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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).

USDA’s Section 538 Guaranteed Program – Part I: Understanding Program Impacts on Affordable Housing Projects

Materials Posted

The purpose of the Section 538 Guaranteed Loan Program is to increase the supply of affordable rural rental housing, it differs in some important ways from USDA’s Section 515. Section 538 focuses on partnerships between USDA and qualified lenders, whereas Section 515 loans are directly funded from USDA to nonprofit or for-profit rural housing developers. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development. The Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing (GRRH) program is delivered through USDA approved participating Lenders.

Section 538 Guaranteed loans can be used for new construction, refinance of existing GRRH loans and acquisition rehabilitation of affordable family, senior and workforce multifamily projects.

This webinar, the first in the two-part series will provide a brief overview and give an Agency historical perspective and program milestones. We will discuss the many uses of the section 538, its compatibility with LIHTCs, HOME, Bonds and other sources of funding. There will be a presentation on LIHTCs and the post-tax reform effects on the market. The webinar will further present information on eligible projects and eligible areas, we will also discuss application and timing.

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

USDA Announces Rural Development State Directors

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a full list of State Directors for USDA Rural Development and for the Farm Service Agency on November 3, 2017. The RD list below is from USDA’s press release.

Rural Development State Directors

Alabama: Chris Beeker

Chris Beeker grew up on a catfish and cattle farm in the smallest county of his state and through extensive experience of working on the family farm and other business ventures has firsthand knowledge of the positive and important impacts of USDA programs for all communities and especially rural America.

Alaska: Jerry Ward

Jerry Ward is an Athabascan Indian from the Caribou Tribe, born and raised in Alaska, and has a record of public service, including in the U.S. Navy Seabees in Vietnam, as Rural Affairs Coordinator with the Department of Corrections, as Legislative Liaison for the Alaska Energy Authority. He has also served as a member of the State House of Representative, with a seat on the Finance Committee, and in the State Senate as Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee addressing rural Alaska issues.

Arizona: J.C. Sherman III

J.C. Sherman comes to USDA with vast experience from the Departments of Energy and Commerce, in addition to private sector experience from Executive Protection, Director of Sales Operations for a division of Schneider Electric and Business Development Director with other fortune 50 companies.

Arkansas: David Branscum

David Branscum is serving his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and is a cattleman who has been active with several civic organizations serving to empower rural Arkansas.

California: Kim Dolbow Vann

Kim Vann has been working and serving in California’s Rural Communities for nearly 20 years and her career gives her an excellent understanding of California’s’ Rural Communities needs and the experience to solve problems.

Colorado: Sallie Clark

Sallie Clark is a former El Paso County, Colorado commissioner, city councilmember, well known small-business entrepreneur, and past President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). She has spent much of her career representing rural America.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island: George Krivda

George Krivda has worked at the state Department of Agriculture for nearly ten years serving as a Project Manager, Public Information Officer, Legislative Program Manager and Chief of Staff.

Delaware and Maryland: Denise Lovelady

Denise Lovelady brings over 20 years of executive and management experience in both the public and private sectors to USDA, specifically in the areas of government, legislative affairs, public relations, economic development, agriculture, natural resources, real estate, and community outreach.

Florida: Sydney Gruters

Sydney Gruters has worked for U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan for more than 10 years in an official capacity and has served as the congressman’s liaison regarding all USDA issues that affect rural development.

Georgia: Joyce White

Joyce White served as Chief of Staff in the Georgia Department of Agriculture, was an executive assistant for the CEO of Georgia-Pacific, served the same role in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office, and has focused on helping rural Georgia.

Hawaii: Gigi Jones

Gigi Jones founded a grassroots organization known as Cool Our Keiki and has worked in construction, small business, engineering and business development for over 20 years. She knows first-hand the challenges of living in remote and rural areas as she has lived, worked and volunteered in rural areas inside and outside of the U.S. for many years.

Idaho: Layne Bangerter

Layne Bangerter comes to RD directly from his role at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He previously held varied roles in the Fish and Wildlife Service and served as State Director for Senator Mike Crapo.

Illinois: Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson is a 3rd generation farmer, lifelong resident of rural Illinois, and past Illinois State Director for RD. He has served in leadership roles in a variety of agricultural, community, and not-for-profit organizations.

Indiana: Michael Reed Dora

As a first generation agricultural producer of livestock and grains since 1975, Michael Dora brings to the Trump Administration a deep knowledge of farming and business skills along with wide-ranging experiences of dedicated service and leadership to his state and community.

Iowa: Annette Sweeney

Annette Sweeney brings local and international experience to Rural Development, having served as a teacher, family farmer, church volunteer, and most recently as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives.

Kansas: Lynne Hinrichsen

Lynne Hinrichsen joined the Kansas Department of Agriculture in 2013 as the Agribusiness Development Director. Prior to serving in the public sector, she worked in sales, marketing, advertising and human resource consulting.

Kentucky: Hilda Legg

Hilda Legg brings more than 30 years of experience in federal government agency management, as a consultant for rural infrastructure, in economic development in rural Appalachia, in education, project management, and as a business owner. She has served under three U.S. presidents to further opportunities for rural communities and residents in job creation and economic growth.

Louisiana: Dr. Carrie Castille

Dr. Carrie Castille served as the Associate Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, held a faculty position with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, and created the successful Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

Maine: Tim Hobbs

Tim Hobbs brings over fifteen years of experience working with and for potato growers, processors, and dealers in Maine on issues that affect their competitiveness and profitability.

Michigan: Jason Allen

Jason Allen is a small businessman, veteran, and former State Senator, who currently works on rural development for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minnesota: Brad Finstad

Brad Finstad served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives and is currently the CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, which is Minnesota’s only statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan rural policy research center.

Mississippi: John Rounsaville

John Rounsaville served as State Director for USDA Rural Development in the Administration of President George W. Bush and brings to the Trump Administration two decades of experience in economic and community development, infrastructure planning, and public policy.

Missouri: Jeff Case

Jeff Case is Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at Rabo AgriFinance, LLC and has spent his career working in the agriculture industry in the areas of Production, Finance and Education.

Montana: Charles Robison

Charles first joined USDA as a Forest Service firefighter in 1998, working on an engine crew, as a Hotshot and as a helitack rappeller. He looks forward to pursuing his passion for the struggles of rural Montana and the working families who call it home.

Nebraska: Karl Elmshaeuser

Karl Elmshaeuser has served as the Executive Director for the West Central Nebraska Development District for the past 11 years, served two terms on the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, currently serves on the Nebraska Regional Officials Council and the National Association of Development Organizations, served six years in the US Marine Corps, and is a University of Nebraska graduate.

Nevada: Philip Cowee

Philip Cowee has spent nearly 20 years developing properties and running businesses in Lyon County, lives in Dayton with his wife and five children, and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.

New Hampshire: Anthony Lindaros

Army Reserve Veteran Anthony Lindaros brings over 18 years of business development experience and executive management in the pharmaceutical industry.

North Carolina: Bob Chandler

Bob dedicated his career to agriculture from starting his first internship with USDA in 1974, serving for 35 years, and retiring in 2009. Since 2009, Bob has been Consulting for a Faith based Nonprofit and holding USDA Mediations for the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program and Farm Agricultural Resources and Mediation in Virginia.

North Dakota: Clare Carlson

Clare Carlson has served nearly eight years as the State Director of USDA Rural Development and was previously a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Ohio: Dave Hall

Dave Hall’s experience in agriculture began in the late 1960’s when he started working on his grandparents’ farm and has since served as a Commissioner for the Ohio Exposition Commission for the Ohio State Fair and Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Oklahoma: Lee Denney

Lee Denney practiced mixed animal practice for 35 years and has served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and on the Cushing City Commission.

Oregon: John Huffman

John Huffman has spent the past 10 years as an Oregon State Representative and prior to his legislative work, he owned and managed a successful radio station for 22 years in North Central Oregon.

Pennsylvania: Curt Coccodrilli

Curt Coccodrilli has been integrally involved in numerous efforts to address the needs of rural Pennsylvania, promoting rural economic development and leading campaigns to ensure state and federal regulations recognize the need for such development.

South Carolina: Debbie S. Turbeville

Debbie Turbeville is being promoted to the position of State Director after spending her entire career serving in almost every role at the state level of the agency, having risen in the ranks from the GS-2 level when she started in 1982.

South Dakota: Julie Gross

Julie Gross is currently the Economic Development Director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison. She understands and appreciates the needs of rural communities and is looking forward to helping them become stronger and more vibrant with the programs USDA offers.

Tennessee: Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy ran a small business in a rural middle Tennessee community for 24 years before being elected to the State Senate in 2004 as an advocate for agriculture issues in the state.

Texas: Edd Hargett

Edd Hargett began working for Electric Cooperatives in 1974 and has served as general manager of both distribution and G&T systems.

Utah: Randy Parker

Randy Parker comes to the USDA having served as chief executive officer of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation for most of the past 14 years.

Virginia: Elizabeth Walker Green

Elizabeth has been working in Federal and State politics for over thirty years.

Washington: Kirk Pearson

Kirk Pearson has served in the Washington State Legislature for 17 years, serving on the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade, and Economic Development Committee and as Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee. He has promoted legislation to help rural communities grow and thrive in the state of Washington.

West Virginia: Kris Warner

Kris Warner has more than 25 years of leadership in West Virginia business development and is also a charter member of the state-wide program Leadership Monongalia, which is designed to educate and sustain community leaders.

Wisconsin: Frank Frassetto

Frank Frassetto has 30 years of public sector experience, previously served as state director at USDA RD from 2001 to 2009, was the Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection at the WI Dept. of Agriculture, and resides in the rural town of Black Wolf and has been its Chairman since 1997.

Wyoming: Chad Rupe

Chad Rupe has served previously with USDA, as an officer in the U.S. Army, and as a community banker in Wyoming for 11 years.

Trump Administration Proposes to Eliminate Most Rural Housing Programs

Register for HAC's webinar overview of Trump Administration's BudgetRegister for HAC’s webinar overview of Trump Administration’s BudgetThe Administration’s first full budget request, released on May 23, would eliminate all USDA rural housing programs except tenant aid, loan guarantees, and grants for home repairs. It would create a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program, comprised of four existing programs – no new infrastructure efforts are provided, at least for areas covered by USDA Rural Development. It does not mention, and does not provide funding for, USDA’s recently proposed reorganization that would eliminate the Under Secretary for Rural Development.

Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) would get $1.345 billion, and Section 542 vouchers would receive $20 million. All RA funds would be used to renew existing contracts. All rural housing direct loan programs would be defunded, as would farmworker housing grants, housing preservation grants, the MPR rental preservation program, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.

A stack of President Trump's FY 2018 Budget Proposal to Congress

Section 502 guarantees for homeownership and Section 538 guarantees for rental housing production would remain at, or slightly above, FY17 levels. Because these programs cover their own costs through fees, the government pays only the costs of administering them.

The Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program would receive $162 million to replace Section 504 grants (Section 504 loans would be eliminated), community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants. There are no guidelines for dividing the funds among those four purposes, so some of these programs could receive no funding at all. Also, almost half – “not more than $80,000,000” – of this pool of funding can be used in Appalachia, while no other regions are mentioned.

Congress will now take over the FY18 appropriations process. House Republican leaders are expected to release their own budget in June. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

0

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

0b

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

0

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405c

1,345d

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

0e

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20f

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

a. Combined into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants pool along with community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants.
b. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated 514/516 funds.
c. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18.
d. Only for renewals of existing RA contracts.
e. Also proposes to rescind $11 million in currently unobligated self-help funds.
f. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated MPR funds.

USDA Secretary Answers Questions on Proposed Rural Development Changes, White House Accepts Comments (updated May 18)

Update, May 18, 2017: A notice in the May 18 Federal Register invites interested parties to submit comments at www.regulations.gov on the proposed reorganization. The deadline is June 14.

Several members of Congress quizzed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue about a proposed reorganization plan that would eliminate the position of Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD). The Secretary appeared before the House Agriculture Committee on May 17 to discuss the state of the rural economy, and the hearing covered the wide spectrum of subjects under USDA’s jurisdiction.

Committee members who expressed concerns about the possible demotion of RD issues noted that they viewed the reorganization proposal in light of the request in the Administration’s preliminary budget to eliminate some water/wastewater and business programs. Perdue assured them repeatedly that RD’s program administrators would have more access to him than if the Under Secretary position remained in place. He said they would report to an Assistant Secretary who would be approved by the Senate (as the Under Secretary is), and they would also have direct “walk-in”; access to the Secretary himself. He asserted that he believes rural development is extremely important and therefore wants to be more directly involved in it.

In one of his answers, Perdue tried to summarize RD’s areas of responsibility, citing business, economic development, and utilities. He did not mention housing.

Some Committee members pointed out that USDA did not request public comment on the proposal until after it had submitted the plan to Congress for a 30-day review period. Perdue said he was not familiar with the notice requirements and could not explain why the actions were taken in this order.

Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Issues Formed

A new Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was created by an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on April 25, 2017. The task force will “identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes” to promote agriculture, rural economic development, infrastructure improvements, food safety, energy security, and more. The Executive Order, titled “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America,” tells the task force to provide state, local, and tribal officials, as well as “farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other rural stakeholders,” with an opportunity to make suggestions.

President Trump signed the Executive Order at a “Farmers Roundtable” held at the White House on April 25, Secretary Perdue’s first day on the job.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will chair the task force, which will include representatives of at least 21 additional federal departments and agencies. A report is due in six months, recommending changes to carry out the Executive Order’s goals.

The Executive Order also eliminates the Obama Administration’s White House Rural Council.

Events

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).

USDA’s Section 538 Guaranteed Program – Part I: Understanding Program Impacts on Affordable Housing Projects

Materials Posted

The purpose of the Section 538 Guaranteed Loan Program is to increase the supply of affordable rural rental housing, it differs in some important ways from USDA’s Section 515. Section 538 focuses on partnerships between USDA and qualified lenders, whereas Section 515 loans are directly funded from USDA to nonprofit or for-profit rural housing developers. The program is operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development. The Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing (GRRH) program is delivered through USDA approved participating Lenders.

Section 538 Guaranteed loans can be used for new construction, refinance of existing GRRH loans and acquisition rehabilitation of affordable family, senior and workforce multifamily projects.

This webinar, the first in the two-part series will provide a brief overview and give an Agency historical perspective and program milestones. We will discuss the many uses of the section 538, its compatibility with LIHTCs, HOME, Bonds and other sources of funding. There will be a presentation on LIHTCs and the post-tax reform effects on the market. The webinar will further present information on eligible projects and eligible areas, we will also discuss application and timing.

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

USDA Announces Rural Development State Directors

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced a full list of State Directors for USDA Rural Development and for the Farm Service Agency on November 3, 2017. The RD list below is from USDA’s press release.

Rural Development State Directors

Alabama: Chris Beeker

Chris Beeker grew up on a catfish and cattle farm in the smallest county of his state and through extensive experience of working on the family farm and other business ventures has firsthand knowledge of the positive and important impacts of USDA programs for all communities and especially rural America.

Alaska: Jerry Ward

Jerry Ward is an Athabascan Indian from the Caribou Tribe, born and raised in Alaska, and has a record of public service, including in the U.S. Navy Seabees in Vietnam, as Rural Affairs Coordinator with the Department of Corrections, as Legislative Liaison for the Alaska Energy Authority. He has also served as a member of the State House of Representative, with a seat on the Finance Committee, and in the State Senate as Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee addressing rural Alaska issues.

Arizona: J.C. Sherman III

J.C. Sherman comes to USDA with vast experience from the Departments of Energy and Commerce, in addition to private sector experience from Executive Protection, Director of Sales Operations for a division of Schneider Electric and Business Development Director with other fortune 50 companies.

Arkansas: David Branscum

David Branscum is serving his fourth term in the Arkansas House of Representatives and is a cattleman who has been active with several civic organizations serving to empower rural Arkansas.

California: Kim Dolbow Vann

Kim Vann has been working and serving in California’s Rural Communities for nearly 20 years and her career gives her an excellent understanding of California’s’ Rural Communities needs and the experience to solve problems.

Colorado: Sallie Clark

Sallie Clark is a former El Paso County, Colorado commissioner, city councilmember, well known small-business entrepreneur, and past President of the National Association of Counties (NACo). She has spent much of her career representing rural America.

Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island: George Krivda

George Krivda has worked at the state Department of Agriculture for nearly ten years serving as a Project Manager, Public Information Officer, Legislative Program Manager and Chief of Staff.

Delaware and Maryland: Denise Lovelady

Denise Lovelady brings over 20 years of executive and management experience in both the public and private sectors to USDA, specifically in the areas of government, legislative affairs, public relations, economic development, agriculture, natural resources, real estate, and community outreach.

Florida: Sydney Gruters

Sydney Gruters has worked for U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan for more than 10 years in an official capacity and has served as the congressman’s liaison regarding all USDA issues that affect rural development.

Georgia: Joyce White

Joyce White served as Chief of Staff in the Georgia Department of Agriculture, was an executive assistant for the CEO of Georgia-Pacific, served the same role in Governor Sonny Perdue’s office, and has focused on helping rural Georgia.

Hawaii: Gigi Jones

Gigi Jones founded a grassroots organization known as Cool Our Keiki and has worked in construction, small business, engineering and business development for over 20 years. She knows first-hand the challenges of living in remote and rural areas as she has lived, worked and volunteered in rural areas inside and outside of the U.S. for many years.

Idaho: Layne Bangerter

Layne Bangerter comes to RD directly from his role at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He previously held varied roles in the Fish and Wildlife Service and served as State Director for Senator Mike Crapo.

Illinois: Douglas Wilson

Douglas Wilson is a 3rd generation farmer, lifelong resident of rural Illinois, and past Illinois State Director for RD. He has served in leadership roles in a variety of agricultural, community, and not-for-profit organizations.

Indiana: Michael Reed Dora

As a first generation agricultural producer of livestock and grains since 1975, Michael Dora brings to the Trump Administration a deep knowledge of farming and business skills along with wide-ranging experiences of dedicated service and leadership to his state and community.

Iowa: Annette Sweeney

Annette Sweeney brings local and international experience to Rural Development, having served as a teacher, family farmer, church volunteer, and most recently as a member of the Iowa House of Representatives.

Kansas: Lynne Hinrichsen

Lynne Hinrichsen joined the Kansas Department of Agriculture in 2013 as the Agribusiness Development Director. Prior to serving in the public sector, she worked in sales, marketing, advertising and human resource consulting.

Kentucky: Hilda Legg

Hilda Legg brings more than 30 years of experience in federal government agency management, as a consultant for rural infrastructure, in economic development in rural Appalachia, in education, project management, and as a business owner. She has served under three U.S. presidents to further opportunities for rural communities and residents in job creation and economic growth.

Louisiana: Dr. Carrie Castille

Dr. Carrie Castille served as the Associate Commissioner for the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, held a faculty position with the Louisiana State University AgCenter, and created the successful Louisiana Master Farmer Program.

Maine: Tim Hobbs

Tim Hobbs brings over fifteen years of experience working with and for potato growers, processors, and dealers in Maine on issues that affect their competitiveness and profitability.

Michigan: Jason Allen

Jason Allen is a small businessman, veteran, and former State Senator, who currently works on rural development for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Minnesota: Brad Finstad

Brad Finstad served three terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives and is currently the CEO of the Center for Rural Policy and Development, which is Minnesota’s only statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan rural policy research center.

Mississippi: John Rounsaville

John Rounsaville served as State Director for USDA Rural Development in the Administration of President George W. Bush and brings to the Trump Administration two decades of experience in economic and community development, infrastructure planning, and public policy.

Missouri: Jeff Case

Jeff Case is Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager at Rabo AgriFinance, LLC and has spent his career working in the agriculture industry in the areas of Production, Finance and Education.

Montana: Charles Robison

Charles first joined USDA as a Forest Service firefighter in 1998, working on an engine crew, as a Hotshot and as a helitack rappeller. He looks forward to pursuing his passion for the struggles of rural Montana and the working families who call it home.

Nebraska: Karl Elmshaeuser

Karl Elmshaeuser has served as the Executive Director for the West Central Nebraska Development District for the past 11 years, served two terms on the Nebraska Rural Development Commission, currently serves on the Nebraska Regional Officials Council and the National Association of Development Organizations, served six years in the US Marine Corps, and is a University of Nebraska graduate.

Nevada: Philip Cowee

Philip Cowee has spent nearly 20 years developing properties and running businesses in Lyon County, lives in Dayton with his wife and five children, and is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno.

New Hampshire: Anthony Lindaros

Army Reserve Veteran Anthony Lindaros brings over 18 years of business development experience and executive management in the pharmaceutical industry.

North Carolina: Bob Chandler

Bob dedicated his career to agriculture from starting his first internship with USDA in 1974, serving for 35 years, and retiring in 2009. Since 2009, Bob has been Consulting for a Faith based Nonprofit and holding USDA Mediations for the North Carolina Agricultural Mediation Program and Farm Agricultural Resources and Mediation in Virginia.

North Dakota: Clare Carlson

Clare Carlson has served nearly eight years as the State Director of USDA Rural Development and was previously a member of the North Dakota House of Representatives.

Ohio: Dave Hall

Dave Hall’s experience in agriculture began in the late 1960’s when he started working on his grandparents’ farm and has since served as a Commissioner for the Ohio Exposition Commission for the Ohio State Fair and Chairman of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Oklahoma: Lee Denney

Lee Denney practiced mixed animal practice for 35 years and has served as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and on the Cushing City Commission.

Oregon: John Huffman

John Huffman has spent the past 10 years as an Oregon State Representative and prior to his legislative work, he owned and managed a successful radio station for 22 years in North Central Oregon.

Pennsylvania: Curt Coccodrilli

Curt Coccodrilli has been integrally involved in numerous efforts to address the needs of rural Pennsylvania, promoting rural economic development and leading campaigns to ensure state and federal regulations recognize the need for such development.

South Carolina: Debbie S. Turbeville

Debbie Turbeville is being promoted to the position of State Director after spending her entire career serving in almost every role at the state level of the agency, having risen in the ranks from the GS-2 level when she started in 1982.

South Dakota: Julie Gross

Julie Gross is currently the Economic Development Director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation in Madison. She understands and appreciates the needs of rural communities and is looking forward to helping them become stronger and more vibrant with the programs USDA offers.

Tennessee: Jim Tracy

Jim Tracy ran a small business in a rural middle Tennessee community for 24 years before being elected to the State Senate in 2004 as an advocate for agriculture issues in the state.

Texas: Edd Hargett

Edd Hargett began working for Electric Cooperatives in 1974 and has served as general manager of both distribution and G&T systems.

Utah: Randy Parker

Randy Parker comes to the USDA having served as chief executive officer of the Utah Farm Bureau Federation for most of the past 14 years.

Virginia: Elizabeth Walker Green

Elizabeth has been working in Federal and State politics for over thirty years.

Washington: Kirk Pearson

Kirk Pearson has served in the Washington State Legislature for 17 years, serving on the Senate Agriculture, Water, Trade, and Economic Development Committee and as Chairman of the Senate Natural Resources and Parks Committee. He has promoted legislation to help rural communities grow and thrive in the state of Washington.

West Virginia: Kris Warner

Kris Warner has more than 25 years of leadership in West Virginia business development and is also a charter member of the state-wide program Leadership Monongalia, which is designed to educate and sustain community leaders.

Wisconsin: Frank Frassetto

Frank Frassetto has 30 years of public sector experience, previously served as state director at USDA RD from 2001 to 2009, was the Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection at the WI Dept. of Agriculture, and resides in the rural town of Black Wolf and has been its Chairman since 1997.

Wyoming: Chad Rupe

Chad Rupe has served previously with USDA, as an officer in the U.S. Army, and as a community banker in Wyoming for 11 years.

Trump Administration Proposes to Eliminate Most Rural Housing Programs

Register for HAC's webinar overview of Trump Administration's BudgetRegister for HAC’s webinar overview of Trump Administration’s BudgetThe Administration’s first full budget request, released on May 23, would eliminate all USDA rural housing programs except tenant aid, loan guarantees, and grants for home repairs. It would create a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program, comprised of four existing programs – no new infrastructure efforts are provided, at least for areas covered by USDA Rural Development. It does not mention, and does not provide funding for, USDA’s recently proposed reorganization that would eliminate the Under Secretary for Rural Development.

Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA) would get $1.345 billion, and Section 542 vouchers would receive $20 million. All RA funds would be used to renew existing contracts. All rural housing direct loan programs would be defunded, as would farmworker housing grants, housing preservation grants, the MPR rental preservation program, and the Rural Community Development Initiative.

A stack of President Trump's FY 2018 Budget Proposal to Congress

Section 502 guarantees for homeownership and Section 538 guarantees for rental housing production would remain at, or slightly above, FY17 levels. Because these programs cover their own costs through fees, the government pays only the costs of administering them.

The Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant program would receive $162 million to replace Section 504 grants (Section 504 loans would be eliminated), community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants. There are no guidelines for dividing the funds among those four purposes, so some of these programs could receive no funding at all. Also, almost half – “not more than $80,000,000” – of this pool of funding can be used in Appalachia, while no other regions are mentioned.

Congress will now take over the FY18 appropriations process. House Republican leaders are expected to release their own budget in June. [tdborder][/tdborder]

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Trump Budget Proposal

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside

$900
5

$1,000
5

0
0

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

0

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

a

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

0

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

0b

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

0

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405c

1,345d

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

0e

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

0

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

250

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

0

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

20f

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

a. Combined into a new Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants pool along with community facilities grants, telemedicine distance learning grants, and broadband grants.
b. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated 514/516 funds.
c. Includes $40 million in advance funding for FY18.
d. Only for renewals of existing RA contracts.
e. Also proposes to rescind $11 million in currently unobligated self-help funds.
f. Also proposes to rescind $4 million in unobligated MPR funds.

USDA Secretary Answers Questions on Proposed Rural Development Changes, White House Accepts Comments (updated May 18)

Update, May 18, 2017: A notice in the May 18 Federal Register invites interested parties to submit comments at www.regulations.gov on the proposed reorganization. The deadline is June 14.

Several members of Congress quizzed Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue about a proposed reorganization plan that would eliminate the position of Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD). The Secretary appeared before the House Agriculture Committee on May 17 to discuss the state of the rural economy, and the hearing covered the wide spectrum of subjects under USDA’s jurisdiction.

Committee members who expressed concerns about the possible demotion of RD issues noted that they viewed the reorganization proposal in light of the request in the Administration’s preliminary budget to eliminate some water/wastewater and business programs. Perdue assured them repeatedly that RD’s program administrators would have more access to him than if the Under Secretary position remained in place. He said they would report to an Assistant Secretary who would be approved by the Senate (as the Under Secretary is), and they would also have direct “walk-in”; access to the Secretary himself. He asserted that he believes rural development is extremely important and therefore wants to be more directly involved in it.

In one of his answers, Perdue tried to summarize RD’s areas of responsibility, citing business, economic development, and utilities. He did not mention housing.

Some Committee members pointed out that USDA did not request public comment on the proposal until after it had submitted the plan to Congress for a 30-day review period. Perdue said he was not familiar with the notice requirements and could not explain why the actions were taken in this order.

Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Issues Formed

A new Interagency Task Force on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity was created by an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on April 25, 2017. The task force will “identify legislative, regulatory, and policy changes” to promote agriculture, rural economic development, infrastructure improvements, food safety, energy security, and more. The Executive Order, titled “Promoting Agriculture and Rural Prosperity in America,” tells the task force to provide state, local, and tribal officials, as well as “farmers, ranchers, foresters, and other rural stakeholders,” with an opportunity to make suggestions.

President Trump signed the Executive Order at a “Farmers Roundtable” held at the White House on April 25, Secretary Perdue’s first day on the job.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will chair the task force, which will include representatives of at least 21 additional federal departments and agencies. A report is due in six months, recommending changes to carry out the Executive Order’s goals.

The Executive Order also eliminates the Obama Administration’s White House Rural Council.