Northwest HUD Lines
A year ago most Americans probably never had used the word "sequestration" in a sentence or maybe even have known what it meant. Today they do as $85 billion in across-the-board cuts begin to be made in virtually every Federal agency and their programs. So, you may ask, what are the potential effects for HUD and those it serves as sequestration moves forward in the days and weeks and months ahead? Start with up to 125,000 fewer rental assistance vouchers, for example, for needy families and individuals trying to find an affordable place to call home. An estimated 100,000 fewer transitional and emergency shelter beds for the homeless, including vets. Some 75,000 fewer at-risk homeowners able to get foreclosure prevention and intervention help. And that's just the beginning, HUD Secretary Donovan said, of cuts that will be " deeply destructive, would damage the economy, and would harm numerous families, individuals, and communities across the nation."
Marking the one-year anniversary of the National Mortgage Servicing Settlement, representatives of 49 state attorneys general, the Justice Department and HUD Secretary Donovan have announce that from March 1st to December 31st, 2012, the nation's five largest mortgage lenders - Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citi and Ally formerly GMAC) - have distributed $45.83 billion in direct relief to over 550,000 homeowners, So what died that mean for at-risk homeowners in the Northwest. Well, to date, the Settlement has brought $10.2 million in relief such as principal reduction, debt forgiveness and 1st and 2nd mortgage modification, to 157 Alaska homeowners, $163million m to 2,743 Idaho homeowners, $384.7 million to 5,889 Oregon homeowners and just over $1 billion to 13,516 Washington homeowners. "We have already surpassed our initial expectations," noted Donovan. "the settlement is testament to the fact that large scale principal reduction can be used an important tool in our efforts to prevent foreclosures without incurring negative results." Settlement Administrator Joseph Smith, however, has certified that only one lender - Ally - "has met its Consumer Relief requirements." Our Department," added Donovan "will work vigilantly" to ensure that the settlement's terms continue to be implemented effectively." For the full report of the Office of Mortgage Servicing Oversight, visit www.mortgageoversight.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Ongoing-Implementation.pdf and, for state-by-state break-outs, https://www.mortgageoversight.com/map/.
On February 8th, HUD published a Final Rule in The Federal Register designed to "formalize the national standard for determining whether a housing practice violates the Fair Housing Act " which prohibits discrimination in housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin. It does so, explained Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing & Equal Opportunity John Trasvina, through a three-step "burden-shifting test for determining whether a given housing practice has an unjustified discriminatory effect," Under this test, the charging party bears the burden of proving its prima facie case that a practice results in, or would predictably result in, a discriminatory effect on the basis of a protected characteristic. If the charging party proves a prima facie case, the burden of proof shifts to the respondent to prove that the challenged practice is necessary to achieve one or more of its substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interests. If the respondent satisfies his burden, then the charging party may still establish liability by proving that the substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest could be served by a practice that has a less. The rule, said HUD Secretary Donovan, will "This will ensure the continued strength of one of the most important tools for exposing and ending housing discrimination." For more, view the Rule at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=discriminatoryeffectrule.pdf.
HUD User posts new Market-at-a-Glance analyses for Anchorage, Silverdale-Kitsap County, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, Olympia, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Bend and Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro - Multnomah County and Bend at www.huduser.org/portal/MCCharts/marketReports.html.
Agriculture Secretary Vilsack adds rural homeowners who are delinquent in their USDA Guaranteed Loans in Alaska, Idaho and Washington to pilot that already includes Oregon and gives them to lower payments by as a result of lower interest rates and re-amortization to 40 year terms. . .LaDawn Anderst, a 22-year veteran of Idaho Association of REALTORS, named its new chief executive officer. . .Downtown Emergency Service Center celebrates grand opening of 87-unit Aurora House for chronically-homeless men and women in Seattle. . .Association of Alaskan Housing Authorities wins $1.5 million to provide training and technical assistance to tribal communities. . .Central City Concern's Clean & Safe business improvement district in Portland celebrates 25th anniversary. . .Governor Otter announces award of $350,000 in Idaho CDBG funds to City of Dietrick to refurbish its water system. . .Washington Housing Finance Commission okays $1.3 million financing to allow nonprofit Alpha Supported Living Services to buy and consolidate its 300-employee operations in one building in Bothell. . .Washington Department of Commerce awards "nearly $500,000" in CDBG funds for "crucial development plans" for new or improved "water and wastewater systems, community centers" and "growth management plans" in 21 rural communities. . .Seattle Mayor McGinn announces advisory panel to review city's affordable housing incentives.
GETTING BACK HOME
HUD's awarded Washington's Department of Commerce $5,580,280 to provide project-based rental assistance for up to 275 units for extremely low income people with disabilities as part efforts by HUD and Health and Human Services to prevent people with disabilities from homelessness or unnecessary institutionalization. Washington is one of just 13 states awarded HUD Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration (PRAD) funds. Commerce will collaborate with the state Department of Social and Health Services, the Washington Health Care Authority and the Washington Housing Finance Commission to create 275 units of permanent, supportive housing for persons with disabilities. No more than 25 percent of the units in a building may receive PRAD funding and the property owner must agree to maintain the units as affordable to very low-income persons with disabilities for at least 30 years. The funding is a five-year allocation. The PRAD awards is consistent with the guiding principles of the Americans with Disabilities Act and with the landmark 1999 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Olmstead v. L.C., which requires state and local governments to provide services to individuals with disabilities in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs.
HUD has set a March 25th deadline to apply for a grant of up to $100,000 through its Sustainable Construction in Indian Country Small Grant Program that's intended "to document the impact of one or more innovative approaches to sustainable construction in Indian Country" that can be formatted and shared with others "without the need for instructors, facilitators or other external assistance." For more, visit here (www.grants.gov/search/search.do?&mode=VIEW&oppId=219116).
The National Endowment for the Humanities has set a May 1st deadline to apply for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions of up to $6,000 each. The funds enable "small and mid-sized institutions—such as libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities—improve their ability to preserve and care for their significant humanities collections." See here (www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=r31vRvwK6LWzjpqM8bWF2BKGx
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Washington County awards $750,000 in HUD HOME Investment Partnership funds for second phase of Orchards at Orenco in Hillsboro. . .Kotzebue Electric Association wins $2.9 million USDA loan guarantee to build 10 more miles of distribution lines. . .U.S. Green Building Council says Washington is 7th most LEED state in U.S. with 1.56 square feet of LEED for every resident. . .Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation - NEDCO - named "business of the year" by Springfield Chamber of Commerce. . .After five years as director of Helpline in Walla Walla, Dan Williams returns to northern Idaho and in the family construction business "which," he tells Union Bulletin, "I did for 14 years before I came here". .Regina Malveaux named executive director of YWCA Spokane. . .City of Yakima considering, says Herald, $1.1 million HUD Section 108 loan guarantee to transform former "crown jewel" of downtown - the Great Western Building - into hotel. . .Catholic Housing Services tells Herald that it expects to start building 42-unit complex for the homeless in downtown Bellingham "this summer". . .Mission remains the same, but Metro Multifamily Housing Association of Portland changes name to Multifamily NW. . .LIHI "jazzes up" the neighborhood, opening 60 apartments for the homeless in Seattle and naming it in honor of jazz legend Ernestine Anderson.
CUTTING THE MUSTARD
The Benedictine Sisters of Mt. Angel have been serving folks living in and around that Oregon community for more than 130 years, ever since their Order first arrived from Switzerland in the 1880's. For a century, they focused mostly on education, but more recently have been offering farm workers and homeless families a clean, decent, affordable place to lay their heads. So what the heck are they doing making award-winning mustard? Find out here.
Bach had a big day this past January in Spokane. No, not Johann Sebastian the composer, but Frank, the Monsignor, a title, by the way, he hates, he told Rebecca Nappi of The Spokesman Review it's too "Middle Ages." The occasion was the grand opening of Catholic Charities Spokane's new, four-story, 51-unit Bach Haven apartments for "the most vulnerable, the most in need" and "exactly the kind of place that that Father Bach's heart would be attached to," said executive director Rob MCann, But only if they could get him to the event. "They didn't ask me, they told me to attend," he said. Catholic Charities now operates more than 1,000 affordable apartments in the Spokane area, many "built during Father Bach's 14-year tenure" as its executive director, McCann explained. "Our community is blessed," added Judy Butler, a friend, that he "found his way to our diocese." Read Nappi's full story at www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/jan/20/the-works-of-bach/.
Meth wrecks lives by the thousands every years. And in its destructive wake it leaves messes for the rest of us to clean up. Like hat left behind by a couple charged with operating a one-pot meth lab in a Juneau apartment owned, operated and now being decontaminated by the Tlingit-Haida Regional Housing Authority. It'll "cost somewhere between $12,000 and $15,000" to do so, reports Emily Russo Miller of The Juneau Empire, just about the equivalent o a full-year's Fair Market Rent on a Juneau apartment. For the full story, see http://juneauempire.com/local/2013-02-13/valley-meth-house-clean-underway.
A 14-year veteran of the Marines, Tom Gury's not the kind of guy usually confused about knowing "whether to scream for joy or cry for joy." But on the first day of winter 2013 it was understandable as he, his wife Michelle and their five kids took possession of a brand-new, four-bedroom, 1,200 square-foot house on Gravenstein Way in Medford. It is, said The Mail Tribune, the "first Habitat for Heroes house built in Oregon" by Habitat. "When a house is completed, it is sold to the veterans family with a 30-year, no-interest mortgage." Rogue Valley Habitat already has begun raising funds to build a second Habitat for Heroes house in 2013. Read more at www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130120/NEWS/301200330&cid=sitesearch.
HOT, HOT, HUD
With the recent arrival of the headquarters for Amazon and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the South Lake Union area is arguably Seattle's hottest neighborhoods. Exactly the kind of neighborhood, in fact, where you'd think HUD doesn't belong. But though they're maybe not as big Gates' or splashy as Amazon's, HUD is making a few. See how here.
From the get-go, of course, it's worth acknowledging that downtown Coeur d'Alene isn't exactly midtown Manhattan. But it is got its very own skyline crisis as it grows up - "too fast," say some, "just right," say others - with more and more building opening or breaking ground destined to be at or near the City's 200-foot limit. The last time 30 years ago that it was an issue, notes Scott Maben of The Spokesman Review, it "swept" a new mayor and three City Council members into office. And this time? See Maben's story at www.spokesman.com/stories/2013/jan/21/growing-pangs/.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
HUD launches two new apps for smart phones and tablets, the first to help you locate the HUD-approved housing counseling agency nearest you and the second to a quick and easy way to learn about their housing rights and to file housing discrimination complaints, and inform the housing industry about its responsibilities under the Fair Housing Act. . .After "11 months of hard work," The Olympian reports, nine low-income families and the Housing Hope Self-Help Team celebrate the hand-over of keys to the homes they "helped build from the foundation up" on a cul-de-sac in Monroe. . .PAE Consulting Engineers Inc., takes home "project of the year" honors from American Council of Engineering Companies of Oregon for its work on Home Forward's Bud Clark Commons in Portland. . .Shannon Tenant named executive director of Habitat for Humanity Oregon. . .Plymouth Housing Group celebrates grand opening of Pat Williams Apartments, 81 units for the chronically-homeless, "just a stone's throw from the Amazon campus" in the South Lake Union area of Seattle. . ."Get ready for the sliver tide," Cook Inlet Housing's Carol Gore as she and three other "powerhouses of Alaska housing finance" visit Juneau to talk with legislators about the importance of state support for housing programs in the state, Gore added, "with the fastest growing senior population in the nation."
Every two years, HUD releases a report entitled Worst Case Housing Needs to The Congress. Using data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau for the American Housing Survey, the report looks at the number of renters who do not receive government housing assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions. Given the nation's economic woes, it's probably no surprise that the news didn't get better between the data collected in 2009 and 2011, but how much worse it got is. Simply put, in 2009, says the Report, 7.1 million households experienced "worst case" needs. In 2011, 8.5 million households did, up 19 percent from two years earlier and 43.5 percent from 2007. 48 percent of new cases of worst case needs were found among white, 28 percent among Hispanic, and 13 percent from black households The numbers, said HUD Secretary Donovan are "sobering." As "we work to craft a balanced approach to our budget and priorities, we can't lose sight of those who may be teetering on the brink of homelessness," For the full report, visit www.huduser.org/portal/publications/affhsg/wc_HsgNeeds11.html.
WORTH A READ
""We're not building" affordable housing "fast enough" to meet demand, Portland architect Stuart Emmons tells Eliot Nijus of The Oregonian. And he thinks he's got the answer, "a new standard for what affordable housing should be" - Kah San Chako Haws, a 9-unit, LEED Gold modular affordable housing complex he designed that's owned, operated and just opened by the Native American Youth & Family Center in the Lents neighborhood of southeast Portland. A stick-built equivalent, he says, would take 18 months to build, from design to opening. Start to finish, Kah San Chako Haws took just 13 months, including a mere three days for on-site assembly. HAYA's Rey Espana adds that, ultimately, modular units will "go from lot to completion in less than six months." Maybe they're onto something. You decide. For more, see here.
Apparently, a little bit of kindness can go a long way according to a recent study commissioned by the Washington Department of Commerce and conducted by the Department of Social & Health Services that has found that "recipients have greater housing stability and are less likely to be incarcerated compared to similar peers who do not receive Housing and Essential Needs services." HEN was established following the state's elimination of the Disability Lifeline program and its cash benefits. HEN provides non-cash rental assistance and other supports - "such as personal hygiene and bus tokens" - to people unable to work because of medical reasons. "We were concerned the elimination of Disability Lifeline and the related decrease in funding would hurt the state's progress in reducing homelessness," said Commerce deputy director Dan McConnon. "Instead, the switch to housing and other assistance is helping our state combat homelessness." For more, see /www.commerce.wa.gov/media/Pages/PressReleaseView.aspx?pressreleaseid=113.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"I was pleased to see the House of Representatives come together and vote to reauthorize and strengthen the Violence Against Women Act. Over more than two decades, this law has saved countless lives and transformed the way we treat victims of abuse. Today's vote will go even further by continuing to reduce domestic violence, improving how we treat victims of rape, and extending protections to Native American women and members of the LGBT community. The bill also reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, providing critical support for both international and domestic victims of trafficking and helping ensure traffickers are brought to justice. I want to thank leaders from both parties - especially Leader Pelosi, Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Senator Leahy - for everything they've done to make this happen. Renewing this bill is an important step towards making sure no one in America is forced to live in fear, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it hits my desk" - President Obama, February 28th, 2013, in a statement from the Office of the White House Press Secretary on a vote by the House of Representatives to concur with and pass the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act.
"Single? Forget speed dating, try home building!" - headline in February 7th edition of ON On the Beat soliciting volunteers for Habitat for Humanity of Portland/East Metro's February 9th "single build" at which 30 men and 30 women" spend a "meeting new people, building homes for a cause, learning savvy new skills and more.""
NOTES TO NOTE
USDA sets March 1st deadline to apply for $3 million in Alaska Native & Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions Education Grants. . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation sets March 11th deadline for comments on its Housing & Community Development Annual Action Plan. . .U.S. Department of Energy & Denali Commission set March 15th for tribal organizations to apply for Renewable Energy Project Development Assistance. . .U.S. Department of Labor sets March 19th deadline to apply for up to 75 YouthBuild grants. . HUD sets March 18th deadline to apply for Comprehensive Housing Counseling program grants. . .HUD sets March 19th deadline to apply for Indian Community Development Block Grant funds. . .HUD sets March 19th deadline to apply for Healthy Homes Technical Studies Program funding. . .NeighborWorks sets March 25th "early bird" deadline and April 15th pre-event training for its Training Institute in Portland May 6th to 10th. . .HUD sets April 24th to apply for Self-Help Homeownership Opportunity Program grants. . .HUD sets March 25th deadline to apply for grants of up to $100,000 under Sustainable Construction in Indian Country Small Grant Program. . .Justice Department sets March 26th deadline to apply for $42 million under Rural Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence &Stalking Assistance Program. . .Justice Department sets April 4th deadline to apply for up to 60 Transitional Housing Assistance Grants for Victims of Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Program. . .Due to fact that HUD has not received appropriations at this time, HUD extends deadline to apply for Resident Opportunities & Self Sufficiency Service Coordinator grants to April 30th. . .Nation Endowment for Humanities sets May 1st application deadline for" libraries, museums, historical societies, archival repositories, cultural organizations, town and county records offices, and colleges and universities" to apply for Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions.