Northwest HUD Lines
Thanks to each and every one of you who are bundling-up and heading-out to help with the 2016 point-in-time count of your community's homeless. We very much appreciate your time and energy. The count, of course, is just a snapshot in time, but the data you help collect is crucial helping communities in general and homeless providers in particular to better understand and serve those who have the misfortune of being without a place to call home. Again, thank you.
FHA cuts multifamily mortgage insurance rates to boost affordable housing preservation & production
In its latest effort to help preserve and increase the amount of affordable, quality rental housing across the country, HUD Secretary Julián Castro has announced that the Federal Housing Administration – FHA will, effective April 1st, reduce rates on certain FHA-insured multi-family mortgages. The annual rate on "broadly affordable" FHA mortgages will be lowered 25 basis points; to 35 basis points for mixed-income mortgages with affordability set-asides; and to 25 basis points for FHA mortgages that meet Federal energy-efficiency guidelines. "Families across the country are struggling through an affordable housing crisis," the Secretary said. "By reducing our rates, this Administration is taking a significant step to encourage the preservation and development of affordable and energy efficient housing in communities large and small. This way, hard-working families won't have to make the false choice between quality or affordable housing." FHA is also reducing upfront premiums to support the affordable housing and energy efficiency goals stated above and to streamline the premium structure. Upfront insurance rates will be set at 25 basis points for Broadly Affordable and Energy-Efficient properties and 35 basis points for Mixed-Income properties. Upfront premiums for market rate properties that are not energy-efficient will remain unchanged. THE FHA rate reductions, said Mortgage Bankers Association President & CEO Jack Stevens, are "a positive step toward helping support the need for affordable and more cost efficient rental housing" and "may help build more apartments and allow for more families and individuals to access affordable and energy efficient housing. Public comments on HUD's actions are due no later than February 17th. For definitions, program-by-program & public comment information, visit regulations.gov
New partners & resources for endingveteran homelessness
HUD's continuing efforts to end homelessness among veterans received a big boost from the award of 140 HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Vouchers to seven tribal housing authorities in Alaska, Oregon & Washington State. HUD VASH vouchers provide rental assistance that enables homeless veterans referred to local housing authorities by Veterans Affairs case managers to obtain permanent, affordable housing and supportive services. The Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority & Association of Village Council Presidents in Alaska, the Warm Springs Housing Authority in Oregon and the Yakama Nation Housing Authority, Spokane Indian Housing Authority & Colville Indian Housing Authority, were each awarded 20 HUD VASH vouchers to provide housing to Native veterans who are or who are at risk of homelessness. "By targeting resources directly to tribes, we can better honor the service and sacrifice of Native American Veterans who now need a roof over their heads," said HUD Secretary Castro. HUD previously has awarded more than 4,350 HUD VASH vouchers to more than 30 non-tribal housing authorities in Alaska, Oregon & Washington. This is the first time HUD has been able to award HUD VASH vouchers to tribal authorities and reflects a proposal to do made by President Obama and approved by the Congress in 2015.
USDA Secretary Vilsack says Alaska, Oregon & Washington "especially hard hit" by 2015 wildfire season
Well, the final numbers are in for the 2015 wildfire season, reports Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/01/0006.xml&navid=
NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent). Simply put, they're staggering. 13 firefighters – including 7 from the U.S. Forest Service – killed. A record 10,125,149 acres burned, with Alaska, California, Oregon & Washington "especially hard hit. "More than 50 fires exceeding 50,000 acres each and 20 exceeding 100,000 acres. Some 4,500 homes and other structures destroyed. Some 52 percent of the Forest Service budget dedicated to wildfire suppression with a record $243 million spent on suppression in a single week in August and $2.6 billion over the whole season. Since 2000, the Department says, "fire seasons have grown longer, and the frequency, size and severity of wildland fires has increased." The job of fighting fires has, notes the Secretary, "the job has become increasingly difficult due to the effects of climate change, chronic droughts, and a constrained budget environment." The "records," he adds, "will continue to be broken."
USDA in "new digs"
"Hey, hey Mr. Postman" – and everybody else – effective February 1st USDA Rural Development in Oregon is moving to new offices. Its new address will be the Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt Federal Office Building1220 SW 3rd Avenue, Suite 1801, Portland, Oregon, 97204. E-mail address & phone numbers don't change.
United Van Lines analysis of 230,000 moves reports , says CNN Money (http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/04/real_estate/oregon-most-popular-moving-states-2015/), that, for 3rd year in a row, Oregon is the most popular state to move to. . .At the request of Washington Governor Jay Inslee, President Obama issues disaster declaration (www.fema.gov/news-release/2016/01/15/president-declares-disaster-washington) to provide Federal funding to assist state, tribal and local governments respond to and recover done by "severe storms, straight-line winds, flooding, landslides, and mudslides" during the period of November 12th to 21st in 16 counties. . .Women & Children's Alliance (www.wcaboise.org/category/press/) in Boise, Idaho win John F. Nagel Foundation grants to support existing emergency shelter & construct transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. . .Keizer, Oregon parents, reports Oregonian (http://money.cnn.com/2016/01/04/real_estate/oregon-most-popular-moving-states-2015/), say homeowner association ban on parking RV in driveway is a violation of Fair Housing Act. . .City of Tacoma, Washington launches Heritage Project Grant (www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=95880) program offering up to $20,000 to non-profits, organized groups & educational institutions for projects "projects that increase public awareness and access to Tacoma's history". . .Grow Palmer in Palmer, Alaska selected as one of 27 organizations nationwide to partner with USDA in Local Foods, Local Places (www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/01/0024.xml
&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent) initiative to boos community revitalization with local food enterprises. . .Vancouver, Washington Affordable Housing Task Force, says The Columbian (www.columbian.com/news/2016/jan/11/vancouver-explores-affordable-housing-ideas/), offers 15 recommendations to City Council for expanding supply of affordable housing. . .Zillow (http://zillow.mediaroom.com/2016-01-12-Zillow-Names-Hottest-Housing-Markets-for-2016) says Seattle will be the 2nd, Boise the 4th & Portland the 10th "hottest" real estate market in U.S. in 2016. . .Cities of Salem & Keizer & Marion & Polk counties, Oregon launch Mid-Willamette Homeless Initiative, Salem Mayor Anna Peterson tells Statesman Journal (www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/2016/01/10/salem-creates-collaborative-homeless-initiative/78534490/?), to promote "better coordination" and to "find ways to address the emergency needs that people are experiencing,". . .HUD User's Evidence Matters (www.huduser.gov/portal/periodicals/em/fall15/highlight3.html) calls Puget Sound Regional Council's Growing Transit Communities Initiative is "model of regional planning". . .Ketchum, Idaho Urban Renewal Authority, says Mountain Express (www.mtexpress.com/news/blaine_county/kura-wants-to-develop-downtown-property/article_572cf11a-c082-11e5-9d8a-33643e32ea43.html), preparing request for proposals to develop two downtown properties that would have at least 25 units of affordable housing .Portland, Oregon Housing Center (http://portlandhousingcenter.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/PHC-Annual-Report-Final.pdf) helped provide homeownership education & counseling to 1,472 customers & helped 450 families buy homes in calendar 2015. . .Low Income Housing Institute opens 15-unit Tiny House Village for former residents of Nickellsville homeless encampment, says Capitol Hill Times, on land owned by the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in central district of Seattle, Washington. . .Portland & Multnomah County, Oregon achieve, then surpass goal of housing 960 homeless veterans but aren't ready, says Oregonian (www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/01/portland_multnomah_county_hit.html), "to declare victory, as more veterans are expected to fall into homelessness in the year ahead".
Alaska Governor Bill Walker strikes pay dirt at housing summit
In early January, Alaska Governor Bill Walker convened a daylong summit in Anchorage to, explains Rachel D'Oro of The Associated Press (http://juneauempire.com/state/2016-01-07/experts-address-housing-issues-summit), "to address housing challenges in the vast state that's facing a growing shortage of homes amid prohibitive construction costs, particularly in rural areas far off the road system." Money, money & more money, of course, is the usual response to the question. As the Governor noted, however, the decline in oil prices has left state and local governments in Alaska financially strapped. So much so, in fact, that in announcing the summit the Governor stressed that the solutions he was seeking would be "revenue neutral." And in his remarks, adds D'Oro, the Governor "drew applause" when he noted that the state owns lots of land that he'd like to make available for housing. ""I don't mean just sign it over to somebody, but make it available in such a way that . housing can be developed." It hit some very responsive chords. The very next day, The Alaska Dispatch (www.adn.com/article/20160106/anchorage-mayor-eyes-state-land-ease-housing-crunch) reports, Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz sent a letter to the Governor urging him to transfer "surplus or unused" state parcels. He even included a list of some 30 sites he would recommend for transfer.or for sale to private developers which would then put the parcels on the tax rolls. Seems like at least one revenue-neutral solution to the affordable housing crisis in Anchorage is off to a good start.
What Governor Walker & Mayor Berkowitz are talking about
The first thing someone from the Lower 48 might notice about the newly-opened _70-unit Ridgeline Terrace recently completed in Anchorage by the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation and now managed by Cook Inlet Housing is that the solar panels are in the wrong the place. Instead of being on the roof, they're on the side of the walls. "Oh, those crazy Alaskans," the Lower 48er thinks. But then someone who actually knows something about solar power reminds the Lower 48er that the sun never rises higher than 52 degrees above the horizon in Anchorage. "So why," the expert will ask, "would you put panels on the roof?" Good point. But the next thing that Lower 48er notices is that Ridgeline Terrace is a good illustration of what Governor Walker and Mayor Berkowitz are raised at the Governor's January Housing Summit – Anchorage has a considerable inventory of vacant lots – like the one on which Ridgeline Terrace now stands – that, like those solar panels on the side of the walls, can make the cost of building affordable housing more affordable. Who says folks from the Lower 48 are rubes?
Recognizing those who help homebuyers navigate – and keep their sanity – buying a home
Whether it's the first time or the fifth, buying a house can be a daunting challenge. Fortunately, we can call upon the services of a real estate agent to help us navigate the process, to understand all the paperwork, to meet all the deadlines, connect all the dots. When they do their jobs well, buying – or selling – a home can be almost fun. The National Association of REALTORS says there are just over 41,000 REALTORS in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington. That's a lot to choose from and, for that matter, worth paying attention each year when those REALTORS pick the best of the best among their colleagues. Colleagues like Paddy Coan of Jack White Realty in Wasilla who was named 2015 Alaska REALTOR of the Yea or, Denise Lundy of Fortus Realty in Coeur d'Alene, the 2015 Idaho REALTOR of the Year or Robert Drexler of John L. Scott in Mason County, the 2015 Washington State REALTOR of the Year or Eva Sanders of Meadows Group in Portland, the 2015 Oregon REALTOR of the Year. Congratulations to all four for a job well done and customers well-served.
Day in and day out the homeless in our cities and towns suffer a kind of invisibility. We see them and pass them on the street, but many of us block them out, sort of pretending they're not really there. At least once a year, on a usually cold January night, they come back into view as communities across America conduct a point-in-time count of the homeless, a count required by HUD of any city that receives HUD Continuum of Care funding in every odd-numbered year but also done by many cities in even-numbered years as well. Some hardy souls have participated in the counts every year, but for many point-in-time volunteers it's the first time they've ever come face-to-face with the homeless. And, from this non-journalist's perspective, when that happens it produces some of the most gripping, moving news reporting you're likely to read that year. As in years past, that was true again in 2016. Like Devin Kelly's report in The Alaska Dispatch (www.adn.com/article/20160127/teams-turn-out-force-conduct-anchorages-homeless-survey) on the point-in-time count in Anchorage. Or Josh Margolis's story on KUOW-FM (http://kuow.org/post/homeless-numbers-increase-king-county-again) about the count in Seattle and King County, Washington. Or Kaellen Hessel's Statesman Journal (www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/local/causes/2016/01/31/homeless-inmates-surveyed-housing-needs/79490296) piece about 5 women who spent all night in the Marion County, Oregon jail to interview prisoners about why before their incarceration they'd been homeless. Or Jama Hanchard's account for KING5 (www.king5.com/story/news/local/2016/01/29/pierce-county-volunteers-get-clearer-picture-homeless-circumstances/79545670/) from Pierce County. Or, one of our all-time favorites, Adam Cotterell's piece for Boise State Public Radio (http://boisestatepublicradio.org/post/its-tough-count-idahos-homeless-heres-why-its-important) about the point-in-time count in Boise, Idaho in 2015. Reminds you why some kids grow-up wanting to be journalists.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Thanks to 1,439 donations from Idaho businesses & citizens, Idaho Housing & Finance Association's Home Partnership Foundation contributes $317,469 in donations & matching funds to support work of 32 homeless providers across Idaho in 5th annual Avenues of Hope Housing Challenge (www.idahohousing.com/newsroom/news-releases.aspx?udt_2234_param_detail=1211). . .EPA awards awarded $32 million in Indian Environmental General Assistance (http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d96f984dfb3ff7718525735900400c29
/cc21f6fa13b39d0885257f3a006d1a67!OpenDocument) Program capacity building grants to 237 tribes and 21 tribal consortia in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington to "plan, develop, and establish core environmental protection programs". . .USDA Washington grant helps launch Rural Partners for Washington (www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/news-release/usda-grant-helps-launch-partners-rural-washington), a non-profit that will function similarly to a rural development council of the past to assist Washington rural regions and their residents develop prosperous and sustainable communities. . .Kennewick, Washington Housing Authority & Bellwether Housing begin welcoming first tenants to just-completed 32-unit Nueva Vista Apartments says KEPR-TV (http://keprtv.com/news/local/new-apartments-in-kennewick-available-for-low-income-families). . .Lane County & City of Eugene, Oregon report housing 404 homeless veterans in 2015, surpassing their goal of assisting 365 or at least one vet every day, says Register Guard (http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/33999542-75/effort-to-house-homeless-veterans-in-lane-county-surpasses-goal.html.csp). . .In March King County Housing Authority (www.kcha.org/Portals/0/PDF/General/Payment_Standards_Proposal.pdf) to move from two-tier to multi-tier Housing Choice Voucher payment standards based on Zip Codes to "better align" allowable rent ceilings to "various local market conditions". . .Registration now open for Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco's April 5th Idaho Financial Summit (www.frbsf.org/community-development/events/2016/april/2016-idaho-financial-summit/?hootPostID=61cebdb8865f0c640048cd72d32e2974) in Boise. . .Quadriplegics United Against Dependency & Bancorp Community Development Corporation unveil plans (www.businesswire.com/news/home/20160126006408/en/Affordable-Housing-Complex-Built-Quadriplegics-Seniors) to build Station 162, Oregon's first independent lifestyle apartments for low-income seniors and the disabled, including quadriplegics, in Gresham, Oregon. . .League of Oregon Cities publishes 2016 State of the Cities (www.orcities.org/Portals/17/Library/StateoftheCitiesWeb.pdf?hootPostID=331ccff0c5a7e959c8a5a47d78fa8953) "fiscal stress" analysis. . .Mayor Ray Stephanson says City to open first housing for chronically homeless by end of January with, says The Herald (www.heraldnet.com/article/20160121/NEWS01/160129793/Mayor-Everett-looking-up-homeless-housing-to-open-this-month), further expansion in June. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services expands Loan Refinancing Assistance Pilot (www.oregon.gov/ohcs/DO/newsreleases/2016/1-27-2016-News-Release-OHSI-LRAPP-Expansion-Continues.pdf) Project to assist underwater borrowers to hold onto their homes into Willamette Valley & coastal counties effective January 27th. . .Network for Oregon Affordable Housing, Community Alliance of Tenants, IRCO, Oregon Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, Oregon Opportunity Network, Urban League of Portland, Tillamook County Community Action Resources Enterprises, Mid-Columbia Housing Authority and CASA of Oregon are among 21 winners of $1.4 million in awards from Meyer Memorial Trust (http://mmt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/ForImmediateReleaseDecemberAwards.pdf). . .In collaboration with Beacon Development, Yakima Housing Authority is first agency to complete a substantial rehabilitation project under HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration initiative, focusing on 150 public housing units at 13 sites throughout the city.
HUD sets April 18th deadline for eligible owners of HUD-assisted multi-family properties to apply for up to 80 grants totaling $15 million Supportive Services for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing grants help test a "promising" supportive services model to help low-income seniors to age in their own homes and delay or avoid nursing home care. The three-year funding will permit owners to hire a full-time enhance service coordinator and a oart0tune wellness nurse and will allow HUD to determine how the "pairing" of enhanced supportive services and affordable housing affect aging in place, whether it reduces too-early transition institutional care and avoids "unnecessary and often costly" emergencies. The results will be evaluated independently.
New approaches to serve victims of domestic violence
HUD has set March 9th as the deadline to apply for an estimated nine grants totaling $9.1 million under its Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS/Violence Against Women Act demonstration project (www.grants.gov/search-grants.html?agencies%3DHUD%7CDepartment%20of%20Housing%20and%20Urban%20Development). The demonstration project, collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice is based on the recommendation of an interagency Federal task force to step-up "efforts to address HIV and intimate partner violence among homeless and marginally housed women and girls," and funds projects that provide housing assistance and supportive services. Each successful applicant under this initiative will receive two separate one-time only, non-renewable grants from HUD - a HOPWA grant, and a Transitional Housing Assistance Program(THAP) grant (see (see NOFA-THREE-NITY below). HOPWA funds will be used for housing, coordination and grant management while THAP will provide supportive services. State and local governments as well as qualified non-profits are eligible to apply.
Justice offering funds for transitional housing for victims of domestic violence, stalking & sexual assault
The Office on Violence Against Women at the Justice Department has set a February 24th deadline for state, tribal and local governments as well as public housing authorities and organizations with "a documented history of effective work concerning sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking" to apply for an estimated 68 Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking or Sexual Assault Program (www.justice.gov/ovw/file/800641/download) grants of up to $350,000 each to support activities that provide "a holistic, victim-centered approach to providing transitional housing services that move survivors into permanent housing." Interested applications must have completed all Grants.gov submission requirements (i.e., obtain a DUNS number & register with the Central Contract Registry) and are "strongly encouraged" to send a letter of registration to the Office, both by February 10th. Eligible activities including funding the operating costs for transitional housing, providing short-term rental assistance and offering supportive services to help beneficiaries enter permanent housing, obtain employment, and providing other services such as transportation, child care & counseling to assist them in integrating into a community.
Bucks & broadband
USDA's Rural Utilities Service & EPA's Office of Sustainable Communities have set February 24th as the deadline for small towns & rural communities with economic challenges to apply for Cool & Connected (www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/cool-connected-announcement-federal-planning-assistance-broadband-and-sustainable), a pilot initiative that will offer technical assistance to the communities to develop an "action plan" to "promote smart, sustainable community development" by using existing or new broadband capacity to "create walkable, connected, economically vibrant main streets and small-town neighborhoods." Interested applicants should submit a letter of interest to EPA's Ed Fendley at firstname.lastname@example.org by the 24th.
Linking homeless to resources
HHS' Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration – SAMSHA – has set February 5th as the deadline for Continuums of Care to apply for SAMSHA Outreach, Access & Recovery (SOAR) technical assistance (www.hudexchange.info/news/hud-announces-soar-technical-assistance-available-for-cocs/) on expediting access to Supplemental Security Income & Social Security Disability assistance for "persons who are experiencing or at risk for homelessness and who have a mental illness, a co-occurring substance use disorder, or other serious medical condition." Eligible applicants include Continuums that have not previously received SOAR technical assistance.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
A 280 square-foot "tiny house" runs up against some big bureaucratic snags on Bainbridge Island, Washington says Kitsap Sun (www.kitsapsun.com/news/local/tiny-home-runs-into-big-regulatory-problems-on-bainbridge-island-28dcfb6e-786e-67b5-e053-0100007ff64-365351441.html). . .Citing estimated $50,009 in savings from lower policing, health services, Everett Herald (www.heraldnet.com/article/20160114/OPINION01/160119529) supports proposed "housing first" facility" noting too "that it could turn lives around is all the more reason to support it". . .Salvation Army's 76-bed Eagle Crest Transitional Housing in downtown Anchorage, Alaska, reports The Dispatch (www.adn.com/article/20160109/anchorage-transitional-housing-facility-undergo-renovations), to undergo first renovation since it opened 30 years ago. . .After voluntary effort failed, Everett, Washington City Council votes unanimously to establish alcohol impact areas in downtown core and "pockets" in other neighborhoods to prohibit off-premises sale of, says The Herald (www.heraldnet.com/article/20151231/NEWS01/151239860/Everett-bans-sale-of-certain-alcohol-in-targeted-areas-of-town), specified "beverages that typically cost as much as or less than a can of beer but pack more of a punch in terms of alcohol per volume". . .Real estate owner Barry Menashe donates space in one of his downtown Portland, Oregon buildings to provide "safe space" for homeless men to sleep & store their possessions over next 6 months, says Oregonian (www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2016/01/portland_real_estate_owner_don.html). . .Idaho Smart Growth's Scott Oliver talks with Idaho Statesman (www.idahostatesman.com/news/business/business-insider/article56298515.html) about what's so smart – and sometimes so hard – about smart growth. . .In televised address on homelessness, reports West Seattle Blog (http://westseattleblog.com/2016/01/what-mayor-murray-said-about-an-extraordinary-crisis-homelessness-in-a-speech-overshadowed-by-deadly-gunfire-at-a-camp/), Seattle, Washington Mayor Ed Murray says he will urge voters to double City's $145 million Housing Tax Levy (www.seattle.gov/housing/levy/). . .At no cost to city, reports The Herald (www.yakimaherald.com/news/local/bringing-down-the-house-yakima-program-ids-troublesome-dangerous-structures/article_c1ab74a8-b772-11e5-a8c7-030a86e7d43f.html), Yakima forces fix-up or tear-down of 20 decrepit, dangerous houses with 100 more targeted for same. . .Quileute Tribal Council, City of Kalama & Longview Public Development Corporation win grants from Washington Department of Commerce (www.commerce.wa.gov/media/Pages/PressReleaseView.aspx?pressreleaseid=226) for economic development feasibility studies. . .From a nationwide field of 400 initial applicants, Tualatin, Oregon, Arlington &Wenatchee, Washington & Valley County, Idaho named among 15 semi-finalists in nationwide America's Best Communities (https://americasbestcommunities.com/meet-the-communities) competition. . .Thurston County Housing Task Force names Lori Christmas, a caseworker at Family Support Center's Pearl Blossom Place shelter, as 2015 Homeless Hero says The Olympian (www.theolympian.com/news/local/article52582995.html). . .Telling KIRO-TV (www.kirotv.com/news/news/seattles-first-tiny-house-village-homeless-open-we/np7PQ/) "it's a good crisis response to homelessness," LIHI celebrates open of 14-unit "tiny home" village, Seattle's first, on site owned by Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd. . .Washington State Housing Finance Commission honors HNN Associates of Bellevue (www.wshfc.org/admin/releases/2016.01.19ProudPartnerHNN.pdf), Washington with Proud Partner Award for its management of 4,000 apartments in 25 complexes built with assistance from Commission. . .HopeWorks, Cocoon House & Housing Hope open CafeWorks in Edmonds, Washington not just to sell great coffee and delicious snacks in Edmonds, Washington but also, reports The Beacon (http://edmondsbeacon.villagesoup.com/p/cafe-brings-new-opportunity-to-local-at-risk-teens/1463699), but to provide homeless, at-risk young people with an internship program where they'll "learn culinary, customer service and cafe management skills in a supportive environment" and "a brighter future". . .Seattle, Washington Mayor Ed Murray issues emergency order (http://murray.seattle.gov/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/CivilEmergencyOrder-1.19.pdf) to expedite siting of safe parking lots in Ballard & Delridge neighborhoods for homeless individuals and families living in cars. . .City Council of Kalama, Washington approves transfer of its 16-unit housing authority to Kelso Housing Authority, reports Longview Daily News (http://tdn.com/news/kalama-city-council-approves-resolution-for-housing-agency-takeover/article_326ad534-b313-50cb-8b33-9ea287b2ba7b.html). . .In Redfin analysis (http://komonews.com/news/local/study-seattle-is-no-1-in-affordable-walkable-neighborhoods-with-good-schools) of 170 neighborhoods in 20 cities only 24 are ""affordably priced, walkable & near decent schools" & seven of those neighborhoods are in Seattle.
BY THE NUMBERS
On the single-family side of HUD's "house," the final numbers are in for FHA single-family mortgage insurance. Calendar 2015 was a very good year with, for example, endorsement of 57,038 Section 203b acquisition mortgages in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington. That's up percent from the 30,964 in calendar 2014 and the 7th highest total in FHA's 80-year history in the region. The dollar value of mortgages insured topped $12.5 billion – the 3rd best year . As of New Year's Day 2016 there were 299,897 active FHA-insured mortgages in the Region.
The "where's" of affordability
Looking for the most affordable median gross rents in cities with 15,000 or more residents in the state where you live? Well, you may want to consult the U.S. Census' American Community Survey (www.census.gov/programs-surveys/acs/). That, reports The Post Star, is what the folks at FindTheHome did. In Alaska, they found that, in 2014, Juneau had the lowest rent at $1,169 a month. In Washington, it was Sunnyside at $697 a month. In Oregon, head to Pendleton at $675 a month. And in Idaho? Pocatello at $630 per month. And the lowest gross median rent in any city of over 15,000 in any of the 50 states? Johnstown, Pennsylvania at $480 a month.
QUOTE TO NOTE
Thoughts on the Big One
"I have to say I am certain that a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will be the largest national disaster in our country's history," said Major General Bret D. Daugherty, who is in charge of the Washington Military Department. "Current estimates is between 8,000 and 10,000 of our fellow Washingtonians will be killed in this event. Over the last three years, we've had one major bridge collapse, one major landslide and numerous smaller landslides and two summers of wildfires and just think about the impact that has had on our state. But when Cascadia happens, virtually every bridge in Western Washington is coming down and we are going to have dozens of Oso-like landslides and fires could burn in our cities and urban ." -- Major General Bret D. Daugherty, Washington Military Department, January 8, 2016, in remarks before a 4-day Olympia, Washington "functional exercise (http://mil.wa.gov/blog/news/post/stakeholders-gather-for-earthquake-preparedness)" practicing for a worst case earthquake scenario a 9.0 quake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone – and the tsunami that follows.
Then & now in Indian Country
"A traveler in Indian country 20 years ago would have been hard-pressed to see any evidence of private mortgage lending on reservation trust land. That's because there wasn't any. . .If he visited New Mexico he could see more than 100 houses being built on the San Felipe Pueblo outside of Albuquerque using money in part from Bank of America, and a complex project using state and federal money to put up a 61-unit housing development right next to the tribal bison range in remote Nambe Pueblo. And the traveler would feel that long, patient work by tribes and federal and private partners has laid the groundwork for the possibility of eventually alleviating housing problems for hundreds of tribes." – Mark Hogarty, "Hard-Won Victories in Indian Housing," Indian Country Today (http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/01/16/hard-won-victories-indian-housing-163080), January 16, 2016
Former Mayor of Bellevue urges folks to look west for affordable housing
"Rarely a day goes by when I don't read something in the paper about the cost of housing and terrible traffic congestion in King County. The two major cities — Seattle, where I grew up and worked for many years, and Bellevue, where I served on the City Council for 16 years and was mayor for three terms — are no longer affordable to the average person. . .In the past, I believe people working in Seattle have failed to look west as an option for where they might live. Now with the rising cost of living in Seattle, and the difficult congestion in King County, we hope people will consider Kitsap County as a place where they can afford to purchase a home, raise their families and share in our wonderful quality of life." – Cary Bozeman, a former Mayor of Bellevue, Washington, Look west for affordable housing, great quality of life, The Seattle Times (www.seattletimes.com/opinion/look-west-for-affordable-housing-great-quality-of-life), January 1, 2016.
Some partners you should know
.Over the past month Northwest HUDLines has come across a few people you might want to get to now a bit better. Like Joy Schweitzer, a property manager with Around the Town Property Management in Boise, Idaho. The daughter of a U.S. Navy veteran, and the mother of a son and step-son currently serving in the Army, she has, says Katy Moeller of The Idaho Statesman, "a heart for homeless veterans." She's "not trying to save the world, just one veteran a month." Read how (www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/jan/16/boise-property-manager-opens-doors-for-homeless-ve/?page=all). Or maybe you'd like to meet, a retired Port Townsend math teacher who is using "some of his retirement funds" to help a single mom with two young boys buy her first home, the 20th person he's helped in this way. "I don't trust the Federal Reserve, I don't trust the stock market," he tells Allison Arthur of The Leader (www.ptleader.com/news/investing-in-people-homes-chimacum-bus-driver-s-dream-coming/article_bff43720-b403-11e5-a25e-2777c629cca2.html), preferring to "invest in what I know, which is people and houses." It's a "win-win," he adds, and says it's a model others might want to try. Or maybe you'd like to meet Michael McIntire, a 46-year-old Marine Corps veteran whose life in Texas was going pretty well until his hours were cut back and his urge to be reunited with his son in Oregon. Things got even tougher when he relocated. But he had the good sense to seek the good counsel of Access, Inc., a community action and HUD-approved housing counseling agency in Medford. If it weren't for ACCESS I don't know where we would be right now." See why. Or, finally, 21-year-old Elizabeth Sierra who, with her husband and 1-year-old daughter recently-moved into the Mason Avenue Apartments in Tacoma, 105 units of housing affordable opened last fall for families and individuals with very low-incomes funded by housing tax credits provided by the Washington Housing Finance Commission. In a county where, says The Tacoma News Tribune (www.thenewstribune.com/news/local/news-columns-blogs/matt-driscoll/article51696005.html)'s Matt Driscoll, there are only 10 units of affordable housing for every 100 renters earning 0 to 30 percent of the median income," Elizabeth is well-aware of how precious an affordable housing unit is, especially after living for months in a car parked on her sister-in-law's driveway. ""When we first moved in I was so emotional. When they gave us the keys I busted into tears. I was like, ‘This is not happening right now.' Because it was just a good feeling to have a home," she tells Driscoll. "I feel like I can just go home and not have to worry about anything," she continues. "And it's our home. . .It feels like we're actually safe."
Documents & data drops of interest
FHA publishes revised Multifamily Accelerated Processing Guide, which is intended to cut the time required to approve loan applications and to assure consistent application of program requirements and credit standards. . .HUD publishes a new set of FAQs on the A-B-C's of using its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership & National Housing Trust Fund funds to help fund the broadband infrastructure required to help low-income communities close the digital divide . You'll find them at HUD Exchange (www.hudexchange.info/news/hud-publishes-cdbg-broadband-infrastructure-faqs/). . .FHA issues Mortgagee Letter 2016-01 extending the deadline until April 17th, 2016 for submit a due-and-payable request in accordance with Mortgagee Letter (ML) 2015-11 (Loss Mitigation Guidance for Home Equity Conversion Mortgages in Default due to Unpaid Property Charges), and first legal action when the borrower is being actively reviewed for loss mitigation in accordance with Mortgagee Letter 2015-11services. . .HUD launches AFFI Web site (www.hudexchange.info/programs/affh/resources) for all training & resources materials related to its news Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule
NOTES TO NOTE
SAMSHA Access, Outreach & Recovery (SOAR (www.hudexchange.info/news/hud-announces-soar-technical-assistance-available-for-cocs/)) program sets February 5th deadline for Continuums of Care to apply for technical assistance in expediting access to SSI & SSD benefits. . .HUD sets February 8th deadline to apply for Field Office Director positions with HUD in Oklahoma City (www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/427591800) & Minneapolis (www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/427501800). . .HUD sets February 9th deadline to apply for $10 million Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants program. . .HUD sets February 8th deadline to apply at USA Jobs for position as HUD Minneapolis (www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/427501800) & HUD Oklahoma City (www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/427591800) Field Office Directors. . .HUD & Department of Justice set February 12th deadline to apply for nearly $8.7 million under Pay for Success Supportive Housing Demonstration program. . .USDA sets February 14th deadline to submit public comments on its 2016-2020 Environmental Justice Strategic Plan (www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=2016/01/0014.xml
&navid=NEWS_RELEASE&navtype=RT&parentnav=LATEST_RELEASES&edeployment_action=retrievecontent). . .EcoDistrict sets February 15th deadline to apply to participate in 3-day EcoDistrict Incubator workshop in Portland in April 2016. . .Office of Violence Against Women sets February 25th deadline for state, local and tribal governments as well as domestic violence organizations to apply for an estimated 68 grants of up to $350,000 each under HUD & USDA set February 26th deadline to apply under Round III for Promise Zone (www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/12/18/2015-31884/promise-zones-initiative-third-round-selection-process) designation. . .Catholic Charities Housing Services of the Yakima Valley sets February 26th deadline to apply for position of director of single family housing (www.irecruit-us.com/index.php?OrgID=I20131010&pg=initiallist&
RandID=2016012812215356aa4e31be4137e2321825b1ba5a2f98dba81cdac035dc4d4826f&RequestID=56a2b6114219c) programs. . .Veterans Affairs sets February 29th deadline to apply for Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology Grants (www.grants.gov/search-grants.html?agencies%3DVA%7CDepartment%20of%20Veterans%20Affairs) of up to $200,000 to promote "development of new assistive technologies for specially adapted housing". . The Office on Violence Against Women (www.justice.gov/ovw/file/800641/download) of the Justice Department sets February 24th deadline to apply for an estimate 68 grants of up to $350,000 each in Transitional Housing Assistance for Victims of Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking, or Sexual Assault. . .USDA Rural Development sets March 14th deadline to apply for its Distance Learning &Telemedicine Grants (www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/news-release/usda-announces-funding-opportunity-informational-webinars-distance-learning) of up to $500,000 to provide increased access to education, training, and healthcare resources in rural areas. . .USDA Rural Development extends deadline to March 15th for Housing Preservation Program (www.rd.usda.gov/newsroom/news-release/usda-seeks-applications-grants-help-repair-housing-rural-communities-deadline) grants to "repairs for low- and very-low-income rural residents". . .HUD sets April 18th deadline for eligible owners of HUD-assisted multi-family properties to apply for up to 80 grants totaling $15 million to help test a "promising" supportive services model to help low-income seniors to age in their own homes and delay or avoid nursing home care.
HUD hosts on-line webinar on its Round III Urban Promise Zone Competition, February 1st, on-line. Visit
Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians hosts winter conference, February 1st to 4th, Suquamish, Washington. Visit
HUD hosts Webinar on NOFA for Supportive Services Demonstration for Elderly Households in HUD-Assisted Multifamily Housing, February 2nd, on-line. Visit
USDA Rural Development in Oregon hosts Rural Broadband Workshop, February 2nd & 3rd, Bend, Oregon. Visit
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, FDIC & Comptroller of the Currency hosts 2016 National Agency Community Reinvestment Conference, February 7th to 10th, Los Angeles, California. Visit
Washington State Housing Finance Corporation hosts Webinar on Web-based Annual Reporting System, February 9th, on-line. Visit
HUD Seattle hosts on-line Basics of Fair Housing Workshop, February 10th, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaskan Housing Authorities hosts Basic Financial Management Training workshop, February 10th & 11th, Anchorage, Alaska. Visit
Oregon AHMA hosts Managing Low Income Housing Tax Credit Compliance workshop, February 10th to 12th, Salem, Oregon. Visit
HUD hosts 2016 update Webinar on Targeted Community Reinvestment: Using Section 108 Guaranteed Loans as a Financing Tool, February 10th, on-line. Visit
15th annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, February 11th to 13th, Portland, Oregon. Visit
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski to hold field hearing on Alaska's Leadership, Opportunities in Energy Innovation, February 15th, Bethel, Alaska. Visit
King County Office of Civil Rights hosts workshop on First Steps – Best Practices in Promote Fair Housing, February 17th, Seattle, Washington. Visit
King Count y Office of Civil Rights hosts workshop on Advanced Fair Housing, February 17th, Seattle, Washington. Visit
All Home hosts first Stakeholders Meeting for all populations, February 17th, Seattle, Washington. Visit
HUD hosts course for prospective community housing development organizations(CHDO) or new staff of existing CHDOS on CHDO Opportunities in the HOME Investment Partnership Program, February 17th & 18th, Los Angeles, California. Visit
Oregon AHMA hosts two seminars – on elevator diagnostics & exterior design – for maintenance staff, February 18th, Salem, Oregon. Visit
Association of Alaskan Housing Authorities hosts Admissions & Occupancy Training workshop, February 23rd to 26th, Anchorage, Alaska. Visit
King County Office of Civil Rights hosts All About Service Animals Workshop, March 5th, Seattle, Washington. Visit
HUD Seattle hosts Region X Part 50 Environmental Training, March 8th, Seattle, Washington. Visit
Oregon AHMA hosts USDA Rural Development Compliance File Review Workshop, March 15th, Grants Pass, Oregon. Visit
Oregon AHMA hosts HUD-Low Income Tax Credit Compliance File Review Workshop, March 16th, Salem, Oregon. Visit
Oregon AHMA hosts USDA Rural Development Compliance File Review Workshop, March 18th, La Grande, Oregon. Visit
Idaho AHMA hosts UPCS Inspection Training for UPCS Inspection Workshop for HUD-, USDA Rural Development & Low Income Housing Tax Credit properties, March 22nd, Boise, Idaho. Visit
Association of Alaskan Housing Authorities hosts Board of Commissioners Training Workshop, March 23rd & 24th, Anchorage, Alaska. Visit