HUD Highlights E-Newsletter
Region X - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Martha Dilts, Region X Deputy Director (206) 220-5356
Leland Jones, Editor
A day after President Obama signed the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act to "crack down" on those who "seek to take advantage" of homeowners and homebuyers, HUD's Mortgagee Review Board announced actions against more than 120 lenders for violating FHA requirements, from failure to conduct sufficient quality control, to failure to continue to meet FHA recertification requirements, to falsifying loan documents. As a result, 102 lenders had their FHA approval withdrawn, five agreed to make indemnification payments totaling more than $500,000, and 24 were assessed fines or administrative costs totaling more than $1.2 million. "American homebuyers," said HUD Secretary Donovan, deserve to know "that when they deal with an FHA-approved lender, they're dealing with a lender they can trust." For more (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-9731.pdf).
NEW DATE FOR UPDATE
The FHA Lenders Update scheduled for June 9th to 11th in Seattle has been re-scheduled for September 15th through 17th. Sorry for any inconvenience.
Calling it "another important step toward accelerating the recovery of the nation's housing market," HUD Secretary Donovan announced at a speech before the National Association of Home Builders that FHA will allow homebuyers to apply the Recovery Act's new $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit toward the purchase of an FHA-insured home. State housing finance agencies and certain non-profits can now "monetize" up to the full amount of the tax credit of up to $8,000 (depending on the amount of the mortgage) so that borrowers can immediately apply the funds toward their down payments. Home buyers using FHA-approved lenders can apply the funds to their down payment in excess of 3.5 percent of appraised value or their closing costs, which can help achieve a lower interest rate. Current law does not permit approved lenders to monetize the tax credit to meet the required 3.5 percent minimum FHA down payment. Families can only access this credit after filing their tax returns with the IRS. The Home Builders estimate that "monetarization" will stimulate some 160,000 home sales. For more, see FHA Mortgagee Letter 09-15.
Unanimously confirmed by the Senate, Ron Sims takes oath as HUD's Deputy Secretary. . .Statesman Journal says Oregon Housing & Community Services awards $400,000 in CDBG funds to permit Turner homeowners to obtain no-to-low interest loans to "fix a roof, replace a window or a variety of other' home rehab projects. . .Coeur d'Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem presides at groundbreaking for St. Vincent de Paul Society of North Idaho's 15-unit, HUD-funded apartment building for people with disabilities. . .Polk County Itemizer says Dallas will use $10,000 for matching grant program to "motivate" downtown businesses to "spruce up" their properties. . .Oregon State Housing Council okays funding for new housing for homeless families and individuals in St. Helens, Klamath Falls and Medford. . .More than 200 attend foreclosure intervention workshop hosted by cities of Nampa and Caldwell. . .Washington Community, Trade & Economic Development cites downtown associations in Kennewick, Ellensburg, Issaquah, Port Angeles and Bainbridge Island, Central Washington University and the cities of Hoquiam and Port Townsend for "excellence in downtown revitalization". . .EPA awards $900,000 in Brownfield grants to "help make redevelopment a reality" for contaminated sites in Bonner and Custer counties. . .University of Oregon alum Victor Vasquez named USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development. . .Yakima Herald says Rod's House - a place where homeless kids can "feel comfortable and get connected" - will open in early June. . .Coeur d'Alene REALTORS association wins one of 16 National Association of REALTORS grants to conduct forum on workforce housing. . .Northwest Housing Alternatives celebrates grand opening of 152-unit Charleston Apartments in Wilsonville.
To the Oregon Housing Council and Oregon Housing & Community Services for a proclamation celebrating the 75th anniversary, on June 27th, of FHA mortgage insurance, noting that, since the Bank of Astoria became the first Oregon bank to qualify as an approved FHA lender in 1935, "more than 200,000 Oregon families have chosen" FHA mortgages to buy their home and FHA has been used to finance "more than 42,500 apartments in more than 600 developments" statewide.
SO, WHAT'S TO CELEBRATE?
Given the bad news in the mortgage markets, is this really the time to celebrate National Homeownership Month? Jennifer and Kennedy Bell of Bend, Oregon think so. Their circumstances are supposed to mean that they can't afford a house in Bend. But just last week they moved into a brand-new, 3 bedroom home at 403 McKinley Avenue in Bend. And yes, thanks to an innovative collaboration between Housing Works and Bend Habitat for Humanity, they'll own the house. How can they afford it? First, Habitat volunteers used its traditional high-quality, but low-cost "sweat equity" model to build the house. Second, the Bends have a homeownership voucher to cover mortgage costs. And, third, while the Bell's will own the house, Housing Works will own the parcel so that, should they sell the house, part of the proceeds will go to the Bell's and the balance to reduce the price for the next buyer. It insures, said Housing Works' Kelly Fisher, "a permanent supply of affordable housing in a high cost market."
The Strong family of Juneau are celebrating too. Until last October, their family of four was renting a two-bedroom apartment for $1,000 a month. Electric utilities were another $370. They were, Housing First executive director Jennifer LaRoe told The Juneau Star, "caught in the middle. They don't make enough money to actually afford a home, but they don't make little enough money to qualify for some of the other programs." Thanks to secondary financing from Housing First's Home Opportunities Program, now they're the owners of a 3-bedroom home where they're paying what they paid as renters. It is, said Mr. Strong, "a great way to to help people who can't quite afford a "starter" home to get into one."
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Alaska housing Finance allocates more than $16 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to eight partners to create "more than 200 units" of affordable rental and homeownership housing. . .Washington State Farmworker Housing Trust starts accepting applications - due June 8th - for $410,000 in Community Capacity Fund - up from $190,000 last year - "to develop and manager farmworker housing". . .Developer of affordable Weeks Field Estates project to replace Fairview Manor in Fairbanks tells News Miner 74-unit first phase will "open this fall" and financing for second phase is "good to go". . .Nez Perce cut ribbon for Sundown Heights single-family development. . .King County Housing Authority says renovation of the first nine residential buildings at Birch Creek in East Kent will be completed in June. . .Affordable Housing Finance magazine highlights new Oregon Housing & Community Services "analysis tool" that identifies "where low income housing tax credits and other limited resources" are best used. . .Before departing to become Commerce Secretary Gary Locke's deputy chief of staff, Jay Reich receives Washington Housing Finance's Friend of Housing Award for 26 years of service as its bond counsel. . .HUD Alaska and native village of Kwinhagak finalize $2.2 million in financing for seven new single-family homes. . .Idaho State University honors Dr. Cynthia Hill as Distinguished Faculty, citing her involvement on board of Gateway Habitat for Humanity. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services celebrates "four-fer" with grand openings of 33-unit Putnnam Pointe in Bend, 8-unit Wapiti in Warrenton, 40-unit River View Place Apartments in Albany and 27-unit Heather Glen elderly complex in Veneta. . .News Miner says Cooperative Extension professor and housing specialist Rich Seifert wins University of Alaska Fairbanks' 2009 Emil Usibelli Award for Public Service. . . OIC of Washington and City of Yakima celebrate completion of the 15-unit Marvin Gardens single-family development. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation okays $1.5 million loan to help finance $22.9 million, 59-unit Eklunta Estates Senior Housing in Anchorage. . .Hacienda CDC wins National Development Council award for its Plaza Los Robles complex in Mollala. . .Spokane, King County Housing Authority and State of Washington win almost $6.3 million in HUD grants to eliminate lead hazards in housing.
GET THE LEAD OUT!
The May 22nd Federal Register announced notices of funding availability for $69 million in HUD 2009 Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control and $48 million in Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grants. Deadline is July 20th. Details. . . It's "unacceptable," said Vice President Biden, that "40 percent of homes in this country still contain lead-based paints, the majority of which are in low-income areas where homes have not been renovated for decades."
HUD and the U.S. Department of Labor will conduct free, all-day training for contractors on the "ins and outs" of Davis-Bacon Act prevailing wage rates, the Contract Work Act's overtime requirements and the Copeland Act's restrictions on payroll reductions on June 24th at the Oregon Association of General Contractors building at SW Commerce Circle in Wilsonville and on June 30th at the Washington Association of General Contractors building on Westlake Avenue in Seattle. For more about the Portland training, contact HUD Portland's Bill Toxvard at (971) 222-2607 and for more about the Seattle training, contact HUD Seattle's Jim Harrell at (206) 220-5378.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
At annual conference Pacific Northwest Regional Council of NAHRO confers 2009 Advocacy Awards on Lisa Cipollone-Wolters of Seattle Housing Authority, Dr. Blake Kazama of Tlingit-Haida Housing Authority and Seattle Housing Authority for its public outreach programs. . .President's Council on Environmental Quality releases Citizen's Guide to the National Environmental Policy Act (www.nepa.gov/nepa/Citizens_Guide_Dec07.pdf). . .Despite state budget cuts, KXLY-TV reports Catholic Charities will keep its House of Charity shelter for homeless men in Spokane open this summer. . .Vincent House Apartments in Seattle dedicate new Neighborhood Networks computer learning center. . .Telling Register Guard "it's time for us to be doing the same kind of work in Springfield," NEDCO will shift community revitalization efforts from Whittaker neighborhood in Eugene to downtown Springfield. . .Eighty volunteers celebrate completion of first Habitat for Humanity home in Forks. . .Northwest Inupiat Housing Authority in Alaska wins $250,000 in state funds for biomass energy research. . .Juneau Empire says "more than 200" attend Business of Clean Energy in Alaska conference in Anchorage, the "state's first renewable energy conference:. . .USDA Rural Development awards $1.6 million to Keno Water Company for water project. . .July 17th is deadline to submit nominations for Washington Housing Finance Commission's 2009 Friend of Housing Award. . .George, Washington and Baker County, Oregon win USDA Rural Development "essential public safety" grants. . .Gateway Habitat for Humanity breaks ground for two new homes in Pocatello. . .CTED awards $11.5 million in CDBG funds for housing, senior center and water and sewer projects in George, Goldendale, Prosser, Republic, Mattawa, Metaline Falls and Wilbur and Cowlitz, Franklin, Okanogan, Pacific, Thurston, Walla Walla an Whatcom counties. . .Coeur d'Alene unveils 10 year plan to address homelessness. . .Idaho Housing & Finance awards $13.5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program funds to 11 communities to, says IHFA's Gerald Hunter, "halt and reverse" the effects of foreclosed abandoned houses in the "hardest-hit areas of the state."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"They're not trusting They've been hurt, they've been disappointed, and they've been rejected. So, it's about rebuilding and establishing relationships." - Bread of Life's Jack Morgan to KING-TV in Seattle on the "overflow crowds" that attended Mission's Memorial Day ceremony honoring veterans.
NEWS TO KNOW
On May 11th HUD Secretary Donovan announced his intent to "move forward" with reforms to the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act scheduled to take "full effect" on January 1st. The changes in RESPA - the first in some 30 years - will provide more transparency to consumers in the homebuying process and save them an average of 4750. However, the Secretary also announced that HUD will propose revised language governing the prohibited "required use" practice by which consumers are "steered" to higher cost mortgages because they are "forced" to use affiliated companies. "Confusion over one specific provision," he said, should not "hold up needed RESPA reforms."
HUD wants to hear your ideas on "administrative and procedural changes that HUD should adopt to expedite approval of multifamily housing projects involving low- income tax credits or tax exempt bonds under the jurisdiction of HUD." Comments due June 29th.
June 8th deadline to apply for HHS Administration for Children & Families Street Outreach Program to help runaways living on the streets. June 9th deadline to apply for USDA Rural Energy for America grants to provide energy audits to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers to "identify ways to improve energy efficiency". . .June 8th deadline to apply for Washington State Farmworker Housing Trust Community Capacity grants. . .June 15th first day applications will be accepted for Recovery Act's Green Retrofit "first come, first serve" grant and loan competition for assisted multi-family housing complexes. . .June 16th is deadline to apply for EPA Healthy Indoor Environment grants. . .June 19th deadline to apply for USDA Rural Utilities Community Connect grants. . .June 22nd deadline to apply for Administration for Children & Families Compassion Capital Fund grants of up to $500,000 to provide leadership, organizational, program and community engagement capacity to faith-based organizations. . .July 10th deadline to apply for USDA Rural Development Section 533 Housing Preservation grants. . .July 13th deadline to apply for the Recovery Act's Indian Housing Block Grant competition. . .July 17th deadline to apply for Neighborhood Stabilization Program II grants to stabilize neighborhoods "damaged" by foreclosures and abandoned properties. . .July 20th deadline to apply for Recovery Act Lead Hazard Control grants. . .July 21st deadline to apply for Energy Efficient, Green Communities component of Recovery Act's Public Housing Capital Improvement Grant program. . .August 3rd is deadline to apply for IRS grants to provide training "to volunteers" who offer "free tax counseling and assistance to elderly individuals in the preparation of their Federal tax returns". . .August 7th deadline to apply for Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
26th annual Alaska Rural Providers Conference in Kodiak, June 1st to 5th. For more (www.ruralcap.com/aboutrc/cutenews/admin.php?
Oregon Chapter of American Planning Association hosts Planning for a New World, Preparing for the Future annual conference in Portland, from June 3rd to June 5th. For more (www.oregonapa.org/).
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Act training, June 3rd in Spokane.
Annual Paint the Town Celebration, June 6th through 13th in Anchorage.
HUD Portland hosts the "A-B-C's of Environmental Review" June 8th through 10th in Portland.
Tacoma-Pierce County Affordable Housing Consortium hosts forum on the future of affordable housing, June 10th, at Evergreen State College in Tacoma. For more (www.affordablehousing.consortium.org).
Mercy Housing celebrates completion of the 100th home it's built in Idaho, June 13th, Magic Valley. For more email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
National Energy & Utility Affordability Conference in Portland, June 17th to 19th . For more (www.energyandutilityconference.org/)
Association of Idaho Cities holds annual conference, June 17th to 19th in Boise. For more (www.idahocities.org/).
Annual conference of Association of Washington Cities, June 23rd to 26th in Spokane. For more (www.awcnet.org/awcconf09/index.htm)
Community Action Program Legal Services (CAPLAW) Law Services holds annual training conference, June 23rd to 26th in Seattle. For more (www.caplaw.org/)
Community Shelter & Assistance Corporation hosts Farm worker Housing & Asset Management Conference in Redmond, OR, June 24th to 26th. For more (www.casaoforegon.org/conference).