READY TO COMPETE?
The competition at the Sochi Olympics is over. But it looks like it's just about to begin at HUD with publication in The Federal Register of the General Section of HUD's fiscal year 2014's Notice of Funding Availability. Simply put, the Section is the "book" of rules, regulations and requirements for all the funding competitions in the months and the weeks - yes, some may start that soon - ahead. Which means it's time to find a quiet spot, put on your reading glasses and start plowing through all the fine print, of which there is a great deal. And once you've done it once, do it again and, just to be sure, again. For very own copy, visit the website.
Just about now, before you start reading the General Section of HUD's NOFA a second or third time, you probably need a break. Here's an idea - make sure you're ready to compete. Virtually all of HUD's competitive funding programs require that applications be submitted through Grants.Gov. And there are certain things that need to get done to make sure Grants.gov will let you and your application through its electronic doorway. Have you, for example, got a DUNS number? Are you current with the Central Contract Registry? Have you completed all the steps required to submit? For a checklist, visit the website. And the sooner you d, the sooner you'll be ready to compete.
Did the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 deliver? The debate rages, with lots of opinions - yes and no - on all sides. So, here are some facts. In February, the President's Council of Economic Advisors issued a report at www.whitehouse.gov. It found that the Act "by itself, saved or created about 6 million job-years" which translate into to an average of 1.6 million jobs a year for four years through the end of 2012." It also reported that the Act raised the nation's Gross Domestic Product "by between 2 and 3 percent from late 2009 through mid-2011." The Act, the Council says, added or improved more than 100,000 miles of broadband infrastructure, improved more than 3,000 water quality systems, improved nearly 42,000 miles of roads and repaired or replaced 2,700 bridges. But maybe these numbers are too macro and you'd prefer to see impacts closer to home. Then visit HUD's website. There you'll find almost 50 stories about how Northwest and Alaska communities used Recovery Act funds awarded by HUD. To help finance a new hospital, for example, in Coquille. To complete of abandoned, half-finished housing subdivisions in Bend and Seattle. To renovate and retrofit affordable rental housing in Salem and Bellingham and Yakima and King County. To build new housing for the elderly in Astoria and Post Falls. To help more than 15,000 families across the Northwest who'd suddenly come upon hard times avoid homelessness. Delivered? We think so. But you be the judge.
From the macro to the micro, let's look closer to home for the effects of the Recovery Act even on, for example, what and how your kids eat. The February 21st issue of the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report includes findings of a study of a King County initiative - funded by the Recovery Act - launched by the public health department and county schools. The promotional campaign, says , "started farm-to-school programs, improved the quality of physical education (PE), trained school cafeteria staff to cook healthier food, and organized community health coalitions." And the results? The "prevalence of obesity in grades 8, 10, and 12 dropped from 10.6 percent in 2010 to 8.8 percent in 2012" among 8th, 10th and 12th grade ids, says Medscape Medical News. The authors of the report say it was a "statistically significant" result and ran counter to what happened in non-participating King County schools in the same period - a .5 percentage point increase in the prevalence of obesity. Statewide, obesity fell .6 percentage points among students in these grades. King County expects to sustain and expand its initiative using resources from the Affordable Care Act. For more, see the website.
Council of Affordable & Rural Housing honors Washington State Housing Finance's Kim Herman for understanding "the importance and role that tax credits have played in helping preserve the rural housing portfolio. . .Oregon Infrastructure Finance Agency awards $13 million in Oregon CDBG funds to projects in Douglas County and Powers, Yamhill, Vale Cascade Locks, Independence, Haines, Halfway, Glendale, Lakeview and Dallas. . .King County Housing & Community Development launches Rapid Re-Housing for Families pilot, says Issaquah Press, to provide "short-term financial assistance and temporary housing-focused supports, including employment and training services, to help remove the barriers that hinder" up to 350 King County "homeless families from accessing and maintaining housing". . .NAYA says Governor John Kitzhaber's latest in "long list" of people to endorse its Generations community housing project for foster youth, adoptive parents, and Elders" in Lents neighborhood of Portland. . .Telling News Tribune "I like what Tacoma has to offer," Jack Rhodes joins two other business people to buy two historic buildings in the Hilltop neighborhood that they plan to transform into ground-floor retail and ten apartments upstairs. . .Blaine County gives ARCH Community Development okay, says Idaho Mountain Express, to develop Quail Creek, 26 units of affordable housing north of Ketchum. . .Compass Housing Alliance sets March 1st grand opening for Peter's Place, its new service & wellness center in Seattle to "provide 24-hour access and support services to more than 300 homeless men and women each day". . .Treasury Department selects Aleutian, Chehalis, Lummi and Quinault Native Community Development Financial Institutions for second Leadership Journey training series. . .Sitka Assembly, says KCAW, appropriates funds to launch community land trust. . .Despite funding challenges, Yamhill County Housing Authority executive director Elise Hui says broke ground for 56-units of workforce housing in Newberg, helped more than 350 at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure, refinanced and cut debt service on four properties and celebrated graduation of 23 from self-sufficiency program. . .Healthy Futures Fund - a collaboration between LISC, Kresge Foundation & Morgan Stanley - to help finance construction of Family Health Center in Omak that "will quadruple space for medical services and double the size of the existing pharmacy" and help the Center "expand to more than 70,000 patient visits per year.
In 2013 the Washington State Housing Finance Commission celebrated its 30th birthday. Back in the day before at least a few of us turned gray many of us believed you couldn't trust anyone or anything 30 or older. But if the Commission's record in 2013 is any indication, it's more trustworthy today than at any time in its history. 4,070 units of affordable multifamily housing created, for example, for elderly, disabled, homeless and farm worker families. 899 housing counseling seminars attended by 8,110 potential homebuyers statewide. $329 million in home loans to 1,898 homebuyers - more than 80 percent through its new Home Advantage mortgage product and 126 percent more than the year before. In 2013, wrote Karen Miller who has chaired the Commission since 1997, "we emphatically shook off the malaise of the Great Recession with the return of multifamily bond financing and strong demand for homeownership." A 30th birthday, in other words, well worth celebrating. To read the Commission's full 2013 report, visit the website.
Does letter-writing work? Folks in Post Falls, Idaho probably think they do. It's Idaho's fastest-growing city, up from 17,000 in 2000 to 27,000 in 2010. And it's not stopping there. When the city still had fewer than 20,000 residents, homebuyers were able to take advantage of the very favorable terms of U.S. Department of Agriculture mortgage programs. Once it crossed that threshold, though, Post Falls could have lost its USDA eligibility. Which is why local real estate agents and officials went to work trying to persuade the Congress to raise the threshold from 20,000 to 35,000. "Loss of those programs would have had serious impact on many of our citizens' ability to own homes," City Council member Linda Wilhelm told The Coeur d'Alene Press, and in obtaining decent affordable rental homes and apartments. So, real estate agents and city officials started a letter-writing campaign, urging Members to, first, pass a Farm Bill and, second, to include in it an increase of the USDA threshold from 20,000 to 35,000. Congress listened, good news for Post Falls and hundreds of other small, but booming communities across the country. And all because they took the time to write a letter. For more, visit the website.
As it approached its 100th birthday, the Chandler Hotel building in downtown Coos Bay had becoming, wrote Tom Henderson in The Daily Journal of Commerce, the city's "equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa," refusing "to stand still." Built in just eight months, when it opened its doors in 1909 it was instantly dubbed "a first class hotel" and, for decades, would be considered one of Oregon's best hotels. Not so in 2010. The hotel had closed long ago. A restaurant occupied the first floor and low-income tenants the four stories above. And, thanks to a too short pier in one corner of the foundation, the Chandler, now on the National Register of Historic Places, had begun to move, steadily "inching northwest." It was declared unsafe and residents were relocated with help from the local housing authority. The owners were ordered to fix the problem. And that's when the story became interesting, even remarkable. Read The Coos Bay World account at theworldlink.com
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Washington Department of Financial Institutions says brochures describing protections afforded by the state's two-year-old foreclosure fairness and mediation act are now available in 11 languages - English, Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Samoan, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese & Cambodian. . .Boise Rescue Mission, says Idaho Statesman, celebrates opening of Valley Women's & Children Shelter and Lighthouse Rescue Mission (for me) in Nampa. . .Telling KING-TV "we need everyone who's interested in this to play a role," Council Member Mike O'Brien and colleagues hold affordable housing forum "on how we provide the mix of housing that the city of Seattle needs". . .100-year-old Rinehart Building in Portland's Albina neighborhood, a center for African-American culture and social activism from the 1950's to 1990's, listed on National Register of Historic Places. . .National Association of Home Builders names Martha Rose of Martha Rose Construction of Seattle as its Builder Green Advocate of the Year. . .Washington State Housing Finance okays $260,000 loan to Community Action Team for full renovation of 18-unit Marcus Place Apartments, the only rental complex for the low-income elderly in Colfax. . .Friends of Youth, YouthCare & Auburn Youth Resources and Auburn Youth Resources awarded $450,000 by Raikes Foundation, Ballmer Family Giving and Thomas V. Giddens, Jr. Foundation to help end youth homelessness in King County. . .With agreement on Federal budget, Real Change reports, 500 families Housing Authority of Snohomish County had feared would lose HUD rent subsidies will keep them. . .REACH CDC celebrates grand opening of first phase of new Glisan Commons housing in Gateway Center area of Portland as construction of phase 2 continues under the direction of Human Solutions. . .Columbian says Florida-based Communities for Veterans unveils plans for Freedom's Path 69 units for homeless and low-income veterans on VA campus in Vancouver. . .Pocatello City Council votes unanimously to refer local ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identification to voters I May 29th election. . .Capitol Hill Housing completes renovation of 30-unit, 109-year-old Haines Apartments in Seattle. . .Roseburg News Register awards "rose" to volunteers at shelters run by Dream Center and Douglas County Homeless Coalition for "dedication" in helping "more than 50 people" find refuge during cold snap. . .Puget Sound Regional Council issues Fair Housing Equity Assessment for Puget Sound at the website.
"Our community needs more social entrepreneurs!" Everett Herald columnist Patrick Sisneros proclaimed a few weeks ago. So, he set out to find out how to get them. He turned to a bona fide expert, Ed Peterson, the founder and executive director for the last 26 years of Housing Hope, a "lasting and impactful organization," says Sisneros, " to help reduce homelessness" in Snohomish County. What was his number one challenge in founding a social enterprise like Housing Hope? Funding, he answered. "Vision and management can't take you very far without resources." The key to leading? Team work, he says. "No individual person is as smart as a group working collaboratively." And his biggest mistake? "Hiring under-qualified persons for key positions in order to save money." To read the full interview, visit the website.
HUD has set May 5th as the deadline for public housing authorities with Housing Choice Voucher programs to apply for $7 million in project-based vouchers being made available under the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program which enables "homeless veterans to access affordable housing with an array of supportive services." It is expected that the funding will support an estimated 1,000 additional units of affordable housing for homeless veterans. For more, visit HUD's website.
The U.S. Department of Labor has set April 22nd as the deadline to apply for some $73 million in YouthBuild funds. The YouthBuild program provides "education, occupational skills training, and employment services to disadvantaged youth in their communities while performing meaningful work and service to their communities." Originated by HUD but now administered by Labor, traditionally a considerable number of YouthBuild fund to expand or preserve their community's affordable housing inventory. The young people served by YouthBuild are 16 to 24 and high school drop-outs or at risk of doing so, aging out of the foster care system or adjudicated. The program is designed them to acquire marketable skills - for example, in the construction trades - and also complete their high school education. For more, visit funding opportunity SGA-DFA-PY-13-04 at www.grants.gov
Building Changes announces 2014 funding opportunity through Washington Families Fund service grants. Approximately $1.6 million to support Rapid Re-Housing will be available to eligible housing and social service agencies from all counties in Washington State outside of King, Pierce, and Snohomish. Letters of Interest due March 18th. More at the website.
The Portland Housing Bureau has set April 11th as the deadline to respond to a request-for-proposals to provide $3.5 million in Federal and local funds "to support low-income households in accessing and maintaining stable homeownership, as well as funding to support low-income and disabled households in need of home repair." Some $2.4 million of the amount will be allocated to organizations providing homebuyer education and counseling and the balance to home repair services. A bidders conference will be held at Portland City Hall on March 11th. For a draft of the request-for-proposals, visit the website.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Lydia's Place in Bellingham marks 25th anniversary, celebrating the service it's provided to "more than 2,500" homeless Whatcom families, says The Herald. . .With $100,000 in support from City of Ashland, Access Inc. & Options for Homeless Residents of Ashland, reports Mail Tribune, celebrate opening of Ashland Community Resource Center to provide "one-stop" services to homeless. . .Credited by Kitsap Business Journal with restoring Housing Kitsap to "sound footing," executive director Tony Caldwell announces resignation effective March 1st. . .Blaine County Housing Authority tells Board of Commissioners that county lost 90 homeowners from 1990 to 2000, reports Idaho Mountain Express, but from 2000 to 2010 Authority put 60 homes for rent or sale on-line creating 34 new homeowners. . .Benton-Franklin Human Services launches Coordinated Entry System that, one homeless provider tells Tri-City Herald, allows people looking for housing to "make one stop and they're able to see the different resources and what they qualify". . .HUD Secretary Donovan names Washington, D.C. planning director Harriet Tregoning as director of HUD's office of sustainability. . .After 22 years as executive director of Blue Mountain Action Council in Walla Walla, Steve Moss to retire in July 2014. . .Tacoma's Nativity House wins $1 million grant from Milgard Family Foundation, says News Tribune, towards building New Nativity House. . .State Farm Insurance and LISC award $200,000 to Tacoma for revitalization efforts, reports News Tribune, to be led by Impact Capital. . ,Raising funds the old-fashioned way - spaghetti feeds - Veterans Enrichment Center in Klamath Falls tells Herald & News it hopes to more than quadruple its beds for homeless vets. . .Catholic Charities opens retail furniture store in 100-year-old Boulevard Building in north Spokane to support the work of its furniture bank which, says Spokesman Review, last year helped 623 low-income households "transition into stable housing". . .Alaska Association of REALTORS says HGTV currently is casting real estate agents and Lower 48 homebuyers for series on moving to Alaska. . .Portland Home Builders Foundation completes "record" 7 housing projects worth $1.8 million says Tribune. . .HUD posts 2013 Environmental Justice Implementation Progress Report at HUD's website.
Thanks to Idaho's Department of Commerce for its Show Me The Money blog which provides information about a host of funding opportunities of which you may not be aware. Worth a look.
How can you use HUD's wide array of programs to leverage your efforts to promote livability and sustainability in your community? You'll probably find some pretty good examples and answers in the newly-posted Leveraging for Livability: A Guide to HUD Programs and the Livability Principles that puts a Northwest "face" on how it's done. You'll find it at the Featured Local News section at HUD's website
"In fiscal year 2013, 471 Portland Housing Center homebuyers purchased homes, an 11 percent increase over fiscal year2012.Our client numbers increased significantly, as well: 1,808 customers utilized at least one Portland Housing Center service in fiscal year 2013, a 20 percent increase over fiscal year 2012." - Annual report, 2013, Portland Housing Center.
"This was a difficult decision because I have such pride and connection to the work and people of Home Forward," the Portland housing authority. "However, I feel very good about my time here and want the opportunity to explore what's next in my career. It's been quite an honor and privilege for me to serve as executive director since 2001. Being part of a mission-based public corporation that's evolved and accomplished so much despite significant budget challenges has truly been a rewarding experience. Home Forward supports over 15,000 households every month with a range of housing assistance options. We're also in the midst of aligning and strengthening a number of system partnerships (aging and disability, health, homelessness, education and workforce) to provide more opportunities and better outcomes for the people we serve. I'm pleased and proud that Home Forward is viewed as one of the most innovative and high performing housing authorities in the country." - - e-mail from Steve Rudman, January 27, 2014, announcing his diction to step down later this year after 13 years as executive director of Home Forwards.
SHORT & SWEET
"I'm homeless, not stupid." - Kevin Johnson, a resident of Quixote Village in Olympia, to Michael Tortorello in "Small World, Big Idea," The New York Times, February 19, 2014
WORTH A READ
The New York Times' Michael Tortorello recently paid a visit to Quixote Village in Olympia. "This, to my knowledge, is the first example of using micro-housing as subsidized housing for very poor people," Ginger Segal of Community Frameworks told him. "It's such an obvious thing. People are living in tents. They're living in cars. They're living in the woods." For his full story, visit the website.
Is the United States facing, as many believe, an equality of opportunity crisis? Depends, say researchers from Harvard University and the University of California at Berkeley, on where you live. See their paper - Where is the Land of Opportunity? - The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States - at the website.
"Asthma can be significantly mitigated by a combination of family education and home repairs. Teaming up with Public Health - Seattle & King County enabled us to achieve better outcomes for families than either agency could have accomplished by itself. The results of the study point to exciting future possibilities for joint program design between housing authorities and local public health departments." King County Housing Authority executive director Stephen Norman, February 5, 2014, commenting on an article in the January edition of the American Journal of Public Health about a study initiated by the Authority and conducted by the National Center for Healthy Housing that demonstrated, said a representative of the Center, the benefits that can be :achieved when community health programs are coupled with weatherization programs that repair the home itself.: For more, visit the website.
NOTES TO NOTE
Puget Sound Regional Council sets March 3rd eligibility screening deadline and April 8th application deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties to apply for $66 million in regional Federal Highway Administration funds. . .USDA sets March 7th deadline to apply for grants of $1.5 million under its Alaska Native & Native Hawaiian-Serving Education Institutions program. . .HHS' Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration sets March 7th deadline for Federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations to apply for grants of up to $400,000 under its Circle of Caring program to plan and develop infrastructure to improve the mental health and wellness of children, youth & families in American Indian/Alaska Native communities. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets March 7th deadline for eligibility screening and March 31st application deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties seeking $29 million in regional Federal Transportation funds. . .LISC & MetLife Foundation set March 9th deadline to apply for 2014Community Policing Partnership Awards of up to $30,000. . .Justice Department sets March 12th deadline for tribal governments to apply for total of $2.3 million under Tribal Sexual Assault Services program. . .Veterans Affairs sets March 14th deadline to apply for funds under its Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. . .Building Changes sets March 18th deadline to submit letter of intent to apply for total of $.5 million to support Washington state rapid re-housing efforts. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets March 31st deadline to submit nominations for VISION 2040 Awards. . .NAHMA sets April 4th deadline to submit nominations for its 2014 Affordable Housing Vanguard Award. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets April 11th deadline to apply for total of $3.5 million in homeownership and home repair assistance. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets April 11th eligibility screening deadline and May 19th application deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties seeking $454 million in shared distribution Federal Transit Administration funds. . .Labor Department sets April 22nd deadline to apply for $73 million in YouthBuild funding. . .Puget Sound Regional Council sets May 1st deadline for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce & Snohomish counties to submit forms for $130 million in countywide competitions. . .HUD sets deadline of May 5th to apply for $7 million in project-based VASH vouchers to assist homeless vets . . .Portland Housing Bureau says May 5th is "tentative" application due date for $17.5 million in CDBG and HOME funds for development, acquisition and preservation of affordable housing. . .Citizen Institute for Rural Design sets May 6th deadline for communities to apply for its help in creating annual design workshops. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will post application forms for some $6.9 million in 2014 Affordable Housing Program "on or around" May 15th with completed applications due August 1st. . .City of Seattle Office of Housing sets June 2014 deadline to submit applications under Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Loan Program.
Puget Sound Regional Council host project selection process workshops for public agencies in King, Kitsap, Pierce and Snohomish counties interested in apply for o$200 million in Federal Highway Administration and $486 million, in Federal Transit Administration funds, March 6th, East Fife.
Portland Housing Bureau hosts bidders conference for $3.5million Homebuyer & Home Repair Services RFP, March 11th, Portland.
Washington AHMA hosts 3-day HUD Basic Occupancy Certification Course, March 11th to 13th, Spokane.
Portland Housing Bureau, Oregon Opportunities Network & Hispanic Chamber of Commerce hold "meet & greet" with developers, contractors, architects, engineers & property owners on "soon-to-be-released" $17.5 million affordable housing funding opportunity, March 12th, Portland.
Oregon AHMA hosts Maintenance Medley workshop on Time Management, Cost Control & Budget, March 12th, Grants Pass.
King County Office of Civil Rights offers two workshops - Introduction to Fair Housing & Advanced Fair Housing, March 13th, Seattle.
Cascadia Green Building Council & Earth Advantage offer Emerge: Leadership Skills for Green Building Professionals & Advocates training, March 14th & 15th, Portland.
Oregon AHMA hosts workshop on Basic Landlord Tenant Law for Affordable Housing, March 18th, Salem.
Washington AHMA hosts 3-day HUD Basic Occupancy Certification Course, March 18th to 20th, Bellevue.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco hosts Setting a Rural Agenda for Washington State, March 19th, Ellensburg.
Resilient King County Initiative hosts workshop on recovery issues facing the Built Environment, March 19th, Renton.
Oregon Economic Development Association hosts spring conference, March 21st, Oregon City.
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Basic Environmental Reviews, March 25th to 27th, Seattle.
University of Idaho School of Law & Idaho Bar Association host Basics of Indian Law conference, March 28th, Moscow.
Seattle Housing Authority celebrates its 75th anniversary, April 2nd, Seattle.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 4th, Coeur d'Alene.
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray hosts Neighborhood Summit, April 5th, Seattle.
Oregon AHMA hosts annual April REAC Refresher, April 10, Salem.
Northwest Fair Housing Council hosts Affirmation 2014: The Spokane Fair Housing Conference, April 10th, Spokane.
Idaho Economic Development Association hosts spring conference, April 14th to 16th, Fort Hall.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 15th, Nampa.
King County Office of Civil Rights offers two workshops - Introduction to Fair Housing & Advanced Fair Housing, April 16th, Seattle.
Resilient King County Initiative hosts workshop on recovery issues affecting Livelihood & Well-Being, April 16th, Renton.
HUD Portland hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Grantees, April 17th, Portland.
HUD Portland hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, April 18th, Portland.
Intermountain Fair Housing Council offers Intro to Fair Housing workshop, April 21st, Pocatello.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts 2014 Spring Industry Support Conference, April 22nd, Eugene.
Affordable Rural Housing Council & Washington AHMA hold annual conference, April 22nd & 23rd, Yakima.
Oregon AHMA hosts Basic Landlord-Tenant Law for Affordable Housing Providers, Part II, April 22nd, Salem.
Washington Association of REALTORS hosts annual spring business conference, April 23rd to 25th, Cle Elum.
HUD Northwest hosts Basics of Fair Housing Webinar, April 23rd, on-line.
Oregon AHMA hosts Tax Credit Move-Ins from A to Z for HOME/LIHTC Managers, April 23rd, Salem.
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