Northwest HUD Lines
Seeking to protect the rental housing and homeless assistance for millions of extremely poor Americans while increasing investments in key initiatives to serve some of the nation's most distressed neighborhoods, President Obama and HUD Secretary Donovan have proposed a $47.6 billion budget for HUD in fiscal year 2014 - October 1st, 2013 to September 30th, 2014. The proposal, said Donovan, includes $37.4 billion to provide rental housing assistance to 5.4 million low-income families; nearly $2.4 billion in homeless assistance grants; 10,000 new rental vouchers for homeless veterans; $400 million to transform 30 neighborhoods with extreme poverty into opportunity-rich, mixed-income neighborhoods; A combined $526 million to sustain rental assistance and produce an estimated 4,100 through its supportive housing programs for low-income seniors and persons with disabilities; $726 million to meet the housing needs of native Americans and $326 million to meet the housing needs of people with AIDS/HIV. It also reduces funding for the HOME Investment Partnership program, a cut mitigated by a proposed $1 billion Housing Trust Fund. "The President understands that in today's budget climate, we can't build ladders of opportunity on a mountain of debt," said Donovan. "As we work to strengthen our nation's housing markets, we can't lose sight of our commitment to house and serve millions of extremely low-income families who live on the margins of our economy." For additional details, see HUD's website.
SPEAKING OF WHICH. . .
In his briefing to stakeholders about HUD's proposed fiscal year 2014 budget, Secretary Donovan reported that from 2010 through 2012, the Department's been able to provided rental assistance to an additional 220,000 families. So what happens if the effects of sequestration aren't mitigated in an adopted 2014 budget? "That progress" - as in those families - would be put "at serious risk." For a look at the Secretary's summary of the 2014 budget proposal, visit HUD's website.
Since the 1970's HUD has maintained a network of 80 regional and field offices across the country. Not much longer. "The current organizational model for HUD," said Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones, "is not sustainable from a financial and a service delivery point of view," As a result, by September 30th, HUD expects to close 16 of its smallest offices - including the office in Spokane. The restructuring is expected to save between $110 and $150 million over a 10-year period and will affect some 200 employees, including 6 based in Spokane. All employees will be afforded the opportunity to relocate to another HUD office, to take a buy-out or early retirement. HUD will continue to maintain at least one office in all 50 states. The restructuring is expected to enable HUD to insure that it has the greatest possible impact on the people and the places we serve, especially given today's tough fiscal climate. For a list of all offices scheduled for closure and other details, please see HUD's website.
Ask any business owner what they most need from government and you'll probably get a one-word answer. "Consistency!" Like anybody else, they when seeking an answer to a question or clarification of a policy, they don't like hearing two different, even conflicting responses from two different people in the same organizations. Which is why consistency is a key element of a second reorganization plan announced recently by Deputy Secretary Maurice Jones. Simply put, right now HUD's Multifamily Housing programs are scattered across 50 offices nationwide, creating ample opportunity for confusion and inconsistency. Over the next two-and-a-half years, HUD intends to consolidate those 50 offices into just 10 - five Multifamily HUBS in in New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Fort Worth, and San Francisco and five satellite offices in Boston, Jacksonville, Detroit, Kansas City, and Denver. The effort will affect some 700 employees - each of whom will be offered the opportunity to relocate, receive a buy-out or take early retirement - and is expected to generate annual savings of up to $45 million once fully-implemented in federal fiscal year 2016. Of equal importance, the more streamlined organization will allow more consistent, efficient processing of loans and servicing of existing assets. Simply put, explained Deputy Assistant Secretary Marie Head , "we have to change in order to be nimble and keep pace with the marketplace by leveraging technology, reducing our footprint as appropriate, and enhancing customer service in ways that will help ensure that we perform as a 21st century institution." The Multifamily HUB in Seattle will remain open and be responsible for HUD's Health Care Financing Program. For more, visit HUD's website.
Governor Otter announces the award of $3.6 million in Idaho CDBG funds to American Falls, Bellevue, Castleford, Grangeville, Kamiah, Orofino, Rigby and Idaho, Kootenai, Lewis and Owyhee counties "improve the infrastructure necessary to attract new businesses and serve our citizens,". . .Portland Metropolitan Association of REALTORS names Jean DeMaster, executive director of Human Solutions, as its 2013 Portland First Citizen. . .Seattle City Council, says Seattle Times, has reached agreement on imposing development fees to promote more affordable housing in booming South Lake Union area of city. . .Dillingham home built by professor and his wife using "many techniques refined by" Cold Climate Housing Research Center named, reports Fairbanks News Miner, "Tightest Residential Building" by World Record Academy in Miami. . .Habitat for Humanity International names Humanity of Seattle/King County and "affiliate of distinction". . .Alaska Housing Finance Corporation launches Closing Cost Assistance Program that, for first time ever, offers 3 percent of the initial principal balance of a mortgage loan to homebuyers throughout Alaska. . .Snohomish City Council votes unanimously against allowing development of micro-apartment or "A-pod-ments" in areas zoned for single-family homes. . .Affordable housing projects developed by the Quinhagak in Alaska, the Coeur d'Alene and Nez Perce in Idaho and the Port Gamble S'Klallam and Puyallup in Washington state are among 21 projects by native communities honored by Enterprise Community Partners and HUD at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C. . .Habitat for Humanity of Portland/Metro East celebrates reaching the half-way point in the Madrigal Condominium community in southeast Portland, the affiliate's "latest - and largest - project," says The Oregonian, for the affiliate so far. . .Ravens Roost, co-housing announces plans, says Daily News, to build Anchorage's first co-housing community of 35 houses on 6.3 acres it's bought. . .REACH Community Development purchases 51-unit Bronaugh Apartments in downtown, the last building of the at-risk HUD Section 8 properties identified in the Portland Housing Bureau's 11X13 Campaign to insure long-term preservation of assisted, affordable housing in the city.
! ! NEWS FLASH ! !
With "more than 2 million homeowners have refinanced through " the Home Affordable Refinance Program and proved "it a useful tool for reducing risk," Federal Housing Finance Agency acting director Edward DeMarco has directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to extend the life of HARP by two years from December 31, 2013 to December 31, 2015. For more, see www.fhfa.gov.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is reminding non-profits and public organizations at work in rural America that June 28th is the next deadline to apply to become an intermediary "to provide loans to support rural businesses and community development groups." Under USDA's Intermediary Relending Program, USDA lends money to economic development intermediaries that in turn re-lend the funds as commercial loans to rural businesses that might not otherwise be able to obtain such financing. As loans are repaid, the intermediaries have the opportunity to make more loans. Since President Obama took office, it's estimated that the program has created or retained some 20,000 jobs. For more, see the April 8th Federal Register at www.gpo.gov.
The Home Depot Foundation is seeking applications from organizations expected to commence construction or rehabilitation projects over the next 12 to 18 months to provide at least 20 units of rental or homeownership units, at least half of which must serve veterans. Grants will range from $100,000 to $500,000. Priority markets are Seattle, Greater Portland, Yakima and Eugene. Interested organizations must complete and file a no more than 4 page "concept paper" describing their project no later than May 31st. For more, contact Kendall McCarthy at the Foundation.
HUD has set a May 21st deadline to apply for up to $6.6 million in McKinney-Vento HMIS Technical Assistance Research grants. The funds are intended to "provide technical assistance to achieve the highest level of performance and results for implementation and management of local Homeless Management Information Systems and to collect data for Annual Performance Reports and the Annual Homeless Assessment Reports". Eligible applicants include states, units of general local government, public housing authorities and public or private or for profit organizations or intermediary, including educational institutions and area-wide planning organizations. See www.grants.gov.
HHD has set a May 29th deadline to apply for up to 5 Transformation Initiative: Sustainable Communities Research Grants that are intended to "fill key data and information gaps, and to begin to develop and evaluate policy alternatives that communities can adopt to facilitate decision making about various community investments in sustainability initiatives." Eligible applicants include nationally recognized and accredited institutions of higher education; non-profit foundations, think tanks, research consortia or policy institutes, and for-profit organizations. See www.grants.gov.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Moscow becomes the latest Idaho city to pass ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing and employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identification. . .Haines Assisted Living breaks ground for $6.1 million, 11-unit Soboleff-McRae Veterans Village, the first state-funded private veterans housing facility in Alaska. . .King County Housing Authority wins $28 million and Seattle Investment Fund $11 million in New Market Tax Credit funds from Treasury Department to "increase economic opportunity in distressed areas". . .City of Yakima has withdrawn HUD funding from a hotel renovation project downtown now that its developer has obtained private financing. . .As of March 31st, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation had weatherized 10,500 homes with average annual energy savings of $1,300 per home. . .Forterra honors Tacoma Housing Authority with New Directions for Livable Communities award. . .At the invitation of the City of Tacoma, reports Exit 133, ArtSpace America visits to determine "feasibility of developing an artist live/work community in Tacoma". . .City of Nampa to host two workshops on A-B-C's of being a landlord in May. . .Domestic Violence Services of Benton & Franklin celebrates the first tenant of a four-plex in Kennewick used as transitional housing for victims of domestic violence that's been rebuilt following a fire last summer. . .Anchorage says it has goal of painting 115 homes during Paint the Town Week in the first week of June. . .Northwest Housing Alternatives acquires 74-unit Hawthorne East Estates in Portland and 30-unit Hollyfield Village in Lake Oswego as part of its campaign to maintain inventory of affordable housing in Portland metro. . .Congressman Dave Reichert, King County Housing Authority officials and residents of the 50-unit Burndale Houses public housing celebrate the grand opening of a new community center in Auburn. . .Beaverton city staff, reports Oregonian, urging City Council to consider granting property tax exemption for non-profit agencies that add "new affordable housing units in the city". . .After five years as executive director of Proud Ground, Jesse Beason steps down to take new job at Northwest Health Foundation. . .HUD Policy Development & Research publishes Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis for Olympia at www.huduser.org.
PERSISTENCE V. RESISTANCE
The folks at Compass Housing Alliance probably knew from the get-go that their proposal to build Nyer Urness House in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle wasn't going to be a slam dunk. 80 units of housing for the homeless are virtually never welcomed with open arms in residential neighborhoods. But Compass persisted, listening to the concerns of area residents, working hard to address them. It was a five-year slog. But ultimately all the work paid off and, in April, Compass cut the ribbon and welcomed the first residents to Nyer Urness. It's a great story. Read more.
It's something all of us do, several times a day. Most of can use a bathroom or a restroom. But not people like Roger White of Salem. He's got a record, including "14 pending cases dating back to 2006, all quality of life violations" for "low-level" crimes like public urination or vagrancy, says Soo," which are virtually impossible to avoid" by someone like White who has" lived on the street for 20 years." But since November, 2012, he hasn't been charged. What happened? Thanks to help from his court-appointed attorney, Lori Schmidt, he got something many of us take for granted. "I have an apartment," he tells Soo, "and I have a bathroom." And what a difference they've made. Read Soo's full account (www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20130408/NEWS/304080020/Crimes-homelessness-off-streets?nclick_check=1).
FIRST OF A KIND
In 2009, reports The News Tribune, the Washington State Legislature created a program that allows the state to "provide $500 per month for up to three months" for rent payments by recently-released offenders with an approved release plan s. In April, the Tacoma City Council approved an agreement with the Department of Correction to move forward with an 18-month pilot to test the idea. It's the first jurisdiction in Washington to try the state's rental voucher program and could be, said Council Member Lauren Walker, "a model for cities and counties" dealing with offender housing issues. More than 80 Tacoma landlords, says The News Tribune, have already signed up to participate. For more, see www.thenewstribune.com.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Idaho Housing & Finance Association says homeless count for 3rd straight year & 24 percent since 2010. . .Seattle's Capitol Hill Housing and Portland's Community Partners for Affordable Housing among 7 winners of Enterprise Green Communities 2012 planning grants. . .City of Lacey celebrates grand opening of expanded $6.9 senior center in Woodland Park, funded in part by CDBG. . .Boise City Council expects to vote, says Idaho Statesman, on providing $200,000 for the final phase of renovating the Interfaith Sanctuary Shelter including "better plumbing, remodeled existing showers and restrooms, a reconfigured women's sleeping area and a separate family hospitality". . .Affordable Housing Task Force, says Juneau Empire, endorses St. Vincent DePaul's Home Run project to provide accessible housing for seniors. . .Villas Verde townhomes open, reports KVEW-TV, "one of the first fully green-certified communities" in Kennewick's Southridge area. . .Cities of Castleford, Idaho and Grandview, Washington awarded loans and grants by USDA Rural Development to upgrade sewer and wastewater treatment systems. . .Clatsop County Housing Authority completes purchase of two apartment buildings in Astoria and tells Daily Astorian it has its eyes on a Seaside property as well. . .Kelso City Council approves HOME funds, says Longview Daily News, to enable Foundation for the Challenged to transform a four-bedroom house or duplex into a group home and Lower Columbia CAP to fund construction of five, self-help homeownership cottages on a former brownfields site. . .Seattle's Office of Housing now requiring micro-apartment developers to go through the normal design review process for multi-family complexes. . .Washington State Housing Finance issues $13 million in bonds to allow Tacoma Lutheran Retirement Community to refinance debt and build 12-unit "memory care" home.
NOTICE OF NOTE
HUD's issued a Notice reaffirming that housing providers must provide reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities who require assistance animals. The "Notice on Service Animals and Assistance Animals for People with Disabilities in Housing and HUD-Funded Programs" discusses how the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act intersect regarding the use of service or assistance animals by persons with disabilities. For more, please see HUD's website.
HUD's Office of Multifamily Housing will now require radon testing and, if applicable, mitigation for most new FHA-insured construction, conversion and substantial rehabilitation projects, as well as most FHA-insured refinance transactions. Radon testing and mitigation is not required for refinance projects located in low risk areas, or if a certified Radon Professional determines that radon risk is sufficiently low for the project. In a typical year, there are some 21,000 lung cancer deaths in which radon is a factor in the United States. For more, see HUD's website.
YOU GOTTA FRIEND?
"Are you crazy," you might ask. "Spring's just arrived and you're already worried about Housing Washington months from now in the fall?." Yep, I am. Why? Because it's time to submit your nomination for the annual Friend of Housing award which honors some one or some organization for " their contributions in providing affordable housing to lower- and moderate-income residents of Washington." The deadline's August 16th, but with the weather turning nice it'll get here sooner - much sooner - than you think. So, nominate today! For more, visit www.wshfc.org.
Know a foundation that's been good to the good work of your organization? HUD's announced that its extending the deadline to submit nominations for the Council on Foundation/HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnership for Public-Philanthropic Partnership until May 24th. So you still have time to be good back to them. For more, visit www.huduser.org.
Oregon banks are reporting "annual contributions to nonprofit and charitable organizations in excess of $14 million. In a single year, over 1,400 organizations were the beneficiaries of donations made by Oregon banks. Employees of Oregon banks also gave back to their communities personally, with over 229,000 hours of volunteer time invested." - from Oregon's Banks: Cornerstones of our Communities published by the Oregon Bankers Association in April, 2013.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"A lot of teens will do something they don't want to do to be able to have a place to sleep at night." -- April 28, 2013, KING5-TV, A participant in Tacoma's Shared Housing Services which, to date, according to KING5-TV, has paired "nearly 60" homeless Pierce County young adults and people with extra space in their homes together after extensive interviews and background checks. For more, see www.king5.com.
". . .the power of home is truly profound. Home is what centers our lives; it's where we give our children a sound start. Home is where we spend time with family and friends, but it's also where we entertain dreams of launching a career, starting a business, or taking a leadership role in our community. At Neighborhood Housing Services, we are convinced that home is the key to thriving communities. . .When the housing bubble burst, it hit Treasure Valley hard. As Entrepreneur reports, "After topping out at $220,000 in October 2008, median list prices (in Boise) fell 35% to $143,000 by April 2011." So it's comforting for many to see property values rising again. But, as they do, we must remember our fellow citizens for whom it is not good news. Those citizens, whom we try to help every day, are typically hard-working contributing members of our community, who just need an affordable home - a place in which to base their lives. Addressing that need should be a priority for Treasure Valley. In addressing it, we should also recognize the challenge that transportation plays. Affordable housing is typically located some distance from downtown, making the cost of transportation greater and the need for a car essential. Locating affordable housing close to downtown would reduce those costs and make access to public transportation easier. As housing prices rise, so will property valuations and tax revenues. The more that Treasure Valley invests in affordable housing, the stronger our entire community will become." - - Joe Swenson, Chief Executive Officer, Neighborhood Housing Services of Boise in the March 30th Idaho Statesman.
NOTES TO NOTE
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation sets May 3rd deadline to register to seek funding under its 2014 Teacher, Health Professional &Public Safety Housing Grant competition to commence in July 2013. . Health & Human Services sets May 3rd deadline to apply for Urban & Non-Urban Homeless Veterans¿ Reintegration Program grants of up to $300,000. . .Idaho Department of Commerce sets May 17th deadline for counties and county-city partnerships to apply for Rural Idaho Economic Development Professionals program to assist rural communities in hiring full-time economic development professionals. . .HUD sets May 21st deadline to apply for McKinney-Vento HMIS Technical Assistance Research grants. . .Federal Housing Finance Administration sets May 24th deadline for public comment on proposed actions against lender-placed insurance. . .HHS' Administration for children & Families sets May 24th deadline to apply for Assets for Independence funds. . .HUD sets May 28th deadline for public comments on proposed rule implementing Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program. . .In anticipation of fiscal year 2013 funding, HUD sets May 28th deadline to apply for Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants. . .HUD sets May 29th deadline to apply for Sustainable Communities Research Grant program. . .Home Depot Foundation sets May 31st deadline for organizations serving Seattle, Greater Portland, Yakima and Eugene to submit a 4-page concept paper to outline how they would use grants of between $100,000 to $500,000 to build or rehab housing that will serve veterans. . .Portland Housing Bureau sets May 31st deadline to apply for $1 million under Multiple-Unit Limited Tax Exemption Program. . .Interior Departments sets June 6th deadline to apply for Earthquake Hazard Program grants to "provide products for earthquake loss reduction to the public and private sectors by carrying out research earthquake occurrence and effects". . .HHS sets June 7th deadline to apply for funds to Support Navigators in Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges under Affordable Care Act. . .Economic Development Administration sets June 13th deadline for next funding cycle under Economic Development Assistance program to provide "to provide investments that support construction, non-construction, technical assistance, and revolving loan fund projects" in economically-disadvantaged areas, both rural and urban. . .HUD sets June 13th deadline to apply for Fair Housing Initiative Program grants. . .HHS sets June 17th deadline to apply for grants through Projects to Establish Individual Development Account (IDA) Programs for Refugees. . .USDA sets July 15th deadline to apply for National Urban & Community Forestry Grant Program. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle says it will begin accepting applications for $5.9 million in Affordable Housing Program funds "on or around" May 15th with applications due August 1st. . .Washington State Housing Finance sets August 16th deadline to submit nominations for 2013 Friend of Housing Awards. . .National Endowment for the Humanities sets August 27th deadline to apply for Bridging Cultures at Community Colleges funds.