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

July 31, 2008

Show me the money...

When it comes to the new Housing Bill signed by the President, we're hearing that a lot this week. Here's the timeline as we know it today. The law sets October 1 as the start date, and Secretary Preston is moving our HUD offices to be ready to go at that time. In the meantime, homeowners should contact FHA or their local housing counselors now rather than wait until they fall behind. (try HOPE NOW Alliance at (888) 995-HOPE or (800) CALL-FHA). Remember, FHA is helping now with its FHASecure program, with some 290,000 families helped on refi's, and an estimated 500,000 families by year's end. On the $3.92 billion block grant funds for states, HUD is now developing a formula to distribute the funds, and will publish a notice with the new program requirements and allocation of funds. We'll let you know through HUDlines as soon as that happens.

Gimme Shelter...

Lots of coverage on Secretary Preston's release of the Annual Report on Homelessness that shows a decline over the last report. Here's how to drill down on our internet pages to see what is happening in your city and/or state, and how to compare it with the earlier figures. To explain, note that all figures come from the local Continuum of Care, and use the Point of Contact date for comparison. Since that count is only required once every two years, that's what some Continuums did � just bi-annual counts. Others counted every year. Our data is for three years � 2005, 2006 and 2007 if the Continuum submitted reports for each of the three years.

OK, now to the detail (skip this and go to next item if you don't want a techie answer). Go to http://www.hudhre.info/index.cfm?do=viewHomelessRpts. Once there, you'll find it should open automatically to "homeless reports." If it doesn't, then click on "homeless reports." Now you get five drop-down boxes. First, select the year (most recent: 2007). Next, under "select type of report," choose the drop-down option of "population/subpopulation" (which tells you homeless). The for the third drop-down box, select what category you want (all states, just one state, just one continuum). Then click the state, and finally, you get to select the state or continuum, with a drop-down list of choices so you can pick the specific one from our records. OK, almost there. Now click on the line in blue to call up the actual report for that year for that continuum.

When you review that page, it will be a one-page document that's pretty easy to read. For total homeless, go to the second group to see "total homeless persons in household." You'll also be able to see year-to-year comparisons on homeless persons with children, and subcategories such as veterans.

With this info, you should be able to begin to get a handle on the situation in your community. And, as always, you can contact us to trouble-shoot your questions.

Region IX Cities Hit Five of Six US Cities for Steepest Housing Price Declines

The Region IX cities of Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco rank as five of the top six cities showing the steepest decline in housing prices over a year earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller analysis. Notably, the San Francisco area is defined to include San Jose and Silicon Valley and Oakland as well as adjacent East Bay counties in the analysis. Observers in media reports commented that the hardest hit are those who bought homes within the past five years, since homes bought in the before 1990 still show good appreciation.

The report clocks the decline as Las Vegas, down 28.4 percent, Phoenix, down 26.5 percent, Los Angeles, down 24.5 percent, San Diego, down 23.2 percent, and San Francisco, down 22.9 percent.

Staffing the Disasters...HUD staff in Fresno and the Los Angeles and Santa Ana offices went into disaster response mode with the Yosemite fire and the SoCal earthquake. Reports are that no HUD or HUD-assisted housing has been affected, and folks are OK. There are home losses in Yosemite, and local officials are helping families to cope.

Order a New Name Plate for San Diego...Rick Gentry, a 36-year veteran in the field of affordable housing and community development, has been selected to oversee the San Diego Housing Commission. He will start on October 1, 2008 and succeeds former longtime director Elizabeth Morris, who retired in January.

Sacramento Waiting List Opens...applications accepted August 11 through August 22. This is for public housing units, not Housing Choice Vouchers (Section 8). Apply on the internet through www.sacwaitlist.com. Sacramento reports that it will randomly select 10,000 applicants for the waiting list.

Arizona Good News...check www.hud.gov/arizona page for the "Good News" human interest story of a new homeowner who overcame coming out of jail, being unemployed, and facing personal obstacles. It was a five year journey to his dream, but it underscores the fact that hard work, willing partners, and commitment can result in success. (And if you have a Good News story, pass it along to us and we'll share it. It's important to ensure that we challenge stereotypes that stigmatize the people we're helping).

HUD program graduates hear from San Diego Field Office Director Frank Riley at the July 31 graduation ceremony to recognize the efforts of students participating on San Diego State University Imperial Valley Campus's Imperial Valley Empowerment Project, which is made possible by a Hispanic-Serving Institutions Assisting Communities Program (HSIAC) of HUD's Office of University Partnerships.

"All about Evictions" Workshop in San Diego Office held July 30 at the San Diego HUD Field Office. This workshop, led by San Diego Tenants Legal Center Director Steven Kellman, answered housing counselors' questions about the eviction process, notice to vacate for foreclosed homeowners and for tenants in foreclosed homes, law enforcement lockouts, "cash for keys", and what happens at unlawful detainer trials. (Let us know if you would like to arrange similar workshops in your community).

Small Business Conference held in Fresno August 1. This event is the premiere Small Business Conference in the San Joaquin Valley and has received support from California Governor Schwarzenegger. Planned by the City of Fresno with extensive support from a network of partners, including Small Business Administration, and HUD.

First Magnus Financial Corporation of Tucson, Arizona in Violation of Federal Law

Defunct mortgage lender First Magnus Financial Corporation, formerly headquartered in Tucson, Arizona, violated federal law by providing incentives to mortgage brokers, according to a report issued by HUD's Office of Inspector General on July 14, 2008. The report states that First Magnus violated the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act by providing "volume-based" and "quality" based incentives for FHA-insured loans. First Magnus suddenly collapsed and filed for bankruptcy last August, leaving about 5,500 employees without final paychecks and numerous other creditors unpaid. It is currently being liquidated.

Los Angeles Multifamily Hub, Headquarters Coordinate in Preserving 1,100 units of Elderly Housing in the final proposals for the Angelus Plaza I and Angelus Plaza North Trust Agreement projects. These transactions will result in the preservation of 1,100 units of elderly housing and will generate net proceeds of approximately $55 Million. Per the Trust Agreements, the majority of this funding must be made available to support the development of additional affordable housing units/projects.

Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant Program Training

The Office of Native American Programs sponsored a training session for Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) Program participants to enhance their capacity for NHHBG program administration. The NHHBG addresses the critical housing needs of Native Hawaiians, a minority group where the incidence of housing problems is one of the highest in the country. Native Hawaiians have the highest levels of poverty, unemployment, and incarceration of any ethnic group in Hawaii and the lowest levels of education and health.

Homeownership for 19 Native Hawaiian Families...On July 21, 19 Native Hawaiian families moved into their new homes as they celebrated the completion of the Kekaha Residence Lots Unit 4 Self-Help project. Funding for this self-help project was provided by $4.5 million of Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) funds. More than half of the families are from the Island of Ni'ihau where their first language is Hawaiian. Seventy-four percent of the families (14 of 19) had incomes at or below 50 percent of median income. According to Governor Linda Lingle, "This project puts native Hawaiians on the land, but it also adds to the inventory of affordable homes on Kaua'i and that helps everyone in the community."

Stabilizing Communities: Addressing the Negative Impacts of Foreclosure Symposium (Hollywood, California)

On Tuesday, July 15, 2008, Ray Brewer, Santa Ana Field Office Director, attended and participated in the Stabilizing Communities: Addressing the Negative Impacts of Foreclosure symposium hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco in Hollywood, CA. The symposium gathered national experts and regional practitioners that highlighted innovative approaches to dealing with the negative impacts of the foreclosure crisis. The keynote speaker was Janet Yellen, President and Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Mortgage Default and Foreclosure Consumer Workshop (Sacramento, California)

On Wednesday, July 23, 2008 Cynthia L. Abbott, Sacramento Field Office Director facilitated a Mortgage Default and Foreclosure Consumer Workshop sponsored by the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency, California State Senator Darrell Steinberg and the Sacramento Regional Partners in Homeownership. Over 100 participants were greeted by Sacramento County Supervisor Susan Peters encouraging them to engage with the HUD-approved housing counseling agencies in attendance to assist them with any default or foreclosure activities. J. C. Williamson representing the Santa Ana Homeownership Center provided a HUD/FHA exhibit booth with information about FHA products for the participants.

Coming Up: The Calendar Ahead

California Elected Officials Join to Host Foreclosure Workshop (Alhambra, California)

State Senator Gilbert Cedillo (22nd Senate District), Assembly Member Mike Eng (49th Assembly District), and Mayor Luis Ayala, City of Alhambra in conjunction with Montebello Housing Development Corporation, HUD Los Angeles Office and the Santa Ana HC will host a housing foreclosure, predatory lending and Fair Housing Workshop, and individual housing counseling sessions on August 2, 2008 in Alhambra, CA. Los Angeles FPM staff Morella Lombardi and HOC representative will be presenters. HUD will have a booth and representatives from the LAFO and the Santa Ana HOC. Approximately sixty representatives from state, local organizations and the public are expected to be in attendance. The audience will be mainly of Hispanic and Asian descent.

Inland Empire Homeownership Clinic to Address Foreclosure

The Clinic will take place at the National Orange Show Events Center, 696 S. E Street, San Bernardino, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 16. HUD's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, Susan Peppler, is scheduled to attend and participate at the event. President of the Government National Mortgage Association or Ginnie Mae, Joseph Murin has also expressed an interest in attending the event. More than 200 homeowners are expected.

HUD Western Regional Housing Summit August 25-26 at the Sheraton, University City, California. This year's Summit is focusing around HUD's National Call to Action to reduce barriers to affordable housing and promote innovative strategies to increase production of housing for low and moderate income households. For further information, contact CalTraining@enterprisecommunity.org.

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

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