Nope. "EHLP" is not a typo. It stands for FHA's new Emergency Homeowner Loan Program which will provide interest-free, forgivable "bridge loans" of up to $50,000 to income eligible homeowners who've gone into default because of a loss of employment, underemployment or medical costs to help those homeowners restore mortgage currency and get back on their feet. In early October, HUD Northwest Regional Administrator Mary McBride announced that the application window for EHLP loans is expected to open in December. She also reported that HUD has allocated $56.3 million for the program in Washington state, $13.3 million in Idaho and $3.9 million in Alaska (Oregon is offering a similar program, but it's funded by Treasury's "hardest hit" program. ""In crafting this new loan program," McBride explained, "HUD built on the lessons learned from Treasury's Hardest Hit initiative to design and implement a program to assist struggling unemployed homeowners avoid preventable foreclosures." Again, expect the application a-b-c's in December.
HUD Deputy Secretary Sims visited Seattle in mid-October to deliver some good news - the award of more than $7.9 million in first-ever Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grants to the Thurston County Planning Council in Olympia, the Puget Sound Regional Council in Seattle and the Lane Council of Governments in Eugene to support the planning of smarter, more livable and more sustainable communities. The competitively-awarded grants are part of the Obama Administration's Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which brings EPA, HUD, USDA and DOT together to ensure that their funding consider affordable housing, transportation, and environmental protection together. A total of 45 grants were awarded nationwide from a pool of some 1,000 applicants. Sims said the competition reflected a new "bottom up" approach. "Rather than sticking to the old Washington playbook of dictating how communities can invest their grants," he said, we "encouraged creative, locally focused thinking."
MORE GOOD NEWS
The next week, the Deputy travelled to Portland for the Rail-volution conference and brought still more good news - the award of $3.5 million in Sustainable Communities Challenge grants to the Spokane Tribe of Indians and to Washington County, Oregon. The program, launched this year, promotes "a new a new generation of sustainable and livable communities that, connect housing, employment and economic development with transportation and other infrastructure improvements." To avoid sprawl, the Spokane Tribe, for example, will use its grant to make sure that new housing on the Reservation is developed in areas where there already is infrastructure. Washington County will promote smarter development of town centers and transit in the unincorporated areas of the County between Hillsboro and Beaverton. With two different funding streams for the 62 grants awarded, HUD and DOT collaborated both as a point-of-entry for applicants and in the competitive award decisions. "These grants," said Secretary Donovan, "will help communities to hit on all cylinders, producing more affordable housing near good jobs and commercial centers which will help to reduce our energy consumption and increase competitiveness."
Mary McBride names Donna Batch, a 12-year veteran of HUD, as HUD's Northwest Deputy Regional Administrator. . .Habitat for Humanity Spokane breaks ground on 20-acre site in Deer Park where, says Spokesman Review, "volunteers will build 114 homes for families currently relegated to substandardhousing". . .Pocatello's Idaho-Nevada Community Development Corporation wins $1.9 million and Boise's Northwest Real Estate Capital wins $500,000 in CDFI Capital Magnet funds to develop affordable housing. . . HUD posts Seattle-Tacoma metro area housing survey online. . .Asset & Property Management Division of Oregon Housing & Community Services takes the blue ribbon for program excellence awarded by National Council of State Housing Agencies. . .Longview Daily News says Justice Department is submitting proposed settlement with apartment owner charged with refusing to rent to families with children for okay by U.S. District Court for Western Washington. . .Through September 30th, 22,154 families in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington have secured trial or permanent mortgage modifications under Home Affordable Mortgage Program. . .With help from Home Depot and City, Tri-City Herald reports, within a month Columbia Basin Veterans Coalition hopes to open six-bed facility in Kennewick for veterans without "roofs over their heads". . .City Council gives Ketchum Community Development funds, says Idaho Mountain Express, for "planning and public outreach" on its second affordable housing project. . .Klamath Housing Authority and the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing celebrate grand opening of geo-thermally-powered Glen Townhomes in Klamath Falls. . .Times News says Buhl City Council has unanimously-approved request for Idaho CDBG funds to support infrastructure upgrades associated with expansion of Seneca Foods. . .Work begins in Wenatchee, says The World, to convert old Parkside Nursing Home into "comprehensive mental health center" with 14 units for those "with a mental health diagnosis who also are chronically homeless."
Saying it will "provide public housing authorities the necessary resources to give their residents education and enrichment opportunities that will open doors," HUD Secretary Donovan has announced the availability of $35 million under the new Capital Fund Education & Training Community Facilities Program to develop facilities to provide early childhood education, adult education or job training. The funds will be awarded competitively with applications due January 11th. While the facilities are principally for public housing residents, families in the larger "community may utilize and benefit" from their services. The maximum grant award is capped at $5 million, but applicants must also identify outside financial commitments equal to at least 5 percent of the grant and must also identify at least one education or training service provider that will partner with them. More online
HUD's now accepting applications for three grant competitions that, over the years, have helped thousands of residents of HUD-assisted and public housing to become financially self-sufficient. The first competition - the Family Self-Sufficiency Program under HUD's Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) program - will competitively award $15 million to public and Indian housing authorities to "to increase earned income and financial literacy, reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance, and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency." Applications are due at grants.gov on January 19th. You'll find more details online. . . The second competition - the Housing Choice Voucher Family Self Sufficiency Program - will competitively award $60 million to public housing authorities to pay the salaries of FSS service coordinators. Applications are due at grants.gov on December 6th and more details can be found online. The third competition - the ROSS Service Coordinators Program - will competitively award $35 million to provide funding to hire and maintain Service Coordinators who will assess the needs of residents of conventional Public Housing or Indian housing and coordinate available resources in the community to meet those needs." Applications are due at grants.gov February 21st and you'll find more details online. Good Luck!
* * * NEWS FLASH * * *
The October 27th Federal Register included a Final Rule to insure that HUD is aligned with the 2005 Violence Against Women Act and, as Secretary Donovan explained, "to protect victims of domestic abuse" living in public or HUD-assisted housing "from being evicted just because they were victimized. The rule takes effect November 26th. For more, visit online.
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
Alaska Housing Finance Corporation begins demolition of 60-unit, 45-year-old Lousac Manor public housing to make way for 120 units of new housing that will be "the first mixed-income workforce housing in Alaska". . .King County starts $1.5 million Recovery Act energy upgrade and building envelope renovation at 40-unit Forest Glen complex in Renton that will cut energy use by 25 percent and provide, says Authority's Stephen Norman, up to 40 "good paying green jobs". . ."Eagerly anticipated renovation" of 80 year old Centre Court building downtown - financed, in part, by a HUD-guaranteed Section 108 loan from the City, says Eugene Register Guard, "appears ready to proceed" after higher-than-expected costs forces project revisions. . .Issaquah Press says Governor Gregoire "shines international spotlight" in speech at Shanghai World Expo on zero-energy zHome development in Issaquah Highlands. . .Portland Housing Bureau seeks comments by November 6th on Consolidated Plan amendment to provide $700,000 of Section 108 revolving loan funds to renovate 72 units at Uptown Tower Apartments in return for which "owner will preserve the affordability of its units by renewing the expiring Section 8 subsidy contract with the federal government". . .King County Housing Authority completes $2 million Recovery Act project to restore the exterior and structural integrity of the 80-unit Southridge Apartments in Federal Way that had been damaged by persistently wet and windy weather over the past 40 years. . .Saying City of Hailey has "no choice," Mayor and City Council repeal community housing ordinance that had produced 13 units of community housing since 2005 to insure City's compliance with Idaho District Court rulings, reports Idaho Mountain Express, that had declared such ordinances illegal. . .Eager to "beat the wet weather season," Seattle Housing Authority breaks ground for the 86-unit Lake City Village development - funded by HUD's HOPE VI program and the Recovery Act - and already has laid the foundation with "more than 120 trucks' worth of concrete."
Idaho is the Gem State and one gem you'll find in ample supply there is innovation. The Federal First Time Homebuyer Tax Credit enacted in 2009, for example, was intended by the Congress and the President to spark homebuying in what, at best, was a down market. With a little innovation, the Idaho Housing and finance association made sure it would. Simply put, the Association pioneered the idea of "monetarizing" the Credit, essentially offering a 2nd mortgage which would provide potential buyers with up to $7,000 to help cover their down payment and closing costs. Once the buyers filed their taxes with the IRS, any refund due to the credit would help pay-off the Association's 2nd. The innovation worked, the Association says, with more than 1,300 buyers using monetarization to close on their piece of the American Dream. But the Association didn't stop there. In collaboration with the Ada County Association of REALTORS and thanks to a $60,000 grant from the National Association of REALTORS and funds from the Intermountain Multiple Listing Service, they were able to provide a little extra incentive - a Welcome Home Idaho grant. To qualify, buyers who monetarized the Credit had to pay-off their 2nd before the first payment was due. If they did, Welcome Home Idaho funds were used to cover any interest or fees they would otherwise owe. 261 of the more than 1,300 buyers qualified. "The partnership," said the Association's Susan Samba, "played an important role by helping new homeowners with one of the primary costs they face during the home purchase process." So, too, did the Gem State's commitment to Ida-vation. "
WHAT THE "H"?
Think about the "H" in HUD and you think "housing," right? Well, don't forget "hospital." Like the 40-bed Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton, Oregon, 15 miles southeast of Salem. It's just been okayed for a $27.1 million FHA-insured mortgage under HUD's Section 242 Hospital Mortgage Insurance Program to build a -new, 40,000 square foot patient tower. "Why would a hospital want to get any more tangled up with a Federal program?," you might be asking. Simple. Using FHA mortgage insurance will, over the life of the loan will save the Hospital an expected $12.4 million in interest. "This is the right plan, the right financing and the right time," said Santiam CEO Terry Fletchall. Better still, the construction will support some 390 jobs. And, once the tower opens, reported The Statesman Journal, the Hospital expects to add up to 50 new, permanent staff positions. All told, the project will generate some $73.1 million in economic activity. Good health - both for the people and the economy of Stayton.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
Metlakatla Indian Housing Authority in Alaska, the Community Action Partnership in Idaho, and the Community Action Services Team and Umpqua Community Development Corporation in Oregon and the Opportunity Council and Community Action Center, Inc., in Washington state win USDA Housing Preservation Grants that, said Secretary Vilsack, help rural to help rural "people make needed repairs" to their homes. . .Portland becomes the 15th city in Oregon, the 33rd in the country to be named a "green power community" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency tag because of its commitment "to purchasing renewable energy in amounts that meet or exceed EPA purchase requirements". . .Pocatello Neighborhood Housing Services receives $10,000 contribution from Citi Foundation that, says director Mark Dahlquist, "helps us to keep the staff level at where we're at right now and continue the foreclosure counseling", . . .Catholic Charities Housing Services celebrates grand opening of 51-unit St. Martha's Plaza in George. . . KEZI-TV says Eugene City Council picks St. Vincent de Paul to develop 54 unit Stellar Apartments on 3-acre land bank parcel. . .Everett Housing Authority celebrates "grand re-opening" of Pineview Community Center, renovated and expanded with Recovery Act and HUD funds. . .Oregonian says Lincoln County Community Land Trust shortly will "put its first property on the market, offering it to the first qualified buyer at a price just over half of what the nonprofit has invested and well below its market". . .Kitsap Sun says some 50 people attended the first meeting of the new Gig Harbor/Key Peninsula Coalition to End Homelessness. . .Northwest Real Estate Capital opens Stepping Stone Center - the newest HUD-certified Neighborhood Networks computer center - in Lewiston with help from Lewis & Clark State College, Idaho Division of Veterans, Potlach #1 Credit Union and Wells Fargo. . .FHA issues Mortgagee Letter 10-36 eliminating the requirement that the sum of all liens not exceed the geographical maximum mortgage limit for both purchase and refinance actions and clarifies that "only the FHA insured first lien is subject to FHA's maximum mortgage limits".
CONGRATS. . .
. . .To Bill Hobbs of Seattle's Downtown Emergency Service Center, Cathie Griffith of the ARC of Spokane, Maureen Howard of Washington state Habitat for Humanity, Paul Lambros of Plymouth Housing Group, the Downtown Emergency Service Center and Sea Mar Community Health Centers as winners of the 17th annual Friend of Housing Award announced at Housing Washington conference in Tacoma. "Every year," noted Washington Housing Finance Commission chair Karen Miller, we "honor those who excel at addressing this important public concern of decent housing for all of Washington's residents."
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Sorry we missed the announcement a couple of months ago, but congratulations certainly are in order to Habitat for Humanity affiliates in north Idaho, Bend, Bremerton, Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Spokane, Tacoma, Tukwila and Yakima that, along with 44 other affiliates nationwide, have been selected to launch Habitat's Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative. Initiative affiliates will partner with other community organizations, says Habitat, to "provide services that enhance the overall quality of life across struggling neighborhoods" through new home construction, rehabilitation of vacant and foreclosed properties, home repair and weatherization. "This does not mean we will stop building housing," Bend Habitat's Mark Quinlan told KTVZ-TV, "but rather we are looking for other ways to serve low-income families."
NOTES TO NOTE
Telephone number for FHA's National Servicing Center Hotline has been changed to 877/622-8525. . .HUD sets November 8th deadlines to apply for $10 million in Healthy Homes Production, $6 million in Healthy Homes Technical Studies and $1 million in Lead Technical Studies grants. . .HUD sets November 15th deadline for comment on revisions to Section 8 Renewal Policy Guidebook. . .HUD sets November 16th deadline to apply for $2.6 million in Asthma Interventions in Public & Multifamily Assisted Housing grants. . .Treasury sets November 19th deadline to apply for $135 million in CDFI Financial Assistance or Technical Assistance awards. . .HUD sets November 22nd deadline to apply for $124 million in HOPE VI Revitalization grants. . . HUD sets December 1st deadline to apply fo$15 million in rental assistance vouchers under Family Unification Program Labor's Employment & Training Administration sets December 3rd deadline to apply for $130 million in YouthBuild grants. . .HUD sets December 6th deadline to apply for $60 million in Family Self Sufficiency Housing Choice Voucher funds. . . USDA Rural Development sets December 22nd deadline to apply for almost $6.3 million in Rural Community Development initiative funds to build "capacity and ability to undertake projects related to housing, community facilities, and community and economic development in rural areas". . .USDA Rural Development sets December 31st deadline to apply for $129 million under Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program.. . .HUD sets January 14th deadline to apply for $35 million in Capital Fund Education & Training Community Facilities funds. . .HUD sets January 19th deadline to apply for $15 million in ROSS/Family Self Sufficiency grants. . .Oregon Housing & Community Services sets February 11th, 2011 deadline to apply for $3.4 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program II, Housing Opportunity Bill and other state funds to address foreclosure problems in Clackamas, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Jackson, Marion and Washington counties. . .HUD sets February 21st deadline to apply for $35 million in Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Service Coordinators grants.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"The new Portland Housing Bureau, launched this summer, just announced awards of over $1.3 million to local non- profits working to close the minority homeownership gap. For Portland's underserved communities, this is a promising start. . .Too often in the past, opportunistic new organizations have sprung up, written fancy grant applications that reference people of color, then, once the money is secured, minority needs are sidelined and the promised results fail to materialize. This grant award has gone to exactly the right place - trusted nonprofits with a strong track record of reaching out to minority communities. These agencies don't just talk; they actually help people of color buy homes. . . Finally, the city has made a significant move toward partnering with our community, and by doing so, it has moved beyond the rhetoric of liberal promises of equality. Promises are worth exactly the paper they are written on—history has taught us that. Just ask our brothers and sisters in the Native American community. But with education, support and resources to help people buy their first homes, these housing agencies will help people achieve their piece of the American Dream. . . Homeownership means stable housing and an opportunity to build wealth for communities of color that have been shut out by lack of opportunity, unfair lending practices and a history of red lining. In the middle of a national housing crisis - a projected 1 million homes will be foreclosed this year nationwide - this funding represents a glimmer of hope -and a clear commitment to closing the gap." - Bernie Foster ,"Portland Housing Bureau: An Example to Follow", The Skanner, September 20th, 2010
Northwest ONAP hosts NAHASDA Procurement Training workshop, November 2nd to 4th, Airway Heights.
Oregon Housing & Community Services, Oregon Association of REALTORS & Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host Homeownership Forum, November 4th, Corvallis.
Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals hosts annual Vibe Event, November 5th, SeaTac.
LEED for Idaho Homes training, November 5th, Boise.
Housing Development Consortium hosts Sustainable Communities & Affordable Housing Forum, November 5th, Seattle.
Washington Association of Mortgage Professionals hosts Mortgage VIBE Event, November 5th, Seattle.
Sustainable Communities Start With Healthy & Green Homes conference, November 9th & 10th, Seattle.
Idaho Small Business Forum, November 9th, Boise.
Oregon Housing & Community Services, Oregon Association of REALTORS & Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host Homeownership Forum, November12th, Salem.
Oregon Housing & Community Services, Oregon Association of REALTORS & Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host Homeownership Forum, November 15th, Portland.
Alaska Municipal League annual conference, November 15th to 19th, Juneau.
Oregon Housing & Community Services, Oregon Association of REALTORS & Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco host Homeownership Forum, November 222nd, Bend.