USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – May

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of May, USDA obligated 94,334 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $16.2 billion, nearly $2.4 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 88,196 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $13.9 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated nearly $15.5 billion (87,519 loan guarantees) up from almost $13.0 (79,509 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $605 million (3,281 loans), a bit less than last year’s obligation level of $629 million (3,681 loans.) Nearly 37 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 43 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,316 loans representing about $8 million. Loan volume was down from this time last year (1,722 loans representing $10.4 million.) About $13.7 million (2,119 grants) was obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to over $20 million (3,105 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 27 grants and contracts totaling $16.9 million, a bit less than last year’s 14 grants and contracts totaling over $20.5 million.

Multi-Family Housing Program Highlights

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 51 loan guarantees totaling $135.7 million compared to last year’s 92 loan guarantees ($145.6 million.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing loans and no MPR loans or grants have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 13 loans and 5 grants were obligated ($19.7 million and $5.9 million, respectively.)

In the Section 521 Rental Assistance program, USDA obligated funds for 125,076 rental assistance units the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling nearly $740.0 million. This compares to about 135,675 units ($783.0 million) obligated same time last year. There were also 5,007 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $24.3 million compared to 5,368 vouchers representing $25.0 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from the Administration

Biden’s USDA Housing Budget Proposes Increases in Section 502 Mortgages and Rental Preservation

The Biden administration’s first full budget request, covering the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2021, would maintain this year’s spending levels on rural housing programs and make available more loans for rural homebuyers. The Section 502 direct loan program, though which USDA makes loans directly to first-time purchasers, would be raised from $1 billion to $1.5 billion. The Section 502 guarantee program, which guarantees mortgages made by banks, would increase from $24 billion to $30 billion.

Fiscal year 2022 funding for most rural housing programs would remain at the same levels as in fiscal year 2021, with modest increases for self-help housing, rental assistance, and rental vouchers. The budget also indicates that the American Jobs Plan – the administration’s infrastructure proposal – would provide an additional $2 billion in rural housing spending. It does not give any details about how that money would be used.

The budget proposes to eliminate some protections for Section 521 Rental Assistance (RA). It would delete a requirement that recaptured RA be reused for rehab, preservation, or RA, and it would eliminate longstanding provisions requiring a 12-month delay before recapturing unused RA from Section 514/516 farmworker housing and mandating that farmworker housing RA be reused in other farmworker housing if possible. Language that allows recaptured RA to be used for “current needs” would be left in place.

Also deleted would be a provision from FY20 and FY21 appropriations that allows owners to request RA renewals for 20-year periods, subject to annual appropriations, which fund RA contracts for one year at a time.

The Multifamily Preservation and Revitalization (MPR) program, the Section 542 voucher program, and both farmworker housing programs would be shifted to new places in the budgetary scheme, an administrative move that would not alter the functioning of any of these programs.

The administration’s budget is the first step in the annual appropriations process. Each house of Congress will now craft its own proposal and differences will be worked out in the months to come.

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.

(dollars in millions)

FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Final Approp. Amer. Rescue Plan Act FY 22 Admin. Budget
502 Single Fam. Direct $1,000 $1,000 $656.6 $1,500
502 Single Family Guar. 24,000 24,000 30,000
504 VLI Repair Loans 28 28 18.3a 28
504 VLI Repair Grants 30 30 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns. 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns. 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts. 10 10 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,375 1,410 100 1,450
523 Self-Help TA 31 31 32
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants 15 15 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR) 28 28 32
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers 32 40 45
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 2 0
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 4 6 6

a The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 provides $39 million in budget authority to refinance Section 502 direct loans and Section 504 loans for homeowners impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. USDA expects this funding to generate $656.6 million in Section 502 direct loans and $18.3 million in Section 504 loans.

 

HAC News: May 13, 2021

HAC News Formats. pdf

May 13, 2021

Vol. 50, No. 10

TOP STORIES

Eviction moratorium remains in effect while under court review.
Ruling that the Centers for Disease Control did not have the legal authority to issue its moratorium on evictions, a federal judge on May 6 declared the measure invalid, then temporarily stayed her order when the Justice Department appealed it. Numerous other suits have been filed in state and federal courts, with some judges upholding the moratorium and others finding it did not apply in specific cases.

New guidance will help tenants access Emergency Rental Assistance.
On May 7, when the Treasury Department allocated $21.6 billion to states and localities in Emergency Rental Assistance funds appropriated by the American Rescue Plan Act, it also revised its FAQs and fact sheet for the program. The new documents address some of the challenges faced by tenants trying to use the first round of ERA aid. For example, they require program administrators to provide relief directly to tenants whose landlords decline to participate, and to help tenants in federally assisted housing pay their share of rents. Summaries comparing the ERA 1 and ERA 2 programs are available from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and National Council of State Housing Agencies.

USDA homeowner refi funds available soon, officials tell Congress.
The Biden administration’s plans for USDA Rural Development were examined in a May 6 House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee virtual hearing. Funds from the American Rescue Plan Act will be used to refinance loans to USDA single-family borrowers who have been under forbearance during the pandemic, said Chad Parker, Acting RHS Administrator. USDA expects to issue guidance to its staff later in May and then to begin accepting applications for these refinances in late May or early June. The $39 million appropriation will yield about $650 million in Section 502 direct mortgages and $18.8 million in Section 504 home repair loans. The American Rescue Plan Act also provided $100 million for new Section 521 Rental Assistance; USDA has already issued guidance for field staff regarding these funds. The hearing also touched on the backlogged MPR rental preservation program, subsidy recapture for Section 502 homeowners, the need for local capacity building and USDA staff levels; a summary is posted on HAC’s website.

May is Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander Heritage Month.
President Biden’s proclamation includes condemnation of anti-Asian bias and violence.

RuralSTAT
Over the past year an average of 4.6% of U.S. homeowners and 12.4% of renters lacked confidence in their ability to make their next mortgage or rent payment. Source: HAC tabulations of the U.S. Census Bureau’s Pulse Survey.

OPPORTUNITIES

HUD offers Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants.
Nonprofits, PHAs, local governments and tribal entities can apply by July 13 for grants to develop comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies to guide the revitalization of public or assisted housing and transformation of surrounding neighborhoods.

Emergency Broadband Benefit program launched.
The Federal Communications Commission is offering discounts to low-income people for broadband service and computer purchases during the coronavirus pandemic. The program can be used for a new or existing broadband plan from a participating provider. It will end when funds are exhausted or six months after the federal government declares an end to the pandemic. FCC also offers outreach materials, including handouts in several languages. For more information contact a broadband provider, visit FCC’s webpage or call 833-511-0311 to receive an application by mail.

NEW Conference Coordinator job opening at HAC; Community Facilities Housing Specialist also open.
For details, visit HAC’s website.

  • The Conference Coordinator supports every part of preparing and delivering HAC’s 2021 National Rural Housing Conference. Excellent communication skills and attention to detail are vital, along with proven experience in conference and/or event planning to include logistic coordination. This is a full-time, temporary position and is eligible for telecommuting.
  • The Community Facilities Housing Specialist identifies and engages community stakeholders and provides direct technical assistance to rural organizations that are developing facilities such as parks, community centers, public libraries and childcare centers. This includes helping them identify, utilize and apply for financial resources such as USDA Community Facilities grants and loans. This a two-year position and is eligible for telecommuting.

 
CORONAVIRUS

Administration’s vaccination goal includes rural outreach.
The federal effort to vaccinate 70% of American adults by July 4 involves supports directed at underserved communities, including rural places. The White House aims to improve rural access by sending vaccines directly to rural health clinics, funding rural clinics to conduct education and outreach, and helping rural clinics and hospitals broaden their testing and mitigation work.

HUD and HHS work together to increase testing and vaccinations.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced a joint-agency effort to increase access to COVID-19 prevention and treatment services, including testing and vaccinations, among disproportionately affected communities, including among HUD-assisted households and people experiencing homelessness. They asked community health centers, HUD grantees and others to assist with registering and scheduling tests and vaccination appointments and facilitating on-site vaccine clinics.

“Why lagging COVID vaccine rate at rural hospitals ‘needs to be fixed now.’”
This story by National Public Radio reports on relatively low rates of vaccinations among rural health care workers. The National Rural Health Association and Chartis Center for Rural Health surveyed rural hospital executives, 30% of whom said less than half their employees had been vaccinated. About the same proportion said that 70% or more of their staff were vaccinated.

Guide proposes ways for local coronavirus funding to advance racial equity.
10 Priorities for Advancing Racial Equity Through the American Rescue Plan: A Guide for City and County Policymakers, published by PolicyLink, is addressed to city and county governments receiving  recovery funds from the Treasury Department. The guide provides a worksheet with questions to help achieve the ten priorities, which include explicitly naming racial equity as a goal, engaging historically underserved communities in prioritizing investments, and preventing displacement and increasing community ownership of land and housing.

REGULATIONS AND FEDERAL AGENCIES

Comments sought on government reaching underserved communities, including rural.
Rural residents are among several examples of underserved populations identified in an Office of Management and Budget notice requesting input by July 6 on methods, approaches and tools that could help determine whether federal agency policies and actions equitably serve all eligible individuals and communities. For more information, contact  Amira Boland, OMB, 202-395-5222.

USDA updates guidance for Community Facilities programs.
USDA Rural Development released three documents on May 11 with information relevant to applicants or recipients of CF direct loans, loan guarantees or grants: best practices for RD staff to evaluate proposed projects; documentation required when a direct loan applicant has less than five years of successful operations; and requirements for submitting audit reports or financial statements.

Vilsack confirms ERS and NIFA will stay in Kansas City.
USDA will not move the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture back to Washington, DC, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has stated. The Counter reports representatives of the employees’ union agreed that was the least disruptive decision and recommended hiring remote workers to rebuild staff capacity. The Trump administration relocated the agencies in 2019.

PUBLICATIONS AND MEDIA

Mortgage interest deduction increases racial disparities, research shows.
The income tax deduction available to higher-income homeowners contributes to economic and racial inequality, the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Institute for Economic and Racial Equity at Brandeis University write in a new report. Misdirected Housing Supports: Why the Mortgage Interest Deduction Unjustly Subsidizes High-Income Households and Expands Racial Disparities explains that affluent white households benefit disproportionately from the deduction. The authors propose ending the MID and directing those federal resources to help rectify unjust racial disparities.

Rural places received few early Opportunity Zones investments.
A University of California Berkeley analysis, Neighborhood-Level Investment from the U.S. Opportunity Zone Program: Early Evidence, finds that in 2019, Opportunity Zone capital was highly concentrated in only 16% of the eligible census tracts nationwide and focused on places with relatively high incomes, pre-existing upward trends in incomes and home values, and declining shares of elderly and non-white residents. These OZ investments focused on real estate, both commercial and residential. The paper emphasizes that the available data was incomplete and covered only the program’s early implementation; a review by the Economic Innovation Group reinforces this point. The Berkeley researchers established baselines against which to measure impacts of OZ investments as more data becomes available in the future.

New analysis illustrates U.S. broadband gaps.
Using publicly available Microsoft data, the Verge created an interactive map showing the proportion of people in each county who use the internet at broadband speed. The data does not indicate whether broadband is unavailable in a given area or is available but unaffordable for residents.

“In rural towns like Kit Carson, a housing and development conundrum born of rising costs, disrepair – and lots of asbestos.”
The Colorado Sun article uses one town’s example to highlight threats facing many others, including “declining population, shifting economics of agriculture, absentee property ownership, and an aging and too-often-deteriorating housing inventory.” Many rural towns struggle to balance investing in rehabilitation of current housing stock and economic development. Their goal is to have enough jobs and housing for the next generation to stay.

CITIZENS’ INSTITUTE FOR RURAL DESIGN

American Artscape features Mt. Zion Baptist Church.
A 2019 recipient of funding from the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church Preservation Society is receiving national recognition for its leadership in elevating black voices and history. The church is featured in the latest issue of American Artscape, a magazine of the National Endowment for the Arts, which focuses on equity and access for the arts in black communities. CIRD design team lead and HAC collaborator Omar Hakeem is interviewed in this story about partnership with architects to redesign a historically black church in Appalachian Ohio and what that inspires in the community.

National Endowment for the Arts announces $88 million in 2021 funding awards.
NEA award recipients include two communities that participated in the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design in 2019 and have now received additional funding through the Our Town program: the Pike School of Art in McComb, MS and Snow Pond Center for the Arts (New England Music Camp) in Sidney, ME.

HAC

Need capital for your affordable housing project?
HAC’s loan fund provides 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, new development, farmworker, senior and veteran housing. HAC loan funds can be used for pre-development, site acquisition, site development, construction/rehabilitation and permanent financing. Contact HAC’s loan fund staff at  hacloanfund@ruralhome.org, 202-842-8600.
Please note: HAC is not able to offer loans to individuals or families. Borrowers must be nonprofit or for-profit organizations or government entities (including tribes).

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – April

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of April, USDA obligated 83,295 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $14.3 billion. This is $2.2 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 77,581 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $12.1 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated over $13.6 billion (77,364 loan guarantees) up from $11.3 billion (69,902 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $533.1 million (2,902 loans), about $24.5 million less than last year’s obligation level of $557.6 million (3,262 loans.) About 37 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 43 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 1,119 loans representing $6.6 million. At this time last year, USDA obligated 1,509 Section 504 loans representing $9 million. The Section 504 grant program saw about $11.7 million (1,821 grants) obligated compared to $17.7 million (2,756 grants) at this time last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 23 grants and contracts totaling $15,030,227 up from 12 grants and contracts totaling $13,069,195 a year ago.

Multi-Family Housing Programs

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 48 loan guarantees totaling $129.0 million compared to last year’s 86 loan guarantees ($137.6 million.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. There have been no MPR loans or grants obligated so far this year compared to 4 loans representing $143,438 at this time last year.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 9 loans and 5 grants were obligated ($18.6 million and nearly $5.9 million respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 125,050 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $739.7 million. This compares to about 135,562 units ($782.6 million) obligated same time last year. There were also 4,511 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $21.8 million compared to 4,680 vouchers representing $21.9 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – March

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of February, USDA obligated 60,232 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $10,330,206,982. This is $2,134,121,531 higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 53,209 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $8,196,085,451.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated $9,888,959,509 (56,221 loan guarantees) up from $7,721,657,308 ( 48,119 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $356,827,444 (1,965 loans), similar to last year’s obligation level of $365,962,478 (2,157 loans.) About 38 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 44 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated  750 loans representing $4,369,687. Loan volume was up from this time last year (1,015 loans representing $6,193,027.) There were also about $7,942,283 (1,245 grants) obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to $12,003,752 (1,869 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 6 grants and contracts totaling $3,710,175 up from last year’s 3 grants and contracts totaling $1,900,426.

Multi-Family Housing Programs

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 35 loan guarantees totaling $68,356,333 compared to last year’s 29 loan guarantees ($60,715,592.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. There have been 0 loans and 5 grants obligated in the MPR program totaling $0 and $251,778 this year compared to 0 loans and 3 grants representing $0 and $988,734, respectively last year.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 9 loans and 5 grants were obligated ($18,630,577 and $5,853,855, respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 38,592 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $219,583,640. This compares to about 83,226 units ($477,189,635) obligated same time last year. There were also 1,939 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $9,651,145 compared to2,340 vouchers representing $11,057,083 this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from the Administration

Biden Budget Outline Calls for More HUD Funding and Expanded Rural StrikeForce

April 9, 2021 – The Biden Administration’s first budget request, released today, outlines priorities including increases in some Department of Housing and Urban Development programs but does not mention the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural housing programs. A more detailed budget will be issued later this spring.

The Administration proposes to increase funding above current levels for the Rural e-Connectivity broadband program, rural water and wastewater programs and USDA’s civil rights office. It also:

Partners with Rural Leaders to Grow Rural Economies and Tackle Rural Poverty. The discretionary request provides $32 million for a renewed and expanded initiative to leverage USDA’s extensive network of offices to help people in high poverty communities tap into Federal resources, referred to as the “Strikeforce” initiative. USDA will coordinate with other Federal agencies on an all-of-Government approach to connect rural stakeholders with Federal programs and resources.

The StrikeForce initiative, which was used in several states, was launched during the Obama Administration.

Rural development is also mentioned in a paragraph about Community Development Financial Institutions:

Invests in American Communities and Small Businesses. To support and empower the Nation’s most vulnerable communities, including many rural communities, the discretionary request provides $330 million, an increase of 22.2 percent above the 2021 enacted level for annual appropriations, to support expanding the role of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), which offer loans to start-ups and small businesses to promote the production of affordable housing and community revitalization projects. This investment builds on an unprecedented level of support for the CDFI industry in 2021, including more than $3 billion in direct funding, $9 billion for investments in CDFIs and Minority Depository Institutions, and provisions in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 encouraging CDFI participation in the $10 billion State Small Business Credit Initiative.

HUD funds requested in the budget document include:

  • 200,000 new vouchers;
  • $1.9 billion for the HOME program, an increase of $500 million over FY21 funding;
  • support for an additional 100,000 homeless households;
  • $800 million for modernization and rehabilitation of HUD-supported housing;
  • $3.2 billion for public housing modernization;
  • $180 million to support 2,000 units of new permanently affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities;
  • $900 million for Native American housing;
  • $3.8 billion for the Community Development Block Grant program,  including “a targeted increase of $295 million to incentivize communities to direct formula funds toward the modernization and rehabilitation of public infrastructure and facilities in historically underfunded and marginalized communities facing persistent poverty”;
  • $400 million, a $40 million increase, for prevention of lead and other hazards; and
  • $85 million for fair housing.

The HUD section of the document states that, “The discretionary request supports access to homeownership for underserved borrowers through the Federal Housing Administration’s (FHA) mortgage insurance programs.”

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – February

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of February, USDA obligated 60,232 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $10.3 billion. This is approximately $2.1 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year when 53,209 loans, loan guarantees, and grants were obligated totaling nearly $8.2 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which provides funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated approximately $9.9 billion (56,221 loan guarantees) up from nearly $7.8 billion (48,119 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $356.9 million (1,965 loans), a bit lower than last year’s $366 million (2,157 loans.) About 38 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 44 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 750 loans and 1,245 grants representing about $4.4 million and 7.9 million respectively. Loan volume was lower than this time last year (1,015 loans representing $6.2 million) while grants totaled $12.0 million (1,869 grants).

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 6 grants and contracts totaling $3.7 million up from last year’s 3 grants and contracts totaling $1.9 million.

Multi-Family Housing Programs

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing program obligated 35 loan guarantees totaling nearly $68.4 million compared to last year’s 29 loan guarantees ($60.7 million.) No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. There were also no loans or grants obligated so far in FY 21 under the MPR program compared to 3 grants representing $988,734 at this time last year.

No Farm Labor Housing loans or grants have been funded so far this year. Last year at this time, 9 loans and 5 grants were obligated (about $18.6 million and nearly $5.9 million respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 38,592 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $219.6 million. This compares to about 83,226 units ($477.2 million) obligated same time last year. There were also 1,939 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling about $9.7 million compared to 2,340 vouchers representing just over $11 million this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – January

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of January, USDA obligated 47,476 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $8.1 billion, an increase of more than $3.1 billion over this time last year. At that time, there were 32,361 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling nearly $5 billion.

Federal agencies operated under a series of short-term continuing resolutions (CR) for most of the first quarter of FY 2021. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which will provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated nearly $7.8 billion (44,318 loan guarantees) an increase of nearly $4.8 billion (29,808 loan guarantees) over this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $292 million (1,623 loans), nearly double last year’s obligation level of $151 million (899 loans.) About 39 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented almost 45 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 587 loans representing $3.4 million similar to last year’s 586 loans representing nearly $3.5 million. Section 504 grants were a bit lower than last year at $5.7 million (916 grants) compared to $6.3 million (1,029 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 5 grants and contracts totaling nearly $3.5 million up from last year’s 2 grants and contracts totaling $1.9 million.

Multi-Family Housing Programs

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing obligated 20 loan guarantees totaling $64.6 million compared to last year’s 23 loan guarantees totaling nearly $34.1 million. No Section 515 Rural Rental Housing program have been funded so far this year, similar to last year at this time. No loans or grants have been obligated in the MPR program so far this year compared to 3 grants representing $988,734 last year.

So far this year, there have been no Farm Labor Housing loans or grants funded. Last year at this time, 7 loans and 4 grants were obligated ($12. 6 million and $3.9 million, respectively.)

USDA obligated funds for 38,592 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $219.6 million, less than last year’s 46,336 units ($272.9 million) obligated same time last year. Section 542 Rural Housing Vouchers were up from last year at 1,675 vouchers totaling nearly $8.4 million compared to 913 vouchers representing nearly $4.7 million.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

USDA Obligations FY 2021 Featured Image

USDA Rural Development Obligations FY 21 – December

USDA Rural Development Obligations Report Cover - FY 2021

The Housing Assistance Council (HAC) presents this month’s report on Fiscal Year 2021 USDA Rural Housing program obligations.

As of the end of December, USDA obligated 35,111 loans, loan guarantees, and grants totaling about $5,972,304,527. This is nearly $1 billion higher than obligation levels from this time last year. At that time, there were 32,361 loans, loan guarantees, and grants obligated totaling $4,973,305,990.

The agency operated under several short-term continuing resolutions during the month of December. A final CR was signed into law on December 27, 2020 which will provide funding for the remainder of the fiscal year. Since March 20, 2020, USDA offices have been operating from remote locations due to the COVID-19 virus.

Single Family Housing Program Highlights

The Section 502 Guaranteed loan program, the largest of the Single Family Housing programs, obligated $5,746,294,375 (32,823 loan guarantees) up from $4,759,272,406 (29,808 loan guarantees) this time last year.

For the Section 502 Direct program, loan obligations totaled $179,758,120 (975 loans), similar to last year’s obligation level of $151,845,219 (899 loans.) Over 41 percent of the loan dollars went to Very Low-income (VLI) applicants. VLI loans represented over 47 percent of the total number of Section 502 Direct loans.

The Section 504 Repair and Rehabilitation programs obligated 498 loans representing $2,838,485 compared to 586 loans representing $3,462,472 at this time last year.) There were also about $4,863,579 (788 grants) obligated in the Section 504 grant program compared to $6,336,917 (1,029 grants) last year.

USDA’s Section 523 Self Help Housing Grant program funded 5 grants and contracts totaling $3,449,175 up from last year’s 2 grants and contracts totaling $1,870,512.

No credit sales have been funded yet this year, similar to last year at this time.

Multi-Family Housing Programs

USDA’s Section 538 Multifamily Housing obligated 17 loan guarantees totaling $35,082,487 compared to last year’s 23 loan guarantees ($34,064,126.) There have not yet been obligations this year in the Section 515 Rural Rental Housing, the Farm Labor Housing, or MPR programs yet this year. It should be noted that funding in these programs is more prominent later in the fiscal year for most MFH loan and grant programs.

USDA obligated funds for 38,592 rental assistance units under the Section 521 Rental Assistance program totaling $219,583,640 compared to 46,336 units ($272,857,393) obligated same time last year. There were also 1,277 Rural Housing Vouchers totaling $6,508,033 compared to 913 vouchers representing $4,664,688 this time last year.

Download the combined document.

* The Rural Housing Service (RHS) monthly obligation reports are produced by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC) 1025 Vermont Ave., NW, Suite 606, Washington, DC 20005. The monthly figures derive from HAC tabulations of USDA –RHS 205c, d, and f report data. For questions or comments about the obligation reports, please contact Michael Feinberg at 202-842-8600 or michael@ruralhome.org.

Policy News from Congress

Final Funding Levels Set for FY 2021

On December 27, 2020 President Trump signed into law an omnibus appropriations bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2021, keeping most USDA rural housing programs at their FY20 dollar levels. The bill was rolled into a package that included a coronavirus relief measure to protect U.S. residents and the economy in the midst of a surge in COVID-19 cases and the expiration of provisions adopted in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in March. The final amounts are shown in the table below for USDA’s housing programs and here for HUD. Early information on the coronavirus relief portion of the bill package is posted here.

 

USDA Rural Dev. Prog.
(dollars in millions)
FY19 Final Approp. FY20 Final Approp. FY21 Admin. Budget FY21 House Bill
FY21 Senate Bill FY21 Final Approp.
502 Single Fam. Direct
Self-Help setaside*
$1,000
5*
 $1,000
5*
0
0
 $1,000
5*
$1,000
5*
$1,000
5*
502 Single Family Guar.  24,000  24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000 24,000
504 VLI Repair Loans  28 28  0 28 28 28
504 VLI Repair Grants  30 30  30 30 30 30
515 Rental Hsg. Direct Lns.  40 40 0 40 40 40
514 Farm Labor Hsg. Lns.  27.5 28 0 28 28 28
516 Farm Labor Hsg. Grts.  10 10 0 10 10 10
521 Rental Assistance 1,331.4  1,375  1,410**  1,410** 1,410 1,410
523 Self-Help TA  30 31  0 31 31 31
533 Hsg. Prsrv. Grants  15 15  15 15 15 15
538 Rental Hsg. Guar. 230 230  230  230 230 230
Rental Prsrv. Demo. (MPR)  24.5 28  40  30 28  28
542 Rural Hsg. Vouchers  27 32  40**  40** 34  40
Rural Cmnty. Dev’t Init. 6 6 0 6 6 6
Rental Prsrv. TA 1 1 0 0 2  2

* For the self-help setaside in Section 502 direct, the figures in the table represent budget authority, not program levels.
** The budget and the FY21 House bill would separate vouchers from MPR and move them into the Rental Assistance account. The Senate bill, and the final version, do not.