APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH
Fair housing is your right - use it!
LOOKING FOR REFRESHMENT?
Unfamiliar with or, at least, a little rusty on the rights and responsibilities established by the Fair housing Act. Then April - Fair Housing Month - is for YOU. There are a host of workshops and events being held by our partners across the Northwest which afford you the opportunity to make sure you not only know your rights - but also how to use them. Intermountain Fair Housing, for example, is holding Fair Housing workshops in Coeur d'Alene on April 4th, in Nampa on April 15th and in Pocatello on April 21st. The City of Medford hosts a Rental Rights Round Up on April 5th. On April 9th, the Portland City Council issues its Fair Housing Month proclamation and honors winners of the Fair Housing Council of Oregon's annual poster contest on. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon unveils its new traveling exhibit - Anywhere But Here - on April 10th. On April 10th Northwest Fair Housing and the City and County of Spokane are hosting Affirmation 2014 - The Spokane Fair Housing Conference - with HUD Regional Administrator Bill Block as keynoter. The King County Office of Civil Rights is offering both basic and advanced Fair Housing workshops on April 16th. HUD Seattle's Kristina Miller is hosting an Intro to Fair Housing Webinar on April 23rd. HUD Seattle will host a viewing of and discussion about the film, A Matter of Place, on April 30th. The Idaho Fair Housing Forum & HUD Idaho are hosting a Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST workshop in Boise on May 15th. And the City of Tacoma is hosting the 28th annual Western Washington Fair Housing Conference on May 22nd. For details on the when's, where's & what's of attending, see COMING UP below.
Okay. You've looked at your calendar for the next few weeks and realized you're booked so solid you won't be able to attend any of the events described above. But you still a Fair Housing Act "refresher," an update on the state of the Fair Housing Act. We've got the answer. It's a 27-minute film called a Matter of Place online. Produced by the Fair Housing Justice Center and HUD and set in New York City, it makes a pretty compelling case for the proposition that the fundamental right we secured 46 years ago is just as fundamental, just as important a protection today. It is, in other words, worth a look.
Oregon Housing & Community Services says the Rebuilding American Homeownership Assistance program to help underwater homeowners with high interest loans that has been in effect in Multnomah, Clackamas & Washington counties is being expanded to all 36 counties in the state. . .Idaho Housing & Finance Association and Idaho Community Reinvestment Corporation each commit $60,000 to make "older mobile homes in Idaho safer and more livable". . .NeighborWorks America awards $97,155 in National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling funds to Idaho Housing & Finance Association, $293,178.50 to Oregon Housing & Community Services and $73,533 to the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. . .With $500,000 from Rasmuson Foundation, reports News-Miner, Cold Climate Housing Research to help non-profits & tribes complete energy-efficient retrofits of their buildings. . .Metro Affordable Housing of Eugene changes its name to Cornerstone Community Housing to reflect fact it's, says board member Jean Tate, "truly has become a 'cornerstone' of services for residents living on limited incomes". . .Chelan County Housing Authority and City of Wenatchee, The World reports, unveil plans to buy two apartment complexes to keep their 85 units affordable to seniors with low or fixed incomes. . .Washington State Housing Finance Commission allocates $2 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to El Centro de la Raza's 100-unit Plaza Roberta Maestas project in Seattle, $$834,070, to the Multi-Service Center's 44-unit veterans housing & services project in Federal Way, $1.5 million to Downtown Emergency Service Center's Interbay Supportive Housing project in Seattle, $922,950 for the second phase - 41 units - of the King county Housing Authority's Vantage Point project in Renton, $7.6 million to Mercy Housing Northwest's 40-unit Tacoma Two Senior Housing, $6.9 million to Pike Place Market's 40-unit Western Avenue Senior Housing, $3.5 million to the Colville Indian Housing Authority's Eagle Nest housing in Omak and $10.8 million for the Commonwealth Agency's 120-unit Pine Rock Apartments in Spokane.
Archie Matthews, director of the City of Yakima's Office of Neighborhood Development Services, is frustrated. And he probably reflects the frustration of a lot of officials in a lot of cities across the country. Volunteers from his office, he notes, spent 8,986 hours responding to 12,583 graffiti locations in 2013 alone. "We are constantly fighting graffiti," he told KNDO-TV, "If graffiti would just stop. If we could get the kids and the taggers to understand how much they're costing us as a community." For more, see the website.
FIRST & LAST
As families begin to move into Home Forward's Stephens Creek Crossing in Portland's Multnomah neighborhood, they're probably not giving much thought to the fact that their new home is both the last and the first of a kind. "Last" because it was among the last six of, over the last 15 years, more than 250 public housing revitalization projects to be awarded HOPE VI funds. "First" because Home Forward has asked both staff and incoming residents to sign a pledge to work toward these goals in an environment of respect for each other and the larger community. For more about the Community Compact, visit the website. Stephens Creek Crossing should be up and fully-occupied by June.
Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest effect on why we like the community we call home. Little things like sidewalks. Third Street - also called Highway 55 - is a major thoroughfare in McCall, Idaho, an easy way for cares to get in and out and through town. Not so easy, though, for pedestrians and bicyclists. Not so safe, either. Why? No sidewalks. The lack has also tended to create a series of "economic islands" of small businesses along Third. Not anymore. Thanks to determined local business leaders and city planners who knew that "sprucing up" downtown meant adding sidewalks, the City applied for and got a $500,000 Idaho CDBG grant that, combined with local matches, allowed it to install 650 feet curb, gutter and sidewalk, water system improvements, storm water improvements, undergrounding of utility lines, and installation of street trees and street lighting. Pedestrians are safer, commercial occupancy along the corridor is up 25 percent and, says the Community Transportation Association of Idaho, "if you visit McCall today you will see a vibrant, pedestrian/bike friendly downtown area good for residents, tourists and businesses alike!"
"Make no mistake," reports The Oregonian's Brad Schmidt, "there's a new housing commissioner in town." He's Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman who Mayor Charlie Hales recently named to oversee the work of the Portland Housing Bureau. And, says Schmidt, he's "slowly pushing bureau leadership to expand or target programs to serve more middle-income families" who earn up to 80 percent of area median income. "I don't like to look at it so much as robbing the 0-30 percent to help the 60-80 percent," he added. "It's an issue I look at more holistically." For more, visit the website.
Even though the class small, the graduation ceremony celebrated at Heritage University in Toppenish in March was a big deal - the very first class to graduate from the Office of Rural & Farmworker Housing's brand-new ADENTRO farm entrepreneur training program. Befitting the Office's status as a U.S. Treasury CDFI, Adentro is a loan and servicing program that, in collaboration with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, provides the financial tools and education for people with low-income - many of them farm workers - to become farmers or ranchers. "Even though we have experience in the orchards, at the bank it's a different story," Ranferi Arteaga, 48 and one of Adentro's first seven graduates told The Yakima Herald, "You don't know what you'll talk about, you don't know how to convince the people. These classes will help us a lot." For more, visit the website.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
HUD awards $36.6 million in capital funds to 55 Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington state public housing authorities. . .Portland City Auditor finds that City's housing programs "supports goals, but low repayment may jeopardize long-term success". . .Northwest Indian College on Lummi Reservation celebrates grand opening of new library & technology built, in part, with HUD funds. . .Kitsap Community Foundation, Suquamish Tribe & United Way of Kitsap County have pledged $1 million, says Kitsap Sun, to support, says Kitsap Sun, four-year collaboration to "Combat intergenerational poverty" in the County. . .Joel Neimeyer, the first Alaska Native to be named Federal co-chair of the Denali Commission appointed to a second, 5-year term. . .Legal action by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson against Quality Loan Service Inc. for "unfair and deceptive business practices" results in restitution for 450 homeowners and moratorium on all its foreclosures from February 27th to April 3rd. . .Proud Ground of Portland wins $25,000 housing counseling grant from State Farm. . .Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries orders Housing Authority of Douglas County to pay $67,000 in damages to ex-tenant I Reedsport evicted because, says Oregonian, it "did not believe the family's dogs were service animals for a 5-year-old, severely-diabetic girl". . .RurALCAP says 2014 Alaska Rural Providers Conference to be held in Fairbanks June 16th to 20th. . .H20, a 40-unit, FHA-insured market-rate apartment complex in Seattle wins LEED Gold certification. . . Terry Lynn Stewart, a resident of Greenbridge, named as new resident commissioner at King County Housing Authority. . .Outfit called NerdWallet says its "crunched the numbers" and says the 10 best places in Alaska for homeownership are, at number 10, Big Lake then Valdez then Kalifornsky then Badger then Nikiski then Ester then Goldstream then Knik-Fairviewthen Willow and then, coming in at number 1, Haines. . .Thanks to "influx" of Federal funds from Idaho Housing & Finance and a change in its financing model, says The Daily Bee in Sandpoint, Bonner County Housing Authority "is giving more people a shot at home ownership". . .Community Frameworks celebrates grand re-opening of fully-renovated 20-unit Pioneer Park Place in Spokane while Spokane Housing Venture hosts an open house to mark the completed rehabilitation of 124 units and the construction of 61 news at Clare View.
On February 28th, 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 the website.
NOTICE TO NOTE
In the March 5 Federal Register, HUD has published a Final Rule that, under authority provided in the 2013 Appropriations Act, will increase the fee to guarantee a Section 184 Indian Housing Loan Program from to 1.5 percent of the principal obligation from the current rate of 1 percent. The increase is effective April 4th. For more, visit the website.
NOTE TO NOTICE
Effective March 1st, Asset Manager contractor for the marketing of HUD-owned, REO properties - aka, HUD Homes - in Idaho changed BLB Resources, Inc. to Matt Martin Real Estate Management LLC at the website or (888) 632-4482. As previously announced, BLB Resources Inc.at the website provides similar services for HUD Homes in Alaska, Oregon and Washington state
Over the past five years, HUD-approved housing counselors have helped hundreds of thousands of homeowners to navigate through the economic storm otherwise known as The Great Recession. Though the worst weather may now be behind us, their front-line services remain essential to helping families hold onto their homes and new buyers get a good deal and a house they can afford. To support these ongoing efforts, HUD has set an April 7th deadline for HUD-approved agencies to submit applications for both fiscal year 2014 and 2015 Comprehensive Housing Counseling Grants. Some $38.5 million is already available as a result of fiscal year 2014 appropriations action and additional funds are expected to be appropriated for fiscal year 2015. The funds will be used to provide "counseling and advice to tenants and homeowners, both current and prospective, with respect to property maintenance, financial management/ literacy, and such other matters as may be appropriate to assist them in improving their housing conditions, meeting their financial needs, and fulfilling the responsibilities of tenancy or homeownership." For more, visit www.grants.gov or the website.
HUD has set May 5th as the deadline for state housing agencies allocating Low Income Housing Tax Credits or participating in HUD's H0ME Investment Partnership program to apply for a total of $120 million in Section 811 Project Rental Assistance. Under revisions to the program in 2011, Section 811 funds. The "primary purpose" of the funding "to identify, stimulate, and support innovative state-level strategies that will transform and increase housing for extremely low-income persons with disabilities while also making available appropriate support and services" For more, visit the website.
CONGRATS. . .
. . .To the just-named winners of the 2014 Governor's Volunteer Awards in Oregon. The full list can be found online. All, says Governor Kitzhaber, "have found and filled needs in their community, using common purpose, compassion, and ingenuity to make a huge and lasting difference."
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Thanks to low income tax credit allocation from Washington Housing Finance Commission, Mercy Housing Northwest says construction will begin "late summer" on 40 new affordable housing units - including 10 set-aside for homeless seniors - in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood. . .Habitat for Humanity Portland/Metro East says it's ready to pour foundations for 7 self-help homes at Trillium Court near Home Forward's near-to-completion Stephens Creek Complex. . .Spokane Housing Authority's February voucher lottery received 4,100 applicants of which 2,000 were randomly selected and the first 150 already invited to a briefing on the program. . .Responding to an ever-changing and "demanding" market, reports Oregonian, Home Forward considering proposal to increase its Housing Choice Voucher payments standards in in downtown, Northwest Portland, Southwest Portland, inner Northeast Portland, inner Southeast Portland and North Portland and decreasing it in east Portland, Gresham, Fairview and Troutdale. . . Washington Department of Commerce awards $14 million in energy efficiency and solar grants to five colleges, four state agencies and 27 local governments with projects including 1,725 new LED streetlights in Pasco to save $104,755 annually and renovation of Seattle's least energy efficient community center at Green Lake. . .King County opens new rural service center on Vashon Island. . .Better late than never, congrats to Innovative Housing Inc. on the grand-opening of The Magnolia, 50 more units of affordable housing in northeast Portland. . .USDA Rural Development says its expanding its coordinated Strike Force approach to western Alaskan communities. . .Thanks to bonds from Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Bainbridge Island's Town & Country grocery gets lower-interest financing for remodel which will require 41 percent less energy per square foot. . .Census Bureau & National American Indian Housing Council sign MOU to collaborate on improving accuracy of Bureau's annual Boundary & American Survey count. . ."In one of the final actions of the 2014 session, the Washington Legislature," reports The Columbian, "extended through June 30, 2019, the collection of a document-recording fee" that, it says, has provided $42 million statewide "for homeless services". . .Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenbaum said health care complaints was top concern for Oregon consumers in 2013 followed by followed by complaints about telecommunications companies, motor vehicle sales, financial services, collection agencies, home owner services, health services, magazine sales, money transfer scammers, and motor vehicle repair.
AN EMERALD CITY DIAMOND
A Happy 75th to the Seattle Housing Authority. So, how long has it been around? Since Hitler invaded Poland. Since the average house cost $3,800 and rent was $28 a month. Since Gone With the Wind won best picture and Bob Hope hosted the Academy. Since Batman first appeared in the funnies, The Wizard of Oz premiered and Gone with the Wind was on its way to best picture. Since Pan American Airways began transatlantic mail service and Amelia Earhart was officially declared dead. Since Frans Eemil Sillanpää won the Nobel Prize for Literature and Lou Gehrig stood before microphones at home plate in Yankee Stadium and proclaimed himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth." And since a carton of eggs was a dime, a loaf of bread a nickel and a Lincoln penny saved was still a penny earned.
In calendar 2013, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack reports, USDA Rural Development guaranteed and direct loan programs helped more than 170,000 rural families become homeowners. USDA provided rental assistance to nearly 280,000 people. It invested $1.4 billion in loans and grants in more than 1,000 community infrastructure projects. It provided new or improved broadband service to about 120,000 rural families. And its support for rural America also created 75,000 jobs. "I am proud of the role that USDA has played," said the Secretary, "to grow rural economies and help make rural America a place of opportunity, innovation and economic growth." For the full report, visit the website.
"If I'm not getting these mothers into my program, we're having babies born with drugs in their system, and that starts the inter-generational cycle of drug babies having drug babies." -- Gus Nolte, executive director of Phoenix House in Kelso, a collaboration between the Longview Housing Authority and Drug Abuse Prevention Center that opened in 2009. More at Sarah Grothjan Daily News story online.
WORTH A READ
"Tribes largely view" the Native American Housing & Self Determination Act and the Indian Housing Block Grant program "as a success because the program has given them the ability to identify and address the housing needs of their low-income members in a manner that recognizes tribal priorities and tribes' unique government-to-government relationship with the United States. But housing activities on tribal lands, including those designed to provide affordable housing, involve overcoming a number of challenges. These include external factors such as the location and characteristics of tribal lands, which are frequently remote and lacking in infrastructure, such as water and sewer lines. Some challenges specifically affect tribes' affordable housing activities, including issues related to requirements for federally funded housing projects, conflicts among tribal members with differing perspectives, and cultural preferences for certain types of housing." - - Native American Housing: Additional Actions Needed to Better Support Tribal Efforts, a March, 2014, report by the U.S. Government Account ability Office at the website.
WORTH A LISTEN
KUOW-FM's Taylor Winkel goes back to school, paying a visit to McCarver Elementary in the Hilltop neighborhood of Tacoma which, in partnership with the Tacoma Housing Authority and Tacoma Schools, is making use of Section 8 rental assistance to promote enrollment stability and educational performance by reducing homelessness. "We're obviously learning as we go," says a project manager. So, hear what they've learned so far online.
NOTES TO NOTE
NAHMA sets April 4th deadline to submit nominations for its 2014 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets April 7th deadline to register to attend April 24th Governor's Volunteer Awards Luncheon. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets April 11th deadline to apply for total of $3.5 million in homeownership and home repair assistance. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets April 11th eligibility screening deadline and May 19th application deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties seeking $454 million in shared distribution Federal Transit Administration funds. . .Labor Department sets April 22nd deadline to apply for $73 million in YouthBuild funding. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets May 1st deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties to submit forms for $130 million in countywide competitions. . .HUD sets deadline of May 5th to apply for $7 million in project-based VASH vouchers to assist homeless vets . . .Portland Housing Bureau says May 5th is "tentative" application due date for $17.5 million in CDBG and HOME funds for development, acquisition and preservation of affordable housing. . .Citizen Institute for Rural Design sets May 6th deadline for communities to apply for its help in creating annual design workshops. . .HHS' Administration for Children & Families sets May 7th deadline to apply for grants of up to $1 million for projects that provide Individual Development Accounts and related services to individuals and families with low incomes to enable them "to purchase a home, capitalize or expand a business for self-employment, or attend postsecondary education or training". . .HHS' Administration for Children & Families sets May 12th deadline to apply for Street Outreach Program grants of up to $200,000 each to "to provide street-based services to runaway, homeless, and street youth who have been subjected to, or are at risk of being subjected to, sexual abuse,". . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will post application forms for some $6.9 million in 2014 Affordable Housing Program "on or around" May 15th with completed applications due August 1st. . .Department of Veterans Affairs sets May 27th deadline to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to provide transportation to veterans in highly rural areas. . .Planning Association of Washington & Washington Chapter of APA set May 30th deadline to submit nominations for 2014 Joint Planning Awards. . .City of Seattle Office of Housing sets June 2014 deadline to submit applications under Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Loan Program.
Seattle Housing Authority celebrates its 75th anniversary, April 2nd, Seattle.
AARP Idaho hosts Scam Jam, April 3rd, Lewiston.
Walkable Washington symposium, April 3rd, Seattle.
HUD hosts Webinar on occupancy requirements for public housing complexes being converted to multi-family housing under Rental Assistance Demonstration project, April 3rd, On-Line.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 4th, Coeur d'Alene.
City Club of Portland hosts Nan Roman of the National Alliance to End Homelessness in a discussion of homelessness across the United States, April 4th, Portland.
City of Medford & Fair Housing Council of Oregon host "Rental Rights Round-Up" workshop, April 5th, Medford.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hosts Neighborhood Summit, April 5th, Seattle.
Housing Authority of Clackamas County hosts annual training for landlord & property managers, April 7th, Oregon City.
City Council of Portland issues Fair Housing Month Proclamation and honors winners of Fair Housing Council of Oregon's Fair Housing Poster contest. April 9th, Portland.
Fair Housing Council of Oregon celebrates Fair Housing Month with debut of its new traveling exhibit, Anywhere But Here, April 10th, Portland.
Oregon AHMA hosts annual April REAC Refresher, April 10, Salem.
Northwest Fair Housing Council hosts Affirmation 2014: The Spokane Fair Housing Conference, April 10th, Spokane.
Idaho Economic Development Association hosts spring conference, April 14th to 16th, Fort Hall.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 15th, Nampa.
King County Office of Civil Rights offers two workshops - Introduction to Fair Housing & Advanced Fair Housing, April 16th, Seattle.
Resilient King County Initiative hosts workshop on recovery issues affecting Livelihood & Well-Being, April 16th, Renton.
HUD Portland hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Grantees, April 17th, Portland.
HUD Portland hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, April 18th, Portland.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 21st, Pocatello.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts 2014 Spring Industry Support Conference, April 22nd, Eugene.
Affordable Rural Housing Council & Washington AHMA hold annual conference, April 22nd & 23rd, Yakima.
Oregon AHMA hosts Basic Landlord-Tenant Law for Affordable Housing Providers, Part II, April 22nd, Salem.
Washington Association of REALTORS hosts annual spring business conference, April 23rd to 25th, Cle Elum.
HUD Northwest hosts Basics of Fair Housing Webinar, April 23rd, on-line.
Oregon AHMA hosts Tax Credit Move-Ins from A to Z for HOME/LIHTC Managers, April 23rd, Salem.
Pacific Northwest Council of National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials holds annual conference, April 28th to 30th, Portland.
United Way hosts Community Resource Exchange for the homeless, April 29th, Seattle.
Idaho Chapter of American Planning Association hosts Spring Mini-Law/Ethics Conference, May 2nd, Boise.
HUD Seattle celebrates Fair Housing Month with a viewing of and discussion about the film, A Matter of Place, April 30th, 10 a.m., at HUD in Seattle.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians holds mid-year convention, May 5th through 8th, Centralia.
Oregon Coalition on Housing & Homelessness holds 2014 conference, May 7th to 9th, Portland.
HUD's National Servicing Center hosts free Webinar for non-profits on Early Delinquency Servicing Activities & HUD's Loss Mitigation Program Training, May 13th & 14th on-line. Register by May 6th For more, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Idaho Fair Housing Forum & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST workshop, May 15th, Boise. To register, contact email@example.com
Oregon AHMA hosting Basic HOME Occupancy, Including Final Rule workshop, May 16th, Salem.
Washington Low Income Housing Coalition hosts 24th annual Conference on Ending Homelessness, May 21st & 22nd, Yakima.
EcoDistricts for Practitioners workshop, May 6th, Seattle.
Sixth annual Living Future Un-Conference, May 21st to 23rd, Portland.
City of Tacoma hosts 28th annual Western Washington Fair Housing Conference, May 22nd, Tacoma.
Oregon Chapter of American Planning Association hosts 2014 Planning Conference, May 28th to 30th, Portland.
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