E-Notes from HUD's Detroit Field Office

U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development
June 2007
Lana J. Vacha, Field Office Director
(313) 226-7900

From the Director:

In a couple of weeks we will finally shed the last of Michigan�s chilly season and celebrate the arrival of summer. June is also the month in which we acknowledge the strides taken to make the American Dream of homeownership a reality. And homeownership is truly an integral part of the American experience. Early settlers arrived from foreign lands where property was generally the purview of royalty or the very wealthy, or in some other cultures, the communal holdings of extended families or clans. But America was supposed to be different, a land where individuals could take advantage of opportunity based on their own efforts, not simply on their heritage or wealth. And so, individual ownership of private property was one of the earliest concepts established in young America.

Today, the U.S. homeownership rate is nearly 70%, with the Midwest leading the nation with over 72%. While this is good news, this rate does not reflect the reality that many families and individuals in certain areas or of certain backgrounds still have inadequate access to credit and fair lending practices. It also does not reflect that many homeowners obtained that status and are teetering on the brink of foreclosure because of predatory lending and/or inadequate information regarding homebuying and maintenance.

During this upcoming National Homeownership Month of June, please help HUD spread the word that homeownership remains one of the cornerstones of American society, and that we are committed to assuring that those who are interested and able to participate have access to equal opportunities and safe credit. Encourage potential homeowners to use HUD�s website and upcoming events to educate themselves about homebuying, guide them to reputable housing counseling agencies, and be alert to potential scams and practices that undermine those dreams.

Budget and Funding Updates

HUD Grants Available under the 2007 SuperNOFA�Important Corrections
The Fiscal Year 2007 SuperNOFA, PART II, was published in the Federal Register on March 13, 2007. This Notice of Funding Availability described the competitive process for over $2 billion under 38 different programs.

Other Funding Opportunities:
U.S. Department of Labor: On April 26, 2007, the U.S. Department of Labor announced its $47 million competition for Youthbuild grants. The Youthbuild Program was transferred from HUD to the DOL in Fiscal Year 2007. This Notice and other DOL grant opportunities can be found on www.doleta.gov/sga/sga.cfm

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: The U.S. EPA Region 5 is soliciting Proposals from established asthma programs to support community based efforts to reduce the exposure of children with asthma to environmental asthma triggers in their homes and/or schools. This solicitation is designed to assist community-based efforts, either directly through grants to states or to community organizations, or by supporting school districts, air programs, or State/tribal and regional asthma programs that provide mini-grants to community organizations. For more information on this and other EPA funding opportunities, visit www.epa.gov/ogd/competition/open_awards.htm

Upcoming Events

June 2, 2007�Detroit Homeownership Education Workshop Tips for first time homebuyers, credit management, predatory lending. Free. 10:00 -- 5:00 at Wayne County Community College Downtown campus, 1001 W. Fort. Sponsored by the City of Detroit and Detroit HOPE.

June 9, 2007�Keeping Your Home in Troubling Times A financial and foreclosure workshop for Macomb County residents. Free. 9:00 � 2:00 at Warren City Hall, One City Square.

June 22, 2007�Environmental Training The Detroit HUD Office of Community Planning and Development is sponsoring a full day of training for entitlement grantee staff on basic environmental procedures under Part 58, including project classification, review procedures, determinations, and releases of funds. The session is primarily for new grantee staff unfamiliar with the HUD Environmental Process or for those who would like a refresher. The session will be on Friday, June 22, 2007, in the Detroit HUD Office. Prior registration will be required, and interested participants should contact Carmen Reveron, Field Environmental Officer, at (313) 226-7900, extension 8194.

August 25, 2007�Radio Disney Healthy Kids Tour Oakland Mall, Troy This is a pre-announcement for Radio Disney�s MOVE IT! summer tour. Once again, the U.S.EPA will participate with emphasis asthma prevention and treatment.

Energy Webcasts
Energy and other utilities make up an increasing share of building operating and maintenance costs. In April, HUD initiated live satellite broadcasts, which can be viewed via webcast, on energy efficient building management, housing rehabilitation and new construction. Broadcasts will continue on June 14, and September 13. To register, or for further information, please go to www.hudenergytraining.com. Other questions or comments should be directed to energyaction@hud.gov

Grant Writing Workshops

June 14 and 15, 2007�Effective Grant Development for Nonprofit Organizations.
Sponsored by U.S. Senator Carl Levin and the Michigan State University Extension. At Mott Community College in Flint. Free. To register and for more information, call (989) 754-2494.

July 16-17, 2007�Workshop sponsored by Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG) in Detroit. Tuition required. For more information, see www.grantwritingusa.com or contact (800) 814-8191.

July 17-18, 2007�Workshop sponsored by HUD�s Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives at the Michigan Library and Historical Center, 702 W. Kalamazoo Street, Lansing. Free.

Beginning in June, the new marketing agent for HUD Homes in Michigan and Ohio will be Chapman Law Firm out of Cleveland. The firm is currently accepting applications from brokers, appraisers, and other subcontractors interested in doing business in these states. You may visit their website at www.clfres.com/. Note, however, that outstanding pending sales contracts will not be transferred to the new agent until June 29, 2007.

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)
HUD published its Final Rule on the Freedom of Information Act on March 14, 2007, effective April 16, 2007. HUD undertook this effort in order to make the regulations governing fee waivers more informative and helpful in accordance with the President�s recently issued Executive Order 13392, "Improving Agency Disclosure of Information." This final rule describes the information that must be included in a FOIA request and the demonstrations that must be made in order for a waiver or reduction of fees to be granted. This final rule also revises the FOIA fee schedule, clarifies the time at which HUD will begin processing a FOIA request, and modifies HUD�s policy on the use of outside contractors to fulfill FOIA requests. For procedural information on making FOIA requests click on www.hud.gov/offices/ogc/foia/foiarequests.cfm.

Consumer�s Corner:

Looking for resources to fund a program or project?
Check out these search engines BEFORE you pay for a book or commercial service.
  • www.financeproject.org/fedfund/
  • www.grants.gov/
  • Thinking of buying a new home or refinancing?
    Consider an FHA insured mortgage product. You will be assured of appropriate fees and truth-in-lending from financial institutions approved to offer these federally-backed loans. Learn more about FHA, find a lender, and get some great buying advice by calling our toll-free number or visiting our website:
  • (800) CALLFHA or (800) 225-5342
  • www.hud.gov/buying/index.cfm
  • Need help saving your home from foreclosure?
    If you have a HUD/FHA mortgage and have fallen behind in payments, DO NOT DELAY! Call your bank right away to discuss the situation and ask to develop a workout plan to keep your home. And take a look at the resources and tools available to you through our website www.hud.gov/offices/hsg/sfh/econ/econ.cfm including a list of approved housing counseling agencies that are ready to help you.

    Are you using the new compact fluorescent light bulbs to save energy?
    While HUD encourages the use of such energy saving techniques, consumers should be aware of some precautions to take when disposing of these bulbs or cleaning up after one breaks. The CFL bulbs, like thermometers, contain a small amount of mercury in a sealed tube. If these break, the EPA has some recommendations about cleanup. (www.epa.gov/mercury/spills/index.htm)

    Do You Know?

    Most information about government programs is
    Our office is often called by individuals who have been mistakenly informed or scammed into buying services and forms that are available for free or low cost. In recent times, we have been advised of services that will, for a fee, provide individuals with a list of HUD properties for sale. These lists are available to the public through our website and from any local HUD field office. Another common scheme is the offer to provide a standard federal application form for a fee that can be used to apply for HUD grants. Any such forms and the requirements for their completion will always be available on the federal agency�s website or through www.grants.gov. Please help us stop these moneymaking schemes by passing along this information. Here are a few additional resources in this regard:
    http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/faq/faq-cah.htm. This site has free and low cost information pertaining to many federal programs and issues of interest.
    www.grants.gov/ -- The federal government grant site.

    The following are links to federal, state, and nonprofit organizations that track consumer schemes and scams.

    Customer Service Survey
    The Detroit Field Office invites you to participate in our customer survey this year. If you have had opportunity to interact with our office within the last 6 months, we would appreciate your feedback on the quality of service you or your organization received in that contact. Feel free to use the comment section to describe the circumstance more fully and also to provide comments on how we can better serve you. If you submit the survey electronically, the results will be collected in an electronic database and accumulated in a report.

    Content Archived: July 29, 2011