Noting that "our nation's ability to compete in a global economy and create jobs is dependent upon how quickly and efficiently we can connect our workers and families to education and employment opportunities," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced the second round of HUD Sustainable Communities planning and challenge grants that "leveraged with local funds more than doubling the investment" will, he says, "create new visions for how communities and regions plan for housing, transportation, workforce development and the quality of life of their residents for generations to come." Winners in the Northwest included Fremont County, Idaho that won a $1.5 million Sustainable Communities planning grant, Beaverton, Oregon which won a $1 million challenge grant and the City of Seattle which won an almost $3 million challenge grant and Thurston County which won an $800,000 challenge grant, the second year it has won HUD Sustainable Communities funding. In this round, HUD awarded 56 Sustainable Communities grants totaling $96 million, but received applications from all 50 states for more than $500 million "Top-down, cookie-cutter grants are ill-suited to helping communities define and achieve what they want their future to look like," added HUD Northwest Regional Administrator McBride. "That can only happen from the ground up, through a collaboration that has the resources to map a route and the job, housing and transportation development strategies that will get them where they want to be."
! ! ! NEWS FHA-LASH ! ! !
The Congress has passed and the President has signed legislation to reinstate the higher limits on FHA-insured mortgages in many markets that had been in effect until September 30, 2011, For FHA forward mortgages assigned a case number on or after November 18th, the limits as outlined in Mortgagee Letter 10-40 are in effect. at least through 2012. For more, see website
! ! ! NEWS FLASH II ! ! !
HUD publishes fiscal year 2012 income limits, effective December 1st, 2011. For more, see website
HUD has opened the competition for more than $40 million that will enable local agencies to provide a broad range of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and state housing finance agencies to help families find and preserve housing. Services provided will include how to avoid foreclosure, how to avoid mortgage scams, how to purchase or rent a home, how to improve credit scores, and how to qualify for a reverse mortgage. Applications are due January 12, 2012 and HUD expects to award some 500 grants. "We fought hard to persuade Congress to restore funding for housing counseling in HUD's Fiscal Year 2012 budget," said HUD Secretary Donovan, "and I'm pleased that they did so. We will now work to make these important resources available to help families as quickly as possible." For more information, please visit website
HUD is making some $114 million in grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint hazards from lower income homes in order to protect young children from lead poisoning; help local communities set up programs to control other housing health and safety hazards; and conduct research on improving control methods. Applications for $61 million in Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program funds and $45 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program funds are due January 18th. Applications for $2.5 million in million under Healthy Homes Technical Studies Program are due January 31st. In its Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program, HUD is providing an additional $5.3 million to promote and develop a local Healthy Housing initiative, building on their lead hazard control program, to address multiple housing-related health hazards through assessment using the home health and safety rating system. For more, see website
Home Forward in Portland celebrates the 1,000th graduate of its Rent Well program that, since 2009, has offered 15-hour courses on how to be a "stable, responsible" tenant. . .Northwest Real Estate Capital Corporation, reports Idaho Statesman, proposes "to fill the top floors" of the Macy's that closed in 2010 "with about 62 one-bedroom apartments" to provide affordable housing to workers in downtown Boise. . .Yakama Nation Housing Authority celebrates grand opening of 54-unit Wanity Park Elder Housing and Community Center in Toppenish funded, in part, by tax credits and Recovery Act funds. . .Rogue Valley and Tacoma/Pierce County associations of REALTORS among 20 local associations to win National Association of EALTORS' Housing Opportunity Program grants "to promote and expand affordable housing in their communities". . .USDA Rural Development awards Enterprise for Equity of Olympia $250,000 loan and $62,500 grant and Tri-County Economic Development District in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties $400,000 loan and $100,000 grant capitalize a rural microloan revolving loan funds. . .Boise Rescue Mission, Interfaith Sanctuary Housing, Senior Solutions, The Jesse Tree, Mercy Housing Idaho, Sustainable Futures and Organization Assisting The Homeless Student among 95 southwest Idaho groups awarded grants by Community Foundation of Idaho. . .West Columbia Chamber of Commerce in eastern Multnomah County, says The Oregonian, has launched :new homeownership program to attract people working in the area to buy homes there". . .Kenai City Manager Rick Koch named Alaska Municipal League's municipal employee of the year, says Peninsula Clarion. . .With the mortgage on Four Freedoms House set o pay off and, as a result, project-based HUD rent subsidies about to end, Seattle Housing Authority provides HUD housing choice vouchers to some 140 income-eligible residents to insure they can continue to afford their rents.
"Stoked, pumped." That's how one grantee responded to the news that HUD has competitively awarded $37,049,800 in capital advances and rent subsidies to expand the Northwest's supportive housing stock under its Section 202 supportive housing for the elderly and Section 811 supportive housing for persons with disabilities programs. Projects awarded funds, including Kenai Peninsula Affordable Housing Initiative in Seldotna and the Fairbanks Resource Agency , St. Vincent de Paul of Northern Idaho in Coeur d'Alene, Cedar Park Sinai in Portland and Community Frameworks for a project in Spokane, American Baptist Homes of the West for a project in Tacoma, Shalom Ecumenical Center for projects in Colville and Kennewick, the Blue Mountain Action Council for a project in Walla Walla, and the Low Income Housing Institute, the Community Psychiatric Clinic and Plymouth Healing Communities for projects in Seattle. The awards will produce 244 new units of affordable, supportive housing for the income-eligible elderly and people with disabilities who will pay no more than 30 percent of their monthly incomes on rent and will create an estimated 960 construction and building maintenance and operation jobs. "In any time, but certainly in these times there is a pressing need in communities large and small across the country for accessible and affordable housing," HUD Northwest Regional Administrator McBride
There's also good news for affordable housing out of Olympia. Governor Gregoire has announced the award of almost $48.9 million in Washington state Housing Trust Fund awards to 47 projects in 29 of the state's 39 counties that will build or rehabilitate almost 1,650 units of affordable housing. The awards could create up to 2,000 jobs, including 500 long-term once the projects are completed. "Struggling families and individuals will have more safe hosing options," said the Governor, "and communities will benefit from the jobs created." Commerce Commissioner Rogers Weed said the Fund's investment will leverage a total of $270 million from private, local and federal sources including USDA, HUD and the Low Income Tax Credits or $5.50 for every state dollar spent. 148 of the units will be for homeownership with the balance - 1,319 - in multifamily rental complexes.
It's been more than a few years since the Thunderbird Motel on Aurora Avenue north of downtown Seattle has been a place most folks have wanted to stay. Criminal activity was so rife that, in 2010, the City declared it a public nuisance. But better days may be just up ahead. It's been sold to Catholic Housing Services, one of seven nonprofits - the others are Capitol Hill Housing, the Downtown Emergency Service Center Mercy Housing Northwest, Artspace, SEED and Solid Ground - that have been awarded $27 million by the City of Seattle to "create 476 new permanent apartments" for low-income and homeless families and individuals, including some set-aside for veterans. The City requires that the new units remain affordable for "a minimum of 50 years."
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Interior Secretary Salazar announces proposed rule that gives Bureau of Indian Affairs just 30 days to review to issue decisions on residential leases on the 56 million acres of land in Indian Country his department manages and requires Bureau to okay leases "unless it finds compelling reasons to disapprove it". . . Housing & Community Services of Lane County wins NAHRO Award of Excellence for Roosevelt Crossing, a 72-bed transitional housing complex for returning ex-offenders that opened last year in Eugene's Bethel neighborhood. . . Community Alliance of Tenants celebrates 15th anniversary in Portland. . .Bremerton Housing Authority completes purchase of 22-unit Winfield Apartments as part of its HOPE part of its HOPE VI revitalization and announces plans for $660,000 upgrade. . .Deschutes County Commissioner Tammy Baney elected President of Association of Oregon Counties. . .USDA Rural Development awards $1 million to Tlingit-Haida Housing Authority for project to reduce energy consumption up to 50 percent for seniors and families living in Kake, Angoon and Hoonah. . .Bienestar celebrates grand reopening of Elm Park Apartments in Forest Grove after two-year, USDA-funded renovation. . .Just 10 days after Spokane County's launch of Housing & Essential Needs to help up to 1,000 out-of-work persons with disabilities p meet housing and other costs, Salvation Army tells NWCN.com "about 400 people have already signed up". . . Housing Works celebrates opening of 6-unit Barbara's Place supportive housing complex for persons with disabilities in Redmond. . . Safe Harbor Crisis Nursery and My Friends Place celebrate grand opening of Tri-Cities' only overnight shelter for homeless teens.
. The newly-established federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Know Before You Owe initiative has embarked on the ambitious, though probably thankless, task of trying "to simplify and consolidate mortgage closing documents" - specifically, the HUD-1 and the Truth-in-Lending Statement - " to help make the costs and risks clear at all stages of the mortgage process - from shopping for a mortgage to signing on the dotted line." If you're a lender, real estate agent or homebuyer you almost certainly have views on how that might be done. And the Bureau would like to hear from you. If you're interested, visit website.
You're never quite sure what happens to a good idea you've dropped into a suggestion box. Does anyone read it or does it just get tossed along the rest of the day's trash? Huston Prescott, formerly with the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and now with HUD in Anchorage may have wondered the same when he responded to a September 2009 invitation from President Obama to Federal employees to submit ideas on how their agencies could perform more efficiently and serve the American people more effectively. He was one of 38,000 employees to submit ideas, proposing an end to redundant inspections of housing developments subsidized by a variety of Federal agencies, including HUD. "Each of these funding sources requires its own physical inspection of the units," he explained" and each agency spends "countless hours" "recreating information" that already exists. Streamlined process + shared inspection results = less time + fewer dollars spent on inspections. Simple, huh? So simple, in fact, you'd be pretty sure it'd go nowhere. But, surprise, it's gone somewhere. Prescott's idea was selected as one of the four best ideas of the 38,000 submitted. Even better, in November HUD, USDA and state housing finance agencies in Washington, Oregon Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Ohio signed agreements shared inspection pilot that could eliminate up to 13,000 duplicate inspections of Federally-subsidized housing. Agencies will spend less money, landlords have fewer headaches. Huston readily acknowledges he wasn't the first to have the idea. He was just the first to suggest it to the President. Glad he did. The moral? Next time you have a good idea, don't be shy. Drop it in the suggestion box. What happens next might surprise you.
Thanks to a law signed by Governor Sean Parnell earlier this year, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation is moving forward with plans to launch a new subsidiary - the Corporation for Affordable Housing - that will permit it to "take advantage of a variety of financing options for the expansion of public housing." Currently, for example, the Corporation doesn't "have access a pool of federal funding that is not currently being fully utilized such as bond financing and the non?competitive Low?Income Housing Tax Credit Program." AHFC's Dan Fauske says the subsidiary is a "critical step" in "serving Alaskans by providing safe, affordable, quality housing statewide,"
On December 1st, eleven Native American young people will be honored at The White House as Champions of Change. Three hail from Alaskan Tribes and native villages. Teressa Baldwin of the native village of Kiana has devoted much of her young life to preventing suicides in Alaska, Governor Parnell appointed her, then a junior in high school, to his Statewide Suicide Prevention Panel, one of the youngest appointees to a government panel in state history, and she now works with a dozen schools on suicide prevention. Morgan Fawcett is a member of the Tlingit-Haida who was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and speaks frequently at high schools, colleges, concerts, hospitals and churches al about the Syndrome and has established a program that now distributed over 650 native flutes to those at risk of or already challenged by the Syndrome. And, last but not least, Dallas Duplessis is a native Alaskan who now works with the Tulalip Tribe in Washington urging native families to eat healthier and, to that end, has formed the Tulalip Youth Garden Club which won 10 ribbons at a recent Evergreen State Fair. President Obama established the Champions of Change initiative as part of his Winning the Future campaign and, based on these three honorees, it's clear that's precisely what they intend to do. Congrats to all.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
As part of its efforts to help rural communities recruit and retain nurses, public safety officers and teachers in rural communities, Alaska Housing Finance awards $7.5 million in housing assistance to 10 villages - Manokotak, Ft. Yukon, Kobuk, Saxman, Tanana, Huslia, Nunam Iqua, Metlakatla, Quinhagak, and Venetie. . .Community Development Inc. celebrates grand opening of 42-unit, $3.8 million Silver Creek Apartments for the elderly in Post Falls, funded, in part, by the Recovery Act. . .Patrick Reinhart of Alaska Governor Sean Parnell's Council on Disabilities and Special Education honored by Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living for outstanding advocacy including efforts that helped secure 10-fold increase in Federal funding for rural transit and $1.4 million for independent living outreach in rural Alaska. . .Hacienda CDC wins National Association of Latino Community Builders grant to cover pre-development costs of El Mercado, Portland's first Latino public market. . .Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium wins $35,000 JP Morgan Chase Foundation grant to establish, in collaboration with Spokane Community Land Trust, a leadership development program to prepare for the expected retirement of a number of area housing leaders in the "next four to five years". . .HopeSource and Shelter Resources, Inc. of Pennsylvania Place, complete $8.5 million purchase and renovation of Pennsylvania Place, Hampton Court and Windsor Park apartment complexes in Ellensburg. . .Portland City Council unanimously reaffirms, says Portland Tribune, 33 percent set-aside of tax-increment financing for affordable housing, a program that so far has generated $152 million for such projects. . .Housing Works and City of Redmond unveil plans to use NSP funds to acquire and rehab 19-unit Fairhaven Vista Townhoms. . .Blaine County Planning Commission, reports Idaho Mountain Express, recommends county approval of 15-unit, mixed-income rental complex in McHanville area south of Ketchum. . .Washington Center for Real Estate reports that King County's "housing affordability index" reaches 127 in 3rd quarter - i.e., "typical family's income was 27 percent higher than what it needs to make (mortgage) payments that won't bust the household budget on a median-price house," explains The Seattle Times - and is "best in 17 years". . .Northeast Oregon Housing Authority unveils plans to convert two classroom wings in a former Richland elementary school into 10 units of housing for the elderly.
"For borrowers receiving basic credit counseling, our analysis projects an average benefit per borrower of $3,894 (or 185 bps assuming an approximate current loan balance of $210,000), without regard to whether or not the counseled obtained a loan modification. For counseled borrowers who obtain a modification, the incremental benefit increases to $17,948 (855 bps). When borrowers receive "holistic" counseling ??? counseling that not only addresses mortgage monthly payment but also credit card payment as well as modifications that result in lower personal spending patterns ??? the average benefit per borrower increases to
$5,754 to $7,147 (274 bps to 340 bps) as a result of additional monthly cash flow made available to meet mortgage obligations. This freed up cash, as a result of the borrower debt payment/personal spending restructuring, and estimated at an additional $300 per month, sharply lowers the redefault rate of borrowers who initially cure their loan through a loan modification." - From The Impact of Consumer Credit Counseling on Distressed Mortgage Loan Losses by Matthew M. Lind, The Stratmore Group, November 2011,
WORTH A READ
""As city manager, Jon Ruiz is aware of the shortage of affordable housing in Eugene. As a veteran of the U.S. Army, reserves and National Guard, Ruiz understands the difficulties some veterans confront in making the transition to civilian life - and finding suitable housing can be among the biggest. Ruiz and at least 250 other volunteers have turned this awareness into action by rehabilitating derelict houses and leasing them to veterans at low cost. It's a project worth celebrating this Veterans Day. . .Lane County was about to auction two houses in Eugene that had become public property through foreclosure. . .The foreclosure process allows nonprofit agencies to acquire such properties, and St. Vincent de Paul bought them. . .The houses were in a shambles, inside and out. . .Volunteers contributed materials and 2,500 hours of labor to rehabilitate the house from top to bottom. The Home Builders Association of Lane County got involved in a big way, as did the Eugene Water & Electric Board, Forrest Paint, Builders Electric and Ehlers Construction, which acted as general contractor. . .The keys to the Garfield Street house will be handed over to a National Guard veteran who served in Iraq. He's the single father of three young children, chosen from among several applicants by a committee of veterans and others. He'll lease the house for $500 a month for up to two years, by which time it's expected that he'll no longer need that type of assistance and the house can be leased to another veteran. , ,The program helps veterans, surely, but it's also good for the community. When a derelict property is rehabilitated, occupied and cared for, the entire neighborhood is improved. And assisting veterans sink roots in Eugene helps ensure that the local economy and culture will have the lasting presence of people who have proved their dedication to their fellow citizens. Ruiz stresses that the houses aren't part of a social-service program. "It's a program of expressing gratitude and saying 'welcome home' to people who have contributed to our defense," he says. It's a small start, but it's hard to think of a better one." - The editors of The Eugene Register-Guard in "A Real Welcome Home," November 11th, 2011.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"When I first saw the house, my tears just started coming out of my eyes. I just couldn't even stop crying because my kids could finally have a life better than what I had." - Jason Branch, a single father and a member of the National Guard who returned from combat in Iraq two years ago, on receiving the keys on Veterans Day to a Eugene home owned by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County and renovated by the hard work of more than 250 volunteers, Eugene Register-Guard, November 12th, 2011.
FROM THE GREAT BEYOND
Want an example of "community-based" economic development about as pure as the snow that falls - and falls and falls - on the Adirondack Mountains of New York state? Well, visit Saranac Lake. Folks there lost the town's only department store in 2002. But they wouldn't take "out-of-business" for an answer and, five years later, they now have a 4,000 square foot mercantile they can call their very own. For more, see website
NOTES TO NOTE
Alaska Department of Commerce sets December 2nd deadline for incorporated cities or boroughs outside of Anchorage to apply for CDBG grants of up to $850,000. . .HUD sets December 6th deadline to apply for Tenant Network Resource grants. . .Housing Assistance Council sets December 12th as deadline to apply for Rural Senior Housing Funds to "support activities that will build, preserve or advocate" for housing for the elderly in rural areas. . ,USDA sets December 13th deadline to submit comments on proposed rules intended to "significantly increase access to USDA's utilities program and funding. . .Department of Energy sets December 14th deadline to apply for CONNECT grants to "support energy technology conferences, workshops, and other events". . .Housing Assistance Council sets December 15th to apply for new Rural Senior Housing Fund program. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets December 19th deadline to apply for $11 million for "preservation, rehabilitation and/or development of affordable housing". . .HUD sets January 4th, 2012 deadline to apply for 2012 Indian Community Development Block Grant funds. . . Corporation for National & Community Service sets December 21st deadline to file letter of intent and January 18th, 2012 to app.ly for up to $50,000 in American Tribal Planning grants to build capacity to recruit and manage volunteers, completing community assessments and developing new systems in technology, performance management and training. . .Treasury sets January 12th deadline to apply for $123 million in Community Development Financial Institutions funding. . .HUD sets January 18th deadline to apply for $61 million under Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Grant Program and $45 million Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Grant Program. . .HUD sets January 31st deadline to apply for $2.5 million under Healthy Homes Technical Studies Program.
National Association of REALTORS hosts "Bringing Workers Home: A Regional Forum on Workforce Housing," December 1st & 2nd, Portland. Visit
Housing Assistance Council & HUD Portland host workshop on Building Rural Communities through CHDOs, December 5th & 6th, Eugene. Visit
27th Annual Trends Rental Housing Management Conference & Trade Show, December 6th, Seattle. Visit
King County Office of Civil Rights Fair Housing Basics & Fair Housing Jeopardy Workshops, December 14th, Seattle. Visit
Washington Housing Finance Commission hosts Tax Credit Compliance Fundamentals Workshop, January 10th, Seattle. Visit
Washington Housing Finance Commission hosts Advanced Tax Credit Compliance Workshop, January 11th, Seattle. Visit
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, January 12th, on-line, Visit
HUD Portland hosts Basics of Fair Housing Workshop, January 18th, Portland. Visit
HUD Alaska hosts Lead Renovation, Repair & Painting Workshop, January 24th, Anchorage. Visit
HUD Alaska and Alaska Association of Housing Authorities host Tribal Healthy Homes Regional Training, January 25th to 27th, Anchorage. Visit
HUD Spokane hosts Basics of Fair Housing Workshop, January 26th, Spokane. Visit
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