May 16, 2012
Vol. 41, No. 10
FUNDING FOR HOUSING AND DEMOGRAPHIC DATA THREATENED. On May 9 the House of Representatives passed its FY13 Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill (H.R. 5326), eliminating all funding for the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, which is the only source of publicly available data on social, economic, and housing characteristics for all U.S. communities. The Senate may take up its bill (S. 2323) this week.
HOUSE APPROVES NEW FUNDING CUTS, WHITE HOUSE THREATENS VETO. The House has passed H.R. 5652, the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act, which would cancel the sequestration (across-the-board cuts in discretionary spending) approved in the 2011 Budget Control Act and implement deeper cuts in social programs but not in defense spending. The Senate is not expected to agree. The White House said President Obama will not sign any appropriations bills until the House agrees to abide by the Budget Control Act.
SECTION 533 HPG PREAPPLICATIONS INVITED. Nonprofits, state and local governments, federally recognized tribes, and consortia are eligible for Housing Preservation Grants to be used for repairs to owner-occupied or rental properties. Deadline is June 25. Obtain a preapplication form at USDA RD’s website or from an RD state office.
EXECUTIVE ORDER REQUIRES PUBLIC INPUT ON REVIEW OF EXISTING REGULATIONS. Building on Executive Order 13563 of January 11, 2011, which obligates federal agencies to conduct periodic retrospective reviews of their regulations, Executive Order 13610 of May 10, 2012 requires them, on a regular basis, to invite public suggestions about what regulations that should be reviewed and what changes should be adopted.
NEW REQUIREMENTS SET FOR HOME PROJECTS. Regulation changes proposed in December (see HAC News, 1/11/12) have not been finalized, but Notice CPD 12-007 implements similar changes, most only for projects using FY12 HOME funds. For example, a CHDO can be funded only if its staff have experience with the type of project proposed. A detailed summary of CPD 12-007 is available from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Contact a local HUD field office.
RULE CHANGES PROPOSED FOR SECTION 8. Comments are due July 16 on changes implementing Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 provisions for both tenant-based and project-based vouchers. See Federal Register, 5/16/12 or regulations.gov. Contact Danielle Bastarache, HUD, 202-401-3882.
GUIDANCE UPDATED FOR PREPAYMENT AND REFINANCING OF SECTION 202 PROJECTS. HUD Notice H 2012-8 implements the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2010 (see HAC News, 1/5/11). Contact a HUD Multifamily Hub office.
CDBG COLONIAS SET-ASIDE GUIDELINES PROVIDED. HUD Notice CPD-12-008 requires improved document-tation by HUD offices, intended to help track the accomplishments and measure the effectiveness of the set-aside in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. Contact Steve Rhodeside, HUD, 202-402-7375.
NATIONAL HOMEOWNERSHIP RATE LOWEST IN 15 YEARS. Census Bureau tabulations show that the national rate has fallen to 65.5% from its 2005 high of 69.2%; it is 43.1% for African Americans and 46.3% for Hispanics. In nonmetro areas, homeownership is currently 73.9%; it was 73.7% in 1997 and reached 76.3% in 2005.
GAO RECOMMENDS FURTHER STUDY OF OVERLAP IN FEDERAL HOMELESSNESS PROGRAMS.Fragmentation and overlap of services occur among the 26 homelessness programs operated by eight federal agencies, the Government Accountability Office reports. Coordination by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness helps, but its strategic plan lacks needed elements, says GAO. Homelessness: Fragmentation and Overlap in Programs Highlight the Need to Identify, Assess, and Reduce Inefficiencies (GAO-12-491) is available online or from GAO, 866-801-7077.
NONPROFITS INVESTIGATE MOST HOUSING DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS, NFHA REPORTS. A National Fair Housing Alliance review of 2011 data found nonprofit fair housing organizations investigated 65% of all complaints. Of all complaints nationwide, 44% involved disabilities and 19% involved race. More than 10% of complaints to nonprofits involved bases of discrimination not covered by federal law such as source of income, sexual orientation, or age. Fair Housing in a Changing Nation is posted at NFHA’s site.
USDA CELEBRATES 150TH ANNIVERSARY. A Presidential Proclamation recognizes that on May 15, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln signed legislation establishing USDA. (The Farmers Home Administration and the first USDA housing programs were created by the Housing Act of 1949.) USDA’s website has details about events.