HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Mary McBride, Region X Regional Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor
E.H.L.P. = H.E.L.P.
Pre-applications for $50,000 Emergency Homeowner Loan Program "bridge loans" are now being taken until July 22nd from Alaska and Washington state homeowners in mortgage default and at risk of losing their principal residence because of a loss of income due to a change in their employment circumstances or high medical bills. The EHLP "bridge loan" can be used to pay-off arrearages and, for a period of two years, reduce monthly mortgage payments. At the end of two years, the monthly payment returns to its pre-EHLP level and, if a homeowner then remains current n those payments for five years, the loan is forgiven. To be eligible, homeowners must be at least 3 months delinquent in their mortgage and have a total household income no greater than the greater of either $75,000 or 120 percent of the Area Median Income for a household size of 4 previous to loss of income. Under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act of 2010, $3.9 million was allocated to Alaska and $56.3 million to Washington for the EHLP program. If, once the pre-application period closes on July 22nd, there are more potentially eligible homeowners than there are funds available, a random lottery of eligible homeowners will be held to select those receiving EHLP loans. To apply, please visit website: (http://ehlp.nw.org/).
SERVING THE SERVERS
HUD has issued a revised Notice of Disclosure form that emphasizes the rights of the active duty military and their dependents who are protected under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. The Act mandates that military personnel on active duty in wartime are entitled to mortgage relief, including a lower interest rate (not more than six percent) on their mortgages and foreclosure protection. It states that a foreclosure proceeding against certain military personnel, who are recalled to active duty, is not valid unless the creditor has obtained a court order approving it and further states that the courts may stop the proceedings for a time or adjust the debt. The Act, said HUD Secretary Donovan, "enables our armed forces to focus on their mission abroad," said HUD Secretary Donovan, "without worrying about their families at home."
! ! ! NEWS FLASH ! ! !
HUD issues final rule setting the minimum standards that states must meet to comply with the Secure & Fair Enforcement for Mortgage Licensing Act of 2008 - the SAFE Act - and state licensing and registration of mortgage loan originators. For more, visit website: (www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-15672_PI.pdf).
NEWS TO USE
HUD posts 2011 Income Limits on-line (www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il11/index.html).
National Civic League selects Kenai as a 2011 All-American City. . .Spokane and Vancouver among 23 sites nationwide chosen by U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide an additional 5,000 beds of transitional housing for homeless vets and their families h in currently "unused and underused buildings at existing VA property". . .Thanks to a 3-year donation from a local family foundation that wished to remain anonymous, says Corvallis Gazette, Corvallis Homeless Shelter Coalition will be able to hire full-time director and part-time outreach worker. . .West End Outreach, Catholic Housing Services of Western Washington and Clallam County Housing Authority moving forward with $4 million, 30-unit affordable housing complex in Forks, "the biggest housing that's going on" in the area, one building official told The Peninsula Daily News. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services Rick Crager announces $559,849 in affordable housing capacity-building grants to St. Vincent de Paul of Lane County, Salem Housing Authority, Community Action Team, HACSA of Lane County, Salem-Keizer CDC, Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, Umpqua Community Action Network, Innovative Housing, Inc., Northwest Housing Alternatives, Housing Authority of Clackamas County, Bienestar, Portland Community Reinvestment, the Metro Housing Center, Columbia Cascade and Community in Action. . .VA Secretary Shinseki and HUD Secretary Donovan announce award of 108 more VASH vouchers for homeless veterans to Bellingham, King County, Salem, Spokane, Tacoma and Vancouver, raising total VASH vouchers in both states to 1,599 awarded since 2008. . .Saying "loans need to be available with a high enough limit to help Alaskans finance their improvements," Alaska Housing Finance Vice-Chair Clai Porter says it's increased loan limits and streamlined its 2nd mortgage programs. . .Bishop Joseph Tyson dedicates Catholic Charities Housing Service's new New Life Homes, 12 "self-help" homes for first-time buyers in Sunnyside. . .Mayor McGinn says that Capitol Hill Housing will transform parking-lot kitty-corner to and used by Seattle Police Department's into, says Seattle Times, "at least" 85 affordable apartments, a performance space, retail stores and, last but not least, underground parking for the Precinct. . .Coeur d'Alene Tribal Housing Authority, Skyline Crest Residents Council in Vancouver, Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority, HACSA of Lane County and Salem, Everett, Renton and Seattle housing authorities win total of some $3.36 million to fund ROSS self-sufficiency coordinators to help public housing residents move to economic independence.
WHY WE CELEBRATE
"Sustainability," it turns out, looks and feels a lot like democracy. At least it does in Aloha, an unincorporated community in Washington County just west of Portland. Late last year, the County was one of 62 jurisdictions across the country to win a Sustainable Communities Challenge Grant from HUD and the U.S. Department of Transportation to create an integrated approach to housing, jobs and transportation development in Aloha. A couple of weeks ago, Casey Parks of The Oregonian reported, the County "officially launched" the three-year process of soliciting "ideas for remaking the area." Some 130 people attended. "There are no defined outcomes to this process," project manager Mike Dahlstrom announced. "Don't be shy." They weren't. "Hands-up if you think" the Tualatin Valley Highway "works really well now," he asked the crowd. Only one hand was raised, said Parks. In the q-and-a folks asked why Aloha hasn't developed to the same standards as other unincorporated communities. Asked if the grant could pay for a new code enforcement officer. Asked how they could stop trains from blowing whistles down the tracks along the highway. The process, said Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten, "is already doing one thing, which is to build our community involvemen." And, of course, the skepticism that comes with it. "We have seen a huge deterioration in the look of Aloha," said one resident. Duffy said. "It does not take 20 committee members to see graffiti, weeds and dirty, terrible bus stops. . .We're not real encouraged when you come to us with a three-year plan to get ideas." Schouten agreed, saying he "wouldn't be happy either" if the study produced a pile of ideas, but "no concrete solutions." Noisy? Yep. Contentious? Sure. But "ain't that America somethin' to see"? Happy 4th!
Thanks to Elizabeth Budde, a physician from Kenmore, Washington who last year had the courage to step forward when she believed she'd been wronged under the Fair Housing Act by a lender based in Houston that had denied her application for a mortgage while on paid maternity leave. In early June, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity John Trasviña announced that, a Secretary-initiated investigation of the Budde case had resulted in a settlement with the lender - Cornerstone Mortgage of Houston - under which it would compensate Dr. Budde for her claims and create a $750,000 fund to compensate other Cornerstone borrowers who experienced discrimination because they were on pregnancy or maternity leave. "Pregnancy is not a basis to deny or delay a loan. It's just that simple," said Trasviña. "Mortgage professionals may verify income and other resources and have eligibility standards but they may not single out women on maternity leave to deny or delay loans that they are otherwise eligible for." At the same time, he also announced that HUD was charging Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation of Milwaukee in a similar case.
Congrats to the Portland Housing Bureau, Home Forward, hundreds of homeless advocates and, most importantly, former Mayor Bud Clark for a promise kept and a dream come true. On June 2nd, the city celebrated the grand opening of Bud Clark Commons, an 8-story, $49.6 million building in Old Town that will offer 130 studio apartments, a 90-bed transitional housing facility and the day shelter for the homeless. It's been a long-time coming and, on more than one occasion, something a lot of folks never thought would happen. The Bud as it's already come to be known is the centerpiece of the city's plan to end chronic homelessness, a plan first developed during Mayor Clark's tenure. It's completion was enough to make Commissioner Nick Fish to want to yell "Whoop!, Whoop!," a temptation he resisted to instead focus on Mayor Clark. "His plan was then and is now a visionary document, a road map for much of the success we have enjoyed as a community," Commissioner Fish told an opening-day audience that included Mayor Clark. Tour the Bud on-line: (www.portlandonline.com/phb/index.cfm?c=53110).
As Amy Phan notes in The Kitsap Sun, think Habitat for Humanity and you normally think "building houses," not tearing them down. But that's exactly what's happening in Silverdale systematically "knocking down" two vacant homes acquired by Puget Sound Energy three years ago. "There were a lot of nice things like doors, bathroom fixtures and appliances in the houses," PSE's Terry Albright told Phan. "Rather than having it end up in a landfill," we thought, "Wouldn't it be a great idea if (Habitat)were able to reuse some of this material?" Habitat jumped at the chance, if only as "an experiment." They "want to see what the economics are going to be," explained Donald Nelson of Habitat's Builders Bargain store where many of the materials will be offered for sale. As usual, volunteers are turning out to help, including a dozen Marines and sailors. Thanks to them, Nelson said, "we're not leaving anything behind that can be reused."
Residents of the westernmost inhabited community in the United States - the 61 people who call Atka, Alaska home - live a long way anywhere, a thousand miles, in fact, from the nearest urban center. They're hearty folk, used to the winds, to the cold, to the storms that bear down, like a Kodiak in a rage, from the Bering Sea, just to the north. Unfortunately, their homes aren't nearly as hearty. Designed for the Lower 48, for places like Kankakee or Wilkes-Barre they keep residents a little warm, a little dry, but also a whole lot of broke paying the heating bills that might get them through another winter on the Archipelago. The Aleutian Housing Authority and the Cascadia Green Building Council want to do something about it. They've launched the Living Aleutian Home Design Competition, inviting interdisciplinary teams from around the world to submit designs for a single-family house to be built on Atka that embody "the imperatives set by the Living Building Challenge 2.0, the built environment's most rigorous performance standards." The winning entry will receive a $35,000 cash prize and will be built on a parcel in Atka. Designs can be submitted in mid-October until mid-January with the winner to be announced at the Council's annual conference in Portland in May, 2012. For more, visit website: (http://cascadiagbc.org/news/ALEUTIAN HOUSING CHALLENGE RELEASE.pdf).
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Clallam County, King County, Snohomish County and Seattle housing authorities in Washington and Portland and Salem authorities in Oregon win $2.6 million in HUD funds for almost 250 Family Unification Vouchers to, says HUD Secretary Donovan, keep almost 250 families separated by foster care "together under one roof". . .Alaska USDA Rural Development director Jim Nordlund signs MOU with state agencies to streamline Rural Alaska Village Grant Program which funds planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in Alaska. . .Spokane Tribe celebrates opening of $1.2 million Pauline Stearns Early Learning Center, the first solar-powered building on its reservation. . .Umpqua Community Development Corporation celebrates its 20th anniversary. . .Mercy Housing Northwest cuts ribbon on 75-unit New Tacoma complex for the elderly in Tacoma. . .USDA Rural Development signs agreement with Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Alaskan Native Health Consortium to streamline Rural Alaska Village Grant Program that provides funding for planning, design and construction of water and wastewater infrastructure in rural communities in Alaska. . .Community Frameworks of Spokane and Bremerton one of four organizations nationwide awarded Self-Help Homeownership Program grants, winning $7.3 million for 393 more houses in Idaho, Montana and Washington. . .Shelter Care celebrates opening of 16-unit, $2.5 million Afiya Apartments to help, says KVAL-TV, "people with mental illness live on their own in downtown Springfield". . .Gig Harbor and Prosser, says Kitsap Sun, selected to join Washington's Main Street program. . .Washington Trust for Historic Preservation announces Excellence on Main Awards to Spokane's International District, Port Angeles Downtown Association, City of Duvall, the SRG Building in Ellensburg, Café Mela in Wenatchee, Bonaventure Shoes in Olympia, the Olympia Downtown Association, the Gig Harbor Waterfront Association, the Port Townsend Main Street Association and the Greater Hillyard Northwest Planning Associatoin. . ."Modeled after similar markets" in Minneapolis, El Paso and Oakland, Hacienda CDC unveils plans to "open community-inspired Latino public market" consistent, Pietro Ferrari tells Oregonian, "with Portland's values of celebrating a diversity of choices with originality and social consciousness". . . Washington Department of Commerce awards $13 million in CDBG funds to "improve rural water, sewer and street, construct housing, fire protection and social services facilities and provide loans to microenterprises" in Almira, Cathlamet, Grandview, Lacey, Rosalia, Shelton, South Bend, Tonasket, Walla Walla and Cowlitz, Ferry, Franklin, Kittitas, ,Lincoln, Stevens, Thurston and Walla Walla counties. . .Better late than never, congrats to Seattle Conservation Corps for 25 years of "assisting homeless adults in Seattle to improve their lives, ultimately gaining permanent housing and stable employment". . .Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland one of 15 people appointed by Small Business Administration to serve on its advisory Council on Underserved Communities to advise on promoting small business competitiveness and sustainability in underserved communities.
On June 14th, HUD Deputy Secretary Ron Sims, as always, did not mince words. It was, he said, "one of the more difficult days" in his two years at HUD because, he explained in an e-mail to his HUD colleagues, "I am retiring from public service and heading back home to my family in Seattle" at the end of July. The news was greeted with surprise, even shock and, of course, sadness. Lots of it. But it also made perfect sense. "Living more than 2,000 miles from those I love most," he said, "is a burden I no longer wish to endure." Given all of the energy he has invested, the ideas he has shared and the leadership - and friendship - he has provided, no one can begrudge him that. Fare well, Mr. Sims, farewell.
Want to help dreams - dreams like owning a home - come true? Well, the Washington Department of Commerce has the job for you. It's set July 12th as the application deadline for the position of Managing Director of its Housing Finance Unit. The position is responsible for the Department's affordable housing development policy and operations and oversees external relations with public and private funding partners and also is responsible for managing the Washington State Housing Trust Fund. For more, conduct a Department of Commerce search: (http://agency.governmentjobs.com/washington/default.cfm).
HUD's announced an August 8th deadline for communities interested in the "transformation, rehabilitation and preservation of public housing and privately-owned HUD-assisted housing" to apply for $3.6 million in fiscal year 2011 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants. The program, explains HUD Secretary Donovan, "expands on the bipartisan successes of the HOPE VI program by recognizing that we must link affordable housing with quality education, public transportation, good jobs and safe streets." Public housing authorities, local governments, non-profits, and for-profit developers that apply jointly with a public entity are eligible to apply. It's expected that 12 grants of $300,000 each will be awarded to help develop comprehensive "transformation plans." For more, visit HUD's website.
HUD has set an August 22nd deadline to apply for a $500,000 HOPE VI Main Street Revitalization Grant. The program is designed to "assist in the rejuvenation of an historic or traditional central business district or "Main Street" area by replacing unused commercial space in buildings with affordable housing units." Last year, the Tlingit-Haida won a Main Street grant for a project in in downtown Wrangell. Only units of local government with less than 100 units of public housing within its jurisdiction may apply. For more, visit HUD's website.
HUD is seeking applications for a second round of fiscal year 2010 funding under its Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities Program. The competitive program assists institutions of higher education serving these populations to expand their role and effectiveness in addressing community development needs in their localities, including neighborhood revitalization, housing, and economic development. Applications are due August 1st. For more, visit website: (www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=WLgJTNpRdSF1QXp9BbZLtMC1vCvkDDZGhhQ4b5v2XvyyVnCyf2Cr!-1875823643?oppId=99634&mode=VIEW).
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
"After years of dwindling building activity," says Homer Tribune, "a mini boom is underway," including two residential projects by the Kenai Housing Peninsula Housing Initiative and a 7,735-square-foot expansion of the Seldovia Village Tribal Health Center and a new Alaska Marine Highway Ferry Terminal. . .Benton County chapter of Habitat celebrates 20th anniversary and, says Corvallis Gazette, the 26 families it's helped and who've helped themselves become homeowners. . .King County Housing Authority receives 25,306 applications for Section 8 rental assistance when it recently opened its waiting list for two weeks, "more than double the number" it received when it last reopened the list in June, 2007. . .Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center says its Connections employment support program has placed over 1,000 homeless men and women in jobs in its first 5 years. . .Recent Boise State graduate Caitlin Stanley plans to join 30 others this summer biking from Portland, Maine to Santa Barbara to help, says Times News, "build affordable housing". . .Tom Cusack begins 5th year of publishing Oreogn Housing Blog. . .Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for new offices to be jointly-occupied by Bonner County Housing Authority and Community Frameworks that, says Daily Bee, will bring affordable housing to Bonner and Boundary counties". . .Officials from Linn County, Smaritan Health Services and Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs, reports Albany Democrat-Herald, "sign agreements" to "kick start" construction of 150-bed veterans home in Lebanon. . . Puyallup Homeless Coalition unveils plan to be presented to City Council that will guide efforts, says Tacoma News Tribune, "to reduce and eventually eliminate involuntary homelessness in the city of 37,022 people". . .Pocatello's Neighborhood Housing Services tells Idaho State Journal it'll raze and replace foreclosed home destroyed by fire. . . Confederated Tribes of the Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw completed purchase of 2-acre parcel in Rhododendron where, says Register Guard, they hope to build $7.5 million, 35-unite Munsel Lake Village affordable housing complex. . .City of Ellensburg and Confederated Tribes of the Colville win total of almost $600,000 in EPA brownfield clean-up grants.
HUD WANTS TO KNOW
In mid-June, HUD Seattle hosted a town hall on what HUD can do to strengthen our Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant program and competition in fiscal year 2012. It was put together on short notice and, probably, some folks who would have liked to attend had schedule conflicts. Well, you can still let us know what you think and, yes, we'd still like to hear from you - by July 15th.
WORTH A READ
"Community" isn't a word easy to define. You probably don't really know it until you see it. Like what you see these days at the Driskell's house in Parma. "Whether you believe in God or just that there are good people," Police Chief Albert Erickson told The Idaho Statesman's Anna Webb, "whatever it is, it's in Parma." Read her story: (www.idahopress.com/news/state/neighbors-mobilize-to-redo-home-for-sick-parma-boy/article_d2264c5e-e664-5ea4-b9d0-166ae17bfc2e.html)
QUOTE TO NOTE
"When it comes to ethnic inclusion and race tolerance, Oregon has had a history of being a bit behind others in truly "getting it." Our constitution originally barred black people from moving here at all, and vestigial race references in it were bleached away by the Legislature barely a decade ago. That's why it hurt when we learned this year that black and Latino testers acting as rental candidates in Portland were found by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon to be discriminated against more than 60 percent of the time. And that's why it's especially heartening that the city is going to do something loud about it --now and going forward. The plan announced Friday by City Commissioner Nick Fish requires such testing annually, at expanded rates and always unannounced, in leasing offices and mom-and-pop venues throughout Portland. The testing results, significantly, will be tracked by a newly appointed Fair Housing Advocacy Committee whose job it will be to tell us whether we're improving, with the most egregious of the findings turned over to state civil rights investigators to pursue. Meanwhile a key landlord group, the Metro Multifamily Housing Association, will underwrite cold-call testing of its own and make training sessions in fair housing law part of membership. These are bold, right-minded measures designed to check hard against housing practices in need of examination. It already is unclear from the first round of testing whether some of the findings are one-time anomalies, no less injurious for it but possibly ephemeral: Did the landlord's clueless nephew substitute for the trained leasing agent during a tester's visit, or was the reported deception part of a pattern from a landlord who should know better? In any case, no landlord in Oregon wants to be tagged a racist, and no landlord expecting to protect his or her enterprise can afford to be a lawbreaker. The initiatives, coupled with a robust education outreach to citizens and landlords alike, will go a long way toward ensuring outcomes commensurate with Portland's sense of itself as a dynamic, inclusive city. But they must be undertaken in measured steps marked by rigor and accountability -- a first and sustained priority of the new advocacy committee. Landlords deserve it as well as all citizens." - The Oregonian, June 11th, 2011, on the release by Portland Commissioner Nick Fish of the City of Portland's Fair Housing Action Plan.
NOTES TO NOTE
Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will open on-line application process for $2.4 million in Affordable Housing Program funds on May 15th with applications due no later than August 1st. . .HUD sets July 13th deadline to apply for $35 million Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency Coordinator funds. . .HUD sets July 14th deadline to apply for grants of up to $25,000 to assist doctoral candidates to "complete and improve the quality of their dissertations on policy-relevant housing and urban development issues". . .HUD sets July 20th deadline to apply for Section 3 Coordination & Implementation grants. . .HUD sets July 21st deadline to apply for $15 million in Capital Fund Education and Training Community Facilities. . .State of Washington sets July 22nd as start date of its new Foreclosure Mediation Program. . .HUD sets July 22nd deadline to provide feedback on how to improve the 2011 Notice of Funding Availability process for Section 202, supportive housing for the elderly, and, and Section 811, supportive housing for persons with disabilities, competitions. . .Federal Reserve, HUD, FDIC, SEC, FHFA and Comptroller of the Currency extend deadline until August 1st to submit comments on proposed rule to require sponsors of asset-backed securities to retain at least 5 percent of the credit risk of the asset underlying the securities. . .HUD sets August 1st deadline to apply for second round of fiscal year 2010 funding under Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities Program. . .HUD sets August 1st deadline to submit comments on its "preliminary plan to periodically analyze "significant regulations" to determine whether they should be "modified, streamlined, expanded or repealed" and its first list of current regulations it has deemed "outdated". . .HUD sets August 2nd deadline to apply for $9.1 million to meet critical housing needs of low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS. . .HUD sets August 8th deadline to apply for $3.6 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants to help communities transform, rehabilitate and preserve public and privately-owned HUD assisted housing. . HUD sets August 22nd deadline to apply for HOPE VI Main Street Revitalization Grants. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets September 1st to apply for grants to provide Individual Development Accounts to underserved Oregonians. . .Home Depot Foundation sets October 31st deadline to apply for Community Impact Grants of up to $5,000 to support projects "using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community," especially those that identify projects for veterans, seniors, and/or the disabled.
Workshop on How to Fund Economic Development & Revitalization for Small Oregon Communities, July 12th, Klamath Falls and Medford: (www.cclr.org/programs/workshops/oregon-funding-workshops)
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, July 13th
Workshop on How to Fund Economic Development & Revitalization for Small Oregon Communities, July 13th, Gold Beach and North Bend: (www.cclr.org/programs/workshops/oregon-funding-workshops)
HUD Spokane hosts Energy Efficiency &Healthy Housing in Rural Communities Conference, July 14th, Spokane
Workshop on How to Fund Economic Development & Revitalization for Small Oregon Communities, July 14th, Florence: (www.cclr.org/programs/workshops/oregon-funding-workshops)
76th annual conference of National Association of Counties, July 15th to 19th, Portland: (www.naco.org/meetings/participate/NACoAnnual/Pages/default.aspx)
2011 Northwest Community Development Institute, July 18th to 22nd, Boise
HUD Anchorage hosts workshop Procurement and Contract Administration Training for tribal housing entities, July 26th to 28th, Anchorage
Northwest ONAP hosts Section 184 Workshop for New Lenders, August 2nd, Airway Heights
Northwest ONAP and Bureau of Indian Affairs host Workshop on Mortgages on Tribal Lands, August 3rd and 4th, Airway Heights
HUD Boise & HUD Spokane host Grant-Writing Workshop for Faith- & Community-Based Organizations, August 4th & 5th, Coeur d'Alene
HUD Seattle hosts Fair Housing Workshop for Landlords, Tenants & Managers, August 10th, Kennewick
HUD Seattle hosts Basics of Section 3 Workshop for housing authorities & CDBG grantees, August 11th, Kennewick
HUD Seattle hosts Environmental Review Workshop, August 16th to 18th, Seattle
HUD Northwest hosts Fair Housing Basics Webinar, August 24th