|HUD e-Briefs from Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington
Michael S. Look, Region X Deputy Regional Administrator
|Leland Jones, Editor, (206) 220-5356 or Leland.firstname.lastname@example.org
APRIL IS FAIR HOUSING MONTH
It is, says HUD Secretary Fudge, "a time to recommit to our nation’s obligation to ensure that everyone has equal access to safe, affordable housing.
On March10 the U.S. Senate confirms Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio as our nation's 18th Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. "A good home shapes nearly every part of our lives. It’s where we start & end each day. It’s where we raise our families & come together in times of joy," she said in her first remarks as Secretary. "It’s where we find shelter & comfort during times of hardship, "I am proud to join a group of public servants who work with compassion and determination to change the lives of those in need. And I can’t wait to get started."
A FIGHTING CHANCE
At The White House on March 11th. President Joseph R. Biden signed legislation establishing the American Rescue Plan. "In the weeks that this bill has been discussed & debated, it’s clear that an overwhelming percentage of the American people. . .have made it clear — the people out there have made it clear they strongly support the American Rescue Plan. . .this historic legislation is about rebuilding the backbone of this country and giving people in this nation — working people and middle-class folks, the people who built the country — a fighting chance." So what does the American Rescue Plan mean for HUD & its partners & the communities & people we serve? See below:
- Emergency rental assistance. The legislation provides more than $21.5 billion in emergency rental assistance, to be administered by Treasury, to help millions of families keep up on their rent and remain in their homes.
Homeowner Assistance Fund. The legislation provides nearly $10 billion, to be administered by Treasury, to help homeowners behind on their mortgage and utility payments and avoid foreclosure and eviction.
Emergency housing vouchers. The legislation provides $5 billion for emergency housing vouchers for individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.
Homelessness assistance and supportive services program. The legislation provides $5 billion for the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to help create housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
Housing assistance and supportive services programs for Native Americans. The legislation provides $750 million for assistance for Native Americans and Native Hawaiians, helping reduce housing-related health risks during the pandemic.
Emergency assistance for rural housing. The legislation provides $100 million, to be administered by USDA, to help people in rural communities keep their homes during the pandemic.
Funds for housing counseling. The legislation provides $100 million, to be administered by NeighborWorks, for grants to housing counseling providers to provide services to households facing housing instability.
Relief measures for section 502 and 504 direct loan borrowers. The legislation provides $39 million, to be administered by USDA, for USDA Section 502 and 504 home loans, which help low- and very-low income borrowers purchase, repair, and rehabilitate housing in rural areas, while helping existing borrowers who are struggling to afford housing.
Funds for fair housing activities. The legislation provides $20 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program to investigate fair housing complaints, strengthen enforcement, and assist those who believe they have been victims of housing discrimination.
"The health of FHA’s Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund has remained resilient despite the financial challenges faced by homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages in 2020. The fund stands at more than $80 billion and remains well above the 2% minimum capital reserve required. Through the pandemic, the FHA portfolio has experienced increased levels of seriously delinquent loans and a heightened level of loans in forbearance. We continue to monitor mortgage performance trends within our portfolio, particularly related to those homeowners who are struggling financially because of the pandemic. . .In order to provide assistance to those struggling as a result of the pandemic, FHA took proactive policy steps in February to assist homeowners by extending foreclosure and eviction moratoria through June 30, streamlining COVID-19 loss mitigation options, and allowing longer forbearance for borrowers whose plans were expiring. We are already starting to see the positive effects of the President’s immediate actions during the first weeks of his Administration to help the nation’s homeowners, but we have much more work to do. . .Given the current FHA delinquency crisis and our duty to manage risks and the overall health of the fund, we have no near-term plans to change FHA’s mortgage insurance premium pricing. We will continue to rigorously evaluate our strategy and work transparently with Congress. Our number one priority is helping families keep their homes and remain safe as we work toward an equitable recovery." -- HUD Secretary Fudge, commenting on HUD's submission of a quarterly report to the Congress on the FHA Single Family Mortgage Insurance Fund, Mary 2021.
Centers for Disease director Dr. Rochelle Walensky signed an extension to the eviction moratorium further preventing the eviction of tenants who are unable to make rental payments. The moratorium that was scheduled to expire on March 31, 2021 is now extended through June 30, 2021.
HUD has submitted, as required, its Annual Homelessness Assessment Report for 2020 to the Congress. Analyzing data collected by some 300 Continuums of Care during a "point-in-time" count on a single night in January 2020. It reported that, on that night, 580,466 homeless people in America up 2.2 percent from January 2019, the fourth consecutive yearly increase and due principally to a 7 percent rise in the unsheltered homeless, mostly in California. Family homelessness did not experience a year-to-year decrease for the first time since 2010 while homelessness among veterans remained unchanged and youth homelessness fell slightly. The number of chronically homeless rose 15 percent over 2019 and, for the first time since 2011, exceeded 100,000 individuals. The numbers, said HUD Secretary Fudge, "are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to exacerbate the homelessness crisis.” Among the findings:
- In Alaska,1,940 homeless people were counted - or 26.6 people for every 10,000 Alaskans - up 2.2 percent from 2019 and 18.7 percent from 2007. 88.5 percent were sheltered. Chronic homelessness rose, but family and youth homelessness fell from 2019.
- In Idaho, 2,020 homeless people were counted - or 13 people for every 10,000 Idahoans - unchanged from 2019 but up 32.4 percent from 2007. 54.9 percent were sheltered. Family homelessness increased significantly over 2019 but veteran homeless fell.
- In Oregon, 14,655 homeless people were counted - or 35.7 people per 10,000 Oregonians - down 7.7 percent from 2019 and 17.7 percent from 2007. 39.4 percent were sheltered. Family and youth homelessness fell from 2019, but veteran homelessness rose faster than in any other state.
- In Washington, there were 22,923 homeless people counted - or 30.1 people for every 10,000 Washingtonians - up 6.2 percent from 2019 but down 2 percent from 2007. 52.8 percent were sheltered. Family homelessness, veteran homelessness and chronic homelessness rose from 2019 to 2020 and the rate of increase among all homeless counted was the third-highest among the states.
U.S. Senate confirms Congresswoman Marcia L. Fudge of Ohio as the 18th Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. . .HUD awards of $62 million in Indian Housing Block Grants appropriated by American Rescue Plan to Tribes & Villages in Alaska, $2.5 million to Idaho Tribes, $10.5 million to Oregon Tribes & $29.2 million to Washington Tribes. . .President Joseph R. Biden nominates Adrianne Todman, currently CEO of the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials, to serve as HUD's next Deputy Secretary. . .Idaho Housing & Finance Association opens another round of Housing Preservation Program to help Idaho renters who need help paying rent. . .Next City reports on what happened when a group of neighborhood businesses that used Portland, Oregon's version of a "business improvement district" to work with the City to launch a "hygiene hub" for the homeless. . .The first 8 net-zero homeownership units at the Kulshan Community Land Trust & Habitat for Humanity Whatcom Telegraph Road Townhomes have been completed ahead of schedule says Whatcom Watch On-Line. . .A building that once was Pocatello's City Hall & later, an Idaho State Police lab, is being converted by Aid For Friends into "spacious & modern" is "substantially completed" & expected to welcome its first occupants in mid-July says Idaho State Journal. . .Tacoma News Tribune columnist Matt Driscoll takes a look at how the Eviction Resolution Program established by Washington Courts last November is working in Pierce County, one of six counties chosen to participate in the pilot. . .Though details are still being worked out, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation estimates the recently enacted American Rescue Plan will enable it to distribute $152 million in rental assistance to Alaskan renters & $52 million to homeowners who are unable because of the pandemic to meet their monthly obligations as well as $5 million in HUD HOME Investment funds to produce & preserve affordable housing as well as a yet-to-be-determined allocation for emergency housing vouchers for families & individuals experiencing homelessness.
"TALK OF THE TOWNS"
The "talk of the town" in the February 21st issue of The New Yorker were Alaskan towns like Kotzebue or Sitka as well as Native villages like Akutan or Teller that, despite the logistical & climactic challenges, have been "beating the rest of the country in vaccine distribution." Says one beneficiary, “You feel kind of lucky,to have the opportunity to get the vaccine.” Smart, too.
Is Nampa, Idaho becoming the Silicon Valley of affordable modular housing? A tour of the 400,000 square-foot Autovol Volumetric Modular factory - the only one of its kind in the U.S. says its owner - where robots work side-by-side with a growing workforce certainly suggests it is, "I looked at automobile companies thinking, ‘If they can do it, why can’t we in construction?,’ Rick Murdock, the company's CEO, told The Idaho Press. “I’m hoping it’s going to expand across our country as a way to solve affordable housing issues and then globally.”
THE GOOD OL' DAYS?
So, all agree that Anchorage is facing a housing crisis, right? Of course. But it's not the first time. But thanks to historian David Reamer & The Anchorage Daily News, it's clearly not the first time. In the early 1940's Mr. Reamer reports that two tourists visited to see the sights. In today's dollars they had the equivalent of $68,000. But no one would rent them a room. So they asked the Chief of Police if they could sleep in the city's jail. He consented. Hotels began evicting guests after just three nights, local landowners renting small parcels where people could pitch a tent, the only way a solider being transferred from Ft. Richardson back to the Lower 48 could get someone to take his dog was to throw his one-room house into the deal, 500 homeless families. Still no match for today? Before answering, you may want to take a look at "How a severe mid-century housing crisis left its mark on Anchorage neighborhoods."
BRIEF BRIEFS TOO
The Puyallup Tribe of Indians & the Low Income Housing Institute celebrate the grand opening of ʔay’gʷasilali, The Place of Transformation, a tiny home village in Tacoma, Washington to serve up to 35 Tribal members. . .Using funds from the State of Oregon, the Oregon Community Foundation's Project Turnkey has enabled non-profits & local governments to acquire hotels & motels to provide housing to Oregonians displaced by wildfires or COVID-10 in Ashland, Corvallis, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Lincoln City, Medford & Pendleton. . .With support from the City of Seattle, the Washington State Housing Finance Commission, the National Equity Fund & HUD, the Low Income Housing Institute celebrates the grand opening of The Clay Apartments providing 76 units of housing to homeless individuals, couples & veterans in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. . .The Milken Institute ranks the City of Idaho Falls, Idaho the nation's "best performing small city" in the country, the City of Coeur d'Alene the 6th best, the City of Bellingham, Washington the 12th best & the City of Bend, Oregon the 13th best performing small city says The East Oregonian, while Boise ranked 6th & Seattle the 13th as the "best performing" metropolitan statistical area. . .Yakima Housing Authority tells Yakima Herald Republic Chuck Austin Place - a former armory being converted to 41 units of HUD-assisted housing for veterans - is on schedule to be completed this summer with everything "on time & on budget". . .Vancouver, Washington Housing Authority purchases former Howard Johnson hotel to convert by June into Bertha Cain Baugh Place. a 63-unit non-congregate shelter near the Vancouver Mall. It's named in honor of a founding member of the city's NAACP says. The Columbian. . .Boise, Idaho City Council votes unanimously to re-zone a downtown parcel now with gas station to permit construction of 7-story, 105 unit building that, the developer tells The Idaho Press, "is not million-dollar condos, it’s workforce housing". . .Washington Governor Jay Inslee & Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan extend moratoriums on evictions for non-payment of rent through June 30. . .Seattle City Council votes to provide free legal counsel to eligible renters facing eviction says Crosscut.
USDA sets April 27th deadline to submit comments on its proposed final rule on expanding broadbands access in rural America.
HUD sets May 4th deadline to apply for up to 30 grants from Older Adults Home Modification Grants program to "make safety & functional home modifications & limited repairs " for low-income elderly
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sets May 5 deadline for Tribes, local governments & non-profits to apply for grants of up to $1.1 million in per diem funds, to serve special needs population such as frail elderly, women, chronically mentally ill & others & ALSO sets May 25 deadline for current grants-per-diem grantee s to apply for capital grants of up to $2.5 million capital grants to provide more individual-unit & less congregate transitional housing.
The EPA sets May 7th deadline to apply for some 50 Environmental Justice Small Grants of up to $50,000 each to improve the "environment & public health of low-income communities" &, also, sets May 7th deadline to apply for 20 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement of up to $130,000 each.
The Denali Commission & EPA set April 16 deadline for Tribes & intertribal consortia to to apply for a competitive grant to fund a lead entity to implement a household hazardous waste backhaul service program to serve rural Alaskan communities.
BRIEF BRIEFS THREE
At a meeting in Renton, Washington convened by Governor Jay Inslee in the days following last week's shootings Atlanta Dow Constantine, King County Executive Dow Constantine says County will spend $5 million in American RescuePlan funds to combat anti-Asian discrimination. . .Caldwell, Idaho City Council okays conditional use permit, says Idaho Press for Caldwell Housing Authority to add 217 affordable, RV park spaces at a housing complex it owns so RV households don't have to park on street or in privately-owned lots. . .The Housing Initiative, a subsidiary of Vancouver Washington's Council for the Homeless, celebrates opening of The Elwood, 46 units of a new affordable permanent, supportive housing with trauma-informed focus for people exiting homelessness. . .Roots Young Adult Shelter opens new, 45-bed in Seattle's University District. . .Marc Dones who's been named the first director of the King County Regional Homeless Authority. . .Based on recommendation from a housing task force, Clatsop County & Clatsop Community Action announce the county soon will have two new homeless liaisons - Cheryl Paul & Shannon Turner - says The Daily Astorian. . .Bellingham & Whatcom County are latest local governments in Washington to approve increase in sales tax to support affordable housing the Herald reports. . .The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation says the East Oregonian, unveils plans for three projects to produce or preserve more than 100 units of housing. . .Thanks to $200,000 in grants from Washington State Department of Commerce & City of Ellensburg, says The Daily Record the 49-unit Spurling Court affordable housing complex is being solarized. . .USDA awards $4.1 million loan to North Olympic Health Care Network in Port Angeles, Washington to purchase building to lower operating costs.
- HUD Charges Rhode Island Housing Provider with Discriminating Against Families with Children
- HUD Charges Pennsylvania Housing Provider with Discriminating Against People with Mental Disabilities
- HUD Charges Pennsylvania Landlords with Sexual Harassment and Retaliation
- HUD Approves Agreement with Wells Fargo Bank Resolving Claims of Lending Discrimination
- HUD Approves Agreement with California Housing Provider Resolving Claims of Disability Discrimination
Metro Oregon says it's already produced 2,100 of 3,600 of affordable units using a third of the funds provided by a property tax levy approved by voters in Multnomah, Washington & Clackamas counties in 2018, Portland Tribune reports.
Right now, says the Vancouver, Washington Housing Authority, it has 159 new units of affordable housing under construction & another 106 to start construction later this year. "We've definitely upped the amount of projects," says executive director who also notes 305 exiting units are being renovated & another 287 to start renovation shortly.
In July 2019 Oregon Housing & Community Services set a goal of funding 1,000 permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless. In less than two years, it's already funded 656. WOW!
QUOTE TO NOTE
“I’m glad that option was there. My great grandmother lost her mom and dad in the  flu epidemic. I’m not ready to die. . .So I was thankful for the vaccine” - Brian Sharpe who is homeless & had just received his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at Brother Francis Shelter in Anchorage speaking to Alaska Public Media, March 13, 2021.
U.S. Treasury revises its Emergency Rental Assistance FAQs to make them "less onerous" & easier to understand at. . .HUD economists issue a "deep dive" analysis of our Region's - Alaska, Idaho, Oregon & Washington - housing market in the 4th quarter of Federal fiscal year 2020. . .Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issues report estimating that "as legal protections expire in the months ahead, over 11 million families — nearly 10 percent of U.S. households — are at risk of eviction & foreclosure". . .HUD issues insightful analysis of our initial 10 Youth Homelessness Development Programs grants-including Continuums of Care in Anchorage & Seattle/King County. . .Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies issues report entitled "Despite Devastating Effects on Broader Economy, Pandemic has been a Boon for U.S. Home Improvement". .In collaboration with other national housing organizations, in March New York University's Furman Center issued three reports on emergency rental assistance programs that have been established across the country in response to the pandemic - COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance: Analysis of a National Survey of Programs; Learning from Emergency Rental Assistance Programs: Lessons from 15 Case Studies; &, most recently, Advancing Racial Equity in Emergency Rental Assistance Programs. . .FHA issues Mortgagee Letter 21-10 re-extending interim procedures to address site access issues in relation to Section 232 mortgage insurance applications during the pandemic. . .HUD economists publish Housing Market Profile of Wenatchee, Washington. . .The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau publishes 2020 HMDA - Home Mortgage Disclosure Act - data that helps to determine if some 4,000-plus financial institutions are meeting the housing needs of the communities they serve.
NOTES TO NOTE
USDA sets April 1st deadline for eligible organizations -- non-profits, Tribes, units of state or local governments to submit pre-applications for this year's first round of Section 514 Farm Labor Housing loans & Section 516 Farm Labor Housing grants. . .HUD sets April 15th deadline for Tribes & Tribally designated Housing Entities for $3.2 million for up to 25 new HUD Tribal VASH-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing – grants. . .HUD & Advisory Council on Historic Preservation set April 16th deadline to submit nominations for the 2021 HUD Secretary's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation. . .The Denali Commission & EPA set April 16 deadline for Tribes & intertribal consortia to apply for a competitive grant to fund a lead entity to implement a household hazardous waste backhaul service program to serve rural Alaskan communities. . .Business Oregon sets April 30 deadline for non-entitlement cities, towns & counties to apply for over $12 million in “regular” CDBG funding as well as an additional $7 million in CDBG-DR funding provided by the CARES Act. . .Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines sets May 1 deadline to apply for 2021 Affordable Housing Program funds. . .HUD sets May 4 deadline to apply for up to 30 grants from Older Adults Home Modification Grants program to "make safety & functional home modifications & limited repairs " for low-income elderly. . .sets May 5 deadline for Tribes, local governments & non-profits to apply for grants of up to $1. VA1 million in per diem funds, to serve special needs population such as frail elderly, women, chronically mentally ill & others. . .EPA sets May 7th deadline to apply for some 50 Environmental Justice Small Grants of up to $50,000 each to improve the "environment & public health of low-income communities" &, also, sets May 7th deadline to apply for 20 Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving Cooperative Agreement of up to $130,000 each. . .VA sets May 25th deadline for current grants-per-diem grantees to apply for capital grants of up to $2.5 million capital grants to provide more individual-unit & less congregate transitional housing. . .HUD sets May 26 deadline for non-profits to apply for up to 45 Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Very Low Income Elderly capital advance awards & project-based rental assistance totaling $150 million. . .Washington Department of Commerce sets June 2 deadline for non-entitlement cities, towns & counties to apply for CDBG general purpose grants. . .USDA’s Rural Utilities Services is now accepting letters of intent from potential applications from eligible intermediaries for its Rural Energy Savings Program to help families & small businesses achieve savings from cost-effective, energy-efficient measures.
Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies hosts Webcast on The $15,000 Question: Who Do Down Payment Programs Help & How Should They be Designed, April 6, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities hosts on-line Self-Monitoring Workshop, April 6 & 7, on-line. Visit
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on Conquering Tenant LIHTC File Audits, April 7, on-line. Visit
Idaho Smart Growth hosts Citizens Planning Academy Webinar on the Difference between Comprehensive Planning & Zoning, April 7, on-line. Visit
HUD & National American Indian Housing Council host Webinar on Intermediate Financial Management & Audit Preparation, April 6 to 8, on-line. Visit
Fair Housing Accessibility FIRST hosts construction & design Webinar on focused on Accessible Routes/Site Work, April 7, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities hosts on-line Workshop on Residential Endorsement, April 13 to 15, on-line. Visit
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on EIV Income Discrepancies: Don't Go Crazy - It's a Tool!, April 14, on-line. Visit
National American Indian Housing Council hosts NAHASDA Essentials Workshop, April 13 to 16, on-line. Visit
HUD hosts a Webinar on the Building Blocks to Develop a Youth Homelessness Response System, April 15, on-line. Visit
The Alaska Division of Homeland Security, FEMA & the National Earthquake Center host Webinar on Earthquake-Resistant Design Concepts, April 21, on-line. Visit
Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies hosts Webcast on How are Landlords Managing the COVID-19 Rental Crisis? - Evidence from a Large Cross-Site Survey, April 26 on-line. Visit
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on The Student Rules: Keeping Them Straight, April 27, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities hosts on-line NAHASDA Essentials Workshop, April 27 to 29, on-line. Visit
The Alaska Division of Homeland Security, FEMA & the National Earthquake Center host Webinar on Rapid Visual Screening of Buildings for Potential Seismic Hazards, April 28, on-line. Visit
Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on Intermediate HUD Occupancy, April 28, on-line. Visit
Pacific Northwest NAHRO hosts virtual 2021 Annual Conference, May 3 to 7, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities hosts on-line Workshop on Uniform Guidance 2 CFR Part 200 (Super Circular), May 4, on-line. Visit
The Alaska Division of Homeland Security, FEMA & the National Earthquake Center host Webinar on Post-earthquake Safety Evaluation of Buildings, May 5, on-line. Visit
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on Interviewing Applicants for Move-In: It's an Art and a Science, May 11, on-line. Visit
Association of Alaska Housing Authorities hosts on-line Housing Policy Workshop, May 11, on-line. Visit
Oregon Affordable Housing Management Association hosts Webinar on Fair Housing Compliance: We're All in this Together, May 13, on-line. Visit
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