E.H.L.P.'S ON THE WAY
Know homeowners in Washington state or Alaska who are in mortgage default because of an involuntary unemployment, underemployment or medical event on or after January 1st, 2009? Could they use an up to $50,000 interest-free, forgivable, "bridge loan" to pay off arrearages and, for up to two years, lower monthly payment? Well help - in the form of HUD' Emergency Homeowner Loan Program- is still available. To insure that all who are eligible and in need have had a chance to apply, HUD has re-opened the E.H.L.P. application window until September 15th, 2011. So, if you know folks who need help, have them visit the website TODAY! And if they've previously applied but been denied, they should consider reapplying. Window closes September 15th.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Treasury Department and HUD have issued a Request for Information seeking "input on new options for selling single-family real estate owned by" Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and FHA, the Federal Housing Administration's inventory of HUD Homes. The process will examine alternatives for maximizing value to taxpayers and increasing private investment in the housing market, including approaches that support rental and affordable housing needs. "Taking steps to encourage private investment in REO properties and transition them into productive use," said HUD Secretary Donovan, "will help stabilize neighborhoods and home values at a critical time for our economy." Responses are due at REO.RFI@fhfa.gov by September 15th. For more, visit website
Barring any new action by the Congress, on October 1st, FHA will implement new single-family loan limits as required by the Housing & Economic Recovery Act of 2008. This will mean lower loan limits in the highest cost metropolitan areas affecting 669 counties across the country, out of the total of 3,234 jurisdictions where FHA insures home loans. FHA loan limits will remain unchanged in the rest of the nation. For the impact on loan limits in your market, see website
WORK TO DO
HUD's Annual State of Fair Housing Report finds that in fiscal year 2010 a total of 10,155 complaints under the Fair Housing Act were filed with HUD and its Fair Housing Assistance Program partner agencies. Some 48 percent alleged disability discrimination, 34 percent alleged discrimination based on race, and 15 percent alleged discrimination based on family status - proportions consistent with the number and type of complaints received during the previous three years. It also found that HUD processed more new complaints within 100 days than in 2009 or 2008. The report, said HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity John Trasvina, shows HUD has "made progress in reducing housing discrimination, but more work needs to be done to make 'fair housing part of the American way of life," For more, visit website
Calling it "a pretext to collect an unlawful $5,000 upfront fee from homeowners," Idaho Attorney General Wasden tells Idaho Statesman that claims in mailings by Corvus Law Group to Idaho homeowners are "false and are designed to prey on vulnerable homeowners". . . By 66 to 34 percent, King County voters okay Veterans & Human Services Levy that's expected to generate up to $108 million over next six years, half of which will go, says Seattle Times, to "services for the county's neediest residents, including those who are homeless". . .Housing Works should complete 24-unit Canyon East complex for farm workers in Madras by September. . .Mercy Housing unveils plans for 3-story, 53-unit complex for the elderly in Boise funded by City, Idaho Housing & Finance and HUD. . .Paul G. Allen Foundation gives $50,000 to Yamhill Community Action Partnership to build food bank. . .Aiki Homes celebrates open house for 8-home Millwork complex, Bellingham's second co-housing community. . .Tanana Chiefs Conference tells Alaska Native News that Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has committed $1.8 million to conversion of former Fairbanks hotel into "Housing First" facility for the homeless. . .Tulalip Tribe celebrates realization of 30-year-old vision with grand opening of Hibulb Cultural Center and 42-acre natural history preserve. . . Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services and the Center Against Rape and Domestic Violence begins construction of 24 permanent housing units moving CARDV "into a real second phase," says Corvallis Gazette, expanding from just emergency intervention "into helping people, long-term". . .City Council, reports Standard Journal, unanimously approves resolution asking Community Development Inc. to "build more affordable housing units in Rexburg". . .Housing Hope completes last five self-help homes at The Crest at Copper Station, completing, says Everett Herald, "a three-year, 35-house Team Home Building project". . .Meyer Memorial Trust donates $100,000 to Portland's Proud Ground to "continue supporting first-time home buyers".
It's true. When I moved back to the Northwest in 2008 I didn't have a clue what a geoduck was. A hybrid car? Gardening shoes?, A GPS that quacked? I was clueless. Not anymore, though, thanks to HUD's Rural Innovation Fund. That's because, in August, HUD Secretary Donovan announced that the village of Kake, Alaska had won a $567,908 Rural Innovation grant to launch a firm to "farm" oysters and "gooeys." So, now I know and am happily telling the world about it, even if I haven't quite mustered the gustatory guts to eat one. I'm also happily telling the world that the Atmautluak Traditional Council was awarded a $798,888 grant to design and build two climate-appropriate houses better able to withstand Alaska's climate than houses imported from the Lower 48. And that the Confederated Tribes of the Colville were awarded a $799,750 grant to launch a company to convert woody biomass - wasn't he a character in Toy Story? - into electricity and the Kalispel Tribe a $240,970 grant to build a nursery to cultivate native plants. Congrats to all. "These are," said the Secretary, "catalytic projects that will have an impact on their communities for generations to come."
If you've ever had ambulatory surgery, you know that the best thing to do afterwards is to get home, get into bed and let your body recover from the trauma it's just experienced. If you're homeless, you don't have your option. And a cardboard box on a heating grate is no place to get feeling better. Fortunately, the Seattle Housing Authority has given the homeless a place to get well. Using Recovery Act funds, it's just completed the transformation of 22 studio apartments on the 7th floor of its Jefferson Terrace public housing complex on First Hill in Seattle into a 35-bed Medical Respite Center which, it says, will "serve over 500 homeless individuals a year." It will be operated by Public Health Services of Seattle-King County and staffed by Harborview Hospital with support from the University of Washington Medical Center, Swedish Health Services, Valley Medical Center, Evergreen Healthcare, Virginia Mason Medical Center and St Francis Hospital. Admission is by referral only and patients will stay an average of 21 days at an estimated cost of $200 a day, significantly less than the $1,500 daily cost of inpatient hospital care. It's an "excellent example ," said King County Executive Dow Constantine who chairs the Committee to End Homelessness, "of our medical, behavioral health and housing partners coming together to maximize our resources, coordinate care, and create opportunities for better health and stability for a very vulnerable population."
Like everybody else, residents of mobile home parks don't like to move. They're happy where they are. No surprise, then, that when the 43 families who've made their homes at the Anchor Mobile Home Park in Curry County got wind that the land beneath them was up for sale they got nervous. Really nervous. At best it would probably mean higher rents, at worst looking for a new place to call home. "The idea for homeowners in the park to purchase the land to be in control of the park started," resident Vivian Downs told The Curry County Reporter. Soon enough, CASA of Oregon, the Rural Community Assistance Corporation, the Community Development Law Center and Oregon Housing & Community Services stepped forward and, using funds from residents, private loans and grants, helped residents purchase the land. On April 26th, Anchor - now named Saunders Creek - became a homeowners cooperative. "It is nice knowing as residents that we have more control of our futures, said Downs. "We did it!," added David Hanna. Thanks to the help of a lot of partners and residents, "the dream of owning our community became a reality." Congrats to all on a job well done!
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Having transformed High Point, Rainier Vista, New Holly and Lake City, Seattle Housing Authority wins one of five "first ever" Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants, a "significant catalyst," says executive director Tom Tierney, to moving forward with 15-year, $2 billion revitalization of Yesler Terrace neighborhood. . .Portland's loss is, well, Portland's and Oregon's gain as Governor Kitzhaber names Portland Housing Bureau's Margaret Van Vliet as the new head of Oregon Housing & Community Services. . .City of Camas and Vancouver Housing Authority celebrate grand opening of 51-unit Camas Ridge apartments. . .Cook Inlet Housing Authority says two of its recently-constructed homes will be featured in 47th annual Anchorage Parade of Homes. . .Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, Community Frameworks, NeighborWorks Anchorage, HomeSight and, Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services among 115 organizations nationwide to win $34.9 million from NeighborWorks Capital Funds for the Rehabilitation of Affordable Housing grants. . .Habitat for Humanity of Kitsap County starts work on its first-ever energy-efficient renovation project, a two-bedroom, West Bremerton house that was anonymously donated and that will, come next spring, be home to a single father who, says Kitsap Sun, has been on Habitat's waiting list for three years. . ."Dozens of volunteers" rolled up their sleeves, says KTMR-TV, to help St. Vincent de Paul get two foreclosed homes it purchased "back in working order" to provide "affordable housing to servicemen and women transitioning back into civilian life". . .First three veterans move into Sarge's Place, a HUD-funded project of the North Olympic Regional Veterans Housing Network to provide housing to homeless vets in Forks. . .Umpqua Community Action Network celebrates grand opening of 8-unit Trillium Terrace in Roseburg. . .News Miner says Energy Secretary Chu expects $2.38 million in tribal energy grants to go to Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, Sea Lion Corporation, Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Council and Yukon River Inter-Tribal Watershed Council. . .Saying the funds will "help hundreds of people find the security and safety of a permanent home," acting Oregon Housing & Community Services director Rick Crager announces Oregon Housing Council's award of $40 million to fund 810 affordable housing units in Arlington, Beaverton, Brookings, Dundee, Estacada, Eugene, Hillsboro, Junction City, LaGrande, Madras, Medford, Mt. Angel, Portland, Prairie City, Richland, Roseburg, Sandy, Sherwood, Wilsonville and Woodburn.
TWO ON ONE
They don't waste time at the King County Housing Authority. Normally, a "spinmeister" would recommend spacing events, with a ground breaking one day, a ribbon-cutting a week or two later. But that's not business as usual at the Authority. In late July it not only celebrated the grand opening of 25 Zephyr apartments - the first new rental housing development at Seola Gardens, a HOPE VI-funded project to replace the almost 50 year-old, seriously-dilapidate "barracks-like" public housing units known as Park Lake Homes. Same day it also broke ground for the Providence Joseph House. To be operated by Providence Health & Services it'll offer 64 units of affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities. Whew! When completed in 2018, the $70 million Seola Gardens development will have 177 rental units and up to 107 "for sale" homes. And, also, three parks, a Head Start center, a community center, 15 pieces of public art - and that's just the beginning. "Seola Gardens is about the renaissance of a community," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "We have designed sustainable housing that costs less to operate and creates healthier living environments for families. The contrast between the old public housing 'project' and the new community of Seola Gardens is striking." Okay, guys, back to work!
Like "Voldemort" for all but one wizard at Hogwarts, for a time many dared not speak the words "recovery" or "stimulus." That may be changing. Just the other day, for example, an official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce actually acknowledged that the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 may, in fact, have done what it was supposed to do and given the economy a boost. Some folks in McCall, Idaho might be inclined. They live in The Springs, a 36-unit complex built by the Idaho Housing and Finance Association's Housing Company in McCall on land donated by Valley County and with Federal housing tax credits, grants and Tax Credit Assistance Program funds provided by HUD under, you guessed it, the Recovery Act. First and foremost, of course, it was designed to be affordable, in this instance to people earning up to 60 percent of the area median income, said the company's Douglas Peterson. But it was also designed to be green. In fact, greener than green, with insulated panes on exterior walls and roofs, solar-powered light poles, an Energy Star lighting package, and high efficient plumbing and fixtures in each unit. No surprise, it's applied for LEED Platinum status. That's good news for the residents, but the even better news is that the Company estimates that the "current tenants in the three bedroom units will pay an average of $75 month" - yes, just $75 a month - "in utilities including heat, AC and all electric appliances." McCall's hot in the summer, cold in the winter. But residents of The Springs won't have to worry about the utility costs associated with either. No wonder resident Rita Rubbert said, "I absolutely love it here."
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Jenny Durkan, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington, announces indictment of four executives in connection with fraudulent mortgage loans originated at between 2004 and 2008 - and including some insured by FHA - by the now defunct Pierce Commercial Bank. City of Spokane launches Housing and Essential Needs program to help 100 long-term disabled residents, says KREM-TV "pay for housing and essentials such as personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies and bus passes".. . .Frank Roppel of Wrangell re-elected chair of board of Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, a post he's held since 2003. . .Cheryl Woods of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs tells Journal of Business VA is looking for a public or private developer to build and manage permanent housing for homeless veterans on underused land at its Spokane hospital . . .City of Eugene, NEDCO, eDev and Wells Fargo team up to "refresh" buildings along Blair Boulevard. . .Okanogan Housing Authority awards $1.2 million contract to begin construction of 10 units of elderly housing in Omak. . .Helping Hands opens a new shelter for women and children in Seaside. . .Peninsula Daily News says City Hall has approved housing authority's $58 million plan to "completely remake" its Mount Angeles View neighborhood. . .Washington Department of Commerce says, in collaboration with 25 local agencies, it used Recovery Act funds to weatherize a record 7,474 homes from July 2009 to June 2010, saving enough energy to "heat about 1,350 homes for an entire year". . . So far this fiscal year, FHA has endorsed nearly 1,100 multifamily loans, a record and more than seven times the number of loans the agency endorsed just three years ago. . .Idaho Department of Commerce awards $495,000 CDBG grant to City of Post Falls to install water and sewer infrastructure for new manufacturing plant that will create at least 50 new jobs. . . Oregon Housing and Community Services, Rose CDC begins rehabbing an apartment building - the 19-unit Firland Apartments - and five single-family homes built in the 60's and 70's 'in Portland's Lents neighborhood adding "decades" to their useful, affordable lives. . .Anchorage's Mountain View neighborhood remains "on the move" with the Cook Inlet Housing Authority's grand opening of the Bliss Street Townhouses. . . HUD offers guidelines - and best practices - on bed bug control and prevention in assisted and insured properties at website. . .Cats on edge as Dog Fancy magazine designates Coeur d'Alene as Dog Town USA, the most dog-friendly city in the country.""
HUD has set an October 28th deadline to apply for some $1.63 billion in Continuum of Care funds to support nearly 7,000 existing homeless assistance programs nationwide "provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons as well as services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care." Supporting the projects, explains HUD Secretary Donovan, "helps the federal government save taxpayer dollars by ending the costly cycling through shelters, emergency rooms, detox centers, and hospitals." For more, visit website
HUD will be accepting applications until October 20th for some $25 million in Energy Innovation Funds as part of a multifamily pilot program intended to "catalyze innovations in the residential energy efficiency sector that have promise of replicability and to help create a standardized home energy efficient retrofit market." Eligible applicants include Treasury-certified community development financial institutions with affordable housing programs, national, regional or local non-profits with a housing development and rehabilitation program that affects at least 1,000 affordable units, special purpose financing entities such as housing trust funds and non-profit or for-profit organizations that have a portfolio of at least 1,000 affordable housing units. For more, visit website
Non-profits and local governments have long seen HUD's inventory of HUD Homes as a great resource for finding existing homes they could acquire and, with a little bit of work and a modest investment, expand their communities' affordable housing stock. It still is a great resource. But a couple of changes are worth noting. First, according to Notice H 2011-16 and effective August 12th, "the current market value of a (HUD Homes) property in its "as is" physical condition must be $25,000 or less to be considered eligible" for HUD's Dollar Homes program. For more, see website. Second, according to Notice H 2011-15 and effective August 9th, "discounts off the list price offered to governmental entities and HUD Approved Nonprofits on Single Family REO sales may be applied only during noncompetitive sales periods," For more, see website
WORTH A READ
Kids who live in a big city like Seattle or Portland don't spend much time on farms. If they live in a "food desert," in fact, many, don't even spend much time in supermarkets. Most days, understanding how food gets from the fields to their kitchen table or, even more importantly, know which foods are good for them and which are a sure way to put on a few more pounds isn't easy fly well below their radar. And, of course, what they don't know eventually could kill them. That probably won't happen to the kids in Seattle's Students Taking Agriculture Round the Streets - or START - program. On Mondays they compost, on Tuesdays they pick produce, on Wednesdays they sell it and on Thursdays they cook, each hoping the dish they concoct makes it on the menu of the Cotton Cafe. All of that, smack dab in the middle of America's 23rd largest city. Roberto Daza told the story for The Seattle Times. It's worth a read
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The impact of the housing crisis has been severely felt in rural communities. Most rural homeowners experienced steep declines in home prices, which are often their most valuable asset. Some have found their mortgage payments increasingly unaffordable, while others have lost their homes to the foreclosure process.
President Obama has responded aggressively to help more Americans stay in their homes. Specifically, the Administration launched two major mortgage modification efforts through Making Home Affordable (MHA) and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) that collectively reduced monthly payments on 1.6 million mortgages between April 2009 and April 2011. An additional 2.3 million mortgage modifications were completed during the same period working with private lenders. Many of the nearly 4 million mortgages modified are for homes in rural America. The Administration also established the Hardest Hit Fund, which allocated $7.6 billion to the hardest hit states to help struggling unemployed and/or underwater homeowners stay in their homes. Moreover, over 800,000 families in rural communities are directly assisted through Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Housing Choice Voucher Program, Public Housing, and FHA Multifamily programs. An additional 400,000 families live in homes supported by the Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition, the Administration created the Rural Housing Stability Program (RHSP) that helps the worst-affected rural homeowners stay in their homes and stabilize their communities. Addressing the severe housing needs of tribal communities is also a high priority of the Obama administration. HUD partners with many rural American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments to support their efforts to create locally-driven solutions to economic development. Programs like Indian Housing Block Grants, Indian Home Loan Guarantees, and Indian Community Development Block Grants support economic development and nearly 40,000 homes on Indian Country-many in remote areas where safe, affordable housing is desperately needed." - From Jobs & Economic Security for Rural America by The White House Rural Council, August 2011.
NOTES TO NOTE
HUD sets September 8th deadline to submit nominations for HUD Secretary' Opportunity & Empowerment Award. . .HUD sets September 9th deadline to apply for Community Challenge Planning Grant s. . .HUD sets September 15th as last day for at-risk homeowners in Alaska, Idaho and Washington to apply for no interest, forgivable EHLP "bridge loans". . .USDA sets September 30th deadline to apply for $45.1 million under Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance program to "support rural Mircoentrepreneurship". . .HUD sets October 20th deadline to apply for Energy Innovation funds as part of multifamily pilot program. . .HUD sets October 28th deadline to apply for Continuum of Care funds to support homeless programs. . .Home Depot Foundation sets October 31st deadline to apply for Community Impact Grants of up to $5,000 to support "using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community," especially those that identify projects for veterans, seniors, and/or the disabled ". . .Department of Energy sets December 14th deadline to apply for CONNECT grants to "support energy technology conferences, workshops, and other events".
Horace Greeley got it wrong. He said "go west!" But we say go east! - at least from our neck of the woods - to the annual Housing Washington conference September 27th and 28th in Spokane. Details online
Head to Salem October 24th and 25th for the 2011 Oregon Housing Conference hosted by Oregon Housing & Community Services, Details online
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Workshop for Landlords, Owners & Tenants, September 7th, Spokane.
FHA Lender Training, September 7th & 8th, Anchorage.
FHA Training for Appraisers, September 8th, Anchorage.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts Fall Industry Conference, September 12th & 13th, Portland.
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Webinar, September 13th, Cyber-space.
Alaska Association of REALTORS holds annual conference, September 13th to 16th, Homer.
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association offers Fair Housing Jeopardy workshop, September 13th,Grants Pass.
Idaho Association of REALTORS holds annual conference, September 14th to 17th, Sun Valley.
Impact Capital presents Nuts & Bolts of Asset Management, September 14th & 15th, Seattle.
Built Green hosts annual Built Green Conference & Festival, September 14th, Issaquah.
Portland State University hosts Regional Livability Summit, September 14th, Portland.
Last day for eligible, at-risk homeowners to apply for Emergency Homeowner Loan Program "bridge loans."
HUD Seattle hosts Complying with Section 3 Requirements, September 15th, Seattle.
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Self Defense Workshop for Project Management Staff, September 16th, Salem.
Pacific Northwest Mortgage Lenders Association hosts annual conference, September 18th to 20th, Portland.
Annual conference of Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians, September 19th to 22nd, Tulalip.
University of Washington School of Public Health hosts workshop on Healthy Homes for Community Health Workers, September 20th, Boise. For more, contact Trudy San Jose White
Annual fall business conference of Washington Association of REALTORS, September 21st to 23rd, Spokane.
University of Washington School of Public Health hosts workshop on Launching a Healthy Homes Initiative, September 21st, Boise. For more, contact Trudy San Jose White
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Fair Housing Fusion Workshop, September 23rd, Salem.
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Determining Income, September 26th, Seattle.
Annual conference of Oregon Economic Development Association, September 26th & 27th, Newport.
HUD Seattle hosts workshop on Subsidy Layering, September 27th, Seattle.
Alaska Rural Energy Conference, September 27th to 29th, Juneau.
18th annual Housing Washington Conference,, September 27th & 28th, Spokane.
Annual Idaho Statewide Non Profit Conference, September 28th &29th, Boise.
86th Annual Oregon League of Cities Conference, September 29th to October 1st, Bend.
HUD offers workshop on Demolition & Disposition for Housing Authorities, September 29th, Vancouver.
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Rural Development Section 515 Boot Camp, October 13th & 14th Salem.
Idaho Energy & Green Building Conference, October 19th to 21st, Boise.
Annual Conference of Alaska Federation of Natives, October 20th to 22nd, Anchorage.
Oregon Housing & Community Services hosts 2011 Oregon Housing Conference, October 24th & 25th, Salem.
2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference, October 25th to 27th, Vancouver, B.C.
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