HUD Great Plains Region VII News
Serving Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri

Bi-Monthly Newsletter
February 2014

View the published version of the Newsletter with photos


A Message from the Regional Administrator | HUD News | News & Events from around the Region | Kansas | Missouri | Nebraska | What's New | Quick Resources | Stay Connected

A Message from the Regional Administrator

It is a tremendous honor for me to serve as Regional Administrator for HUD in Region VII. For the past 20 years, I have been committed to affordable housing policy and more importantly, the preservation of affordable housing. The federal government has been a valued and essential partner, and I believe the best way to ensure access to safe, decent, and affordable housing is through strong partnerships among the government, private and non-profit sectors.

Developing affordable housing is about opportunity. As Regional Administrator, I'm excited for the opportunity to accomplish some great things together. It is HUD's mission to "create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all." This is a goal I believe we all share, with the potential of great success stories.

Thank you for the work you do every day. You make a difference for the individuals and families we serve across the region. I look forward to working with all of you in continued partnership. Continue your good work!!

Jennifer Tidwell

HUD News

New Residential Construction Activity and New Residential Sales

Each month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Census Bureau jointly announce the new residential construction statistics and sales of new single family houses. Read the most current new residential construction data available at For the most current monthly report for sales of new single family homes, please visit

New FHA Loan Limits Effective January 1, 2014

New FHA single family loan limits were implemented on January 1, 2014, as specified by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). Read HUD Press Release at which includes mortgagee letter for information detailing the agency's new loan limits and FHA mortgage limits for your area.

FHA to Accept More Documents with Electronic Signatures

January 30, 2014 - The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced that it is granting expanded authority to lenders to accept electronic signatures (e-Signatures) on documents associated with mortgage loans. The new policy allows e-Signatures on origination, servicing, and loss mitigation documents, as well as FHA insurance claims, Real Estate Owned (REO) sales contracts and related addenda. Current FHA policy allows for electronic signatures only on third party documents such as sales contracts and other documents not controlled by the lender. Read FHA's Mortgage Letter at

HUD Releases "Qualified Mortgage" Definition'

HUD released its final rule which defines a 'Qualified Mortgage (QM)' that is insured, guaranteed or administered by HUD. The final rule became effective on January 10, 2014 and will apply to mortgages with a case number assignment on or after that date. Read HUD's Final Rule at

Housing Scorecard

Each month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury produce a monthly scorecard on the health of the nation's housing market. The scorecard incorporates key housing market indicators and highlights the impact of the Administration's unprecedented housing recovery efforts, including assistance to homeowners through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Monthly Scorecards at

Family Self-Sufficiency Programs
Funding helps gain critical employment/life skills to compete for decent jobs

HUD recently awarded Housing Choice Voucher Family Self-Sufficiency Program (HCV-FSS) and Public Housing Family Self Sufficiency Program (PH-FSS) grants to public housing authorities to hire or retain respective service and program coordinators who will work directly with families to connect them to the supportive services that meet their individual needs and to become gainfully employed. See local funding in Region VII for the HCV-FSS at and for the PH-FSS Program at

News and Events from Around the Region

HUD in Kansas

Jennifer Tidwell Appointed as Regional Administrator for Region VII
Kansas City Regional Field Office Hosts Welcome Reception

On November 19, 2013, Jennifer Tidwell was sworn in as HUD Regional Administrator for Region VII. Ms. Tidwell has worked extensively in the housing and real estate industry for over 20 years.

Prior to her appointment, Ms. Tidwell was the Deputy Director of Public Policy for the Missouri Housing Development Commission where she led the Tax Credit Administration Department, MBE/WBE Initiative/Section 3, and the Government Affairs/Budget Division for both the Federal and State Legislatures.

Ms. Tidwell was appointed by the Governor of Missouri in 2001, and served as one of the three commissioners on the Missouri State Tax Commission supervising 115 county assessors across the state of Missouri regarding property taxes. The Missouri Tax Commission, also, has supervisory authority over utility companies, telecommunications, electric, pipelines, and railroad companies.

On Monday, February 10, 2014, Kansas City Regional Field Office staff hosted a welcome reception for Ms. Tidwell. Almost 100 representatives from federal, state, and local governments, elected officials, and private and non-profit sectors came to meet and welcome her to her new post.

Ms. Tidwell will serve as HUD's liaison to mayors, city managers, elected representatives, state and local officials, members of Congress, private and non-profit developers, and other community stakeholders.

2014 Point-in-Time Count

Kansas City, KS - On January 30th, nursing students from Kansas City Community College volunteered to assist with the Wyandotte Homeless Services Coalition (WHSC) point-in-time count conducted at the Wilhelmina Gill Center. During the count, the students conducted health screenings, and in one case, may have prevented life-threatening issues. At the end of the count, Ondra Penn, Wilhelmina Gill Facility Manager, thanked the nurses for their genuine interest in serving the homeless and for recognizing their value as an individual and asked for comments regarding their own experience. Students echoed that the experience helped them to better understand homelessness, and many made a commitment to continue volunteering to help with homeless services at the center.

Upcoming Events

April 7-9, 2014 - Kansas Statewide Homeless Coalition - 15th Annual Statewide Summit on Homelessness & Housing - Salina, KS - Registration now open at:

April 9-10, 2014 - Kansas Rural Opportunities Conference (Kansas Dept. of Commerce) - Dodge City, KS Register online at or for more information, contact Susan NeuPoth Cadoret at or (785) 296-7198.

May 20-23, 2014 - Save the Date - Kansas National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials(NAHRO) Spring Conference - Wichita, KS - Registration information not available at this time.

HUD in Iowa

Polk County Continuum of Care Opening Doors Awards Ceremony

On November 20, 2013, the Polk County Continuum of Care (CoC) Opening Doors Awards Ceremony took place in Des Moines, IA. Opening Doors is an opportunity for the community to celebrate the achievements of those experiencing homelessness in the Des Moines metro area. This year's event was the second year with over 150 people in attendance. Opening Doors is central to the Polk County Housing Continuum's efforts. Awards were given to five deserving individuals who have overcome barriers in areas such as education, employment/income, housing, and positive community engagement. Des Moines Field Office Management Analyst, Julie Sleeper participated as a member of the selection committee for the awardees as well as a member of the Opening Doors event planning committee.

Iowa Housing Search.Org - Iowa's free rental housing locator
No Cost Website Links Renters and Landlords in Iowa

Jan. 7, 2014 - The Iowa Finance Authority announced the launch of, a no cost housing locator website that gives renters, landlords, housing professionals, and social service providers access to real-time rental housing information.

Currently the website has approximately 20,000 rental units listed representing 250 Iowa landlords and is growing. The project is powered by, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to increasing access to affordable housing across the nation. offers landlords no cost advertising for their properties, including critically needed affordable and accessible units, while helping renters find housing to fit their specific needs.

Some listings are linked to interactive maps and include pictures and information about nearby amenities such as parks, schools, and hospitals. Special features for renters include quick links to housing resources as well as rent-affordability and moving-cost calculators.

The website will be a valuable resource during a disaster situation to quickly help displaced individuals to find emergency rental housing and available replacement housing throughout the state.

Upcoming Events

March 4, 2014 - 8th Annual Region 7 environmental Protection Agency (EPA)/State Radon Stakeholders' Meeting - West Des Moines, IA -No cost to attend & registration not required, but space is limited. To reserve a space and for additional meeting/hotel information at:

April 29 - May 2, 2014 - NCRC NAHRO/IA NAHRO Annual Conference and Exhibition - Des Moines, IA -  Iowa NAHRO will host the 2014 Spring Conference for the North Central Regional Council (NCRC) of NAHRO. NCRC is comprised of eight member states including: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin. Conference Information at

HUD in Western Missouri

NeighborWorks America Training Institute - Kansas City, MO

December 9-13, 2013 - Kansas City, MO was the host city for NeighborWorks' last training institute in 2013. The event offered several courses including Affordable Housing Development, Asset Management, Community and Neighborhood Revitalization, Community Economic Development, Homeownership and Community Lending, and Rural Development.

Highlights of the conference agenda included panel discussions that offered ways to develop deeper community partnerships that forge a shared vision and frameworks for structuring cross-sector community transformation efforts.

Kansas City, MO Mayor, Sly James, and former Kansas City, KS Mayor, Joe Reardon shared the podium as key-note speakers for the Real-World Solutions for Community Transformation Symposium luncheon on Wednesday, December 11th. In 2011, Google chose Kansas City, KS and Kansas City, MO for its first ultra-high-speed fiber networks. The two cities have, since then, collaborated in unparalleled ways to ensure that the "Google Fiber" project has benefitted citizens and neighborhoods across the Kansas City metro area. Mayor James and Mayor Reardon are co-chairs of the Mayors' Bi-State Innovation Team and authors of Playing to Win in America's Digital Crossroads- A playbook for capitalizing on ultra-high-speed fiber in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri.

Symposium participants selected from among several tours and workshops that highlighted how collaborations are transforming communities in Kansas City which featured the Beacon Hill and Manheim Park neighborhoods, Kansas City's Transit Corridor, Kansas City's Westside, a visit to the Upper Room, a neighborhood-based nonprofit organization which provides high-quality, out-of-school education programs, and a walking tour of downtown Kansas City, highlighting several projects that demonstrate how the arts provide valuable creative, social and economic resource to Kansas City and its neighborhoods.

2014 Point-in-Time Count

On January 29-30, 2014, over 100 volunteers took to the streets, shelters, and prearranged sites in Kansas City, MO to conduct the annual point-in-time (PIT) count of homeless individuals. The Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City (HSCGKC) has gained support over the years from hundreds of individuals, community and faith-based organizations, as well as government agencies in addressing homelessness. Staff from the Veteran's Administration indicated that the yearly outreach is vital to identifying and connecting with at-risk and chronically homeless veterans to prevent and end the cycle of homelessness by providing safe, stable housing options.

Episcopal Community Services' Kitchen (ESC) provided breakfast and lunch for homeless individuals during the count, in the basement of the reStart Housing Solutions Center.

Mid-America Regional Council Celebrates Successes

Dec. 6, 2013 - Mid-America Regional Council 's (MARC) Creating Sustainable Places partners celebrated the completion of its three-year Creating Sustainable Places funded by a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A key factor in developing a successful plan was the input from residents and stakeholders across the region. In particular, the Creating Sustainable Places initiative created new partnerships and developed new planning tools and resources which were instrumental in a creating a vision for a more livable, walkable, and environmentally sustainable region.

Upcoming Events

March 19-21, 2014 - MO NAHRO Spring Conference - St. Louis, MO - Register at

April 2-4, 2014 - MHDC Property Management Conference - Tan-Tar-A Resort in Osage Beach, MO -
Conference will include experts in curb appeal, maintenance information for handling rodents & pests, PBCA, HOME & Compliance training, HUD updates, and more information at

HUD in Nebraska

Veterans Stand Down

November 2, 2013 - The Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System for Nebraska/Western Iowa hosted its annual Homeless Veteran's Stand Down in Omaha, NE at the Civic Center's Exhibit Hall. Stand Downs are one of many efforts the VA has deployed to connect veterans (in particular, homeless veterans) to available services and resources in the area. The VA and its partner agencies united to provide a wide array of services including food, shelter information, clothing, health screenings, VA and Social Security benefits counseling, barber services and referrals to a variety of organizations that provide housing and employment assistance and substance abuse treatment to homeless veterans.

Omaha Field Office Director, Earl Redrick, Customer Service Representative, Andrew Burgin-Anton, and Equal Opportunity Specialist, Kitty Amaya volunteered to provide information regarding HUD public housing opportunities, fair housing rights, the HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing) program and multiple HUD subsidized housing opportunities/locations. In total, 160 veterans were served during the Stand Down.

Heartland Latino Leadership Conference

On November 15, 2013 - Omaha Field Office Director Earl Redrick and field office staff attended the annual "Heartland Latino Leadership Conference" (HLLC). The HLLC is highly attended each year, and it is the largest Hispanic/Latino-focused event in the Midlands. Weeklong events included an intense youth outreach effort, involving 4,750 students from local schools; conferences were held at local schools with students, parents, and educators. A Youth Empowerment Summit was held in conjunction with the conference, with 437 students in attendance. The conference also included various workshops, almost 50 exhibitors, and a host of keynote speakers. HLLC reported that this year's event reached nearly 6,000 people.

27th Annual Prejudice Elimination Workshop

November 20, 2013 - HUD Omaha Field Office employees participated in the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) 27th Annual Prejudice Elimination Workshop. Field Office Director Earl Redrick, Andrew Burgin-Anton, and John Jones volunteered for the event and were trained as workshop facilitators. Their participation expanded outreach efforts, "to partner and work more closely with community official and leaders to enhance awareness of HUD programs and services."

Thirty-six volunteer facilitators led almost 300 junior classmen from 30 area high school through an intensive 6.5 hour curriculum. The curriculum was designed to challenge the biases and behaviors of teens and simultaneously encourage them to be advocates and leaders at school and in their respective communities. Students who were identified as prepared and up for a challenge were chosen to participate by their respective school officials. Students also engaged in tough discussions regarding discrimination and bullying. At the event's luncheon, Gordman's (retail) presented a check for $90,000, as part of a local anti-bullying campaign.

Region VII Regional Administrator makes big splash in Nebraska

On December 10, 2013, HUD's Region VII Regional Administrator (RA), Mrs. Jennifer Tidwell, came to Nebraska (Omaha) for the first time since her appointment. She entered with a huge splash! In one of her first official duties, Ms. Tidwell presented the City of Omaha with a check in the amount of $313,000. HUD awarded Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) Partnership funds to the Omaha Human Rights and Relations Department (OHRRD), a Nebraska FHAP agency to assist with carrying out fair housing activities.

Field Office Director Earl Redrick and the entire Omaha FHEO staff also participated in the event.

In addition, Ms. Tidwell maximized her visit to the Cornhusker State by meeting with local housing and community development entities at Family Housing Advocacy Services. The Nebraska Investment Finance Authority (NIFA) hosted a luncheon where participants were eager to meet and discuss successes and challenges in Nebraska with Ms. Tidwell.

Upcoming Events

April 1, 2014 - Lincoln Council on Human Rights - 2014 Civil Right Conference - Lincoln , NE - For more

What's New

HUD Publishes FY 2013 HOME Match Reductions- FY 2013 HOME Match Reductions list-

Resources for Continuum of Care (CoC) and Public Housing Authority (PHA) Collaboration to End Homelessness - More at

Announcing the Partnership for Freedom Reimagine: Opportunity Challenge -

PROPOSED Fair Market Rents (FMR) for 2014 - Find the FMR for your area -

Read Policy Development and Research's ( PD&R's) e-newsletter, THE EDGE to keep current on policy development and research breaking news -

HUD Issues HOMEfires Vol. 11 No. 1: Guidance on the Impact of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 on HOME-Funded Projects -

HUD Launches 2013 HOME Final Rule Webcasts - View the Webcasts at

HUD Launches Affordable Care Act Resource Library Page -

New Affordable Care Act Web Portal Designed for Persons Living with HIV/AIDS - Read More at

Schedule for the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report - Homeless Data Exchange website at

FY 2014 HOME Homeownership Value Limits Effective January 1, 2014- HOME Homeownership Value Limits -

HUD Releases New HOME Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

From Our Federal Partners

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to Provide Additional Support to Food Banks, Soup Kitchens, and Food Pantries Across the Country - More info at

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Employment Toolkit for employers and veterans focused on transitioning from military service, finding employment and supporting veteran employees -

USDA Announces Energy Efficiency Loan Program to Lower Costs for Consumers, Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions - the rule was published on Dec. 5, 2013 in the Federal Register -

Applications now being accepted for Smart Growth America's 2014 free technical assistance workshops -
Learn more -

Government Training Institute - Introduction to Grant Writing March 5, 2014 & March 12, 2014 - two-part workshop will cover the basics of grant writing and give you the opportunity to write a proposal and have it reviewed and discussed during the second session. Register online at

Affordable Care Act/Health Insurance Marketplace -

USDA Announces Investments in Businesses and Rural Economic Development - Read More at

Deptartment of Labor - Prevailing Wage Seminars - For Dates/Locations visit:

Quick Resources

Quick Links - Use our quick links directory to access HUD information from one location -

Find Grant Opportunities - Find Funds Available -

Stay Connected

HUD Contacts in Kansas -

HUD Contacts in Iowa -

HUD Contacts in Missouri -

HUD Contacts in Nebraska -

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We welcome your comments and feedback and invite you to share your stories and/or news with Agatha (Aggie) Gutierrez at


Content Archived: January 27, 2017