As another step in "getting our housing market back on track," HUD Secretary Donovan has joined Treasury Secretary Geithner and acting Federal Housing Finance Agency Director DeMarco have announced new initiatives to help state and local housing finance agencies "expand resources" that will enable "low and middle income borrowers to purchase or rent homes that are affordable over the long term." Specifically, they will use Recovery Act authority to provide temporary financing for housing finance agencies to issue new mortgage revenue bonds that will "support several hundred thousand new mortgages to first-time homebuyers this year." They'll also provide "replacement credit and liquidity facilities" to help relieve the "financial strain" some are experiencing. Gerald Hunter of the Idaho Housing & Finance Association welcomed the announcement as "a much-needed response to the dislocation of capital markets for first-time homebuyers" while Kim Herman of the Washington State Housing Finance Commission said it would allow the Commission to "serve twice as many first-time homebuyers next year." For more, visit website.
Another important step in "getting the housing market back on track" is giving new homebuyers or at-risk homeowners access to expert housing counselors to help them sort through the complex, sometimes confusing issues they face. In October, HUD's housing counseling program and NeighborWorks' National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program announced competitive grant awards totaling $1,336,974 to Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services in Corvallis, Open Door Counseling in Hillsboro, United Community Acton Network in Roseburg, the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation in Springfield, Oregon Housing and Community Services, Solid Ground in Seattle, the Spokane Neighborhood Action Program, the Community Housing Resource Center in Vancouver, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, Neighborhood Housing Services in Boise, the Community Action Partnership of Idaho, and the Idaho Housing & Finance Association. The grants will enable counseling agencies, said HUD Secretary Donovan, to help Americans "manage their money, navigate the home buying process and secure their financial futures."
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HUD Secretary Donovan and Treasury Secretary Geithner call for extension of the First Time Homebuyers Tax Credit for a limited period, extension of higher loan limits for home mortgages, and secure funding for the Housing Trust Fund to provide, says Donovan,, provide comprehensive support to our recovering housing market and continued access to affordable housing."
NEWS TO USE
On September 30th, HUD published the final Fair Market Rents for fiscal year 2010 - the period from October 1st, 2009 to September 30th, 2010. For the Fair Market Rents in your community, visit website.
NEWS TO NOTE
HUD has extended the deadline to apply for fiscal year 2009 Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance grants from November 9th to November 25th. For more, visit website.
HUD and Treasury announce they've reached goal of 500,000 "in progress" Making Home Affordable trial loan modifications "almost one month ahead of a November 1 benchmark set earlier this year". . .Idaho Attorney General Wasden publishes handbooks on preventing foreclosure and buying a home at website. . . . At invitation of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley, HUD Secretary Donovan has teleconference call with Oregon housing counselors to discuss recommendations for improving Making Homes Affordable mortgage modification program. . .Idaho Community Action Partnership, Community Services Consortium of Linn, Benton and Lincoln counties, Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, Willamette Neighborhood Housing Services, The Opportunity Council of Bellingham, the South Puget Sound Inter-Tribal Authority and the Community Action Center of Whitman County win USDA Rural Development Housing Preservation Grants that, says Secretary Vilsack, will help rural residents and landlords "repair leaking roofs, plumbing or crumbling foundations as well as add insulation, caulking and energy-saving windows and doors". . .Kitsap Sun reports that "for the first time in its nearly 70-year history, all 571 low-slung housing units" at Bremerton Housing Authority's Westpark complex "are empty" as last family moves-out in advance of plans to revitalize area. . .Three projects in Portland and one in Seattle win Department of Energy Solar America Cities grants "to overcome key barriers to urban solar energy use". . .Peninsula Daily News says Port Townsend's Main Street HUD-funded, low-interest loan program has helped "more than 20 historic buildings" downtown - and uptown - make safety improvements, including seismic retrofits. . . Tulalip Tribe, Key Bank and Raymond James Tax Credit, Inc., unveil plans to build 66 new homes in Snohomish County to help a housing shortage for more than 225 families . . .Portland Housing Bureau one of 46 organizations across country to win HUD Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant . . .City of Seattle combines local and HUD Recovery Act funds to launch almost $10 million Grow Seattle Fund to help small businesses meet "critical need" for capital.
A very happy 60th birthday to USDA Rural Development's Self-Help Housing Program. USDA Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and U.S. Senator Mark Begich, reports KTUU-TV, celebrated the occasion touring self-help construction sites. "It's a wonderful opportunity," they heard from one homebuilder. "Being a single mom, raising two kids on one income, you know, this is going to be my dream home."
Who better to ask about what the future should hold than those who will live in it? Like the 25 teenagers from three high schools brought together in September by the League of Women Voters of Portland, the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods and the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. Their charge, explained The Oregonian, was to "tell adults how the city should improve and expand over the next 30 years." And, after reviewing the health, community design, housing and neighborhood elements of the Portland Plan, tell they did. They said that empty lots of land along Martin Luther King Boulevard should be used for community purposes. That there should be more community centers in general and teen centers in particular. That there should be more affordable homeownership opportunities for teenage parents. That there are too many cafes and not enough affordable housing. "We need to be at the table to represent our experience," said one, in order to "make our city a reflection of you."
HELPING A HELPER
Jenny Hoff of Spokane woman was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis- "Lou Gehrig's disease" - in April 2006. It didn't slow her down. Since then, reports The Spokesman Review, the she's raised "more than $30,000" to supporting organizations trying to find a cure. As her disease progressed, though, her rental in the Millwood neighborhood became "less and less accessible" for her. That's when "friends stepped up to find her a new place to live, a historic home owned by Millwood Community Presbyterian Church." So did local businesses - United Plumbing, Barton Boys Heating, Hilarious Doughties, Radiance Electric, Majestic Wood Floors, Beyond Floors, Lowe's and Columbia Paint. "Some guys from Truth Ministries helped remove 2,000 pounds of lath and plaster," noted Moe Alderman, a general contractor who's taken time off to take charge of widening the doors, enlarging the bathroom and all the other tasks required to make a home accessible. "It's amazing," said Jenny Hoff, "that in a time of huge financial crunch, they're donating everything." And she, by the way, is still raising money to fight ALS.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Dave Somers of Somers & Associates in Fairbanks named 2009 Alaska REALTOR of the Year. . .Umpqua CDC says it will celebrate transformation of historic, Hotel North Bend into 33 affordable housing units in December. . .Daily News says Tim & Lee Hutton Welch have donated $350,000 to Lower Columbia Community Action to make it "less dependent" on outside sources and "more self-supporting". . . REACH wins 2009 MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing for its Station Place Tower independent living complex in Portland . . .Next Step Housing opens 24 more unit, drug- and alcohol-free recovery house in recovery in Yakima. . .HUD Secretary Donovan joins Congressman Blumenauer and Oregon Housing & Community Services' Victor Merced for Saturday afternoon tour of affordable housing in downtown Portland. . .SBA awards PRIME grants University of Alaska at Fairbanks, Mercy Enterprise Corporation, the Oregon Microenterprise Network, Umpqua CDC, Metropolitan Development Council and the Washington Microenterprise Association to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the "critical tools" to "help them maximize the potential of their business, create jobs and strengthen the local economy". . . King County Housing Authority celebrates opening of 88-unit Salmon Creek in Greenbridge. . .Life Enrichment Options marks 20th anniversary unveiling plan to build third family home in Issaquah for adults with disabilities. . .Kids at Kalama housing authority are all smiles about new playground funded by Recovery Act. . .Love INC set to open Corvallis' first "winter shelter" for homeless women in November. . .Northeast Washington Housing Solutions says it will open the 35-unit Pearl on Adams in November.
FIRST TIME, ANY TIME
When you hear about how great Federal Housing Administration or FHA mortgages are for "first time buyers," you probably picture a young couple, just married and wanting to start a family in a place they call their own. But think again and consider the tale, told in The Idaho Statesman, of Elizabeth and Charles Malone He's 66 and she - well, frankly it's none of your business. They'd never owned a home and, now retired and on a fixed income, never thought they would. Until they moved earlier this year from Sacramento to Boise where their son lives. He may be the "hero" in the piece because, even though unemployed, he offered to help his parents with a down payment. Thanks to his help, their good credit, the Idaho Housing & Finance Association's Good Credit Rewards program and an FHA-insured mortgage, by late September they'd bought a home on Beech Street in Caldwell. "I'm awed," Mrs. Malone told The Statesman, "I didn't ever imagine I would have a home." To quote the Malone's REALTOR, "Don't lose faith!"
HOME "HOME RUN"
In May, the Yukon River town of Eagle, was "devastated" by floodwaters and an ice jam. Thanks to the Federal Emergency Management Agency and "as many as 500 volunteers," reports The Fairbanks News Miner, just 109 days later the town was rebuilt and all of its 150 "residents will have a place to stay for winter." And, no, it wasn't just a matter of moving in FEMA trailers. That, said the AP, was deemed inappropriate. Instead, FEMA and its volunteers rehabilitated 40 house and built 13 new log homes. "It's really kind of amazing," said Jeremy Zidek of the Alaska Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management. "People who had their houses destroyed" in May "already have another place to live." While noting that FEMA's gotten some bad press on other projects," added Pennsylvania contractor Bob Paine who coordinated the volunteers, "this one was really a home run."
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Kitsap Sun says Board of Commissioners okays application for $2 million HUD Section 108 loan guarantee to create 100 new jobs. . .KTVA-TV says Cook Inlet Tribal Council has donated $25,000 to Lutheran Social Services program that helps Alaskan Native people who are stranded or homeless in Anchorage with tickets back to their villages. . .Housing Sponsors Inc. wins $506,527 Veterans Affairs grant for 10 transitional housing beds for homeless veterans in Eugene. . .Joined by HUD Deputy Secretary Sims, White House Office of Urban Affairs Director Adolfo Carrion tours Low Income Housing Institute's new Bart Harvey residence for the elderly in Seattle as part of President's "Conversation on the Future of American Cities". . .Advocates Against Family Violence breaks ground for 48-unit, Hope Plaza Apartments for victims of domestic violence to be built with Recovery Act funds in Caldwell. . .Post Intelligencer reports Shirley Contraction's "zero energy" house in Bellevue to show how green technology home "can produce almost as much energy as it consumes". . .Cornerstone Courtyard in Spokane named by National Housing &Rehabilitation Association as one of three national finalists as best large historic rehabilitation using Low Income Housing Tax Credits. . .USDA Rural Development awards Washougal $3 million in Recovery Act funds to build 1 million gallon reservoir. . .Portland Housing Authority wins almost $3.3 million in HUD Recovery Act funds to close the in financing for its 8-story Resource Access Center that will provide day and night temporary shelter, permanent housing, and social services to the homeless. . . Wenatchee World says City Council Okays $230,000 in CDBG funds to rehab homes, enforce codes and down payment assistance. . . Spokesman Review says a subsidiary of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist "hopes to buy" City-owned Carlyle Care Center in downtown which "houses as many as 138 people with mental illness or complex medical problems" to preserve housing, says Cathedral dean Reverend Bill Ellis, "for folks who otherwise would be in trouble". . .Telling South Lincoln County News in her "25 years in public housing, I've never had a city more cooperative" than Yachats, Joanne Troy and Lincoln County Housing Authority celebrate grand opening of Fisterra Gardens, a 25-unit complex for working families.
Great neighborhoods make great cities. No surprise, the Northwest has plenty of both. Like the historic Browne's Addition just west of downtown Spokane. It's just been named by the American Planning Association as one of the nation's 10 greatest neighborhoods. An area where " Stately mansions are juxtaposed with low-rise apartment buildings and condominiums" .the APA says it's "the city's most culturally diverse neighborhood" that's getting "increasingly vibrant." Congratulations to all who live, work and play there and have given it, noted the APA, a "strong sense of community." It joins the North End of Boise which was won a Greatest Neighborhood award in 2008 and First Addition in Lake Oswego and Pikes Place in Seattle which won in 2007.
TOP TEN TOO
And if you're talking "top ten," don't forget Broadway Street in Skagway where "nearly all of the storefronts and other buildings" were "erected during the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush." The APA has selected it as one of America's 10 greatest streets.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The problem of homelessness in our community isn't one problem, but rather a series of related issues. It's not going to be solved by a single answer. That's why it was so encouraging last week to see a number of different approaches toward homelessness all getting a little bit of traction in Corvallis. . .To some extent, all of these developments targeted somewhat different aspects of homelessness. Again, the idea isn't to come up with one single solution - no such animal exists - but to pull together a quilt of services from the best efforts of government agencies and nonprofit organizations. In that light, one of the most encouraging aspects of Project Homeless Connect was the fact that it attracted about two dozen agencies, organizations and businesses, all starting to understand that not one of them alone has the resources to banish homelessness in our community. Alone, we can't do it. Together, we have a shot." -- October 27th, Corvallis Gazette Times
AND A BIT OF ADVICE
With 38 houses already built and more on the way, there was plenty to celebrate at the Olympia party celebrating the 20th anniversary of South Puget Sound Habitat for Humanity. In his remarks, co-founder Jerry Schultz recalled how, years earlier, he'd asked Millard Fuller if he had any tips on starting a Habitat chapter and building affordable housing. "Sure," Fuller replied. "If you've got a thousand dollars, dig a hole and start to pray."
November 5th deadline to apply for HUD Assisted Living Conversion grants. . .November 5th also deadline to apply for HUD Multifamily Service Coordinator grants. . . November 13th deadline to apply for HUD Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly grants. . .November 16th deadline to apply for HUD Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities grants. . .November 17th deadline to apply for HUD HOPE VI Public Housing Revitalization grants. . .November 17th deadline to apply for HUD Green & Healthy Homes Technical Studies grant. . .November 18th deadline to apply for Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions funds. . .November 19th deadline to apply for HUD Lead Hazard Control Capacity Building grants. . .November 19th deadline to apply for Treasury Department CDFI Financial Education & Counseling grants. . .November 24th deadline to apply for Healthy Homes Demonstration grants. . .December 3rd deadline to apply for HUD Family Unification Program grants. . . November 9th deadline to apply for 2009 HUD Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance grants. . .December 15th deadline to apply for EPA Environmental Education grants. . .December 15th deadline to apply for Home Depot Foundation's Building Healthy Communities grants. . .January 8th deadline to apply for EPA's Environmental Justice Small Grants program. . .January 13th deadline to apply for National Endowment for the Humanities Interpreting America's Historic Places planning and implementation grants. . .January 15th deadline to apply for first cycle of Home Depot Foundation's Affordable Housing Built Responsibly and Community Trees grants
National American Indian Housing Council hosts Pathways Home: A Native Homeownership Guide workshops, November 2nd to 6th, Anchorage. Visit website.
2009 Washington Asset Building Conference, November 5th and 6th. Visit website.
Annual conference of Alaska Municipal League, November 16th to 20th, Anchorage. Visit website.
15th annual Alaska Tribal Conference on Environmental Management, November 16th, Anchorage. Visit website.
Annual conference of Washington Association of Counties, November 17th to 20th, SeaTac. Visit website.
Federal Reserve Bank and Oregon Housing & Community Services Homeownership Forum, November 17th, Roseburg. Visit website.
Oregon's Ending Homelessness Advisory Council hosts all-day workshop on developing and implementing 10-year plans to end chronic homelessness, November 17th, Corvallis. Visit website.
Federal Reserve Bank and Oregon Housing & Community Services Homeownership Forum, November 18th, Coos Bay. Visit website.
HUD Idaho hosts Basic Fair Housing Training Workshop, November 18th, Coeur d'Alene. Visit website.
Oregon Opportunity Network hosts workshop on Developing & Owning Supportive Housing, November 20th, Corvallis. Visit website.
BIA Rural Providers Conference, November 30th to December 6th, Anchorage. Visit website.
HUD Spokane hosts Fair Housing Training for Housing Providers, December 2nd, Spokane. Visit website.
National Association of REALTORS & National Housing Council host Northwestern Regional Employer Assisted Housing Forum, December 3rd, Boise. Visit website.
Washington Department of Financial Institutions, City of Seattle Housing Office and Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host free, all-day Foreclosure Prevention Workshop for at-risk homeowners, December 5th, Seattle. To attend, call the Urban League at (800) 368-1455.
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