LIVE FROM NEW YORK...
...comes word from HUD Secretary Donovan and Energy Secretary Chu that five lenders based in the Northwest - ShoreBank Enterprise Cascadia, HomeStreet Bank, SOFCU Community Credit Union of Oregon, Paramount Equity Mortgage and the City of Boise - are among 18 nationwide selected for FHA's new Power Saver pilot loan program. Through PowerSaver, homeowners will be able to borrow up to $25,000 to make energy-efficient improvements of their choice, including the installation of insulation, duct sealing, replacement doors and windows, HVAC systems, water heaters, solar panels, and geothermal systems. FHA mortgage insurance will cover up to 90 percent of the loan amount in the event of default. Lenders will retain the remaining risk on each loan, incentivizing responsible underwriting and lending standards. PowerSaver loans are only available to borrowers with good credit, manageable debt and at least some equity in their home (maximum 100% combined loan-to-value). "PowerSaver hits on all cylinders," Secretary Donovan said at a Long Island press conference, "by helping credit-worthy homeowners finance these upgrades, cut their energy bills and boost the local job market in the process."
With Governor Gregoire's April 14th signing of HB 1362 - the Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011 - Washington has become only the third of the 27 states that do not require courts to approve foreclosure actions to establish a foreclosure mediation program under which at-risk homeowners can have "face-to-face" negotiations with their lenders to modify mortgage terms. Under the law which takes effect in July, reports The Tacoma News Tribune, "homeowners who fall behind on their mortgage payments will have 30 days from the time that they get an initial letter from their lenders to respond and ask for a period of time called "meet and confer." If they do, they'll get 60 days to talk with their lender and counselors" before a notice of default is issued. During that period, "a housing counselor or a lawyer can refer a homeowner to a new third-party mediation process. If they get that referral, borrowers will be able to have in-person negotiations with their lenders and a third-party mediator" who is charged with insuring that both parties participate "in good faith." At the suggestion of the Washington Bankers Association, the bill also requires lenders to pay a $250 for every default notice, the proceeds from which will raise an estimated $7.5 million to support the expansion of housing counseling programs. Some "46 percent of the 4,212 people who participated in" the first year of Nevada's similar mediation program "were able to stay in their homes," the News Tribune reported. Representative Orwall says the law "will level the playing field between homeowners and mortgage lenders." Affidavits demonstrating lenders' compliance must be filed with the County Recorder. The law also defines the fees that may be charged in modifications.
Based on a report examining complaints from at-risk Idaho homeowners received by Attorney General Lawrence Wasden between 2008 and 2010, the Idaho Legislature has passed and Governor Otter has signed House Bill 331 - sponsored by Senator Dean Cameron (D-Burley) and Representative Max Black (R-Boise) that will, says the Attorney General, provide real help to thousands of distressed homeowners in Idaho." The law, also supported by the Idaho Bankers Association, is effective September 1st. Specifically, reports KIVI-TV, the law requires lenders to respond to requests for modification within 45 days, and prohibits them from proceeding to a foreclosure sale until after responding to the request. The lender must meet in person or over the phone with the borrower, if requested by the borrower. In the case of a potential foreclosure, lenders must provide a written notice to the homeowner that details the obligations owed, encourages the homeowner to contact the lender to discuss mitigation, including modification, and provide a modification request form. The law, said the Attorney General Wasden, "addresses the very complaints Idahoans have been sending to my office."
RurALCAP says it is assuming management of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation's weatherization program that provides free energy-efficiency upgrades to some 500 homes each year in Anchorage. .. .Idaho Housing & Finance tells Coeur d'Alene Press that within just one week of the launch of the HUD Emergency Homeowner Loan Program "some 250 Idaho residents facing the loss of their homes" because of unemployment or high medical bills had requested applications for bridge loans of up to $50,000, prompting the Association's Susan Semba to note "there has to be a lot more out there who could use this help,"...HUD awards total of $3.5 million in Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS/HIV renewal funds to Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Idaho Housing & Finance Association and Washington Department of Commerce...Kitsap Sun says Bremerton Housing Authority has demolished last of 571 Westpark houses built during World War II world to make way for new Bay Vista mixed-income neighborhood...Community Partnership for Affordable Housing celebrates grand opening of the 48-unit The Knoll at Tigard, "the the first housing development since Tigard created its Downtown Urban Renewal District". . .General Section of HUD's 2011 Notice of Funding Availability says 2011 applicants can be awarded 2 "bonus points" for work on sustainability...Oregon Opportunity Network names John Miller, formerly of HOST Development, as new executive director...Suquamish Tribe awarded Indian CDBG grant to develop infrastructure for additional affordable housing units...KPIC-TV says Roseburg City Council okays tax exemption for 55-unit veterans housing complex being developed by Umpqua Community Development Corporation and Umpqua Community Action Network on grounds of VA Medical Center in Roseburg...FHA implements .25 basis point increase on annual mortgage insurance premium for all case numbers assigned to mortgages on or after April 18th. ."A proposal to bring more than 200 apartments to the Sunrise Heights neighborhood by early summer has met with support from the city and the local homeowners association," comments Natalie Fuelner in The Oregonian, a sign that times are changing in Happy Valley," Oregon... Telling The Columbian the lot's "been an eyesore for too many years," Vancouver Mayor Tim Leavit's State of the City address says development 10 is a key to continued downtown revitalizations.'
Does solar work in Seattle? "Yep," says the King County Housing Authority, even though "sunny" isn't exactly the first word that pops into your head to describe Seattle. And, of course, there's the rain, even though, annually, all sorts of places - like Baltimore, and Oklahoma City, Boston and Atlanta, even Tampa and Miami - gets more precipitation than the Emerald City. And, yes, it's got clouds galore. But the sun still shines above them and the energy still streams through them to give us 70 percent of the sunshine L.A. gets. All of which is why, the King County Housing Authority estimates it will generate more than 52,000 kilowatts of electricity a year by installing 213 solar panels on 24 public housing units being built with Recovery Act funds in Greenbridge. When completed, it will be the largest residential solar array in the state and, says the Authority's Stephen Norman, "offset "the cost of providing electricity" and "cut the taxpayers' bill on an ongoing basis."
The City of Boise didn't wait on HUD to tell it how to promote fair housing. Back in 2008, Mayor Bieter appointed a Fair Housing Task comprised of folks from the real estate, human rights, advocacy, housing, and banking sectors. One of its very first recommendations was development of Boise's very own, homegrown campaign. And, in early April, that citywide campaign - television and radio public-service ads, billboards, bus panels, bus benches, and community presentations - was unveiled at a City Council meeting. "What makes this campaign so special," said HUD's Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, "is that it's home-grown, from start-to-finish reflecting the vision and commitment of the people of Boise."
PLACE-BASED IN PORTLAND
So, what does HUD mean when it says it supports "place-based" development? Maybe a brand new $50.3 million project for which the Portland Housing Bureau has just broken ground offers a pretty good example. They call it "Block 49" - romantic, huh? - and when the Bureau and REACH CDC complete development in late 2012, it will provide 209 affordable housing units, the first ever in the City's "emerging" South Waterfront neighborhood. It's near public transit, so that makes it "sort of" placed-based. It'll be "green", too. But what really earns the prize is that 42 of its units will be reserved for veterans and the VA Medical Center is just a hop, skip and jump away. Now, that alone transforms a "smart" project into a "brilliant" one by putting people near the services they need, the places they need to be. Now if they can just come up with a better name!
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Tacoma Housing Authority's 91-unit Salishan 7 complex, says eco home, is the "10,000th residential project," to win LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council... Juneau Affordable Housing Fund begins accepting applications for $260,000 in low-interest loans "to address shortage of affordable housing" in city... KEZI-TV says Eugene City Council has "voted unanimously " to extend a program that provides that offers tax exemptions to developers for "building low-income housing" and, since 1992, has "led to the construction of about 1,000 units"...King County Housing Authority begins $1.6 million "Green Communities & Energy Efficiency Upgrade" at 70-unit Boulevard Manor in Bothell that "will provide paying construction jobs in our community," says Congressman Jim McDermott, while enhancing "the quality, longevity and energy efficiency of this vital public asset"...Blaine County Housing Authority tells Idaho Mountain Express that construction of the new 24-unit River Street Apartments in Hailey is far enough long that it's begun taking pre-applications from potential residents... .Lakeview celebrates the grand opening of a USDA Rural Development-assisted 35,000 square foot addition to its hospital which serves 45,000 in southeastern Oregon and northern California. . .Columbia Basin Herald says Grant County Integrated Services has broken ground for 16-unit, $1.4 million "boarding home" in Moses Lake for people with mental and developmental disabilities...Yakima Herald says Prosser City Council okays re-zoning of 11 acres to permit Catholic Charities Housing Service to build "up to 139 units of housing"...Governor Kitzhaber confers Oregon Sustainability Awards on Corvallis Sustainability Coalition, Burgerville, First Alternative Co-op, Northwoods Nursery, Corvallis Schools and Port of Portland. . South Everett-Mukilteo Rotary Club donates $10,000 to help Housing Hope, says Mukilteo Beacon, "end family homelessness " ...Holy Redeemer Parish in North Bend opens Crossroads Community Café to serve "low-cost, home-cooked meals" like, says Catholic Sentinel, after Sisters of the Road café has "for decades" in Portland's Old Town...Seattle Housing Authority poll says 71% of residents support no-smoking policy in public Housing.
Sure signs Spring's sprung? The sun setting after eight, the daffodils blooming. The robins on your front lawn, perturbed it's not been cut since October, The kids developing a mysterious headache, telling you they don't think they'll be able to make it to school tomorrow. And, of course, HUD publishing the General Section of our 2011 Notice of Funding Availability. It's got all the rules and regulations, rating factors and filing requirements that will govern each and every one of HUD's more than 30 competitive grant programs. It's not a great read, not even a good read and, in fact, a dreary read. But if you want to compete for HUD funds this year, it is most certainly a must read. Find it online
HUD's opened the competition for some $114 million in Section 811, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities capital advance funds. The program competitively awards funds to non-profit organizations to both develop - through acquisition, rehabilitation or construction - and to operate supportive housing supportive housing for very low-income persons with disabilities who are at least 18 years old. The deadline to submit applications is June 23rd. More online.
HUD's also opened the competition for almost $64.9 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants. It's open to Tribes, Alaskan native villages or tribal organizations on behalf of Tribes. The application deadline is June 15th. For more, visit website
Saying that "all of these programs have a good track record of collaborating with community service providers to leverage the education and job training that help low-income families move to economic independence," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced that HUD is now seeking applications for some $110 million in competitive grants to help HUD-assisted families become independent and the elderly to stay in their homes. Some $15 million is available under the public housing Family Self Sufficiency program (application details) and $59.8 million under the Housing Choice Voucher Family Self Sufficiency program. The two programs help housing authorities to hire or retain caseworkers to link adult public housing or Housing Choice Voucher recipients to organizations that provide job training, childcare, counseling, transportation and job placement. Another $35 million is available under the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency program.
HUD's also begun accepting applications for four competitive grant programs to protect children from lead and other residential health hazards - Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and Lead Hazard Reduction grant program,; the Healthy Homes Production grant program at and the Asthma Intervention in Public & Assisted Multifamily Housing grant program. Applications are due under all four programs by June 9th and should be filed electronically via grants.gov.
The April 20th Federal Register included a HUD announcement of the establishment of the Small Area Fair Market Rent (FMR) Demonstration Project and inviting housing authorities that might want to participate in the program to submit a request by June 6th. HUD's Housing Choice Voucher program subsidizes the monthly rent of income-eligible households in privately-owned housing. The FMR is the basis for determining the ``payment standard amount'' used to calculate the maximum monthly subsidy for an assisted family Traditionally, the FMR established HUD for a metropolitan area is in effect for the entire area. This demonstration project is intended to help determine whether establishing an FMR for subareas of a metropolitan area will give assisted families "greater ability to move into opportunity areas, which are where jobs, transportation, and educational opportunities exist, and will reduce undue subsidy in lower-rent areas." For more information, please visit The Register.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
HUD awards $3.7 million to 25 new projects in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to help homeless "get back into stable homes and sustainable lifestyles" says HUD Regional Administrator McBride...Washington's local REALTOR associations name their Realtors of the Year at website... "Only two out of 15 landlords in Corvallis complied with federal fair housing rules," Corvallis Gazette reports, "in answering rental inquiry calls placed by a Mexican national, a disabled person with a service animal and an applicant with children" as part of a Fair Housing Council of Oregon "testing" study...Union Gospel Mission tells Spokane Journal of Business it'll "break ground next month" on $6 million "service-recovery center for women and children" in Coeur d'Alene...Ashland Daily Tidings okays $163,142 to Access, Inc., to develop six affordable housing units "years after" they were supposed to have been built by private developer...Safe Harbor tells KNDO-TV it plans to re-open 16-bed teen crisis center in Kennewick...With state, CDBG and private funding, Clark County Food Bank breaks ground for $4.2 million, 22,000 square-foot warehouse to almost triple capacity...GroundWorks celebrates grand opening of first phase of Rice Park at Verde, a 15-unit self-help project in Ashland...Low Income Housing Institute completes purchase of site in Seattle's University District it will transform into 50 units of housing for homeless and foster kids and as home of local food bank...Crest Butte Apartments in Bend schedules open house to "show off" renovation funded, in part, by USDA Rural Developments Section 515 Rural Rental Housing Loan Program...Capitol Hill Housing's 44-unit Broadway Crossing in Seattle, developed partly with HOME funds, wins a HUD 20th Anniversary Door Knocker award...As a result of REE-Construction's efforts to raise $25,000 in donated materials and labor to eliminate mold from Martin Street Apartments, a transitional housing facility for the mentally-ill, says Twin Falls Times-News, the project "won't cost cash-strapped (Idaho) Health and Welfare a dime"...Thanking its partners for "their teamwork and cooperation," Oregon Housing & Community Services has received "more than 4,000 applications" under its Treasury-funded Homeowner Stabilization Mortgage Payment Assistance program.
CALLING ALL FRIENDS
Pencil handy? Then pencil-in the 2011 Housing Washington conference in Spokane from September 26th to 28th. And, once you do that, visit the conference Website and think seriously about nominating someone you know for a Friend of Housing Award. With all the great things that have happened around this state, housing's got plenty of friends. So, let's make sure we recognize them. There's no better way than a Friend of Housing Award.
WORTH A READ
How do you build permanent shelter for homeless encampments that may move from one place to another every 60 or 90 days? "Fledgling carpenters," reports The Olympian, in Community Youth Services' YouthBuild program in Olympia have an idea - 70-square-foot, "green" sleeping units mounted on small travel trailers they've built for residents of Camp Quixote. "We'll use the tiny homes while we're still an itinerant camp," said Jill Severn, chairwoman of Panza, the interfaith group that supports Camp Quixote. The project was one of 20 featured in this year's Northwest EcoBuild's South Sound Green Tour. For more, visit website
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The impact of this foreclosure crisis is affecting every one of us, not just people who are losing their homes. We're talking about our neighbors, co-workers, close friends and family members; foreclosure is no longer something that happens to other people...I kept hearing the same story from exasperated homeowners attempting to navigate the complicated banking system, being bounced from one department to another, and when they finally reached an actual service representative, they often got contradictory information. How can you reach a solution to your mortgage problem if the bank is basically ignoring you? . . Adding housing counselors and third-party mediation to the foreclosure process will level the playing field between homeowners and mortgage lenders" - - Washington state Representative Tina Orwall (D-Des Moines), primary sponsor of HB1362, the Foreclosure Fairness Act of 2011, signed into law by Governor Gregoire on April 14th, in The State Column of April 15th more online
DON'T BE SHY
Ever met a HUD regulation you didn't like? Well, here's your chance to do something about t. At the direction of President Obama, HUD's conducting a thoroughgoing review of its rules and regulations, looking for those that are inefficient, outdated or excessively burdensome. And, as we mentioned last month, we'd like to hear from you. For the how's and what's of the process, please visit webiste. The clock's ticking, though, with comments due May 2nd.
NOTES TO NOTE
On April 15th, FHA issued Mortgagee Letter 2011-17 allowing FHA-approved lenders to "discreetly" display the official FHA-approved lending institution log "for purposes of describing and illustrating to the public the types of loan products offered" by the lender but it "be accompanied by a conspicuous disclaimer that clearly informs the public that the mortgagee authoring the Device is not acting on behalf of or at the direction of HUD/FHA or the Federal government"... HUD sets May 2nd deadline for public to identify HUD regulations that are "outdated, ineffective, or excessively burdensome". . .USDA Rural Utilities Service sets May 4th deadline to apply for Community Connect grants of up to $1.5 million to "provide broadband access in rural communities"...Oregon Housing & Community Services extends deadline to apply for Director position until May 5th...Alaska Housing Finance Corporation sets May 5th deadline to submit comments on proposed changes in its loan programs, including increase in loan limits...Health & Human Services sets May 20th application deadline to apply for Supplemental Services for Recently Arrived Refugees funds ...Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will open on-line application process for $2.4 million in Affordable Housing Program funds on May 15th with applications due no later than August 1st...Oregon Housing & Community Services sets May 23rd deadline to apply for $4.75 million in HUD Neighborhood Stabilization Program III funds for use in Deschutes, Multnomah and Jackson counties...HHS sets May 25th deadline for nonprofits to apply for "summer cycle" Assets for Independence grants that help low-income households set-up and mange individual development accounts...Juneau Affordable Housing Fund sets May 31st deadline to submit preliminary applications for low-interest affordable housing development loans...HUD sets June 1st deadline to apply for Section 202, Supportive Housing for the Low-Income Elderly grants...USDA Rural Development has set June 4th deadline to apply for the 4th quarter round of its Rural Economic Development Grants...Department of Labor now accepting applications for grants to support Stand Down events for veterans in Federal fiscal year 2011 and, "tentatively," 2012 and 2013...HUD sets June 8th as deadline to apply for $59.8 million in Housing Choice Voucher/Family Self-Sufficiency funds...HUD sets June 6th deadline for housing authorities to request participation in Small Area Fair Market Rents Demonstration Project. . .HUD sets June 9th deadline to apply for Healthy Homes Production grants, Asthma Intervention in Public & Multifamily Assisted Housing grants, Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control grants and for Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants...HUD sets June 15th deadline to apply for almost $64.9 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants...HUD sets June 23rd deadline to apply for Section 811, Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities funding...HUD sets June 29th deadline to apply for $15 million in Family Self Sufficiency under the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency program funds...HUD sets July 13th deadline to apply for $35 million Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency Coordinator funds.
A quick note. We've changed the address for our Twitter service. So, if you want to receive daily Tweets from HUD - and we hope you do - that's where you have to go to sign up. What'll you get? Lots of "hot off the press" information on funding opportunities, policy changes, training opportunities, upcoming conferences and highlights of the work our - and your - partners are doing in the Northwest. Sign up online
CHANGE IN PLANS
Because of uncertainty about a "shut down" of the Federal government, HUD and the Bureau of Indian Affairs decided to reschedule their planned workshop about Mortgages on Tribal Land at the Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights, Washington to August 2nd and 3rd. On-line registration for the event is now open
Pacific Northwest NAHRO annual conference, May 1st through 3rd, Tacoma.
Idaho Statewide Nonprofit Center hosts North Idaho Nonprofit Forum, May 4th, Coeur d'Alene.
Idaho Department of Commerce hosts Rural Community Forum, May 4th, Bayview.
Fannie Mae hosting Avoid Foreclosure: Get the Help You Need events, May 5th through 7th, Portland.
Idaho Department of Commerce hosts Rural Community Forum, May 5th, Cottonwood.
17th annual Washington State Nonprofit Conference, May 6th, Bellevue.
HUD Anchorage hosts Rental Housing Underwriting & Finance Workshop, May 10th to 12th, Anchorage.
Low Income Housing Institute celebrates 100th birthday of Frye Hotel in Pioneer Square which, since 1997, it has operated as affordable housing for the homeless, May 10th, Seattle.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, May 11th.
21st Annual Conference of Washington State Coalition for the Homeless, May 11th to 13th, Kennewick.
EPA & Washington Department of Ecology host 2011 Brownfields & Land Revitalization Conference, May 12th to 13th, Spokane.
Idaho Department of Commerce hosts Rural Community Forum, May 12th, Rigby.
Idaho Department of Commerce hosts Rural Community Forum, May 13th, Pocatello. Visit Idaho Department of Commerce hosts Rural Community Forum, May 12th, Rigby.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians holds Mid-Year Meeting, May 16th to 19th, Worley.
HUD Anchorage hosts workshop on Federal Labor Standards Workshop on Certified Payroll Basics for contractors, Tribes, Housing authorities, & CDBG grantees, May 18th, Anchorage.
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association Spring Conference, May 18th to 20th, Bend.
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop, May 23rd, Tacoma.
HUD Seattle hosts Environmental Training on Tiered Reviews for Minor Rehabilitation, May 24th & 25th, Seattle.
King County Office of Civil Rights hosts Advanced Fair Housing Workshop, May 24th, Seattle.
Neighborhoods USA annual conference, May 25th to 28th, Anchorage.
HUD Anchorage hosts Federal Labor Standards Workshop for contractors, Tribes, housing authorities & CDBG grantees, May 26th, Anchorage.
RurALCAP hosts 28th Annual Rural Providers Conference, May 30th to June 3rd, Dillingham.
HUD Boise hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Public & Tribal Housing Authorities, June 7th, Boise.
HUD Boise & Idaho Association of General Contractors hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, June 8th, Boise.
HUD Boise hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop for CDBG & HOME Recipients, June 9th, Boise.
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Labor Standards Workshop, June 14th, Seattle.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, June 15th.
HUD Seattle & Associated General Contractors of Washington host Fair Labor Standards Workshop for Contractors, June 20th, Yakima.
Habitat for Humanity hosts Green Steps Sustainable Building Conference, June 21st & 22nd, Vancouver.
CASA of Oregon hosts 8th biennial Farmworker Housing Asset & Property Management Conference, June 22nd to 24th, Redmond, OR.
Rural Development Institute hosts Regards to Rural Conference, June 23rd to 25th, Corvallis.
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