June 2006 Region III News

News and information from HUD's Regional Office serving Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia

Guy L. Ciarrocchi, Regional Director
(215) 656-0600
June 2006

Regional Director's Note

Every community in America values the pride and financial benefits that are a part of homeownership. As National Homeownership Month comes to a close, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is here to help year-round. HUD through the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is making the dream of owning a home a reality in communities across our region. If you're in the market for buying a home or if you know someone who is, you may just find that an FHA mortgage is "your door to homeownership." For more information about buying a home visit www.hud.gov or espanol.hud.gov. To learn more about FHA, visit www.fha.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FHA. I'd like to echo the sentiments that President Bush articulated in proclaiming June as National Homeownership Month.

"We applaud the men and women who work to achieve the dream of homeownership, and we are grateful for those who provide counseling, lending, real estate, construction, and other services to these individuals. The hard work, financial discipline, and personal responsibility of our country's homeowners help transform neighborhoods throughout our Nation and reflect the best qualities of America."

Did You Know. . .

[Photo 1: FHA Commissioner Montgomery receiving plaque]
FHA Commissioner Montgomery receives Homeownership Month Proclamation from Maryland Housing Secretary Victor Hoskins

That, this very day, more than 385,000 families in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are using FHA mortgage insurance products to buy a piece of the American Dream? That, since its inception, FHA has insured $780 million in total mortgages in the Erie and Charlottesville metro areas, $2 billion in the Harrisburg area and $17 billion in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia? That FHA will, this year, insure its 65,000th mortgage in the Wilmington metro area and its 500,000th mortgage in the Philadelphia area while topping $600 million in mortgages in the Charleston, West Virginia area and $800 million in the Scranton-Wilkes Barre area. No wonder FHA is called the "door to homeownership."

HUD Secretary Proposes CDBG Reform

Citing "areas of high poverty and community distress that currently receive less federal funding than more affluent communities," HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has urged Congress to reform "an outdated formula" that allocates CDBG funds so "communities with the greatest needs" get "more funding compared to relatively less needy places."

Over the years many high-needs communities have been very aggressive in tearing down older housing, one of the statutory goals of the program, and consequently receive less funding for their efforts. Meanwhile, more affluent bedroom communities receive relatively more funding primarily because they have a significant amount of rehabilitated older housing. He also noted CDBG's formula currently rewards towns with large college student populations by including incomes of these full-time dependent students in calculating poverty resulting in poverty rates in these towns that appear high.

The Secretary proposes a "simpler, single" formula that corrects these deficiencies and clearly reflects need, establishing a minimum grant threshold, consolidating CDBG, Rural Housing & Economic Development, Brownfields Economic Development and Section 108 loan guarantee programs into one block grant and a $200 million "challenge grant" for communities focusing CDBG funds in target neighborhoods. Read more about HUD's proposed reforms.

[Photo 2: Small business owners and government contractors]
Small business owners learn how how to work with government contracts

'Round The Region

$40 million transformation of Pennsylvania's first public housing complex - Hanover Acres in Allentown - begins... Citing it as a "model of successful revitalization," American Public Health Association selects Better Housing Coalition's HUD-assisted Winchester Greens community in Chesterfield County as one of just five "blue ribbon communities" (www.apha.org/nphw/2006/pg_ribbon_richomond.htm) in the country... More than 100 small business people attended "Windows of Opportunity for Small Business" conference hosted by HUD Maryland, U.S. Small Business Administration and Morgan State University's Entrepreneurial Assistance Center in June... State of Delaware and NeighborWorks America launch toll-free foreclosure prevention telephone hotline (www.nw.org/network/newsRoom/pressReleases/2006/netNews050806.asp) at (888) 995-HOPE... May 24th Federal Register publishes final rule prohibiting use of CDBG funds for "job-pirating" activities (http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20061800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2006/06-4796.htm)... Roanoke, Virginia housing authority celebrates $40 million, "on-time, under-budget" transformation of Lincoln Terrace public housing into the Villages at Lincoln (www.iamrrha.org/about_us/news_detail.php?news_id=20)... FHA okays "mid-year" increases in mortgage insurance limits in Baltimore, Richmond-Petersburg and Hampton Roads metropolitan areas... Virginia Governor Time Kaine commits to development of 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness… HUD publishes two studies: one on the experience of 943 residents of permanent supportive housing (www.huduser.org/publications/homeless/permhsgstudy.html) in Philadelphia from 2001 to 2005, and another on the success of HUD's Homeownership Voucher Program (www.huduser.org/publications/homeown/voucherhomeown.html)... Since 2002, our region has provided free grantwriting training to more than 3,700 representatives of faith-and community-based organizations… Mount Joy Borough, Pennsylvania is basking in the glow of receiving HUD's Woodson Award for reducing regulatory barriers.

Huge Success For A Small Business

"Just do it!" That was the advice of small business owner Patricia Steinberg, President and CEO of Hardware & Supply Company of Chester, Inc. who successfully applied for a federal government contract in 2003 and has been doing a brisk business with government agencies ever since. Steinberg told more than 100 small business owners in attendance at HUD's Small Business Conference in West Chester, Pennsylvania last month to just go ahead and fill out the application for procurement opportunities with the federal government. She admitted she dragged her feet for years in filling out the form using the excuses that it was too much work and that working with the government was too difficult. However, when she finally completed the form and turned it in, she was rewarded with a call from the Veterans Administration Hospital in Coatesville, Pennsylvania to provide industrial supplies.

And the rest is history... she's been supplying goods to government agencies across the country and overseas. Last year, she did $2 million worth of business with 20% of that from government contracts. For more information on how to do business with the government, visit www.hud.gov. HUD and several other federal agencies hosted the conference to help small business owners learn how to secure contracts with the federal government.

Lucky Number

[Photo 3:Youthbuild participants working in hallway]
Youthbuild participants learn a trade and get their high school diploma

In 2005, 13 was a lucky number for the Huntington, West Virginia Housing Authority. After twelve tries, the housing authority earned its first HUD Youthbuild grant. Under the Youthbuild program, young people who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out of high school can obtain their diploma, learn construction trades and help a community expand its supply of affordable housing. One of the very first participants in the authority's Youthbuild program - Nakia Harden - has already graduated from the program, obtained her G.E.D. and, this fall, is off to Marshall University to study computer science. The first house to be renovated under the program is almost complete. The two story home underwent significant renovations according to HUD West Virginia acting Director Evelyn Young who says the house "was barely standing" when first donated to the program for renovation. "For all the times the authority heard no, it never stopped trying," said Young.

HUD Funds to Modernize Public Housing

HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson has announced that more than 100 housing authorities in Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are set to receive more than $265 million this year to develop, finance or modernize public housing in their communities. HUD "is proud to assist" the authorities, Jackson said, in providing "quality, affordable housing" through HUD's Capital Funds program. Now, however, authorities can use their Capital Funds allocation to issue bonds and leverage additional resources in the private market, allowing major repairs or modernizations to be completed in just one or two years. HUD Regional Director Guy Ciarrocchi noted, "Housing Authorities should have the opportunity to use the private market to help cut costs and speed completion of their projects."

[Photo 4: Yellow Duck store]
The Yellow Duck's new storefront draws customers

What's Cooking In Exmore?

They're serving up sweet potato biscuits every morning at the Yellow Duck Bakery Café in Exmore, a town on Virginia's Eastern Shore. It is one of five new businesses in Exmore that have received loans and grants from a $100,000, CDBG-funded revolving loan program created by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. "We wouldn't be here without it," Yellow Duck co-owner Annie Hess told the Eastern Shore News. Business is so good; she and co-owner Beth Kelly are developing expansion plans. Another 15 businesses have received CDBG assistance to renovate their facades. DHCD's investment of CDBG funds in Exmore generated an additional $572,000 in private investments and created sixteen new jobs.

Save The Dates

Virginia Association of REALTORS (www.varealtor.com/MeetingsAndEvents/VarConvention06.asp) hold annual convention September 19th to September 22nd in Hot Springs, Virginia... Free two-day grantwriting workshop for faith- and community-based organizations July 26th and 27th in Silver Spring, Maryland; August 15th and 16th in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; September 14th and 15th in Charleston, West Virginia and September 25th and 26th in Richmond, Virginia... HUD is sponsoring a conference on reducing regulatory barriers to affordable housing July 10-11, 2006 in Saratoga Springs, New York HUD Regulatory Barriers Event... West Virginia Bankers Association (www.wvbankers.org/) meets at The Greenbrier July 23th to 25th... Delaware Association of REALTORS holds annual convention at Dewey Beach (www.delawarerealtor.com/) September 13th through 15th... 7th Annual Virginia Statewide Neighborhood Conference (www.vsnconf.org/) convenes in Danville September 21st through 23rd... Workshop on the "A-B-C's of Family Self Sufficiency" at HUD Baltimore on July 13th... Pennsylvania Mortgage Bankers Association holds 15th annual Keystone Conference (www.mba-pa.org/) in Philadelphia September 20th to 22nd... West Virginia Association of REALTORS (www.wvrealtors.com/) meet in Morgantown from September 24th to 26th.

Funding Report

HUD's FY 2005 Annual Report accounts for the $10.4 billion investment in communities throughout Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The report provides an overview of accomplishments under HUD's strategic goals and accounts for the dollars and cents that strengthen communities and make real the dream of homeownership for thousands of families. Financial statements for program spending across the region and each of the field office jurisdictions are included in the report.

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Content Archived: February 2, 2011