August 2007 Region III News
News and information from HUD's Regional Office serving Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia
|John G. Bravacos, Regional Director
Regional Director's Note
Let me briefly introduce myself as HUD's new Regional Director in Philadelphia. I am honored that the Secretary has appointed me to serve in this capacity. I join HUD after representing clients in real estate, business and civil litigation for more than 19 years. Operating my own law office, I provided legal services to municipal and county government offices as well. I also served on the Tredyffrin Township Board of Supervisors for eight years, performing as the Chair for two of those years.
I'll be making my first official public appearance at our upcoming FREE Homeownership Clinic on Saturday, August 18 at the Temple University Student Center in Philadelphia from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Clinic is designed to help people make the right choices when financing their largest investment, their home.
In the meantime, August is coming up "green" for HUD in more ways than one as you'll see by some of the stories we're sharing in our quarterly newsletter this month. HUD just recently rolled out a nationwide pilot program to encourage owners of multifamily Section 8 properties to rehabilitate and operate their buildings using "green building" principles. This program emphasizes a combination of sustainability, energy efficiency, recycled materials, and indoor air quality -all part of the healthy housing approach pioneered by HUD's Healthy Homes Initiative.
We hope you'll be inspired by some of our newsletter items to take up the "green" movement to preserve the resources of our great nation. I look forward to working with you on this and other Administration initiatives in the coming months.
Color It Green
Green is the color of money, right? Well, it's also becoming the color of affordable housing. Around the country, HUD partners are using HUD dollars to build housing that's not just affordable, but also energy efficient and, thus, even more affordable. Like a project completed by Community Housing Partners, Inc., and the Town of Blacksburg, Virginia that was one of just six to win a 2007 Energy Star Award of Excellence. Read more about Color It Green.
Green Beans, Green Living
It took a lot of barbequed chicken with sides of green beans and potato salad, but the Galen Terrace Residents Association finally raised enough money to purchase, with help from the Enterprise Foundation, the government of the District of Columbia and HUD, their 83-unit apartment complex in southeast Washington. Even better, a property that was long one of the City's most deteriorated and troubled is now, thanks to extensive renovations, the very first to comply with the District's "green building" code. Read more about Green Beans, Green Living.
Ready for your affordable housing organization to "go green"? Then start saving today at the new, on-line Quantity Quotes bulk purchasing service just launched by the Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency and HUD. It offers housing authorities, affordable housing sponsors and other HUD partners a one-stop, e-shop for Energy Star products and appliances at competitive, bulk purchase pricing. And it doesn't require special software. So, start shopping and start saving today at Quantity Quotes (www.quantityquotes.net/).
Speaking of Which...
Don't forget HUD's free Webcast from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 13th on Energy Star, Green Building and Board. Register online at www.energytraining.com
The coal company store on Route 17 in Ashland, West Virginia once was, wrote a Bluefield Daily Telegraph columnist, "the core of the local social and economic life" of the community. But then the coal company left. It's still gone, but now Beautiful Appalachian, Inc. - a non-profit committed to heritage tourism - has used HUD and private funds to renovate and re-open it to "open a door to the past" for visitors exploring the history of coal and the culture of Appalachia. Read more about Grand (Re-)Opening.
It's a first-of-the-kind for central Pennsylvania-a fully-accessible, very affordable 12-unit rental complex for persons with disabilities in Swatara Township. And if strong foundations make for a strong project, that strong foundation is a direct result of a strong partnership of local, state and Federal agencies. Read more about First Place.
Round the Region
Charleston Gazette says West Virginia Governor Joe Manchin has appointed a 14 member Interagency Council on Homelessness to "proactively discuss homelessness and how to end it"...Facing record numbers of foreclosures, Delaware adds $500,000 to fund making 12-month loans of up to $15,000 to families at risk of foreclosure due to unforeseen circumstances...Morgantown Housing Authority and HUD West Virginia celebrate National Homeownership Month with a complete home makeover in just three days while HUD Pittsburgh celebrates it by helping a single mom and her three daughters move into a brand new McKeesport home they'll purchase using a Housing Choice Homeownership Voucher...More than 80 lenders and real estate agents spend a day "talking FHA" and how to make it work for their customers with HUD Washington and the Prince George County Association of REALTORS...Wells Fargo reports that when presented with a brief description of pending legislation to modernize FHA mortgage insurance products, 77 percent of those polled said "an improved FHA would provide more first-time homeowners and people with moderate incomes with access to mortgage loans with reasonable terms"...HUD Pittsburgh and the Federal Executive Board celebrate Cinco de Mayo by hosting a "Bienvenidos, Job Seekers (and Homebuyers)" Fair at Carnegie Mellon University for the City's rapidly growing Hispanic population...
Save These Dates
HUD's Philadelphia Homeownership Center offers a FREE Homeownership Clinic for the public at the Temple University Student Center on August 18th and an FHA Loss Mitigation Workshop in Pittsburgh August 30th for housing counselors...National Vacant Properties Campaign hosts a conference on Reclaiming Vacant Properties - Strategies for Rebuilding America's Neighborhoods September 24 to 25th in Pittsburgh...Applications for Round II Affordable Housing Program subsidies are due September 17th at the Federal Home Loan Bank in Atlanta and September 27th at the Bank in Pittsburgh...More than 350 "green" businesses to gather at Green Festival at Washington, D.C. convention center to display "what's working" with environmentally-friendly products and programs October 6th and 7th ...August 29th is deadline for communities with less than 100 public housing units to apply for HUD HOPE VI Main Street grants...Appalachian Regional Commission hosting conference on Strategies for Rural Development: Business Incubation & Clean Energy in Johnson City, Tennessee, August 19th to 21st...Health & Human Services accepting applications until October 5th for Rural Health Network Development Planning Grants...Financial Education Network of Southeastern Pennsylvania meets September 19th to advise nonprofits, banks and local governments of "new efforts to assist Delaware Valley homeowners facing foreclosure"...Delaware Association of REALTORS holds its annual convention in Dewey Beach from September 12th to 14th and the Virginia Association of REALTORS meet from September 30th to October 4th in Williamsburg"... Appalachian Regional Commission holds conference on "Back to Basics - Investing in and Improving Appalachia's Infrastructure" from October 24th and 25th in Charleston, West Virginia"... Virginia Association of Mortgage Brokers meet in Virginia Beach October 17th through 19th... and finally the Pennsylvania Association of Housing & Redevelopment Agencies holds its annual convention September 9th through 12th in Pittsburgh".
Making a Difference
As the new Regional Director, I'm pleased to work with HUD's caring and committed partners who help us to help some of our most vulnerable neighbors. Charles Harvin's story is an example of the difference HUD and its partners make for people who don't know their own potential, but need a place to call home in difficult times. HUD funds help to finance many non- profit, faith based and community organizations as they reach out to help the homeless. HUD's partnership with St. Vincent de Paul in Baltimore made the difference for Charles Harvin. Read more about Making a Difference.