Northwest HUD Lines
Nominations now being accepted for new Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee
Not to be too parochial, but Northwest HUDLines has a question for you. Do you think that the experiences of being a homeowner or renter in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington State offer unique perspectives which policy- makers inside The Beltway might want to take into account? If, as we hope, your answer's a resounding "Yes!", we have a way to help make that happen. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform & Consumer Protection Act of 2010 requires HUD to establish a Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee of no more than 12 members from the mortgage and real-estate industry, consumer and housing counseling communities to advise HUD's Office of Housing Counseling. Wouldn't it make good, practical sense to have voices from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington on that Committee? You bet! And here's the way. Nominations for the Committee are being accepted until May 14th. Why don't you submit one? And why not do it today? For more, visit (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/14/2015-08550/establishment-of-the-housing-counseling-federal-advisory-committee-solicitation-of-appointment).
Speaking of housing counseling, congratulations to the Idaho Housing & Finance Association in Boise, Community Connections of Northeast Oregon in La Grande, the Housing Authority of Yamhill County in McMinnville, the Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) in Portland, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation in Springfield, South Sound Outreach in Tacoma & the Washington State Housing Finance Commission. HUD has awarded them a total of more than $350,000 in fiscal year 2015 HUD Housing Counseling grants. During the Great Recession, HUD-approved housing counselors provided invaluable front-line services to hundreds of thousands of at-risk homeowners and renters and in many instances were the reason why they "held their homes," notes HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Bill Block. "Times are better, but their services and expertise," he adds, "are as valuable as ever." (PLEASE NOTE - Under NOFA-TUNITY below you'll find more about an opportunity for housing counseling agencies that did not win fiscal year 2015 funds to seek, funds by May 7th, HUD supplemental funding.)
! ! ! NEWS TO NOTE ! ! !
The Dodd-Frank Act also requires mortgage lenders to provide mortgage applicants with a list of approved housing counselors to whom they may turn for "independent and informed advice" on deciding "what loan is best for them." In April, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a "final interpretive rule" (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/21/2015-09244/homeownership-counseling-organizations-lists-and-high-cost-mortgage-counseling-interpretive-rule) on how lenders should fulfill that obligation using information from the Bureau or HUD. The rule took effect April 21st.
! ! ! NEWS 2 NOTE ! ! !
Call it a "three-fer." The last three Mortgagee Letters that FHA has issued have focused on its Home Equity Conversion- or "reverse" - Mortgage product.
. . .BREAKING NEWS. . .
Speaking of FHA, on April 30th, it announced an extension of the implementation date for the policies contained within its new Single Family Housing Policy Handbook 4000.1 to September 14, 2015, recognizing "that there currently are a number of competing initiatives occurring simultaneously in the mortgage industry that may be challenging mortgagee and other industry partner resources."
On-line registration for 2015 Continuum of Care programs opened at e-snaps but will close on May 18th at 7:59:59 EDT. So, don't be late. Sign-up now!
Lenders and loan servicers participating in HUD's Distressed Asset Stabilization Program should pay close attention to recent and "significant changes" changes designed to "better serve homeowners looking to avoid foreclosure." Specifically, servicers are now required to wait at least 12 months - compared to the earlier 6-months requirement - before moving to foreclose. Servicers also will be required "to evaluate all borrowers for the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) or a similar loss mitigation program." The first Program sale in 2015 is expected to take place in June. "The improvements not only strengthen the program," said HUD's Genger Charles, "but also supports the FHA Insurance Fund while offering borrowers a second chance at avoiding foreclosure."
More than 480 people attend two days of fair housing events - Idaho Fair Housing Conference & Section 3 Reasonable Accommodation workshop - in Boise while 430 standing-room-only audience attends Inland Northwest Fair Housing Conference in Spokane. . .After selling-out its first phase "very quickly," King County Housing Authority's Stephen Norman (www.kcha.org/news/releases/release.aspx?ReleaseID=91) says a model home built by Richmond American Homes is now open for prospective homebuyers to see what the next, 54-unit of "quality, market-rate" homeownership units in Seola Gardens will look like. . .Confederated Grand Ronde Tribe celebrates grand opening (www.statesmanjournal.com/story/news/local/causes/2015/04/09/new-grand-ronde-food-pantry-aims-build-community/25559071/) of Iskam MǝkhMǝk-Haws - "the house where you get food" , a 3,300 square-foot food pantry affiliated with Marion-Polk Food Share. . .EPA honors Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium with Gregg Cooke Visionary Program Award for its "exemplary" tribal air quality program which has conducted over 50 air quality community assessments reducing pollutants while enhancing tribal capacity to address the issue. . .Five years in the making, Hacienda CDC celebrates grand opening of Portland Mercado (www.portlandmercado.com/, the first Latino public market in Portland. . .LIHI - the Low Income Housing Institute - celebrates grand opening of 50-unit Cheryl Chow Court (www.lihi.org/__prop_Cheryl_Chow_Court.html) for the elderly & Urban Rest Stop for the homeless in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. . .HUD extends deadline for local continua of care to submit Housing Inventory & Point-of-Time counts to HDX (www.hudhdx.info/). . .Vancouver Housing Authority proposes $500,000 fund, reports The Columbian (www.columbian.com/news/2015/apr/28/vancouver-housing-authority-tenants-settlement/), to settle suit brought by tenants over utility allowances. . .City of Ketchum decides, reports Idaho Mountain Express (www.mtexpress.com/news/ketchum/ketchum-reconsiders-community-housing-reduction/article_af691e20-e78a-11e4-91f3-dff64748db98.html), not to go forward with proposed 10 percent cut in community housing requirement. . .Volunteers of America & Catholic Charities, says KXLY-TV (www.kxly.com/news/spokane-news/volunteers-of-america-catholic-charities-look-to-open-transitional-housing/32163908), to soon begin building two, 4-story transitional housing complexes in Spokane. . .Home Builders Foundation gala, says Portland Business Journal (www.bizjournals.com/portland/blog/real-estate-daily/2015/04/foundation-smashes-fundraising-record-for-homeless.html), raises record $314,000 to support homeless shelters & services in Portland. . .For sixth straight year Idaho Housing & Finance Association named (www.idahohousing.com/newsroom/news-releases.aspx?udt_2352_param_detail=1110) one of Best Places to Work in Idaho. . .Catholic Charities of Walla Walla breaks ground (http://union-bulletin.com/news/2015/apr/18/va-campus-catholic-charities-open-doors-homeless-v/) for 40-unit St. Michael the Archangel Haven housing for homeless veterans on VA Wainwright medical center campus, the old Ft. Walla Walla. . .Portland Development Commission & Portland Housing Bureau issue request-for-proposals to build (www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/525780) "at least 200 units of affordable housing" in South Waterfront area. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle gives member banks go-ahead to start enrolling first-time homebuyers in this year's $1.7 million Home$tart program which, says Bank, since 1995, has contributed more than $47 million to helping more than 9,500 eligible households buy homes.
HUD-subsidized housing & VA services now available to homeless vets in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
The campaign to end homelessness among veterans by the end of calendar year 2015 got a big boost on April 4th when, at a press conference at Compass on Dexter, HUD Secretary Julián Castro, Congressman Denny Heck, Congressman Dave Reichert and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced the nationwide award of 9,300 new HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers to provide homeless veterans with a permanent, affordable place to call home. The Alaska Housing Finance Corporation received an additional 17 HUD VASH vouchers, meaning VASH can now serve 247 homeless veterans there. Thirty-one new HUD VASH vouchers were awarded to the Pocatello(7) and Boise(11) housing authorities as well as to the Idaho Housing & Finance Association to house homeless veterans in Twin Falls (5), Coeur d'Alene(4) and Lewiston(4), raising the total supply of VASH vouchers to 271 in Idaho. Ten authorities in Oregon received 207 additional HUD VASH vouchers - Clackamas County(6 ), Home Forward of Portland(79), Douglas County(6), Jackson County(50), Klamath Falls(10), Linn- Benton(17), Coos-Curry(10), Washington County(17), Northeast Oregon(10) and Central Oregon (6), bringing the total HUD VASH inventory in Oregon to 1,708 VASH vouchers. Housing authorities in Washington State won an 240 more vouchers including Seattle (40), King County(79), Bremerton(7), Tacoma(9), Longview(5), Vancouver(8), Island County(14), Snohomish(12), Yakima (8), Pierce County(20), Spokane(14), Walla Walla(12) and Skagit County(12) raising the HUD VASH inventory to 2,446 VASH vouchers in Washington State. "These vouchers," said Secretary Castro, "help thousands of veterans start a new chapter in their lives and build for the future."
Helping the families of those who've served
Also critical to ending veteran homelessness by December 31, 2015, is the Department of Veterans Affairs Supportive Services for Veteran Families program. It provides grants to private, non-profit organizations to serve very low-income veteran families living in - or transitioning to - permanent housing. On March 31st, VA Secretary Robert McDonald awarded (www.va.gov/HOMELESS/ssvf/docs/SSVF_FY15_Grant_Awards_List_by_State.pdf) "fourth-year" SSVF grants totaling to 24 organizations including $6 million to Access, Inc. in Medford, $3,094,313 to the Oregon Community Action Partnership in Salem and $6 million to the Metropolitan Development Council in Tacoma. "This is a program that works," said Secretary McDonald, " because it allows VA staff and local homeless service providers to work together to effectively address the unique challenges that make it difficult for some Veterans and their families to remain stably housed."
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
Getting wages into the pockets where they belong
Millions of dollars, thousands of new HUD VASH vouchers. "With all those resources," you say, "how can you not end veteran homelessness by year's end?" Visit Boise where Anna Webb of The Idaho Statesman reported recently on some conversations she'd had with formerly-homeless veterans who'd receive HUD VASH vouchers. It's made a difference. Ask Desert Storm veteran Crystal Dunkin. After 18 years her dream of a long Air Force career was cut short. "I was just so lost, blown away," she told Webb, working a "score of jobs" and moving a lot. Until 2010, when she got a HUD VASH voucher . "Case closed," right? Nope. In fact, she's just learned her lease won't be renewed and she needs to find a new place to live. Tough stuff in a city with a rental vacancy rate of "around 2 to 3 percent." Landlords can charge more than HUD VASH vouchers pay. "HUD-VASH looks really good when vacancy rates are high," Boise/Ada Housing Authority executive director Deanna Watson told Webb. Apartments for vets are few and far between, adds VA social worker Amanda Walund, and vets already using HUD VASH vouchers are being priced-out. "It feels like running full speed at a brick wall."
The how's & who's of getting it done
"As the decades have gone by, as we've cycled through administrations of both parties, generations of veterans have fallen through the cracks. And as a country, we've seemed to resign ourselves to a reluctant acceptance of this reality. We feel badly about it. We know it is not right. But we've almost come to believe that this problem is just too big, too entrenched to ever solve. I want to be very clear that the vast majority of veterans who return home, they come home in good health and good spirits. They go on to build strong families and find good jobs. And they keep serving this nation in their communities and their workplaces, in their congregations. I've seen it. But even one homeless veteran is an outrage. And when we have tens of thousands of veterans who don't have somewhere to go when it rains -- that is a stain on our nation. . .So I'm asking the mayors out there -- can you squeeze a few more dollars from your budgets for local homelessness programs? Can you work with your local VA to fill any gaps in your own efforts? Can you ask property owners and landlords to rent to these veterans looking for a place to call home? To the business owners out there -- does your company have supplies you could donate to our veterans? Could you help pay for their security deposits, their utility bills? And to folks in communities all across the country -- can you volunteer to walk the streets like these veterans did and reach out to homeless folks and help them in your community? Because it's going to take all of us doing what we each do best to reach -- and to sustain -- this goal. And that last little point -- sustaining this effort -- is crucial. Because, as the Mayor said, ending veteran homelessness doesn't mean that we'll never see another veteran on the streets. That an unfortunate reality. But it means that when someone does experience a housing crisis, we will be prepared to get them back into a home right away -- and for good." -- Remarks prepared for delivery by First Lady Michelle Obama, April 20, 2015, in New Orleans, one of the first major U.S. cities to have capacity to house all homeless veterans.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Saying it is "not a career decision" but a life change "to live more simply and intentionally" and a chance for her and her husband to travel "the mountains and trails that we love," Traci Manning resigns April 30th as executive director of the Portland Housing Bureau. . .Once again Washington State Housing Finance Commission leads effort to help manufactured housing residents "own" their futures, this time at Elmwood Mobile Manor in Puyallup. . .Portland Development Commission (www.pdc.us/news-and-events/news-releases/news-detail/15-04-17/PDC_Launches_Mini-Micro_Revolving_Loan_Fund_Pilot.aspx) now offering micro-mini-micro loans from $100-$2,500 to low-income & minority small business owners to promote capital access "for traditionally underserved" firms and to build credit for businesses with no or poor credit. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau & Federal Trade Commission order Green Tree Servicing to pay $48 million in consumer restitution & $15 million in fines for "mistreating mortgage borrowers" (www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-and-federal-trade-commission-take-action-against-green-tree-servicing-for-mistreating-borrowers-trying-to-save-their-homes/) by, among other actions, failing "to honor modifications for loans transferred from other servicers" and demanding "payments before providing loss mitigation". . .Seattle Housing Authority completes (http://seattlehousing.net/2015/03/sha-opens-renovated-expanded-senior-housing/) remodeling, renovation and expansion from 34 to 69 units of Lesch House, affordable housing for the elderly in the International District. . .Work begins on 23-unit Raven's Roost Co-Housing, a "new, but old-fashioned type of living," says KTVA (www.ktva.com/anchorages-first-co-housing-community-breaks-ground-367), and first co-housing development in Anchorage. . Portland Housing Advisory Board begins recruiting (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/527065) new members. . .Mercy Housing Northwest tells KOMO (www.komonews.com/news/local/OLD-WWII-BARRACKS-WILL-SERVE-AGAIN-LOW-INCOMING-HOUSING-291477261.html) it wants to transform empty, vandalized World War II Army barracks in Seattle's Magnuson Park into nearly 130 units of affordable housing. . .To "teach people safe behavior in a deer- and bear-friendly town" that, on occasion, also is visited by cougars, reports Daily Tidings, Ashland holds Living With Wildlife Summit (www.dailytidings.com/article/20150424/NEWS/150429871/101081/NEWS). . .On Earth Day 2015 Agriculture Secretary awards total of more than $14 million in loans and grants to cities of Kellogg and Myrtle Point & the Sunrise Water Association in Washington for water & sewer system upgrades and $170,000 for energy audits to Washington Department of Commerce &, Oregon Department of Energy. . .Medford City Council okays (www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/3079881-151/medford-council-votes-to-drop-ban-on-beehives) ordinances to allow beehives on land zoned single-family & commercial. . .Proud Ground (www.proudground.org/news/its-spring-newsletter-2015/) & Lincoln Community Land Trust form partnership to find ways to promote affordable homeownership opportunities in Lincoln County & on Oregon coast using land trust model. . .Mercy Housing Northwest celebrates re-opening of 50-unit Lincoln Way Apartments in Lynwood & 151-unit Family Tree Apartments in Everett after year-long, $16.7 million renovation.
Supplemental HUD funds available for HUD-approved housing counseling agencies
HUD has set a May 7th deadline for HUD-approved housing counseling agencies that did not receive comprehensive housing counseling grant from HUD as a result of the fiscal year 2014 NOFA competition or as a direct grant from HUD in 2015 or as a sub-grantee of a state housing finance agency or HUD intermediary to apply for a total of $3.5 million in housing counseling funds. Housing counselors provide "counseling and advice to tenants and homeowners, both current and prospective, with respect to property maintenance, financial management/ literacy, and such other matters as may be appropriate to assist them in improving their housing conditions, meeting their financial needs, and fulfilling the responsibilities of tenancy or homeownership." For more, visit FR-5800-N-33 at grants.gov.
Funding available to Tribes & Native Alaskan villages for mold remediation & prevention
HUD has set June 22nd as the deadline for Federally-recognized Tribes, tribal organizations & native Alaskan villages to apply for a total of $12.4 million in Indian Community Development Block Grants for mold remediation and prevention in housing owned or operated by these entities. There is an $800,000 ceiling on grant awards. For more, visit FR-5900-N-02 at grants.gov.
Supporting rural water sources
The U.S. Department of Labor has set a May 12th deadline for state & local workforce investment boards, local governments & Tribes & tribal organizations to apply for a total of $4 million under its Homeless Veteran Reintegration grant program. The grants support job training, counseling & placement services to "expedite the reintegration of homeless veterans into the labor force." A total of 19 awards are expected with awards ranging from $100,000 to a ceiling of $300,000. See SGA-15-01 or visit (www.dol.gov/vets/programs/hvrp/).
YouthBuild funding competition opens
The Department of Labor also has set a June 5th deadline for organizations that previously have served disadvantaged young people under a YouthBuild grant to apply for a total of $76 million in new funding. More than 75 grants are expected to be awarded ranging from $700,000 to $1.1 million. YouthBuild is a community-based program which helps young people who have dropped out or are educationally at-risk to acquire construction trades skills while assisting communities to preserve or expand their affordable housing stock. Awardees will be expected to provide a 25 percent match. See FOA-ETA-15-05 at grants.gov.
Protecting against displacement
HUD has announced the availability of $7 million to provide Tenant Protection Vouchers to "assist residents esiding in low-vacancy areas and who either are or may have to pay rents greater than 30 percent of household income" due to the maturation of a HUD-insured multi-family, the expiration of a rental assistance agreement under which tenants are not eligible for enhanced vouchers or the expiration of affordability requirements associated with a HUD mortgage or preservation program. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the funds are exhausted.
Funding housing for those who feed us
USDA has set June 23rd as the deadline to apply for $20.3 million in Section 514 loans & $6.3 million in Section 516 grants for to construct purchase or repair housing for domestic farm workers. .Eligible applicants include farmers & farm associations, farmworker & non-profit organizations, state & local governments and Federally-recognized Tribes. Visit (www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/farm-labor-housing-direct-loans-grants).
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
California-based RMK Financial Corporation ordered (www.consumerfinance.gov/newsroom/cfpb-takes-action-against-mortgage-lender-for-deceptive-advertising/) by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to pay $250,000 penalty for "deceptive mortgage advertising practices, including ads that led consumers to believe that the company was affiliated with the U.S. government". . "About 350" people "from all over the U.S. and as far away from Japan," reports Oregonian (www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2015/04/portland_tiny_house_conference.html), attend Tiny House conference in Portland. . .HUD issues guidance on relationship between Consolidated Plan requirements & HUD Emergency Solutions Grants. . .Idaho Housing & Finance sets May schedule (www.idahohousing.com/newsroom/news-releases.aspx?udt_2352_param_detail=1109) of Finally Home homebuyer education workshops in Nampa, Coeur d'Alene, Boise, Twin Falls & Idaho Falls. . .City of Klamath Falls & Ford Foundation agree to fund full-time coordinator for city's downtown association as it reaches, says Herald & News (www.heraldandnews.com/news/local_news/downtown-group-to-hire-coordinator/article_a9c5eb86-ae84-570a-b6cf-b8eddad48635.html), "a pivotal point in the area's growth". . .Portland gets star billing, says Oregonian, of hour-long Australian documentary (www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2015/03/tiny_house_movie_portland.html) Small is Beautiful premiered in Melbourne & screened at Tiny Home conference in Portland in April. . .Governor Inslee congratulates (www.commerce.wa.gov/media/Pages/PressReleaseView.aspx?pressreleaseid=202) "solar communities" of Bellevue, Edmonds, Kirkland, Mercer Island & Seattle for efforts that have increased residential solar installations by nearly 200 percent since 2013. . .Anacortes Family Shelter, says GoSkagit.com (www.goskagit.com/all_access/homeless-shelter-plans-to-expand-programs/article_299efb34-7595-57f3-82cc-602acd44ceac.html), buys land & unveils plans to build transitional housing for homeless. . .Portland Housing Bureau agrees (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/527337) to pay "below-market price" of $1.3 million to acquire Pearl District parcel to build very-low-income family housing after previous owner was found to "short of a 1999 goal to maintain 35 percent affordability" in housing it was developing in District. . .Olympian says City of Olympia to sell parcel near transit center to LIHI for development as 43-unit Olympia Commons for homeless veterans & young people. . .Hitting the ground running, new Oregon Governor Kate Brown, says Oregonian (www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/04/100_million_for_housing_kate_b.html), embraces "predecessor's ambitious plan to spend $100 million building thousands of affordable units for families on the brink of homelessness". . .Serenity House moves its housing resource center across the street to 520 East 1st in Port Angeles. . .Gresham "celebrates," reports The Outlook (http://portlandtribune.com/go/42-news/258074-129081-gresham-elated-with-great-big-zero), news that it's one of first in nation to attain "net zero energy rating at its wastewater treatment plant". . .Seattle Mayor Ed Murray awards (http://murray.seattle.gov/mayor-murray-announces-620000-in-homeless-diversion-funding/#sthash.a7242tRl.dpbs) $620,000 to YWCA of Seattle, King County & Snohomish County YWCA & Catholic Community Services to rapidly-rehouse non-chronically homeless single adults. .National Community Reinvestment Coalition confers (www.ncrc.org/media-center/press-releases/item/1022-ncrc-honors-2015-national-achievement-award-winners) Leach Award on CASA of Oregon for promoting "fair and equal access to credit and capital."
DNA testing for dog droppings — to identify whether it was left by Rex or Fluffy — has finally arrived in this region. . .A company called BioPet Vet Lab, out of Knoxville, Tenn., says its PooPrints testing kits are now in 26 apartment and condo complexes and homeowner associations in greater Seattle. You see, some of the tenants, they let their pets do their business pretty much anywhere. "There was poop inside the elevators, in the carpeted hallways, up on the roof," says Erin Atkinson, property manager at Potala Village Apartments, a 108-unit complex in downtown Everett. . .Atkinson says that after some initial fines, DNA testing is working at her complex, with two dozen or so dogs. "One person was fined five times in one week," she says. "That's over $500. Now people clean up after their dogs.". . .Atkinson says that residents at the complex are "mostly on board" for having their dogs' DNA tested. "One of them didn't like the idea of having the DNA on file, thinking someone could clone their dog," she says. -- Erik Lacitis, "Dog-poop DNA tests nail non-scoopers," The Seattle Times (www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/dog-poop-dna-tests-nail-non-scoopers/), April 9, 2015.
Number-crunching the crisis
The Spokesman Review's Shawn Vestal has dived deep (www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/may/01/affordable-housing-for-spokanes-poor-woefully/) into the data on the availability of affordable housing in Spokane based on a recent Washington Department of Commerce. "Woefully scarce," he concludes, noting that, in 2012, the Census Bureau reported "14,820 families in the city earning $15,000 or less," including "8,331 households whose annual income was below $10,000" in a city with "just 6,364 subsidized housing units in the city, and 2,391 federal vouchers." That, he adds, "leaves more than 6,000 households that could be "cost-burdened," homeless or living in substandard housing." Countywide, Spokane Low Income Housing Consortium's Cindy Algeo tells him, "around 28,000 families earned $15,000 or less." Only "about 12,000 of them" get rent subsidy or voucher. It turns out, obviously, that "woefully scarce," could be an understatement.
What the numbers mean for Portland
Turns out, too, that the numbers strongly suggest the supply of affordable housing in Portland is just as "woefully scarce." Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman & the Portland Housing Bureau have just released the first- ever State of Housing report (www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/528253) that - this year and in future years - is intended, says Saltzman, "to help inform policy decisions by providing timely, meaningful information on what is occurring in the market now as well as its impact to Portlanders of different races, ethnicities, family compositions, and income levels." This first look doesn't overflow with optimism. "Housing affordability in the City of Portland is an issue that has entered the public dialogue. While the Portland housing market is still one of the most affordable of the major West Coast cities, there is a sense of change in the air. . .Somewhat in contrast to what many would expect, the number of housing units produced and added to the city housing stock in 2014 still falls below pre-recession production levels. . .However, affordability issues are not only the result of the stagnation in housing production. . .While recent estimates seem to indicate that wages are ticking up slightly as the economy slowly recovers from recessionary impacts, these gains are not shared amongst renter households and Communities of Color. These vulnerable communities continue to see their inflation-adjusted wages fall, while housing costs are growing at rates faster than inflation." For all the prosperity Portland demonstrably is enjoying, a "cursory glance" at the report, Commissioner Saltzman notes, shows "dire need to increase affordable housing stock throughout the city."
Portland Commissioner Saltzman "deeply troubled" by fair housing test results
The Portland Housing Bureau has released a city-funded study (https://www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/528253) by the Fair Housing Council of Oregon & the Fair Housing Center that sent "testers" into Portland properties to determine their compliance with obligations under the Fair Housing Act. The results, said Portland City Commissioner Dan Saltzman who is responsible for the Bureau, were "very troubling." Fifty-one tests occurred in the first phase of the study, Nineteen, or 37 percent, "showed adverse differential treatment toward testers belonging to a protected class -- five on the basis of race, seven based on national origin, four based on familial status, three on the basis of disability" and another 8 were "inconclusive." Follow-up tests have been or will be conducted on these 27 sites. One of these 27 has been referred to the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries for legal action. "We still have work to do," said the Bureau's Traci Manning.
WORTH A LOOK
USDA Oregon's "Snazzy" e-Letter
Well, Northwest HUDLines may well have met well more than its match. USDA in Oregon has just come out with a brand-new and especially snazzy e-letter that's very informative and well worth a look. Visit (http://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USDARD/bulletins/1008927).
WORTH A READ
Seattle to head in new direction to address homelessness
"Stingy" is not a word easily associated with Seattle when describing its efforts to prevent and end homelessness. The City, said Mayor Ed Murray recently, allocates some $40 million a year from its general fund, "one of the highest commitments," he notes, "in the nation." What perplexes the Mayor - and many others - is that, despite the investments made both during his mayoralty and his predecessors', "the number of our neighbors lacking access to safe, decent and affordable housing is unacceptably high" and, from year to year, getting higher. Which is why the Mayor has issued the first-ever Homelessness Investment Analysis that doesn't just detail the how's and where's and why's of the City's investment, but also provides "the roadmap to shift City investments and service models to ensure that homelessness is rare, brief and one-time."
QUOTE TO NOTE
"My mouth dropped when I heard this," said Dennis Frey, executive director if the Kitsap YWCA on hearing that women calling the Y's domestic violence hotline often don't have housing, "These women are homeless because of domestic violence. They might not be in danger at that moment, but the reason they are homeless is because they have left an abusive relationship." - The Kitsap Sun, April 20, 2015, reporting the YWCA's plans to build four duplexes of transitional housing on a 2.4 acre lot in Poulsbo donated, anonymously, by a local Rotarian.
"It's true that planners aren't often out front and center. And your long days and even longer nights before community boards and commissions don't generate splashy headlines. But your contributions are felt—and, even if they sometimes don't know who to thank—you're appreciated by Americans from all walks of life. Your skill and insight have also never been as important as they are today. You see, we're living in a Century of Cities. . .The question isn't 'How do we help cities to grow?' Cities are growing whether we want them to or not. Rather, the questions we must answer are: 'How do we help cities to thrive?' 'How do we equip the people who will live in these cities—the people who will transform schoolhouses into places of learning, factories and universities into places of innovation, and neighborhoods into places of opportunity—how do we equip them for success?' And I don't just mean career success, because good, inclusive planning is about so much more. It's about creating vibrant, sustainable communities that give everyone a fair shot at pursuing their dreams. It's about possibility and hope. So, the fundamental question for planners and policy makers is 'How do we help our fellow citizens in this new century make not just a living but a life?'" - Remarks prepared for delivery by HUD Secretary Julián Castro, 2015 American Planning Association annual conference, Seattle, April 20, 2015.
NOTES TO NOTE
USDA Oregon sets May 1st deadline to submit nominations for its Multifamily Site Manger & Maintenance People of the Year for Section 514 & Section 515 properties. . Washington County Housing Authority accepting on-line applications (www.co.washington.or.us/Housing/submit-a-pre-application.cfm) for its Section 8 & public housing waiting lists from May 2nd to May 9th. . .U.S. Department of Labor sets May 12th deadline to apply (www.grants.gov/search-grants.html?agencies%3DDOL%7CDepartment%20of%20Labor) for total of $4 million in Homeless Veterans Reintegration grants. . .HUD sets May 14th deadline to submit nominations (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/04/14/2015-08550/establishment-of-the-housing-counseling-federal-advisory-committee-solicitation-of-appointment) for inaugural, three-year terms on Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee. . .USDA Agricultural Marketing Service sets May 14th as deadline to apply for grants of up to $100,000 to start, expand or promote farmers' markets. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle sets May 15th deadline to apply for $5.2 million in funding under its Affordable Housing Program (www.fhlbsea.com/CommunityInvestment/OurPrograms/AHP/Default.aspx) funds. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets May 15th for partners and members of the larger community to offer input (www.oregon.gov/ohcs/pages/consolidated-plan-five-year-plan.aspx) on its 5-year Consolidated Plan. . .HUD sets May 26th deadline to submit comments on proposed rule (https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/03/27/2015-06544/creating-economic-opportunities-for-low--and-very-low-income-persons-and-eligible-businesses-through%23h-4) updating its Section 3 program. . .City of Tacoma Landmarks Preservation (www.cityoftacoma.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=169&pageId=80230) Commission sets May 26th deadline to submit nominations for 2015 historic preservation awards. . .Labor Department sets June 5th deadline to apply for $76 million in YouthBuild funds. . .HUD sets June 22nd deadline for Tribes & Alaskan native villages to apply for $12 million in Indian Community Development Block grants for mold remediation & prevention. . .USDA sets (www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-03-25/pdf/2015-06863.pdf) June 23rd deadline to apply for $22 million in Sections 514 & 516 Farm Labor Housing loans & grants. . .Oregon League of Cities sets July 17th deadline to submit nominations for its annual exceptional service & city awards (www.orcities.org/Awards/tabid/6696/language/en-US/Default.aspx). . .Washington State Housing Finance sets October 5th to 7th for Housing Washington Conference (www.wshfc.org/conf/index.htm) in Spokane & Idaho Housing & Finance sets October 6th & 7th for 2015 Idaho Housing Conference (www.idahohousing.com/ihfa/2015-housing-conference.aspx) in Boise.
Hatch Oregon hosts Oregon Community Capital Conference, May 4th & 5th, Portland.
HUD's Office of Housing Counseling hosts on-line Webinar on Office of Management & Budgets "omni-circular" on financial & administrative requirements for local housing counseling agencies, May 5th, on-line.
Pierce County hosts 2015 Emergency Planning Institute, May 5th & 6th, Tacoma.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco & HUD Office of Native American Programs host workshop on Connecting the Dots to Homeownership on Indian Reservations, May 6th, Bow.
Intermountain Fair Housing & Cities of Idaho Falls & Pocatello host fair housing workshop, May 6th, Idaho Falls.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco & HUD Office of Native American Programs host workshop on Connecting the Dots to Homeownership on Indian Reservations, May 7th, Olympia.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco & HUD Office of Native American Programs host workshop on Connecting the Dots to Homeownership on Indian Reservations, May 8th, Port Angeles.
As part of Historic Preservation Month, City of Tacoma hosts Amazing Preservation Race through downtown, May 9th, Tacoma.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 9th, Nampa.
HUD hosting Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST design & construction training, May 12th, Spokane.
Washington Low Income Housing Alliance hosts 25th Annual Conference, May 13th & 14th, Tacoma.
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association holds 2015 annual Affordable Housing Conference, May 13th to 15th, Bend.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 18th, Coeur d'Alene.
Pacific Northwest Council of the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials hosts annual conference, May 18th & 19th, Seattle.
EcoDistrict Incubator Conference, May 18th to20th, Portland.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 19th, Boise.
11th annual Native Women's Leadership Forum convenes, May 22nd, Chehalis.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 22nd, Samdpoint.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 23rd, Twin Falls.
Idaho Housing & Finance Association hosts Finally Home homebuyer education workshop, May 23rd, Idaho Falls, Nampa.
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco & HUD Office of Native American Programs host workshop on Connecting the Dots to Homeownership on Indian Reservations, May 27th, Warm Springs.
HUD Oregon hosts Part 58 Environmental Review workshop, May 26th to 28th, Portland.
Alaska Association of housing Authorities &HUD Alaska Office of Native American Programs hosts NAHASDA Essentials workshop, May 26th to 28th, Anchorage.
Intermountain Fair Housing & City of Twin Falls host fair housing workshop, May 28th, Twin Falls.
City of Tacoma hosts 29th annual Western Washington Fair Housing Conference, May 28th, Tacoma.
Preservation Idaho hosts 38th annual Orchids & Onions Award Ceremony, May 30th, Sandpoint.
Inland Empire section of American Planning Association holds annual convention, June 4th & 5th, Priest Lake.
Idaho Association of Cities hosts 68th annual convention, June 10th to 12th, Boise.
HUD Seattle hosts on-line Fair Housing Basics Webinar, June 10th, on-line.
Idaho Affordable Housing Management Association hosts 2015 Summer Conference, June 15th to 17th, Boise.
Hacienda CDC hosts 17th annual Latino Homeownership Fair, June 17th, Portland.
Northwest Community Development Institute holds sessions for years 1 through 3 from June 15th to 19th & for advanced class from June 15th to 17th, Boise.
King County Office of Civil Rights hosts workshop on Visit Reasonable Accommodations & Modifications for Persons with Disabilities, June 16th, Seattle.
Annual gathering of Northwest Community Land Trust Coalition , June 15th to 17th, Bainbridge Island.
HUD Oregon hosts Office of Native American Programs Community Assessment Workshop, June 23rd & 24th, Portland.
Association of Washington Cities holds annual conference, June 23rd to 26th, Wenatchee.