HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Administrator (206) 220-5356 Leland Jones, Editor
The attorneys general of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington estimate that almost 72,000 borrowers are eligible to file claims under the $25 billion Mortgage Servicing Settlement signed by the Obama Administration and attorneys general from 49 states because they lost their homes to foreclosure between Jan. 1, 2008 and Dec. 31, 2011 and their mortgages were serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo. The claims must be filed before January 18, 2013. In late September, the Settlement administrator - Rust Consulting - mailed post cards to 2 million borrowers nationwide advising them that an information packet that includes a claim form and instructions will arrive shortly in their mailboxes. Borrowers who believe they are eligible but are not contacted by the administrator should call, toll-free, (866) 430-8358. Payments will be made shortly after the January 18th deadline. "This payment is intended as partial compensation for the mortgage servicers' improper conduct," Oregon Attorney General Rosenblum said. "By participating, borrowers do not give up any legal rights. They're free to participate in this settlement and also pursue other legal remedies such as filing a lawsuit or participating in a class action, if they so choose." For more, visit website.
Last month Northwest HUD Lines focused on steps being taken by the state of Washington to use funds from the National Mortgage Servicing Settlement to help at-risk borrowers. This month, let's talk about Oregon. Last May, its Legislature appropriated $4 million from its share in the Settlement. Part of those dollars went to add 26 foreclosure counselors and services to make sure in-trouble borrowers could take full advantage of the state's new foreclosure mediation law. Selected non-profits included the Community Services Consortium in Albany, Community Action Tem in Astoria, NeighborImpact in Bend, Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services in Corvallis, Open Door Counseling in Hillsboro, the Klamath & Lake Homeownership Center in Klamath Falls, ACCESS in Medford, Hacienda CDC and Clear Point Credit Counseling Solutions in Portland , NeighborWorks Umpqua in Roseburg and NEDCO in Springfield. A new website has been launched to promote public awareness of the program. "Both resources," says Oregon Housing & Community Services' Margaret VanVliet, "will make it easier for homeowners to get the help they need."
On September 13th, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante issued Mortgagee Letter 2012-18 providing a new temporary approval process for "all condominium projects submitted for approval, recertification, annexation or reconsideration" to FHA as of the date of the letter. The provisions take effect immediately and will last until August 31, 2014 unless extended. Columnist Kenneth Harney described the changes as encouraging news for condominium-unit owners, sellers and buyers" since he argued, the prior rules had "caused thousands of buildings across the country to lose their eligibility for FHA financing." Topics in ML 2012-18 include the percentage of a property's square footage that can be used for non-residential purposes, the percentage of units that may be owned by investors and the responsibilities of board members. In his September 22nd column, Harney reported that Andrew Fortin of the Community Association Institute told him FHA's actions "will spark home sales and help tens of thousands of condominium communities begin to recover from the housing slump. To see the full ML2012-18, please visit website.
RAD-Y TO CONVERT?
As of September 24th, HUD has opened the door of opportunities to convert some 60,000 public housing and moderate rehabilitation units to long-term, project-based rental assistance contracts under the Rental Assistance Demonstration project authorized by Congress this year. If interested, though, you need to hurry since the competition closes October 24th. For more, see website.
Home Forward - Portland's housing authority - has already completed to HOPE VI public housing revitalization projects and now it's started its third, raising the first wall to start construction of the 122-unit Stephens Creek Crossing complex to replace with HUD funds, reports Wendy Culverwell of The Portland Business Journal, the "aging and dilapidated" Hillside Terrace public housing complex in the city's Multnomah neighborhood. . .Ste Alaska Association of REALTORS names Helen Jarratt of Remax Properties in Anchorage as 2012 REALTOR of the Year. . .Thanks to a generous bequest - estimated at more than $1 million by The Republic - from the late Kurt Kanler, an Ashton potato farmer, Idaho Falls chapter of Habitat for Humanity expands programs to include communities in Fremont County. . ."On-time, within budget and debt-free," reports Kitsap Sun, Kitsap Community Resources new Pt. Orchard service center opens, thanks to funding from state's Building Communities Fund, HUD, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and donations from "hundreds of county residents". . . Urban Land Institute's Daniel Rose Center for Public Leadership names Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland to serve in fellowships for the center through 2013. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation says it will accept applications for Housing Choice Vouchers in Anchorage from October 1st through 31st. . .Opportunity Council of Whatcom County one of eight organizations selected nationwide by Department of Energy to celebrate weatherization of 1 millionth home with funds from Recovery Act. . .After wading through applications for community revitalization micro-grants funded by Legislature in 2012, Washington Department of Commerce awards $154,745 for projects ranging from new street amenities to a children's playground in Asotin, Blaine, Burien, Cathlamet, Farmington, Kittitas, Moses Lake, Othello and Wapato. . .Catholic Social Services acquires, with private donations and CDBG funds from the City, former Anchorage hotel that will, says KTUU-TV, be rehabbed to provide beds for 120 people, "nearly triple" the number of beds it currently has for homeless women and their children.
A recent survey of apartment companies conducted by the National Multi Housing Council found that 66 percent of respondents said that they required renters to have renter insurance. That's up from 44 percent, 24 percent in 2008. However, owners of HUD-assisted and insured properties should remember that they encourage residents to obtain renter's insurance, but may not require it.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is inviting housing authorities, local governments and non-profits interested in helping build housing for farm workers to apply for a total of $710,000 in technical assistance grants that, he says, "will help communities submit quality applications" and "increase their chances of getting funding." Applications are due November 5th and is intended as a complement to his July announcement of a notice of funding opportunity seeking applications for loans and grants to build affordable rental housing for farm workers. For more, visit website.
The Environmental Protection Agency has opened the window of opportunity to communities to receive Building Blocks in establishing smart growth strategies. Areas of focus can include smart growth, green streets, protecting water supplies, better management of parking, designing housing that assists the elderly to live at home as long as possible, development of green building toolkits or helping small and rural communities retain their unique features. Applications are due October 26th. For more, visit website.
SAVE THE DATE
Idaho Housing & Finance Association convene 2012 Idaho Conference on Housing & Economic Development convenes "under the big top" in Boise October 9th and 10th. For details, visit website.
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan expects to deliver the keynote address at the Wednesday morning, October 17th, session of the 2012 Housing Washington Conference. For more, visit website.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
After 22 years as its executive director, Dee Walsh leaves REACH CDC in Portland to join the Housing Partnership Network as executive vice president for peer learning & membership engagement. . .Telling Juneau Empire energy efficiency is "critical" in southeast Alaska, "especially with the high cost of fuel and utilities with some communities paying five times more than others, Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority announces plans for Energy Cents Fairs in Angoon, Hoonah, Juneau, Kake, Prince of Wales, Saxman and Angoon and Wrangell in collaboration with First Bank and Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, . .Homestead Community Land Trust of Seattle one of 10 organizations nationwide to win Cornerstone Partnership grant to build the "scale and capacity" of its homeownership programs. . .Telling Idaho Sate Journal it had "the power of Pocatello people" behind it, Marine Corps League of Pocatello - with help from Southeast Idaho Community Action and Chamber of Commerce - beat San Francisco, Houston and Rochester suburb to win $25,000 in Home Depot gift cards that will be used to renovate veterans shelter. . . ClallamHabitat for Humanity and City of Port Angeles welcome second of an expected 15 homeowners to their new Maloney Heights homeownership development. . . Santa, Idaho award $744,000 in USDA grants and loans to repair and upgrade sewage lines and treatment plants. . .Thanks to "many community angels," reports KMTR-TV, St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County has already completed two and is about to complete two more homes in its Veterans Housing Project in Eugene. . .Spokane City Council reauthorizes multifamily housing development tax exemptions but, says Spokesman Review, remove some previously-eligible areas from program. . .Washington Housing Finance Commission provides financing to nonprofit Housing Hope to rehab and expand affordable rental complex in Monroe and acquire a property in Snohomish. . .Rose CDC wins $15,000 Dr. Pepper/Snapple Let's Play grant that will enable it to build playground at Bellrose Station. . .HUD competitively awards almost $4.6 million to 34 Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington housing authorities to help residents of HUD-assisted and public housing obtain education and skills training to compete in the job market . . "With foreclosures in Tacoma nearly twice as high as the state and much higher than the national average," City of Tacoma's Ric Teasley says almost $2.9 million in Mortgage Servicing Settlement will be used by Homeownership Center of Tacoma, Habitat for Humanity and Tacoma Housing Authority to "acquire, refurbish and resell" up to 80 foreclosed homes in Hilltop, Eastside, South End and South Tacoma areas of city.
How good looking are the 53-unit 12th and River Apartments built using HUD Section 202 and HOME Investment Partnership funds by Mercy Housing Northwest in downtown Boise? Well, just ask Mayor David Bieter. "This is the way these types of projects ought to look," he told The Boise Weekly at the grand opening "I want to bring developers here and say 'take a look at this.' We would love to be a part of many more projects like this." And many more projects like it may be exactly what Boise needs. Read why online.
Carrots tend to bring out the pros and cons in people. But love ‘em or leave ‘em on your plate lonely and cold carrots can lead to lots of good works. Just ask FareStart, a Seattle restaurant that is celebrating 20 years of using carrots and the chopping thereof as a building block of great food and of transforming lives. For more, see website.
AHEAD OF THE CURVE
Alaska is the third-youngest state of the 50, older only than Utah and Texas. So it doesn’t have an elderly house crisis –YET. Soon enough, it will. By 2030, estimates the Alaska Department of Labor, the state’s 65-and-over population will be more than triple what it was in 2010. With help from the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and HUD, Anchorage NeighborWorks is trying to get ahead of that rapidly-rising demand curve. In September they took a big step in that direction with the opening of the Connolly Square Apartments. Read more online.
Maybe not cause enough to bet the farm, but there's one good reason why 13's a lucky number in Boise. It's a city, says U.S. News & World Report, where retirees want to be. So, it needs all the affordable housing for the elderly it can get. Thanks to some good work by Northwest Real Estate Capital, it's also holding onto the affordable housing inventory it's already got. See how online.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Catholic Social Services tells KTVA-TV it's moving Clare's House, its "crowded" shelter for women and their children s to a new facility - a former motel - that will allow it to serve almost twice as many families and to extend the amount of time they can stay at the shelter. . .City of Corvallis, says Gazette Times, accepting zero-interest loans of up to $30,000 for income-eligible families - up to $59,350 for family of four - repair homes. . .Homestead Community Land Trust moves to "new digs" at 412 Maynard Avenue South, #201, in Seattle's International District. . .Washington Department of Commerce awards $350,000 in growth management grants to cross-jurisdictional collaborations led by Burien, East Wenatchee, Everett, Marysville, Spokane and Wenatchee. . .Funded entirely by private resources, Innovative Housing Inc. opens 34-unit Modern Rich Apartments in a former Old Town hotel that will, says Portland Business Journal, include "some for low-income renters, but aims to serve working Portlanders who need affordable housing in downtown". . .CATCH tells Idaho Statesman it will expand number of homeless families it can permanently house. . .Register Guard says Evergreen Housing Development has submitted "tentative plans" to City of Eugene for 228 units of affordable housing to be built on "abandoned orchard" that had been slated for development of subdivision until market collapsed. . .Gordon McHenry named president & CEO and Sandi Cutler named chief operations & strategy officer for Solid Ground. . .Washington Housing Finance Commission says issuance of almost $12.3 million in tax-exempt bonds and low-income housing tax credits will be used by developer to acquire and substantially rehab five affordable rental complexes with 194 units in Burlington, Marysville, Oak Harbor and Shelton. . .USDA's Intermediary Relending Program makes $400,000 loan to Greater Oregon Development Corporation to "provide low-interest loans to public and non-profit organizations for business and community development", , ,Telling Spokesman Review "we're looking for people to get in the pipeline," City of Spokane begins push to distribute "more than $3 million in Federal money to pay to reduce lead hazards in low-income homes". . .Some "300 to 400" vets, says Coeur d'Alene Press, attend stand down & job fair in city. . .Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries and Q Center announce year long partnership to enhance BOLI's responsiveness to LGBT housing discrimination issues in the state of Oregon.
CONGRATS. . .
. . .to the Oregon Community Foundation, one of ten winners nationwide of the first-ever HD Secretary's Award for Community Foundations conferred by Secretary Donovan and the Council on Foundations for their close work "ly with the public sector on projects involving housing and neighborhood improvements, education, health and recreation, transportation, community participation, arts and culture, public safety, sustainability, and economic development." The Oregon Community Foundation was cited, in particular, for its support of the Coos County Public Health's Ready to Smile Partnership which promotes oral hygiene and health among elementary and middle schoolers in Coos and Curry counties. A recent statewide study in Oregon found that dental problems as the leading cause of school absence among elementary students. It's "a simple idea," said HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride, "that should keep kids in school, improve their educational performance and, as a result, enhance their opportunities for a productive, prosperous future."
WORTH A READ
"I don't think people tend to think that rural communities can be diverse," Farmworker Housing Development Corporation executive director Roberto Jimenez told Kimberly A.C. Wilson of The Oregonian earlier this month. He may not have either given the "tense opposition" that arose when the Corporation proposed to build housing for "active, disabled and retired farmworkers" in Woodburn. 20 years later the final product - Nuevo Amanecer -is still standing and, in fact, is expanding. And now, says Wilson, "the ethnic diversity of this city of 24,300 may be its greatest distinction." Read the how's and the why's of diversity in Woodburn online.
PIECE OF WORK
There's lots of talk these about how, in this cyber-age, newspapers have become irrelevant. But then along comes a series by the staff at the Statesman-Journal in Salem about the effect of the housing crisis on that community and you realize the vibrant, very relevant contributions newspapers can make. It's an impressive piece of work and well worth a read. You'll find it online.
A September, 2012 study by HUD of 106 CDBG entitlement grantees leveraged, on average, $4.62 for every $1 they committed from fiscal year 2002 through 2007 under HUD's Section 108 loan guarantee program. Some 72 percent, in fact, were so pleased that they said they "would consider applying for another Section 108 loan." For more, visit website.
There may be nothing more fun than to get lost in the numbers only to find out something you didn't know. And there's no better place to start than the latest release of the American Community Survey, now available online.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"Housing affects how children do in school, it gives adults the stability they need to hold down jobs. It is at the heart of communities, the environments that nurture or hold people back so that attention to housing needs is a critical part of sound social policy. And yet, public housing has often been no more than warehousing of poor people. For a long time the problems inherent in that approach have been evident. In some places, the words "notorious" and "housing project" seem inseparable. Places like Cabrini-Green in Chicago were known for incubating the worst kinds of behaviors. But because the (Yesler Terrace) buildings are 70 years old and in need of repairs, and because government money is tight, the housing authority decided to replace the complex and to do so in a way that does not segregate people by income. . . The Yesler project makes a huge break with the past for the promise of a better future. It is a risk worth taking." - Jerry Large, columnist for The Seattle Times, September 24, 2012, on the Seattle City Council's vote authorizing the Seattle Housing Authority to move forward with its plans to redevelop, in part with HUD funds, the Yesler Terrace neighborhood in downtown.
NOTES TO NOTE
Portland Housing Bureau sets October 1st deadline to apply for Multiple-Unit Tax Exemptions. . .HUD sets October 10th deadline to comment on use of Housing Choice Vouchers by tenants paying more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent due to mortgage maturity or expiration of rental assistance contract or affordability restrictions. . .Native American Indian Housing Council says Turkish Coalition of America has set October 12th deadline for Tribes and Alaska villages to apply for $1 million grant for infrastructure development. . .HUD Office of Native American Programs sets October 16th deadline to apply for $7.3 million in training and technical assistance grants. . .HUD sets October 24th deadline to apply under Rental Assistance Demonstration project to convert 60,000 public housing & mod rehab units to project-based assistance. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation sets October 31st deadline to apply for Housing Choice Vouchers in Anchorage. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets October 25th deadline for public to comment on its proposed 2013 Action Plan and CDBG funding distribution. . .EPA sets October 26th deadline for communities to apply for Building Blocks "technical assistance to foster sustainable growth in their area". . .USDA sets November 5th deadline to apply for "for technical assistance grants to develop domestic and migrant farm labor housing.". .EPA sets November 14th deadline to apply for funds to offer technical assistance to communities on brownfields issues. . .HUD sets November 19th deadline to submit nominations to serve on a negotiated rulemaking committee to develop "regulatory changes to the funding formula for the Indian Housing Block Grant".
HUD hosts Webinar on Preparing Your Housing Inventory & Point-In-Time Counts, October 2nd.
Portland Veterans Stand Down & Job Fair, October 3rd, Portland.
EPA hosts Lead Awareness Workshop, October 3rd, Toppenish, Contac Laurie Fay at (206) 553-1541.
Annual conference of Main Street Oregon, October 3rd to 5th, Corvallis.
Business conference of Idaho Association of REALTORS, October 3rd to 5th, Coeur d'Alene.
Anchorage Community Land Trusts holds Mountain View neighborhood summit, October 5th & 6th, Anchorage.
Idaho Conference on Housing & Economic Development, October 9th & 10th, Boise.
Annual conference of Alaska Coalition on Housing & Homelessness, October 10th to 12th, Anchorage.
Annual conference of Idaho chapter of American Planning Association, October 10th to 12th, Boise.
Oregon AHMA offers USDA Section 515 "Boot Camp," October 10th to 12th, Keizer.
EPA hosts Lead Awareness Workshop, October 11th, Lapwai, Idaho, Contact Laurie Fay at (206) 553-1541.
Annual conference of Washington chapter of American Planning Association, October 11th & 12th, Olympia.
Coalition for a Livable Future hosts Regional Livability Conference, October 12th, Portland.
Annual conference of Oregon Economic Development Association, October 14th to 16th, Pendleton.
Washington State Housing Finance Commission hosts Housing Washington conference, October 15th to 17th, Tacoma.
U.S. Department of Energy hosts workshop on Renewable Energy & Efficiency for Alaska Native Villages, October 16th & 17th, Anchorage.
National Civic League All America City Awards teleconference focuses on HUD-VA VASH housing for homeless vets program, October 17th, teleconference. For more information, contact email.
Annual conference of Alaska Federation of Natives, October 18th to 20th, Anchorage.
EcoDistrict Summit, October 23rd to 26th, Portland.
King County Office of Civil Rights offers Intro to Fair Housing & Advanced Fair Housing workshops, October 24th, Seattle.
Washington State Microenterprise Association a Building Bridges to Brighter Futures entrepreneurship workshop, October 25th & 26th, Tacoma.
Annual conference of Puget Sound Grantwriters Association, October 26th, Seattle.
National Trust for Historic Preservation hosts national Preservation Conference, October 31st to November 3rd, Spokane.
NAHASDA Essentials - an introduction to the Native American Housing & Self Determination Act, October 30th to November 1st, Seattle.
Basics of Fair Housing Webinar, November 8th, on-line.
Annual meeting of Alaska Chapter of American Planning Association, November 11th to 13th, Anchorage.
Annual conference of Alaska Municipal League, November 11th to 16th, Anchorage.
Annual Conference of Washington State Association of Counties, November 13th to 16th, Wenatchee.
Future Wise Energy Conference, November 13th & 14th, Seattle.
NAHASDA Essentials - an introduction to the Native American Housing & Self Determination Act, November 13th to15th, Anchorage.
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