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HAC News: May 31, 2019

News Formats. pdf

May 31, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 11

Rural Housing Service administrator named • Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants available • House subcommittees approve USDA and HUD spending bills for FY20 • Disaster bill passes Senate but not House • Section 504 repair pilot announced • USDA will propose rule on housing for mixed-status families • HUD drafting change to rule on gender identity protection • RuralSTAT • Recent publications and media of interest • HAC Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits in Nashville set for June 19-20 • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 31, 2019
Vol. 48, No.11

Rural Housing Service administrator named.

Bruce Lammers has been appointed RHS administrator and began work on May 28. His career has been in banking with an emphasis on government-guaranteed lending.

Section 533 Housing Preservation Grants available.

State and local governments, nonprofits, federally recognized Indian Tribes, and consortia of eligible entities are eligible for these grants, which can be used to repair and rehab homes for low- and very low-income owners or rental units available to low- and very low-income tenants. Apply by July 8 to an RD state office or at grants.gov. For more information, contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, RD, 202-690-0759.

House subcommittees approve USDA and HUD spending bills for FY20.

FY20 funding bills for both USDA and HUD passed separate House appropriations subcommittees in May 23 and next will be considered by the full Appropriations Committee. No spending measures have been introduced in the Senate so far. Both House bills provide level funding or increases for housing programs, rejecting the Administration’s budget requests. USDA Rural Development would see increases in the Section 523 self-help program and rental housing preservation resources including Section 515, MPR and Section 542 vouchers, although technical assistance funding for preservation is not included. USDA’s funding bill would also prevent USDA’s planned move of ERS and NIFA out of the Washington, DC area.

Disaster bill passes Senate but not House.

The Senate passed the repeatedly delayed disaster relief bill, H.R. 2157, on May 23, after President Trump agreed to sign it into law. The House was not able to pass the bill, however, and Congress is now on recess until June 3.

Section 504 repair pilot announced.

In an attempt to increase use of the Section 504 repair loan program by low- and very low-income homeowners, USDA is waiving some regulatory requirements in 20 states and Puerto Rico for fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The pilot also raises the dollar limits in those places from $20,000 for loans and $7,500 for grants to $40,000 for loans and $10,000 for grants. For more information, contact an RD state office.

USDA will propose rule on housing for mixed-status families.

USDA is drafting a regulation on housing aid for families with mixed immigration statuses. The agency’s summary says it will “harmonize” its requirements with HUD’s. HUD recently proposed to evict people who are ineligible for HUD housing assistance because of their immigration status, rather than continuing to allow them to live in units with eligible family members and receive pro-rated aid. USDA hopes to publish its rule for public comment in August.

HUD drafting change to rule on gender identity protection.

HUD is preparing a change in regulations that would allow HUD-funded homeless shelters to treat transgender people as belonging to the sex they were assigned at birth rather than the sex with which they identify, eliminating a 2016 rule that requires recognition of individuals’ gender identities. HUD estimates that the revised rule will be published for public comment in September. The House’s HUD appropriations bill includes language that would block this change.

RuralSTAT. In 2010, 79.3% of U.S. households completed Census forms, resulting in a national non-response rate of 20.7%. Census response rates were not evenly distributed across the country and varied greatly by location. See the Census 2020 estimated response rate for your community using the Census Bureau’s ROAM tool. Over the next year HAC will provide updates and resources to help improve Census response in your community.

Recent publications and media of interest

HAC Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits in Nashville set for June 19-20.

This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held June 19-20. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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).

Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

FY 2018 USDA Annual Obligation Report CoverThe Housing Assistance Council tabulated data using the USDA Finance Office obligation reports (USDA/Rural Development report code 205c, d and f) and data from the USDA Single Family Housing and Multifamily Housing Divisions in the National Office. The comprehensive report includes tables and maps showing obligation data by program and by State. The report also includes data by fiscal year for each of the programs since program inception.

2019, 173 pages

USDA RD Historic Activity through FY 2018

FMHA/RHS Programs that Construct, Purchase, or Repair Rural Housing Units

— Historic Activity through FY 2018

The Housing Assistance Council has tracked USDA Rural Housing activity for the agency’s Single Family Housing and Multifamily Housing for many years. The Historic Activity report provides data for the number of housing units funded by fiscal year for each of the programs since program inception. The data includes:

  • USDA Programs Which Construct, Purchase or Repair Rural Housing Units
  • Section 502 Direct Homeownership Loan Program Totals, FY 1950 – 2018
  • Section 502 Guaranteed Loan Program Totals, FY 1977 – 2018
  • Section 502 Self-Help Program Total, FY 1966 – 2018
  • Section 504 Very Low-Income Repair Program Totals, FY 1950 – 2018
  • Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing Loans and Grants, FY 1962 – 2018
  • Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Program Totals, FY 1963 – 2018
  • Section 533 Housing Preservation Grant Program Totals, FY 1986 – 2018
  • Section 538 Guaranteed Multi-Family Housing Loan Program Totals, FY 1996 – 2018
  • Section 521 Rental Assistance Program Totals, FY 1978 – 2018
  • Section 542 Multifamily Housing Voucher Totals, FY 2006 – 2018

These data are updated annually.

Updated data on USDA tenants released

February 26, 2019 – USDA has released its annual “fair housing occupancy report,” which provides data on the characteristics of tenants in its multifamily portfolio. The report, which uses September 2018 data, shows the average annual income of Section 515 tenant households is $13,112 with the average income of Section 515 residents who receive USDA Section 521 Rental Assistance at $10,911.

White non-Hispanics make up 67.8 percent of tenant households in Section 515 developments, while 79.8 percent of Section 514/516 farmworker households are Hispanic. Female-headed households (71.0 percent) and elderly/disabled households (62.8 percent in all properties and 64.4 percent in Section 515) also comprise large majorities of the tenant population.

Almost seven in ten households receive USDA Rental Assistance (68.4 percent), with an additional 13.1 percent getting some other form of rent aid. Just under 12 percent of tenant households are cost-burdened, paying more than 30 percent of their incomes for their housing. More than a third of the cost-burdened tenants pay over half their incomes for housing.

The report says the number of properties in USDA’s rental portfolio fell by 1.79 percent over the past year. The portfolio lost 227 Section 515 properties and 24 farmworker housing properties, with a total of 4,820 units. No additional information about these developments is provided.

Altogether, the report offers more than 40 pages of national and state-level data for tenants living in Section 515 rental housing, living in Section 514/516 farm labor housing, or receiving Section 521 Rental Assistance. Reports from past years are available on HAC’s website.

Father and son

HAC News: January 25, 2019

News Formats. pdf

January 25, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 2

Deal reached to reopen federal government • HAC calls for shutdown to end, citing severe impact on rural towns and families, suggests ways to help • USDA working to resolve rental assistance shortfalls and inform landlords • USDA rural housing programs remain closed • USDA Secretary reopens Farm Service Administration, leaves Rural Development closed • Indian Country substantially impacted by shutdown • Shutdown delays Puerto Rico disaster funds • Legal impacts of shutdown on HUD and USDA tenants summarized • Tribal housing survey finds focus on HUD, new units and rehab • Unsheltered homelessness increasing • New infographic explains rapid re-housing • Federal Reserve examines link between millennial migration and student loan debt • Holistic Housing Podcast focuses on rural housing issues • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

January 25, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 2

Deal reached to reopen federal government. As HAC staff prepared to send this issue of the HAC News to subscribers, President Trump announced he had reached agreement with congressional leaders to reopen the government for three weeks. HAC will post updates on its website as information becomes available about the shutdown’s aftermath.
Note that the articles in this issue were written before the deal to reopen the government was announced.

HAC calls for shutdown to end, citing severe impact on rural towns and families, suggests ways to help.
“Every day,” HAC’s statement points out, “Americans are losing out on billions of dollars’ worth of affordable housing, clean drinking water, and community facilities, like town halls, fire stations and hospitals.” HAC has posted links to news articles covering rural housing impacts, and will keep updating the list. As the shutdown continues, HAC will be reaching out to stakeholders to help spread the word on the damage it is causing to communities across the country, pressure lawmakers to come to a resolution and share your own stories of hardship. Visit HAC’s website to sign up for information and resources.

USDA working to resolve rental assistance shortfalls and inform landlords.
USDA reports that all 521 Rental Assistance contracts that are expiring in January will be renewed. The Department acknowledges that there is no money left to renew further RA contracts, including the approximately 700 RA contracts expiring in February and 1,000 in March. USDA is considering short-term measures, such as allowing owners to use project reserves to cover costs, but has yet to finalize any plans or notify property owners. The need for such notification became clear when managers of USDA-financed properties in Arkansas and in Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri and Mississippi sent notices to tenants telling them their RA was ending in January and they would be responsible for paying their full rent, then backpedaled when informed by USDA the RA will be paid.

USDA rural housing programs remain closed.
No new direct or guaranteed loans or grants have been made in over 30 days. When open and operating, USDA’s Rural Housing Service obligates an average of 28,927* transactions (loans, grants, assistance payments) per month. January 25 is the 35th day of the government shutdown. For more information on USDA’s rural housing activity, visit HAC’s website.
* HAC estimate from monthly USDA obligation data.

USDA Secretary reopens Farm Service Agency, leaves Rural Development closed.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue has ordered 9,700 field staff in local Farm Service Agency offices across the country to return to work without pay, although not all FSA services are available. FSA has reopened programs such as the Tree Assistance Program and Marketing Assistance Loans.

Indian Country substantially impacted by shutdown.
Calculating a dollar amount is not possible, reports the Center for Indian Country Development, but the effect is “substantial and unique” because government employment is disproportionately high in Indian Country, tribal staff such as those who plow reservation roads are furloughed, and education funds may be cut. Because of the unique relationship between the U.S. and tribes, tribal services are often closely tied to federal funding.

Shutdown delays Puerto Rico disaster funds.
In response to Hurricane Maria, which tore through Puerto Rico in 2017, Congress appropriated $20 billion in CDBG disaster relief funding. Only $1.5 billion of that money was approved before the shutdown, and HUD will not disburse it until the shutdown ends. HUD approval of disaster spending plans or amendments from California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and the U.S. Virgin Islands is also on hold. Even before this delay, an analysis by scholars from the University of Michigan and University of Utah found the federal response in funding and staff was larger and faster after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma in Texas and Florida than after Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Legal impacts of shutdown on HUD and USDA tenants summarized.
A memo from the National Housing Law Project explains the rights of federally assisted tenants during the government shutdown.

Tribal housing survey finds focus on HUD, new units and rehab.
HUD is the primary source of housing development funding for tribes, according to results of a 2018 survey of Tribally Designated Housing Entities by the National American Indian Housing Council and the Center for Indian Country Development. Respondents expressed interest in other financing sources as well, including Low Income Housing Tax Credits and USDA RD housing programs. Although the low response means this survey may not represent Indian Country overall, a large majority of respondents were developing new rental and homeownership units, and all were maintaining and rehabilitating existing units.

Unsheltered homelessness increasing.
In its annual homeless assessment report to congress, HUD states homelessness has increased for the second year in a row. Rural Continuums of Care had the highest rates of unsheltered homeless persons (40%). Homeless individuals in largely rural areas were more likely to be women than those in other areas. Predominantly rural areas also had the highest rates of unsheltered homelessness among people in families with children.

New infographic explains rapid re-housing.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness has released an infographic based on data from the Urban Institute explaining what rapid re-housing is – an approach that ends people’s homelessness quickly by helping them to find and move into a home in their community, then to address other challenges – as well as who it helps and what effect it has.

Federal Reserve examines link between millennial migration and student loan debt.
“Rural Brain Drain”: Examining Millennial Migration Patterns and Student Loan Debt, an analysis by the Federal Reserve Board Division of Consumer and Community Affairs, shows that student loan borrowers are more likely to leave rural areas than non-borrowers. The study notes this does not show that loan balances cause borrowers to leave. It analyzes credit outcomes, economic conditions and migration patterns of rural student loan borrowers. The writers recommend further study to create community development models that could address the outmigration issue.

Holistic Housing Podcast focuses on rural housing issues.
HAC CEO David Lipsetz appeared on “Rock on, Rural America,” the 18th episode of NACCED’s Holistic Housing Podcast, discussing HAC’s work in rural areas, the inspiration he gets from working with local organizations across the country, why rural and urban America need not be at odds and how public policy could change to embrace more rural-focused development. Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or TuneIn.

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).

USDA Multi-Family Fair Housing Occupancy Report FY 2017

USDA’s yearly occupancy survey shows the total number of properties in USDA’s rural rental portfolio fell by 1.94% from September 2016 to September 2017, a decrease of 278 properties consisting of 246 Section 515 properties and 32 Section 514 properties. This represents a loss of 5,035 apartment units or 1.17 percent. The average annual income of Section 515 residents has increased to $12,776. For Section 515 tenants with RA, average income is $10,658.

HAC News: September 13, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 13, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 19

Congress still working on appropriations for FY19 and on Farm Bill • Rural homeownership funds on track to be fully used this fiscal year • Puerto Rican families’ hotel aid ends September 13 • U.S. poverty falls for third year in a row • USDA proposes making two-tier “income banding” permanent for homebuyers • FY19 Fair Market Rents posted •Grants offered for repairs to water and waste systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria • RUS to stop publishing funding notices in Federal Register • HUD to expedite waivers for public housing agencies in major disaster areas • USDA extends deadline for ERS and NIFA headquarters • Common platform suggested for some USDA loan guarantees • Report shows first homes financed by national Housing Trust Fund • States implementing Opportunity Zones, report says

HAC News Formats. pdf

September 13, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 19

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.

Congress still working on appropriations for FY19 and on Farm Bill.
Congress has divided appropriations bills for FY19, which begins October 1, into several “minibuses.” The USDA and Transportation-HUD measures are combined with the Interior Department’s bill, and the programs’ funding levels are still under discussion in conference committee. At press time it is not clear which bills may pass before the end of the month and which parts of the government may operate under continuing resolutions or, possibly, be shut down. If the Democrats win a majority in either the House or the Senate in the November elections, they are likely to make changes in FY19 appropriations. Congress is also working to finish negotiations on the Farm Bill because the current version expires September 30.

Rural homeownership funds on track to be fully used this fiscal year.
As of August 31, USDA has made 6,209 mortgages from its Section 502 direct program totaling about $945.6 billion, higher than the $911.7 billion obligated by the same date last year. It seems likely to use all available funds for this program by the end of FY18 on September 30, as it did last year. The proportion of Section 502 direct funds loaned to very low-income borrowers is currently 33.2%, below its 37.6% at this time last year and 38.1% at the end of last year.

Puerto Rican families’ hotel aid ends September 13.
A federal judge has allowed FEMA to end its Temporary Shelter Assistance program for Hurricane Maria evacuees who have been staying in hotels. The judge encouraged FEMA and others to work together to help find temporary housing. Agencies in New York, Florida, and Massachusetts are assisting those who need aid.

U.S. poverty falls for third year in a row.
Annual Census Bureau data on income, poverty, and health insurance show an official U.S. poverty rate of 12.3% in 2017, down from 12.7% in 2016. In nonmetro areas, poverty dropped from 15.8% in 2016 to 14.8% in 2017. National poverty rates for African-Americans and Hispanics remained higher than those of other races/ethnicities, at 21.2% and 18.3%, respectively.

USDA proposes making two-tier “income banding” permanent for homebuyers.
A proposed rule would make several changes to the Section 502 direct and guaranteed loans, including adopting a pilot that broadens eligibility and has been tested in select states since FY16. To qualify for a mortgage, a family with between one and four people would need to have an income below HUD’s four-person limit, and a family with between five and eight would need to fall below the eight-person amount. Comments are due October 30. For more information, contact Shannon Chase, RD, 515-305-0399.

FY19 Fair Market Rents posted.
HUD’s Fair Market Rents for FY19 will be effective on October 1 unless HUD receives requests by that date for reevaluation of specific area FMRs. For more information, contact local HUD program staff.

Grants offered for repairs to water and waste systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.
The Rural Utilities Service has over $163 million to make grants for repairs to drinking water systems and sewer and solid waste disposal systems impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and the territories of Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Applications will be accepted until funds are exhausted. Contact an RD state office.

RUS to stop publishing funding notices in Federal Register.
Effective immediately, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service will post Notices of Funds Availability only on grants.gov and on its own site. For more information, contact Michele Brooks, RD, 202-690-1078.

HUD to expedite waivers for public housing agencies in major disaster areas.
For the rest of calendar year 2018, HUD will use an expedited process to review requests from PHAs located in major disaster areas for waivers from HUD regulatory and/or administrative requirements. For more information, contact Shelia Bethea, HUD, 202-402-8120.

USDA extends deadline for ERS and NIFA headquarters.
October 15 is now the deadline for submissions of interest for new Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture headquarters. (See HAC News, 8/15/18.) For more information, contact Donald K. Bice, USDA, 202-720-3291.

Common platform suggested for some USDA loan guarantees.
RD proposes to create a “common platform” for making, servicing, and monitoring four (non-housing) guaranteed loan programs: the Community Program Guaranteed loan program, the Water and Waste Disposal Guaranteed loan program, the Business and Industry Guaranteed loan program, and the Rural Energy for America Program guaranteed loans. Comments are due October 22, 2018. Listening sessions are scheduled for several dates, ending September 20. To request government-to-government consultation, a tribe may contact RD’s Native American Coordinator, 720-544-2911. For other information, contact Michele Brooks, USDA, 202-690-1078.

Report shows first homes financed by national Housing Trust Fund.
Issued by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Getting Started: First Homes Being Built with 2016 National Housing Trust Fund Awards summarizes information from 42 states that are using HTF money to build or preserve rental homes for extremely low-income households. States are prioritizing projects to serve people experiencing homelessness, people with disabilities, elderly individuals, veterans, and other special needs populations.

States implementing Opportunity Zones, report says.
CDFA Opportunity Zones Report: State of the States, an update from the Council of Development Finance Agencies, includes descriptions of several states’ outreach and planning strategies as they move forward with Opportunity Zones, a new financing vehicle created in the December tax law.

NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training course in Nebraska, Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The registration fee is $500. The training will be held October 30-November 1 in Lincoln, NE. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

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: 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).

Materials Posted: Financing Farm Labor Housing with USDA Section 514/516 Funding – Part I

Materials Posted

Power Point Presentation | Webinar Recording

Join the Housing Assistance Council on January 24, 2018 for the first of three webinars focused on financing farm labor housing. Part 2 | Part 3

SUMMARY

The Section 514/516 Farm Labor Housing (FLH) program provides loans and grants for the development of on-farm and off-farm housing. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Programs office (RD).

Section 514 loans and Section 516 grants are provided to buy, build, improve, or repair housing for farm laborers. Funds can be used to purchase a site or a leasehold interest in a site; to construct or repair housing, day care facilities, or community rooms; to pay fees to purchase durable household furnishings; and to pay construction loan interest.

This webinar, the first in the three-part series will provide information to potential project sponsors on how to effectively utilize USDA Section 514/516 loan and grant funds to finance farm labor housing. The webinar will further present information on eligible project sponsors, eligible costs, and requirements of the application. Additional information will be provided on site control, SHPO clearance, preliminary plans and specifications for the project, preparing development and operating budgets, sources and uses statement, market study requirements, supportive services plan, required federal forms, Affirmative Fair Housing Marketing Plan, and other elements of the pre-application. Scoring criteria will be reviewed, particularly relating to energy efficiency and other preferences. The use of other financial resources to support the development of the project will also be examined.

Register Now

SPONSORED BY

Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation and Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation through a grant agreement with USDA Rural Housing Services

About Tierra del Sol Housing (TDS)
TDS was founded in 1973 by a group of community leaders, farm workers, rural families, and churches to help rural New Mexicans achieve “the goal of a decent home and suitable living environment”. The dream for better housing began with Alto de Las Flores, the first of many large-scale homeownership programs and grew over time to encompass the full range of housing opportunities through self-help programs, renovation of existing housing, rural and farm labor rental housing, supportive housing for the elderly and disabled, and temporary housing assistance programs to prevent homelessness. TDS has since become a leading producer of affordable housing, and has worked to empower other collaborating nonprofit providers to increase their capacity to develop, own and manage housing for low income persons. Tierra del Sol has an impressive development record, producing more than 5,000 rental and homeownership units.

TDS has owned and managed rental housing serving low income families and special populations for more than 45 years, and currently owns 1,059 rental housing units that includes 299 units for farm workers.

Today, Tierra del Sol is advancing the needs of farmworkers and rural families by sharing its technical expertise to help other organizations address their community’s housing needs through Farm Labor Housing Technical Assistance, Self-Help Homeownership Opportunities and Workforce Investment Opportunity programs offered throughout the region and nationally.

About Community Resources and Housing Development Corporation (CRHDC)
CRHDC was Incorporated in 1971 to address the intolerable living conditions and lack of adequate housing for migrant farm workers in the rural areas of Colorado. The organization was created to research and develop housing opportunities for low-income rural families through the construction of safe, sanitary, and affordable housing. The mission has expanded over the years to address community needs, both urban and rural, on a state-wide scale. This includes activities geared toward increasing the financial viability and sustainability of families and the communities in which they live and work. Through the use of innovative strategies, CRHDC has closed the gap between the price of private market housing and the ability of low income families to pay.

CRHDC has a history of developing 514/516 projects that leveraged significant other financing and services through partnerships with collaborating agencies. CRHDC has built more than 2,000 units of self-help housing and owns rental housing serving seniors and low-income persons.

As a technical assistance provider, CRHDC specializes in a wide range of services covering all aspects from board development to project development to construction and property management. Through its subsidiary, Colorado Housing Enterprises, CRHDC also serves as a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI).

Both CRHDC and TDS have provided technical assistance for the development of farm labor housing since 2002 through agreements with USDA Rural Housing Services.

HOSTED BY HAC

About the Housing Assistance Council
The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is a national nonprofit that assists local organizations to build affordable homes in rural America. Since 1971 HAC has provided assistance in the development of both single- and multi-family homes and promotes homeownership for working low-income rural families through a self-help, “sweat equity” construction method by emphasizing local solutions, empowerment of people in poverty, reduced dependence, and self-help strategies. HAC offers services to public, nonprofit, and private organizations throughout the rural United States and maintains a special focus on high-need groups and regions, particularly: Indian country, the Mississippi Delta, farmworkers, the Southwest border colonias, and Appalachia.

Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

FY 2017 USDA Annual ReportThe Housing Assistance Council tabulated data using the USDA Finance Office obligation reports (USDA/Rural Development report code 205c, d and f) and data from the USDA Single Family Housing and Multifamily Housing Divisions in the National Office. The comprehensive report includes tables and maps showing obligation data by program and by State. The report also includes data by fiscal year for each of the programs since program inception.

This document is available by its individual chapters or as one large compiled document. The compilation document is formatted to print as double-sided pages for printers that are able to print on both sides of the paper. Each chapter starts with a divider page which is intentionally blank to maintain consistency throughout the document.

Updated in May 2018 to include FY 2017 Multifamily Housing Tenant income data and to correct typographic error.

2018, 184 pages