HUD Highlights E-Newsletter

April 2009

Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Martha Dilts, Region X Deputy Director (206) 220-5356

Leland Jones, Editor

April is Fair Housing Month. Know your rights, know your obligations - and celebrate them.

In calendar year 2008, nationwide the Federal Housing Administration insured almost 1.3 purchase mortgages, more mortgages than at any time in its 75 year history. Though it's early, through the first two months of calendar year 2009 FHA's already on pace to endorse even more in 2009. Find out more about why FHA is the safe, sound and secure mortgage product of choice in today's market at the FHA website (

Calling him the "very essence of an innovator," Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has named Rogers Weed as the new Director of the Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development. A graduate of Duke and the Wharton School, Weed has spent the last 15 years as a corporate vice president at Microsoft She expects him to help "lead Washington into the 21st century economy" using the "same fuel that got us where we are today - innovation." He succeeds Julie Wilkerson at CTED.

Speaking of innovation, consider the "Ida-vation" unveiled by Idaho Housing & Finance. As mentioned last month, the Recovery Act established a First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit permitting qualified taxpayers who buy a home before December 1st, 2009 to claim up to $8,000, or $4,000 for married individuals filing separately, on either their 2008 or 2009 tax returns. To help first-time buyers with down payment and closing costs, IHFA is offering to "monetarize" the Credit with a short term 2nd IdaMortgage of up to 5 percent of a home's purchase price, up to $7,000. The mortgage will carry a 3 percent interest rate and borrowers will pay a $250 fee, $150 of that refunded if the loan is paid off by July 10th, 2009. IHFA expects the loan to be paid off by the Federal tax refund that results from the Credit. Will the product lure more unqualified buyers into buying homes? "We have a better repayment record than most of the mortgage industry," said IHFA's Susan Samba. "We've offered down payment assistance for many years and we really document income and we really qualify borrowers."

King County Council votes to proceed with $6.25 million private loan collateralized by CDBG funds to build 26,500 square foot retail center in White Center. . .Census Bureau says Kennewick-Pasco-Richland was the 3rd, Idaho Falls the 8th, Bend the 13th and Olympia the 15th fastest-growing metro areas from 2007 to 2008. . .Portland Housing Authority launches landlord guarantee pilot to cover costs of excessive against excessive damage - more than $1,000 above "reasonable wear and tear" - by Section 8 residents to "increase landlord willingness to participate in the program". . .Idaho Housing & Finance awards $75,000 to Southeast Idaho Community Action to support two transitional homes for veterans. . .Statesman Journal reports more than 600 are served by 60 agencies at Salem's first-ever Project Homeless Connect event. . .Energy Secretary Steven Chu announces $6.3 million in weatherization assistance to Alaska, HUD User's latest edition of U.S. Market Conditions includes "in-depth" profile of Seattle housing market. . .Patricia Oliver selected as new director of Kalama Housing Authority. . .Post Intelligencer is no longer in print, but Aubrey Cohen continues to report on-line what's up - and what's not - in Seattle area real estate ( . .With a $100,000 from NW Area Foundation, Independence, Oregon opens business incubator to help them through "delicate" star-up phase. . .Idaho Department of Commerce awards $107,000 to renovate Mountain Home Senior Center.

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Even with all the Recovery Act funds flowing from our Nation's capital, it's worth calling special attention to House Bill 2436 - passed in March by the Oregon Legislature and signed by Governor Kulongoski. Over the next two years, it's expected to provide, reported The Forest Grove News Times, some $19.6 million to support development of affordable housing. Funds will be raised by a $15 increase in the document recording fee on title transfers and put in a dedicated fund. "It's not going to be affected," said one housing advocate, "by the by the usual political budget problems inherent in the Legislature when they're dealing with when they are dealing with tough times like they are now."

President Obama has nominated Long & Foster president and chief executive officer David Stevens as HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing & Federal Housing Administration Commissioner, Peter Kovar, chief of staff to Congressman Barney Frank, as Assistant Secretary for Congressional & Intergovernmental Affairs, Dr. Raphael Bostic as Assistant Secretary for Policy Development & Research, former special counsel to the President John Trevina as Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Economic Opportunity, AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust chief operating officer Helen Kanovsky as HUD General Counsel and BRIDGE Housing Corporation president Carol Galante as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs. Senate confirmation is required for all but Ms. Galante.

Just over a month after President signs Recovery Act, HUD begins allocating $3 billion in capital improvement funds, including $59.4 to housing authorities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington. . .Association of Washington Cities accepting nominations for 2009 Municipal Excellence Awards until April 17th. . .Clatsop and Northwest Oregon Housing Authorities open Tikkum House, 8 units of permanent housing for formerly homeless families in Warrenton. . .New York Times features Intershelter in Juneau for "updating the Buckminster Fuller dome for use as temporary off-grid shelter for disaster relief". . .KTVL-TV says units in Jackson County Housing Authority's new 48-unit rental complex in Central Point is "going fast" as "foreclosure, unemployment and food stamp rates soar". . .Lake Oswego City Council okays development of 45-unit Oakridge Park complex for the elderly. . .Vancouver and Clark County complete study of code and regulatory barriers to "development of sustainable, affordable housing". . .Recovery Act provides almost $22 million in HHS funds to expand services at 87 health centers in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. . .Marion & Polk counties unveil 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness. . .Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services completes 1,100 square foot house "built from the ground up" to be fully compliant with the Americans for Disability Act. . .King County Housing Authority replacement of 27 "old, water-guzzling" toilets at Eastridge House in Issaquah should save 130,000 gallons a year. . .Clackamas County Women's Services to open "Oregon' first emergency shelter" for Spanish-speaking women who are abused. . .11 housing authorities in Idaho, Oregon and Alaska win HUD self sufficiency grants to help public housing residents find jobs that lead them toward economic independence.

Cows get a bad rap. Some even argue their emissions are a major cause of global warming. But now, says The Seattle Times, bovines are going green. "After five years of political, financial and mechanical engineering," it reports, Qualco - a non-profit formed by farmers, the Tulalip Tribes and a salmon advocacy group in the Monroe, Washington area, has just sold its first shipment of power to Puget Sound Energy. It was produced in "an Olympic size swimming pool filled 15 feet deep with liquid manure" that "fortunately" for the neighbors, The Times adds, is covered with "an airtight roof." Once collected, the manure is heated to 100 degrees and the methane produced shipped to a power house where it's burned to create electricity. Qualco expects to earn $300,000 a year while Puget Sound estimates biolectricity will power up to 280 homes. A "win-win-win", says Qualco's President, for anybody who'd "rather have cows than condos" in farm communities.

Boise's Habitat for Humanity chapter has gotten some very good news from the U.S. Green Building Council. A recently-completed house at 1410 South Wardle - the 50th Habitat and its volunteers have built in Boise - is the first single-family house in the Northwest to win a platinum certification under the LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - program. No wonder when you realize the house has triple-pane windows, insulated hot-water lines, enhanced insulation, non-toxic paint, formaldehyde-free countertops and even, drought-tolerant landscaping. "Habitat's green building is good for the planet," The Idaho Statesman recently noted, but added that the materials and techniques used cut energy and maintenance costs for the owner. After all, said Ken Winer, one of three leaders of Habitat's 100-volunteer "green team", "why build a house a family can't afford to keep?"

"Indian country is poised to become a leader in the growth that the green, sustainable and renewable industry is currently experiencing. Besides the obvious contributions we will be making to save our sacred natural resources, it gives us a chance to serve Native communities. Native people have been at the forefront of sustainable and renewable living and are very keen on the value and importance of natural resources." - Tony Monroe, a Yakama who is an architect and member of the board of the new Native Green Council quoted in the March 21st Indian Country Today.

Latest chapter in the revitalization of the Mountain View neighborhood - "Anchorage's most diverse," says the acting Mayor - is a groundbreaking for a $4.1 million library to replace a branch closed more than 20 years ago. . .HGTV conducts Portland-area "star search" for homebuyers going through the purchase process for the first time for its "My First Place" series. . .Journal of Business says Spokane Housing Ventures and Whitewater Creek, Inc. are "working together on a $27 million deal" to buy and expand a "struggling" retirement community. . .Calling it "a dream come true," Pierce County YWCA director says it's moving its domestic violence shelter to give their families "some breathing room". . .Oregon Economic & Community Development awards $114,500 in CDBG funds for renovation of Newport Senior Activity Center. . .Historic Kennewick Downtown Partnership unveils two bronzed sculptures telling Tri-City Herald that "art in the downtown is an economic driver for the community". . .Boys & Girls Club of King County names Rainier Vista teen Michael Davis as "Youth of the Year". . .Yakima Valley Community Foundation helps residents of Catholic Charities Housing Service's farm worker housing in Buena transform empty, rock-strewn lot into soccer field. . .Homes for Islanders, Community Frameworks and USDA Rural Development present keys to new owners of nine homes at Park Plaza in Friday Harbor. . .More than 200 at risk homeowners attend city of Tacoma and Washington Department of Financial Institutions foreclosure intervention workshop. . .Just in time for Fair Housing Month, HUD's gone up on Facebook and YouTube with videos to educate the deaf and hard-of-hearing about fair housing rights, FHA mortgage programs and other HUD programs..

Since before it opened in late 2005, the 1811 Eastlake House in Seattle has been controversial. Run by the Downtown Emergency Service Center and funded in part by HUD, it's home to 75 formerly homeless men and women who are alcoholic, keeping them off the streets, out of danger and out of emergency rooms and jail. Though residents are encouraged, they're not forced to stop drinking to live there. "It was perceived that we were opening a party house where people could drink and run amok and generally set their hair on fire," the Center's executive director Bill Hobson told The Seattle Post Intelligencer. But research by the University of Washington and published in JAMA - the Journal of the American Medical Association - suggests something far more significant was going on. The researchers, reports The Seattle Times, "followed 95 chronic alcoholic homeless before and after they moved into" 1811 Eastlake and also "kept tabs" on a control group of those who'd not entered the program. They found that, on average, it cost taxpayers $4,832 "per person, per month" to provide medical and correctional services to these 95 while they were "living on the streets." Within six months of entering 1811, however, the per person, per month cost had dropped to just $1,492. They also found that, "contrary to expectations," residents "drank less after moving in" and "some even stopped." It was a "doggoone good idea," said King County Executive Ron Sims who'd "reluctantly" allowed the County to fund the program. "Our return on investment," he now realizes, "has exceeded any expectation," he told The Post-Intelligencer. Which may explain why New York, Atlanta, Ft. Worth, Phoenix and Los Angeles are considering similar projects.

The Recovery Act appropriated $1.5 billion for a homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing program. HUD's begun the process of allocating, by formula, the funds, including some $46.7 million of that will go to 29 state and local government agencies in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. More details about the program are available and HUD has scheduled a national Webcast on April 8th at If you or your organization serve the homeless, it's a Webcast you'll want to view.

April 8th is the application for the Treasury Departments New Market Tax Credits program. . .April 20th is deadline for EPA's Brownfields Job Training grants. . .April 20th is the deadline for Department of Justice's Office of Juvenile Delinquency Prevention's Youth Mentoring Initiative. . .April 27th is deadline for USDA's Farmers Market Promotion grants program. . .May 8th is deadline for EPA' Healthy Communities grant program. . .May 15th is deadline for Department of Homeland Security's Citizenship Grant program. . .May 21st is deadline for Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration Offender Reentry grants program. . .May 22nd is deadline for National Park Service's Save America's Treasures grant program for preservation of historic collections or properties. . .May 28th is deadline for community development corporations to apply for HHS Community Economic Development Projects grant program. . .June 9th is deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America grants to provide energy audits to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers to "identify ways to improve energy efficiency". . .USDA accepting applications until May 31st, for household water well funds to give rural residents "access to clean, safe drinking water."

Idaho Fair Housing Conference, April 3rd, University of Idaho, Moscow.

Planning Association of Washington holds annual spring conference April 9th and 10th in Blaine. For more (

Alaska Congressional Delegation hosts grants symposium April 14th in Anchorage.

National Council of La Raza pre-purchase and post-purchase homeownership counseling workshops, April 13th through 16th, Seattle. For more (

Partners in Emergency Preparedness conference, April 14th and 15th in Tacoma. For more ({0138542D-333F-45EA-8C22-B2BFD6D8CDC3}&DE={486A7199-9325-459C-AB1C-1A313FC94283}).

2009 Oregon Heritage and Pacific Northwest History Conferences, April 15th to 18th in Portland. For more (

20th Annual Conference of Oregon Coalition on Housing & Homelessness, April 15th to 17th, Hood River. For more (

23rd Annual Tacoma Fair Housing Conference, April 16th in Tacoma. For more (

Northwest Environmental Business Council hosts "Business of Renewable Energy" conference April 16th in Portland. For more (

Oregon Heritage Conference- April 15th to 18th in Portland. For more (

Indigenous Peoples' Global Summit on Climate Change, April 20th to 24th in Anchorage. For more (

Corporation for Supportive Housing hosts Permanent Supportive Housing Summit April 23rd at Sea-Tac.

Alaska Housing Finance Corporation Fair Housing Workshop, April 28th in Anchorage.

CTED's 23rd annual Downtown Revitalization Conference, April 29th to May 1st in Vancouver. For more (

Annual conference of Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO, May 3rd through 6th in Boise. For more (

Washington Coalition for the Homeless annual conference, May 13th to May 15th in Vancouver.

Neighborhood USA Conference in Spokane, May 20th to May 23rd. For more (

National Association of Counties western regional conference in Pendleton, May 20th to May 22nd. For more (

HUD Fair Housing Workshop, May 28th in Seattle.


Content Archived: September 19, 2014