! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !
FHA sets mortgage limits for calendar year 2011 in Mortgagee Letter 10-40 with virtually no change from calendar 2010 limits. Check FHA limits in your market. For how-to's of seeking changes in limits, see Mortgagee Letter 2007-01.
Licensed real estate agents who want to submit electronic bids on HUD Homes at the new HUD Home Store site not only need to have registered for a NAID number, but also must register at the HUD Home Store site. Just click on Register in the upper right hand corner of the page.
FRONT LINE FUNDING
HUD's awarded a total of $635,286 to ten housing counseling agencies that, says HUD Northwest Regional Administrator, are "on the forward lines of helping Northwest families weather the worst economic storms our economy has faced in more than 70 year," HUD housing counseling grants are awarded competitively to organizations to help families become homeowners, help current homeowners avoid foreclosure, provide financial literacy training to renters, assist the elderly with "reverse mortgages" and help the homeless. Winners included Idaho Housing & Finance Association in Boise, the Community Action Partnership in Lewiston, the Central Oregon Community Action Network in Bend, Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services in Corvallis, Open Door Counseling in Hillsboro, the Native American Youth & Family Center in Portland, NEDCO in Springfield, the Washington Housing Finance Commission and Solid Ground in Seattle and SNAP in Spokane. "This critical funding," said HUD Secretary Donovan, "help counseling organizations continue to assist families in making more informed choices before they purchase a home and counsel families facing foreclosure.",
HUD Secretary Donovan has announced a new $25 million Rural Innovation Fund that, he says, "will stimulate new approaches to old problems" in rural "areas struggling with poor housing conditions and deep poverty." Under the competitive program - which is a successor to prior year's Rural Housing & Economic Development grants - Federally recognized Indian tribes, state housing finance agencies (HFAs), state community development agencies, local rural non-profit organizations, community development corporations, or consortia of these groups can apply for grants of up to $2 million for housing and economic development activities including construction, preparation of plans, land acquisition, demolition, homeownership counseling, and financial assistance. Applicants will compete in three categories. The deadline to apply is February 22nd. For more, visit website.
Alaska Housing Finance awards $26 million in Federal tax credits for redevelopment of more than 50-year-old Loussac Manor in Anchorage. . . ColumbiaCare of Medford, says Mail Tribune, is offering "five apartments - complete with mental health counseling - to war veterans with families experiencing troubled times". . Kitsap County Habitat for Humanity completes 58th, 59th and 60th homes, all in East Bremerton. . . ,FHA okays insuring $22 million mortgage for Coquille Valley Hospital to replace 50-year old facility with new 18-bed, critical access hospital. . .Sunrise Rotary Club of Boise presents Hope House with new van and $3,100 donation. . .Northwest Housing Alternatives celebrates grand opening of 84-unit Creekside Woods for the elderly in Wilsonville, funded by, among others, Oregon Housing & Community Services, Clackamas Community Development, City of Wilsonville, NOAH, Energy Trust of Oregon and HUD. . .Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki, reports Spokesman Review, presents John Davis, director of VA's healthcare for homeless veterans program in Spokane, with outstanding achievement award. . .Betty Weaver of Willamette West Real Estate in Corvallis named 2010 Oregon REALTOR of the year. . . King County Housing Authority launches $3.5 million renovation of Cascade Homes in Kent which should cut residents' energy bills "at least 10 percent".
Saying it reflected the Legislature's wish to "bring new financing models using private sector resources to the nonprofit multifamily housing arena" in a period when "sources of cash and equity dollars have virtually dried up," Washington State Housing Finance Commission executive director Kim Herman has announced the award of $25 million in Washington Works funds to 10 non-profit organizations to build or rehabilitate 586 units of workforce housing in Clark, Grant, King, Lewis, Spokane, Thurston and Whitman counties. The units will be for households at or below 80 percent of median income and will remain in nonprofit ownership and under rent restrictions for at least 75 years. The projects will create some 600 construction jobs and leverage total investments of $83 million "I am proud," Herman added, "that Washington's nonprofit community responded creatively to the changing funding environment and we will have good and sound housing to show for it."
Former Coeur d'Alene City Council Member Chris Copstead, wrote columnist Mary Lou Reed in The Pacific Northwest Inlamder. "came up with an idea for raising money to support these two warming centers' operated by the St. Vincent de Pau with a dozen other non-profits. He called it, she reported, the first-ever "Soup-port the End of Homelessness." It was a pretty simple idea - pay $10 and sample 17 home-made soups, dropping a wooden nickel into a box at the table that served you the one you liked most. And in what Reed called "Chicago-style tactics," if you really liked one, you could extra wooden nickels to stuff the ballot box. More than 500 people attended with first-place honors going to a pumpkin bisque prepared by Coeur d'Alene firefighters and second to a "hard to beat" cream of broccoli and cheese from the kitchen of Jan and Troy Tymesen. One good recipe, of course, leads to another, and Copstead's event has led to an even more systematic campaign by St. Vincent de Paul. Every day some 100 folks walk through the doors of its warming centers where they can get a cup of hot coffee . water and, now, soup. Indeed, over the winter ahead the Society is seeking 60 "soup-porters" who'll contribute three crocks of their very favorite recipe. Another example of the "heart-, body- and soul-warming," Reed noted, "power of soup."
HUD's going into the food business? Well, not really. But it's helping others who already are. Like the Clark County Food Bank which recently received more than $1 million in CDBG funds from Clark County to help it move from a cramped, 8,000 square-foot warehouse to a 22,000 square-foot facility in Vancouver. Or like the Marion-Polk Food Share, a member of the Oregon Food Bank network. The Statesman Journal reports that it's just cut the ribbon on a $500,000, 1,500 square foot community kitchen in northeast Salem, funded by the Spirit Mountain Fund, U.S. Bank and HUD CDBG funds from the City. In the kitchen "volunteers will to learn how to prepare nutritious meals from scratch" and take what they've learned to train others. There's talk that Chemeketa Community College will launch "some type of post-prison skills training" program. The Saxon Catering team from South Salem also hopes to use the kitchen. ""We could cook a goose and make sure the ovens don't cook half - one side and not the other," one of the students on the team to Jillian Daley of The Statesman Journal. ""In this kitchen, people will learn to take a bag of frozen peas, some meat and potatoes and make something," Mayor Janet Taylor said, drawing applause from the audience, but not from the geese.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Tacoma's Salishan revitalization project wins one of only two Home Depot wins Award of Excellence in Sustainable Community Development as "best in class" among large cities. . .IRS awards more than $380,000 in Volunteer Income Tax Assistance grants to Alaska Business Development Center in Anchorage, Community Action Partnership in Boise, CASH Oregon, Catholic Charities and NAYA, all in Portland, the Partnership to End Poverty in Redmond, the United Ways of King and Spokane counties and to South Sound Outreach and Associated Ministries of Tacoma-Pierce County. . .Multnomah County Commissioners okay, says KGW-TV $320,000 program to help 75 homeless families "get back on their feet". . .Juneau Coalition for the Homeless issues Out of the Rain calendar, "a collection of personal portraits and narratives," says Juneau Empire, "that allows for a more complete and realistic grasp the issue at the local level". . .City of Seattle awards $3 million in Housing Levy capital funds to Seattle Housing Authority to rehab Olmstead Manor, Bitter Lake Manor, Blakely Manor and Nelson Manor elderly housing. . .Farmers Insurance Group ranks Olympia the most secure mid-sized city and Lewiston the most secure small city to live. . .Saying The energy savings will repay the loan and provide tremendous long-term reductions in energy costs." Alaska Housing Finance chief executive officer Dan Fauske says its now accepting application s for loans to improve energy efficiency of buildings owned by local governments. . . Portland City Council unanimously okays development agreement between t Portland Housing Bureau and REACH Community Development to build 209 affordable apartments - 42 of them targeted to veterans at 30 percent or less of median income -, the first affordable rental units the in South Waterfront area.
10,000 & COUNTING
Twenty state and local governments and their non-profit partners in have distributed U.S. Department and Housing and Urban Development funds provided by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act to help , 26,722 people - or more than 10,000 households - in the Northwest. Through December 2nd, 2,723 people in Alaska, 4,063 people in Idaho, 9,563 people in Oregon and 10,373 people in Washington state avoided or ended homelessness thanks to the funds which were provided under ARRA's Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program . The funds, said HUD's Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, "Times are tough for lots of families across the Northwest," said HUD's Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, have "helped shoo the wolf away from the doors of thousands of Northwest families."
CASE IN POINT
Consider, for example, Jennifer and Courtney Miller of Wenatchee. Until last year, they'd lived in Ft. Collins where Jennifer worked as a nursing assistant and Courtney play semi-pro football for the Colorado Ice. Last February, they moved to Washington state so Courtney - a member of the Oregon Ducks from 1999 to 2002 - could play for the Wenatchee Venom. "But the Venom job didn't last," reports The Wenatchee World, "and the Millers suddenly found themselves without a place to live" and on the verge of homelessness. "We had poor credit, little money and no one would rent to us," Jennifer told Rick Steigmeyer of The World. "We never thought this would happen to us." Fortunately, they were able to turn to the Chelan-Douglas Community Action Council which was administering a HUD Homelessness Prevention & Rapid Re-Housing Program. It "helped them find a place to stay and come up with the $3,000 needed for the first and last month deposit." It also helped them with the first six months of rent and, more importantly, given them the time to find work again. Good news for the Millers. But there are many others, said Rich Steele of the Community Action Council. "It's always a problem, but we're seeing a different clientele this year, a lot of middle-class people." To date, it's helped 66 families, especially those "hard hit" by lay-offs or job cut-backs, "families," said Linda Price who runs the Council's housing programs, "in which the wife is going through cancer treatment and the husband gets laid off work. He can't go out and find work because he has to take care of his wife, but they can't pay the medical bills or support the family and support the family without work." It's not, she added, a "pretty picture."
A NIGHT OUT. .
On a cold and wet Saturday night in December, a record 95 people showed up at Caldwell Park in Pocatello for the annual Aid for Friends outdoor "sleep over" that introduces participants to what it's like to be homeless. One of the 95 was The Idaho State Journal's John Bulger. His account is worth a read. You'll find it at the website.
Northwest communities have done it again. The American Planning Association has named Bank Street in Wallace, Idaho, as one of its top ten "great streets in America," The citizens of Wallace, said Mayor David Vester, get all the credit. "We have re-built the city after forest fires, litigated with the Federal government to keep Interstate 90 from demolishing buildings and worked tirelessly to maintain a thriving commercial center." The Association agrees, saying Bank Street is a "testament to the important role residents can play in shaping their communities." They're happy, too, in Olympia where the APA has named the Percival Landing Boardwalk as one of the top ten Great Public Places in America citing the "long-standing commitment of city leaders and residents in making Olympia's waterfront available for the public's use and benefit." The Landing, said Mayor Doug Mah, "is a special public place in a city I am proud to call home." l
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
With 373 homes already "under its belt" and 15 more planned for 2011, Lower Columbia Community Action's Self-Help Housing Program celebrates completes its 20th year. . .Magic Valley Habitat for Humanity, says Twin Falls Times-News, has "has dedicated six homes to families this year, five of which had been part of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program". . .Oregon Housing & Community Services Victor Merced says it will soon release request for proposals from communities for "developing local 10-year plans" to end homelessness. . .Spokane Journal of Commerce says Community Frameworks plans to buy and renovate 40-unit San Francisco Apartments in Spokane Valley. . .Telling Peninsula Daily News it's a "good investment of public money," Serenity House executive director Kathy Wahto joins city and Clallam County officials at grand opening of Maloney Heights apartments for the chronically homeless in Port Angeles. . .Coastal Community Action in Aberdeen names c.f.o. Craig Dublanko as new c.e.o. . .Seattle Housing Authority awards total of 50 project-based vouchers to Plymouth Housing, Low Income Housing Institute, First Place, Sea Mar Community Health Center and Housing Resource Group to house people with incomes less than 30 percent of area median income. . .One Church, One Family coalition in Kitsap County launches campaign, says Kitsap Sun, to get 30 churches to each allow 3 RVs to park on their property to shelter 90 homeless families. . .Calling Oregon's Individual Development Account initiative "one of the strongest in the nation," an evaluation by Portland State University's Regional Research Institute reports "significant, positive financial behavioral changes, including increased use of budgets and savings". . .BECU marks 75th anniversary by awarding $20,000 grants to Housing Hope of Everett, Vision House of Renton, Plymouth Housing of Seattle South Sound Outreach of Tacoma.
"Through December 2009," NeighborWorks reported, "the odds of curing a foreclosure, and potentially avoiding losing a home, is 1.7 times larger for a homeowner who works with" a Natinal Foreclosure Mitigation Counselor "than for a homeowner who doesn't receive such counseling."
Some folks are crazy for "Angry Birds," others for "Carmadillo." But, these days, we're crazy for Ngram Viewer a joint project by Google Labs and Harvard University to upload five million books published since the 1700's, providing a searchable data base of some 500 million words. So, let's say, you want to know in what year the word "homeowner" most frequently appeared. 1980, says Ngram Viewer, How about "renter"? 1981. And if you pit "homeowner" against "renter" against "homeless", which wins?"Homeless", by a lot in every year since 1900 and absolutely, positively overwhelmingly in 1992. Surprisingly, though, "mortgage" was used even more frequently than "homeless" for almost all of the 20th century, until some time in the late 80's when the two started playing cat-and-mouse. P.S. - "HUD" seems to have made its first "splash" well before the movie or its creation as an agency more than 250 years ago in 1757 or 1758. Paul Newman, apparently, had a much longer career than we'd ever imagined.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"For 10 quietly extraordinary years," the Urban Rest Stop " has been downtown Seattle's Miracle on Ninth Avenue, helping homeless people with the basics: restrooms, showers and laundry. Perhaps the most basic and successful community outreach you never heard about. Thousands of men, women and families knocked down by the economy have a place to clean up and wash their clothes. . . The Urban Rest Stop is remarkably unremarkable. Housed in the former Julie Apartments, the hygiene center is at street level, with 47 units of low-income, transitional housing above. A modest sign hangs over the sidewalk. . . The Urban Rest Stop is a byproduct of a court settlement after a bitter fight and three-year lawsuit over, basically, public toilets for street people in the Glen Hotel on Third Avenue. One of the fiercest opponents of that 1990s battle, the Downtown Seattle Association, is one of the Urban Rest Stop's proudest supporters. DSA President Kate Joncas describes the hygiene center - launched in part by the DSA - as a valuable downtown asset and a good neighbor that has never drawn complaints. That assessment is confirmed by an actual neighbor, Karen Tuff, who lives and works in The Cosmopolitan, a high-rise condominium residence across the street. A former Belltown resident, Tuff describes the Urban Rest Stop as tidy, well-run with no "ominous characters" hanging about who have ever made her, her employees or visiting family members uncomfortable." - -Lance Dickie, editorial columnist, The Seattle Times, November 25, 2010
NOTES TO NOTE
HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing Trasvina issues memo noting that National Association of Construction Contractors Cooperation intends to launch National Registry of HUD Section 3 Certified Business Concerns, adding that HUD has "no involvement" with this registry and that HUD grantees "are under no obligation to use this (or any other third-party) service to facilitate" their Section 3 activities. . .USDA Rural Developments sets January 10th deadline for non-profits to apply for funding to provide loans for preservation and revitalization of multifamily complexes assisted under its Section 514, 515 and 516 programs. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets January 12th deadline to apply for $6.9 million to construct or preserve affordable housing citywide or in Lents Town Center area. . .HUD sets January 14th deadline to apply for $35 million in Capital Fund Education & Training Community Facilities funds. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets January 18th deadline to apply to develop Gateway/Glisan as multi-family rental project. . .HUD sets January 19th deadline to apply for $15 million in ROSS/Family Self Sufficiency grants. . .Treasury's CDFI Fund sets February 1st deadline to comment proposed interim operational rule for Capital Magnet Fund grants program created to "attract financing for and increase investments in development, preservation, rehabilitation and purchase" of affordable housing. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets February 11th, 2011 deadline to apply for $3.4 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program II, Housing Opportunity Bill and other state funds to address foreclosure problems in Clackamas, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Jackson, Marion and Washington counties. . .HUD sets February 21st deadline to apply for $35 million in Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Service Coordinators grants. . .HUD sets February 22nd deadline to apply for $25 million in Rural Innovation Fund grants.
Jump$tart Washington Financial Education Forum, January 4th, Yakima
Jump$tart Washington Financial Education Forum, January 6th, Kelso
Jump$tart Washington Financial Education Forum, January 11th, Tukwila
Jump$tart Washington Financial Education Forum, January 12th, Everett
Oregon Bankers Association, Oregon Jump$tart and Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host Oregon Financial Education Summit, January 13th, Salem
Oregon Housing & Community Services hosts 2011 Consolidated Funding Cycle Webinar, January 26th
EPA hosts workshop on Sustainability Starts with Green & Healthy Homes, February 2nd & 3rd, Seattle
FHA hosts free Webinar on Home Equity Covnersion Mortgage - a.k.a. "reverse mortgage," January 19th. Register
Winter conference of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, January 31st to February 3rd, North Bend
EPA hosts workshop on Sustainability Starts with Green & Healthy Homes, February 2nd & 3rd, Seattle
HUD Anchorage hosts comprehensive introduction to how's, what's & why's of the Native American Housing Assistance & Self Determination Act of 1996, February 8th through 10th, Anchorage
3rd annual Northwest Environmental Health Conference, February11th, Portland State University, Portland