Washington state's new Foreclosure Prevention Mediation Program launched July 22nd to implement a new state law requiring "lenders to notify borrowers prior to foreclosure of the availability of foreclosure counseling and the potential for mediation." For more, visit website
With 60 percent of the unemployed out of work more than three months and 45 percent out of work more than six, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan says the Obama Administration believes "current unemployment forbearance programs have mandatory periods that are inadequate for the majority of unemployed borrowers," As a result, it's now requiring servicers of FHA insured mortgages to extend the forbearance period for unemployed homeowners to 12 months to give them "a substantially greater chance of finding employment before they lose their home." Every FHA-approved lender and servicer must offer loss mitigation services - including forbearance - to FHA borrowers in default. The administration also is requiring servicers participating in the Making Home Affordable Program to extend the minimum forbearance period to 12 months wherever possible under regulator and investor guidelines. The extension takes effect August 1st and will expire in two years. For more, visit website
October 1st is a big day for the real estate industry. And, most likely, not a particularly happy one. Three years ago, as the private mortgage market crumbled and recession set in, Congress moved to stanch the hemorrhaging in the housing sector by temporarily raising maximum mortgage amounts insurable by the Federal Housing Administration on 1, 2, 3 and 4 unit homes It appears to have worked, explaining at least in part record numbers of FHA-insured mortgages in almost every market in 2009 & 2010. The same statutes that raised FHA limits, however, also set a date for them to be cut - October 1st, 2011. "To be hit with this is like being hit in the face with a wet dishrag," an upset Kitsap County real estate agent told Sanjay Bhatt of The Seattle Times when she heard the news. She's probably not alone since, unless Congress acts, itl means lower FHA limits in 669 counties across the U.S. including, for example, Anchorage, Bellingham, Bend , Boise, Bremerton, Coeur d'Alene, Eugene, Fairbanks, Juneau, Olympia, Portland, Seattle, Sitka, Tacoma, Vancouver - and most places in between. What about your market? See website
! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !
FHA Mortgagee Review Board imposes sanctions - including reprimands, probations, suspensions, withdrawals of approval, & civil money penalties - against 240 lenders for failing to meet FHA requirements. Details at website
! ! ! NEWS TOO ! ! !
HUD posts 2011 income limits on-line
HUD's awarded another 375 VASH vouchers to the Alaska Housing Finance and the Boise, Portland, Douglas, Lane County, Jackson County, Central Oregon, Seattle, King County, Tacoma, Snohomish County, Chelan and Walla Walla housing authorities for "permanent housing for homeless veterans." Since 2008, HUD's provided 2,258 VASH vouchers to homeless veterans in the Northwest. They've "given us a great deal," said Northwest HUD Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "Helping them obtain decent, affordable housing is the least we can do for them." More at website
King County Housing Authority celebrates completion of 25 rental units, phase I of HOPE VI-funded transformation of the old Park Lake Homes II in White Center into Seola Gardens, a diverse, mixed-income community that,, when completed , will have 177 units of subsidized rental housing and up to 107 for-sale homes. . .Victor Merced named executive director of Hacienda Community Development Corporation. . .With grants from the Alaska Department of Homeland Security volunteers from Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse relief organization, Anchorage Daily News says beginning in August Crooked Creek, a village of 105 northeast of Bethel, plans to rebuild 10 houses destroyed in May by Kuskokwim River flood waters using designs provided by Cold Climate Housing Research Center. . .Ribbon cut on 40-unit Hood River Crossing, the first new affordable housing in Hood River "in more than a decade," says Oregon Housing & Community Services Rick Crager, which probably, in turn, explain why "apartments filled up within two weeks of opening". . .Department of Ecology awards $200,000 each to Ellensburg & Port of Sunnyside to clean-up and prepare contaminated sites for redevelopment. . .Oregon's HDC Community Fund, Innovative Change and Network for Oregon Affordable Housing and Washington State's Community Alliance for Self Help and Industrial Credit Union of Whatcom County win total of almost $2.9 million in Community Development Financial Institution funds from the Treasury Department. . .Portland Housing Bureau's construction will begin this summer on Riley House, a 35,000 square-foot, $13.4 million replacement for the Blanchet House of Hospitality which "serves meals for people experiencing homelessness and provides transitional housing for homeless men who are recovering from addictions". . .Department of Commerce awards King, Pierce, Snohomish and Spokane total of $4.8 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program III funds to "to redevelop abandoned homes and vacant lots" in areas "hit hard by foreclosure". . .City of Caldwell tells Post-Tribune it plans to use $500,000 Idaho CDBG grant to transform 6th Avenue into a "gathering place for local vendors to provide food options for the community and Treasure Valley Community College students". . ."Once they started," says the Longview Daily News, "Lowe's Heroes couldn't stop, knocking off everything on" the Kelso Emergency Support Shelter's "to do list - and then kept going." .After 28 years as executive director of Community Action Team in St. Helens, Rocky Johnson tells The Chronicle he's retiring, convinced "there's nothing more satisfying than helping people". . .Short on money but not on energy, Steve Rhoades thanks Housing Resources Board for helping him find an affordable place to live by, reports Bainbridge Island Review, swimming the 28-mile perimeter of the Island and then, "after taking a shower and grabbing a bite," a 33-mile bike ride (what, no push-ups?)..
On June 16th, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives and the Portland Housing Bureau celebrated a ribbon-cutting in the North Mission neighborhood of Portland. "Oh no," you say, "not another ribbon-cutting story!" But hold on and consider what's behind that ribbon. Like the 12 units of housing put back into use and back on the tax rolls. Like the 3,100 hours of work at good wages that construction trades people got in rehabilitating the units. Like the opportunities "several" small start-up subcontractors got to work for the first time with the Davis-Bacon program. Like the opportunities provided members of the Oregon Tradeswomen's apprentice program to get on-site experience. Or, best of all, like the 12 more units of affordable housing now affordable to families in these not particularly easy times. Want "outcomes"? You'd be well-served, obviously, to start in North Mission.
Do homebuyer education participants have lower rates of default than the general population. "Yes," says a study of 90-day default rates in Lane County from 2002 to 2011 conducted by NEDCO and the University of Oregon. NEDCO clients that have participated in its homebuyer education programs, the report found, "are significantly less likely to default - with a 90-day default rate consistently lower than that of the general population. NEDCO's default rate exceeded Lane County's in only one year,"- 2007. Of NEDCO clients who defaulted, just over half already entered a purchase contract at before taking a homebuyer education class and, additionally, had lower incomes than those who did not default. More than 92 percent of the almost 700 NEDCO buyers did not experience a 90-day default. See the full report
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Earlier this month we came across a story in The Peninsula Clarion that included a photo of a beaming Charlie Weiner, branch manager for the First National Bank Alaska. He was posing with what the Clarion said was an "ABA award" that, the story reported, has now "visited every" FNBA "branch throughout the Great Land." What's this about?, we wondered. Turns out, FNBA was one of just seven banks across the country honored by the ABA in early 2010 with a "leadership award," said the ABA, "for using" HUD's "Title VI Loan Guarantee Program to create a program to serve remote, rural communities throughout Alaska." So that's why Charlie's beaming. Though we're 17months late to the party, congrats to FNBA for making good use of a HUD program.
You've heard the tale before. The mortgage on a HUD-subsidized apartment complex reaches maturity. The owners decide to play the market and sell to the highest bidder. And residents, many who've lived there for years, are out on the street, and, even with a voucher, out of luck.. But that wasn't the tale at Chaucer Court, an 83-unit, HUD-assisted complex in downtown Portland, reports Rebecca Koffman in The Oregonian. Yes, the mortgage matured and, yes, the owners wanted to sell. But, says Koffman only to a "buyer who would promise to extend the HUD contract and thereby keep the elderly residents in their homes." After all, 20 percent of the residents had lived there 20 years, 42 percent over 10. "This place," explained Craig Rhea, one of the owners, "is their home." The good, even great news is that the non-profit Union Labor Association, no stranger to affordable housing, was ready to step up and buy. But there is a little bit of bad news. As a condition of sale, HUD direct that the property - on the National Register of Historic Places - get a top-to-bottom energy upgrade, requiring residents to vacate their apartments for up to six months. For the physically or mentally frail seniors, 6 months can seem like a lifetime. But things have gone way better than expected, thanks in large part, says Koffman, to former owner Rhea who says he "couldn't walk away" and now volunteers to help find the disruptees. In July, residents of the first floor moved back in. They're ecstatic. Sharon Severy, for example, is especially thrilled to reunite with her three cats, two of which had to be boarded. "There may be a cat fight at first," she told Koffman, "but we'll settle down." Purr-fect. See Koffman's story online
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
USDA awards $23.6 million for water quality improvements in 14 rural communities in Alaska, the first under the first since a streamlining of a grant program designed "to simplify the application process and maintain" accountability. . .Archbishop J. Peter Sartain blesses the Catholic Housing Services' $9 million, six-story Bakhita Gardens in Seattle, a 90-unit complex for homeless women like Deborah Johnson who told The Seattle Times it's nice "to have a place to call home again". . .Envision Eugene reports some "15,000 housing units are needed within the next 20 years to accommodate the 34,000 people expected to move to Eugene," reports KEZI-TV, and recommends building smaller houses on smaller parcels to meet need. . .CNN & Money Magazine rank Bellevue, Meridian, Shoreline, Hillsboro, Beaverton and Idaho Falls among 100 Best Places to Live. . .NEDCO buys new building to expand its Homeownership Center in Salem. . .First Sun Valley Designer Showcase features, says Idaho Mountain Express, 1,400 square-foot Ketchum house "purchased out of foreclosure" last December by the ARCH Community Housing Trust and since transformed by a "small army of people" to show "how good affordable housing can appear" and how it "adds value to a neighborhood". . .AARP The Magazine says Wenatchee one of five best destinations in U.S. to retire. . .Praising their "remarkable work" in balancing "economic growth with sustainable development," Governor Chris Gregoire names Bothell, Chelan, Hoquiam, Mukilteo, Olympia, Poulsbo, Vader, Waitsburg and Walla Walla and Kitsap, Lewis and Pierce counties as 2011 Smart Communities for "creating livable communities" in Washington state. . .Bethlehem Inn and Partners to End Poverty's Project Connect, reports KTVZ-TV, among 8 Deschutes County nonprofits awarded grants by Cow Creek Umpqua Indian Foundation. . .Department of Labor announces grants of almost $1.1 million to Community Councils of Idaho, $2 million to Oregon Human Development Corporation and $3.1 million to OIC Washington "to provide training, employment and support" and $283,316 to Washington Office of Rural Farmworker Housing to provide housing assistance to migrant farmworkers and their families. . ..Housing Works celebrates completion of Independence Place in Redmond, a duplex it acquired and rehabbed under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program which, says executive director Cyndy Cook, will be offered to "eligible residents with a veteran-preference". . .In addition to "helping 5,000 abuse victims last year alone," the YWCA was also building a shelter big enough for 16 families allowing it "for the first time," says KIMA-TV, to provide "long-term, subsidized housing for families escaping domestic violence.". .
Continuing its efforts to connect "affordable housing choices with quality schools and jobs," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced that HUD is seeking applications for some $95 million in competitive grants to provide "communities large and small with the resources they need to make a sustainable plan for their future." Some $67 million will be awarded through the Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant Program that "supports metropolitan and multijurisdictional planning efforts that integrate housing, land use, economic and workforce development, transportation, and infrastructure investments in a manner that empowers jurisdictions to consider the interdependent challenges of economic competitiveness and revitalization; social equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity; energy use and climate change; and public health and environmental impact. Pre-applications are dueAugust 25th with more details online. The remaining $28 million will be competitively awarded through the Community Challenge Planning Grant Program which "fosters reform and reduces barriers to achieving affordable, economically vital, and sustainable communities" including "amending or replacing local master plans, zoning codes, and building codes, either on a jurisdiction-wide basis or in a specific neighborhood, district, corridor, or sector to promote mixed-use development, affordable housing, the reuse of older buildings and structures for new purposes, and similar activities with the goal of promoting sustainability at the local or neighborhood level." Applications are due September 9th with more details online
Local governments, housing authorities, Tribal organizations and nonprofits are being invited by USDA Rural Development to apply by August 22nd for a total of $9.8 million in Housing Preservation Funds to "to assist very low- and low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes in rural areas." Some 160 grants of no more than $100,000 each will be awarded. For more, visit website
USDA Rural Development has set August 10th as the deadline for private, nonprofit organizations to apply for $2.1 million in funds to establish lending program that will enable residents of rural areas to construct or upgrade their private well systems." Ten grants of no more than $300,000 each are expected to be awarded. For more, visit website
USDA's People's Garden program also seeking applications by August 26th for up to seven grants of no more than $150,000 each to "facilitate the creation of produce, recreation, and/or wildlife gardens in urban and rural areas, which will provide opportunities for science-based informal education." USDA's hosting a teleconference for potential applications at 1 p.m., Eastern, on Thursday, August 4th. The toll-free number is (888) 858-2144 and the access code is 1059897. For more, visit website
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Opportunity Council's homeless housing program and Northwest Youth Services' runaway teen program among 43 "safety net" groups awarded total of $1.1 million by United Way of Whatcom County. . .Part of a campaign to attract news businesses to downtowns, Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization's $22,000 "Operation Facelift" spruces-up 38 storefronts in 12 communities says Magic Valley Times-News. . ..Salvation Army dedicates veterans and family center in Beaverton that, says Valley Times, "nearly triples" the number of veterans it can serve compared to the "antiquated" Harbor Lights center at the foot of Portland's Burnside Bridge it replaces. . .King County Housing Authority completes $3.2 million in ARRA-funded "green-ovations" at Briarwood and Forest Glen complexes. . .Umpqua Community Action Network and Oregon Housing & Community Services celebrates grand opening of Trillium Terrace in Roseburg. . .Catholic Social Services of Anchorage, El-Ada, Inc. of Boise, St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, Community Psychiatric Clinic of Seattle and Opportunity Council of Bellingham among just 85 organizations to win Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families grants. . .Saying lots of families are" in a tough place looking for a better place to be," Habitat for Humanity's Lowell Kreuger tells KIMA-TV in Yakima that "more people than ever are picking up the tools and helping build" its "much-needed homes". . .Telling Corvallis Gazette it's the "result of ingenuity, a willing property owner, support from numerous sources, a bit of pluck and enormous doses of passion and compassion," Mayor Julie Manning joins Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition celebrating grand opening of Partners Place, a refurbished apartment building severely damaged by fire two years ago. . .After 12 years in Jeffrey Building, Neighborhood Partnerships has moved to Board of Trade Building, 310 Southwest Fourth, Suite 715, Portland. . .Andy Rodriguez of Nampa Housing Authority elected president and Lowell Krueger of Yakima Housing Authority senior vice president of Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO. . .City of Hailey and ARCH Community Housing Trust break ground for 24-unit River Street Senior Community thanks to funding from Idaho Housing & Finance. and a $1-a-year, 99-year lease with the City of Hailey. . .Spokane wins "prestigious" PISCES Award from EPA for "demonstrating innovative storm water control strategies" on West Broadway project. . .Portland Housing Bureau tells Daily Journal of Commerce it'll offer zero-percent, forgivable (after 15 years) down payment loans to income-eligible 1st-time buyers of 57 condos at Killingsworth Station being built with funds from Portland Development Commission. . .
GOT A FRIEND?
Of course you do. Lots of 'em, we'd bet, many of them "individuals and organizations around the state" of Washington "that are committed to improving access to affordable housing and enhancing the quality of life for its residents." And, if I've guessed right, It's time for you to brag about those friends by, between now and August 1st, submitting a Friend of Housing nomination to the Washington Housing Finance Commission. The Commission will announce the winners at Housing Washington in Spokane in September. So, this one time, be a braggart and nominate a friend. Time's short. Act now
Been involved in a project that's used formal planning processes to help a community choose and design its future and, better still, to actually realize it? Then you've got something to brag about. And there's no better way than to nominate for the 2011 HUD Secretary's Opportunity & Empowerment Award. Presented in collaboration with the American Planning Association, the Award focuses on how the planning process has been used to help communities overcome obstacles and difficult issues, not just on the drawing board but in the streets of that community for the last three years.. If you've done that, don't be shy. Instead, tell the world about it by nominating it for a HUD Secretary' Opportunity & Empowerment Award. See the "how to's" of the nomination process are online Nominations are due September 8th.
WORTH A LISTEN
Want to spend an hour or so seeing the world a way you've never seen it before? Then catch John Zogby, "chief insights officer" of Zogby International, at Housing Washington, September 26th to 28th in Spokane. Just when you think he's peeled the whole onion you suddenly realize he's actually been slicing and dicing a kumquat. Simply put, he delivers on his job title. More at website!
WORTH A READ
"A lot of the folks that our members are serving are the folks who were employed six months before, or a year before, or even two years ago when the recession hit," Oregon Opportunity Network's new executive director John Miller tells Street Roots in a July Q&A. "They had jobs, they were making ends meet. This is especially true on the foreclosure side, but also in rentals. Then as they lose their jobs, they lose their housing, and suddenly, demand for services and more affordable housing, everything goes up. That's a different person than maybe eight years ago needing services." Obviously, it's worth a read
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Looks like Crooked Creek will catch a better break. A combination of private and government outfits have teamed to put up nine homes in the Kuskokwim River village before freeze-up this year, using a design from the nonprofit Cold Climate Housing Research Center in Fairbanks. Ten homes were destroyed by spring flooding. Nine will be replaced by the new design, with funding from the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. (A tenth, owned by the Association of Village Council Presidents housing program, will be rebuilt by the AVCP.) Key to the design of the nine are prebuilt trusses that encompass the floor, walls and roof. Many of us are familiar with roof trusses but this design combines floor joists, wall studs and roof trusses into a single piece. And they're made in Kenai by an outfit called Alaska Engineered Truss. Designed in Fairbanks, built in Kenai? Even before the homes go up, there's more hope they'll stand up to many Alaska winters. Jack Hebert, head of the climate center, calls them "thermal envelopes," a comforting image for cold nights on the Kuskokwim. Evelyn Thomas, president of the Crooked Creek Traditional Council, calls them "awesome." These homes are designed to go up fast, stand strong and stay warm. Samaritan's Purse, evangelist Franklin Graham's relief organization, is donating $300,000 along with the promise of volunteer builders to make the project affordable. Other religious groups are contributing and those donations will supplement the state share of $44,836 per home to cover costs of about $80,000 apiece. Calista Corp. has donated the building of gravel pads for the homes -- which will be built on higher ground than those they replace -- and Donlin Gold, the mining outfit that housed residents left homeless by the May flooding, has continued to provide help. So many hands contributing may turn disaster in May to a better-built village come October. BOTTOM LINE: Housing designed and built in Alaska for Alaska conditions. Makes sense- - The editors of The Anchorage Daily News, July 25, 2011..
NOTES TO NOTE
Federal Reserve, HUD, FDIC, SEC, FHFA and Comptroller of the Currency extend deadline until August 1st to submit comments on proposed rule to require sponsors of asset-backed securities to retain at least 5 percent of the credit risk of the asset underlying the securities. . .HUD sets August 1st deadline to apply for second round of fiscal year 2010 funding under Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities Program. . .HUD sets August 1st deadline to submit comments on its "preliminary plan to periodically analyze "significant regulations" to determine whether they should be "modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed" and its first list of current regulations it has deemed "outdated". . .HUD sets August 2nd deadline to apply for $9.1 million to meet critical housing needs of low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS. . .HUD sets August 8th deadline to apply for $3.6 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to help communities transform, rehabilitate and preserve public and privately-owned HUD assisted housing. . USDA sets August 10th deadline for private, non-profits to apply for Household Water Well System grants to create "lending programs for household water wells in rural areas". . .USDA sets August 22nd deadline to apply for funds to preserve and revitalize existing multi-family housing financed by Rural Development. . .HUD sets August 22nd deadline to apply for HOPE VI Main Street Revitalization Grants. . .USDA sets August 22nd deadline to submit pre-application for $9.8 million in Housing Preservation Grants to "assist very low- and low-income homeowners in repairing and rehabilitating their homes". . .HUD sets August 25th to pre-apply for $67 million in Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant s. . .USDA sets August 26th deadline to apply for People's Garden grants of up to $150,000 to "facilitate the creation of produce, recreation, and/or wildlife gardens in urban and rural areas". . .USDA sets August 29th deadline to submit pre-applications for $18 million in Rural Rental Housing grants and $2 million in rental assistance associated with the construction. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets September 1st to apply for grants to provide Individual Development Accounts to underserved Oregonians. . .HUD sets September 9th deadline to apply for Community Challenge Planning Grant s. . .Home Depot Foundation sets October 31st deadline to apply for Community Impact Grants of up to $5,000 to support "using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community," especially those that identify projects for veterans, seniors, and/or the disabled ."
Northwest ONAP hosts Section 184 Workshop for New Lenders, August 2nd, Airway Heights.
Northwest ONAP & Bureau of Indian Affairs host Workshop on Mortgages on Tribal Lands, August 3rd & 4th, Airway Heights.
HUD Boise & HUD Spokane host Grant-Writing Workshop for Faith- & Community-Based Organizations, August 4th & 5th, Coeur d'Alene.
HUD Seattle hosts conference on Energy Efficient & Healthy Homes in Rural Communities, August 4th, Seattle.
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Housing Workshop for Landlords, Tenants & Managers, August 10th, Kennewick.
HUD Portland hosts Federal & State Labor Standards Workshop for Oregon housing authorities & grantees, August 10th, Portland.
HUD Seattle hosts Basics of Section 3 Workshop for housing authorities & CDBG grantees, August 11th, Kennewick.
Quinault Indian Nation & Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians host Sovereignty Drug Summit, August 15th & 16th, Ocean Shores.
HUD Portland hosts Federal & State Labor Standards for Contractors Workshop, August 16th, Portland.
HUD Seattle hosts Environmental Review Workshop, August 16th to 18th, Seattle.
Snohomish County Asset Building Coalition & Washington Department of Financial Institutions host Foreclosure Prevention Workshop, August 20th, Everett.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, August 24th.
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Workshop for Landlords, Owners & Tenants, September 7th, Spokane.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts Fall Industry Conference, September 12th & 13th, Portland.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Webinar, September 13th, Cyber-space.
Idaho Association of REALTORS holds annual conference, September 14th to 17th, Sun Valley.
Impact Capital presents Nuts & Bolts of Asset Management, September 14th & 15th, Seattle.
Portland State University hosts Regional Livability Summit, September 14, Portland.
Pacific Northwest Mortgage Lenders Association hosts annual conference, September 18th to 20th, Portland.
Alaska Association of REALTORS holds annual conference, September 13th to 16th, Homer.
Annual conference of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, September 19th to 22nd, Tulalip.
University of Washington School of Public Health hosts workshop on Healthy Homes for Community Health Workers, September 20th, Boise. For more, contact Trudy San Jose White
Annual fall business conference of Washington Association of REALTORS, September 21st to 23rd, Spokane.
University of Washington School of Public Health hosts workshop on Launching a Healthy Homes Initiative, September 21st, Boise. For more, contact Trudy San Jose White
18th annual Housing Washington Conference,, September 27th & 28th, Spokane.
Annual conference of Oregon Economic Development Association, September 26th & 27th, Newport.
Annual Idaho Statewide Non Profit Conference, September 28th &29th, Boise.
86th Annual Oregon League of Cities Conference, September 29th to October 1st, Bend.