HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Administrator (206) 220-5356 Leland Jones, Editor
After too many years of bad news, homeowners got some good news on February 9th with the announcement that the federal government and 49 state attorneys general had reached a $25 billion agreement with the nation's five largest mortgage servicers - Bank of America Corporation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Company, Citigroup Inc., and Ally Financial Inc (formerly GMAC) - to address mortgage loan servicing and foreclosure abuses. Over the next three years, at least $10 of the $25 billion will go toward reducing the principal on loans for borrowers who, as of the date of the settlement, are either delinquent or at imminent risk of default and are "underwater" and at least $3 billion will go to refinancing loans for borrowers who are current on their mortgages but are "underwater." Up to $7 billion will go towards other forms of relief, including forbearance of principal for unemployed borrowers, anti-blight programs, short sales and transitional assistance, benefits for service members who are forced to sell their home at a loss as a result of a Permanent Change in Station order, and other programs. Another $1.5 billion will go to a Borrower Payment Fund to provide cash payments to borrowers whose homes were sold or taken in foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011. $3.5 billion of the $5 billion payment will go to state and federal governments to be used to repay public funds lost as a result of servicer misconduct and to fund housing counselors, legal aid and other similar public programs determined by the state attorneys general. It's a big settlement and others have followed. So should your customers, your clients or you go if you think it will help you? Start by visiting the Web site of your state attorney general. In Alaska, visit Attorney General Michael C. Geraghty In Idaho, visit Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden In Oregon, visit Attorney General John Kroger In Washington visit Attorney General Rob McKenna.
! ! !NEWS FLASH ! ! !
As part of efforts to encourage the return of private capital to the residential mortgage market and strengthen the FHA Insurance Fund, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante has announced a new premium structure for FHA-insured single family mortgage loans, increasing the annual mortgage insurance premium by 0.10 percent for loans under $625,500 and by 0.35 percent for loans above that amount. Upfront premiums (UFMIP) will also increase by 0.75 percent. A Mortgagee Letter will be issued shortly online
It's still somewhere between tough and impossible to get a conventional mortgage these days, but both FHA and USDA have mortgage products which are helping thousands of families get a home they can call their own. But which of their products work best for your community and customers? Find out by joining FHA and USDA to a March 21st Webinar for a side-by-side comparison to help you decide. It's on-line, but space is limited. So, please register now online
Saying that the Seattle Housing Authority "has been fortunate to have Tom at the helm over this time of challenge and opportunity," board chairperson John Little announces Tom Tierney's retirement as its executive director in August, a post he has held since March of 2004. . .President Obama signs bill that will allow Quileute to move out of tsunami zone and onto higher ground. . .City of Redmond joins Bellevue, Seattle and King County, says Kirkland Patch, by unanimously passing ordinance under which "landlords will no longer be able to refuse rental to tenants because they use a Section 8 housing voucher to help pay rent". After raising $1.1 million to pay off the debt on its shelter, reports The Idaho Press Tribune, the Nampa Family Shelter Coalition celebrates the building's 10th anniversary by gifting it and the parcel on which it sits to the Salvation Army. . .Developers of multifamily properties in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington seeking HUD assistance can now see where they are in the application process by visiting the website. . .Low Income Housing Institute breaks ground on 61-unit elderly complex in Seattle and says it will be named in honor of Grammy-nominated jazz and blues vocalist Ernestine Anderson whose career got its start in the city's Central District. . . FHA launches pilot to test an accelerated approval process for the purchase or refinancing of multi-family rental properties under Section 223(f) that are assisted through Low-Income Housing Tax Credits from approximately one year to just 90 to 120 days. . .New website "allows landlords to advertise properties free of charge, while renters can search for free to find rentals that fit their needs" in Seattle and King County. . . Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln County buys parcel in Waldport - one of 18 undeveloped parcels built by Habitat for Humanity affiliates in Oregon in 2011 - where it will build four houses. . .HUD provides almost $40.3 million in public housing capital funds to 39 housing authorities in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. . .Portland Housing Bureau awards more than $9 million in Tax Increment Financing, HOME and CDBG funds to Central City Concern, Rose CDC and Lifeworks Northwest to acquire, renovate or develop more than 120 existing or new affordable rental units. . .Oregon Attorney General John Kroger says owners of Wah Mai Terrace in Portland agree to pay $55,000 fine, attend fair housing training and purchase and install a playground structure at the complex because of discriminatory practices against families with children.
April is Fair Housing Month, but March is the month and March 16th is the day when applications for HUD funds to further fair housing come due. Applications, for example, for some $30 million in the Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) Program's Private Enforcement Initiative which funds "the investigation and enforcement of alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act." Applications, too, for a total of $5,250,000 under FHIP's Fair Housing Organizations Initiative which funds "organizing to build their capacity in fair housing enforcement, establish new fair housing enforcement organizations and/or provide fair lending enforcement. Or, finally, applications for a total of $5,888,888 to fund "organizations that inform the general public about their rights and obligations under the Fair Housing Act." Even with all the progress that's been made, there's still work - lots of it - to do. Find out more online
HUD is now accepting applications for a total of $95 million under two programs - the Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV-FSS) program and the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Service Coordinators program - to link residents of HUD-assisted housing link with local organizations which provide education, job training, childcare, counseling, transportation, job placement programs and/or computer and financial literacy services thereby helping them achieve economic self-sufficiency. "Ultimately," said HUD Assistant Secretary Henriquez, "these grants will make it possible for public housing residents achieve their personal and career goals." For more on the HCV-FSS funding opportunity for which applications are due April 24th, visit the website and for more on the ROSS-Service Coordinators opportunity for which applications are due March 27th, visit the website
Hoping to help HUD's partners "work smarter and stretch federal investments for the greatest possible benefit," HUD Assistant Secretary Marquez has announced the availability of $62 million to provide "results-oriented technical assistance and capacity building" to state and local governments, housing authorities and other HUD grantees. Assistance from the new OneCPD to improve basic program performance, address identified program gaps or to restructure housing and community development programs to better meet the needs in their communities. Applications for the competitive grants are due March 15th. For more, visit the website
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Noting that "holding homebuyers with disabilities to a higher standard just because they rely on disability payments as a source of income is against the law," HUD Assistant Secretary Trasvina announces the filing of charges under the Fair Housing Act against Bank of America for requiring potential borrowers from Michigan and Wisconsin "to provide personal medical information and documentation regarding their disability and proof of continuance of their Social Security payment in order to qualify for a home mortgage loan". . .HDC Community Fund, a Community Development Financial Institution, hikes maximum loan amount to $250,000 so "we can help more people than ever". . .Telling The Oregonian that "There are still migrant labor camps in Washington County that have just horrible conditions," Bienestar breaks ground for $5 million, 24-unit Juniper Gardens for farmworker families to be built with help from USDA Rural Development and Washington County Community Development. . . Kulshan Community Land Trust completes its 100th home, reports Bellingham Herald, complete with "solar panels, energy efficient utilities and appliances and an underground storm water catcher" that, says new owners, "fits in line really well with our values". . .Northwest Housing Alternatives - and lots of residents - celebrate "grand reopening" of Spring Street Apartments in Medford after, says Mail Tribune, a $5.5 million "makeover" capitalized by the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing. . ."Subsidized housing has landed in Riverstone," reports Coeur d'Alene Press, with more than half the 50 units in the Riverstone West Family Apartments already occupied just a month after construction funded by Idaho Housing & Finance, the City of Coeur d'Alene and the Lake City Development Corporation was completed by Whitewater Creek, Inc. of Hayden. . ., Thanks to a $70,000 Pacific Power grant, UCAN is installing solar panels on the roof its Roseburg food bank that, says KPIC-TV, are expected to provide "a third of the energy" the facility needs.
Dr. Blake Kazama, president and chief executive officer of the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority, has advised his board of his intent to retire on April 30th. Thanks to his leadership, notes board chair Joe Williams Jr., "THRHA is known throughout the nation as a front-runner in affordable housing." You see that in a lot of things he's helped create. When you want to weatherize a house in the Lower 48, you usually just hire a crew to come in and, like a whirlwind, quickly replaces windows, adds insulation and install weather-stripping. Once the crew's out-of-sight, the how's and why's of weatherization are out of your mind. Like most other housing authorities, Tlingit-Haida is committed to weatherization. In a climate like Alaska's, who wouldn't be? But there's a difference. Sure, it uses crews. But the crews are comprised of local residents so that when the work moves from one village to the next, the knowledge and skills and the why's and how's of weatherization don't leave it. They stay behind, close to home, ready to maintain the work that's already been done, but also to find new ways to cut energy consumption and costs, a smart idea in what probably is our most energy-expensive state. When you see what Tlingit-Haida has done with its program, you sort of have one of those "duh-huh" moments, appreciating the simplicity of its approach, but also a bit ashamed you hadn't thought of it yourself. "We are happy for Blake," Williams added, "But we are going to miss him." Ditto.
Many a kid has gotten many a bad rap often just for being a kid. But if you've ever stayed up late night worrying about what will become of the world once they take charge, consider the 2012 winners of the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, given annually to middle and high school students for their service in the community. Another impressive list of winners has been announced. Like 17-year-old Jesse Sheldon of Spokane Valley who started a "diaper bank" that's provided more than 35,000 diapers to "struggling" families. Or,12-year-old Skyler Lee of Longview who's collected and donated 1,500 coats to the local Salvation Army. Or 7th grader Keefer Brown of Wasilla who raised $2,50 to care for injured seals at the Alaska Sea Life Center. Or 18-year-old Teresa Baldwin of Sitka who founded an organization to promote development of suicide prevention programs across Alaska. Or Ariana Drake, 18, of Pocatello who founded Hands4Uganda which has raised more than $30,000 to build a new school there. Or Hayden Lake 6th grader Emily Kladar who, with her sister, has raised some $60,000 to help children who need heart surgery. Or Medford 8th grader Chloe Staten who has raised money and recruited volunteers to help families with children who have cancer. Or, last but not least, and Alexander Stork, 18, of Klamath Falls who has recruited 44 other young people to read one-on-one to children who've fallen behind. Not to worry, in other words. Looks like the future, is in very good hands.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
President Obama issues disaster declaration for Kenai Peninsula Borough and authorizing foreclosure relief and recovery assistance to victims of winter storms. . .Mayor Sam Adams announces the designation of six east Portland neighborhoods as "micro-districts" in the city's new Neighborhood Prosperity Initiative to promote "community-driven" strategies to economic development. . .HUD allocates almost $127 million in Indian Housing Block Grants to 93 tribes and native villages in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. . .Housing Resources Board of Bainbridge Island welcomes first four homeowners to its Ferncliff affordable housing development just a token's throw from downtown and the ferry. . .After 29 years of feeding the hungry, Rachel Bristol announces here retirement as CEO of the Oregon Food Bank serving Oregon and southwest Washington. . .Kelso, Olympia and Pocatello among 56 communities nationwide selected to receive smart growth technical assistance through EPA's "Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities" program. . . HUD awards more than $500,000 for six new fair housing partnerships with in Washington and Oregon that will conduct outreach among immigrants and refugees, help develop mortgage product for use by Muslims and conduct fair housing tests to determine whether discrimination is occurring because of race, national origin, disability or gender identity. . .Federal jury rules, reports KIVI-TV, that owners of Falls Park apartments in Post Falls "violated the federal Fair Housing Act and was negligent in 2008 when it told a disabled woman she would need to pay a deposit for her service dog". . .More than 40 volunteers, says Register Guard, recently "took several hours out of their day to weed, paint and mulch areas surrounding St. Vincent de Paul's Oakwood Manor" in Eugene. . .Warm Springs Tribe celebrates grand opening of the Warm Springs Telecommunications Company - only the "ninth tribally-owned telecom in the United States," says The Bend Bulletin - to "provide access to high-speed Internet" for reservation residents. . .Community Development Inc. celebrates grand opening of 42-unit Silver Creek Apartments for the elderly in Post Falls. . . Farmworker Housing Development Corporation begins rehabilitating 25-unit Summerset Village in Sublimity. . .Habitat for Humanity of Tacoma & Pierce County launches campaign to help veterans who are homeowners to repair, renovate and, even, build homes. . .Thanks to court challenges, it's been anything but smooth sailing for the Compass Housing Alliance but finally it breaks ground for the 80-unit Nyer Urness House for the formerly homeless in Ballard. . .Finishing touches are being put on a new 60-acre park and senior center in Meridian made possible by a gift from the family of the late Julius M. Kleiner who first moved to Idaho in 1920. . .Treasury awards $85 million in New Market Tax Credits to National Community Fund LLC in Portland.
HOW WE DOIN'?
Okay. It's not exactly bed-time reading, but HUD's just issued two reports about its work, successes and challenges in Federal year 2011 which you might find of interest - its Annual Performance Report and its 2011 Summary of Performance and Financial Information. If you get the chance, give them a look and, obviously, feel free to let us know what you think.
Is the "devolution revolution" over or still underway? That's what's on the mind of The Pioneer Institute, a public policy group in Boston. Since 1991 it's held an annual, nationwide Better Government Competition that seeks out "innovative policy ideas." This year, it's focus is on federal "programs that can be devolved to the states — with benefits like cost savings, more effective delivery of services, or innovation as a result." Are there Federal regulations, for example, that can be devolved and "result in job creation" or Federal urban redevelopment programs that could be better run by states or local governments? Got views or ideas you want to share? Then visit the website Submissions due April 9th.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"What does it mean to be homeless? For many, the word conjures up images of someone living in a cardboard box in an abandoned lot. For some, anything less than that isn't really homelessness. They might bristle when they hear that children who are staying with friends or relatives temporarily would be designated homeless, regarding that as an attempt to portray the problem as being worse than it really is. Housing and Urban Development defines homeless as people who come from "places not meant for human habitation." And the Treasure Valley, just like the rest of the nation, has its share of people who meet that description. There are people here who are living in cars, on the street or hidden from view. And the number has grown. Nampa's Lighthouse Rescue Mission, which serves the homeless, had a total of 16,533 lodgings in 2006. That number has increased each year, and today it's 25,854. Idaho is a state that champions independence and, as such, its citizens tend to be suspicious of government-funded welfare programs. There is very much a "pick yourself up by your bootstraps" mentality here. But that shouldn't be confused as indifference to the plight of the truly needy. And the evidence shows that Idahoans put their money where their mouths are when it comes to helping the homeless. . .But the nagging recession has forced more people who were living on the fringes into a position where they needed help. It has also made it harder for people who donate to such causes to help, and that has stretched overwhelmed charities. Terry Reilly Health Services, which provides health care services to the needy, was only able to serve 1,829 people in 2011 who were homeless. There was not enough money available to serve the remaining homeless patients who requested it. Today begins our special eight-day coverage on homelessness in Canyon County. It's a great opportunity for you to learn more about the situation, and how we can all help. Take the time to educate yourself — and to find out how you can help make a difference in the life of someone who really needs it." - - "Homelessness Isn't Going Away," a February 26th editorial in The Idaho Post Tribune. To read its full series on homelessness in Canyon County, visit the website
WORTH A READ
Consider it a post-mortem or a cautionary tale Vicki Aldous in The Mail Tribune about a non-profit housing organization that had done great work for 20 years but then went belly up. Sobering? Yep. Worth a read? Absolutely. You'll find it online
NOTES TO NOTE
USDA Institute of Food & Agriculture sets March 1st deadline to apply for Alaska Native-Serving & Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Institutional Education Grants. . . Portland Housing Bureau sets March 9th deadline to respond to request-for-proposals to provide fair housing testing in Portland. . .Social Security Administration sets March 12th deadline to submit comments on the needs of SSI recipients who are homeless. . .The Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO sets March 12th deadline to submit nominations for 2012 Advocacy Awards. . .National Trust for Historic Preservation sets March 15th deadline for nominations for award for Federal Partnerships in Historic Preservation. . .HUD sets March 15th deadline to apply for more than $40 million in three categories of Fair Housing Initiatives Program grants. . .HUD extends to March 17th the deadline to apply for Section 202 Demonstration Pre-Development Grants. . .City of Spokane sets March 23rd deadline to apply for total of $1 million in projects to reduce homelessness. . .HUD sets March 27th deadline to apply for $35 million in ROSS-Self Sufficiency Service Coordinator Grants. . .HUD sets March 27th deadline to apply for Choice Neighborhoods Demonstration Small Research Grants. . .HUD sets March 29th deadline to apply for Natural Experiments Grant Program. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets March 31st deadline to apply for $24 million under Consolidated Funding Cycle. . .HUD sets April 10th deadline to apply for $110 million in Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants.. .EPA sets April 6th deadline to apply for 11th Annual Smart Growth Achievement Awards. . .HUD sets April 24th deadline to apply for $60 million in Housing Choice Voucher Family Self Sufficiency Grants. . .Idaho Smart Growth sets April 30th deadline to submit nominations for its 2012 Grow Smart Awards.
REGISTERED YET FOR THE APRIL11tj 2012 SPOKANE FAIR HOOUSING CONFERENCE?
HUD Alaska hosts Federal Labor Standards Workshop, March 1st, Anchorage
HUD Spokane hosts on-line Basics of Fair Housing Webinar, March 15th, on-line
Oregon AHMA EIV Made Easy workshop, March 15th, Salem
HUD Idaho hosts Basics of Section 3 workshop, March 19th, Pocatello
HUD & USDA host on-line Webinar on their homeownership mortgage products, March 21st
Oregon AHMA offers Extreme Turnover-The Horrors Left Behind, March 22nd, Grants Pass
Fair Housing Council of Oregon hosts free workshop on Accessibility Standards n Federal Design and Construction, March 23rd, Portland
HUD Idaho hosts free Fair Housing Basics workshop, March 23rd, Boise
Oregon AHMA hosts Extreme Turnovers: The Horrors Left Behind workshop, March 22nd, Grants Pass
Idaho Association of Cities hosts 2012 Mountain West Institute, March 23rd to 25th, Boise
Treasury Department hosts National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference, March 25th to 28th, Seattle
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 5th, Sandpoint
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 6th, Coeur d'Alene
HUD Seattle hosts Federal Labor Relations Workshop for housing authorities, April 9th, Seattle
Northwest Fair Housing, City & County of Spokane and others host Spokane Fair Housing Conference, April 11th, Spokane
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 12th, Moscow
Oregon AHMA hosts Preparing for the REAC Inspection workshop, April 12th, Salem
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 13th, Lewiston
Federal Labor Standards Workshop for HOME & CDBG recipients, April 16th, Seattle
HUD's Alaska Office of Native American Programs hosts Workshop on Site Control Issues, April 17th to 20th, Anchorage
Oregon AHMA offers Basic Evictions for Affordable Housing Providers workshop, April 18th, Wilsonville
Fair Housing Council of Oregon & Metro Multifamily Housing Association host annual Fair Housing Bus Tour of Portland, April 18th, Portland
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 19th, Twin Falls
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 20th, Nampa
HUD hosts Basics of Fair Housing workshop, April 23rd, Kennewick
Annual conference of Washington AHMA, April 23rd to 25th, Coeur d'Alene
Washington State University hosts Energy Out West Conference, April 23rd to 27th, Boise
HUD Boise hosts Lead Safe Housing Rule Workshop, April 24th, Boise
HUD Idaho hosts Lead Safe Housing Rule Workshop, April 24th & 25th, Boise,
Northwest Environmental Business Council hosts Future Energy Conference, April 25th to 28th, Portland
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Boise host Fair Housing Conference, April 26th, Idaho Falls
Idaho Legal Services & HUD Idaho host Fair Housing Conference, April 27th, Pocatello
Annual conference of Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO, April 29th to May 1st, Portland.
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