Since its establishment in 2009, the Making Homes Affordable Program (MHA) has provided relief to some 1.3 million at-risk or distressed American homeowners, including 1.1 million who’ve secured a permanent modification of their mortgage. For them, MHA has meant real money, producing a median savings of $546 every month – or 38 percent of their previous payment. Those savings, by the way, are higher than savings achieved through modifications in the private market. All good news. But it was all about to come to an end with the program set to expire December 31st, 2013. HUD and the Department of the Treasury have given MHA new life – and more homeowners more hope – by deciding to extend that deadline two years to December 31st, 2015. Struggling families, said HUD Secretary Donovan, have used MHA’s “tools to reduce their principal, modify their mortgages, fight off foreclosure and stay in their homes - helping further stimulate our housing market recovery. And with this extension, we ensure that the program keeps supporting communities for years to come.” The Federal Housing Finance Agency similarly extended its deadline for its Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and the Streamlined Modification Initiative for homeowners with loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. For more, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx
In March, 2012, HUD, the Department of Justice and 49 of the 50 state attorneys general reached a settlement with five of the nation’s largest mortgage servicers - Wells Fargo, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi and Ally (formerly GMAC) - to address mortgage lending and foreclosure abuses. A year’s passed and, says HUD Secretary Donovan, “we have far surpassed expectations in our efforts to assist struggling Americans.” And not by a little. As of March 31st, $1,168,242,476 in direct relief – i.e., modifications of 1st and 2nd mortgages, forbearance agreements, short sales and deeds-in-lieu of foreclosure -.was provided to 15,508 distressed homeowners in Washington state or about $75,332 per homeowner. In Idaho, $167,955,407 in direct relief was distributed to 2,810 Idaho homeowners or about $59,771 per homeowner. In Alaska, $10,909,640 in direct relief to 174 distressed Alaska homeowners or about $62,699 per homeowner. And, in Oregon, 440,512,598 in direct relief to 6,763 distressed Oregon homeowners or about $65,136 per homeowner. Nationwide, the Settlement’s distributed more than $50 billion to 620,000 homeowners. “It’s clear,” the Secretary added, that “the Settlement is “a profound difference on lives and communities. “
President Obama nominates Leonard Forsman, chair of the Suquamish Tribe, to serve on the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation . . .Kids scream, moms and dads smile , Portland Timber players sign autographs and Hacienda CDC celebrates the grand opening of its brand-new Futsal. . . Sustainable, affordable housing complexes developed by the Port Gamble S’Klallam, Puyallup, Nez Perce & Coeur d’Alene tribes showcased by Enterprise and HUD at National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.. . . USDA Secretary Vilsack announces new rules to “better target” Community Connect broadband grants to “areas where they are needed the most”. . HUD awards an additional almost $2.1 million to r new support for 19 projects serving homeless in Anchorage, Boise, Hillsboro, Oregon City, Portland, Seattle, Kennewick, Tacoma, Yakima & Vancouver. . .Innovative Housing Inc. unveils plans to buy historic Erickson and Fritz buildings in Old Town Portland and convert them to 62 units of working, low and no-income studios and 1-bedrooms. . .HUD awards $4.2 million in Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS/HIV to renew supportive housing programs serving 124 households at any one time and run by Downtown Emergency Service Center in Seattle and Our House of Portland and Oregon Department of Human Resources in Portland. . .Cities of Port Townsend, Langley, Port Angeles, Sumner, Gig Harbor, Camas & Chelan win Excellence on Main at RevitalizeWA, Washington state’s Main Street and preservation conference. . . .Alaska Housing Finance & Rasmuson Foundation to invest up to $10 million for 40 new units of affordable housing to ease Juneau’s “housing crunch.”
As Governor of Iowa and now as Secretary of Agriculture , Tom Vilsack has never been thought a particularly shy guy, not afraid to tell people what he thinks they need to know. And all winter and all spring there’s been something that Secretary Vilsack wants you, as a housing professional to know – he’d like you, your organization and your lender to apply for some $150 million under USDA’s Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program “to construct, acquire and rehabilitate affordable rural rental housing.” The deadline is December 31st. But why wait? For more, visit www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2013-05-23/pdf/2013-12325.pdf
So, you don’t want to answer Ag Secretary Vilsack’s call? Well, how about answering HUD Secretary Donovan’s call? He’s announced that HUD is now seeking applications – due September 10th – for $109 million in Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grants “to join forces with HUD’s team, local residents and leaders in city government, business, philanthropy, law enforcement, education, and many other fields to transform struggling neighborhoods into thriving communities where families will choose to live.” Since 2010, HUD’s made nine Choice Neighborhood Implementation awards and expects four awards this round. Tough? Yep. But the community you call home is worth it. For more, see here.
HUD has set a July 22nd deadline to apply for $500,000 under the HOPE VI Main Street Revitalization Grant program. Eligible applicants are local governments in communities of 50,000 and under that is not served by a local or state agency that operates more than 100 public housing units in the jurisdiction (Section 8 units excluded). Funds may be used “to assist in the renovation of an historic or traditional central business district or “Main Street” area by replacing unused commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units.” For more, see here.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle has set an August 1st deadline to apply for grants of up to $700,000 under its 2013 $5.9 million Affordable Housing Program to acquire, construct, or rehabilitate affordable rental or owner-occupied housing for low- and moderate-income households. Project sponsors must partner with a Seattle Bank member to submit an application for AHP funding, and Seattle Bank members must underwrite the application to the standard they would use if they were providing a loan for the project. For more, see here.
HHD has extended the application deadline for $12.8 million in Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Program funds to July 15th. For more, see here.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Citing the support of 74 of its residents, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to make the first 660 of its 1,628 owned and managed units statewide “smoke-free” on August 1st. . .Washington State Department of Finance files charges against 23 companies for “preying on Washington homeowners facing foreclosure” seeking restitution, prohibition against doing further business and $426,000 in fines . . .Washington Low Income Housing Alliance celebrates its 25th birthday in June. . .Raymond, Washington complex is first privately-owned complex in Northwest okayed by HUD for participation in Rental Assistance Demonstration initiative to increase flow of private capital into assisted housing. . .With 18 families already living in homes in Portland, Molalla, Milwaukie and Oregon City reclaimed, rehabbed & re-sold as a result of NSP I funding, Proud Ground says it should add at least 10 more homes thanks to NSP II funds provided by the Portland Housing Bureau and Oregon Housing & Community Services. . .Mercy Housing’s 12th & River Apartments for the elderly is one of four buildings recognized by the City of Boise for “increasing safety, accessibility and sustainability”. . BRIDGE Housing unveils its first project in Northwest – the 142-unit Abigail in Portland with, says Affordable Housing Finance, 123 of the units set aside for families at 30 and 60 percent below median. . ..Private developer and Tacoma Housing Authority, says News Tribune, are in “early stages of plans to revitalize two 100-year-old buildings and bring more apartments to the Hilltop neighborhood”. . .Community Partners for Affordable Housing in Portland and Capitol Hill Housing in Seattle among 8 winners nationally of 2012 Enterprise Green Communities planning grants . . .Denali Commission awards $8.2 million grant to City of Seldotna to expand capacity and enhance safety of harbor that should, says Commission, increase “economic and subsistence opportunities”. . .Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services launching resident survey of Old Town neighborhood to, executive director Mark Dahlquist tells Idaho State Journal, “give us a good feel of where we should focus our efforts”. . .NDC gives “academy award” to Anchorage Community Land Trust for its work in revitalizing Mountain View area of Anchorage. . .Portland Home Builders Association sets charitable fundraising record at April gala, says Portland Business Journal, that is expected to help subsidize nonprofits in building of transitional housing. . . Spokane Tribe of Indians receives $450,000 HUD “imminent threat” grant to address contaminated water problems in houses and schools on its 159,000 acre reservation.
ON THE WAY
Another 540 HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing rental vouchers, HUD Secretary Donovan and VA Secretary Shinseki have announced, are on their way to 199 housing authorities across Idaho, Oregon and Washington who will use them, in collaboration with Veterans Affairs centers and clinics, to provide homeless veterans with something they don’t just deserve, but have earned – a place to call home. Once they’re up and being used, it’ll mean some 3,248 vets in the three states won’t have to live life the street. When veterans return home, notes HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, “we should make sure they have one instead of being forced to live on the streets.” At least one more round of VASH vouchers should be awarded later this year.
But what happens if VASH vouchers that are awarded don’t get used? That’s a question a number of agencies in Portland – the Housing Bureau, Home Forward, Multnomah County, the VA, the United Way and, yes, HUD – faced last December when they used that 1 out of every 3 vouchers – about 100 – they’d been awarded were unallocated. It was “infuriating,” one Housing Bureau official explained to The Oregonian. Turns out, though, it was no one’s fault. The statute that authorized the VASH program has a glitch. A VASH voucher can be used – and only used – to help a vet pay the rent. It can’t be used to put together a security deposit or to buy some furnishings or to connect to utility service. Small though it might seem, they can be financially out-of-reach for some. Fortunately, the folks in Portland knew what they needed to do, the Bureau, Home Forward, the United Way and the County each contributing $10,000 to a fund to cover those costs. By early April, all 305 of Portland’s VASH vouchers were in use. For more, see here.
A NEW COAT
Ella Andrej could be the happiest woman in Boise. She’s lived in her North End home for 60 years which, itself, has been around for 100. But it’s due – in fact, long overdue – for a paint job. The last was 15 years ago. But thanks to Neighborhood Housing Services 31st annual Paint the Town and “2,000 to 3,000” volunteers, it – and up to 60 other homes – are about to get one. “I don’t believe it,” she told KTVB-TV, “I thought of all the people in Boise, and I got selected?", It’s “like winning the lottery,” explained Gina Lyon of NHS. And, over the last 30 years, there have been lots of winners. All told, in eight communities across the Treasure Valley Paint the Town has recruited 84,012 volunteers, used 37,675 gallons of paint and 14,239 tubes of caulk and painted 3,054 homes owned seniors on fixed income. "It's just paint, but it's so much more for these seniors,” Lyon explained.
“Among all the reorganizing and rethinking under” Spokane “Mayor David Condon,” Shawn Vestal wrote recently in The Spokesman Review, “ it can be hard to connect what’s happening at City Hall with what’s happening outside it. But there are signs that one of these efforts is paying off in very real ways on the streets – by getting people off of them.” It’s a sustained, systematic effort spearheaded by Jerrie Allard, director of the City’s Department of Community, Housing and Human Services. The focus is pretty simple, pretty clear, Allard says. “When we bring you into the system, we’re talking about how we can help you get out of the system and have your needs met.” And, as Vestal notes, it seems to be working. For more, see here.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
. . .Yakima Herald says Broetje Orchards will “open the first of its 48-unit townhomes” for farm worker families in Walla Walla County “in a few weeks”. . .Boise Rescue Mission begins “major renovations” on project to build new, 15,000 square-foot, 120-bed shelter to replace Lighthouse Rescue Mission in Nampa. . .Innovative Housing Inc. closes on acquisition of “substandard” mobile home park in Albany saying it will relocate residents and building 54 units of housing affordable to working families. . . .Tacoma Housing Authority’s McCarver Project – which offers housing subsidies to promote residential and, thus, educational stability among homeless families in the Hilltop neighborhood – wins Puget Sound Regional Council Vision 2040 Award. . .Washington State Housing Finance Commission okays $2 million in financing for 24-unit expansion of Appleway Court for the elderly in Spokane Valley. . .Nampa City Council okays transformation of historic Mercy Hospital into 50 units of housing for the elderly. . .Portland Housing Bureau celebrates opening of 80 units of affordable housing in the final phase of The Yards at Union Station. . ., Mt. Vernon sets June 15th to break ground for second phase of downtown flood wall funded by HUD Section 108 loan guarantee. . .Chalkyitsik Traditional Council , Denali Commission, Indian Health Service, and the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority i celebrate grand opening of $2 million, 1,642 square-foot, state-of-the-art health clinic finally offering space enough, for example, so “dental providers are in town they will no longer have to set up in the school to provide service to residents”. . .Ginnie Mae’s decision to include USDA multi-family housing loans in certain mortgage securities that can be sold to private investors is ““expected to attract more investors” in USDA’s rural multifamily program . . .Lincoln County Community Land Trust celebrates completion of the third home it’s built. . .City of Kelso wins $156,000 EPA brownfields grant to remediate salvage yard where, says Daily News, Lower Columbia Community Action Program will build eight units of affordable housing beginning in 2014. . .
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I feel like I'm in the race now," he explains. "I really feel strongly about staying clean and staying on the right path." – Lester Shakier, 36, an Army veteran who, by his own account, made it into Portland’s HUD VASH program for homeless veterans “by the hairs of my chinny chin chin” in a story by The Oregonian’s Mike Francis, May 8th, 2013
HUD economists have published a Comprehensive Market Analysis of Olympia’s housing market as well as “fresh” Market-at-a-Glance reports for Boise-Nampa, Anchorage, Portland, Yakima, Salem-Marion and Polk County. For more, see here.
WORTH A READ
Poll them and a lot of Americans will probably agree that “government doesn’t work.” Kenneth Murphy probably would say it does. He’s owned a home on East Providence Avenue in Spokane for 43 years. No surprise, it needed some work. One day, reports Pia Hallenberg of The Spokesman Review, he got a note in his utility bill about the City’s Single Family Housing Rehabilitation Program, funded, in part by HUD. “I thought it couldn’t hurt to apply. I didn’t think I was going to get any money,” he told Hallenberg. ““Boy was I surprised when they called me and said I qualified.” And, it would turn out, very pleased. See why at www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/may/16/hud-helps-homeowner/
“A few years ago,” reports KCAW radio, a “high stakes” proposal to build affordable housing “fell apart.” The affordable housing gap, says the Sitka Community Development Corporation, has only grown wider. But now it has a new answer – forming a community land trust. Does it make sense? Take a listen at www.kcaw.org/2013/05/09/interview-land-trusts-can-close-housing-gap/
A May report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency reports that over the last year – from the first quarter of 2012 to the first of 2013 – existing home prices appreciated 8.19 percent in Alaska, 10.04 percent in Oregon, 10.84 percent in Washington state and 15.99 percent in Idaho, all above the national average of 6.7 percent. It demonstrates, said Idaho Housing & Finance Association president Gerald Hunter that “Idaho’s economy and housing markets have stabilized and are improving,” Only Alaska, though, has fully-recovered from declines over the past five years. And, since 1991, prices have risen173 percent in Oregon, 133 percent in Alaska, 128 percent in Washington and 117 percent in Idaho. For the full FHFA report, visit http://www.fhfa.gov/webfiles/25172/2013Q1HPI.pdf
NOTES TO NOTE
Tacoma Housing Authority opening Housing Opportunity Voucher waiting list from June 3rd to 9th . . .Interior Departments sets June 6th deadline to apply for Earthquake Hazard Program grants to “provide products for earthquake loss reduction to the public and private sectors by carrying out research earthquake occurrence and effects”. . . HHS sets June 7th deadline to apply for funds to Support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges under Affordable Care Act. . .Economic Development Administration sets June 13th deadline for next funding cycle under Economic Development Assistance program to provide “to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects” in economically-disadvantaged areas, both rural and urban. . .HUD sets June 13th deadline to apply for Fair Housing Initiative Program grants. . .HUD extends deadline to apply for Self Help Homeownership Opportunity Funds to July 15th. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation sets June 15th deadline for public comments on its proposal to go “smoke-free”. . .HHS sets June 17th deadline to apply for grants through Projects to Establish Individual Development Account (IDA) Programs for Refugees. . .Justice Department sets June 20th deadline to apply for 2nd Chance Adult Re-Entry Demonstration grant funds. . . USDA sets July 15th deadline to apply for National Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program. . .HUD sets July 22nd deadline to apply for a $500,000 HOPE VI Main Street grant. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will begin accepting applications for $5.9 million in Affordable Housing Program funds “on or around” May 15th with applications due August 1st. . .Washington State Housing Finance sets August 16th deadline to submit nominations for 2013 Friend of Housing Awards. . .National Endowment for the Humanities sets August 27th deadline to apply for Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges funds. . .HUD sets September 10th deadline to apply for Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants.
Anchorage celebrates Paint the Town week, June 1st to 8th, Anchorage. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=ak&record=12925&scheduleID=12670&calendarID=5
City of Portland hosts North American celebration of UN’s World Environment Day, June 5th, Portland. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=or&record=12850&scheduleID=12595&calendarID=41
Hacienda CDC and NAY (Native American Youth & Family Center) host Cully – A Living Ecodistrict on how Ecodistricts can help revitalize neighborhoods, June 6th, Portland. Visit http://oregonon.org/
CASAof Oregon and the Office of Rural Farm Worker Housing host 9th Biennial Farmworker Housing Conference, June 12th to 14th, Redmond. Visit www.casaoforegon.org/content/2013-farmworker-housing-conference
HUD’s Santa Ana Homeownership Center hosts Webinar on Intro to FHA, June 13th, on-line. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEventSearch&year=2013&month=6&d=13
RurALCAP hosts 30th annual Rural Providers Conference, June 10th to 14th, Fairbanks. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=ak&record=12829&scheduleID=12574&calendarID=5
National American Indian Housing Council hosts Training Expo, June 11th to13th, Seattle. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=ak&record=12721&scheduleID=12466&calendarID=5
Capitol Hill Housing hosts 8th annual community forum, June 11th, Seattle. For more, see www.capitolhillhousing.org/
Oregon Association for Affordable Housing Management hosts annual conference, June 12th to 14th, Bend. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=wa&record=12691&scheduleID=12436&calendarID=52
Due to sequestration, all HUD offices are expected to be closed, June 14th due to sequestration.
Klamath & Lake Counties Veterans Stand Down, June 14th & 15th, Klamath Falls. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=or&record=12761&scheduleID=12506&calendarID=41
HUD Anchorage hosts workshop on the Indian Housing Plan/Annual Performance Review processes, June 18th & 19th, Anchorage. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.addRegisterEvent&eventId=1753&update=N
FHA offers Webinar on FHA 203(h) Home Mortgage Insurance for Disaster Victims, June 19th, On-line. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.addRegisterEvent&eventId=1749&update=N
FHA offers Webinar on FHA 203(k)Rehabilitation Home Mortgage Insurance Program, June 19th, On-line. Visit http://www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.addRegisterEvent&eventId=1750&update=N
Association of Idaho Cites hosts annual conference, June 19th to 21st, Boise. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=id&record=12730&scheduleID=12475&calendarID=16
Rural Development Institute hosts Regards to Rural Conference, June 21st & 22nd, Corvallis. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=or&record=12758&scheduleID=12503&calendarID=41
Association of Washington Cities hosts annual conference, June 25th to 28th, Kennewick. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=wa&record=12733&scheduleID=12478&calendarID=52
FHA offers Webinar on Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), June 26th, On-line. Visit
Snohomish County hosts Veterans Stand Down, June 27th, Everett. Visit www.hud.gov/apps/calendar/event.cfm?state=wa&record=12763&scheduleID=12508&calendarID=52
HUD’s offices are expected to be closed on July 5th due to sequestration.
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Federal Labor Standards for Public & Tribal Housing Authorities, July 9th, Seattle. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEventSearch&year=2013&month=7&d=9
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Federal Labor Standards for Contractors, July 10th, Seattle. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=1723&update=N
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Federal Labor Standards for CDBG & HOME grantees, July 16th, Seattle. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEvent&eventId=1726&update=N
HUD Portland hosts Basics of Fair Housing workshop, July 17th, Portland. Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEventSearch&year=2013&month=7&d=17
HUD Spokane hosts a Webinar on the Basics of Fair Housing, July 18th, Visit www.hud.gov/emarc/index.cfm?fuseaction=emar.registerEventSearch&year=2013&month=7&d=18