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What's Up at HUD This Week in Region IX?
September 2, 2008
Fair Housing Settlement $618,000 in Familial Status Case (Stanton, CA)
On August 15, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) announced the $618,000 out of court settlement of a housing discrimination lawsuit filed against Plaza Court Apartments in Stanton, CA. The owners and managers of Plaza Court Apartments were accused of discriminating against tenants with children by imposing overly restrictive "House Rules and Regulations" at the complex. Before filing a complaint with the DFEH, the Fair Housing Council of Orange County (FHCOC), a Fair Housing Initiatives Program (FHIP) grantee, investigated numerous complaints filed by families against Plaza Court Apartments and found evidence of familial status discrimination. After conducting its own investigation, the DFEH filed suit against Plaza Court Apartments on behalf of FHCOC and nine families with children who had lived in fear of being evicted for violating the complex's alleged discriminatory rules.
San Diego City Council to Discuss Foreclosure Crisis Declaration
On September 9, 2008, the San Diego City Council will discuss a request from the City Attorney Michael Aguirre to declare a Foreclosure Crisis in the City of San Diego. The request also asks to support government efforts to address the foreclosure crisis and also urges private sector to voluntarily institute a moratorium on foreclosures relating to certain sub-prime loans.
Salinas (CA) Wins $250,000 for Energy Efficiency Housing
The City of Salinas, California is one of six winners of the recent "Competitive Reallocation of CHDO (Community Housing Development Organization) Funds to Provide Energy-Efficient and Environmentally Friendly Housing for Low-Income Families (Green NOFA)" awards of $250,000. With a final score of 89, Salinas and the City of Anderson, Indiana were the highest of the six awardees.
Redwood City's Villa Montgomery Wins LEED Certification
First Community Housing, a local nonprofit housing developer, has been awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) for New Construction Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) for Villa Montgomery Apartments in Redwood City, California. Villa Montgomery provides 58 affordable rental housing units for very low income residents and includes an on-site community room, computer laboratory, retail space, outdoor recreational areas, subsurface parking. Is located near public transit, and provides free annual transit passes to residents for use of the County's bus system. LEED certification was based on a number of green design and construction features including: Location on a remediated Brownfield site; development density of more than 90 units per square acre; reduction of construction waste by 86 percent; locally-sourced materials; energy efficient lighting, appliances and windows; a no-smoking policy; and green building education for the building's residents and maintenance staff. Redwood City provided over $1.4 million of CDBG (Community Development Block Grant) and HOME funding for the development costs.
Western Region Housing Summit
The power point presentations from the Western Region Housing Summit will be online in a few weeks, and "What's New" will provide a link for our readers. Approximately 400 representatives from local and State government, nonprofit organizations and developers attended the day and a half summit at the Sheraton Universal in Los Angeles August 25-26. The event was sponsored by the America's Affordable Communities Initiative to rally local communities to the National Call to Action. The highlights were the 15+ workshops that focused on various aspects of housing development, to the Mayoral Forum featuring officials from the cities of Pasadena, Bakersfield, Santa Monica and Long Beach. HUD Assistant Secretary Susan Peppler delivered a keynote address that responded to questions about the Housing Bill and the forthcoming allocation for foreclosure solutions.
Havasupai Tribe Flooding Disaster
The Havasupai Tribal Council declared a state of emergency on August 18, following the flash flooding disaster caused by a dam break. Due to the unsafe conditions, the Supai Village and surrounding areas have been closed to visitors until further notice. It is known that the campground, trails, walking bridges, etc. will need rebuilding/repair, and that some homes were damaged. Tourism is the primary economic development activity for Havasupai, and the campground and its infrastructure supports that tourism. The Arizona Department of Emergency Planning has been in contact with the Phoenix HUD office about this matter to determine what resources HUD might be able to contribute during the recovery.
Training and Workshops in Arizona...Scottsdale, August 19, on short-sales and approved sources for downpayment assistance...Phoenix, August 27, on Enterprise Income Verification and Tenant Rental Assistance Certification System... State of Arizona Housing Finance Authority and Homebuyer Assistance Program prepping on FHA in conjunction with their bond program...Elroy Mayor indicates that an appointment is forthcoming for the Housing Authority Board of Commission, giving it a quorum...Navajo Partnership for Housing in discussions on barriers for new home construction as a result of the lack of flood studies needed in environmental reviews.
Moreno Valley Grant Announcement
Assistant Secretary Susan Peppler announced grants totaling $2.4 million to Moreno Valley under the Community Planning and Development backing on August 18, 2008. Also participating were Ray Brewer, Santa Ana Field Office Director and William Vasquez, Community Planning and Development (CPD) Director, Los Angeles Office, Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack (45th District), and local officials of the City of Moreno Valley.
Kid Works Donahue Facility Tour and Press Conference
Assistant Secretary Susan Peppler toured Kid Works Donahue Center in Santa Ana, California and attended a press conference on August 19. KOCE, Orange County's Public Broadcast Station (PBS), local Channel 50 and Telemundo TV, Channel 56 were both present at the event.
In the News...Riverside Press Enterprise reports that the San Bernardino Foreclosure Workshop drew hundreds on August 17...New York Times focuses on Merced, California as the epicenter of foreclosures across the nation...LA Times reports the California State Legislature is nearing completion of action to tie "smart growth" requirements to access to state transportation funds... LA Times reports that Santa Paula, California may seek a moratorium on low-income housing, which is blamed for the town's problems.
CPD Conference in Napa, CA
On September 3-5, 2008 San Francisco CPD staff will participate in the State of California Housing and Community Development Department's (HCD) Community Development Block Grant Conference in Napa, California. The theme of this year's conference is "Planting Seeds for Community Development". HCD hopes to create a forum to inform, energize, and stimulate community development decision makers and representatives. The conference will feature a three-day comprehensive program for new CDBG practitioners as well as experienced recipients of State CDBG funds. At the opening session, the San Francisco Office CPD Director will give a brief presentation updating participants on HUD news. The CPD Representative for the State will give two presentations on program income and one on performance measurements in addition to acting as a general resource person throughout the conference. Several hundred representatives of recipients of State CDBG funding are expected to attend.
White House Conference on Faith-Based Initiatives (Sacramento, CA)
On August 18, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives and California Volunteers hosted a White House Conference in Sacramento, CA. It was attended by approximately 1,100 faith-based and community organizations. Jay Hein, Director of the White House Faith-Based Center was the Keynote Speaker. Jedd Medefind, Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director was the Moderator. The Honorable Karen Baker, Secretary of Service and Volunteering represented the State of California. The theme of the conference was, A Partnership Summit to Strengthen Communities". Exhibitors included State and Federal agencies, including the Federal Regional Council and HUD. HUD was represented by Anna Maria Farias, Director, Faith-Based and Community Initiatives Center, Nancy Skaggs, Deputy Director and Amanda Walz, Special Assistant. Cynthia Abbott, Sacramento Field Office Director, and HUD staff Larry Roselle, Larry Wuerstle and Lillie Zinnerman staffed the HUD booth.
5th Annual Orange County Veterans Fair (Garden Grove, CA)
On Saturday, August 22, 2008, Ray Brewer, Santa Ana Field Office Director participated in the 5th Annual Orange County Veterans Fair in Garden Grove, California hosted by Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (Congressional District #47). A HUD informational table was available to attendees. Resource information regarding federal, state and local veteran services was also available including: free health screenings, benefit eligibility, family counseling, employment opportunities, legal services, and homeless outreach.
Presentations, Meetings and Workshops...200 mortgage brokers and industry professionals attend Santa Ana Homeownership Center briefing...National Hispanic Business Woman Association of Orange County luncheon with Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez draws 50 real estate professionals...500 homeowners attend Foreclosure Prevention and Resource Fair presented by City of San Jose and Silicon Valley Partners with Representative Zoe Lofgren and the California Department of Real Estate on August 20...Housing California and Fresno HUD office host Affordable Homes Statewide Training Session September 4...Fresno HUD office hosting Rep. Jim Costa presentation on new energy bill and tour of energy sites in San Joaquin Valley on September 4...Representative Hilda Solis and LA County Supervisor Gloria Molina hosted an August 16 Community Resource Fair in East LA attended by over 600 people. Univision, Spanish TV, showed the event at its 6:00 P.M and 11:00 P.M. newscast... Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez held an Open House in Garden Grove on August 19...A HOME clinic offered individual counseling to over 150 attendees in San Diego on August 30.
HUD Staff to Clear Obstacles for California Hotel Make-Over...this Oakland SRO (Single Room Occupancy) is not a HUD funded program but is still subject to HUD's 1989 Housing Development Grant contract requirements. Currently the facility has major habitability concerns. Efforts are underway with the City and with the participation of Representative Barbara Lee to find other housing for the tenants. HUD's Multifamily staff has met with the parties and will work to ensure that the contract requirements are not a barrier to improving the project.
Energy Contract for Public Housing to be Announced (Honolulu, HI)
Hawaii Governor Lingle and the Hawaii Public Housing Authority announced the awarding of an energy contract to Ameresco Pacific Energy on August 27. The contract is to perform an investment-grade audit that will serve as the basis for a comprehensive energy performance contract that is projected to begin in February 2009. The project has great potential for long-term energy and cost savings for the agency.
Hawaii Legislators Hear about Mixed Financing for Distressed Public Housing (Honolulu, Hawaii)
At the invitation of the House and Senate housing committees of the Hawaii Legislature, Urban Housing Communities - a private for-profit developer - briefed members on how private-public partnerships can be formed to do mixed-finance acquisition and redevelopment of distressed public housing. The information was presented at the August 22 legislative briefing held quarterly to receive the reports from the Executive Director of the Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HPHA) on the progress being made to correct the vacancy and financial problems of HPHA. HPHA has more than 500 vacant units and a backlog of an estimated $320 million in capital needs. A series of front page news articles in the local newspaper this week focused on these issues.
Community Volunteers to Renovate Public Housing Units (Hilo, HI)
Volunteer groups on the County of Hawaii will help renovate four vacant public housing units once set to be demolished in a reversal of a decision made in 1998 by the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. The housing agency, after years of inaction, hopes that the renovation plan will extend to all 62 units remaining in the 31 duplex buildings. County Mayor Harry Kim says that one third of the County population of 165,000 is either homeless, one payment away from losing their home or the hidden homeless: doubled or tripled up in homes with relatives.
Stupak Community Center Groundbreaking (Las Vegas, NV)
Ken LoBene, Field Office Director, attended the groundbreaking on August 18th. This will be a new 34,000 square-foot community center. Center amenities include a multi-sport gym, classrooms, kitchen, library game room and a weight and aerobics room.
September 13, Nevada: Foreclosure Education Workshop (North Las Vegas, NV)
Las Vegas Single Family staff and FPM (Field Policy and Management) staff will attend the foreclosure education workshop at the Texas Station Casino on September 13th. The staff will provide information on foreclosure prevention, reverse mortgages and FHA Secure.
During the week of September 8, Alex Barela and Dalynn Tanner will be performing an on-site monitoring review at Smith River Rancheria in California.
October 10, Salinas, CA: Salinas, California Grand Opening of Sherwood Village. On October 10, 2008, the City of Salinas will celebrate the grand opening of Sherwood Village Affordable Senior Apartments. Completed in May, this 124-unit complex replaced a troubled motel located on Main Street and makes a major contribution toward helping Salinas meet its goal of providing 500 new senior units in the next five years. This $2.2 million project was developed by the nonprofit Community Housing Improvement Systems and Planning Association, Inc (CHISPA). The City of Salinas provided about 10 percent of the financing, amounting to $2.2 million in HOME and Community Development Block Grant funds.
The one and two bedroom apartments are reserved for residents earning no more than 50 percent of the area median (AMI) income, including 61 units for residents at 30 and 45 percent of AMI. Many former farm workers will be residents. Sherwood Village is also a green building. The property features a bioswale to retain and treat storm water, solar panels, and 75 percent of the construction and demolition waste was recycled. The project is a finalist for Affordable Housing Finance's fourth annual Readers' Choice awards which showcases innovative solutions for creating affordable housing.
For further information regarding any of these articles, please contact the Region IX Supervisory Public Affairs Officer, Larry Bush.
Content Archived: February 11, 2011