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HAC News: July 27, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 27, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 14

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

HAC News Formats. pdf

July 27, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SAVE THE DATES FOR THE HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE 2016! This year’s national conference will be held November 29-December 2 in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when registration opens.

USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report (FY 15)

USDA RD Rural Housing Program Obligations Year End Report FY 2015Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

usda-fy15-obs-yo coverFiscal Year (FY) 2015 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

The 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.

2015, 164 pages

Download the Full Report
Executive summary

CONTENTS

Introduction/Table of Contents

  1. Summary of USDA Rural Housing Obligations
  2. Single Family Housing Program Obligations
  3. Multifamily Housing Program Obligations
  4. Other Program Obligations
  5. State Obligation Tables
  6. Historical Activity for Selected Programs
  7. Direct Loan Share of Total Obligations for Selected Programs
  8. Homeowner and Tenant Average Income By State
  9. Appropriation and Obligation Tables
  10. About the Data

HAC News: March 4, 2016

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 4, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 4

• Court approves $940 million settlement with tribes • CFPB sets process to apply for rural area designation • IRS rule addresses LIHTC compliance monitoring • USDA RD consolidates environmental regulations • Materials available soon for new Section 502 guarantee rule • Section 502 final packaging rule to take effect in May • Comments requested on historic preservation and community revitalization • House committee passes measures to roll back parts of Dodd-Frank • Vast majority of human needs programs cut since FY2010 • Reminder: “duty to serve” comments due March 17 • HAC’s second CRA webinar set for March 16

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 4, 2016
Vol. 45, No. 4

Court approves $940 million settlement with tribes. A decades-long dispute between the federal government and tribes nationwide has been settled, with about 700 Native American tribes and tribal agencies expecting payments ranging from $8,000 to $58 million. Ramah Navajo Chapter v. Jewell involved tribes’ claims that the government contracted with them to run Bureau of Indian Affairs programs but did not fully pay the agreed-upon amounts. In 2012, the issue reached the Supreme Court, which ultimately agreed with the tribes that the government was liable for the payments, regardless of whether Congress had appropriated adequate funds.

CFPB sets process to apply for rural area designation. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau identifies rural places that are eligible for exemptions and other special provisions in some mortgage lending regulations. A new final rule explains how to request an area be designated rural if CFPB did not include it. The Bureau will publish another notice before March 31 defining the kind of area for which rural applications may be submitted. On March 31 it will begin accepting applications. Contact Carl Owens, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

IRS rule addresses LIHTC compliance monitoring.Comments are due May 25 on revisions relating to state and local housing credit agencies’ duties to conduct physical inspections and review low-income certifications and other documentation. Contact Jian H. Grant, IRS, 202-317-4137. Revenue Procedure 2016-15 explains how the requirements will be implemented.

USDA RD consolidates environmental regulations. Effective April 1, the new rule will update and replace separate regulations for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service/Rural Housing Service and for the Rural Utilities Service. The majority of the changes relate to categorical exclusions. Contact Kellie M. Kubena, RUS, 202-720-1649.

Materials available soon for new Section 502 guarantee rule. USDA will post a new guarantee program handbook on March 9, the date new regulations go into effect (see HAC News, 2/17/16). Handbook changes are marked in the version posted here. A recorded webinar is also online. Contact Lilian Lipton, RD, 202-720-1452.

Section 502 final packaging rule to take effect in May. The effective date of the rule published April 29, 2015, previously deferred to October 1, 2016, has been moved up to May 19. All the pilot intermediaries have been accepted as intermediaries under the program. Each may choose to cover new states as well as the states it already covers. Around the effective date, USDA will issue program guidance for the certified loan application packaging process, including how others can apply to be intermediaries. Contact Tammy Repine, RHS, 360-753-7677.

Comments requested on historic preservation and community revitalization. A working group asks for input by April 4 on a draft policy statement to be adopted by the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. The statement, intended to ensure that historic preservation is considered as a tool to stabilize and enhance communities with significant population and job loss, specifically acknowledges its role in rural communities and for tribes. Contact Charlene Dwin Vaughn, ACHP, 202-517-0207.

House committee passes measures to roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. Among several bills approved on March 2 was H.R. 2896, the “Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk Act of 2015.” The TAILOR Act, intended to reduce regulatory burdens on community banks and credit unions, would require regulatory agencies to “tailor . . . regulatory action . . . in a manner that limits the regulatory compliance impact, cost, liability risk, and other burdens as is appropriate for the risk profile and business model involved.” It would apply not only to future regula-tions, but also to those adopted during the past five years.

Vast majority of human needs programs cut since FY2010. ACoalition on Human Needs analysis found 139 of 164 human needs programs suffered cuts between FY10 and FY16; only 25 grew. Nearly half were cut by 15% or more, and almost one-third by 25% or more. The findings cover programs for job training, community services, health, substance abuse, education, and more, including most large HUD programs (though not HOME and not USDA rural housing).

New Distressed Communities Index examines economic recovery. A report and interactive maps by the Economic Innovation Group, a relatively new nonpartisan research and advocacy organization, show economic distress, measured by seven variables such as poverty, unemployment, and housing vacancy. Data are presented by zip code, county, state, and congressional district. Economic distress is highest in the South, Southwest, and Rust Belt. EIG says the data covers 99% of the U.S. population; it includes some rural areas but not all.

Reminder: “duty to serve” comments due March 17. A proposed rule would implement the requirement for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to serve the rural, manufactured housing, and affordable housing preservation markets (see HAC News, 12/16/15). Materials from HAC’s webinar on what the rule means for rural America are posted online. HAC will post its comments online before the deadline. Contact Lance George, HAC, 202-842-8600.

HAC’s second CRA webinar set for March 16. “CRA in Rural America Part II: Successful Uses,” second in a three-part series, will explore two successful rural development projects that earned CRA credit for the lenders in-volved. To register click here. Contact Shonterria Charleston, HAC, 404-892-4824. Materials from the first CRA webinar are posted here.

50 Years, 50,000 Homes

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

A Half Century of Self-Help Housing Across Rural America

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
50 Years, 50,000 Homes

This edition of Rural Voices, “50 Years, 50,000 Homes,” celebrates the construction of the 50,000th self-help home to be built with USDA support and the achievements of the nonprofit sponsors, the USDA programs, and most importantly, the families who have become successful homeowners.

Views from Washington

Successful Federal-Local Partnerships
by U.S. Representative Harold “Hal” Rogers

Local partners help USDA housing programs make meaningful impacts to the lives of local rural residents

Neighbors Helping Neighbors Build a Better Life
by U.S. Representative Sam Farr

A program that helped create the real American Dream for over 50 years.

With Many Dedicated Partners, USDA Helps 50,000 Families Achieve the American Dream
by Secretary Tom Vilsack

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack discusses USDA’s Self-Help Housing Program.

FEATURES

So Much Progress, So Much Left To Do!
by Peter Carey

A simple concept still holds promise in a complicated housing world

Looking Back: The Beginnings and Evolution of USDA’s Self-Help Housing Movement
by Bob Marshall

Early efforts in rural California became a Self-Help Housing model for the nation

Building Forward: Self-Help For All
by Russell Huxtable

Let’s build on fifty years of history and expand this life changing program!

Self-Help Housing Changed Our Lives
by Noelle McKay and Stefanie Kompathoum

Families share their experience with the Self-Help Housing Program

An Emerging Self-Help Leader
by Mi’shell French

Discusses personal growth and sustaining the momentum through Self-Help Housing

Self-Help Housing and “SHOP” in the Rio Grande Valley
by Nancy Hanson

HUD’s Self -Help Homeownership Opportunity Program helps make self-help building sites affordable

Technical Assistance is the Essential Ingredient to Self-Help Housing
by Suzy Huard

USDA’S Section 523 Technical Assistance Grants make Mutual Self-Help housing possible

Expanding Service in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
by Mike Shimon

A local Habitat for Humanity provider reaches more families using the USDA Mutual Self-Help program

Neither Wind, Nor Rain…Can Stop a Determined Self-Help Provider
by Linda Smith

A local nonprofit is up to the challenge when disaster strikes twice.

Additional Content

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselvesCelebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(8.5″ X 11″ printable pdf)

Celebrating 50 Years of helping families help themselves.(25.5″ X 11″ original document)

Rural Voices would like to hear what you have to say about one, or all, of these issues. Please feel free to comment on this story by sending a tweet to #RuralVoicesMag, discuss on the Rural Affordable Housing Group on LinkedIn, or on our Facebook page.

USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report FY 2014

USDA Rural Development Housing Funding Activity FY 2014Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

USDA Rural Development Housing Funding Activity FY 2014Fiscal Year (FY) 2014 USDA Rural Housing Program Funding Activity Year End Report

The 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.

2015, 164 pages

Download the Full Report
Executive summary

CONTENTS

Introduction/Table of Contents

  1. Summary of USDA Rural Housing Obligations
  2. Single Family Housing Program Obligations
  3. Multifamily Housing Program Obligations
  4. Other Program Obligations
  5. State Obligation Tables
  6. Historical Activity for Selected Programs
  7. Direct Loan Share of Total Obligations for Selected Programs
  8. Homeowner and Tenant Average Income By State
  9. Appropriation and Obligation Tables
  10. About the Data

HAC News: May 13, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 13, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 10

• House committee approves THUD spending bill • Senate passes budget agreement • HUD offers lead-paint grants • New version of USDA’s multifamily Preliminary Assessment Tool available • HUD and USDA determine new energy efficiency standards will apply • Guidance released to extend CDBG disaster grants from Hurricane Sandy • Dates set for Section 538 calls • FHFA announces extension of HARP • Worst Case Housing Needs 2015 Report to Congress released • Limits on GSE lending for multifamily mortgages eased • Federal rental assistance and Housing Choice voucher fact sheets released • Webinar recording on Native American housing available • HAC conference on “Serving Veterans in Rural America” set for May 20

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 13, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 10

HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES THUD SPENDING BILL. On May 13, the House Appropriations Committee passed the Transportation-HUD subcommittee’s FY16 appropriations bill without changes to HUD spending levels (see HAC News, 4/29/15). The committee rejected an amendment to provide $1.06 million for HOME without diverting money from the National Housing Trust Fund, offered by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).

SENATE PASSES BUDGET AGREEMENT. On May 5, the Senate voted 51 to 48 to approve the House budget, which adds military spending while keeping cuts affecting social programs in place (see HAC News, 4/3/15). The budget is not binding and does not require presidential signature, but it does impose overall caps on federal spending.

HUD OFFERS LEAD-PAINT GRANTS. Local, county, state, and tribal governments can apply for the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration and Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grant programs by June 23. Contact Eric Hornbuckle, HUD, 202-402-7599.

NEW VERSION OF USDA’S MULTIFAMILY PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT TOOL AVAILABLE. Version 4.0 of the tool for Section 515 or 514 borrowers (see HAC News, 12/22/14) should be used when applying to transfer ownership or for the Multi-Family Housing Revitalization Demonstration Program (at the links, click the “Forms & Resources” tabs). Borrowers that used older PAT guidelines and submitted transactions after December 16, 2014 must use the new version. Contact an RD State Office.

HUD AND USDA DETERMINE NEW ENERGY EFFICIENCY STANDARDS WILL APPLY. New standards will be required for newly constructed homes with USDA Section 502 direct and guaranteed loans and for FHA-insured multifamily and single-family properties. For the HOME program, the standards will apply after publication of guidance by HUD. For more information contact Meghan Walsh, USDA, 202-205-9590.

GUIDANCE RELEASED TO EXTEND CDBG DISASTER GRANTS FROM HURRICANE SANDY. Expenditure extensions can be made for 24 months. For more information, contact Stanley Gimont, HUD, 202-708-3587.

DATES SET FOR SECTION 538 CALLS. To receive emails announcing dates for calls or web meetings in 2015 and 2016, contact Monica Cole at 202-720-1251. Topics will include program activities, perspectives on the current state of debt financing and its impact on the Section 538 program, enhancing the use of program financing with the transfer or preservation of Section 515 units, and the impact of LIHTC program changes on Section 538 program financing.

FHFA ANNOUNCES EXTENSION OF HARP. The Home Affordable Refinance Program will continue through the end of 2016. Launched in 2009 to provide relief to borrowers through lowering monthly payments, HARP was originally set to expire December 31, 2013.

WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS 2015 REPORT TO CONGRESS RELEASED. HUD reports that although very low-income renters with worst case needs (those who do not receive government housing aid and paid more than half their income for rent, lived in severely inadequate conditions, or both) decreased slightly from 2011 to 2013, need remains high. Nonmetro areas experience less worst case need overall, but face other challenges including high utility costs.

LIMITS ON GSE LENDING FOR MULTIFAMILY MORTGAGES EASED. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can increase their financing of multifamily mortgages this year in order to avoid tighter multifamily credit and borrowing costs. Caps will remain at $30 billion each; however, multifamily loans that meet certain qualifications can be excluded. Qualifications are based on the percentage of units priced under a certain area median income, whether the property is in a high cost market, if the units target seniors, and if the property is mixed-income targeted affordable housing.

FEDERAL RENTAL ASSISTANCE AND HOUSING CHOICE VOUCHER FACT SHEETS RELEASED. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities fact sheets provide state level data on the impacts of HUD rental assistance, the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Housing Choice Voucher utilization data, and sequestration cuts in Housing Choice Vouchers.

WEBINAR RECORDING ON NATIVE AMERICAN HOUSING AVAILABLE. On March 24, HUD hosted a panel discussion and webcast entitled “Native American Housing: Obstacles and Opportunities.” Speakers provided data and described best practices.

HAC CONFERENCE ON “SERVING VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA” SET FOR MAY 20. Cosponsored by HAC and The Home Depot Foundation, this event in Washington, DC will provide information on housing, health, and employment needs and programs for rural veterans, with a special focus on successful local projects. There is no charge, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, email janice@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: April 29, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 29, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 9

• House acts on HUD funding • USDA RD issues final 502 packaging rule • RD revises UL on tenant notifications for loan payoffs • HUD offers ICDBG funds to address mold • HUD has tenant protection vouchers for low-vacancy areas • Continuum of Care registration opens • VA requests comments on Veterans Choice Program • HUD changes Distressed Asset Stabilization Program • Broadband comments requested • HUD revising tribal consultation policy • HUD required to use procurement contracts for Section 8 funding • Administration adds new Promise Zones • GAO recommends changes in HOPWA funding formula • HUD releases Rental Market Dynamics 2009-2011 report • HAC blogs on ending rural veteran homelessness • Veterans and LIHTC subjects of HAC webinars • HAC conference on “Serving Veterans in Rural America” set for May 20

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 29, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 9

HOUSE ACTS ON HUD FUNDING. The House Appropriations Transportation-HUD Subcommittee on April 29 approved a bill to fund HUD and other programs in fiscal year 2016, beginning October 1. The bill would reduce appropriations for HOME from $900 million in 2015 to $767 million in 2016, but would make up the difference by channeling receipts from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to HOME rather than to the National Housing Trust Fund, where current law requires them to go. The bill has level funding for CDBG, Native American housing, public housing operating funds, fair housing, and housing counseling. Some other reductions and increases would also occur, as the table below indicates. A full committee mark-up is the next step in the process and will probably occur soon. The Senate committee has not yet scheduled its action on a T-HUD bill. Also not yet clear is when a final appropriations act will pass and what the impact of a required budget sequester could be. [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY13
Approp.a

FY14
Approp.

FY15
Approp.

FY16 Admin. Budget
Proposal

FY16
House Subcmte. Bill

Cmty. Devel. Fund
CDBG

3,308
2,948

3,100
3,030

3,066
3,000

2,880
2,800

3,060
3,000

HOME
SHOP setaside

1,000
b

1,000
b

900
b

1,060
10

767

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

13.5

10

10

b

10

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance
VASH setaside

18,939.4
75

19,177.2
75

19,304
75

21,123
c

19,919

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

9,339.7

9,516.6

9,330

10,360

10,254

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,886

1,875

1,875

1,970

1,681

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,262

4,400

4,440

4,600

4,440

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

120

90

80

250

20

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grant

650

650

650

660

650

Homeless Assistance Grantsd

2,033

2,105

2,135

2,480

2,185

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

334

330

330

332

332

202 Hsg. for Elderly

377

385.3

436

455

414

811 Hsg. for Disabled

165

126

135

177

152

Fair Housing

70.8

66

65.3

71

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

120

110

110

120

75

Housing Counseling

45

45

47

60

47

Local Housing Policy Grants

300

a. Figures shown do not include 5% sequester.
b. Recent Obama budgets have proposed making the SHOP program a setaside in HOME. Congress has rejected that proposal.
c. VASH vouchers for homeless veterans are not funded. The President’s budget proposed making VASH part of a new account of incremental rental vouchers for families, veterans, and tribal families experiencing homelessness and for victims of domestic violence.
d. Includes the Rural Housing Stability Program, which is not yet operational.

USDA RD ISSUES FINAL 502 PACKAGING RULE. Revisions to the rule proposed on August 23, 2013 (see HAC News, 8/28/13) will strengthen qualification requirements for intermediaries, require all loans to go through intermediaries unless a packaging organization gets a USDA waiver, cap fees at $1,500 initially, exempt self-help loans from packaging, and make other changes. The final rule is effective July 28. Contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

RD REVISES UL ON TENANT NOTIFICATIONS FOR LOAN PAYOFFS. An Unnumbered Letter dated April 28, 2015 supersedes one issued on January 15, 2015 (see HAC News, 2/4/15) and includes sample notifications for borrowers and tenants. Contact a USDA RD state office.

HUD OFFERS ICDBG FUNDS TO ADDRESS MOLD. Tribes and tribal organizations can apply by June 22 for Mold Remediation and Prevention grants to be used for housing units owned or operated by tribes and TDHEs or previously assisted with HUD funding. Contact Roberta Youmans, HUD, 202-402-3316.

HUD HAS TENANT PROTECTION VOUCHERS FOR LOW-VACANCY AREAS. Property owners can apply on a rolling basis for either enhanced vouchers or project-based vouchers for tenants in listed low-vacancy counties whose rents rise when a HUD-insured, HUD-held or Section 202 loan matures; a rental assistance contract expires; or HUD affordability restrictions expire. Contact HUD’s Housing Voucher Management and Operations Division, 202-708-0477.

CONTINUUM OF CARE REGISTRATION OPENS. CoC Collaborative Applicants (not project applicants) must register by May 18 in order to compete for FY15 funds. Contact a HUD CPD field office.

VA REQUESTS COMMENTS ON VETERANS CHOICE PROGRAM. Comments are due May 26 for the Veterans Choice Program interim final rule, which uses driving distance rather than straight lines to measure the distance from a veteran’s residence to the nearest VA medical facility. Contact Kristin Cunningham, VA, 202-382-2508.

HUD CHANGES DISTRESSED ASSET STABILIZATION PROGRAM. Loan servicers must now delay foreclosure for a year and evaluate borrowers for loss mitigation programs. Other changes are intended to increase HUD’s first 2015 sale is planned for June.

BROADBAND COMMENTS REQUESTED. The Rural Utilities Service and National Telecommunications and Information Administration seek input by June 10 about federal actions to promote broadband deployment, adoption, and competition, including by identifying and removing regulatory barriers. Contact Denise Scott, RUS, 202-720-1910.

HUD REVISING TRIBAL CONSULTATION POLICY. Comments are due June 8 on changes to HUD’s government-to-government policy, which intended to enhance communication and coordination between HUD and federally recognized Indian tribes, and to outline guiding principles and procedures under which all HUD employees are to operate with regard to federally recognized tribes. Contact Rodger Boyd, HUD, 202-401-7914.

HUD REQUIRED TO USE PROCUREMENT CONTRACTS FOR SECTION 8 FUNDING. On April 20 the Supreme Court denied an appeal petition, leaving standing a lower court’s ruling that HUD cannot continue to use cooperative agreements with states and PHAs to run the Project-Based Rental Assistance (voucher) program. HUD must now use the federal procurement process, and has said it will need 18-24 months to implement the decision.

ADMINISTRATION ADDS NEW PROMISE ZONES. As PZs, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota and the South Carolina Low Country, along with six cities, will receive technical assistance and some funding preferences.

GAO RECOMMENDS CHANGES IN HOPWA FUNDING FORMULA. Persons with HIV: Funding Formula for Housing Assistance Could Be Better Targeted, and Performance Data Could Be Improved recommends revising the funding formula to letter reflect the number of living persons with HIV.

HUD RELEASES RENTAL MARKET DYNAMICS 2009-2011 REPORT. The report finds that while the number of afford-able units increased nationally, their percentage of the overall rental stock decreased.

HAC BLOGS ON ENDING RURAL VETERAN HOMELESSNESS. Accounting for Our Sometimes Hidden Homeless Veterans” highlights strategies to ensure rural veterans are included in VA efforts to end veteran homelessness in 2015.

VETERANS AND LIHTC SUBJECTS OF HAC WEBINARS. “Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans” is set for May 6. “Utilizing Low Income Housing Tax Credits: An Introduction” will be on May 13; follow the discussion online at #ruralLIHTC. Both will be at 2:00 eastern time and are free; registration is required. Contact Shonterria Charleston, 404-892-4824.

HAC CONFERENCE ON “SERVING VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA” SET FOR MAY 20. Cosponsored by HAC and The Home Depot Foundation, this event in Washington, DC will provide information on housing, health, and employment needs and programs for rural veterans, with a special focus on successful local projects. There is no charge, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, email janice@ruralhome.org.

HAC News: April 15, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 15, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 8

• House approves bills on QM and manufactured housing • USDA expanding Section 502 direct loan intermediary pilot • CDFI Fund offers bond guarantees, eases applications for some • RHS encourages processing Section 502 direct applications • RD’s Capital Needs Assessment guidance reissued • FHFA adopts rule prohibiting pass-through of NHTF and CMF costs • Study finds administrative fees for HUD vouchers do not cover costs • Report documents innovative financing for permanent supportive housing • GAO report on government programs’ overlap includes NMTC recommendations • HUD offers healthy housing awards • Upcoming HAC webinars cover HVAC, veterans

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 15, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 8

HOUSE APPROVES BILLS ON QM AND MANUFACTURED HOUSING. On April 14 the House passed H.R. 685, the Mortgage Choice Act of 2015, and H.R. 650, the Preserving Access to Manufactured Housing Act. Supporters say the bills would clarify provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act and increase consumer options. The Obama Administration has threatened to veto both H.R. 685 and H.R. 650, saying both “would weaken key consumer protections and provisions” of Dodd-Frank.

USDA EXPANDING SECTION 502 DIRECT LOAN INTERMEDIARY PILOT. Nonprofits and public agencies can apply by May 13 to become intermediaries, which train and assist other nonprofits to package Section 502 direct loan applications. New intermediaries must work in specific states not covered by current intermediaries. For further information, contact Brooke Baumann, RD, 202-690-4250.

CDFI FUND OFFERS BOND GUARANTEES, EASES APPLICATIONS FOR SOME. Certified CDFIs or entities designated by certified CDFIs can apply by June 5 to become qualified issuers, and qualified issuers can apply by June 12 for guarantees under the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program. Contact CDFI Fund staff, 202-653-0421, option 5. Comments are due June 9 on an interim rule that would give the CDFI Fund more flexibility to approve a CDFI that is an affiliate of another CDFI for the Bond Guarantee Program only. Contact CDFI Fund staff.

RHS ENCOURAGES PROCESSING SECTION 502 DIRECT APPLICATIONS. RHS has told stakeholders, including HAC, that Administrator Tony Hernandez and USDA Under Secretary Lisa Mensah recently encouraged field staff to allocate adequate resources to process applications for Section 502 direct loans. The National Office has provided states with new tools for data analysis and management, and states are encouraged to partner with others as needed to speed loan processing and fully utilize FY 2015 allocations.

RD’S CAPITAL NEEDS ASSESSMENT GUIDANCE REISSUED. An Unnumbered Letter dated March 16, 2015 is substantially the same as a 2013 UL. It provides detail on developing a CNA, required for transactions involving USDA financed multifamily properties. Contact a USDA RD state office.

FHFA ADOPTS RULE PROHIBITING PASS-THROUGH OF NHTF AND CMF COSTS. No changes were made in the interim rule issued in December (see HAC News, 12/22/14) stating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac cannot pass to loan originators the costs of their National Housing Trust Fund and Capital Magnet Fund allocations.

STUDY FINDS ADMINISTRATIVE FEES FOR HUD VOUCHERS DO NOT COVER COSTS. Conducted byAbt Associates for HUD, the research included public housing authorities of all sizes in urban, rural, and suburban places. A draft report, Housing Choice Voucher Program Administrative Fee Study, says in 2013 the average cost of administering a voucher was $70.03 per month and the average fee from HUD was $51.64. Costs in the smallest PHAs (fewer than 50 vouchers) were 91% higher than in the largest PHAs (200 to 249 vouchers), even though rural labor costs were lower. Only 52% of the costs in those smallest PHAs were covered by fees. The report recommends a new formula for calculating fees.

REPORT DOCUMENTS INNOVATIVE FINANCING FOR PERMANENT SUPPORTIVE HOUSING. Creating New Integrated Permanent Supportive Housing Opportunities for ELI Households: A Vision for the Future of the National Housing Trust Fund, released by the Technical Assistance Collaborative and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, highlights state innovations in financing for permanent supportive housing for extremely low-income (30% of area median) households, consistent with recommendations in NLIHC’s report, Aligning Federal Low Income Housing Programs with Housing Need.

GAO REPORT ON GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS’ OVERLAP INCLUDES NMTC RECOMMENDATIONS. The Government Accountability Office’s 2015 Annual Report: Additional Opportunities to Reduce Fragmentation, Overlap, and Duplication and Achieve Other Financial Benefits(GAO-15-404SP) makes no new recommendations on housing programs. It suggests the CDFI Fund issue further guidance on how other government programs can be combined with New Markets Tax Credits; ensure adequate controls to limit the risks of unnecessary duplication and above-market rates of return; and ensure that more complete and accurate data are collected.

HUD OFFERS HEALTHY HOUSING AWARDS. Applications are due April 30 for awards in three categories: public housing/multifamily supported housing, public policy, and cross-program coordination.

UPCOMING HAC WEBINARS COVER HVAC, VETERANS. “A Practitioner’s Guide to Energy Star 3.0: HVAC (Part A)” will be on April 22 at 2:00 eastern (registration available soon) and “Access to Health and Homeless Services for Rural Veterans” on May 6 at 2:00 eastern. Both are free; registration is required. Contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: April 3, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

• April is National Fair Housing Month • House and Senate approve nonbinding budget resolutions • NAHASDA reauthorization passes House • USDA offers farmworker housing loans and grants • Housing counseling grants available • HUD requests comment on VAWA rule changes • Broadband demonstration in HUD housing considered • USDA approval for restructuring senior loans explained • Ways to speed agency processing of Section 502 guaranteed loans suggested • HUD sets requirements for rental assistance transfers • Update for Section 3 regulations proposed • Rural housing tenant data for 2014 now available • Homelessness has decreased, change varies widely among states, report says • CFPB updates homebuying toolkit • HAC sets Energy Star webinar for April 8

HAC News Formats. pdf

April 3, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 7

APRIL IS NATIONAL FAIR HOUSING MONTH. HUD issued a press release describing a new media campaign.

HOUSE AND SENATE APPROVE NONBINDING BUDGET RESOLUTIONS. The House passed H.Con.Res.27 on March 25 and the Senate approved S.Con.Res. 11 on March 27. Both houses would retain sequester spending caps for FY16 and make deeper cuts beginning in FY17. Differences between the two mean there may not be agreement on a joint resolution, which would not have the force of law but would guide development of appropriations bills for FY16.

NAHASDA REAUTHORIZATION PASSES HOUSE. The House passed H.R. 360, the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Reauthorization Act, on March 23. The Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing March 18 on its bill, S. 710.

USDA OFFERS FARMWORKER HOUSING LOANS AND GRANTS. Pre-applications for construction or purchase and sub-stantial rehab of off-farm housing are due June 23. Rental Assistance and operating assistance are available. Projects serving high poverty census tracts will receive additional points. Contact an RD state office for an application package.

HOUSING COUNSELING GRANTS AVAILABLE. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies can apply by May 7. Contact HUD staff.

HUD REQUESTS COMMENT ON VAWA RULE CHANGES. A proposed rule implementing the 2013 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act would increase protections for survivors of domestic and dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault who live in rental housing assisted by HUD. Comments are due June 1. HAC’s website provides a brief summary of the proposal. Separate contacts for HUD programs are listed in the proposed rule. HUD’s proposal covers USDA-funded rental units that have HUD Section 8 assistance, but not other USDA rentals. USDA has implemented the 2013 VAWA through Administrative Notices 4747 (February 10, 2014) and 4778 (January 5, 2015).

BROADBAND DEMONSTRATION IN HUD HOUSING CONSIDERED. HUD requests comments by May 1 on a proposed demonstration aimed at narrowing the digital divide for students in HUD-assisted housing. It wants to partner with local governments, business, and nonprofits “to accelerate broadband adoption and use in HUD-assisted homes.” HUD intends to conduct the initial demonstration in about 20 HUD-assisted communities across the country, both urban and rural, and hopes to expand it nationwide eventually. Contact Camille E. Acevedo, HUD, 202-402-5132.

USDA APPROVAL FOR RESTRUCTURING SENIOR LOANS EXPLAINED. An Unnumbered Letter dated February 27, 2015 is intended to clarify the process for obtaining official RD prior approval and permission to restructure a third-party loan to which a Section 515 loan is subordinate. Contact an RD state office.

WAYS TO SPEED AGENCY PROCESSING OF SECTION 502 GUARANTEED LOANS SUGGESTED. An Unnumbered Letter dated March 13, 2015 lists “tips and best practices for increasing operational efficiencies and to eliminate unnecessary unproductive processes.” Contact the Rural Housing Service’s National Office, 202-720-1452.

HUD SETS REQUIREMENTS FOR RENTAL ASSISTANCE TRANSFERS. A notice describes the conditions for HUD approval of requests to transfer project-based rental assistance, debt held or insured by HUD, and use restrictions from one or more multifamily housing project to another or others. Contact Nancie-Ann Bodell, HUD, 202-708-2495.

UPDATE FOR SECTION 3 REGULATIONS PROPOSED. HUD suggests strengthening its oversight of Section 3, which requires giving jobs and other economic opportunities generated by HUD assistance to low- and very low-income persons to the extent possible.Comments are due May 26. Contact Staci Gilliam, HUD, 202-402-3468.

RURAL HOUSING TENANT DATA FOR 2014 NOW AVAILABLE. USDA RD’s annual issuance provides figures at the national and state levels for the agency’s multifamily portfolio as a whole and separately for Section 515, Section 514/516, and Rental Assistance. There were 1,645 fewer units in 2014 than in 2013. The average income for Section 515 tenants is now $12,022 and for Rental Assistance recipients $10,258. Elderly and disabled households remain a majority in Section 515 units, at 61.65%, and the proportion of households with disabilities increased.

HOMELESSNESS HAS DECREASED, CHANGE VARIES WIDELY AMONG STATES, REPORT SAYS. The State of Homelessness in America 2015, by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, reports data for states and for subpopulations.

CFPB UPDATES HOMEBUYING TOOLKIT. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has revised its information booklet, “Your Home Loan Toolkit: A Step-by-Step Guide.” Contact Julie Vore, CFPB, 202-435-7700.

HAC SETS ENERGY STAR WEBINAR FOR APRIL 8. Register online for HAC’s upcoming webinar, “A Practitioner’s Guide to Energy Star 3.0,” to be held on April 8 at 2 pm Eastern time. Contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC News: March 18, 2015

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 18, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 6

• Members of Congress question budget’s self-help funding, minimum rents, and more • Castro includes rural in budget testimony • House and Senate Republicans release FY16 budgets • VA expands eligibility for SSVF NOFA •HUD requests input on HOPWA for abuse victims • USDA StrikeForce Initiative adds counties in Oklahoma and Puerto Rico • Gap between supply of and demand for affordable rental units continues to grow • Housing costs increasing for employed renters • HAC releases conference report • HAC sets “Serving Veterans in Rural America” conference for May 20

HAC News Formats. pdf

March 18, 2015
Vol. 44, No. 6

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS QUESTION BUDGET’S SELF-HELP FUNDING, MINIMUM RENTS, AND MORE. Appropriations Committee Chair Hal Rogers (R-KY) called the proposed reduction in funding for Section 523 self-help housing “troublesome” at a March 18 House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the Administration’s FY16 budget request. Housing Administrator Tony Hernandez said carryover from FY15 will help fund self-help contracts, and that RD’s effort to improve underwriting and automation will lead to reduced wait times for loan approvals. Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt (R-AL) questioned funding decreases that have “been rejected [by Congress] many times in the past,” and also asked about the proposed $50 minimum rent. Hernandez said about 36,000 households would be eligible for hardship exemptions, where a rent of $25 would likely be required, and noted USDA is asking to access HHS income verification databases to confirm program eligibility. Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) inquired about RD’s reevaluation of how “rural in character” is defined to determine housing program eligibility. Hernandez replied the requirement is currently suspended and should be reinstated by September 2015. Subcommittee Ranking Member Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA) pointed out this was the only hearing addressing rural poverty.

CASTRO INCLUDES RURAL IN BUDGET TESTIMONY. On March 11, HUD Secretary Julián Castro testified on HUD’s FY16 budget request before the Senate Transportation-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee. His written testimony, like the testimony prepared for the House Subcommittee on February 25, includes a section on rural America, focusing on Native American programs, colonias, and partnerships with USDA.

HOUSE AND SENATE REPUBLICANS RELEASE FY16 BUDGETS. Neither document includes specific spending levels for individual housing programs. The Senate Republicans’ budget proposal does not discuss housing. The House version says it will reform housing programs, without details except for positive mention of HUD’s Moving to Work program. It would also privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

VA EXPANDS ELIGIBILITY FOR SSVF NOFA. The Department of Veterans Affairs has made current Supportive Services for Veteran Families grantees with three-year, non-renewable grants eligible to apply under its February 3 NOFA (see HAC News, 2/4/15). The deadline is April 10. Contact SSVF staff, 877-737-0111.

HUD REQUESTS INPUT ON HOPWA FOR ABUSE VICTIMS. Comments are due April 13 on a demonstration that will award grants to states, local governments, and nonprofits to provide temporary housing to low-income victims of abuse or assault living with HIV/AIDS. Grantees must coordinate with local domestic violence and sexual assault service providers for client outreach and supportive services. Contact Amy Palilonis, HUD, 202-402-5916.

USDA STRIKEFORCE INITIATIVE ADDS COUNTIES IN OKLAHOMA AND PUERTO RICO. StrikeForce targets assistance to rural areas with chronic poverty. Parts of 21 states and the entire island of Puerto Rico are now included.

COMMENTS REQUESTED ON REDUCING USDA REGULATORY BURDENS. Comments are due May 18 on ways to modify regulations to streamline reporting and increase flexibility. Contact Michael Poe, USDA, 202-720-3257.

GAP BETWEEN SUPPLY OF AND DEMAND FOR AFFORDABLE RENTAL UNITS CONTINUES TO GROW. Affordable Housing is Nowhere to be Found for Millions, published by the National Low Income Housing Coalition,highlights the gaps at the national and state levels. Nationwide, only 31 affordable and available rental units exist for every 100 extremely low-income renter households. NLIHC says that, without government intervention, this gap will continue increasing.

HOUSING COSTS INCREASING FOR EMPLOYED RENTERS. Housing Landscape 2015, by the National Housing Conference’s Center for Housing Policy, reports housing affordability has improved slightly for low- and moderate-income working households, but costs continue to increase for working renters. Minority-headed households – except for American Indians and Native Alaskans – have a notably higher housing cost burden than white-headed households.

HAC RELEASES CONFERENCE REPORT. Events from the 2014 HAC Rural Housing Conference are reviewed briefly in the final report, which includes links to videos of each plenary session as well as materials from select workshops. [tdborder][/tdborder]

HAC SETS “SERVING VETERANS IN RURAL AMERICA” CONFERENCE FOR MAY 20. Cosponsored by HAC and The Home Depot Foundation, this event in Washington, DC will provide information on housing, health, and employment needs and programs for rural veterans, with a special focus on successful local projects. Confirmed speakers include Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), other government officials, and representatives of several local rural housing organizations. There is no charge, but registration is requested. To register or for more information, email janice@ruralhome.org.