Northwest HUD Lines
January 2014

HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor

Six years ago, Congress passed and the President signed the Economic Stimulus Act, one element of which was as an emergency, one-year increase in the size of the mortgages eligible for Federal Housing Administration mortgage insurance to insure that mortgage credit was widely available during a time when private lending options were severely constrained. Originally passed for just one year, ultimately it would be in effect for six. But now the economy's rebounding, the number of foreclosures continues to fall, the value of homes continues to rise and private capital has returned to the housing market it fled just a few short years ago. It's time,, says Federal Housing Administration Commissioner Carol Galante, for FHA to "evaluate the role we need to play" in the market, to determine "appropriate step as private capital returns to portions of the market" FHA should take to "concentrate on those borrowers that are still underserved." Lowering FHA mortgage limits, she argues, is one of those steps. As discussed in FHA Mortgagee Letter 13-43, the new, lower limits will take effect for mortgages receiving FHA case numbers from January 1st through December 31st, 2014. FHA limits for one to four unit houses in some 650 markets across the country likely will be affected. The current standard loan limit for areas where housing costs are relatively low will remain unchanged at $271,050 but loan limit for the very highest cost areas will be reduced from $729,750 to $625,500. Markets in between also are likely to see lower FHA limits. Appeals to change the 2014 limits may be submitted until January 31st, 2014 in markets "in which HUD does not already have home sale transaction data for the calculation of loan limits." For the limits in your market, please read FHA Mortgagee Letter 13-43 - with attachments - at HUD's website.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced "sweeping changes" to the USDA Rural Housing Service Single Family Guaranteed Loan Program that, when in effect on September 1, 2014, will "add significant capital to rural areas and give rural Americans more opportunities to make financing decisions that lay the groundwork for the future prosperity of their families." Beginning then, for example, any lender, bank or credit union regulated by the FDIC, FHFA, NCUA, the Comptroller of the Currency or Federal Reserve will be allowed to underwrite USDA-guaranteed loans. Borrowers "for the first time" will be able to choose loan terms of less than 30 years. For more, visit the website (

As required under the Dodd Frank Consumer Protection & Wall Street Reform Act, in the December 11th Federal Register HUD published a final rule to define a "Qualified Mortgage" that is "insured, guaranteed or administered by HUD." To meet the definition, the Rule says, a mortgage must require periodic payments without risky features; Have terms not to exceed 30 years; Limit upfront points and fees to no more than three percent with adjustments to facilitate smaller loans -- except for Title I, Title II Manufactured Housing, Section 184, Section 184A loans and other loans specified in the Rule; and be insured or guaranteed by FHA or HUD. The Rule establishes two types of Qualified Mortgages - a Rebuttable Presumption Qualified Mortgage or a Safe Harbor Qualified Mortgage - determined by the relation of the loan's Annual Percentage Rate to the Average Prime Offer Rate. HUD also has adopted the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's HUD also adopts CFPB's list of transactions that are exempt from the ability-to-repay requirements. The Rule takes effect on January 10, 2014. For more, visit the website.

In releasing its annual report to the Congress on the financial condition of the Federal Housing Administration single-family loan fund, FHA Administrator Carol Galante notes that "throughout the economic crisis, FHA continued to fulfill its mission of stabilizing the housing market and providing responsible access to mortgage credit." And for that, she suggests, FHA paid a price. The bigger burden it was expected to carry the greater risks it faced. Fortunately, she adds, the aggressive steps FHA has taken it is, according to this independent actuarial report, on the "road to recovery." The actuary's report, for example, finds that FHA "has gained $15 billion dollars in value over the last year and now stands at negative $1.3 billion" while the "current capital ratio is negative0.11 percent. The actuary anticipates that the Fund will return to the required two percent capital reserve ratio in 2015, two years sooner than projected last year. Meanwhile, FHA maintains over $48 billion in liquid assets to pay expected claims." It also reported an 18 percent year-to-year drop in serious delinquency rates and a 20 percent drop in foreclosures starts as a result of enhanced loss mitigations policies. For a full copy of the actuary's report, please visit the website.

HUD has decided to delay until further notice - in the form of a Mortgagee Letter - the requirements outlined in FHA Mortgagee Letter 2013-17 governing financial assessments and funding requirements for the payment of property taxes on Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. Originally, the effective date for these requirements had been for HECM mortgages issued case numbers on or after January 13 2014. For more, see Mortgagee Letter 2013-45 at HUD's website with average vacancy rates of between 3 and 4 percent and rent increases outpacing the inflation rate." For the full report, visit the website (

! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !
HUD issues fiscal year 2014 Income Limits for public & subsidized housing at the website (

HUD awards almost $3.8 million in Family Self Sufficiency funds to 34 Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington housing authorities for 66 staff to help families receiving Housing Choice Vouchers to obtain gainful employment. . .Consumer Financial Protection Bureau & 49 state attorneys general file proposed court order requiring Ocwan Financial, the nation's largest non-bank mortgage servicer, to provide $2 billion in principal reductions to underwater borrowers and refund $125 million to 185,000 borrowers forced into foreclosure as a result of Ocwan's "systemic misconduct at every stage of the mortgage servicing process". . .Seattle Foundation announces that Norm Rice who served as Seattle's 49th mayor from 1990 to 1998 and as president and chief executive officer of the Foundation since July 2009, will retire next summer. . .Home Forward of Portland unveils 85 Stories initiative which proposes continuation of its efforts to preserve affordable housing by converting 10 downtown u-to-50-year-old high-rises for the very low-income from HUD public housing to HUD project-based subsidies under HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration pilot which allows greater access to private capital for maintenance and upgrades and increases managerial flexibility. . .St. Vincent de Paul of Juneau acquires 22-unit rental property in Douglas and 32-unit property in Haines, expanding its affordable rental stock to 178 units in Juneau area, says The Empire. . .Oxford House, says Union Bulletin, opens house in Walla Walla "for up to seven families headed by women" to "recover from addictions and get a new start over". . .My Father's House wins $250,000 M.J. Murdock Trust grant to finish construction of 12-unit Stepping Stones Apartments in Gresham for, says Oregonian, "mothers and their children coming out of the shelter program". . .New Kennewick Housing Authority director Lona Hammer tells Tri City Herald financing package for 31 new units of affordable housing may be finalized by end of January. . .USDA awards $15.6 million in water & sewer improvement loans and grants to the city of Garfield in Idaho, Powers and the Dane Clark Water Project in Oregon and Wapato in Washington. . .With technical assistance from Northwest Cooperative Development Center and financing from ROC USA and the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, residents complete the cooperative $1.57 million purchase of the Whispering Pines manufactured home community in Oak Harbor.

New Alaska Housing Finance Corporation chief executive officer Bryan Butcher and his colleagues, reports Daysh Eatonof KSKA radio, have big plans for an undeveloped 6.5 acre parcel near downtown Anchorage. "The great thing about this location is that the city of Anchorage is pretty land poor when it comes to developing housing," Butcher said. "You can find scattered areas all over the place but there's really not a lot of room to build housing so to find a piece of property of this size that can be developed to this extent in an area so central to downtown Anchorage as well as the Mountain View Area we're really fortunate to have and we're really excited about this being the kickoff of this kind of development in Anchorage.". Plans that include a 70-unit apartment complex. Which is very good news, says Butcher "Anchorage and frankly the entire state of Alaska is so short on affordable housing it's very difficult for folks to find housing so being able to add 70 new units of housing stock to the city of Anchorage we think is tremendous." Work on the $27 million project should begin later this year. For more, visit the website (

"I have my life back." So proclaimed Debbie Mayo, a divorcee, who is now one of 13 new homeowners in the Green Heights community in Lafayette being developed by Community Homebuilders with a low of help - and time and sweat - from all 13. That's because the houses were built through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Mutual Self Help Housing Program which requires 30 hours of work each week from every soon-to-be homeowner. Over the nine months it took to build her house, in other words, she worked some 1,000 hours, especially enjoying, she says, "the post and beam" work and, even more, getting to know the other 12 families who, soon enough, would be her next-door and down-the-street neighbors. "You end up knowing your neighbors before you move in, and you know who to call to help you fix something." For more, visit the website (

Thanks to the leadership of the King County Housing Authority and the hard work of housing authorities in four Washington cities, some 190 subsidized apartments for the elderly that could have gone market rate, won't. Using a "collective strategy" that "represents the most wide-ranging state initiative to date to preserve existing subsidized housing," King County as well as the Bremerton, Hoquiam, Wenatchee and Yakima authorities are spending $28.7 million to acquire the 30-unit Charter House in Bremerton, 24-unit Harbor Manor in Hoquiam, 51-unit Naches House in Yakima and 35-unit Emerson Manor and 50-unit Wenatchee House, both in Wenatchee, as well as four complexes, as mentioned in last month's Northwest HUD Lines, in Auburn, Bellevue, Redmond and Vashon Island. All of the properties were privately-owned and scheduled for a single sale. Failure to complete the acquisition would have prevented the acquisition and, thus, preservation of all nine properties. "This will help seniors live with dignity," said state Rep. Hans Dunshee, chair of the House capital budget committee, which approved the expenditure. "If they lost their housing because it got too expensive, they couldn't take a second job to pencil it out. Now they can sleep at night in a safe, stable place to live, which is what anybody would want for their mom or dad, grandma or grandpa." At closing, the King County authority's interest in these purchase agreements will be assigned to the appropriate respective local housing authority. For more, visit the website (

Most folks looking for innovation head to the big cities with their huge universities, big corporations, well-endowed foundations Not a bad bet. But if you're looking for innovations in housing, you may want to head to places where it's being built and occupied. Places like the Atmautluak, a village of 275 in western Alaska. Tiny as it is, the village could have a very big say on what the future of affordable, sustainable housing should look like in Arctic and sub-Arctic climes. See why at the website. And if Atmautluak doesn't persuade you, maybe Buckland will at the website (

Seattle Mayor-elect Ed Murray names Hyeok Kim, formerly executive director of the Interim Community Development Association, as deputy mayor and Steve Walker, formerly with the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, as director of the City's Office of Housing. . .Thanks in part to 8,500 of volunteer labor, Access in Oregon reports that its six community gardens produced "over 50,000 pounds of fresh vegetables" to help feed hungry families in southern Oregon. . .City of Kennewick, Habitat for Humanity Tri-Cities & Boys & Girls Club of Benton & Franklin Counties collaborating, says The Herald, on building more homes and a Boys & Girls Club on 2.5 acres owned by City. . .Hilltop House in Seattle and Westmoreland's Union Manor among 12 housing complexes nationwide built before 1970 to receive nearly $14.8 million in HUD funds to remain affordable to low-income elderly. . .Martha McLennan of Northwest Housing Alternatives and Jeff Judd of Cook Inlet Housing Authority named to 3-year terms on Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle's affordable housing advisory council. . .Central Albany Revitalization Area and Innovative Housing Inc. win tax credits to replace 2.1 acre mobile home part with Woodland Square, 54 units of affordable housing. . .Hearing officer upholds, reports Register Guard, city planning commission approval of proposals by St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County and HACSA to build, beginning next spring, Beacon Village affordable housing complex in northeast Eugene. . .Downtown Emergency Service Center celebrates grand opening of Cottage Grove Commons in Seattle, 66-units for formerly homeless men and women "with serious mental/addictive illnesses or other disabling conditions". . .Portland Housing Bureau names Javier Mena as its assistant executive director. . .Alaska Builder tells News-Miner that University of Alaska at Fairbanks' Sustainable Village House designed and built by Cold Climate Housing Research Center "used less than half as much energy as an average new house in Fairbanks and substantially less than an average energy efficient house during their first year of occupancy". . .Pocatello's Neighborhood Housing Services celebrates 20th anniversary. . .Washington County Commissioners allocate $250,000 in Gain Share funds to Community Housing Fund to make affordable housing loans. . .Rasmuson Foundation awards Haines Assisted Living, Inc., $400,000 grant and $99,000 challenge grant, says SitNews, to help build 11-unit Veterans Village & Wellness Center.

The Washington Department of Commerce has announced the award of $35.1 million from the Housing Trust Fund for 21 affordable housing projects in 23 counties across the state, with 90 percent of the funds targeted to households at 50 percent or less of the state's median income and all of the units to be produced or preserved expected to remain affordable for 40 years. The state funding - which is expected to leverage $346 million from other sources - will provide a total of 499 units of affordable housing for low-income households, as well as 312 beds for migrant seasonal farmworkers, 20 beds for homeless youth, and 45 beds in group homes for individuals with developmental disabilities, chronic mental illness or traumatic brain injury as well as homeownership down payment assistance to 48 families with a developmentally disabled member. Since its establishment in 1989, the Washington Housing Trust Fund has invested "approximately $900 million" in the production and preservation of some 38,000 affordable housing units. These kinds of partnerships, said the Department's Brian Bonlender, "help stretch state dollars even further, providing more housing options for Washington residents who need it most." For more, visit the website (

The City of Seattle's Office of Housing has competitively awarded $27.1 million to produce or preserve 432 affordable rental units for the elderly, families and the homeless in seven projects across the city. Winners in this year's competition included the Downtown Emergency Service Center, El Centro de la Raza, Pike Place Market PDA, Capitol Hill Housing, Bellwether Housing, LIHI and Solid Ground. The City estimates that every dollar it invests will generate $3 in non-city funds and this year's investment will create 476 construction and 117 building maintenance jobs. For more, visit the website (

The King County Office of Housing & Community Development has competitively awarded $2.79 to produce or preserve some 285 affordable housing units in Renton, Shoreline, Kirkland and Redmond and substantially renovate an existing shelter for homeless families in Kenmore.

Governor Sean Parnell and the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation has awarded $33.2 million to "upgrade or develop" 179 units of affordable housing for low-income and elderly residents at seven projects in five communities - Anchorage, Haines, Juneau, Ninilchik and Delta Junction - under its 2014 Greater Opportunities for Affordable Living (GOAL) program. Five of the projects will also receive a total of $1.5 million from the Rasmuson Foundation. Acknowledging the Foundation's "generous contribution," the Governor also applauded the Corporation's "for continuing to aggressively pursue the realization of more affordable housing." For more, visit the website (

And, finally, the Affordable Housing Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle has awarded $5.5 million to 14 partnerships between housing development organizations and member banks to help preserve and produce affordable housing, including 468 units in 10 projects in Idaho, Oregon and Washington. The partnerships include Glacier Bank & Commonwealth Agency in partnership with Whitewater Creek, Inc. in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Independent Bank & Northwest Integrity Housing in Fruitland, Sterling Bank & the Coeur d'Alene Tribal Housing Authority in Plummer & Worley, Sterling Bank & the Willamette West Habitat for Humanity in Beaverton, Banner Bank & the Homestead Community Land Trust in King County, Glacier Bank & Spokane Baptist Association Homes in Spokane, Sterling Bank & LIHI in Seattle, Twin City Bank & the Longview Housing Authority in Woodland, Sterling Bank & the Multi Service Center in Federal Way and Sterling Bank and Spokane United Methodist Housing in Spokane Valley. "Our members and their community partners live," said the Bank's Michael L. Wilson, "and work in the communities they serve, and they are keenly aware of local housing needs and how best to meet them." For more, visit the website (

Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle issues implementation plan for its 2014 Affordable Housing Program and Home$tart Program with "a number of key program changes." Since their inception in 1999, the Bank says, the AHP has provided more than $149.0 million to help finance more than 28,000 affordable homes and the Home$tart Program has provided $43.5 million of down payment assistance to more than 8,800 qualifying homebuyers. To review the 2014 Plan, visit the website (

Thanks to efforts of U.S. Senators Murkowski and Begich and Congressman Don Young, Congress sends bill to President for signature transferring 2.8 acres of Federal land in downtown Anchorage to Anchorage to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium for 170-unit building to house rural villagers receiving care. . .City of Spokane & Sustainable Works launch citywide Save Energy Today campaign to help city residents identify home improvements they can make and incentives they can use to "save money on heating, energy". . .Stillaguamish Tribe donates $100,000 to three northwest Washington food banks. . .Cocoon House opens facility, reports Arlington Times, that, at any one time, can accommodate up to five pregnant women who are homeless. . .REACH CDC wins $17 million in grants and tax credits to build 117 affordable housing units in two complexes in Hillsboro and Portland in 2014. . .Using $75,000 in Treasury CDFI funds, Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services begins making low-interest loans, reports Rexburg Standard Journal, to Madison County residents for home improvements or down payment assistance. . .LIHI breaks ground for Cheryl Chow Court, 50 units of affordable housing for the elderly as well as an Urban Rest Stop to provide "free showers, laundry and restrooms" to the homeless in Ballard. . .The "nomadic existence" of Camp Quixote ends Christmas Eve, reports The Olympian, as formerly homeless residents move into 30 permanent cottages in Olympia. . .Thanks to $13 million grant from Washington State Housing Finance Commission and approval under HUD's Rental Assistance Demonstration pilot, says KIMA-TV, Yakima Housing Authority launches 1-year renovation of 150 affordable housing units. . .City of Tacoma first of 30 pilot cities to win STAR - Sustainable Tools for Assessing & Rating - Community in nation. . .USDA announces plans to provide rural electric cooperatives & utilities up to $250 million to lend to business and residential customers for energy efficiency improvements and renewable energy systems. . .KentHOPE celebrates grand opening of day shelter for homeless women and children. . .Renovation completed, says Daily Journal of Commerce, on the Royal Palm, a supportive housing facility for the mentally-ill homeless in Old Town Portland operated by Cascadia Behavioral Health.

In the event you're looking for opportunities to spend even more time at work, you may want to consider the invitation from the Treasury Department's CDFI program to be an Application Reviewer for its 2014 CDFI Institutions Program, Native American CDFI Assistance Program and Healthy Food Financing Initiative competitions. Interested? Visit the website (

HUD's Policy Development & Research staff has published the 3rd quarter, 2013 Housing Conditions Report for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington noting that "low inventories of new and existing homes led to significant gains in single-family building in the Northwest region" while "all four states in the region showed declines in the percentage of home loans that were 90 or more days delinquent, were in foreclosure, or transitioned into REO (Real Estate Owned)." On the rental side of the market, "tight" conditions "persisted in several metropolitan areas."

From October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2013, reports the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have used tools like loan modifications, forbearance agreements, repayment schedules, deeds-in-lieu and short sales to prevent 2,441 foreclosures in Alaska, 17,616 foreclosures in Idaho, 36,747 foreclosures in Oregon and 66,083 foreclosures in Washington state, representing, says FHFA's Edward DeMarco says, "real assistance to homeowners, improved stability for their communities, and has produced meaningful savings for taxpayers." For more, see the website (

""I am looking forward to retirement while feeling so fortunate to have been able to work at the City with such great partners over the years at HUD --- in addition to other government agencies and nonprofits. We have been able to help thousands of families and individuals access better housing over the years; as Seattle continues to be increasingly unaffordable for so many it is clear there is a lot of work still to be done. We are fortunate to live in such a compassionate community that values all our residents, including the most vulnerable, and consistently votes for housing levies to provide affordable housing." - Rick Hooper announcing his retirement after 33 years with the City of Seattle including as director of the Office of Housing which, during his tenure, provided funding for over 11,000 units of affordable housing.

"After getting dinged by a state audit, losing government contracts and selling its headquarters," reports The Seattle Times, "the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle is mounting a comeback." Read the how's, why's and who's of its impressive turnaround at the website (

Ever thought of getting rich quick by taking one of those classes on flipping homes? Before you do, you may want to read "Getting Flipped" by Daniel Walters in The Inlander. He recently attended a seminar in Spokane that promised give you the tools to wealth." But then, he notes, "come all the strings." For the full article, visit the website (

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues Advance Notice of Proposed Rule Making at the website ( seeking "comment, data, and information from the public about debt collection practices". . .Funders' Network sets January 8th deadline to submit proposals for its Local Sustainability Matching Fund. . .USDA Forest Service sets January 15th deadline to apply for $4 million in Community Forest & Open Space Program which assists tribes, local governments and non-profits in "fee simple acquisition of private forest land from a willing seller. . .Seattle's Capitol Hill Housing sets January 15th deadline to submit nominations for its board of directors. . .EPA sets January 22nd deadline to apply for $40 million in Brownfields Assessment grants, $14 million in Brownfields Clean-Up grants and $10 million in Brownfields Revolving Loan funds. . .USDA sets January 31st deadline for eligible non-profits to apply for $17 million under Training and Technical Assistance grants to help rural communities address water and waste management issuers. . .HUD sets February 3rd deadline to apply for up to $1.7 billion in Continuum of Care funds though indicating funding may "not be adequate" to "fund all existing projects" due to Sequestration. . .EPA sets February 14th deadline for non-profits & tribal organizations to apply for grants of up to $120,000 under Environmental Justice Collaborative Justice Problem-Solving Cooperative Program. . .HHS' Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration sets March 7th deadline for Federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations to apply for grants of up to $400,000 under its Circle of Caring program to plan and develop infrastructure to improve the mental health and wellness of children, youth & families in American Indian/Alaska Native communities. . .City off Seattle Office of Housing sets June 2014 deadline to submit applications under Equitable Transit-Oriented Development Loan Program.

FHA hosts Webinar on HUD Loss Mitigation: Home Disposition Options, January 8th, on-line. Visit

Coeur d'Alene bids farewell to the Honorable Sandi Bloem, Mayor from 2001 through 2013, January 9th, Coeur d'Alene. Visit

Oregon Housing & Community Services hosts LIHTC/HOME Notice of Funding Availability Partner Workshop, Salem, January 10th. Contact

HUD's Alaska Office of Native American Programs offers HUD Environmental Review Training, Anchorage, January 14th to 16th.

HUD Northwest Office of Native American Programs & Natibal American Indian Housing Congress hosts Occupancy Workshop, January 14th & 15th, Tacoma. Visit

FHA hosts Webinar on Neighborhood Watch Systems-Service Tools, January 15th, on-line. Visit

FHA hosts Webinar on HECM Stabilization Act Training for Housing Counseling Agencies, January 16th, on-line. Visit :

Oregon Housing & Community Services hosts LIHTC/HOME Notice of Funding Availability Partner Workshop, Salem, January 17th. Contact

HUD Portland hosts Basics of Fair Housing workshop, Portland, January 22nd.

King County Office of Civil Rights hosts Introduction to Fair Housing Workshop, Seattle, January 22nd. Visit

King County Office of Civil Rights hosts Advanced Fair Housing Workshop, Seattle, January 22nd. Visit

FHA hosts Webinar on Financial Assessment Training for HECM Counselors, January 23rd, on-line. Visit

U.S. Department of Energy hosts Tribal Renewable Energy Update on Renewable Energy Market Update, January 29th, on-line. Visit

Portland Commissioner Dan Saltzman & Portland Housing Bureau director Traci Manning host Public Forum, Portland, January 30th. Visit

HUD Northwest Office of Native American Programs hosts Construction Administration Training, February 4th & 5th, Tacoma. Visit

Northwest Native Asset Building Coalition hosts "Sweet Deals" Financial Planning Day, February 8th, Seattle. Contact Amy Oakley at (206) 220-6213 or at

FHA hosts Webinar on Ibis System Training for HECM Counselors, February 13th, on-line. Visit

HUD Northwest hosts on-line Basics of Fair Housing Workshop, February 18th, on-line.

U.S. Department of Energy hosts Tribal Renewable Energy Webinar on Strategic Energy Planning, on-line, February 26th, on-line. Visit


Content Archived: April 21, 2017