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HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington
November 2008

FHASecure Helps 21,000 Northwest Families
More than 21,000 families in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington at risk of losing their homes due to high-cost mortgages have refinanced into fixed-rate, FHASecure mortgages. Through September 30, 2008, FHASecure had closed on 893 refinances in Alaska, 3,383 refinances in Idaho, 5,712 refinances in Oregon and 11.620 in Washington. The total dollar value of the 21,608 FHASecure mortgages in the Northwest was almost $4.4 billion. The families, said HUD Secretary Preston, "now have peace of mind knowing they have a stable, more affordable mortgage." Read more

Boise Best
The American Planning Association has named Boise's first suburb - the North End - as one of 2008's 10 Great Neighborhoods. "As someone who grew up in the North End it's an honor to be recognized," said Mayor David Bieter, and "indicative of our entire city and what makes Boise the most livable city in the country."

Special Visitor
HUD Secretary Preston visited Seattle October 20th for an "on the ground look at what's happening in one of the nation's most important housing markets." Stops included a round table with 20 housing counselors, real estate professionals and lenders on what's working and what's not in foreclosure prevention, and a Seattle City Club "conversation on the future of housing in the Puget Sound". "A day very well spent," Preston told Regional Director John Meyers before departing for San Francisco.

Brief Briefs
Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter proclaims October 19-25 Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Idaho...Housing Resources Group cuts ribbon on Kenyon House in Seattle's Rainier Valley, the 50th building the Group has developed and the first using HUD Housing Opportunities for People With Aids (HOPWA) funding...Oregon Association of REALTORS names Eugene's Jeremy Starr as REALTOR of the Year...Washington State University launches Institute for Sustainable Design thanks to $500,000 grant from Weyerhauser Foundation...Dolly Newman takes helm as executive director of Douglas County, Oregon housing authority...HUD okays Tacoma Housing Authority's $23.7 mixed-finance proposal to build 90 new units of affordable rental housing in Salishan area...Boise City/Ada County Housing Authority wins $255,000 Department of Justice grant to provide housing and assistance to victims of domestic violence... Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake announces new steps - higher loan-to-value ratios and maximum mortgage limits - to help "a substantial number of veterans" with sub-prime mortgages refinance into a safer, more affordable, VA guaranteed loan.

Funding-mentals
HUD sets December 16th deadline to apply for Section 202 Pre-Development Design grants...Department of Labor sets January 15th deadline to apply for $47 million in YouthBuild grants.

Congrats...
To 2008 Oregon Housing & Community Service Excellence Award winners - Vicki Skryha, formerly of the Department of Human Services in Salem, Leander Court Apartments in Portland, Richard Harris of Central City Concerns in Portland, David Castricano of U.S. Bank in Portland, Innovative Housing of Portland, David's House in Roseburg, Raquel Guglielmetti of Northwest Real Estate Capital Corp in Boise, Allison Brown of Princeton Property Management in Cornelius, REACH Community Development Resident Services in Portland, Community Action of Washington County and Columbia County Flood Relief.

Informed Choices
The Community Action Partnership in Lewiston, Idaho, the Idaho Housing & Finance Association in Boise, Solid Ground Washington in Seattle, the Spokane Neighborhood Action Program, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation in Eugene, the Umpqua Community Action Network in Roseburg and Open Door Counseling Center in Hillsboro have won a total of $523,000 in HUD housing counseling grants. The grants "not only help to put people into homes, but they help to keep them there as well," said HUD Secretary Preston, by offering expert advice on how they can "manage their money, navigate the homebuying process, and securing their financial future."

Dollars & Sense
The Simplots of Idaho are well known for growing things, especially potatoes. Now the grandson of the late billionaire J.R. Simplot is planting something else affordable housing. J.D. Simplot says 65 of the first 100 new homes his company will build in Eagle - where the median home price is $500,000 - will cost from $144,900 and $179,900. "My grandfather believed every American should own a home," he told The Idaho Statesman. "You have to build something affordable or you're not going to make any money."

Brief Briefs Too
Five Northwest organizations - Intermountain Fair Housing Council in Idaho, the Fair Housing Council and Legal Aid Services in Oregon and the Washington Fair Housing Center and Northwest Fair Housing Alliance - win total of almost $1.2 million in 2008 HUD Fair Housing Initiative Program Funds...Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue celebrates grand opening of newly-renovated and expanded facilities...With a $62,000 grant and 100 volunteers from Bank of America, Seattle Housing Authority builds 3,000 square foot playground in New Holly neighborhood...University of Oregon's Tim Haney, University of Washington's Lynne Chronister and Portland State's Cindy Marchand-Cecil win 2008 HUD Doctoral Dissertation grants...Daily Astorian reports that City of Astoria and Clatsop County Housing Authority are reviewing proposals to transform 80-year old, 51-unit Waldorf Housing into affordable housing...Bonner County Housing Authority and Coeur d'Alene Board of REALTORS sign on as training partners in Idaho Housing and Finance Association's Finally Home homebuyer education program...HUD okays $4.1 million, 50-unit expansion of Lilac Terrace elderly housing complex in Spokane...USDA Rural Development awards Unicom Inc. $9 million loan and $1 million grant to use advanced telecommunications to improve health care in rural Alaska...Idaho Housing and Finance Association celebrates grand opening of 40-unit Rose Park Plaza housing for the elderly in Blackfoot... HUD User posts Comprehensive Housing Analysis for Olympia.

Quote to Note
"It's called the Housing and Economic Recovery Act and in the rest of the country, it's a neighborhood rescue operation in response to the subprime mortgage mess. In Alaska it's more like an opportunity," the The Anchorage Daily News editiorialized on October 22nd. "Alaska's share of that money is $19.6 million. Small change." But, it continued, "we can use the money. For people of modest means throughout Alaska, finding affordable, decent housing can be a challenge." "Bottom line?" asks the Daily News. "There's no subprime crisis here, but we can invest recovery money to help stabilize lives and neighborhoods."

Speaking of Which...
Read more about what Alaska plans to do with its Housing & Recovery Act funds...or what Oregon is doing...or what Washington is doing

Don't Forget
Applications for the 2009 Secretary's Housing & Community Design Award are due December 12th. King County Housing Authority won one in 2008. Your organization could be next. For more, visit the American Institute of Architects

Coming Up

Washington State Association of Counties holds annual conference November 11-14 in Yakima.

Alaska Municipal League holds annual conference November 10-14 in Ketchikan.

Senator Patty Murray and Senator Maria Cantwell hold symposia on Federal grants and the appropriations process on November 12th in Spokane, November 13th in Pasco, November 14th in Yakima and November 17th in Bellingham.

Association of Oregon Counties holds annual conference November 17-21 in Eugene.

Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco hosts community development roundtable in Spokane on November 18th.

HUD Seattle hosts Fair Housing Act training for housing providers on December 3rd.

HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Act training for housing providers on December 3rd.

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HUD Highlights is an e-newsletter from HUD's Seattle Regional Office about HUD news, upcoming events, program updates and grant opportunities. If you received this newsletter from a friend, and would like to receive your own copy, please sign up for our mailing list.

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