HAC and rural CDFIs receive “massive” $353 million investment

The US Treasury announced it is investing $1.25 billion of COVID-19 relief funds in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs). We are excited to announce that the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) has received the maximum award: $1,826,265.

HAC will invest our $1.8 million award through our Loan Fund to support affordable housing organizations across rural America. As Eileen Neely, director of HAC’s Loan Fund explains, “$1.8 million means we can invest in more rural communities and help more low-income Americans get housed.”

Overall, the US Treasury is awarding $353 million to rural CDFIs. “This massive investment in rural CDFIs will help unlock the potential of rural communities,” said David Lipsetz, President & CEO of the Housing Assistance Council. “We are thrilled for the opportunity to expand our work for disinvested rural communities.”

Everyone deserves a safe, decent, and affordable place to call home. This award strengthens HAC’s work to make that vision a reality for rural America.

HAC News: October 21, 2019

News Formats. pdf

October 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 21

Senate may begin considering FY20 spending bills the week of October 21 • Apply by November 15 for grants to support housing aid to rural veterans • HUD offers funds for new Section 811 housing and rental aid for persons with disabilities • USDA obligated all Section 502 direct funds for FY19, but not Section 504 • USDA to begin accepting Section 538 rental guarantee applications continuously • Lawsuit charges Texas’s Hurricane Harvey recovery discriminates against low-income renters of color • Executive Orders increase scrutiny of agency guidance • Administration tells agencies to pay as they go • Senate committee considers homeownership in Indian Country • USDA names Deputy Administrator for rental housing office • Threshold raised for single-family appraisal requirements • HUD sets expediated process for PHAs in disaster countries • NEW! HAC offers Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits, Nov. 12-14 in Tampa • HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

October 21, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 21

Senate may begin considering FY20 spending bills the week of October 21.

The first FY20 appropriations bill to be debated on the Senate floor may be a package that includes funding for HUD and USDA, along with other agencies. Even after the Senate passes its measures, differences between its bills and the House’s will need to be resolved, as will differences with White House priorities.

Apply by November 15 for 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.

HUD offers funds for new Section 811 housing and rental aid for persons with disabilities.

For the first time since 2010, capital advances and rental assistance contracts are available for nonprofits to develop permanent supportive rental housing for very low-income adults with disabilities. For the first time since 2013, project-based rental subsidies are also offered to state agencies, to be used for existing, rehabilitated or new permanent supportive housing units that do not have capital advances from HUD’s Section 811 or 202 programs. Applications for both funding pools are due February 10, 2020. For more information, contact HUD staff at FY18811NOFA@hud.gov.

USDA obligated all Section 502 direct funds for FY19, but not Section 504.

Despite the federal government shutdown early in the fiscal year, USDA obligated all available funds for Section 502 direct loans this year, using just over $1 billion for a total of 6,194 mortgage loans to new low-income homebuyers. About 37% of the loans and 42% of the dollars went to very low-income applicants. HAC appreciates RHS Administrator Bruce Lammers’s approval of overtime for field staff and other special authorizations, which made this possible.

There was, however, a significant shortfall in the agency’s use of Section 504 loans and grants for repairs to homes owned by very low-income people. USDA obligated 2,735 Section 504 loans, representing $17.4 million of the $28 million available, and 3,908 grants, using $24.8 million of the $30 million appropriated. The remaining grant funds can be used in FY20, but the loan monies cannot.

Use of resources for rental housing preservation exceeded last year’s performance, with 85 loans from Section 515 and 205 loans and three grants from the MPR program.

More information is provided in HAC’s obligation report, and HAC will also publish a more detailed FY19 performance report.

USDA to begin accepting Section 538 rental guarantee applications continuously.

As proposed in December, USDA will no longer publish annual NOFAs for the Section 538 rental housing guarantee program. It will publish an announcement when funds are available and will then accept applications at any time. For more information, contact Monica Cole, RD, 202-720-1251.

Lawsuit charges Texas’s Hurricane Harvey recovery discriminates against low-income renters of color.

Low-income Hispanic and African-American renters have sued HUD and the state of Texas alleging discrimination in the distribution of CDBG Disaster Recovery funds after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The suit claims that the state’s decision to target aid to homeowners, landlords and developers while excluding renters is discriminatory because low-income renters are more likely to be African-American or Hispanic.

Executive Orders increase scrutiny of agency guidance.

On October 9 President Trump signed two Executive Orders, one requiring federal executive agencies such as USDA and HUD to increase transparency around their use of guidance documents and the other limiting agency reliance on past enforcement activities to establish standards of compliance with laws or regulations. The Office of Management and Budget is given authority to implement the provisions on guidance documents, including to require OMB review of “significant” guidance documents. The Executive Order does not refer to OMB review authorities announced in an April 11, 2019 memo from OMB’s Acting Director Russell Vought, though the two seem to overlap.

Administration tells agencies to pay as they go.

An Executive Order issued on October 10 intends to “reinvigorate administrative PAYGO,” requiring federal departments and agencies to reduce spending in one area when they propose a spending increase in another area unless a law requires the increase. OMB is given authority to waive the requirements and to issue instructions for implementing the order.

Senate committee considers homeownership in Indian Country.

On October 16, the Senate Indian Affairs Committee held a hearing entitled “Lending Opportunities: Opening the Door to Homeownership in Indian Country.” Witnesses included HUD Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing Hunter Kurtz, Governor Max Zuni of the Pueblo of Isleta, Council Member Nate Mount of the Ft. Belknap Indian Community, BIA Director Darryl LaCounte and Patrice Kunesh from the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Discussions focused on the need for capital in Indian Country, the role Native CDFIs can play in bringing lending capacity to tribal areas and potential modernizations to the HUD Section 184 program. For more on challenges and opportunities for mortgage finance in Indian Country, review HAC’s recent report here.

USDA names Deputy Administrator for rental housing office.

Nancie-Ann Bodell, who became Acting Deputy Administrator for Multi-Family Housing several months ago, has been selected to fill the position on a permanent basis. She oversees USDA’s programs for the production and preservation of rental housing as well as the existing portfolio of affordable rental housing and farm labor housing.

Threshold raised for single-family appraisal requirements.

The agencies that regulate banks and thrifts are raising the threshold level at which appraisals are not required for single-family (one to four units) real estate transactions from $250,000 to $400,000. Some rural properties are exempt from the appraisal requirement altogether. When appraisals are not required, lenders must obtain evaluations, consistent with safe and sound banking practices. For more information, contact G. Kevin Lawton, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, 202-649-7152.

HUD sets expedited process for PHAs in disaster counties.

HUD has established an expedited process to review requests for relief from HUD regulatory and/or administrative requirements for public housing agencies in counties that are included in major disaster declarations in calendar year 2019. For more information, contact HUD staff, PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov.

*NEW!* HAC offers Section 502 packaging training for nonprofits, Nov. 12-14 in Tampa.

This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The training will be held in Tampa, FL on November 12-14. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

HAC training for housing counselors set for November in Tampa.

HUD’s final rule on new certification requirements for housing counselors requires that by August 1, 2020 counseling for or in connection with any HUD programs must be provided by HUD Certified Housing Counselors. Get ready! Elevate your knowledge in the six essential competency areas, including financial management, housing affordability, homeownership, avoiding foreclosure, tenancy and fair housing. Set yourself up for success in meeting HUDs counselor certification requirements by starting your prep with this three-day course scheduled for Tampa, FL on November 12-14. The registration fee is $500. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?

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

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

HAC News: June 14, 2019

News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities • June is National Homeownership Month • House moves appropriations forward • House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals • Disaster funding bill becomes law • Flood insurance program extended • HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies • USDA moving ERS and NIFA to Kansas City • Revised income limits for HUD programs posted • RuralSTAT • Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing • RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas • Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes • A Piece of Mississippi: Retrospective on Rural Generation for CIRDReservation ProfilesSpeak Your Piece: Rural Strength and Possibility •Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 14, 2019
Vol. 48, No. 12

Resources offered for local rural design activities.

The Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design is accepting applications through July 22 for stipends and technical assistance to enable rural and tribal communities to host rural design workshops or participate in a Learning Cohort. A webinar offering application guidance from HAC, the National Endowment for the Arts and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP is available online. “Open office hour” events will also be hosted by [bc] on Facebook live on June 18 and July 10. For more information, contact CIRD@bcworkshop.org.

June is National Homeownership Month.

USDA’s press release highlights the department’s homeownership programs.

House moves appropriations forward.

The House Appropriations Committee approved the proposed FY20 spending bills for USDA and HUD on June 4. Those two measures have been combined with the bills for Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment and Military Construction-VA to create a second “minibus” that is scheduled for a vote in the full House the week of June 17. The House began debate June 12 on the first minibus, comprised of appropriations bills for Labor-HHS-Education, Defense, State-Foreign Operations and Energy. The Financial Services bill, not included in either minibus, passed the House Appropriations Committee on June 11 and includes $300 million for CDFI Fund programs, compared to $250 million in FY19. The Senate has not yet begun to consider its appropriations bills.

House committee passes bills to block recent HUD proposals.

H.R. 3018, passed by the House Financial Services Committee on June 12, would block HUD’s proposal to allow homeless shelters to treat transgender and gender non-conforming people according to the sex they were assigned at birth. Similar language is included in the House’s HUD appropriations bill for FY20. Also approved by the committee was H.R. 2763, prohibiting implementation of HUD’s proposed rule to end housing benefits for families with mixed immigration status. Finally, H.R. 3154 clarifies that Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients cannot be denied federally backed mortgage loans based on their DACA status; after the bill passed, a letter from a HUD official to Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-CA) became public confirming that FHA considers DACA recipients ineligible for its mortgage guarantees, a policy previously denied by HUD Secretary Ben Carson.

Disaster funding bill becomes law.

On June 6, President Trump signed the disaster relief bill into law, providing $17.2 billion for recovery from 2018 and 2019 natural disasters.

Flood insurance program extended.

The new disaster relief law extends authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program through September 30, 2019, the end of the current fiscal year. The program would be authorized through the end of fiscal 2024 by H.R. 3167, which received unanimous approval from the House Financial Services Committee on June 12. That bill and H.R. 3111, also passed unanimously by the committee, make other changes to the program as well.

HUD offers grants for technical health and housing studies.

Nonprofits, for-profits, PHAs, state or local governments, tribes and educational institutions can apply by July 11 for HUD Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Grants to improve detection and control of housing-related health and safety hazards. For more information, contact J. Kofi Berko, HUD.

USDA says ERS and NIFA will move to Kansas City.

The Kansas City region has been selected as the new location for the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on June 13. With its press release, USDA provided the first publicly available cost-benefit analysis for the controversial move. The House’s FY20 appropriations bill for USDA includes language prohibiting use of FY20 funds for the relocation, but a timeline in the cost-benefit document shows the Department intends to begin the relocation by August 1 and complete it by September 30, before FY20 begins on October 1. NIFA workers voted on June 11 to join the American Federation of Government Employees, as ERS employees did in May.

Revised income limits for HUD programs posted.

The 2019 income limits for CDBG, HOME, HTF, HOPWA and NSP will be effective June 29. The limits for ESG are effective as of April 24.

RuralSTAT. The citizenship question on the 2020 Census has been hotly debated as of late. Data on citizenship already exists in the American Community Survey. From the ACS, the Census Bureau estimates that 2.8% of the rural and small town population are not U.S. citizens. To view the data for your community and its reliability, visit HAC’s Rural Data Portal.

Iowa inmates learn to construct affordable housing.

A new Iowa program, based on one in South Dakota, aims to help alleviate the state’s rural affordable housing shortage by recruiting the state’s prison population to build modular affordable housing. The program also hopes to provide inmates with training and apprenticeships that can help them find jobs upon reentry.

RAPIDO disaster recovery home celebrated in Texas.

An open house event allowed visitors to see a finished home where a family lived throughout construction, beginning with a small “core” house erected in three days and intended to replace a FEMA trailer after a natural disaster. The family occupied the core while the rest of the home was built onto it. Texas Housers, one of the partners in developing and testing the concept, declared this RAPIDO home ready to move to large scale use in future disaster rebuilding. Other partners were buildingcommunityWorkshop, Enterprise Community Partners, the Texas Organizing Project and Covenant Community Capital. A past issue of HAC’s Rural Voices magazine (p. 27) describes how the concept can be used for affordable housing in non-disaster situations as well.

Comments sought on Fair Market Rent calculation changes.

HUD is proposing changes in how it calculates trend factors that are used in determining Fair Market Rents. The changes are intended to make the determinations more local. Comments are due July 5. For more information, contact HUD’s Program Parameters and Research Division, 202-402-2409.

Recent publications and media of interest

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: December 14, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 14, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 25

2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference educates, inspires, and advances the rural housing community. • Federal Reserve Board of Governors chairman Jerome Powell addresses HAC conference • HAC awards recognize national, local and federal leadership for rural housing • USDA and HUD spending now expiring December 21 • Congress passes Farm Bill • Increased staff specialization planned for USDA Rural Development • Mark Calabria named to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency • Kathy Kraninger becomes head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau • Perdue announces RD initiative for broadband and e-connectivity • Executive Order encourages development in Opportunity Zones • HAC’s Rural Voices magazine covers capacity building • Census Bureau releases new data for counties, towns, Native lands and more • Study examines trust lands and manufactured homes in Indian Country

HAC News Formats. pdf

December 14, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 25

2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference educates, inspires, and advances the rural housing community.
Over 600 registrants from 48 states heard from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell (see item below), Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Rusty Smith from Rural Studio , HAC CEO David Lipsetz, former HAC Executive Director Moises Loza and former Deputy Director Joe Belden, as well as USDA and HUD staff and dozens of other experts. Materials from conference sessions are available through the conference app . Check out photos, comments and daily wrap-up videos on HAC’s social media: Twitter , Facebook , and YouTube . Watch HAC’s website and the HAC News for announcements as additional items, including videos of plenary sessions, become available.

Federal Reserve Board of Governors chairman Jerome Powell addresses HAC conference.
Speaking at the HAC Rural Housing Conference on December 6, Chairman Powell discussed the strength of the economy while acknowledging that not everyone has enjoyed the benefits of the strong economy equally. He stressed the importance of the Community Reinvestment Act and praised HAC’s research on the subject as beneficial to the Fed’s plans around potential CRA reform. His remarks garnered press coverage from the New York Times and Reuters.

HAC awards recognize national, local and federal leadership for rural housing.
At the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference, the Cochran/Collings Award for Distinguished Service in Housing for the Rural Poor went to Starry Krueger, President of the Rural Development Leadership Network. Four local leaders received the Skip Jason Community Service Award: Salvador Estrada (Tierra del Sol, NM), Cassie Hicks (University of Southern Mississippi Institute for Disability Studies, MS), Dennis Lalor (South County Housing, CA) (posthumous) and Joe Myer (NCALL Research, DE). Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) received the Henry B. González Award for an elected official.

USDA and HUD spending now expiring December 21.
The deadline for negotiations on FY19 appropriations was extended to December 21 because congressional activity was slowed by the death of former President George H.W. Bush on November 30. Various end results, including a government shutdown, are still possible.

Congress passes Farm Bill.
House and Senate conferees reached an agreement on a new five-year Farm Bill, dropping provisions that would have imposed stricter work requirements on food stamp recipients. The Senate passed it on December 11 and the House on December 12. President Trump is expected to sign it into law. The bill requires USDA to have an Under Secretary for Rural Development and requires the appointee be confirmed by the Senate. The Under Secretary position had been eliminated in a 2017 reorganization, replaced by an Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development. Anne Hazlett has served in that role since June 2017. The bill also maintains local eligibility for USDA rural housing programs after the 2020 Census, so long as a place’s population does not exceed 35,000 and it remains “rural in character.” The bill authorizes a new Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) grant program, a concept HAC supported, to create rural job accelerators and related programming. HAC and others suggested additional improvements to the bill’s Rural Development title, but in general the 2018 RD title is much like the 2014 version.

Increased staff specialization planned for USDA Rural Development.
At the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference, RD officials explained some staffing changes, which are also described in letters from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees. An October 10 letter says that applications for the Section 538 rental guarantee program and Section 515 rental loan program will no longer be processed or underwritten in each state office. Twenty-five staff, who will remain in their current state office locations, will work exclusively on either 538 or 515. According to a November 30 letter, instead of handling the Section 502 guaranteed program in each of the 47 state offices, the agency will create a single unit, so the program will be delivered by 275 employees rather than 300. In addition, appraisers, architects, engineers, and others will be “realigned” into the RD Business Center. The November letter says that affected staff will remain in their current locations and implies that unneeded staff will be reassigned rather than laid off. The November letter enumerates other changes being made in the RUS, RBS, and Community Facilities staffs, and additional changes are described in the HAC News, 11/30/18.

Mark Calabria named to lead Federal Housing Finance Agency.
President Trump will nominate Calabria, currently chief economist for Vice President Mike Pence, to serve a five-year term as director of FHFA, which regulates Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Bank system. The term of Melvin Watt, the current director, ends in January. FHFA director nominees must be confirmed by the Senate.

Kathy Kraninger becomes head of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Kraninger, most recently an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget, was confirmed by the Senate on December 6 and sworn in on December 10. She takes over from Mick Mulvaney, head of OMB, who has been CFPB’s acting director.

Perdue announces RD initiative for broadband and e-connectivity.
On December 13 Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced a new ReConnect Program to provide broadband infrastructure in rural areas with populations under 20,000. State and local governments, tribes, nonprofits, for-profits, limited liability companies, and coops are eligible for funding. Applications for grants are due April 29, for loan and grant combinations May 29, and for low-interest loans June 28. For more information, contact Chad Parker, RUS, 202-720-9555.

Executive Order encourages development in Opportunity Zones.
On December 12, President Trump signed an order creating a White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, to be comprised of 13 federal agencies and chaired by HUD Secretary Ben Carson. The council is charged with targeting existing federal programs to “urban and economically distressed areas,” including Opportunity Zones, and to engage with all levels of government on revitalizing low-income communities. A list and map of all Opportunity Zones are available on the CDFI Fund’s website. A supportive statement issued by Anne Hazlett, USDA Assistant to the Secretary for Rural Development, says “USDA Rural Development programs will award priority points on applications from private sector intermediaries for projects built in opportunity zone census tracts as well as in other select programs for projects that directly benefit communities located in Opportunity Zones.”

HAC’s Rural Voices magazine covers capacity building.
The conference issue of Rural Voicesdescribes what it means to build the capacity of rural housing organizations, why it is important, who does it, how it is done and how it is financed.

Census Bureau releases new data for counties, towns, Native lands and more.
The newest American Community Survey data has been released on the Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder website. This five-year data provides estimates of demographic characteristics, income, housing, education and other subjects for states, counties, and smaller areas such as zip codes, census tracts, and American Indian Areas/Alaska Native Areas/Hawaiian Home Lands. For the first time, broadband-related data is included.

Study examines trust lands and manufactured homes in Indian Country.
The Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis has released new research, reported in a blog post titled “Race, Location, and Manufactured-Home Loans on American Indian Reservations.” They examine the statistically higher rate of loan applications at the intersection of manufactured housing, American Indian identity, and reservation trust land. Much of this research was shared at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference session “Homeownership in Indian Country – Creating the Opportunity for Choice.”

Happy holidays from HAC!
The board and staff of the Housing Assistance Council wish peace, prosperity and affordable housing to all! HAC’s offices will be closed from December 24 to January 1.

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 15, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 15, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 17

HUD requests comments on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing • Deadline for lead-based paint reduction grants extended • HAC seeks Director of Lending • USDA to move Economic Research Service out of DC • Senate bills would create refundable tax credits for cost-burdened renters • HAC explores rural broadband gap • Federal strategic plan to end homelessness released • Rural Studio to spread affordable housing design nationwide • New portfolio manager named for USDA rental housing programs • Online tool offers data on reservations • Wage growth lower than inflation in past year, generally stagnant over decades, analyses show • Senate committee delays vote on CFPB nomination

HAC News Formats. pdf

August 15, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 17

HUD requests comments on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.
An “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” seeks input for amendments to HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulations. Questions ask about the extent of appropriate community participation, the type of data or qualitative information to be used, reporting, evaluation, and more. Comments will be due in mid-October. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 202-402-6577. In May, HUD withdrew the Assessment Tool local governments were using to develop Assessments of Fair Housing to meet their AFFH obligations; comments on that action were filed last month. Separately, comments on HUD’s disparate impact standard for analysis of fair housing violations are due August 20.

Deadline for lead-based paint reduction grants extended.
Applications for HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Program grants are now due on September 25, not August 2.

HAC seeks Director of Lending.
The Director of Lending will be the entrepreneurial leader and manager of HAC’s lending and community investment functions. S/he will report directly to the CEO; manage programs and staff; serve as the primary liaison to the Board of Directors’ Loan Committee; develop relationships with borrowers and funding sources; and help lead HAC’s strategic planning, policy and program development. The ideal candidate will be energetic, innovative and willing to take on a thought leadership role in the industry of CDFIs, affordable housing, and rural community development. Visit HAC’s site for a complete job description and application information.

USDA to move Economic Research Service out of DC.
USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on August 9 that the Economic Research Service will be “realigned” with the Office of the Chief Economist, and employees of ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture will be relocated outside the Washington, DC area by the end of 2019. USDA requests expressions of interest from potential locations by September 14. The Daily Yonder collected comments about the changes, most of which express concern.

Senate bills would create refundable tax credits for cost-burdened renters.
The Rent Relief Act of 2018 (S. 3250), introduced in July by Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), is similar to H.R. 3670, introduced in September 2017 by Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY). The Housing, Opportunity, Mobility, and Equity Act of 2018 (S. 3342) was introduced August 1 by Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). All three bills would cover all or part of the rent amounts paid by low-income tenants that exceed 30% of their incomes. A National Low Income Housing Coalition factsheet compares the provisions in the two Senate bills.

HAC explores rural broadband gap.
“Disconnect in Rural America,” a new HAC Rural Research Note, reports that 27% of nonmetro households lack broadband subscriptions (including cellular data plans), compared to 17.1% in metro areas. There are gaps in broadband access at all income levels and all ages. The upcoming fall issue of Rural Voices, HAC’s quarterly magazine, will describe how some rural communities have helped overcome the physical and financial challenges of providing broadband access for their residents and businesses.

Federal strategic plan to end homelessness released.
The U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness adopted Home, Together as the 2018-2022 federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness. “Tailoring strategies for rural communities” is listed as an area of increased focus. The plan does not include specific timeframes for achieving its goals.

Rural Studio to spread affordable housing design nationwide.
The Rural Studio at Auburn University in Alabama, known for developing small, affordable 20K Homes, is now collaborating with HAC on several projects and with Fannie Mae as part of its Duty to Serve work. Auburn issued a press release on the Rural Studio’s 20K Initiative, a program that involves collaboration with a wide range of partners and is intended to support both housing and local economies in rural places.

New portfolio manager named for USDA rental housing programs.
USDA Rural Development has hired Nancie-Ann Bodell, who has worked at HUD, to be director of the Portfolio Management Division for Multifamily Housing Programs. Stephanie White retired from this position in 2017.

Online tool offers data on reservations.
The Reservation Profiles Database, provided by the Center for Indian Country Development at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, has data and graphs showing demographic, economic, and homeownership indicators for American Indian reservations with at least 2,500 residents.

Wage growth lower than inflation in past year, generally stagnant over decades, analyses show.
A Washington Post analysis of data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that wages increased 2.7% from July 2017 to July 2018, while the cost of living rose 2.9%. At the same time, the Post notes, corporate profits have soared. A separate report from the Pew Research Center found that the current real average wage (that is, the wage after accounting for inflation) is about the same as it was in 1978. Since 2000, Pew states, wages have grown much faster for the highest earners than for those at the bottom of the scale, contributing to widening income inequality.

Senate committee delays vote on CFPB nomination.
The Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee has postponed votes on several Administration nominees including Kathleen Kraninger, proposed to serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The committee held a hearing July 19 on Kraninger’s nomination.

HAC offers Section 502 packaging training in September.
This three-day advanced course trains experienced participants to assist potential borrowers and work with RD staff, other nonprofits, and regional intermediaries to deliver successful Section 502 loan packages. The registration fee is $750. The training will be held September 24-26 in Liverpool, NY. For more information, contact HAC staff, 404-892-4824.

Deadline extended to nominate local and national leaders for HAC awards.
HAC is still accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

Save the date for the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when conference registration opens and when the hotel room block is available for reservations.

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan funds provide low interest rate loans to support single- and multifamily affordable housing projects for low-income rural residents throughout the U.S. and territories. Capital is available for all types of affordable and mixed-income housing projects, including preservation, farmworker, senior, and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, and construction/rehabilitation. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

HAC CEO David Lipsetz contributes to CDFI Connect blog

HAC: Building Capacity for Rural Communities

by David Lipsetz, CEO of the Housing Assistance Council

It was the mid-1970s. Gerald Ford was in office. CDFIs like the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) were just getting started. And Peggy Wright was growing up in Forrest City, Arkansas.

Forrest City is part of Arkansas’ long-struggling Delta region, where rich soil rarely led to riches for the largely African American population toiling in the fields. Housing conditions were dire, and indoor plumbing was hardly commonplace. Within a few years, Peggy had grown up and joined the Arkansas Delta Housing Development Corporation (ADHDC). Despite the barriers of the times, she rose to the position of housing director at ADHDC, running a “Self-Help” housing model which allows those of modest means to put forth hundreds of hours of sweat equity toward construction of their own homes.

Read the complete post on the CDFI Connect Blog.

HAC News: June 22, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 22, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 13

Rescission bill fails in Senate • Rents remain unaffordable at minimum wage • Harvard report addresses housing affordability • Administration proposes moving some rural housing programs to HUD • Sec. 533 Housing Preservation Grants available • Water and wastewater grants available for relending • HUD offers Jobs Plus funds • Grants available to reduce lead paint hazards • Comments invited on fair housing and disparate impact • Strategies for addressing rural homelessness offered in new report • Senate Committee and full House pass different Farm Bills •Changes proposed for construction to permanent mortgages guaranteed by USDA • Final set of Opportunity Zones announced • HUD designates EnVision Centers in 17 communities • Deadline extended for commenting on USDA regulations • Kraninger nominated to be CFPB director

HAC News Formats. pdf

June 22, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 13

Rescission bill fails in Senate.
On June 20 the Senate voted 50-48 against the Administration’s request to rescind previously appropriated funds, including $40 million from USDA’s Section 521 Rental Assistance program and additional amounts from other housing-related programs. The Senate could reconsider the bill, but is unlikely to. The House passed its version of the bill on June 7.

Rents remain unaffordable at minimum wage.
The National Low Income Housing Coalition’s 2018 Out of Reach report shows that, as has been the case for years, there is no county in the U.S. where a full-time worker earning the federal minimum wage or prevailing state minimum wage can afford a two-bedroom rental at HUD’s Fair Market Rent while working a standard 40-hour week. A full-time minimum-wage worker can afford a one-bedroom apartment in only 22 of the more than 3,000 U.S. counties. Data for each state and county is available through an interactive map.

Harvard report addresses housing affordability.
Another annual research report, the State of the Nation’s Housing, was released this week by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. It recommends collaboration among the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to tackle the conditions creating the housing affordability gap, and notes that “a more robust federal response is essential to any meaningful progress.” The report states that increases in federal assistance for renters have lagged far behind the growth in renters with very low incomes. It notes that income inequality and the inability of income growth to keep pace with the economy’s growth over the past 30 years have contributed to current affordability challenges.

Administration proposes moving some rural housing programs to HUD.
On June 21 the Trump Administration released recommendations for reorganizing federal government agencies and programs, including moving USDA’s loan guarantee and rental assistance programs to HUD. It would also privatize Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It is not clear whether Congress will consider enacting the proposals.

Sec. 533 Housing Preservation Grants available.
A request for applications for grants to repair owner-occupied or rental housing will be published on June 25. Nonprofit, local government agencies, and tribes are eligible. Applications are due in early August. For more information, contact Bonnie Edwards-Jackson, RD, 202-690-0759.

Water and wastewater grants available for relending.
The Rural Utilities Service is offering grants to nonprofits under two programs. Household Water Well System grants can be used to create lending programs for homeowners to construct or repair household water wells. Revolving Fund Program grants establish funds that make loans to entities eligible for RUS water and wastewater programs. Applications for both programs are due July 20. For more information, contact Derek Jones, RUS, 202-720-9640.

HUD offers Jobs Plus funds.
Public housing authorities (not tribes or tribally designated housing entities) that did not receive Jobs Plus grants in 2014-2017 can apply by August 14. For more information, contact HUD staff.

Grants available to reduce lead paint hazards.
State, local, and tribal governments are eligible for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction grants to identify and remediate lead paint in owner-occupied or rental housing. Applications are due August 2.

Comments invited on fair housing and disparate impact.
HUD is reviewing its regulation implementing the disparate impact standard – which applies the Fair Housing Act to practices with discriminatory effect even if the discrimination was not intended – to determine whether changes are appropriate based on the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling upholding the use of disparate impact analysis, the Administration’s efforts to reduce regulatory burden, or for other reasons. Comments are due August 20. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 202-402-6577.

Strategies for addressing rural homelessness offered in new report.
In Strengthening Systems for Ending Rural Homelessness: Promising Practices and Considerations, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness describes tactics such as obtaining technical assistance, partnering with service providers, developing creative outreach, identifying crisis housing options, and more.

Senate Committee and full House pass different Farm Bills.
The House Farm Bill, H.R. 2, was defeated in May but passed on June 21. The Senate Agriculture Committee approved its version, S. 3042, on June 18. The Senate bill does not contain controversial House provisions such as expanded work requirements, so after the full Senate votes (possibly before the end of June) a compromise will need to be developed.

Changes proposed for construction to permanent mortgages guaranteed by USDA.
USDA’s Rural Housing Service has proposed amendments intended to increase lenders’ willingness to use Section 502 guaranteed loans that cover both the construction and permanent mortgage phases. Along with other changes, lenders would be allowed to charge a higher interest rate for the construction phase and to escrow principal as well as other payments during construction. Comments are due August 20. For more information, contact Kate Jenson, USDA, 503-810-6855.

Final set of Opportunity Zones announced.
Opportunity Zones have now been designated in all states and territories. The IRS welcomes comments as it develops guidance on Opportunity Funds and eligible investments for taxpayers with capital gains.

HUD designates EnVision Centers in 17 communities.
The Choctaw Nation in Oklahoma is one of the locations selected for Secretary Ben Carson’s initiative, which intends to leverage public-private partnerships to connect HUD-assisted households with services and help them achieve self-sufficiency.

Deadline extended for commenting on USDA regulations.
In July 2017 USDA requested comments on improving its regulations, with a deadline of July 17, 2018. The deadline is now extended by a year to July 18, 2019. For more information, contact Michael Poe, USDA, 202-720-5303.

Kraninger nominated to be CFPB director.
President Trump has nominated Kathy Kraninger to become director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She currently works at OMB for Mick Mulvaney, who is OMB director and acting CFPB director.

HAC OFFERS GRANTS TO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECTS SERVING RURAL VETERANS These grants, supported by The Home Depot Foundation, will go to nonprofits, tribally designated housing entities, and housing authorities serving veterans at or below 80% of area median income in rural areas. Projects may be new construction or rehab, temporary or permanent housing, in progress or beginning within 12 months. Applications are due July 9. For more information, contact Shonterria Charleston or Anselmo Telles.

HAC SEEKS WORKSHOP PROPOSALS.
HAC is trying something new for the 2018 Rural Housing Conference. We are looking to our constituents and partners for proposals for workshop sessions that engage participants and facilitate an active exchange of approaches and ideas to improve housing conditions for the rural poor. Check the online call for proposals and submit online by July 11. For more information, contact Mike Feinberg, 202-842-8600, or Kelly Cooney, 678- 649-3831.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when conference registration opens and when the hotel room block is available for reservations.

NOMINATE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS FOR HAC AWARDS..
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

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: June 11, 2018

HAC News pdf

June 11, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 12

Senate Committee advances 2019 HUD funding • House votes to rescind funds, including USDA Rental Assistance • ROSS Service Coordinator funds available • HUD offers Tribal Healthy Homes grants • USDA and NCDFIs partner to increase Native homeownership • CFPB dismisses members of three advisory boards • UN report critiques US approach to poverty • Answers to some common housing questions posted • Guide helps select USDA refinancing for homeowners • June is National Homeownership Month • HAC seeks workshop proposals • Save the date for the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference! • Nominate local and national leaders for HAC awards • Need capital for your affordable housing project?

HAC News pdf

June 11, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 12

Senate Committee advances 2019 HUD funding.
A 2019 HUD appropriations bill was approved by a Senate subcommittee on June 5 and by the full Appropriations Committee on June 7. The bill keeps many programs at FY18 levels, with increases for vouchers, Section 8, and public housing, and a decrease in Section 811 housing for people with disabilities. It includes new funds for homeless youth and survivors of domestic violence. It provides FY19 funding for U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness but does not reauthorize USICH. [tdborder][/tdborder]

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 House Bill

FY19 Senate Bill (S. 3023)

CDBG

$3,000

$3,300

0

$3,300

$3,300

HOME

950

1,362

0

1,200

1,362

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

0

10

10

Veterans Home Rehab

4

4

0

0

4

Tenant-Based Rental Asstnce.
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

20,292
40
7

22,015
40
5

20,550*
0
4

22,476
40
5

22,781
40
5

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,816

11,515

10,952

11,347

11,747

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,942

2,750

0

2,750

2,775

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,550

3,279*

4,550

4,756

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

137.5

150

0

150

100

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grt.

654

655

600

655

655

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,383

2,513

2,383

2,546

2,612

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

356

375

330

393

375

202 Hsg. for Elderly

502.4

678

563

678

678

811 Hsg. for Disabled

146.2

230

132

154

154

Fair Housing

65.3

65.3

62.3

65.3

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

145

230

145

230

260

Housing Counseling

55

55

45

55

45

* Includes amounts added by an Administration addendum to its budget request.

House votes to rescind funds, including USDA Rental Assistance.
The House rescission bill, H.R. 3, passed on June 7. Currently, the Senate has no plans to vote on its companion bill, S. 2979. Both bills would rescind funding previously appropriated, including $40 million from Section 521 Rental Assistance, as requested by President Trump.

ROSS Service Coordinator funds available.
Applications are due July 30 for grants to hire Service Coordinators to operate Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency Programs for PHAs, nonprofits, tribes, and TDHEs are eligible. For more information, contact HUD staff.

HUD offers Tribal Healthy Homes grants.
American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments and tribal organizations can apply by July 18 for the Healthy Homes Production Grant Program for Tribal Housing. These $500,000-$1,000,000 grants, being offered for the first time since 2012, assist recipients to identify and remediate housing-related health and safety hazards. For more information, contact Michelle Miller, HUD.

USDA and NCDFIs partner to increase Native homeownership.
Under a new pilot program, USDA will loan $800,000 in Section 502 direct funds to each of two Native CDFIs, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial and Four Bands Community Fund. They will relend the funds to homebuyers for mortgages on tribal lands in North and South Dakota. For more information, contact USDA Rural Development’s South Dakota state office.

CFPB dismisses members of three advisory boards.
On June 6 the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau dismissed all members of its Consumer Advisory Board, Community Bank Advisory Council, and Credit Union Advisory Council. It announced it will increase other types of outreach and will reconstitute the advisory groups with new, smaller memberships. Reportedly the current members cannot reapply. This was done following a request in February for public comments about its external engagements.

UN report critiques US approach to poverty.
The United Nations has released the Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights on his Mission to the United States of America, which will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council on June 21. The Special Rapporteur, Australian human rights attorney Philip Alston, visited the U.S., including rural Lowndes County, AL, in December 2017. His report describes “a dramatic contrast between the immense wealth of the few and the squalor and deprivation in which vast numbers of Americans exist. For almost five decades the overall policy response has been neglectful at best, but the policies pursued over the past year seem deliberately designed to remove basic protections from the poorest, punish those who are not in employment and make even basic health care into a privilege to be earned rather than a right of citizenship.”

Answers to some common housing questions posted.
Every three months, housing publication Shelterforce offers a one-page response to a question that readers may be trying to answer. Recent questions include, “Why don’t people who get rental assistance get a job?,” “Can supporting community development improve outcomes for the health sector?,” and “Do rent regulations make the housing crisis worse?”

Guide helps select USDA refinancing for homeowners.
A new brief guide is intended to help lenders or others select appropriate USDA refinancing for current borrowers using the Section 502 direct or guaranteed programs. It also lists all items required in a complete loan application for each type of mortgage. For more information, contact an RD state office.

June is National Homeownership Month.
HUD’s theme for the month is “Find Your Place.”

HAC SEEKS WORKSHOP PROPOSALS.
HAC is trying something new for the 2018 Rural Housing Conference. We are looking to our constituents and partners for proposals for workshop sessions that engage participants and facilitate an active exchange of approaches and ideas to improve housing conditions for the rural poor. Check the online call for proposals and submit online by July 11. For more information, contact Mike Feinberg, 202-842-8600, or Kelly Cooney, 678- 649-3831.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE 2018 HAC RURAL HOUSING CONFERENCE!
The conference will be held December 4-7 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC. The HAC News will announce when conference registration opens and when the hotel room block is available for reservations.

NOMINATE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS FOR HAC AWARDS..
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

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: May 25, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 11

HUD changes course on 2015 fair housing regulation• Senate committee approves 2019 USDA funding bill • House begins work on 2019 HUD funding • Dodd-Frank provisions rolled back for banks, manufactured homes • GAO makes recommendations to USDA and Congress on preserving rural rentals • Revised bills propose changes to preserve rural rental housing • Advocate’s guide to rural housing preservation published • Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants offered • USDA seeks partnerships in the Section 502 direct loan program • More Opportunity Zones announced • Farm Bill fails in House • Tribal VASH notices updated • Inclusionary zoning map shows local and state programs • African Americans and Hispanics still far from equal with whites, National Urban League reports

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 25, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 11

HUD changes course on 2015 fair housing regulation.
In January, HUD suspended implementation of a 2015 regulation that required local jurisdictions to prepare Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs) to help meet their obligations to affirmatively further fair housing. On May 8, civil rights groups sued HUD for suspending the rule. HUD has now canceled January’s suspension, and instead has withdrawn the Assessment Tool that local governments were using to develop their AFHs. Like the January notice, this one means local governments will keep using the older Analysis of Impediments rather than the AFH. HUD says it is planning a series of national listening sessions regarding the Assessment Tool. Comments on the Assessment Tool are due July 23. For more information, contact Krista Mills, HUD, 202-402-6577. HUD also announced recently that it plans to request public comment on whether its 2013 regulation on the use of disparate impact to identify housing discrimination is consistent with the 2015 Supreme Court ruling on the subject.

Senate committee approves 2019 USDA funding bill.
On May 24 the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 funding bill for USDA. Most of its rural housing funding amounts are the same as the FY18 levels, with slight increases for MPR and vouchers. The Senate bill provides slightly lower levels than the House bill – which passed the House Appropriations Committee on May 16 – for Section 514 and 516 farm labor housing, Section 533, MPR, and vouchers.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 House Bill

FY19 Senate Bill (S. 2976)

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setasidea

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

0
0

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

28

0

28

28

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

30

0

30

30

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

35

40

0

40

40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23

0

27.5

23.9

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.4

0

10

8.3

521 Rental Assistance

1,405

1,345

1,331.4

1,331.4

1,331.4

523 Self-Help TA

30

30

0

30

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

5

10

0

15

10

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

230

230

250

230

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

0

25

24

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

19.4

25

20

28

26

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

0

4

6

  1. Figures shown represent budget authority, not program levels.

House begins work on 2019 HUD funding.
On May 23 the House Appropriations Committee passed its FY19 funding bill for HUD. The bill would provide more funding than the Administration’s budget, but some reductions from FY18 levels. It introduces a new mobility demonstration that would allow families with children to move to areas with greater opportunity. The Senate will begin considering HUD appropriations the first week of June.

HUD Program
(dollars in millions)

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Final Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget

FY19 House Bill

CDBG

$3,000

$3,300

0

$3,300

HOME

950

1,362

0

1,200

Self-Help Homeownshp. (SHOP)

10

10

0

10

Veterans Home Rehab

4

4

0

0

Tenant-Based Rental Assstnce.
VASH setaside
Tribal VASH

20,292
40
7

22,015
40
5

20,550*
0
4

22,476
40
5

Project-Based Rental Asstnce.

10,816

11,515

10,952

11,347

Public Hsg. Capital Fund

1,942

2,750

0

2,750

Public Hsg. Operating Fund

4,400

4,550

3,279*

4,550

Choice Neighbrhd. Initiative

137.5

150

0

150

Native Amer. Hsg. Block Grt.

654

655

600

655

Homeless Assistance Grants

2,383

2,513

2,383

2,546

Hsg. Opps. for Persons w/ AIDS

356

375

330

393

202 Hsg. for Elderly

502.4

678

563

678

811 Hsg. for Disabled

146.2

230

132

154

Fair Housing

65.3

65

62.3

65.3

Healthy Homes & Lead Haz. Cntl.

145

230

145

230

Housing Counseling

55

55

45

55

* Includes amounts added by an Administration addendum to its budget request.

Dodd-Frank provisions rolled back for banks, manufactured homes.
On May 24 President Trump signed into law S. 2155, which passed the House on May 22 and the Senate in March. The measure does not affect the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but it removes some oversight for smaller banks, exempts 85% of lenders from some HMDA reporting, allows manufactured home retailers to make financing recommendations, and expands the ability of smaller lenders to make “Qualified Mortgages.” It also provides permanent authorization for HUD’s Family Self-Sufficiency Program.

GAO makes recommendations to USDA and Congress on preserving rural rentals.
The Government Accountability Office reviewed RHS’s efforts to address the possible loss of affordable rural rental housing due to maturing mortgages and made six recommendations. Rural Housing Service: Better Data Controls, Planning, and Additional Options Could Help Preserve Affordable Rental Units suggests that Congress consider authorizing Section 521 Rental Assistance and vouchers for tenants in properties whose mortgages have matured. Its recommendations for RHS include improving data accuracy, updating online preservation information regularly, and setting, monitoring, and reporting on preservation goals.

Revised bills propose changes to preserve rural rental housing.
Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH) and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) have introduced new versions of the Rural Housing Preservation Act, introduced in 2016 in the previous Congress but not acted upon then. This year’s H.R. 5352 and S. 2574 would authorize vouchers for tenants in maturing mortgage properties, decouple Rental Assistance from Section 515 and 514 mortgages so it could be available for tenants in maturing mortgage properties, require uniform standards for transfers of Section 515 properties with LIHTCs, and permanently authorize USDA’s Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization Program. Committee action has not been scheduled for either bill.

Advocates’ guide to rural housing preservation published.
The National Housing Law Project has released An Advocate’s Guide to Rural Housing Preservation: Prepayments, Mortgage Maturities, and Foreclosures. Intended for advocates and legal services attorneys, the guide provides information, strategies, references, and sample pleadings and case materials. For more information, contact Jessica Cassella , NHLP.

Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants offered.
Local and tribal governments, PHAs and IHAs, and owners of HUD-assisted housing may apply by September 17 for grants to implement Transformation Plans that address distressed housing, improved household outcomes, and reinvestment in neighborhoods. For more information, contact HUD staff.

USDA seeks partnerships in the Section 502 direct loan program.
USDA RD wants to increase participation with intermediaries, qualified nonprofit packagers, and self-help grantees across the U.S. to raise their packaging of Section 502 loans from the current 18% to 25% in FY19. In May RD will begin publishing a quarterly newsletter for loan packagers and self-help grantees. For more information, contact Tammy Repine, USDA, 360-999-0251.

More Opportunity Zones announced.
As of May 18, the Treasury Department had designated Opportunity Zones in 46 states, as well as in DC and five U.S. territories. Designations for Florida, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Utah are pending.

Farm Bill fails in House.
On May 18 the House voted on H.R. 2, the 2018 Farm Bill, but it did not pass. The Senate is expected to release its draft Farm Bill in June.

Tribal VASH notices updated.
A new HUD notice consolidates previous Federal Register notices from October 21, 2015 and December 6, 2016 on the Tribal HUD-VASH program and adds procedures for issuing renewal funding. For more information, contact Heidi J. Frechette, HUD, 202-402-7914.

Inclusionary zoning map shows local and state programs.
The Grounded Solutions Network has developed an interactive map that shows the characteristics of inclusionary housing programs as well as state laws regarding adoption of such local programs. It also offers an interactive Inclusionary Housing Calculator, designed to explore the relationship between local incentives and the development of mixed income housing.

African Americans and Hispanics still far from equal with whites, National Urban League reports.
The annual State of Black America report shows the 2018 “Equality Index” is 72.5% for African Americans and 79.3% for Hispanics. Full equality with whites would be 100%.

NOMINATE LOCAL AND NATIONAL LEADERS FOR HAC AWARDS..
HAC is now accepting nominations for its 2018 Cochran/Collings National Service and Skip Jason Community Service Leadership Awards. Nominations are due Friday July 13. The awards will be presented at the 2018 HAC Rural Housing Conference in December. Past awardees are listed on HAC’s site. Complete the online nomination form. For more information, contact Lilla Sutton, HAC, 202-842-8600.

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: May 11, 2018

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 11, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 10

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month• Administration requests rescission of $40 million in rural Rental Assistance • House subcommittee passes FY19 USDA spending bill • HUD sued over fair housing regulation change • Deadline extended for comments on Affordable Housing Program • Temporary authorization issued to help use Section 502 direct funds • New HAC report looks at mortgage finance in Indian Country • 50 years of fair housing reviewed • HMDA data show banks reduced lending to low- and moderate-income homeowners •Farmworker hiring increased 2008-2016, USDA reports • NEA offers creative placemaking grants • White House renews faith-based initiatives • CFPB amends timing for “know before you owe” mortgage disclosure rule

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 11, 2018
Vol. 47, No. 10

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
Among the month’s observances are several planned by federal agencies.

Administration requests rescission of $40 million in rural Rental Assistance.
A May 8 Administration proposal to withdraw funds previously appropriated for several federal programs includes $40 million from USDA’s Section 521 Rental Assistance program, just over $41 million from HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, almost $23 million from the CDFI Fund’s Bank Enterprise Award program, and $151 million from the CDFI Fund’s Capital Magnet Fund. The request explains that Section 521 RA had a $40 million balance on October 1, 2017, the first day of FY18. That $40 million was not intended to be spent during FY17, however; the FY17 appropriations bill specifically designated it for FY18. A disproportionately high number of RA contracts must be renewed in October and November every year, when limited amounts of new funding are available under continuing resolutions adopted by Congress before final appropriations are established. In October and November alone, USDA used $261.8 million to renew contracts for almost 52,000 low-income tenants. Congress must adopt, amend, or reject the proposal within 45 days. The full House may vote on its bill, H.R. 3, as soon as next week without first sending it to the Appropriations Committee. The Senate is expected to act after the House.

House subcommittee passes FY19 USDA spending bill.
On May 9, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approved a draft appropriations bill for fiscal year 2019, which begins on October 1, 2018. The bill resembles the FY18 appropriation more than the Administration’s budget request. It would continue initiatives such as incentives to nonprofits and PHAs to acquire and preserve rental properties; the Section 502 direct loan packaging program; and the requirement to allocate 10% of funds from each program to persistent poverty counties. A House markup for HUD FY19 appropriations has not yet been scheduled, and no draft HUD bill has been released. The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to begin its markups later this month.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)

FY16 Approp.

FY17 Approp.

FY18 Approp.

FY19 Admin. Budget Proposal

FY19 House Bill

502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setasidea

$900
5

$1,000
5

$1,100
5

0
0

$1,000
5

502 Single Family Guar.

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

24,000

504 VLI Repair Loans

26.3

26.3

28

0

28

504 VLI Repair Grants

28.7

28.7

30

0

b

515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.

28.4

35

40

0

40

514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.

23.9

23.9

23

0

c

516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.

8.3

8.3

8.4

0

c

521 Rental Assistance

1,390

1,405

1,345

1,331.4

1,331.4

523 Self-Help TA

27.5

30

30

0

30

533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants

3.5

5

10

0

b

538 Rental Hsg. Guar.

150

230

230

250

230

Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)

22

22

22

0

25

542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers

15

19.4

25

20

28

Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init.

4

4

4

0

4

  1. Figures shown represent budget authority, not program levels.
  2. The bill provides a total of $45 million to be divided between Section 504 grants and Section 533 grants.
  3. The bill provides total budget authority of $16.9 million for the Section 514 and 516 programs.

HUD sued over fair housing regulation change.
On May 8 a group of advocates sued HUD over its suspension of the regulation requiring state and local governments to produce Assessments of Fair Housing as part of fulfilling the Fair Housing Act’s requirement to “affirmatively further fair housing.” National Fair Housing Alliance v. Carson seeks a court order requiring HUD to implement the rule immediately.

Deadline extended for comments on Affordable Housing Program.
Comments on the proposed new rule for the Federal Home Loan Bank’s AHP are now due June 12 rather than May 14. (See HAC News, 3/16/18.) For more information, contact Ted Wartell, FHFA, 202-649-3157.

Temporary authorization issued to help use Section 502 direct funds. Through the end of FY18, when a homebuyer purchases a property that has a Section 502 direct loan, USDA will process the new mortgage as an initial loan rather than as an assumption of the old mortgage. This approach, which USDA has employed in the past, will help use all available Section 502 direct funds. For more information, contact a USDA RD office.

New HAC report looks at mortgage finance in Indian Country.
Exploring the Challenges and Opportunities for Mortgage Finance in Indian Country examines mortgage lending to American Indian and Alaska Natives, particularly on reservations. Barriers to lending include geographic isolation, economic distress, mistrust, nonstandard land ownership, and an extra layer of federal oversight. As a result, on reservations there are low mortgage origination rates, high denial rates, and a high proportion of loans made for manufactured homes. The report recommends that, along with better targeted policies and more complete data, increasing the capacity and awareness of all involved parties could help resolve the challenges.
50 years of fair housing reviewed.
The National Fair Housing Alliance’s 2018 Fair Housing Trends Report: Making Every Neighborhood a Place of Opportunity reports on fair housing progress since the Fair Housing Act’s adoption in 1968 and on recent attacks on fair housing. The paper concludes that the biggest obstacle to fair housing rights is the federal government’s failure to enforce the law vigorously, and offers recommendations for change.

HMDA data show banks reduced lending to low- and moderate-income homeowners.
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data from 2017 are now available, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a “first look” report based on the new figures. Nonbank mortgage lenders accounted for 56.1% of HMDA-reported home purchase loans in 2017, up from 53.3% in 2016. In 2017, 6.4% of home purchase loans went to African-American buyers and 8.8% to Hispanics. Low- or moderate-income borrowers received 26.3% of all home purchase loans.

Farmworker hiring increased 2008-2016, USDA reports.
A report by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that agriculture employment fell from 2000 to 2008, then rebounded, with hiring of contract workers increasing faster than direct hiring. Nonsupervisory workers earned an average of $12.47 per hour in 2017. Applications and approvals of H-2A temporary foreign workers quadrupled from 2005 to 2017. For those not in the H-2A program, the American Community Survey and the National Agricultural Workers Survey provide different figures for race/ethnicity, citizenship, and education levels.

NEA offers creative placemaking grants.
The National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program supports projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Our Town matches local funds with grants from $25,000 to $200,000. Applications are due August 9.

White House renews faith-based initiatives.
An Executive Order issued May 3 changes the existing office to the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative and directs the initiative to make recommendations on policies and programs on a variety of matters including solutions to poverty.

CFPB amends timing for “know before you owe” mortgage disclosure rule.
The change will allow lenders to pass higher closing costs to consumers if the costs increase after a closing disclosure is provided to the borrower. For more information, contact Shaakira Gold-Ramirez, CFPB, 202-435-7700 or submit a question online.

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).