HUD Kentucky Highlights Newsletter Fall 2012
Locating Housing after a Natural Disaster
In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (or any natural disaster), families can be forced from their homes and finding a place to live as quickly as possible is crucial. There are many resources available from federal agencies to private organizations. In order to make the process as easy as possible, FEMA has put together a housing portal. FEMA's Housing Portal (http://asd.fema.gov/inter/hportal/home.htm) consolidates rental resources from HUD, Department of Agriculture, Department of Veterans Affairs, private organizations, and the public to help families and individuals locate rental units in their area. You can search by selecting your state then by narrowing your choices by city, Zip Code and size of your desired rental unit. The site is updated on a regular basis so please check back often for the most current information.
Also, Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that HUD will speed federal disaster assistance to the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Families who have been forced from their homes need to know that help is available so that they may begin the rebuilding process. HUD's disaster assistance will give states the flexibility to redirect millions of Community Development Block Grant and HOME program dollars to address critical needs, including housing and services for disaster victims; grant a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures of FHA-insured homes; make mortgage insurance available under HUD's Section 203(h) program; make insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation under HUD's Section 203(k) program; and offer Section 108 loan guarantee assistance. Here at HUD, our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected by Hurricane Sandy.
Your Voice Matters. Speak up: Regulations.gov
Let your voice be heard. Public comments make a difference in regulatory policy. Comments give rule writers a chance to actively listen to a wide-range of concerns, values, and preferences. Use your opportunity to make your voice be heard in federal decision making. The site is easy to navigate and has a tutorial to help you find your way.
Public participation is an essential function of good governance because it enhances the quality of law and its realization through regulations (e.g. Rules). Comments are carefully recorded and examined and agencies respond to comments by categories in the preambles of final rules. Another important reason to comment is because it also reduces cost. When agencies understand the data presented, why people raise specific questions, and how to logically support a decision with all the necessary and relevant evidence, the final product reduces costs associated with delays or litigation. The bottom line is yes, your voice matters. Visit regulations.gov and speak your mind.
Reverse Mortgages Business Partners: HERMIT is Here!
HUD's Home Equity Reverse Mortgage Information Technology (HERMIT) application is a newly designed and streamlined business service that manages and tracks the loans in HUD's Mutual Mortgage Insurance fund. HERMIT consists of a servicing module, and an accounting module to track loans, calculate and record associated financial transactions. The new HERMIT system was launched on October 9, 2012. Interested in all the details and background? Please review Mortgagee Letter 2012-17. Please note that now that HERMIT is operational, HUD's Single Family Claims Branch will no longer accept paper claim packages for reverse mortgage claims. Please send any questions to Support@HECMSP.COM. For more details check Home Equity Conversion Mortgages for Lenders HECMs and HERMIT System and Resources.
Study Examines CDBG Loan Guarantee Program
HUD has sponsored a study that investigates Section 108, the provision of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) authorizing legislation that allows grantees to borrow up to five times the amount of their annual grant through loans backed by the full faith and credit guaranty of HUD. These loans markedly expand the size and reach of local community development projects completed with CDBG funds and are especially important to local governments struggling to finance development needs during the economic recovery. The resulting report, "Study of HUD's Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program," describes how communities used Section 108 funds and reports on the project outcomes from loans made in fiscal years 2002 to 2007. Some highlights: Section 108 loan commitment from 2002 to 2007 totaled $1.4 billion. The average loan size was $4.9 million for 296 projects across the country, ranging from $159,000 to more than $59 million. Read the Study (www.huduser.org/portal/publications/econdev/section108_loanguaranteeprogram.html).
HUD's Brand New Office of Housing Counseling
The newly created Office of Housing Counseling, developed to support HUD-approved housing counseling throughout America, is now in full operation. It began its "soft launch" in September, and consists of three operating units: the Office of Policy and Grant Administration, the Office of Outreach and Capacity Building, and the Office of Oversight and Accountability.
New ways of doing business are being structured for the new division. A major goal is to issue training and counseling grant NOFAs sooner, making them shorter and clearer. The guiding principle of the new office is to help consumers get unbiased, knowledgeable information about their finances and their housing needs, and help them meet their housing goals. For almost everything you need to know on the topic check HUD's housing counseling toolkit. Brand new housing counselors can start with the 101 booklet.
FHA New Temporary Condo Approval Process
On September 13, 2012, Acting FHA Commissioner Carol Galante issued Mortgagee Letter (ML) 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 will last until August 31, 2014, unless extended. 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. To see the full ML 2012-18, please visit HUD's website.
Grab Your Smart Phone: Look up the Latest Fair Market Rents and Income Limits
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research launched the PD&R FMR/IL Lookup app for Android and Apple iOS powered smartphones! This map-based app allows users to search Fair Market Rents (FMR) and Income Limits by current location or other units of geography. HUD annually estimates FMRs for 530 metropolitan areas and 2,045 nonmetropolitan county FMR areas. HUD also sets income limits annually to determine the eligibility of applicants for HUD's assisted housing programs. FMRs are used to determine payment standard amounts for the various assisted housing programs and to serve as a rent ceiling in the HOME rental assistance program. This map-based app allows users to search FMRs and Income Limits by current location or by metropolitan area, county, Zip Code and/or address.
Now Drop Your Old Calculator and Use HUD's Brand New Income Eligibility Calculator
HUD's Income & Allowances Calculator is an interactive tool that makes determining the income eligibility and assistance amounts for applicants to HUD community development programs much easier. Simply enter the requested data and this calculator will work behind the scenes to generate a summary of results for each applicant. You can then print out the summary and include it as part of the applicant's file! Please remember you will need about 15 minutes for each applicant. Also, in order to ensure the privacy of applicants, the calculator does not remember any information once you leave this tool. If you do have to exit before completing the calculations for an applicant, please note or print out the information you have entered up to that point because it will not be saved.
Currently the Calculator assists with the following programs: Brownfield Economic Development Initiative (BEDI), Community Development Block Grant Program (CDBG), CDBG Disaster Recovery Assistance, HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME), Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), Section 108 Loan Guarantee Program, and Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity (SHOP). Ready? Start here (https://www.onecpd.info/incomecalculator/).
Foreclosed? Don't Forget to File Your Mortgage Servicing Settlement Claim by 1/18/2013
If you - or someone you know - lost a home to foreclosure between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2011, and had a mortgage serviced by Ally/GMAC, Bank of America, Citi, JPMorgan Chase or Wells Fargo, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don't forget that thousands of borrowers are eligible to file claims under the $25 billion National Mortgage Servicing Settlement as partial compensation for the mortgage servicers' improper conduct. Claims must be filed no later than January 18, 2013. So, if you think you are due, file today by visiting http://nationalmortgagesettlement.com. If you are not sure if you are eligible to file, call the National Mortgage Servicing Settlement administrator at 866-430-8358. Claims will be paid after the January 18, 2013, filing deadline.
We Can help You Go Green
Want to know more about the basics of going green? Now through November 16, 2012, HUD is accepting applications from our partners to receive free technical assistance from HUD's Green Housing Technical Assistance Corps. Eligible applicants include housing authorities, CHDOs, local governments, other HUD-assisted housing providers, owners and property managers who want to implement green building and management techniques. Topic areas include diagnostic assessment, green design, energy performance contracting, financing, and renewable energy. Submit your request (http://spi.force.com/hud) today! For specific questions, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Atlanta and Tampa, a Fight Against Homelessness
HUD and the Interagency Council on Homelessness are working on the new Dedicating Opportunities to End Homelessness Initiative, designed to leverage resources at all levels of government as well as within local communities. Around the nation, 10 areas were chosen to bring all entities working on homelessness together to work collaboratively, instead of individually, on the issue of chronic, family/child and veteran homelessness. In HUD's Southeast Region, Tampa and Atlanta were selected and have already started setting target dates with specific goals. The purpose of this initiative is to aggressively tackle homelessness on a collaborative, interagency manner to achieve measurable results. Anywhere in the country, if you are homeless, at risk of becoming homeless, or know someone who is homeless, help is available. HUD, along with many other Federal agencies, funds programs to help persons who are homeless. Local homeless assistance agencies provide a range of services and assistance, including emergency shelter, food, housing counseling, and job training and placement assistance. Go here (www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewLookingAssistance) if you are looking for homeless assistance. There is help. HUD's Homelessness Resource Exchange (www.hudhre.info/) is an online one-stop shop for information and resources on assisting people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
Check the Numbers; Housing is Recovering from the Foreclosure Crisis
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).
This is what the numbers from September indicate: Rising home values have brought homeowner equity to its highest level since the third quarter of 2008 and helped lift 1.3 million families above water. Homeowner equity jumped $406 billion, or 5.9 percent, to $7,275 billion in the second quarter of 2012. After a sharp ﬁrst quarter rise, total equity has grown to $863 billion, or 13.5 percent, since the end of 2011. The number of underwater borrowers has declined by 11 percent since the end of last year, from 12.1 million in the 4th quarter of 2011 to 10.8 million in the second quarter of 2012.
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