HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Martha Dilts, Region X Deputy Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor
On Friday January 30th, President Obama declared, at the request of Governor Gregoire, that Federal aid would be made available in King, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, Pierce, Snohomish, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties to help residents and business recover from damage caused by flooding, mudslides and landslides in January, 2009. Assistance can include grants to help individuals and households pay for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration also will be available to cover residential and business losses not fully compensated by insurance.
Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures. Apply at www.fema.gov/assistance/index.shtm. HUD assistance triggered by the President's declaration.
President Obama has nominated King County Executive Ron Sims to serve as HUD's Deputy Secretary, charged with managing HUD's day-to-day operations, a nearly $39 billion annual operating budget and the agency's 8500 employees. Born in Spokane in 1948, Mr. Sims has served as County Executive, an elective position, since 1996. "Ron's visionary leadership in government, the environmental and social justice arena, make him the perfect partner," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. The appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.
Mortgage markets may be troubled, but calendar 2008 was a very good year across the Northwest for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. A record number of FHA mortgages were insured in the Olympia, Bend, Bremerton, Twin Falls, Tri-Cities, Yakima, Aberdeen and Bellingham areas. FHA insured its 13,000th mortgage in the Pocatello area, its 30,000th mortgage in the Eugene-Springfield area, its 90,000th mortgage in the Spokane area and its 200,000th mortgage in the Portland-Vancouver area. Since its creation, FHA now has insured mortgages totaling more than $400 million in the Juneau area, $500 million in the Longview-Kelso area, $800 million in the Idaho Falls area, $900 million in the Medford-Ashland area, $2 billion in the Salem are, $7 billion in the Boise area, $8 billion in the Tacoma area and $30 billion in the Seattle area.
If your group is registered (www.grants.gov/) and receives an e-mail from the Department of Transportation about the Central Contract Registry, DON'T respond! DON'T give your DUNS number! DON'T provide your TPIN numbers! It's an e-hoax and a nasty one at that.
Appointed by President Bush, John Meyers submitted his resignation effective January 19th after seven years as HUD's Regional Director. Deputy Regional Director Martha Dilts will assume his responsibilities until President Obama names a successor.
HUD approves Oregon's $19.6 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program to help communities address consequences of home foreclosures and abandonment. . .Oregon Tradesmen, Inc. of Portland wins $20,000, EPA Brownfields Environmental Training grant. . .Governor Gregoire names Larry Williams interim director of Washington Department of Community, Trade & Economic Development. . .U.S. Department of the Treasury begins accepting applications for 2009 Bank Enterprise Award program that recognizes FDIC-insured banks "for their increased community and economic development lending". . .My Father's Place wins $100,000 Paul G. Allen Family Foundation grant to build family shelter in Gresham, OR. . .Tundra Times reports that United Way of Anchorage campaign asking Alaskans to donate their $1,200 state energy rebate to "those who need it more," especially in rural areas, raises $22,000. . .The Oregonian reports that Mid-Valley Housing Plus and Community Outreach, both of Corvallis, have decided to merge to insure, "in a cold economy," that "the services of both agencies continue". . .Seattle Public Health and the King County and Seattle housing win $400,000 Robert Wood Johnson grant "to address the factors that make it difficult for children from low-income families to maintain a healthy diet and an active lifestyle". . .Andrew Ebona of Anchorage re-elected as Chairman of Rural CAP board. . .Lewis-Clark State College President Dene Thomas appointed by Governor Otter to board of Idaho Housing & Finance Association. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services and Oregon Community Action Partnership release Report on Poverty 2008 at Capitol in Salem. . .HUD awards $4.1 million to 37 housing authorities in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to help families become economically self-sufficient.
Quote to Note
"I am humbled and honored that President Obama asked me to serve in his Administration and to lead this department. Like so many of you, I have long been committed to affordable housing. In this line of work, we often talk in terms of units built and dollars spent. That is our common language. But it does little to convey the reason I have devoted my career to this work. America's homes are the foundation for family, safe neighborhoods, good schools and solid businesses. A home represents and confers stability: a base from which to raise our children. These things have not changed - but the world has. I am at HUD because I know that together, we can restore this vital sector to health and make quality housing possible for every American." - From an e-mail note to HUD employees sent by Shaun Donovan, confirmed by the Senate on January 22nd as the nation's 15th Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
As Congress and the President debate the size and shape of a new stimulus package, there's already one stimulus package up, running and packaged. It's called the Earned Income Tax Credit. If every income-eligible household in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington were to apply for the Credit, that would mean millions more in their pockets and, obviously, millions more coming into the Northwest's local economies. And that's the point - making sure eligible families apply for the Credit.
There's free tax preparation help available in Alaska (www.hss.state.ak.us/dpa/features/press/eitc/), Idaho (www.idahocommunityaction.org/CEI.html), Oregon (www.cashoregon.org/), and in Washington (www.cted.wa.gov/site/994/default.aspx).
Seattle's KING-TV news says it won't be long before Bugsy the beagle is on the prowl. His prey? He's specially trained to hunt down bed bugs, a growing problem in some Seattle Housing Authority units. And once Bugsy bags the bed bugs, the Authority will use a thermal remediator to heat infested unit to 140 degrees, way too hot for the normal bedbug, "the toughest pest I've ever come up against," said someone with 30 years in the pest control business. But, we'll bet, not as tough as Bugsy.
Ready for More
Calling it "a good example of Alaskans helping fellow Alaskans," Governor Palin has announced the award of $46.8 million in grants and Federal low-income housing tax credits by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation to build or renovate almost 300 rental units for the elderly and people with disabilities in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Ketchikan, Togiak, Houston, Soldotna, Palmer and Kodiak. The Corporation noted that it contributed some $5.5 million in corporate receipts "to increase the number of affordable and senior housing units" this year's awards will produce. And, looking forward to its next funding round in April, the Corporation says it "stands ready" to help organizations put together their applications.
Speaking of Which
Affordable housing also got a boost with HUD's award of $46.9 million in Section 202 and Section 811 grants for the construction of 339 units of housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities in Spokane, Tacoma, Moses Lake, Everett, Kennewick, Coeur d'Alene, Haines, Togiak, Grants Pass, Springfield, Aloha and Wilsonville. The funds provide the non-profit developers with capital grants and three years of rent subsidies so the very low-income tenants do not spend more than 30 percent of their income on rent. "I really hadn't expected funding" because of the bad economy, Rich Barchet, chairman of SEC Housing in Kennewick, one of this year's winners, told The Tri-City Herald.
Another big boost for affordable housing also came with King County's announcement, also in January of the award of some $36 million in loans and grants for 636 new units for families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and to provide services and support to help another 300 "very vulnerable" people out of homelessness. The county noted that the National Association of Home Builders says every 100 units of new multi-family housing generates 116 jobs and $8.7 million in income for construction trades and "a "boost to the local economy."
Brief Briefs Too
National Trust for Historic Preservation and HUD now accepting nominations - due March 2nd - for 2009 Secretary's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in affordable housing or expanding economic opportunities (www.huduser.org/Research/09_hist_award_appl.pdf). . .Idaho Housing Finance Association releases schedule of almost 90 Finally Home workshops for first-time homebuyers in Boise, Caldwell, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Lewiston, Pocatello, Sandpoint and Twin Falls in 2009. . .USDA Rural Development begins accepting applications for $45.8 million in loans and grants for to promote rural community and economic development. . .January 12th Federal Register publishes 2009 Contract Rent Annual Adjustment Factors notice. . .Ketchum Mayor calls award of tax credits by Idaho Housing & Finance to 32 unit affordable project - one of 19 Idaho projects winning tax credits this year - a "big win" for city that "validates" its support for local community development corporation. . .HUD awards more than $9.9 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants to 19 tribes and native organizations in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to build new housing, improve water and sewer facilities, promote economic development and expand health and education facilities. . .Seattle Housing Authority wins Evergreen Safety Council award for "significant achievements" in reduction safety incidents and the costs associated with them. . .Idaho Mountain Express says that, "like a phoenix rising from the ashes," Blaine County housing authority has "resurrected" itself after trimming $100,000 from budget. . .Newport News Times says Lincoln County making $100,000 available for local economic and community development projects. . .Washington Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation sets March 5th as deadline for nominations for 19th annual Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Historic Preservation.
February 4th is deadline to apply for Office of Violence Against Women Rural Domestic Violence, Dating Violence & Sexual Assault grants. . .February 16th is deadline to apply for $1 million in 2008 Urban Forestry Challenge Grant program. . .Deadline for HUD Section 202 Pre-Development Design grants has been extended to February 18th. . .March 16th is deadline to apply for EPA Community Action for a Renewed Environment grants. . .March 4th is deadline to apply for Department of Justice Gang Prevention Coordination Assistance Program grants. . .USDA accepting applications until May 31st, for household water well funds to give rural residents "access to clean, safe drinking water."
Native American Indian Housing Council hosts workshop on "the basics" of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program February 10th and 11th in Portland. More (www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=682048).
HUD Seattle hosts training on the Indian Housing Plan and Annual Performance Reviews February 11th and 12th in Seattle.
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians winter conference in Tulalip, February 16th to 19th. Register (www.regonline.com/builder/site/Default.aspx?eventid=673762).
The Western Lead Training Center is offering lead abatement training for supervisors from February 17th to 20th and for workers February 23rd to 25th in Caldwell. More (http://cbee.oregonstate.edu/wrltc/classes.html).
HUD Seattle hosts Federal Labor Standards training for housing authorities on February 23rd and for grantees on February 24th.
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Act training March 4th in Spokane.
Idaho Association of Mortgage Brokers holds annual conference March 19th and 20th in Boise. More (www.idahomortgagebrokers.org/iamb_conference.shtml).
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Housing Act training March 25th in Seattle.
2009 Oregon Heritage and Pacific Northwest History Conferences to be held April 15th to 18th in Portland. More (www.oregon.gov/OPRD/HCD/OHC/Conference.shtml).