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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - April 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced nearly $98 million in Section 811 Project Rental Assistance Demonstration program funds will go to 13 state housing agencies. The funding will support rental assistance for extremely low-income persons with disabilities, many of whom are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at high risk of homelessness. The following states received funds: California, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington. More information is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who also chairs President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, announced that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) will speed the approval of applications of certain multifamily apartment owners in New York and New Jersey. The move is meant to provide priority processing to substantially rehabilitate the properties or construct new developments in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, effective immediately. The notice applies to any multifamily project applying for mortgage insurance in the presidentially declared disaster areas in New York or New Jersey, whether or not the property was directly damaged by the recent storms and regardless of whether the transaction involves tax credits.

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The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) was awarded more than $4 million by HUD for its successful low-income housing program. The program, which aids low-income residents with disabilities, will be able to provide rental assistance to 150 extremely low-income residents with disabilities. The program will offer permanent housing and supportive services to those individuals. Many applicants in the program are transitioning out of institutional settings or are at extreme risk of homelessness. The DCA is working with the Department of Community Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities to provide these services.

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A new app for the iPhone and iPad was launched by HUD. HUD Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) worked with Hewlett Packard to create the Fair Housing App. The mobile application will provide the public with: easy ways to learn about their housing rights, how to file housing discrimination complaints, provide information about the fair housing complaint process and allow the public to access HUD’s toll-free discrimination hotline and link to HUD’s fair housing website. Mobile pages are available in English and Spanish for all brands.

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HUD published a report, “Worst Case Housing Needs 2011: A Summary Report to Congress,” analyzing the problems very low-income unassisted, renters face. These worst case housing needs are defined as: renters with very-low incomes (below half the median in their area) who do not receive government assistance and who either paid more than half their monthly incomes for rent, lived in severely substandard conditions or both. The report found that in 2011, roughly 8.5 million lower-income families fell into this category. This number is up from 7.1 million in 2009. HUD’s report also found large numbers of worst case needs were also found across various household types including families with children, senior citizens, and persons with disabilities.

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In January, HUD released Notice H 2013-03, which says that, beginning June 4, 2013, radon testing will be required for all multifamily dwellings. All federal agencies must adhere to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969. One of the requirements of HUD’s environmental policy states that property used for HUD programs be free of “radioactive substances where [they] could affect the health and safety of occupants.” Levels of 4 pCi/l or higher are considered dangerous. The American Lung Association states that radon gases kill more than 20,500 North Americans annually. The radon report will be required for all applications, unless otherwise noted, and should include the test results.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

Novogradac

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