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

December 18, 2008


Hey, we're back, and we promise not to go away again.

Let's get right to what's up and what's not.

Neighborhood Stabilization Grants...the total pot was unveiled October 1, with the local governments and states submitting their plans to make use of the funds by December 1. You can find what was submitted on the local or state government page, and HUD expects to allow access to the funds sometime in mid-January. That's when we all see exactly how they will handle implementing their plan. In short, a lot of decisions are still ahead for local officials, and there will be a lot of interest on exactly what will be done where. But for now, pick up the trail at the internet site of local governments. Go here to refresh your memory on what communities get and how much they get (www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/communitydevelopment/programs/neighborhoodspg).

Folks are conferencing to share some strategies and begin crafting pieces that can add value to the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP.)

Grantees from Monterey and Santa Cruz counties gave the NSP top billing at its December 11 meeting, its third Semi-Annual Grantees meeting. Community Planning and Development (CPD) staff facilitated the meeting.

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons' task force met on November 24 to talk about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and how to engage the financial institutions with foreclosure and loss mitigation efforts.

NAHRO (National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials) heard from HUD Deputy Regional Director Caroline Krewson on November 17 in San Francisco, and included the NSP points in her presentation.

San Joaquin Valley Housing Trust Meeting (California)

HUD's Fresno Field Office Director facilitated a meeting on December 9 with representatives from a number of County Boards of Supervisors to assist them in developing a County Housing Trust Fund. This would provide housing development funds and resources, in coordination with the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the State Proposition 1C funds.

Contact Rollie Smith, Field Office Director (559) 487-5033 ext.  240.

New year, new FHA limits...High cost areas now set at $625,500, down from the current year's $729,750 after Congress sunset the special elevated cap. You can find the FHA limit on an interactive page that lets you input the state and county to then pop out the local loan limits, with info for both calendar 2008 and 2009.

Las Vegas minority real estate industry professionals hold first all-inclusive meeting. On November 18, Ken LoBene, Field Office Director, and Nancy West, Marketing Analyst from the Homeownership Center in Santa Ana, attended the minority luncheon. This was a collaborative luncheon involving organizations representing the Black Realtists, Hispanic Realtors and Asian Realtors. This is the first such meeting and it was attended by approximately 60 people.

Hope for Homeowners...not so much. HUD Secretary Steve Preston told an audience that the program has fallen off the table in terms of expected results, disappointing everyone. On the good news side, FHA itself has tripled the amount of loans - over $200 billion - as in "B" billion in the past 12 months - now amounting to about 20 percent of all new home mortgages. On the refi side, he states that some 465,000 families got FHA insured refi's, many of who were facing reset - or about to reset - interest rates.

Region IX continues to help communities build affordable housing developments, with Regional Director Richard Rainey taking part in a groundbreaking for a 25-unit senior housing development at Clearlake Oaks Manor in California.  Eskaton, the developer, has partnered with HUD on more than twenty 202 developments over the past 30 years. Clearlake Oaks United Methodist Church played an important role in facilitating this new affordable housing resource in the community.

Also in California, the 171-unit Tynan Village had its Grand Opening in Salinas, a $50 million project on a six acre site. It includes 13,000 square feet of retail area, one-third mile trail with exercise stations (!!), a basketball court, and over 75,000 square feet of open space. Monterey County Housing Development Corporation, with $2.6 million in HOME funds, made it happen.

Nevada welcomed the Grand Opening of Stewart Pines III, a 57-unit community of affordable senior housing in downtown Las Vegas. H.A.N.D., the Nevada nonprofit, and $1.25 million in HOME funds, put it together. This development includes a fitness center, game room, beauty salon and other amenities. Las Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and local officials cut the ribbon.

Speaking of Nevada, HUD's regional web manager crafted a neat resource on the Nevada State Page that may become a model if folks find it useful (kudos to David Lockwood). Called the "Nevada Hotpage," it gives quick links to the most frequently asked questions about HUD in Nevada. Take a look at it here, and let us know if you think we should do the same for the other states in our region.

For months HUD has been frowning at the North Las Vegas Housing Authority over its management of low-rent properties, among other troubles. This month the Executive Director turned in his resignation, the Commission (aka the City Council, since it doubles in the job) has taken it over, and a contract is in the works for the Las Vegas Housing Authority to take over even more of the management including Section 8 and public housing. "Even more" because earlier this year North Las Vegas signed an agreement to piece off some of the management to Las Vegas Housing Authority. The entire situation is a work-in-progress, and has the close attention of our Las Vegas Field Office Director and the San Francisco Public Housing Hub.

Homeless is no joke, so no snarky intro...The Orange County, California Board of Supervisors met November 21 to focus on a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness, and received advice and encouragement from Phil Mangano, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness and Eduardo Cabrera, HUD's Region IX Homeless Coordinator....San Diego's Project Homeless Connect agencies held a one-day, one-stop open door with housing counseling, medical services, legal counseling and other resources. San Diego HUD Field Office staff joined the effort...San Bernardino County held its Second Annual Homeless Summit, with CPD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeless Programs Mark Johnston in attendance. More than 200 representatives of homeless service agencies attended...on December 17, the San Francisco CPD Office facilitated the Eleventh Semi-Annual Roundtable Meeting for partnerships to house emancipated foster and homeless youth.

Bootstrap Efforts include new access to banking facilities, community development..."Bank on Fresno" was launched with Former President Clinton, California's Governor, and Fresno's Mayor to improve community assets and help people open checking and savings accounts. The statewide, five-city Bank of California initiative was announced December 12. The Fresno HUD Office was part of the coordinated effort...San Joaquin's Valley Housing Trust and the Clean Energy Organization was the topic at the California Partnership Summit serving the Central Valley. HUD is a leader in the partnership towards economic development of the region. The Fresno HUD Field Office Director also gave a presentation on behalf of the City of Fresno on December 9 on energy, air, and land use issues in relation to the local economy.

Taking a look at some challenges...On November 17, Field Office Director Phyllis Lim and FPM Program Assistant Debbie Thomas visited La Frontera Center, the largest non-profit organization in Tucson. La Frontera, created 40 years ago as a community mental health center, now has 900 employees at 20 locations and provides psychiatric and behavioral health services to over 17,000 persons a year. Bill Magnotto, the Center's Director of Housing Programs, gave an overview of current challenges and opportunities with HUD-funded projects, and hosted a tour of two facilities - a Section 811 housing project for disabled individuals, and a Safe Haven shelter for mentally ill homeless persons.

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

Content Archived: February 11, 2011

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