Federal News

National Housing Reform: Closer than Ever?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

from Enterprise eConnect Enewsletter, 3/19/2014

JOHNSON-CRAPO HOUSING FINANCE REFORM BILL

Sens. Tim Johnson (D-S.D.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) released the discussion draft of the Housing Finance Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2014 recently.

Terri Ludwig’s Statement: How the Bill Would Provide Essential Reforms While Preserving Vital Components

Blog: Four Takeaways from the Bill, by Andrew Jakabovics, Senior Director, and John Griffith, Senior Analyst

[Btw, here is a counterpoint from the Rooflines Shelterforce Blog]:

THE CRAPO-JOHNSON HOUSING FINANCE BILL IS A DISASTER

By Dean Baker, Rooflines Shelterforce Blog,  4/1/2014

Less than a decade after we saw a meltdown in the mortgage market that almost sank our financial system, Congress seems intent on creating a system of mortgage finance where the problem of moral hazard will be even more serious than in the pre-crisis system. Under the system being proposed in the Crapo-Johnson bill, which enjoys wide bi-partisan support, private issuers will be able to market mortgage backed securities (MBS) advertising a 90 percent government guarantee. Proponents of this system apparently believe… More

HUD Announces $120M to help House People with Disabilities

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will provide $120 million in rental assistance to prevent thousands of people with disabilities from becoming homeless or having to live in institutions instead of integrated settings in their own communities. The funding will go to state housing agencies to develop long-term rental assistance programs for extremely low-income people with disabilities. The deadline for housing agencies to apply for this funding is May 5, 2014. Learn more about HUD’s rental assistance programs and find housing help in your state.

In the last round of funding, 13 states were awarded funds to create approximately 3500 housing units for this vulnerable population.

This announcement reinforces the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act  and the landmark 1999 Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which require state and local governments to provide services in the most integrated settings appropriate to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities.

New Application Templates for FHA Multi-Family Mortgage Insurance

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

On February 28th, Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner Carol Gal ante signed FHA Mortgagee Letter 2014-05 authorizing new templates for applications for FHA multi-family mortgage insurance. They will be required for applications filed 120 or more days following publication of the Mortgagee Letter The intent, she explained, is “to streamline its application process, standardize the Underwriter’s Narrative and update the application submission requirements to incorporate recent underwriting policy changes.” For more, visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/hudclips/letters/mortgagee

President Releases FY15 Budget Request for HUD and Rural Housing Service

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

President Attempts to Maintain and Even Increase Rental Housing Resources
but Proposes Harmful Policy for Poorest Rural Housing Reside
nts

from National Low Income Housing Coalition “Memo to Members,” 3/4/14

March 4, President Barack Obama sent his fiscal year 2015 (FY15) budget request to Congress. The request includes strong funding for some rental housing programs, despite the tight spending caps set by Congress.

Mandatory Funding for NHTF

The President’s budget request includes $1 billion in mandatory funding for the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF), which the Administration anticipates would create 16,000 units affordable to extremely low income households. President Obama continues to show his support for the NHTF by including this funding request to Congress, as he has in each of his budget requests. HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan called the $1 billion a down payment for the NHTF, whose future funding is being debated in the context of housing finance reform.

HUD and USDA Discretionary Funding

On the discretionary side of the budget, the President’s budget request would maintain assistance for extremely low income households currently served by HUD’s main rental housing programs, provide slight funding increases for a number of HUD programs, and decrease funding for certain critical housing production and other programs.

The President proposes restoring tenant-based Section 8 vouchers that were lost due to sequestration, in addition to maintaining all tenancies in 2014. It is unclear whether the amount of funding proposed would be sufficient to restore a substantial portion of the tens of thousands of vouchers lost due to sequestration.

The President would provide slight increases in public housing operating and capital funds in order to maintain current units and address some capital needs. However, funding for the two accounts would still be below FY10 levels.

The Project-Based Rental Assistance account would be funded at a slightly lower level than FY14. The Administration proposes shifting funding for contracts to a calendar year cycle, which HUD says accounts for this difference while providing a year of funding for every contract on January 1 of each year.

The Homeless Assistance account would be increased to maintain the current housing and services provided by the Emergency Solutions Grant and Continuum of Care programs and attempt to make further progress on decreasing homelessness.

The President’s budget would cut the HOME Investment Partnerships program, adding to the approximately 40% funding cut the program has experienced since FY12.

Numerous other HUD programs are increased slightly in the President’s request including the Section 202 Housing for the Elderly and the Section 811 Housing for People with Disabilities programs, which would both have funding for new supportive housing units.

Rural Housing

The President’s proposal for USDA rural rental housing programs is similar to the FY14 appropriation. The request also includes a policy proposal to institute a minimum rent payment of $50 for residents with Section 521 rental assistance in Section 514 or 515 properties. NLIHC believes this proposal, which is based on HUD’s minimum rent policy, will harm the very lowest income residents by imposing unaffordable rents. The USDA budget also proposes changes related to contract renewal terms.

Budget Request Specifics

For the major HUD programs serving extremely low income households, the Administration requests:

  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance: $20.045 billion, compared to $19.177 billion in FY14.
  • Project-Based Rental Assistance: $9.746 billion, compared to $9.746 billion in FY14.
  • Public Housing Operating Fund: $4.6 billion, compared to $4.4 billion in FY14.
  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $1.925 billion, compared to $1.875 billion in FY14.
  • Homeless Assistance Grants: $2.406 billion, compared to $2.406 billion in FY14.

For HUD programs that provide capital for affordable housing the Administration requests:

  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $950 million, compared to $1 billion in Fy14.
  • Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities: $160 million, compared to $125 million in FY14.
  • Section 202 Housing for the Elderly: $440 million, compared to $384 million in FY14.

For rural rental housing, the Administration requests:

  • Section 514 Farm Labor Housing Loans: $24 million, level with FY14 funding.
  • Section 515 Rental Housing Direct: $28 million, level with FY14 funding.
  • Section 516 Farm Labor Housing Grants: $16 million, compared to $8 million in FY14.
  • Section 521 Rental Assistance: $1.089 billion, compared to $1.110 billion in FY14.

Additional Resources

NLIHC FY15 Budget Chart. View a detailed chart of the HUD and USDA affordable housing and community development requests included in the President’s FY15 budget: http://bit.ly/MLyt2i

NLIHC Webinar. Register for NLIHC’s webinar on HUD and USDA Housing for the lowest income households in the FY15 budget on Wednesday, March 5 at 2pm ET: http://bit.ly/1fFvtvi

NLIHC Detailed Analysis. Look for a full analysis of the President’s affordable housing budget request in the March 7 issue of Memo to Members. To receive Memo to Members, become an NLIHC member by e-mailing outreach@nlihc.org. View the current issue at: http://nlihc.org/library/memos.

The President’s HUD budget request: http://1.usa.gov/1hJWhiz

The President’s USDA budget request: http://1.usa.gov/MLCuUw

Hallelujah! HUD 2014 NOFA ‘Bible’ Published, and How to Compete

Friday, February 28th, 2014

from Northwest HUD Lines, “READY TO COMPETE?and “REALLY READY?” March 2014

The competition at the Sochi Olympics is over.  But it looks like it’s just about to begin at HUD with publication in The Federal Register of the General Section of HUD’s fiscal year 2014’s Notice of Funding Availability.  Simply put, the Section is the “book” of rules, regulations and requirements for all the funding competitions in the months and the weeks – yes, some may start that soon – ahead.  Which means it’s time to find a quiet spot, put on your reading glasses and start plowing through all the fine print, of which there is a great deal.  And once you’ve done it once, do it again and, just to be sure, again. For very own copy, visit http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/administration/grants/fundsavail/2014gensec

Just about now, before you start reading the General Section of HUD’s NOFA a second or third time, you probably need a break.  Here’s an idea – make sure you’re ready to compete. Virtually all of HUD’s competitive funding programs require that applications be submitted through Grants.Gov.  And there are certain things that need to get done to make sure Grants.gov will let you and your application through its electronic doorway. Have you, for example, got a DUNS number? Are you current with the Central Contract Registry?  Have you completed all the steps required to submit?  For a checklist, visit www.grants.gov/web/grants/applicants/grant-application-process.html.  And the sooner you d, the sooner you’ll be ready to compete.  .

MacArthur Award to Advance Work of National Housing Trust

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

he National Housing Trust is among seven recipients of the MacArthur Foundation’s Award for Creative & Effective Institutions. The trust plans to use the $1 million grant that accompanies the award to create an innovation fund, allowing it to invest in new business ventures and energy efficiency while generating additional revenue to support its policy work. Read more from the MacArthur Foundation. The Chronicle of Philanthropy (2/20), The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (2/19)

REO-pportunity: New Asset Management Contracts for HUD Homes

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

FHA has awarded new asset management contracts for managing the sale of HUD Homes – i.e., foreclosed FHA-insured properties that have come back into FHA’s inventory after the FHA Insurance Fund has made lenders whole.  The transition from existing to these new contractors has begun and should be completed on or about March 1st. The HUD Homes asset manager for Alaska, Oregon and Washington is BLB at https://www.blbresources.com/apply/start.php.  The new HUD Homes asset manager for Idaho is Matt Martin Real Estate Management at www.mmrem.com/news/news-announcements. If you are a potential vendor – i.e., an appraiser or a real estate agent wishing to become a listing agent – please contact these firms directly.

Dude, Where’s My Housing?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Obama’s State of the Union Commits to Opportunity, but Largely Omits Housing

from Enterprise Community Partners Capitol Express Newsletter, 2/3/14

In his State of the Union address, President Obama laid out a series of policies to promote equal access to opportunity: an increase in the federal minimum wage, universal preschool, support to help college students afford their tuition and comprehensive immigration reform, to name a few. But one issue was largely missing from the president’s speech: housing.

Dude, Where’s my Budget?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

President to Unveil FY 15 Budget on March 4

NLIHC Memo to Members, 2/3/14

The Office of Management and Budget has announced that the president’s fiscal year (FY) 2015 budget will be released on March 4. The budget will contain the administration’s proposed FY 2015 spending levels for discretionary programs across the federal government, including affordable housing and community development programs administered by the Department of Housing & Urban Development.

Is it RAD?

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

HUD Updates Status of RAD Awards and Applications

On January 24, HUD announced that it has provided preliminary approval for nearly 58,000 Public Housing and Moderate Rehabilitation units to convert to long-term Section 8 rental assistance contracts through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD). The legislation authorizing RAD capped the number of units that could be converted to 60,000, a level HUD anticipates reaching within days.

As of December 31, 2013, HUD received applications for more than 176,000 units. HUD has published two lists pertaining to the applications on the RAD website. A list posted on January 16 shows the public housing agencies (PHA) that haves been granted preliminary approval, entailing 40,854 units. It also specifies 14 projects covering 1,290 units that have made it past the preliminary approval process. A second list shows the PHAs that have applied beyond the 60,000-unit cap, amounting to an 115,644 unit waiting list. If preliminary approval for any of the first 60,000 units is withdrawn by a PHA or revoked by HUD, then the Department will take applications from the waiting list based on the date an application was received.

HUD’s FY14 budget request sought Congressional approval to convert an additional 90,000 units to RAD, for a total of 150,000, but the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Act did not raise the limit. HUD states that it will continue to seek Congressional approval to raise the RAD conversion limit.

View the HUD RADblast updating RAD status at: http://bit.ly/Mqb9as

View the two lists on the RAD webpage at: http://1.usa.gov/1jXD3ZO

View NLIHC’s outline of key RAD provisions for public housing residents at: http://bit.ly/1jXD53S