Summertime in Florida brings blazing heat, rainy afternoons and the threat of hurricane season. There is no better time to look at ways to save energy when it comes to building cooling costs. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides funding for weatherization and energy efficient upgrades to HUD assisted housing. In addition many South Florida Public Housing Authorities are utilizing capital grant funding provided under ARRA to make their public housing units more energy efficient. Information on grant opportunities for weatherization and energy efficiency capital investments through HUD and other Federal agencies can be found at www.grants.gov.
It is also a great time to think about disaster preparedness with the active part of the hurricane season around the corner. HUD funded agencies and programs should have a disaster preparedness and recovery plan in place since many of HUD's programs serve the most vulnerable populations. Free information on preparing your agency for disasters can be found at www.fema.gov. In this edition of HUD Highlights we have included information on FEMA's National Disaster Housing Plan.
If there is any feedback or information you would like to see included in HUD Highlights please send your comments.
Miami Field Office Director
Check it online: HUD Implementation of the Recovery Act
The Recovery Act includes $13.61 billion for projects and programs administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, nearly 75 percent of which was allocated to state and local recipients on February 25, 2009 - only eight days after President Obama signed the Act into law. Recovery Act investments in HUD programs will be not just swift, but also effective: they will generate tens of thousands of jobs, modernize homes to make them energy efficient, and help the families and communities hardest hit by the economic crisis. The remaining 25 percent of funds will be awarded via competition in the coming months. Additional guidance on the implementation of all funds will be routinely provided on this website.
One of the newest tools on this site is the USDA and HUD ARRA Projects Map. This map shows the locations of United States Department of Agriculture and United States Department of Housing and Urban Development projects funded by the American Recovery Act of 2009. The USDA and HUD ARRA Projects Map allows the American Public to find and view information about Recovery Act projects in web-based map display. The map allows the public to click on individual projects and access specific project information.
Fraud, waste, abuse? Report it!
If you are aware of fraud, waste, and abuse in HUD programs and operations, report it to HUD's Inspector General Hotline! What kinds of things should you report? Mismanagement or violations of law, rules, or regulations by HUD employees or program participants.
Your complaint will be kept confidential if you are a federal government employee. If you are not a federal government employee, a complaint can be kept confidential if you request it. The Office of Inspector General will accept anonymous complaints.
Federal laws protect federal government employees from reprisals for filing complaints. Many states provide protection from reprisals to non-federal government employee complainants. State whistleblower statutes are normally administered by the respective state's attorney general office.
You can submit your complaint one of 4 ways: Online, through e-mail. Remember: if you submit your complaint online (through e-mail), it is possible - though unlikely - that others could read it since the internet is not secure. By Phone: Call toll free: 1-800-347-3735 TDD: (202) 708-2451. By Fax: (202) 708-4829. By Mail: HUD Office of Inspector General Hotline, GFI - 451 7th Street, SW - Washington, DC 20410.
Want to make sure HOME funds are properly used in rental projects?
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and state and local jurisdictions nationwide have invested approximately $8.7 billion in HOME Program funds in rental housing development since the program was first funded in 1992, resulting in over 330,000 units of HOME-assisted rental housing units.
A new study Compliance in HOME Rental Projects: A Guide for PJs provides advice to participating jurisdictions on how to nurture compliant HOME projects. For purposes of this guide, a compliant HOME project is a financially viable project that is maintained in standard condition and rented at affordable rents to low- and very low-income tenants, in accordance with HOME rules, for the entire period of affordability.
This guide carries lessons that are important to HOME program managers, monitoring staff, underwriters and project management staff. This guide assumes that the reader understands the basic rental requirements of the HOME Program. Newcomers to the HOME Program, or readers who may need to refresh or update their knowledge of these requirements should review Building HOME. This training manual is available through the local HUD Field Office or on the HOME Program.
HUD has issued a companion HOME model program guide entitled, Compliance in HOME Rental Projects: A Guide for Property Owners, that participating jurisdictions can provide to property owners and managers to educate them about HOME's long-term rental compliance requirements.
Homelessness Resource Exchange
The Homelessness Resource Exchange is the one-stop shop for information and resources for providers who are assisting persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. This is the website to bookmark if you need program guidance and regulations, technical assistance and training resources, research and publications, and basically all you can think about regarding this topic.
It also has specific information on the new Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which includes a $1.5 billion for a Homelessness Prevention Fund. Funding for this program, is being distributed based on the formula used for the Emergency Shelter Grants program. For more information on HPRP visit the website.
The latest report on homeless data is also here, via the Homelessness Pulse Project. To gain a better understanding of the impact of the current economic crisis on homelessness, HUD partnered with nine Continuums of Care nationwide to collect data on a quarterly basis. One Florida area is represented in the first study: Lakeland / Winterhaven in Polk County. The up-to-date information will enhance HUD's ability to respond to the economic crisis and inform public policy. The report, however, draws on a very small number of volunteer communities, so it cannot give as reliable or complete a national picture as the annual report to Congress. In the coming months, HUD intends to expand the number of communities reporting to the Pulse project to track real-time changes in homelessness.
New Faces @ HUD
A new leadership team is taking shape at HUD. Find out who are the new Assistant Secretaries and key personnel. Ron Sims was recently confirmed as HUD's Deputy Secretary. As the second most senior official at HUD, Sims is responsible for managing the Department's day-to-day operations, a nearly $40 billion annual operating budget, and the agency's 8,500 employees.
A few other notable additions: Dr. Raphael Bostic is the new the Assistant Secretary for Policy Development and Research. With his team, he will work on planning communities in a more integrated, sustainable and inclusive way as the key to advancing economic opportunity and elevate the standard of living for thousands of families.
Sandra Brooks Henriquez, Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing, will oversee the nation's public housing and rental assistance programs that assist approximately 3.2 million low-income families across the U.S. She will also be responsible for HUD's Native American and Native Hawaiian programs, which serves 562 federally recognized tribes.
Mercedes Marquez is Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development, which administers nearly $8 billion in programs designed to stimulate community development, affordable housing, as well as a variety of special needs assistance programs. The Housing Commissioner, General Counsel, Fair Housing Assistant Secretary and many more are also beginning their tenure with HUD.
Grants and the Data Universal Numbering System
If you are interested in HUD funding, you need to be familiar with this topic. Most potential and existing US Government Contractors, Grantees and Loan Recipients are required to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) Number for US Government registration purposes. The DUNS Number verifies the legal name, physical address and trade style (DBA) of each location and is the key to starting the registration process. Information about the grants process with HUD is available online. Check here to find out notices that tell you when grant funds are available and how you can apply.
Hurricane season means being ready
The 2009 Disaster Housing Plan describes FEMA's approach to working with Federal partners, States, territories, Tribes, local communities, and individual disaster survivors to meet disaster related sheltering and temporary housing needs. This Plan is based on key concepts that are further defined in the National Disaster Housing Strategy and is intended to serve as an operational guide to FEMA's housing mission for 2009 disasters.