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HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
April 2010
HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor

APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH
"Fair Housing 2010 - Time to Act!"

MODIFYING THE MODS

As part of an "ongoing commitment" to "better assist responsible homeowners who have been affected by the economic crisis through no fault of their own," HUD and the Department of Treasury have outlined adjustments to the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and to the FHA-insured mortgage program to "expand flexibility for mortgage servicers and originators to assist more unemployed homeowners and to help more people who owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth because their local markets saw large declines in home values." Changes "in the coming months" to HAMP include temporary mortgage assistance of up to six months to some unemployed homeowners, encourage servicers to write-down mortgage debt as part of a HAMP modification, allow more borrowers - including FHA-insured borrowers - to qualify for HAMP modification and help them move to more affordable housing when modification is not possible (HAMP details). Changes to FHA "by this fall" will "provide more opportunities for qualifying mortgage loans to be responsibly restructured and refinanced into FHA loans as long as the borrower is current on the mortgage and the lender reduces the amount owed on the original loan by at least 10 percent." (FHA details).

HARD HIT HELP

Noting that "responsible families across the country have found themselves unable to pay their mortgages due to unemployment or underemployment," the Department of the Treasury has announced a second round of Housing Finance Agency Hardest Hit Fund awards totaling "up to $600 million" to go to five economically distressed states with counties whose unemployment rates exceeded 12 percent in 2009. With 14 of its 36 counties at or above the rate in 2009, Oregon is one of the five states and will receive some $88 million for "innovative measures to help families stay in their homes or otherwise avoid foreclosure," including assistance to unemployed borrowers, mortgage modifications, principal or second-lien reductions and short sales. North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island and South Carolina also received Hardest Hit funds. "Our goal," says Oregon Housing & Community Services' Victor Merced, "is to distribute the resources equitably and responsibly to help Oregonians facing foreclosure."

! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !

Saying HUD should be "the kind of Federal agency that listens and responds to the needs of communities," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced changes in its definitions of what constitutes a "foreclosed" or "abandoned" property under HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program which helps state and local governments acquire, rehabilitate and re-sell such properties in hard-hit neighborhoods. Effective immediately, the "expanded" definitions allow more properties to more quickly qualify for the program. For more, visit website.

BRIEF BRIEFS

William Humphreys of Citizens Bancorp in Corvallis elected as chairman of Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle board. . .Daily News says Anchorage Assembly okays rules for approving projects like the one proposed by RuralCAP to buy motel "to make it a place where homeless inebriates could live without having to quit drinking". . .U.S. Department of Energy issues final rule outlining how public housing, assisted multi-family and Low-Income Tax Credit properties can be eligible for its Weatherization Assistance Program. . . Beans Café day shelter in Anchorage raises more than $100,000 through sale of hand-crafted ceramic bowls created by Clay Arts Guild. . .Multnomah County Department of Health wins HUD Healthy Homes Demonstration grant - one of only 25 nationwide - for community asthma inspection and referral system. . .Alaska Housing Finance okays $846,000 mortgage to Lumen Park Associates for 20-unit independent living complex for elderly in Anchorage. . .April 12th is deadline to respond to Oregon Housing & Community Services' on-line survey for its analysis of impediments to fair housing. . . Saying they were "making history," Washington state USDA director Mario Villanueva hands over keys to five new houses in Tulalip Reservation's Mission Highlands, the first USDA self-help housing subdivision on tribal lands. . .East Metro Association names Cathe Wiese, director of My Father's House, as Gresham's citizen of the year. . .Three months after the City of Molalla took "very unusual move" of waiving all building fees in 2010, Oregonian says "experiment appears to have worked" on news that stalled 160-unit apartment project in downtown will now go forward. . .Eight formerly-homeless families living at Bend's Bethlehem Inn graduate from Housing Works' Families Forward "ready-to-rent "program. . . Department of Veterans Affairs picks Umpqua Community Development to build 52-unit complex for homeless veterans at Roseburg VA Medical Center. . . HUD launches new Website to "allow citizens to offer comment on the design of an unprecedented national study that will examine housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity". . .Sixty current and prospective self-help housing groups attend Community Frameworks' SHOP Talk 2010 conference in Seattle. . .Portland ranks 12th with 80 Energy Star commercial buildings and Seattle 14th with 69, saving energy equivalent to electricity used by more than 21,000 houses.

LENDER U.

HUD Boise and FHA's Santa Ana Homeownership Center are holding a one-day FHA Update on April 14th in Boise where lenders, real estate agents, appraisers and other industry professionals can learn everything they need to know about the how's and what's of making FHA mortgage insurance work for their home buying and home owning customers. It's free, but space is limited, Register on-line now.

HOW-SING COUNSELING

Want to know how your organization can become a HUD-approved housing counseling agency? How to comply with HUD requirements once your agency is approved. Join HUD, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation the Washington Housing Finance Corporation for an all-day, "The How To's of HUD Housing Counseling Workshop" on April 14th in Seattle. Register on-line now.

JUST THE FHA-CTS

For years, FHA's loss mitigation programs to help at-risk borrowers get or stay out of trouble have served as the lending industry's standard. Want to know why? Then join HUD Washington and FHA's Santa Ana Homeownership Center on April 14th in Seattle for our free How To's of FHA Loss Mitigation Workshop. Register on-line now.

BRIEF BRIEFS TOO

Neighborhood Partners and Oregon Housing & Community Services award almost $4.4 million for Oregon Individual Development Accounts to 6 non-profits serving 29 counties. . .Alaska Housing Finance okays $1.9 million in mortgage loans Cook Inlet Housing Authority for 34 more affordable rental units at Mountain View Village in Anchorage. . .Methow Valley News says grand opening of Washington Housing Finance and HUD-funded Okanogan Behavioral Healthcares' "safe and sober" Shove House in Omak. . . Housing Authority of Portland allocates 50 project-based rental vouchers to Portland Housing Bureau's "deeply affordable" funding competition. . .Chehalis Tribe cuts ribbon on 11 unit Vosper Subdivision in Oakville. . .Register Guard says 80 social service agencies provide "one-stop help for 1,400" at Eugene's 4th annual Project Homeless Connect. . .Sequim Gazette says Serenity House, Clallam County Housing Authority and Habitat for Humanity to break ground April 8th on $3.5 million Maloney Heights Permanent Supportive Housing in Port Angeles. . .News Review says Umpqua Habitat conveys third completed home in Douglas County to a family. . . Lower Columbia Community Action Program "hoping to start a community bank that gives low-income people a low-interest lending option". . .Main Street Neighborhood Networks computer center opens for residents of Laceleaf and Smallwood in Hillsboro. . ..Pierce County Metropolitan Development Council names Mark Pereboom as president/CEO. . .King County Housing Authority puts Recovery Act funds to work, beginning exterior rehab of 42-year-old, 114-unit Valli Kee public housing in Kent.

HITTING THE STREETS.

Thanks to the 47 Northwest public housing authorities that, obligated 100 percent - yes, 100 percent - all $58.8 million in public housing capital improvement funds awarded by the Recovery Act's March deadline. Even better, the authorities have already rehabbed almost 1,800 public housing units and created 150 jobs. "It speaks to the commitment," HUD Secretary Donovan said, the authorities have "to improve public housing." Under the Act, housing authorities also are expected to have spent 60 percent of the funds by March 2011. The 47 authorities have already spent more than 47 percent. Nicely done.

CONGRATS. . .

. . .To 15 public housing authorities in Oregon, 12 in Washington, four in Idaho and one in Alaska that have just won a total of more than $3.1 million in HUD Family Self Sufficiency Housing Choice Voucher grants. It's good news for the authorities, but even better for public housing families because it enables the authorities to work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program to help participating individuals develop the skills and experience to enable them to obtain jobs that pay a living wage, buy a home and become economically independent. The program, says Secretary Donovan, is "needed more than ever" to help "boost job creation". . .

BEHIIND THE NUMBERS

Want a better idea of what HUD's Family Self Sufficiency program does? Then speak with Scott and Julie Campfield of Blackfoot, Idaho. They've participated in the Idaho Housing & Finance Association's HUD-funded self-sufficiency program since 2007. From the first, Julie knew she wanted to be a nurse, hard as that might be with three kids and a tight budget. But the IHFA self-sufficiency program helped her get it done. The Campfield's also started an Individual Development Account through IHFA and its Home Partnership Foundation. Thanks to her new job, she saved the maximum IDA amount of $2,000 which, in turn, was matched by $2,000 from United Way of Treasure Valley. And - thanks to her hard work and IHFA's programs - in November she and her husband bought a home. "It's amazing," she says.

BRIEF BRIEFS THREE

After 517,669 showers, 210,512 loads of laundry and 889,001 trips to the loo, happy 10th birthday to the Low Income Housing Alliance's Urban Rest Stop in downtown Seattle. . .Daily Astorian says Astoria's Downtown Historic District has been invited to join Oregon's Main Street program. . .West Side of Pocatello name by This Old House as one of nation's 51 "great" old house neighborhoods. . .Juneau Empire says Tlingit & Haida Tribes hope to build 5-story cultural, education and tourism center in downtown area known as "the pit". . .Bill Cook retires after 12 years as director of City of Yakima's community & economic development. . . Northwest Real Estate Capital celebrates opening of its largest Neighborhood Networks computer learning center at 40-unit Franklin Terrace in Boise. . .Mat-Su Borough wins $762,000 USDA loans and grants to upgrade water systems. . .Washington Department of Ecology says City of Spokane plans to use $200,000 grant to clean up 27.7 acre site near Gonzaga "for new economic development, business creation and increased housing density". . .Oregonian says Multnomah County's "30 Families in 30 Days" campaign "exceeds goal" by finding permanent housing for 34 homeless families. . .Kitsap Sun says Ken Balizer hired as director of Housing Resources Board Community Land Trust. . .April 29th is deadline to submit nominations of residential properties to City of Portland for its Build It! Green Home Tour. . .Bellingham, Bremerton and Eugene among just 20 cities nationally to win EPA Climate Showcase grant to "establish replicable models of sustainable community actions that generate cost-effective and persistent greenhouse gas reductions". . . SNAP serves nearly 50,000 people in Spokane County in 2009, up 33 percent from 2008 and 16 percent higher than previous record set in 2006. . .Housing Authority of Portland expands inventory and housing options, becoming general partner of The Jeffrey, a LEED-certified, 80-unit complex in downtown.

WOW-SANDTH

KEZI-TV reports that the Eugene/Springfield chapter of Habitat for Humanity has just broken ground on the 1,000th Habitat house in Oregon. The Meyers Estate home will be owned by Todd Wilson, Crystal Bishop and their two daughters. "A lot of hard work and a lot of amazing people have helped get us to this point," said Patricia Day TenEyck, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Oregon. With thousands, maybe tens of thousands of hardworking families in substandard homes," she added, "We won't stop with 1,000 homes" and hopes to finish the next 1,000 by 2020.

BOW WOW WOW

Form a rescue squad and a Dalmatian, St. Bernard or German shepherd might be a smart addition. But a dachshund? Never. Unless, of course, it's Mr. Wiener, the 7-year-old pride and joy of Cathy Koentges of Blaine. The batteries in the smoke detector "near her bedroom" had gone dead but Ms. Koentges hadn't had time to change them when she went to bed a bit past 9 on February 22nd, reports The Bellingham Herald, with Mr. Wiener at the foot of the bed. She was sound asleep when "black smoke began billowing through the room." She awoke suddenly, to the sound of Mr. Wiener "barking frantically" just in time to escape with Mr. Wiener and six cats through a sliding door that led outside. Her "living room's burnt to the studs" and her "vacuum cleaner is a puddle of plastic." Investigators suspect faulty wiring in the living room wall as the cause. "That dog saved my life," Ms. Koentges said, "I would never made it out if it wasn't for the dog and the exit." Whether or not there's a dachshund in your family, have you checked the batteries in your smoke detector lately?

OPPOR-TRINITY

Though constantly on the move looking for new sights and sounds to share with his readers, bestselling travel writer Rick Steves' heart always stays pretty close to his hometown just north of Seattle. In 2005, for example, he bought what The Lynwood Journal calls an "unassuming," 25-unit apartment building that "he presented the YWCA with a 15-year lease on the facility - now known as Trinity Place - to be used as housing for homeless women and children." Women like Brenda. Married at 18, she and her husband moved in with her parents. "I was good at putting on a façade," so good, added The Journal, that "nobody guessed that she, a newly pregnant wife, was secretly being terrorized by her husband." After a decade of domestic violence, she "snuck out and got my (three) kids from their school." "When I first came" to Trinity "I got my key and I thought, "This can't be real. This is a new life. I'm a new mom. Nobody has control over me or my children." Trinity Place receives rent subsidies from the Snohomish County Housing Authority. It also provides Section 8 vouchers when residents graduate after 18 months, something Brenda seems ready, even eager to do. "I feel like I've worked so hard to get where I am," she told The Journal. "I'm not going to let one itty bitty thing kick me back."

QUOTE TO NOTE

"In a celebration in a meeting room in Madrona Studios today, housing execs and pols heaped praise on the project. It was richly deserved. Central City Concern, a nationally recognized urban social service agency, took a sagging Ramada Inn and turned it into a showcase for affordable housing. But a more compelling validation of Madrona's significance came from a virtually unseen man in a purple shirt standing in the back of the room. Miguel Tellez, a longtime Portland drug and alcohol counselor, a man whose addiction had led him to prison and beyond, gasped in amazement when he heard that 176 homeless and near homeless individuals would be able to live in the clean, hip studio apartments at Madrona. And he shook his head in disbelief when he learned that the Hooper Detoxification and Stabilization Center, a multi-day residential and detoxification services facility, would also be housed at Madrona. "My goodness, this is unbelievable," Tellez whispered. "Simply unbelievable!" Madrona Studios is the sort of public project other cities dream about but Portland delivers." - D.D. Cook at TrueSlant.com on March 10th grand opening of Madrona Studios in Portland.

WORTH A READ

Though they'll probably never make the bestseller lists, HUD has released three "groundbreaking" cross-jurisdictional studies telling us lots more about the homeless - and how HUD and its partners serve them - than we've ever known before. Like the costs across the country associated with first-time homelessness. Or about what happens to homeless families after they've left transitional shelters. Or about improving the access of the homeless to mainstream services. You'll find links to all three on-line.

COMING UP

HUD Portland hosts Federal Labor Standards Workshop for contractors, April 1st, Portland. More...

Oregon Departments of Business Development and Environmental Quality host Oregon Brownfields Conference, April 6th & 7th, Salem. More...

HUD Portland hosts Basic Fair Housing Workshop, April 7th, Portland. More...

AHMA Northwest and NAHRO/Pacific Northwest Regional Council host Bed Bug Boot Camp, April 8th, Lynnwood. More...

Governor Otter hosts Small Business Summit, April 13th, Boise. More...

HUD Idaho & FHA Santa Ana Homeownership Center hold FHA Lender Update, April 14th, Boise. More...

Washington Association of REALTORS holds Spring Business Conference, April 14th to 16th, Che Elum. More...

U.S. Treasury's Community Development Finance Initiatives Fund hosts How to Certify Your Group as CDFI teleconference, April 15th. More...

2010 Spokane Fair Housing Conference, April 16th, Spokane. More...

HUD Boise and Idaho AHMA host Fair Housing 2010 - More Than a Black & White Issue, April 19th, Boise. More...

Idaho Affordable Housing Management Association holds annual conference, April 19th to 22nd, Garden City. More...

Washington Affordable Housing Management Association holds annual conference, April 20th to 21st, Wenatchee. More...

Rural Community Assistance Corporation holds "How to Become a HUD-approved Housing Counseling Agency" workshop, April 20th, Seattle. More...

HUD Seattle & Santa Ana Homeownership Center host "How to's of FHA Loss Mitigation" workshop, April 21st, Seattle. More...

22nd annual conference of Oregon Coalition on Housing & Homelessness, April 21st to 23rd, Hood River. More...

Fair Housing Council of Oregon conducts "Fasten Your Seat Belt-It's Been a Bumpy Ride" bus tour "exploring Portland's hidden history of housing discrimination," April 23rd, Portland. Contact Diane Hess, dhess@fhco.org, 503/412-6000, extension 108. Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO holds annual conference, April 25th to 28th, Salem. More...

HUD Spokane hosts Tri-Cities Fair Housing Workshop, April 27th, Kennewick. More...

Alaska Rural Energy Conference, April 27th to 29th, Fairbanks. More...

USDA Rural Development hosts Washington State Tribal Housing Conference, April 28th & 29th, Olympia. For details, call Paul Johnson at USDA, 360-704-7761. HUD Seattle hosts Basic Fair Housing Workshop, April 28th, Seattle. More...

HUD Seattle hosts Advanced Fair Housing Workshop, April 28th, Seattle. More...

2010 Northwest Regional Community Land Trust Conference, April 28th to 30th, Portland. More...

4th Biennial Alaska Rural Health Conference, April 28th to 30th, Anchorage. More...

HUD Boise hosts HUD Environmental Training Workshop, May 2nd & 3rd, Boise. More...

Idaho Department of Labor & Oregon Department of Employment host 2010 Rural Conference, May 4th to 6th, Coeur d'Alene. More...

Annual conference of Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, May 12th to 14th Spokane. Visit www.endhomelessnesswa.org Annual conference of Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association, May 12th to 14th, Eugene. More...

Grassroots & Groundwork Conference, May 12th and 13th, Portland. More...

National Housing Conference hosts "Partners in Innovation: Financing the Preservation of Rural & Urban Rental Housing" conference, Portland, May 17th. More...

Mid-year conference of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, May 17th to 20th, Grand Ronde. More...

U.S. Treasury's Community Development Finance Initiatives Fund hosts How to Certify Your Group as CDFI teleconference, May 20th. More...

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