HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Administrator (206) 220-5356 Leland Jones, Editor
Does housing counseling pay off? Anyone who's ever tried to go it alone buying a house or refinancing a mortgage would probably answer, "of course." But others disagree and aren't even certain government should fund housing counseling. Maybe they ought to take a look at a couple of studies just published by HUD's Office of Policy Development & Research online. The first looked at pre-purchase counseling provided to 573 individuals planning to buy a home and seeking pre-purchase counseling. It found that "only one of the 195 clients that purchased housing had fallen at least 30 days behind on his or her mortgage in the 12 to 18 months prior to the follow-up period and none of the purchasers had a major derogatory event on a mortgage account." That's pretty impressive and, I hope, persuasive, too. The second study - Foreclosure Counseling Outcomes - examined 824 at-risk or in-trouble borrowers served by housing counseling agencies. It found that, "with a counselor's help, 69 percent of counselees obtained a mortgage remedy, and 56 percent were able to become current on their mortgages." Again, that's impressive and, I hope persuasive to those who doubt the very real value of housing counseling. Decisive? Then-HUD Assistant Secretary Raphael Bostic seemed to think so. "These two studies underscore the need to continue supporting housing counseling programs across this country," he concluded. "The evidence is clear, with a little investment on the front end, we can go a long way toward improving the chances families will buy a home they can afford and sustain their homes in the long run."
HUD's National Servicing Center is a series of Webinars on servicing and loss mitigation for HUD-approved servicing lenders that will provide a detailed presentation on workflows, applying the "waterfall priority," key servicing timelines, reporting requirements, claim filing process, industry best practices, and an opportunity to participate in customer case studies For more, visit the website or see COMING UP below.
Eighteen tribes and native villages across Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have been competitively awarded some $8.1 million under HUD's Indian Community Development. The funds, awarded competitively, will be used to build community centers, install roads and utilities, expand water supplies build health clinics And construct, rehabilitate or weatherize homes. "The hallmark of our ICDBG program is a flexibility that allows communities to decide how, with Federal funds, they can most quickly and effectively meet their most urgent needs," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride. "These bricks-and-mortar funds help these organizations realize their visions of stronger, more prosperous communities."
HUD's competitively awarded a total of $2,199,629.99 to the Fair Housing Council of Washington in Tacoma, the Northwest Fair Housing Alliance in Spokane, the Fair Housing Council of Oregon in Portland and Intermountain Fair Housing in Boise to assist people who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination. The funding, provided under HUD's Fair Housing Initiative Program, can be used to enforce the Fair Housing Act through investigation and testing and for education and outreach to make the public and HUD's partners aware of their rights and obligations under the Act. This year HUD made $41.2 million in FHIP grants to 99 organizations in 35 states and the District of Columbia.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports Reuters, cut lead poisoning threshold in children from 10 to 5 micrograms per deciliter, the first such reduction in 20 years...Idaho Governor Otter announces awards of more than $5.3 million in CDBG funds to projects in 18 communities ranging from downtown revitalization to upgraded water and sewer systems, renovations and expansions of community centers to improving access for people with disabilities... News Miner says first residents are moving into Tanana Chiefs Housing First facility to chronically-homeless inebriates in Fairbanks ...Native American Youth & Family Center of Portland breaks ground for Kah San Chako Haws, a 44-unit affordable housing complex for native Americans...Habitat for Humanity of Greater Wenatchee begins work on its 45th house since first putting on its tool belt in 1990...Thanks to a $52,000 grant from CASA of Oregon, Community Vision, a Portland organization that is one of the few to provide Individual Development Accounts to people with developmental disabilities, has announced that the funds may now be use the funds to improve access, remove barriers or make accommodations that create access for the person with a disability...Idaho Housing & Finance helps 23rd small business - Bear River Electric in Soda Springs - under Collateral Support Program funded by Small Business Jobs Act of 2011...Proud Ground, Rose CDC and Renew Kenton Homes LLC celebrate completion of? collaboration to acquire, renovate and re-sell11 houses formerly-owned by Home Forward to first-time homebuyer s in Portland's Lents and Kenton neighborhoods..."Energy losers" are the big winners as Alaska Energy Challenge, Palmer Junior Middle School, City of Homer and Cordova High School are victorious in first-ever Alaska Energy Challenge to see which of 10 teams could save the most energy over 6 months...King County Housing Authority starts construction on $20.7 million Fairwind complex, 87, 1 to 5 bedroom public housing units in its new Seola Gardens community..
In Portland they call it "The Bud," short for The Bud Clark Commons, a multi-service and residential center for the homeless in downtown Portland built by Home Forward on behalf of the City of Portland. HUD Recovery Act funds were one of the major sources. The Bud has been awarded American Institute of Architects/HUD Secretary's Award for using design to create community connections. "Through a combination of low-income housing tax credits, urban renewal funding, and HUD Recovery Act dollars," said the judges, the Bud "is now setting a new standard for services by joining permanent supportive housing and temporary shelter with a community resource center." Congratulations as well goes to the City of Portland for its plans to revitalize the city's downtown mall that also won an AID award for Regional and Urban Design for a design that "combines design character, aspirations, active context, operations and management of a truly great street for the 21st century."
WE HAVE A WIND-NER!
On an Aleutian island in the Hawaiian time zone and 1,100 miles southwest of Anchorage, the village Atka, Alaska is not exactly the first place you'd pick for an international design competition. After all, only 61 people call it home, including Jimmy Prokopeuff whose home, thanks to all the wind and all the wet on Atka, needs to be replaced. Making it the perfect house in the perfect climate to test whether anyone, anywhere could design an affordable, net-zero house that can withstand sub-Arctic conditions. And thus was born the first-ever Living Aleutian Home competition sponsored by the Aleutian Housing Authority and the Cascadia Green Building Council. You'd expect only architects who've done work in Arctic and sub-Arctic regions to submit, right? Nope. In fact, the competition received more than 100 submissions from 24 counties. And the winner? Not from Anchorage or Seattle or Vancouver, but, believe it or not, three architects from Taller Abierto in Madrid, Spain, The design, reported, KUCB radio in Unalaska, is "old school diner." And KUCB's got a point. But look further. The heat will be geothermal and electricity will be generated by "micro-turbines" that make full use of Atka's wind and "take full advantage of the aerodynamics of the structure." It'll be a net-zero, off-the-grid house that, even better, will not cost more to build than the typical new home in Alaska. "We have something that's well beyond conceptual," said the Authority's Dan Duane who didn't like the design at first look. "I'm fond of it," he said with a laugh, "for lack of a better word." For more, visit the website.
HOME SWEET HOME
More than 15,000 families in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington have benefitted from HUD's HOME Investment Partnership program, getting help in assembling a down-payment to buy a home, bringing a house they already own up to code or moving into an affordable rental unit developed, in part, with HOME funds. Some folks don't like the HOME program and aren't sure it's the kind of thing government ought to do. Sandy Christiansen of Hailey, Idaho is not among them. "It's my very own. The first home that is my very own," she recently told The Idaho Mountain Express as she moved into the 24-unit River Street Apartments for the elderly in Hailey that was developed by the nonprofit ARCH Community Housing Trust with funding from the City of Hailey and HOME. "I'm so excited. It's such a gorgeous place." Seems to be the kind of business she thinks government should be in. For more, see the website.
You'll get a similar reaction if you travel to Eugene and visit with Terry McDonald, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County. It broke ground Memorial Day weekend for the 54-unit Stellar Apartments that's receiving HOME funding. "The need for affordable housing doesn't seem to be slowing down," she explained to KDRV-TV. "We have about 700 people on our waiting list." Affordable housing like Stellar Apartments is "the core to what makes a community great." What's true in Hailey is true in Eugene - HOME is helping to meet a critical need.
As long as there have been kids and as long as there have been parents there have been runaways. Some escape to the neighbors next door or to the woods a couple of blocks away. Others to big cities a long way from home, where they end up on the streets. Pretty quick, they run through whatever cash is in their pockets and, with no friends, an incomplete education and few , if any, marketable skills turn to making money ways in which none of us can take pride. That's what Covenant House is for. They've been in the business of offering aid, comfort and, hopefully, a fresh start to runaways in Anchorage for the past 25 years. Whenever a kid's needed help, its doors have been open - no matter how full its house may be or how many kids might have to sleep on a mat on the floor. Thant's about to change thanks, in part, to the City and HUD, with ground recently broken for a larger shelter in downtown that will double its current space, executive director Dierdre Cronin told KTVA-TV, adding "we're at functional capacity now." The project should be ready for occupancy in the fall of 2013.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
During a statewide swing that included stops in Spokane, Tacoma, Kennewick and Bremerton to promote the recent Mortgage Servicing Settlement that will provide funds for counseling through the Washington Homeownership Hotline, Attorney General Rob McKenna says "negotiating with a lender is an incredibly difficult and stressful challenge" and "we want people to know they don't have to do it on their own." ...Grande Ronde Valley Habitat begins construction of its ninth home, this one for a widow with seven children in LaGrande... .In April, FHA endorsed its 1.5 millionth mortgage in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington state..."After seven years of fundraising and several years of brainstorming," reports Coeur d'Alene Press reports, Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai breaks ground for 10,000 square-foot, $1.3 million club house in Post Falls. .. .Washington Department of Commerce awards $11 million in CDBG funds to 15 rural communities to improve "water, sewer and street systems; housing rehabilitation, fire protection and community facilities"...HUD economists update Market-at-a-Glance reports for Anchorage, Bellingham/Whatcom County and Medford metro areas...Hundreds of volunteers" turn out, reports KEZI-TV, to help rehab and remodel foreclosed houses for the families of vets as part of St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County's Veterans Housing Project . .Affordable Housing Finance magazine names Mercy Housing, The Pacific Companies of Eagle, Community Development Inc. of Caldwell, Reach CDC of Portland among nation's best developers of affordable housing and Pinnacle Equities, Mercy Housing, Security Properties and the Vitus Group, all from Seattle, and The Pacific Companies of Eagle among the 50 top owners of affordable housing in 2011... Downtowns in Bainbridge Island, Chelan, Ellensburg, Port Townsend and Prosser win RevitalizeWA 2012 Excellence on Main awards...YWCA of Yakima wins $480,000 Federal Home Loan Bank grant to support transitional housing for victims of domestic violence.
HUD's making $85 million available under HUD's Section 811 to state housing agency or community development agency allocating Low-Income Housing Tax Credits or HOME funds to provide affordable supportive housing to some 2,800 extremely low-income persons with disabilities. No more than 25 percent of the units of a building receiving assistance under the program can be set-aside for persons with disabilities. Successful applicants will also have "a partnership with a state health and human services and Medicaid agency to provide essential support and services" that will, says HUD Secretary Donovan, " help keep people with disabilities out of institutions and integrated into the community." July 31st is the deadline with awards expected in 6 to 12 states. For more, visit the website.
USDA has set a June 18th deadline to apply for a total of almost $10.4 million in Community Connect grants to build broadband infrastructure in the most rural, unserved and economically challenged areas of the country. Recipients are also expected to build a community center with broadband access. Local governments, tribes, non-profits and small businesses may apply for grants of up to $1.5 million. "These grants not only are critical for businesses and residents," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, "they also help first responders, educators and health care professionals by providing them with access to broadband service." For more, visit the website.
USDA Rural Development is now accepting applications for a total of $4.1 million in Rural Housing Preservation Grants which, explains USDA Secretary Vilsack, "help limited-income rural homeowners make necessary repairs and improvements for safer, healthier and more energy-efficient dwellings." The funds, distributed to income-eligible homeowners by intermediaries such as local governments, tribes or non-profits, can be used to weatherize and repair existing structures, install or improve plumbing or provide access to people with disabilities. Applications are due June 25th. For more, visit the website.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle has opened the competition for "at least" $5.3 million in 2012 Affordable Housing Program funds Project sponsors must partner with a member bank that will underwrite the application. A Bank member may request up to $1.3 million in AHP funds. The program is funded by the Bank from 10 percent of its net income from the previous year. Since its start in 1990, the program has provided more than $142.6 million to help finance more than 27,300 affordable homes. Applications are due August 1st and the Bank will hold three Webinars in June to provide details on the competition. For more, visit the website.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Lummi Nation putting $500,000 ICDBG grant to work building roads and utilities for 66-unit expansion of Tribe's Kwina Village affordable housing...Commissioners of Home Forward of Portland considering creation create an ongoing preference on its public housing waiting lists for applicants who need a home that is accessible to wheelchairs at June 19th meeting...HGTV's House Hunters to feature Boise's Premier Realty co-founder Steven Caporale in upcoming segment...At its annual conference in Yakima, Washington Low Income Housing Alliance confers 2012 Advocacy Awards on the Salvation Army in Spokane, Patricia Ridge, the Washington Labor Council and state legislator Hans Dunshee...Alaska Permanent Fund okays "bold move," says Juneau Empire, to spend up to $400 million to acquire foreclosed properties in "some of the nation's most distressed housing markets, from San Diego to Tampa"...Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributes almost $5.1 million to 9 United Way and community foundations in Oregon & Washington to "strengthen the philanthropic sector in our region"...Washington State Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation bestows 2012 Outstanding Achievement Awards on, among others, the City of Roslyn for development of historic preservation plans that "are meticulous in detail and sensitive in reflecting the architecture and character of this historic mining community," Island County and the Town of Coupeville for their "effective management plan' for the Ebey's Landing National Historic Reserve on Whidbey Island, Whatcom County Hovander Homestead Park near Ferndale. and Garfield County for rehabilitation of the courthouse in Pomeroy...Caritas Housing Initiative celebrates grand re-opening of 55-unit McCoy Village in northeast Portland following extensive renovation. . Fairbanks City Council okays $720,000 CDBG grant to open emergency shelter for teens...EPA says Bellingham landlord to pay $21,800 penalty for failing "to notify tenants about the presence of lead paint and lead-based paint hazards"...Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO confers President's Award on Portland Housing Bureau's Jacob Fox as "a local, regional and national leader in the development and maintenance of affordable housing for our communities most needy citizens."...Bremerton Housing Authority wins $200,000 EPA grant to clean-up Bay Vista landfill site for conversion to 3-acre community park and Eugene, Kent, Portland, Troutdale and Vernonia win grants for community-wide assessments...Olympia City Council, says Olympian, supports Family Support Center's plans to provide 50 beds of emergency and transitional housing..
To JOIN of Portland celebrating its 20th birthday. To Snohomish County's Housing Hope celebrates Happy 25th. To the Spokane Housing Authority celebrating its 40th. To HopeLink of King County celebrating its 40th. And to the City of Seward as it prepares to celebrate its 100th.
On behalf of the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, in May 2012, the Institute of Social & Economic Research and the Cold Climate Housing Research Center have completed an analysis of the estimated $110 million provided since 2008 to homeowners under the Alaska Home Energy Rebate Program to make "houses more energy efficient and less expensive to operate." The owners themselves contributed an additional $75 million to the retrofits. The analysis found that "roughly 16,000 homeowners" received rebates or "10 percent of all homeowners statewide." Annual fuel use, it found, "has dropped an estimated 33 percent among homes retrofitted under the rebate program" with energy savings of 1.6 trillion BTUs or the "energy equivalent of about 275,000 barrels or "roughly 5 percent of the estimated energy used for all residential space heating statewide in 2008." It found that the savings allowed participating homeowners to recoup their expenses in "about 3.5 years" and "combined public and private spending in about 8.5 years." To read the full analysis, visit the website.
WORTH A READ
RurALCAP opened Karluk Manor, Alaska's first-ever residence for chronically-homeless inebriates, six months ago. In May, Anchorage Daily News reporter Michelle Theriault Boots paid a visit to see how it's working. Her account - online - is worth a read. So too is ADN's accompanying editorial online "The jury is still out on Karluk Manor's overall effectiveness," it reads. "Let's give it more time, and take heart in what hope it affords some of the most afflicted among us and their families."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Elected officials like to hand out goodies -- especially in an election year and even in an era when government expenditures undergo extra inspection. Tight tax revenues and tight-fisted fiscal concerns elicit justifiable scrutiny about government spending, but those anxieties get put aside when politicians can show tangible evidence about where the money goes. Washington legislators have that evidence in the $1 billion state supplemental capital budget. Gov. Chris Gregoire last week signed the measure, which includes $28 million in capital projects for the Yakima Valley. The Valley's projects perform two appropriate functions of government: build the infrastructure that enables future economic growth, and look after our state's most vulnerable residents.. .The largest outlay is for housing, $7 million to be split by nonprofits that build homes for the homeless, farm workers and for families with children. Receiving $2.5 million each will be Yakima Next Step Housing's Pear Tree Place and the Yakima Catholic Charities Housing Service in Granger. Another $2 million will go the Housing Authority of Yakima Harmony Park Apartments in Toppenish Kittitas County entities will get a total of $3 million for a variety of projects, and Klickitat County will receive $1 million to improve water systems...The debate over the proper application of government resources is a healthy one; it's a debate we need to have. In the Yakima Valley, these expenditures help build our infrastructure and help protect the vulnerable, and they do so with bipartisan backing. On this issue, government is working the way it should." - - Yakima Herald Bulletin, May 2nd, 2012
NOTES TO NOTE
Effective June 1st all applications for USDA Section 502 direct or guaranteed loans will be centrally-processed in Oregon...USDA sets June 4th to apply for Household Well & Water Systems grants...HHS sets June 5th deadline to apply for $27 million in Community Economic Development Projects grants...Department of Education sets June 8th deadline to submit letter of intent to apply for Promise Neighborhoods grants (applications due July 27th)...HUD sets June 11th deadline to apply for an expected 42 contracts to administer project-based housing... Seattle Housing Authority sets June 11th deadline for non-profits to partner with it to project-base 24 HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers...USDA sets June 18th deadline to apply for $10.4 million in Community Connect Broadband grants...USDA sets June 25th deadline to apply for $4.1 million in Rural Housing Preservation Grants ...HUD sets July 31st deadline to apply for grants of up to $12 million under Project Rental Assistance Demonstration Program... Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle sets August 1st deadline to apply for $5.3 million in Affordable Housing Program funds and $4 million in down payment assistance under its Home$tart program...U.S. Green Building Council & Bank of America sets August 10th deadline to apply for Affordable Green Neighborhood grants of up to $25,000 to organizations that wish to pursue to pursue LEED 2009 for Neighborhood Development certification.
- Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness holds Homelessness Advocacy Workshop, June 2nd, Seattle.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on Early Delinquency Activities & Loss Mitigation Program, June 6th.
- Annual conference of National American Indian Housing Council, June 5th to 7th, Anchorage.
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle hosts Webinar on 2012 Affordable Housing Program AHP Scoring Criteria and Application Basics, June 7th, on-line.
- Access Alaska hosts morning workshop on Fair Housing Training and Resources, June 7th, Fairbanks. For more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Access Alaska hosts afternoon workshop on Service & Assistive Animals, June 7th, Fairbanks. For more, contact email@example.com.
- FHA hosts on-line Webinar on selling REO ("real-estate owned") houses, June 7th, on-line.
- Access Alaska hosts morning workshop on Hiring & Employing People with Disabilities. June 8th, Fairbanks. For more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- Access Alaska hosts afternoon workshop on Employment Topics for Individuals with Disabilities, June 8th, Fairbanks. For more, contact email@example.com
- HUD Anchorage hosts Tribal Healthy Homes Northwest's free, workshop on preserving housing assets and keeping a healthy home, June 8th, Anchorage.
- 2012 World Indigenous Housing Conference, June 11th to 15th, Vancouver, B.C.
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle hosts Webinar on 2012 Affordable Housing Program Rental Project Feasibility, June 12th, on-line.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on HUD Loss Mitigation - Home Retention Options for servicing lenders and housing counselors, June 13th, on-line.
- Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle hosts Webinar on 2012 Affordable Housing Program Owner-occupied Project Feasibility, June 14th, on-line.
- Annual Conference of Association of Washington Cities, June 19th to 22nd, Vancouver.
- American Planning Association-Oregon & 10,000 Friends host Designing Healthy Communities speakers series, June 19th, Eugene.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on HUD Loss Mitigation Disposition Options - Pre-Foreclosure Sale & Deed in Lieu for servicing lenders and housing counselors, June 20th, on-line.
- 65th Annual Association of Idaho Cities Conference, June 20th to June 22nd, Boise.
- 26th annual Idaho Energy & Green Building Conference, June 20th to 22nd, Boise.
- American Planning Association-Oregon & 10,000 Friends host Designing Healthy Communities speakers series, June 20th, Roseburg.
- American Planning Association-Oregon & 10,000 Friends host Designing Healthy Communities speakers series, June 20th, Medford.
- 26th annual Idaho Energy & Green Building Conference, June 20th to 22nd, Boise.
- American Planning Association-Oregon & 10,000 Friends host Designing Healthy Communities speakers series, June 21st, Bend.
- American Planning Association-Oregon & 10,000 Friends host Designing Healthy Communities speakers series, June 22nd, Portland.
- HUD Spokane hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for CDBG & Home Grantees, June 26th, Spokane.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on SFDMS - Default Reporting for servicing lenders and housing counselors, June 27th, on-line.
- HUD Spokane hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, June 27th, Spokane.
- HUD Spokane hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Public & Tribal Housing Authorities, June 28th, Spokane.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on its Neighborhood Watch program, July 11th, on-line.
- Oregon & Idaho Bankers Associations hold annual conference, July 8th to 12th, Coeur d'Alene.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on FHA & Short Sales, July 18th, on-line.
- HUD's National Servicing Center hosts Webinar on FHA Pre-foreclosure Sales Program Training For Real Estate Professionals in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington state, July 19th.
- HUD Northwest hosts Basics of Fair Housing Webinar, July 19th, on-line.
- Oregon AHMA hosts Fair Housing Jeopardy Game, July 20th, Lincoln City.
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