Posts

White Mountain Apache Housing Authority Serves its Veterans

The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority (WMAHA) helps the members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe to overcome their individual housing needs. Of these, almost 500 are U.S. military veterans. Working in the Fort Apache Indian Reservation located in eastern central Arizona, WMAHA serves the 16,000 enrolled members of the White Mountain Apache Tribe and strives to ensure that every tribal member has safe housing they can afford. The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) is proud to be a partner of WMAHA and their amazing work. In 2018, we awarded a $30,000 grant through The Home Depot Foundation‘s Veteran Housing Grants Program to WMAHA to help support their veterans. In celebration of Veterans Day and Native American Heritage Month, we’d like to highlight just a few of the many ways the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority serves the veterans of the White Mountain Apache Tribe.

Before rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

Before rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018

After rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

After rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018

Before and after of a rehab of a veteran’s home completed by WMAHA in 2018 

 

As many veterans know, service doesn’t end when you’re discharged. It’s a value that is carried for a lifetime. For WMAHA, service is key to the mission. The Veteran Home Rehabilitation Program serves those who have served our country. Many of the low-income Apache veterans the Housing Authority assists are in desperate need of multiple, expensive repairs to make sure their homes are safe, accessible, and livable. But without the ability to make these repairs themselves, many veterans need help.

Over the last eight years, the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority has rehabilitated (or in one case built!) 19 homes for their veterans, each of which required multiple major repairs for health, safety, and accessibility. All of this was performed at no cost to the veteran or their family. Last year WMAHA was able to set a record with 5 rehabilitations.

Making sure their veterans have safe and healthy homes is a point of pride for WMAHA and for the entire White Mountain Apache community. After all, WMAHA doesn’t work alone: each rehabilitation is made possible by scores of volunteers. As the team from WMAHA explains, “the number of volunteers who come and help with demolition and construction cleanup during the projects” is a testament to the rehabilitation program’s “impact on the community.” From the Housing Authority to everyday members, including community partners, the White Mountain Apache Tribe takes care of its veterans. By taking care of those who took care of us, WMAHA is serving both its community and the broader community of veterans nationwide.

The COVID pandemic has hit many Native communities particularly hard, and tragically, the White Mountain Apache are no exception. During the pandemic, unemployment, which usually runs 80% according to WMAHA, has far surpassed that amount, and food insecurity is “at a critical level.” Many of the low-income veterans WMAHA assists don’t have a way to pick up food from the local food bank, so the Housing Authority is starting to deliver the food boxes itself. Not content to just help house their veterans, WMAHA is committed to improving their quality of life.

Caring for veterans extends outside the home, too. For WMAHA, ensuring their veterans have access to the Veterans Affairs benefits they deserve is a critical mission. With 1.67 million acres, the Fort Apache Indian Reservation is large and rural. This creates challenges for many of the Tribe’s low-income veterans. Many of the nearest VA hospitals are hundreds of miles away, which makes even getting to routine appointments incredibly difficult. This distance makes it so challenging to receive disability ratings, see specialists, and make necessary appointments that, according to Barb Connerley, a consultant who works with WMAHA, “many of the veterans…do not know what VA benefits are available to them.”

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

This veteran’s home was in such disrepair the team from WMAHA decided to tear it down and start from scratch.

The White Mountain Apache Housing Authority has created a solution to help connect their veterans to the VA medical care they earned through their service. Since 2017, the White Mountain Apache Tribe Department of Transportation has operated Fort Apache Connection Transit (FACT), a 2-route bus system serving 12 stops across the Reservation. While this system doesn’t provide access to the nearest VA hospitals, the Housing Authority recently began repurposing one of their buses to transport veterans to their VA appointments. Multiple times a month, WMAHA will be providing veterans with a bus ride to their appointments and back home. They even take the time to help the veterans complete their paperwork to file for VA benefits.

For the trip, WMAHA provides their veterans with water, snacks, masks, and COVID safety information. They hope that this program can also serve as a teaching event, helping their veterans learn more about COVID safety as well as how to access their VA benefits. The program’s strength is its ingenuity—bringing together transit, healthcare, and informational services—in solving a critical problem for the Tribe’s veterans. Thanks to the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority, veterans living on reservation now have access to the critical VA healthcare they’ve earned through their service.

Many veterans return from their service to find it difficult to access the resources of their communities, including housing. Tragically, Native communities are overrepresented among persistent poverty counties, making these resources even harder to access. The Housing Assistance Council is committed to helping build community resources for housing where they’re needed most. Partners like WMAHA help us give back to our veterans and uplift Native communities. As Barb Connerley puts it, the Tribe’s veterans “have a proud tradition of military service and sacrifice.” The work of the White Mountain Apache Housing Authority pays respect to that service and sacrifice through service, care, and ingenuity of its own.

HAC News: November 15, 2019

News Formats. pdf

November 15, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 23

One-month federal funding extension in processHousing discrimination and hate crimes rose in 2018HUD announces veteran homelessness decline continuesGrants offered for community infrastrcuture for homeless individuals and familiesSenate committee reviews bills on cabon monoxide alarms and manufactured housing2020 Census news: rural participation, minority and low-income undercountys, hiringComments requested on Opportunity Zones reporting formImproved transportation and housing recommended to address rural food insecurityRural placemakers gather in Minnesota for Rural Arts and Culture SummitLIHTC in Rural Lower Mississippi DeltaPoverty in Rural Michigan: Relentless Aging and Few Opportunities for Those of Working AgeRural America at a Glance: 2019 EditionRural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People BehindHAC News to be published after Thanksgiving • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

November 15, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 23

November is Native American Heritage Month.

One-month federal funding extension in process.

The House and Senate are expected to pass a continuing resolution to fund the federal government through December 20 at FY19 funding levels. To keep the government open, President Trump will have to sign the legislation as well. The current CR ends on November 21.

Housing discrimination and hate crimes rose in 2018.

The National Fair Housing Alliance released its 2019 Fair Housing Trends Report, “Defending Against Unprecedented Attacks on Fair Housing. NFHA’s research found 2018 had the highest number of housing discrimination complaints since 1995 and hate crime offenses increased by 14.7% since 2017. At the same time, NFHA reports, HUD, the agency charged with enforcing the Fair Housing Act, is working actively to undermine it, most notably by eliminating local governments’ ability to implement 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing regulations and by proposing to make it almost impossible to prove claims when policies have a “disparate impact” on protected classes.

HUD announces veteran homelessness decline continues.

The total number of reported veterans experiencing homelessness fell by 2.1% from 2018 to 2019, says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. Estimates of homeless veterans for each state and Continuum of Care are available online. The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness lists 78 communities and three states that have ended veteran homelessness. The director of one of them, Mississippi’s Balance of State Continuum of Care, wrote a blog post for the National Alliance to End Homelessness offering “Three Tips for Ending Veteran Homelessness in a Balance of State CoC.

Grants offered for community infrastructures for homeless individuals and families.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Grants for the Benefit of Homeless Individuals program funds community-based public and private nonprofits to develop and/or expand local implementation of a community infrastructure that integrates substance use disorder treatment, housing services and other critical services for individuals (including youth) and families experiencing homelessness. Deadline is December 16. For more information, contact Michelle Daly, SAMHSA, 240-276-2789.

Senate committee reviews bills on carbon monoxide alarms and manufactured housing.

On November 7, the Senate Banking Committee held a hearing entitled “Examining Bipartisan Bills to Promote Affordable Housing Access and Safety.” The hearing covered several bipartisan bills, including the Carbon Monoxide Alarms Leading Every Resident to Safety Act, H.R. 1690, which passed the House in September, and the HUD Manufactured Housing Modernization Act, S. 1804. The House Subcommittee on Housing will hold a hearing November 20 themed “Safe and Decent? Examining the Current State of Residents’ Health and Safety in HUD Housing.”

2020 Census news: rural participation, minority and low-income undercounts, hiring.

Commentary in the Daily Yonder suggests How Rural Areas Can Avoid Being Undercounted in the Census: become census partners, use data to target outreach, provide internet access in community spaces and partner with schools or employers. Black and Hispanic respondents to a Pew Research Center survey, as well as those with incomes under $30,000, are the most likely to say they may not participate in the 2020 count. (The sample size was too small to provide results for Native Americans, Asians and other racial and ethnic groups.) The Census Bureau is accepting applications online as it recruits about half a million temporary workers to help with the census.

Comments requested on Opportunity Zones reporting form.

The IRS has drafted a new version of Form 8996, used by Qualified Opportunity Funds to report their investments in Opportunity Zones. No deadline is set for comments. The draft does not request information on investments’ impacts on residents’ incomes or other changes. That kind of information would be collected if S. 1344/H.R. 2593 become law, but the bills have not moved forward in Congress.

Improved transportation and housing recommended to address rural food insecurity.

In a recently released data dashboard, the Urban Institute highlights the interrelatedness of housing and food insecurity. UI maps counties by “peer groups” based on their level of food insecurity and the correlating risk factors. Rural counties with low food insecurity tend to have a good supply of affordable housing, while rural counties with high food insecurity tend to be experiencing economic challenges and are concentrated in high-needs regions of the Southeast. A corollary list of strategies communities can use to disrupt food insecurity includes efforts that target rural communities’ food capacity by improving transportation to increase food access and promoting affordable housing as a baseline for supporting food security. These strategies connect to HAC’s Rural Voices edition on hunger and housing in rural America, and its rural research note on childhood hunger in rural America.

Rural placemakers gather in Minnesota for Rural Arts and Culture Summit.

PBS News hour recently brought national attention to a Rural Arts conference hosted by Art of the Rural on October 3-5. This gathering was a continuation of the growing nationwide conversation around the role of arts and culture in rural economic development, including the Rural Generation Summit in Jackson, MS last May and the recent CIRD Learning Cohort Summit in Thomas, WV. Community developers are continuing to recognize the role of creative placemaking as a way of combatting narratives of rural decline.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • LIHTC in Rural Lower Mississippi Delta, a recent white paper by Freddie Mac, highlights the importance of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program in providing affordable housing in the rural Lower Mississippi Delta.
  • Poverty in Rural Michigan: Relentless Aging and Few Opportunities for Those of Working Age is a Detroit Free Press description of economic struggles in rural Michigan. The region has high poverty rates, an aging population and limited opportunities.
  • Rural America at a Glance: 2019 Edition, published by USDA’s Economic Research Service, examines demographic and socioeconomic trends since the end of the Great Recession. Poverty rates in all types of nonmetro counties have fallen, but the gap between poverty rates in the most rural, isolated places and others has grown. Population has increased in metro counties and counties closest to metro areas, while others have lost residents. Employment has grown in all types of counties except for completely rural counties not adjacent to metro areas, with the fastest growth in metro counties.
  • Rural Health in America: How Shifting Populations Leave People Behind presents National Institute for Health Care Management infographics detailing the state of rural healthcare. They include looks at the impact of population shift toward urban environments, rural population, the number of rural providers and what initiatives exist to address the challenges.

Next HAC News to be published after Thanksgiving.

Because of the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be three weeks, instead of the usual two, between this HAC News and the next. In the meantime, check HAC on the web, Twitter and Facebook for updates about federal funding.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.

Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC News: October 31, 2019

News Formats. pdf

October 31, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 22

Senate passes USDA and HUD funding bill for FY20Comments sought on changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plans, and new documents releasedCIRD hosts 2019 learning cohort summit in Thomas, WVSenate’s USDA funding bill includes money to address black land lossBill to legalize farmworkers and revise H-2A program would also raise rural housing fundingFamily Unification Program vouchers availableImproving CRA for Rural AmericaThe Older Population in Rural America: 2012-2016Adversity and Assets: Identifying Rural OpportunitiesEvaluation of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD): Final ReportLenders: To Preserve Affordable Housing, Manage Climate RiskRural Minnesota’s Lack of Shelters Make Homeless an “Invisible” PopulationUrban and Rural Homeless ComparisonsApply by Nov. 15 for HAC grants to support housing to rural veteransREGISTER BY NOV. 1 FOR 502 OR HOUSING COUNSELOR TRAINING! • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 31, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 22

November is Native American Heritage Month.

Senate passes USDA and HUD funding bill for FY20.

The Senate’s first FY20 appropriations bill passed on October 31, a “minibus” package that includes funding for HUD and USDA, along with other agencies. Amendments adopted on the Senate floor included two rural housing provisions. One, sponsored by Sens. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Mike Rounds (R-ND), would allow owners of USDA-financed rental properties to request Rental Assistance agreements with terms of 20 years rather than one year; the funding for longer contracts would still be subject to annual appropriations. The other, from Sens. Smith and Marco Rubio (R-FL), tells USDA to prioritize rental properties’ maintenance needs. Differences between the Senate and House bills will need to be resolved, so these agencies may still be included in a second continuing resolution that is expected to fund the government after the current CR ends on November 21.

Comments sought on changes to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Duty to Serve plans, and new documents released.

The Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, requests input by November 15 on modifications to the enterprises’ plans for achieving their Duty to Serve obligations for manufactured housing, affordable housing preservation and rural housing. FHFA also released a strategic plan that sets out a framework for preparing to end the entities’ conservatorships, a 2020 scorecard explaining how their activities will be assessed, and a report covering their 2018 affordable housing activities. The report concludes that in 2018 both exceeded the benchmarks for all their housing goals and complied with their Duty to Serve requirements.

CIRD hosts 2019 learning cohort summit in Thomas, WV.

Working with local host partners and regional community lenders, Woodlands Development Group welcomed 34 participants from 17 states to the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design Cohort Learning Summit. CIRD is a collaboration among HAC, the National Endowment for the Arts and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP. The two-and-a-half-day event included workshops on different design and creative placemaking concepts, site visits to ongoing economic development projects in the town of Thomas, WV, and peer exchange activities that provided participants an opportunity to advance their own rural design challenges.

Senate’s USDA funding bill includes money to address black land loss.

The Senate’s FY20 USDA appropriations bill includes $5 million to launch a program authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill that will make loans to intermediaries to help resolve ownership issues for farmers with “heirs property” – land that has multiple legal owners after ownership passed through several generations without wills or clear titles. African-American farmers in the South have been deemed ineligible for USDA loans when they could not prove title to their land, and in some cases have lost the land. The issue, along with other causes of black land loss, has been covered in recent articles by the Atlantic, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the New Food Economy, the Pew Trusts and others.

Bill to legalize farmworkers and revise H-2A program would also raise rural housing funding.

The Farm Workforce Modernization Act, introduced on October 30 by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would create a process for farmworkers and their families to obtain legal status in the U.S., tweak the H-2A visa program for temporary farmworkers, increase the number of green cards available for farmworkers and establish a mandatory E-Verify system for farm employers to check their workers’ legal status. Its housing provisions include the text of the Strategy and Investment in Rural Housing Preservation Act, H.R. 3620, which passed the House on September 10, with some additions including the 20-year Rental Assistance contract provision that is also in the Senate’s FY20 USDA appropriations bill. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act would also allow Rental Assistance to cover up to half the operating costs of Section 514/516 housing that is occupied by H-2A workers if the units were previously unoccupied or underutilized by other workers. Finally, it would authorize up to $200 million for Section 514 loans and $30 million for Section 516 grants, as well as $2.7 billion for Section 521 Rental Assistance, each year through fiscal year 2029.

Family Unification Program vouchers available.

HUD will award new FUP vouchers to PHAs that partner with public child welfare agencies and Continuums of Care to administer assistance on behalf of families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in a potential loss of custody or on behalf of young people between 18 and 24 at risk of homelessness upon discharge from foster care. Applications are due December 17. For more information, contact HUD staff.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • Improving CRA for Rural America, written by HAC researcher Keith Wiley for Shelterforce, argues that Community Reinvestment Act regulations should be recrafted to incentivize investments in underserved and economically distressed communities, many of which are rural.
  • The Older Population in Rural America: 2012–2016, a recent Census Bureau report, discusses “new and important ways” that aging populations could impact rural America including housing and public transportation options. Research shows that while seniors want to remain in their own homes, those in rural areas frequently face challenges related to having few housing options and the limited availability of nearby social services.
  • Adversity and Assets: Identifying Rural Opportunities, part of a series by the Center for American Progress, examines economic trends and indicators in counties across the rural-urban continuum.
  • Evaluation of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD): Final Report concludes that initial implementation of HUD’s RAD program for conversion of public housing to project-based Section 8 housing accomplished its principal goals of leveraging capital, preserving affordable housing and mitigating relocation effects on tenants.
  • Lenders: To Preserve Affordable Housing, Manage Climate Risk, a National Resources Defense Council blog post, argues that disaster recovery funding favors financially better-off homeowners and needs to change to equally prioritize recovery funding for renters and homeowners.

Apply by Nov. 15 for HAC grants to support housing aid to rural veterans.

HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural areas. Grants typically range up to $30,000 per organization and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners and/or secure affordable rental housing. This initiative is funded through the generous support of the Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due November 15 by 5:00 pm Eastern time. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org.

*REGISTER BY NOV. 1 FOR 502 PACKAGING OR HOUSING COUNSELOR TRAINING!*

Only a few spaces remain. Both courses will be held in Tampa, FL on November 12-14.The Section 502 packaging advanced coursetrains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The housing counseling course sets you up for success in meeting HUD’s new certification requirements for housing counselors. For more information, contactHAC 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: August 12, 2019

News Formats. pdf

August 12, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 16

Spending deal signed into law. •Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants offered • HUD proposes to make disparate impact discrimination claims more difficult •Baxley departs USDA, Allen retires • Home Depot Foundation and HAC support rural veterans and local nonprofits • HAC examines the definition of colonias • Prior approval was needed to move ERS and NIFA, says USDA Inspector General • HUD to appoint monitor to oversee Puerto Rico disaster funds • RuralSTAT • Exchange Programs Bring Urban and Rural America Together • Mortgage Experiences of Rural Borrowers in the United States: Insights from the National Survey of Mortgage Originations • Where Blue-Collar America is Strongest • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 12, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 16

Spending deal signed into law.

On August 2 President Trump signed H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, passed by the House on July 25 and the Senate on August 1. The measure raises the 2011 Budget Control Act’s spending caps for FY20 and 21, though the total for non-defense discretionary programs (which includes housing) is lower than the total approved by the House for FY20. The Senate will begin marking up its FY20 appropriations bills when it reconvenes after Labor Day.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants offered.

Apply by November 4 for grants to revitalize severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted housing properties. Eligible applicants are local governments or tribes and PHAs, nonprofits or for-profits that own HUD-assisted housing and apply jointly with local governments or tribes, whether they have received previous Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants or not. For more information, contact HUD staff.

HUD proposes to make disparate impact discrimination claims more difficult.

Politico obtained and published a proposal HUD has developed to change a 2013 regulation governing fair housing discrimination claims that are based on discriminatory impact without proof of discriminatory intent. The new provisions would require the charging party to prove several new aspects of a claim. The proposal is currently under review at OMB and is not officially available. When it is published in the Federal Register a 60-day comment period will begin.

Baxley departs USDA, Allen retires.

  • Joel Baxley, who was RHS Administrator and then Acting Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, has left USDA. It is not clear whether USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue will name another Acting Assistant or an Under Secretary for RD. Perdue eliminated the Under Secretary position, but the 2018 Farm Bill required it be reinstated. In February, when USDA announced Baxley’s move to the Acting Assistant position, it said Perdue and the White House were working to identify an Under Secretary candidate.
  • Joyce Allen, RHS’s Deputy Administrator for Multi-Family Housing, retired at the end of June. Nancie-Ann Bodell is serving as Acting Deputy Administrator.

Home Depot Foundation and HAC support rural veterans and local nonprofits.

The Home Depot Foundation, working with HAC, has awarded a total of $300,000 to ten local nonprofits around the country to build or preserve housing for veterans in rural America. HAC CEO David Lipsetz said, “Together we build the capacity of local organizations to assist more veterans across rural America. The enduring service and sacrifice of our nation’s service women and men earns them the right to be called heroes and to have a safe and decent place to call home.”

HAC examines the definition of colonias.

In a two-part webinar series produced in partnership with Fannie Mae, HAC provided an overview of its research and analysis on defining colonias communities in New Mexico and Arizona. Both the New Mexico and Arizona webinars are now available on HAC’s YouTube channel.

Prior approval was needed to move ERS and NIFA, says USDA Inspector General.

USDA’s Inspector General conducted a review and concluded that USDA has the legal authority to relocate the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, but congressional approval was required for USDA to expend funds for the relocation. USDA’s Office of General Counsel disagrees, arguing that the law requiring approval is unconstitutional, and says the department will not request congressional consent. Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), who requested the IG investigation, issued a statement saying USDA must wait for approval.

HUD to appoint monitor to oversee Puerto Rico disaster funds.

HUD announced on August 2 it plans to appoint a Federal Financial Monitor to oversee the disbursement of disaster recovery funds to Puerto Rico, citing the territorial government’s “alleged corruption, fiscal irregularities and mismanagement.” Disaster funds for states impacted by recent storms will be released before funds for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

RuralSTAT. Between 2015 and 2017, approximately 37% of all small dollar home loans (less than $75,000) were originated in rural areas. For more data and information on mortgage lending in your community, visit HAC’s Rural Data Portal. Source: HAC tabulations of 2015-2017 Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data.

Recent publications and media of interest

  • Exchange Programs Bring Urban and Rural America Together is an article about the importance of bridging the rural-urban gap through interactions between individuals. The story describes how the Rural-Urban Exchange program in Kentucky has helped people see they have more in common than they think they do.
  • Mortgage Experiences of Rural Borrowers in the United States: Insights from the National Survey of Mortgage Originations, an article in HUD’s Cityscape magazine, reports that in 2014 mortgage borrowers in counties with urban populations under 2,500 paid slightly higher interest rates than others, were less satisfied that their mortgage was the best for their needs, and were less confident or less knowledgeable about some details of mortgages.
  • Where Blue-Collar America is Strongest dispels the myth that all rural America is suffering economic distress. As the author notes, some of the biggest increases in incomes over the last decade or so have been in rural areas. The Plains states in particular have enjoyed high income and employment numbers. This growth, much of which is attributable to energy sector expansion, is often overlooked in favor of the narrative that rural areas are all on the decline.

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: February 11, 2019

News Formats. pdf

February 11, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 3

February is Black History Month • Government funded to February 15, another shutdown possible • Rural Rental Assistance payments obligated through April • USDA explains status of homeownership programs • HAC offers grants for housing aid to rural veterans • Puerto Rico disaster funds available • FY2020 budget process begins in March • Senator releases housing finance reform outline, White House developing a proposal • HAC symposium on rural veterans’ housing and services scheduled for April in Arkansas • Hazlett leaving USDA, Baxley to move to Secretary’s office • Rural broadband application deadlines to be extended • USDA raises loan-to-cost ratio for guaranteed rental housing loans

HAC News Formats. pdf

February 11, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 3

February is Black History Month.

House subcommittee to hold hearing on rural housing.
HAC will be one of several organizations testifying in a hearing titled “The Affordable Housing Crisis in Rural America: Assessing the Federal Response,” convened by the Housing, Community Development, and Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. The hearing will be broadcast live online, February 14 at 10 a.m. eastern.

Government funded to February 15, another shutdown possible.
The partial government shutdown that began December 22 ended on January 25 with a short-term continuing resolution lasting through February 15. It is possible the same government agencies will close again if Congress and the President do not reach agreement on appropriations and border security.

Rural Rental Assistance payments obligated through April.
USDA RD shared with HAC a notice sent to owners and managers of USDA-financed properties with Section 521 Rental Assistance: “We are pleased to inform you that Rental Assistance for Section 514/515 properties has been obligated through April. The Management Interactive Network Connection (MINC) has been updated to reflect these obligations. We understand that the most recent lapse in appropriations created anxiety and uncertainty regarding the status of your contract obligations. We are hopeful that this communique and the fact that all contracts are obligated through April will provide you reassurance and operational predictability in your management of these critical low-income resources throughout rural America. Thank you for your partnership in delivering the Rural Housing Service affordable housing mission.”

USDA explains status of homeownership programs.
USDA’s single-family programs office says it will issue new Certificates of Eligibility to all Section 502 direct applicants who had valid COEs on December 21 before the government shut down. The agency does not have enough funding to obligate more Section 502 direct loans until it receives funding beyond February 15, however. Section 504 repair loans and grants are available; applicants with immediate health and safety hazards will receive priority. A funding plan for Section 523 self-help grantee organizations is being developed.

HAC offers grants for housing aid to rural veterans.
HAC’s Affordable Housing for Rural Veterans initiative supports local nonprofit housing development organizations that meet or help meet the affordable housing needs of veterans in rural areas. Grants may be up to $30,000 and must support bricks-and-mortar projects that assist low-income, elderly and/or disabled veterans with home repair and rehab needs, support homeless veterans, help veterans become homeowners, and/or secure affordable rental housing. This initiative is funded through the generous support of the Home Depot Foundation. Applications are due March 11. For more information, contact HAC staff, ahrv@ruralhome.org.

Puerto Rico disaster funds available.
HUD has released the initial $1.5 billion of CDBG-DR funds for Puerto Rico that were approved before the shutdown and then delayed.

FY2020 budget process begins in March.
Preparation of the Administration’s budget for the year that begins October 1, 2019 was delayed by the shutdown. Reportedly, summary budget information will be released the week of March 11 and details the week of March 18. Unless Congress and the President agree to raise the Budget Control Act caps on federal spending, as they have in recent years, the caps will come back into effect for FY20 and force significant cuts in appropriations.

Senator releases housing finance reform outline, White House developing a proposal.
Senate Banking Committee Chair Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) on February 1 released an outline for housing finance reform. The proposal would privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and would allow other mortgage guarantors as well. The current affordable housing goals and Duty to Serve requirements would be replaced by a new Market Access Fund. Funding for the Housing Trust Fund, Capital Magnet Fund, and Market Access Fund would be funded through an assessment on total annual loan volume. Joseph Otting, acting director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which regulates Fannie and Freddie, has reportedly told FHFA staff the Administration also plans to move forward on housing finance reform; a White House statement said their framework is still in development.

HAC symposium on rural veterans’ housing and services scheduled for April in Arkansas.
HAC’s 5th Annual National Symposium on Veterans Housing Issues will be held April 18-19 at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, sponsored by the Home Depot Foundation. This year’s theme centers on addressing the critical needs around housing, homelessness and aging solutions for rural veterans, within the context of the Delta Regional Authority’s eight-state service area. There is no fee to attend, but space is limited and advance registration is required. For more information, contact Cheryl Cobbler, HAC.

Hazlett leaving USDA, Baxley to move to Secretary’s office.
Anne Hazlett is leaving her position as Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development at USDA to go to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. Joel Baxley, currently RHS Administrator, will become the Acting Assistant to the Secretary for RD. USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and the White House are working to find a nominee for the position of Under Secretary for Rural Development. That job was eliminated by Perdue but the recent Farm Bill required it to be filled. USDA’s announcement does not name an Acting RHS Administrator but Rich Davis, RHS Deputy Administrator for Community Facilities, is expected to serve in that role.

Rural broadband application deadlines to be extended.
The first application deadline for USDA RD’s new ReConnect Program was initially set for April, but the agency has announced it will shift that to May 31 or later. Specific deadlines will be posted in the Federal Register in late February.

USDA raises loan-to-cost ratio for guaranteed rental housing loans.
Effective February 7, 2019, the low loan-to-cost ratio required for a continuous guarantee (a single guarantee for construction and permanent loans) through the Section 538 rental guarantee program will be 70% rather than the previous 50%. For more information, contact Tammy Daniels, USDA, 202-720-0021.

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).

Register Now: Housing & Services for Rural Veterans – Symposium

Register-Now-Button

Description

Join the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) for its 5th Annual National Symposium on Veterans Housing Issues. This year’s theme centers upon addressing the critical needs around housing, homelessness and aging solutions for rural veterans, within the context of the Delta Regional Authority’s eight-state service area set forth by the Delta Regional Authority’s map. In addition to introducing HAC’s services, the symposium will feature (policy-makers, elected officials, university officials/students), rural/small-town practitioners and practical program models that are providing both rental and homeownership options, in addition to home repairs and critical housing and workforce development service to aging and other vulnerable veteran populations.

Day 1: Thursday, April 18, 2019 | 1:00 – 4:00 PM
Day 2: Friday, April 19, 2019 | 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM

There is no registration fee to attend this symposium. However, space is limited and advance registration is required. Lunch will be provided. For more information on the symposium contact Cheryl Cobbler at cheryl@ruralhome.org.

Location

Arkansas State University
Carl R. Reng Student Union -Spring River Room
101 N. Caraway
Jonesboro, Arkansas 72401

Sponsored By The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation works to improve the homes and lives of U.S. veterans, train skilled tradespeople to fill the labor gap and support communities impacted by natural disasters. Since 2011, the Foundation has invested a quarter of a billion dollars in veteran-related causes and improved more than 40,000 veteran homes and facilities in 2,500 cities. In 2018, the Foundation committed an additional $50 million dollars to train 20,000 skilled tradespeople over the next 10 years starting with separating military members and veterans, at-risk youth and members of the Atlanta Westside community. To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and see Team Depot in action, visit thd.co/community and follow us on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram @teamdepot and on Facebook at facebook.com/teamdepot.

HAC Seeks Proposals for Housing Projects Serving Rural Veterans

January 2017

homedepotfoundationlogoSupported by The Home Depot Foundation, grants 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. Letters of Interest are due Feb. 3, 2017.

ELIGIBILITY. The applicant must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, tribally designated housing entity (TDHE), or housing authority acting as a nonprofit, that serves veterans at or below 80% of area median income. RURAL SERVICE AREA. The applicant must apply to support programs working in nonmetropolitan areas or in counties that meet the USDA definition of rural for housing (Sec. 520 of the Housing Act of 1949). Please check the USDA Property Eligibility Site, https://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov, to determine rural eligibility.

Contact Shonterria Charleston, Program Manager, 404-892-4824.


A Message for Veterans Day

HAC recognizes and honors the sacrifices of all those men and women who have served the nation in the armed forces. We can never forget their service. Many of those veterans – in fact a disproportionately large share of the veteran population – come from and still live in America’s rural areas and small towns. This was true historically, when we were a much more agrarian nation, but it continues to be true today. Thank you to all our veterans!

Learn more about HAC’s work with Veterans.

Visit Veterans Data Central.

Rural Homelessness

Download a pdf version of Rural Voices
rvmarch2016-cover

This edition of Rural Voices makes clear the complexity of rural homelessness. Defining, much less quantifying, rural homelessness is a formidable task. While the challenges are sobering, HAC is inspired by those addressing rural homelessness across sectors ranging from education to domestic violence to veterans’ services. National experts and local providers come together to share their perspectives on this issue.

View from Washington

On the Brink of Change
by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer

Innovative housing solutions are possible if everyone can work together.

FEATURES

An Overview of Rural Homelessness
by Nan Roman and Steve Berg

Homelessness has some different causes, features, and resources in rural places than in cities, and recognizing the distinctions can help in crafting solutions.

From Storage Shed to Stable Home
by Ashley Gooch

What does rural homelessness look like? A Tennessee man shares his story of hardship and perseverance.

Farmworker Homelessness in Imperial County, California
by Ilene J. Jacobs and Patrick Saldaña

Factors related to the seasonal nature of their work, their low wages, and discrimination may lead to homelessness among farmworkers.

Moving into Housing…First
by Patricia Mullahy Fugere

The Housing First approach provides housing without preconditions or requirements relating to behavior or treatment. With a stable home base, residents then address the challenges that caused, or kept them in, homelessness.

Expanding Healthcare Services for Supportive Housing Residents in Rural Areas
by Eva Wingren and Brian Byrd

The Affordable Care Act can help fund services that assist people in remaining stably housed.

What the Schools Know: Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness
by Patricia A. Popp

A national system of state and local homeless education coordinators works to ensure the growing numbers of homeless students have access to the resources they need.

RESOURCES

The Complicated (& largely unknown) Picture of Rural Homelessness (Infographic) The Complicated Picture of Rural Homelessness


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.

Supporting Veterans in the United States

With generous support from JP Morgan Chase, the Housing Assistance Council presents information sheets that provide a snapshot of demographic, economic, and housing data for veterans in every state, the U.S., and the District of Columbia. The information sheets are a companion to Veterans Data Central, a one-stop resource for data and information on veterans in the U.S. These resources are intended to help local and national organizations, corporations, and governments inform strategies that help veterans.

Sponsored by:With Generous Support from JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Supporting Veterans in the United States

US

Supporting Veterans in Your State

ALABAMA
Alabama

ALABAMA
Alaska
ALABAMA
Arizona
ALABAMA
Arkansas

ALABAMA
California
ALABAMA
Colorado
ALABAMA
Connecticut

ALABAMA
Delaware
ALABAMA
District of Columbia
ALABAMA
Florida

ALABAMA
Georgia
ALABAMA
Hawaii
ALABAMA
Idaho

ALABAMA
Illinois
ALABAMA
Indiana
ALABAMA
Iowa
ALABAMA
Kansas
ALABAMA
Kentucky
ALABAMA
Louisiana

ALABAMA
Maine
ALABAMA
Maryland
ALABAMA
Massachusetts

ALABAMA
Michigan
ALABAMA
Minnesota
ALABAMA
Mississippi

ALABAMA
Missouri
ALABAMA
Montana
ALABAMA
Nebraska

ALABAMA
Nevada
ALABAMA
New Hampshire
ALABAMA
New Jersey

ALABAMA
New Mexico
ALABAMA
New York
ALABAMA
North Carolina

ALABAMA
North Dakota
ALABAMA
Ohio
ALABAMA
Oklahoma

ALABAMA
Oregon
ALABAMA
Pennsylvania
ALABAMA
Rhode Island

ALABAMA
South Carolina
ALABAMA
South Dakota
ALABAMA
Tennessee

ALABAMA
Texas
ALABAMA
Utah
ALABAMA
Vermont

ALABAMA
Virginia
ALABAMA
Washington
ALABAMA
West Virginia

ALABAMA
Wisconsin
ALABAMA
Wyoming