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What's Up at HUD This Week in Region IX?

June 25, 2008


Air Conditioning Repaired at Aging Multifamily Complex in Tucson

On Friday, June 20, 2008 the Arizona Daily Star featured a front page article on the continuing lack of air conditioning at Vista Sierra, an aging HUD-subsidized multifamily apartment complex in Tucson. Many of the families in the complex are African refugees with small children, one of whom was taken to the hospital suffering from dehydration. By Friday evening the air conditioner was repaired. The owner of the complex is a non-profit created by the City of Tucson to acquire several aging Section 236 properties. Field Office Director Phyllis Lim will be meeting with the Director of the City's Neighborhood Services Department, the Executive Director of the non-profit owners, and other community partners to discuss potential funding sources for permanent repairs to the cooling system. Multifamily staff did an excellent job coordinating with Tucson and management officials throughout the process to assure that family needs were met. Supervisory Public Affairs Officer Larry Bush maintained frequent contact with the media to convey HUD's response to the critical needs and commitment to seek a long-term solution to ongoing maintenance problems.

Tucson Affordable Housing Collaborative Explores Purchasing 100 Foreclosed Properties

Tucson Field Office Director Phyllis Lim participated in discussions on June 23, 2008 with the recently formed Tucson Affordable Housing Collaborative. The collaborative was created at the request of the Mayor and City Council to explore affordable housing initiatives with help from local Industrial Development Authorities. The collaborative will explore several initiatives, most notably: purchasing 100 foreclosed homes for affordable rentals or resale to low-income buyers, and the creation of a housing land trust. Members of the Tucson Affordable Housing Collaborative include the City of Tucson, Pima County, the University of Arizona's Drachman Institute, the Industrial Development Authorities of Tucson and Pima County, and the Tucson HUD Office.

Fair Housing Agreement Reached in Disability Case (Pima County)

On June 19, 2008, Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) Regional Director Chuck Hauptman executed a Conciliation Agreement in settlement of the Title VIII Complaint Buzby v Pima County. Complainant Buzby suffers from physical disabilities and was denied an equal opportunity to participate in a program for homeless seeking job opportunities and vocational training because of her medical condition. A resolution was reached in the case in the form of a combined Conciliation and Voluntary Compliance Agreement. The Respondent agreed to tender the amount of $2,000 to the Complainant, train staff on Title VIII and Section 504 and other public interest relief.

Phoenix HUD Staff Briefed on Sustainable Communities

On June 19, 2008 a representative of the Growing Sustainable Communities in the Valley of the Sun, a collaborative effort developed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) stakeholder group in conjunction with Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, gave a presentation to all Phoenix HUD staff on "Making Sustainable Communities Happen." The PowerPoint presentation will be provided to community groups across Maricopa County and is intended to raise awareness around affordable housing and practical solutions such as increasing housing density and mixed-use development.

Affordable Housing Coalition May Be Set for Arizona (Phoenix)

On June 17, 2008 Phoenix Field Office Director Rebecca Flanagan and Debbie Broermann, Southwest Office of Native American Programs (SWONAP) Grants Management (GE) Director, attended a meeting of individuals and organizations working to create a statewide affordable housing coalition in Arizona. The Arizona Housing Alliance is in its infancy. It is reinstating an inactive 501(c)3 and creating its mission and vision statements. Through SWONAP's participation and involvement, this organization will also advocate for tribal housing issues.

Arizona HUD Annual Report Presented to Housing Authorities

Phoenix Field Office Director Rebecca Flanagan and newly appointed Public Housing Service Center Coordinator, Barbara Gallegos, attended the Arizona Public Housing Authorities Directors' meeting in Mesa on June 20, 2008. Rebecca distributed the 2007 Phoenix Office Annual Report featuring HUD success stories and invited the directors to the September 18th Open House and Most Valuable Partner Award ceremony. She invited participants to a presentation by Arizona State University Stardust Center for Affordable Homes and the Family, "Making Sustainable Communities Happen." This will be given at the summer conference for the Arizona chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Rebecca also introduced Barbara who formerly served as a Team Leader in the SWONAP Grants Evaluation Division. PIH staff provided programmatic updates.

Native American Programs Office Plays Key Role in New Coalition to Aid Tribes

Andrea Dunyon has teamed with Arizona Department of Housing, Native Home Capital CDFI, and Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona to create a coalition that will assist tribes with project planning and financing. This initiative began after the group attended training with Oweesta for a new model geared towards community and economic development. This was their third meeting. They made plans to develop tools and a pilot program to present to tribes through the Inter-Tribal Council meetings. This will also be presented during a single day event for the Arizona Housing Initiative Consortium (AZTHIC).

HUD Issues Charge of Discrimination in Disabled Access Case

On June 23, 2008, Region IX issued a Charge of Discrimination in HUD Complaint Neocleous v. The Arbors Owners Association, et al., Case Number 09-07-1587-8. In the Complaint, it was alleged that The Arbors Owners Association and First Columbia Community Management, Inc. discriminated against Complainant Plato Neocleous when they denied him a temporary parking space as a reasonable accommodation for his disability. The Complainant suffers from mobility impairment and when the garage in his unit became unusable due to a broken water pipe, he asked for a temporary designated parking space that was close to his unit. The Complainant was told by the Respondents that he could have the space but the Respondents put unreasonable requirements on the Complainant thus effectively denying the accommodation. As a consequence, the Complainant alleged that his health was negatively impacted by the Respondents' refusal to grant the accommodation that resulted in the Complainant having to walk in excess of 100 feet from his vehicle to his unit.


Wildfires Burning throughout California including Sacramento Field Office Jurisdiction

California Governor Schwarzenegger is requesting out-of-state assistance from firefighters as more than 800 fires are being battled throughout the state. Tens of thousands of acres have burned, voluntary evacuations are taking place in endangered communities, hundreds of properties are threatened, and some commercial and residential properties have burned. State officials fear that this season may become one of the worst on record. The majority of the fires are in Northern California, including in the Sacramento Field Office jurisdiction. At the present time, we are unaware of any specific threat to HUD's purview, and we will continue to monitor the situation.

Regional Director Tours HUD Projects with Pittsburgh Mayor

Regional Director Richard Rainey met with the mayor, city manager and development director of Pittsburgh, California, toured HUD programs and projects, and discussed an adjacent public housing facility. The Regional Director will meet with the Pubic and Indian Housing (PIH) Director to further discuss the issues raised in the meeting.

FHEO Compliance Agreement Results in New Accessible Homes (Bakersfield)

On June 19, 2008, FHEO Regional Director Chuck Hauptman executed a unique Section 504 Voluntary Compliance Agreement (VCA) to add accessible or adaptable features to six units in a new 74-unit homeownership development offered with downpayment assistance to qualified applicants through the City of Bakersfield California. A mobility-impaired individual who claimed to have been denied the ability to participate in the program brought the original complaint. However, the investigation revealed that the individual had not actually applied and so the complaint was dismissed. Nevertheless, it was determined that none of the 74 units in the development met Section 504 accessible requirements that at least 5% of the units be accessible to individuals with mobility impairments and 2% of the units be accessible to individuals with sight and hearing impairments.

The City of Bakersfield entered into a VCA with HUD and agreed to spend up to $99,380.00 to make four units accessible or adaptable for individuals with mobility impairments and two units accessible for individuals with sight and hearing impairments. The City further agreed to inform all parties that inquire about the property about the settlement and train all Economic and Community Development Department staff on fair housing laws and obligations.

Third Annual Orange County Mayors Summit (Anaheim, California)

Santa Ana Field Office Director Ray Brewer attended and participated in the Third annual Orange County Mayor's Summit on June 19, 2008. Approximately 150 local government representatives including the mayors of 38 Orange County cities were in attendance. Stephen Goldsmith delivered the keynote address. Mr. Goldsmith is the Daniel Paul Professor of Government and the Director of the Innovations in American Government Program at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. He served two terms as Mayor of Indianapolis. The Summit also included a panel discussion on "Customer Satisfaction and Improving Core Services." The Summit provided an excellent opportunity to network with local government officials.

Neighborhood Networks: Regional Technical Assistance Workshop Scheduled for July 9-11, 2008 in San Francisco

The welcome by Regional Director Richard Rainey and presentations by the Director of Multifamily Housing Tom Azumbrado are scheduled.

Edith Witt Senior Community (Section 202 New Construction Project) Scheduled For Initial Closing Next Week (San Francisco)

The SF Multifamily HUB will hold the initial Closing for one of the Section 202 new construction projects in San Francisco next week. The project, now known as 9th & Jessie Senior Community, will change its name upon completion to Edith Witt Senior Community in order to honor Ms. Witt, who was a long-time advocate of affordable housing in San Francisco in a number of different capacities. The sponsor of the project is Mercy Housing California, with its main offices located in San Francisco, and just around the corner from the site of this proposal, on Mission Street between Ninth and Tenth Streets. When completed, the project will provide a total of 106 units of supportive housing for the very low-income elderly, plus one unit for an on-site resident manager. The plan called for 95 units to be funded in part by our Section 202 Capital Advance, in the amount of $12,626,500. The additional 11 units of low-income housing will be funded with local financial support from the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, as well as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) equity from private investors. Preliminary construction activities have already begun, as a result of several special waivers that were approved by our Office, and the Initial Closing of this very complex mixed-finance development is expected to take place on Monday, June 30, 2008.

San Joaquin Valley PHA Directors to Meet (Fresno, CA)

Staff from San Francisco PIH and Fresno FPM are presenting at a San Joaquin Valley Public Housing Authority Executive Directors meeting scheduled for June 25, 2008 at the Fresno Housing Authority. Topics of discussion include: Disaster Planning, Barriers to PIH Homeownership Programs, PIH's Customer Service Reform Initiative, and the San Joaquin Valley Housing Trust.

Housing for Low-Income Seniors to be Rededicated (Ontario, California)

The City of Ontario is rededicating a Home Investment Partnership (HOME)-funded project, D Street Senior Housing. The celebration is on July 22, 2008. The main source of funding for the project is HUD Section 202 funds. There are 48 units total: 47 units are HOME designated for very low income seniors (50% AMI or less) and 1 unit is reserved for an on-site manager. A community room, mailroom, library, manager's office, laundry, maintenance, and resident parking are included in the building.

12th Annual Homeownership Fair (Sacramento, California)

Sacramento Field Office Director Cynthia Abbott chaired the Opening Ceremony of the Sacramento Regional Partners in Homeownership free 12th Annual Homeownership Fair on Saturday, June 14, 2008. Over 500 participants took advantage of the Homeownership Fair that featured a variety of industry exhibitors as well as homebuyer education classes.

Indymac Bank Kickoff Meeting (Pasadena, California)

On Wednesday, June 18, 2008, Ray Brewer Santa Ana Field Office Director in support of Joseph Bates, Santa Ana Homeownership Center Director and Steve Mares, Headquarters, FHA Industry Outreach Manager attended and participated in a FHA industry outreach meeting at the corporate offices of Indymac Bank in Pasadena, California. The meeting consisted of an overview of FHA including the Office of Business Development, FHA's business model and a discussion of Indymac Bank's objectives, challenges, and needs.

FHA Briefing to 500 Mortgage Brokers (Anaheim, California)

On June 19, 2008, Nancy West, Marketing & Outreach Specialist, Santa Ana Homeownership Center provided a 2-hour presentation on FHA programs, the 2008 Stimulus Act, and the FHA Modernization Act at the California Association of Mortgage Brokers (CAMB) Chapter Convention in Anaheim, California. Staff also participated in maintaining an FHA booth and distributing information material. Approximately 500 mortgage brokers were in attendance.

FHA Briefing to 250 Consumers (California)

On June 21, 2008, Program Support Division staff of the Santa Ana Homeownership Center participated on a panel and provided FHA program updates including FHASecure, the 2008 Stimulus Act, and FHA Modernization. Staff also maintained an FHA booth and distributed information material to approximately 250 consumers.


HUD PIH General Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations Address Public Housing Issues in Hawaii (Honolulu Hawaii)

Ms. Paula Blunt, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing and Ms. Deborah Hernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations met with the Board of Directors of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA.) They discussed the financial situation of HPHA and the kick-off of the technical assistance contract for $1.2 million that HUD awarded to MD Strum to assist HPHA improve its financial management. While in Hawaii, they also received briefings on the implementation of asset management, toured various public housing developments and met with staff of the City and County of Honolulu's Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program.

HUD PIH General Deputy Assistant Secretary and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs recognize National Homeownership Month in Hawaii (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Ms. Paula Blunt, General Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing and Mr. Rodger Boyd, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Native American Programs were in Hawaii the week of June 16 for various meetings to recognize homeownership activities in honor of National Homeownership month. Ms. Blunt and Mr. Boyd met with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), recipient of the Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG), for an update on how NHHBG funds are being used to provide homeownership opportunities to low-income Native Hawaiian families on Hawaiian home lands. They also toured the largest development of new homeownership units in DHHL history. On Maui, Ms. Blunt and Mr. Boyd met with the Maui Habitat for Humanity to learn about the homeownership opportunities for Native Hawaiian families using the self-help method of construction. Families working on-site shared their experience of achieving the American Dream. Ms. Blunt and Mr. Boyd visited HomeStreet Bank to recognize the Bank's participation in the Section 184A Native Hawaiian Housing Loan Guarantee program by providing mortgage loan financing to Native Hawaiian families on Hawaiian home lands.

One-Stop-Shop for Minority, First-Time Homebuyers (Honolulu, Hawaii)

Honolulu Field Office Director Gordan Furutani and staff participated in the all-day Community Homebuyer Fair held on Saturday, June 21, 2008 at Kapolei Hale, the City and County of Honolulu's office building centrally located on Oahu. Over 30 exhibitors covering the whole gamut of homeownership resources including government and nonprofit agencies, housing counselors, self-help housing providers, homebuyer educators, lenders, realtors, and affordable housing developers shared handouts, program information, and advice. Workshop topics included: Homebuyer 101, Credit Counseling basics, Homebuyer Resources, and Qualifying for a Mortgage. An estimated 375 people took advantage of the one-stop-shop for homeownership.


Assistant Secretary Kendrick Represents HUD at National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Fair Housing Event (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Assistant Secretary Kendrick represented HUD at this June 22, 2008 event with more than 5,000 in attendance. She was interviewed by a variety of media outlets, including Telemundo, providing information on HUD's effort to ensure fair housing. Las Vegas Field Office Director Ken LoBene also participated at the event.

Deputy Regional Director Opening Speaker at Office of Native American Programs Greener Homes National Summit (Reno, Nevada)

Deputy Regional Director Caroline Krewson joined Kevin Fitzgibbons, Eastern Woodlands ONAP Area Administrator, in providing opening remarks to Summit participants highlighting HUD's Energy Action Plan and initiatives that assist residents and property owners to lower energy consumption and costs. The June 17-19 summit was attended by more than 200 representatives of tribal communities and housing entities in Indian Country. Region IX's Energy Coordinator participated in the summit and a cadre of national energy professionals and experts facilitated a comprehensive series of panels on green building, renewable energy, healthy building practices, tribal energy assessments, weatherization, and ENERGY STAR standards and products.

Las Vegas Field Office Director Plays Role at Citizenship Naturalization Ceremony (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Las Vegas Field Office Director Ken LoBene is the first director of a federal agency asked to speak at the Las Vegas immigration citizenship oath program that will take place on June 26, 2008. More than 150 new American citizens will be present. Mayor Goodman and Federal Judge Lloyd D. George (the courthouse is named after him) will also speak.

Homeless Veterans Coalition of SNV (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Ken LoBene, Las Vegas Field Office Director and Patrick Russell, Homeless Veterans Coordinator, have partnered with various governmental organizations and major community/business organizations to address the issue of homeless veterans.

Foreclosure Prevention Workshop (Reno, Nevada)

On June 20, 2008, Thomas Vetica, Operations Analyst and Lorelei Keltie, Housing Specialist hosted a loss mitigation and foreclosure prevention roundtable in Reno with representatives of the three local HUD approved housing counseling agencies. Participants discussed referrals among agencies, specific loan triggers for referrals to attorneys, and default counseling volume. Ms. Keltie provided Nevada default and foreclosure data, loss mitigation statistics and an update on FHA changes.

Henderson Chamber of Commerce FHA Presentation (Nevada)

Las Vegas Field Office Director Ken LoBene spoke to 110 members of the Henderson Chamber of Commerce regarding FHA products on June 17, 2008.

National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals Luncheon (Las Vegas, Nevada)

Las Vegas Field Office Director Ken LoBene spoke about FHA products to the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. There were more than 100 real estate professionals in attendance at the June 18, 2008 meeting.

For further information regarding any of these articles, please contact the Region IX Supervisory Public Affairs Officer, Larry Bush.

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