial Management
in Eugene, OR

2011: December 1-2 Construction Management and Advanced Financial Management
in Chico, CA

2011: November 15-16 Construction Management and Advanced Financial Management
in Tucson, AZ

2011: November 9-10. Housing Seniors in Rural America: Aging in Place in a Shifting Landscape in Seattle, WA.
Review Materials from this event: