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HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
December 2008

New Year, New FHA Mortgage Limits
HUD Secretary Steve Preston has announced new limits on the mortgage amount insurable by the Federal Housing Administration beginning January 1, 2009. Under the 2008 Housing & Economic Recovery Act, limits are set at 115 percent of a market's median house price. They can't be lower than 65 percent or higher than 150 percent of the national conforming limit of $417,000. Preston says the limits will ensure FHA can to continue help struggling homeowners refinance and allow many first-time buyers take advantage of today's buyers market. Visit the FHA.gov 2008 Mortgagee Letters page, and read Mortgagee Letter 08-36 (08-36 2009 FHA Mortgage Limits ML) and Attachments I and II for more about the new limits.

. . . There's More
The Secretary also unveiled that the new limit, effective immediately, on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages - reverse mortgages - will be $417,000, except in parts of Hawaii. See Mortgagee Letter 08-34 (08-34 Final HECM Origination Fees)

And Still More. . .
On November 12, HUD issued a final rule on regulations governing the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act. For the first time ever, lenders and brokers will be required, starting January 1, 2010, to give consumers a standard, easy-to-read Good Faith Estimate that includes the term of the loan, whether the interest rate is fixed or adjustable, if there are pre-payment penalties or balloon payments, and the loan's total closing costs. HUD estimates that upfront disclosures will save consumers some $700 in closing costs. HUD received more than 12,000 comments following its publication of the proposed rule in March. Secretary Preston commented, "It has been a long road, but today we can finally announce a better way to buy homes in America." Read more...

News to Know?
Does your organization have housing, community or economic development news or events to share with HUD Highlights 15,000 readers? Email Leland.jones@hud.gov or call Leland at (206) 220-5356.

Oregon Awards $75 Million for Housing
Oregon Housing & Community Services Director Victor Merced has announced that 15 projects will receive nearly $75 million in low income housing tax credits, and HUD and state grants, to support construction or rehabilitation of 457 affordable housing units in Bandon, Eugene, Hermiston, Klamath Falls, McMinnville, Portland, Roseburg, Sweet Home and Clackamas County. The state estimates these awards will generate approximately $127 million in economic activity.

Brief Briefs
HUD's Hope for Homeowners program raises loan-to-value on its loans to 96.5 percent for borrowers whose mortgage payments are no more than 31 percent of monthly gross income and household debt no more than 43 percent. The program now allows lenders to extend loan terms from 30 to 40 years and provides immediate payment in exchange for a subordinate lender's release of its lien . . . Dannie Walker of the Kozak Company in Bend, OR, installed as 2009 President of the Oregon Association of REALTORS© . . . Wells Fargo donates $10,000 to Idaho Housing and Finance Association's homebuyer education program . . . Catholic Charities Caritas Housing opens 70-unit Esperanza Court on a reclaimed brownfields site in southeast Portland . . . Northeast Washington Housing Solutions in Spokane is accepting applications for Housing Choice Vouchers from December 3-18, 2008 . . . HUD okays loan guarantee for Kwinhagak native village to develop 6 single-family homes . . . Lane County, OR, commits funds for street improvements at St. Vincent dePaul's new $5.4 million Heather Glen affordable housing complex in Veneta, OR . . . Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium moves offices to 720 West Boone in Spokane . . . Neighborhood Housing Services enlists 5,000 volunteers for 23rd annual Rake Up Boise campaign . . . Seattle Times says Consumer Credit Counseling Services Northwest to merge in January with Consumer Credit Counseling Services of Midwest to shorten wait times and allow it to hire more counselors . . . Idaho Housing and Finance Association's Julie Williams chosen for inaugural class of NAHRO Fellows . . . LaGrande Observer says City Council okays micro-enterprise loan program funded with $40,000 in unanticipated revenues . . . Proctor District Association and Tacoma Historical Society to celebrate completion on December 6, 2008, of $250,000 Mason Plaza project named after one of city's housing developers . . . Oregon's Yamhill County completes 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, while Linn and Marion counties have published theirs for public comment . . . Seattle's Potlach Fund wins W.K. Kellogg Foundation's 2008 National Leadership Award for "inspiring the Native tradition of giving."

Funding-mentals
December 9, 2008 - begin submitting applications for emergency repair grants of up to $500,000 at eligible HUD elderly complexes . . . December 16, 2008 - deadline for HUD Section 202 Pre-Development Design grants . . . January 8, 2009 - deadline for Office of Violence Against Women grants of up to $250,000 to provide transitional housing to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault . . . January 15, 2009 - deadline for $47 million in Department of Labor YouthBuild grants . . . February 16, 2009 - deadline for $1 million in 2008 Urban Forestry Challenge Grant program . . . USDA now accepting applications, due May 31, 2009, for household water well funds to give rural residents access to clean, safe drinking water.

Congrats...
To winners of the Oregon League of Cities' 2008 Exceptional Service Awards - Mayor Rob Drake of Beaverton, Mayor Tom Hughes of Hillsboro, City Manager David Hawker of Lincoln City, and the cities of Boardman for its youth advisory panel, Corvallis for its sustainability planning, Forest Grove for its renovation of Lincoln Park and Medford for its Neighborhood Walk program.

. . .And Thanks
To the thousands of donors who "dug deep" over the last month, and gave generously to enable the Alaska Community Foundation to award $65,000, the Idaho Community Foundation to award almost $250,000, the Yakima Valley Community Foundation to award $385,000, the Seattle Foundation to award almost $1.4 million and the Oregon Community Foundation to award almost $2.5 million to support hundreds of nonprofits, many of them HUD partners, across the Northwest.

Quote to Note
"When I see the numbers of people coming to the food center I can't even think about it," Pastor Royce Right of the Oasis Worship & Food Center in Caldwell, ID told KTRV-TV. "I think we're not gonna have enough food, but we always have enough food. We'll always have enough food."

Brief Briefs Too
HUD issues guidance under the Fair Housing Act on what constitutes sexual harassment and the legal remedies available to victims of sexual harassment in housing . . . Olympian reports Nisqually tribe breaks ground on 34,000 square foot youth center in Thurston County, WA. William Humphreys of Citizens Bank of Corvallis, OR, Donald Rhodes of Heritage Corporation in Olympia, WA and Harold Gillkey of Sterling Savings Bank of Spokane, WA, re-elected to Board of Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle . . . Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence wins Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for "building healthy teen relationships" project . . . Urban Land Institute confers Global Awards for Excellence on Adidas Village in Portland, citing company's decision to move from suburbs to an urban campus . . . Boys & Girl Club of King County opens 40,000 square foot youth center in Seattle's Rainier Valley . . . Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership helps 17 families finish self-help houses in Rigby by the holidays . . . Whatcom County to hold its first Project Homeless Connect event in downtown Bellingham, WA, in January . . . Idaho Smart Growth honors eight Grow Smart projects in Boise, Garden City, Ketchum, Meridian and Moscow . . . Northwest Indian Housing Association names John Williamson of the Lower Elwha its 2008 Executive Director of the Year, and Ellen Moses of the Colville its Commissioner of the Year . . . Register Guard says Eugene, OR, City Council expands property tax exemption zone to stimulate rental housing . . . Alaska's Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority celebrates grand opening of newly-renovated and expanded Klawock senior center on Prince of Wales Island . . . Ashland, OR, Daily Tidings says City and Jackson County Housing Authority to partner to buy 10 acres of land for 60-unit affordable rental complex . . . Washington REALTORS© wins National Association of REALTORS© grant to help local governments create tools and incentives to promote affordable workforce housing . . . Idaho Community Foundation says president Cathy Silak to return to private law practice . . . Salvation Army's Hickman House in Seattle celebrates 20th anniversary in serving victims of domestic violence . . . Read HUD Boise-Nampa market analysis

Don't Forget
Applications deadline for 2009 Secretary's Housing & Community Design Award is December 12, 2009. For more, visit the American Institute of Architects

Coming Up

Bureau of Indian Affairs hosts 18th annual Tribal Providers Conference from December 1-5, 2008, in Anchorage, AK

HUD Seattle hosts Fair Housing Act training for housing providers on December 3, 2008

Oregon Rural Congress meets December 5, 2008 in Coos Bay

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HUD Highlights is an e-newsletter from HUD's Seattle Regional Office about HUD news, upcoming events, program updates and grant opportunities. If you received this newsletter from a friend, and would like to receive your own copy, please sign up for our mailing list.

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