April, was Fair Housing Month and HUD very much appreciates proclamations issued by, among others, Governor Kulongoski of Oregon, Mayor Bland of Pocatello, Mayor Adams of Portland , Mayor Fuhriman of Idaho Falls and Spokane County Commission Chair Richard marking the 42nd anniversary of the Fair Housing Act. Ironically, in April we also saw some reminders of why the Act and its protections remain so important in the lives of the American people. The Fair Housing Council of Oregon, for example, reported it had sent teams of African-American and white testers into apartment complexes advertising units for rent. The result, said The Oregonian, was "two-thirds of the black testers faced discrimination in Ashland and 78 percent in Beaverton." Also in April HUD filed a charge against a management company and on-site management of an apartment building in Renton for allegedly engaging in a pattern of adverse treatment of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, and families with children. The landlord allegedly "banned her assistant manager from speaking Spanish to Hispanic applicants, saying, "We speak English here." No wonder that, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity John Trasvina recently noted that, even 42 years after the Act was passed, "we have a good deal of work to do."
SPEAKING OF WHICH. . .
Feeling a little rusty on your rights and obligations under the Fair Housing Act? Then,, please don't forget HUD's holding free Fair Housing Workshops in Spokane on June 2nd, in Seattle on June 16th and August 25th, in Portland on July 14th and in Boise on August 26th. Visit .
John Wallace, former executive vice president of Washington Association of REALTORS, returns to Northwest from North Carolina as new chief executive officer of Oregon Association of REALTORS. . .Telling Idaho Statesman "we know it's not going to be enough, but it's better than the nothing we've been doing," Boise Mayor Bieter presides at grand opening of Allumbaugh House, the Treasure Valley's "first community detox and mental health center" built on site acquired with CDBG funds. . .King County wins one of 12 EPA Brownfields Training Grants to provide "green" skills training to 75 underemployed or unemployed residents of Duwamish/Tukwila area. . .CLT Network releases study finding that "conventional homeowners were 8 times as likely to be in the process of foreclosure as" community land trust "homeowners at the end of the 4th quarter of 2009". . .Cities of Portland and Seattle among just 25 nationwide to win Energy Department grants to "ramp-up energy efficient building retrofits". . .KTVL-TV says that "Habitat for Humanity's first homeowners in the Rogue Valley" has "paid off her mortgage" on Medford "she bought" - and helped build - 20 years ago. . .Journal of Commerce says Seattle Housing Authority will start construction of "super sustainable", 86-unit Lake City complex that "will use 30 percent less energy than a similar structure built to state code". . .HUD awards 14 housing authorities more than $1 million to protect the Housing Choice Vouchers in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. . .Saying they are "a key building block for local folks to work their economic magic," Idaho Governor Otter announces award of $9.1 million in CDBG funds to 27 city and county governments for downtown revitalization, senior centers, public facilities, infrastructure improvement and job creation. . .Portland Housing Bureau awards total of $2.1 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to Habitat for Humanity Portland/East Metro and to partnership between Proud Ground and NAYA to rehab or re-build foreclosed homes and land. . .Spokane United Methodist Housing breaks ground for 38-unit Appleway Courts elderly housing complex in Spokane Valley.
READY & SET TO APPLY?
At website, HUD's Office of Sustainable Housing & Communities has posted a notice advising potential applicants for some $98 million Sustainable Communities Planning Grant funds of the timelines and details of registration that "must be met before an application can be submitted." It also requests potential applicants to, no later than May 14th, advise HUD of their intent to apply by calling the HUD NOFA Information Center at 800-HUD-8929. HUD also expects applications to be filed via website that requires a DUNS number and registration with the Central Contract Registry.
Recognizing the Supreme Court's view in its 1999 Olmstead ruling that institutionalization "severely limits" the ability of persons with disabilities to "interact with family and friends, to work and to make a life for him or herself," HUD Secretary Donovan and HHS Secretary Sebelius have invited public housing authorities to compete for $40 million that will fund up to 5,300 Housing Choice Vouchers to expand affordable housing options of non-elderly persons with disabilities and allow them to live independently. Calling it a "major milestone," Donovan said "up to 1,000" of the vouchers will be for those "currently living in institutions" or those at risk of institutionalization. "These vouchers, along with Medicaid home and community-based services, are essential supports that make the President's vision for community living possible," said Sebelius. Applications are due July 7th. For more, visit
HUD Secretary Donovan and Treasury Secretary Geithner are seeking comments between now and July 21st on "the future of the housing finance system, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the overall role of the Federal government in housing policy." They're hoping "market participants, industry groups, academic experts, and consumer and community organizations" will share their views on "How should federal housing finance objectives be prioritized in the context of the broader objectives of housing policy?" On What role should the federal government play in supporting a stable well-functioning housing finance system and what risks, if any, should the federal government bear in meeting its housing finance objectives?" On "should the government approach differ across different segments of the market, and if so, how?" On "how should the current organization of the housing finance system be improved?" On "how should the housing finance system support sound market practices?" On "what is the best way for the housing finance system to help ensure consumers are protected from unfair, abusive or deceptive practices?" And on "do housing finance systems in other countries offer insights that can help inform U.S. reform choices?" Have you got views to share? Visit and let us know what you think.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
KPVI-TV says Eastern Idaho Community Action accepting applications for 23 units of new farm worker housing at Lakeview Family Apartments in Roberts to be ready for occupancy in mid-June. . .Attendance at Yamhill County's Community Connect for homeless more than doubles from 2009 to 2010. . .HUD Seattle okays $7.6 million capital advance for construction of 55-unit elderly complex at Tacoma Housing Authority's Salishan revitalization project. . . News Review editorial says Roseburg's new Downtown Grant Façade program is "funding well spent". . .Haven Shelter in Idaho Falls says it will, by October, complete new community center with kitchen, computer lab and classrooms to help residents learn "they can weather hardship" and then get to work adding 19 more living units. . .Telling Tacoma News Tribune "we can't keep building McMansions and expect to sustain our natural resources," Northwest EcoBuilding Guild holds first-ever South Sound Green Tour. . .REACH Community Development's 14-story, 176-unit affordable Station Place complex in Portland's Pearl District and the mixed-use Albany Ironworks complex win two of three 2010 Oregon Brownfields Awards. . .Daily World says Habitat of Grays Harbor breaks ground in Hoquiam for its 12th house. . . Yakima Herald says YWCA will open county's first transitional housing for women "who don't have the resources to buy or rent" so feel their only option is to go back to their abuser". . .Albany Democrat reports Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs plans "100 to 150-bed veterans home in Lebanon". . .Serenity House cuts ribbon on 28-unit apartment complex for homeless in Malney Heights neighborhood of Port Angeles that, says Peninsula Daily News, also will soon see construction of 14 single-family homes by Habitat of Clallam County. . .Squaxin Island Tribe and City of Ellensburg and Ellensburg Downtown Association among winners of 2010 Washington State Historic Preservation Officers Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation. . .Using $1.5 million in Recovery Act funds, City of Spokane, SNAP, Volunteers of America, Catholic Charities and Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium launch "Moving Forward" program to provide short-term rental help, says KXLY-TV, to folks who've never needed government aid but now can't pay rent due to downturn. . .Telling Idaho Statesman "they've told us our homes are so tight that you could heat them with a candle," Meridian High building trades instructor Enger and 33 students complete 9th Boise Valley Habitat home in nine years.
Using HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds from City of Boise, the Boise/Ada County Housing Authority is moving aggressively to acquire 25 abandoned or foreclosed properties to reclaim, rehab and re-sell before, as Secretary Donovan has noted, they can corrode what is still strong and vital in neighborhoods where they're located. In fact, it's already re-sold 17 of the 25 homes to low-income families, providing almost 1,700 hours of much-needed work for local contractors and restoring more than $2 million in properties to the tax rolls. "One of the most gratifying aspects of our work with HUD programs is when we can see the results of the funding along with our efforts connecting families in need with new affordable homeownership opportunities. Each closing is both gratifying and inspiring."
The Anchorage Daily News reports that the Cold Climate Research Center of Fairbanks has completed designs of prototype homes - "one designed for the state's wind-beaten coast and one for the Arctic" - that it expects to build and begin testing later this summer as possible "low-cost answers to the housing crunch in rural Alaska." The first house - an "easy-to-heat, eight-sided home meant to resemble traditional Yup'ik dwellings" - will be built in the village of Quinhagak in the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta where "dozens of 1970s-era houses" have rotted and become dangerous because of severe weather conditions. The new design, says the Center, could reduce energy costs up to 50 percent and sell "for roughly half the cost of other recent houses" in the village. The savings from the second house - to be built in Pt. Lay on the Chuckchi Sea - are exp to be even greater since the cost of shipping building materials to the Arctic can force the sales prices above $1 million. "Hopefully," said Dan Shepherd, project manager for the regional housing authority. "this could be a new trend and better way of building and we'll be able to put out more homes for the people in the villages." The Center's work results partly from a working group formed by the villages, Senator Begich, HUD and other Federal and state agencies to develop more cost-, energy- and climate-effective ways to meet the needs of rural villages with housing, said The Daily News editorial board, "designed for Alaska" and not the Lower 48.
Bremerton is about to lose a very good friend and neighbor - Pat Millen of the Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia. After a decade in western Washington, reports The Kitsap Sun, her Order, has asked her to take charge of the financially-troubled St. Joseph Family Center in Spokane. She'll start in July. But like every other place she's lived and worked - from western Alaska to southeastern Pennsylvania, from Baltimore to New York City, Sister Pat will be leaving behind a very considerable legacy in Bremerton. Like the 6,107 nights of lodging or the 22,833 meals provided over three years to homeless men by the Homeless Outreach Support Team she formed with help from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Or like the almost 4,000 volunteers she recruited to served the homeless. Or like Benedict House, a facility opened in 2008 to provide both temporary and transitional housing to homeless men. "I love the way she engaged the community, particularly the churches, in development and provision of the service of housing homeless men, even before the physical building was in place," Larry Eyer, executive director of Kitsap Community Resources, told The Sun. "She has accomplished a task few aspire to do," added the Reverend Debbie Little of First Christian Church. Her legacy will last and a new one surely will be built in Spokane. It's a great loss, we'd say, for Bremerton but a great gain for Spokane.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Cathey Briggs named executive director of Oregon Opportunity Network. . .Bellingham Herald says Whatcom County Housing Authority awards grant to Rainbow Recovery Center that serves "more than 100 adults a day who are recovering from mental illness" . .With initial funding from National Association of REALTORS Gribin Workforce Housing Grants Program, Oregon Bankers Association and Oregon REALTORS Association launch HOME Sweet Home program to help Oregonians at or below 100 percent of median income buy homes. . .Issaquah Press says construction has begun on first of 10 zHome town houses designed to "produce as much electricity as the units consume". . .Tri-City Herald says Catholic Charities of Spokane breaks ground on 43-unit Bishop Topel Housing for farm worker families in Pasco. . .Housing Authority of Portland reports housing retention rates that "exceed the program's baseline goals" when beneficiaries are tracked three, six and twelve months after receiving assistance through its Short Term Rental Assistance program by which 19 social service agencies provide "rental assistance, deposits, move-in costs and more' to those "who need a hand getting through a rough patch" . . .Reporter says St. Andrew's Housing Group breaks ground on $12.2 million Andrew's Glen, a 40-unit complex for homeless vets on grounds of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Factoria area of Bellevue. . .Boise Rescue Mission celebrates opening of 10-unit wing to help homeless vets referred by VA. . .USDA Rural Development awards American Falls, Idaho, $11 million and the village of Gulkana, Alaska $1.2 million in Recovery Act loans and grants for wastewater system updates. . .Lawyer Tad Everhart of Community Development Law Center celebrates Earth Day with an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss passive housing. . .Kitsap County Commissioners confer Earth Day Award for green building on Bremerton Housing Authority's Bay Vista revitalization project. . ."We couldn't have been more blown away," Magic Valley Habitat tells Times News, on receiving its first Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant from Idaho Housing & Finance to buy, rehab and re-sell home to a mother and three kids.
NOTES TO NOTE
As part of implementing 2009 Hearth Act that that consolidates HUD's three homeless assistance programs into one, April 20th Federal Register at website seeks public comments by June 21st on new definitions of homeless. . . Oregon Housing & Community Services announces forums in Medford, Eugene, Bend & Portland to help decide and design how it spends $88 million in Treasury Department "hardest hit" funds under its Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Program. . . USDA Rural Development sets June 28th deadline to apply for Rural Business Opportunity Grants for business and community development projects that "help rural communities create wealth, attract more residents and become economically self-sustaining". . . EPA's Renovation, Repair & Painting rule requiring all contractors working on pre-1978 houses and other facilities where children spend time to be EPA-certified in lead-safe work practices took effect April 22nd. . .U.S. Treasury's Financial Literacy & Education Commission launches website to "help Americans find free, reliable and unbiased information that can help inform their daily financial decisions and plan for the future." . . . Oregon Housing & Community Services now accepting applications for Manufactured Dwelling Park Purchase Program funded with $3.1 million by State Legislature in 2009 to provide loans and grants to tenants to help purchase the park and preserve it as affordable housing Mortgagee Letter 2010-11 at website says borrowers and servicers of FHA-HAMP modified mortgages can qualify for Treasury success payments. . . April 21st Federal Register notice at website says Continuums of Care expecting to apply for $1.68 billion in 2010 funds must register by June 4th. . .USDA's Rural Housing Service holds public forum May 14th at University of Washington campus in Tacoma to solicit feedback from the public on whether the current self-help program is most efficient and cost effective in terms of cost and program delivery". . .
QUOTE TO NOTE
"With its hillside views of Oyster Bay, Bremerton Housing Authority chose well in naming its new community Bay Vista. But setting aside the project's scenic aspects, it might aptly have been called New Beginnings. The project marks a new beginning - and name - for the Westpark site, new homes for hundreds of current and will-be Bremerton residents and an appealing new western "gateway" for the city of Bremerton. Both tangibly and symbolically, Bay Vista also marks a bright new beginning for the Bremerton Housing Authority, which only five years was a beleaguered agency on the brink of extinction. . .The planned community is being built on the 83-acre site of Westpark, a development of 600-plus units built in 1941 as temporary housing for shipyard workers. The duplexes and fourplexes were not constructed for use more than about 20 years, but outlived that by decades as low-income housing . . .Bay Vista will include about 850 housing units,. . .About one-fourth will be used for low-income housing, with former Westpark residents getting first preference. The rest will be mixed-income housing, with a good portion probably in the "affordable" category. BHA officials say that intermingling public housing with mixed-income public housing will erase the stigma attached to low-income projects like the old Westpark. . .We commend Bremerton Housing Authority for its rebirth as an effective agency, its solvent stability, its continuing focus on providing decent public housing - and for the vision and integrity it shows while building a new gateway to Bremerton's future." -Excerpted from Kitsap Sun, April 10, 2010.
HUD Boise hosts HUD Environmental Training Workshop, May 2nd & 3rd, Boise. Visit
Oregon Housing & Community Services Fair Housing Forum, May 4th, Klamath Falls. Visit
HHS hosts Assets for Independence workshop on Federal funding for individual development accounts, May 4th & 5th, Seattle. Visit
Idaho Department of Labor & Oregon Department of Employment host 2010 Rural Conference, May 4th to 6th, Coeur d'Alene. Visit
OHCS Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Program forum, May 10th, Medford. Visit
OHCS Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Program forum, May 11th, Eugene. Visit
Annual conference of Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, May 12th to 14th Spokane. Visit
Annual conference of Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association, May 12th to 14th, Eugene. Visit
Grassroots & Groundwork Conference, May 12th and 13th, Portland. Visit
OHCS Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Program forum, May 13th, Bend. Visit
USDA Rural Housing Service Self-Help Housing forum, May 14th, Tacoma. Visit
National Housing Conference hosts "Partners in Innovation: Financing the Preservation of Rural & Urban Rental Housing" conference, Portland, May 17th. Visit
Mid-year conference of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, May 17th to 20th, Grand Ronde. Visit
OHCS Oregon Homeownership Stabilization Program forum, May 19th, Portland. Visit
24th annual Washington State Downtown Revitalization Training Institute, May 19th to 21st, Port Townsend. Visit
U.S. Treasury's Community Development Finance Initiatives Fund hosts How to Certify Your Group as CDFI teleconference, May 20th. Visit
USDA Oregon hosts Multistate Multifamily Buyer & Seller's Green Conference, May 20th and 21st, Portland. Contact Rod.firstname.lastname@example.org
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Workshop, June 2nd, Spokane. Visit
Inland Empire Section of American Planning Association holds annual conference, June 2nd to 4th, Priest Lake. Visit
HUD's Office of Native American Programs hosts Asset Building: A Pathway to Economic Self-Determination, June 2nd & 3rd, Spokane. Visit
Federal Labor Standards for Contractors Workshop, June 7th, Pasco. Visit
RurAL lCAP hosts 27th annual Rural Providers Conference, June 7th to 11th, Kodiak. Visit.
Federal Labor Standards for Contractors Workshop, June 9th, Yakima. Visit
Association of Oregon Counties summer conference, June 14th to 16th, Riverhouse Bend. Visit
63rd annual Idaho Association of Cities Conference, June 16th to 18th, Idaho Falls. Visit
Renewable Energy Alaska Project hosts 2nd annual Business of Clean Energy in Alaska Conference, June 17th to 18th. Visit
HUD's Northwest Office of Native American Programs host "How-to's of Becoming an Approved Section 184 Home Mortgage Lender," June 21st & 22nd, Seattle. Visit
Annual conference of Washington Association of Cities, June 22nd to 25th, Vancouver. Visit
National Community Development Association summer conference, June 23rd to 25th, Seattle. Visit