Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - February 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

On December 22, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) announced that it had recently added to the HUD USER web site the overall scores of the physical inspections that HUD's Real Estate Assessment Center completes of HUD-assisted and subsidized properties each year, including housing owned by public housing authorities and private housing providers. HUD reports that approximately 20,000 such inspections are conducted annually to ensure that assisted families have housing that is decent, safe, sanitary and in good repair. The HUD USER web site provides a full historical view of the results of those inspections and separate datasets are available for public housing and for multifamily assisted properties. The results represent the inspections conducted from 2001 through September 2009.

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On December 29, 2009, HUD issued a final rule regarding the regulations for its public and assisted housing programs to require the use of the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) system by public housing agencies and multifamily housing owners and management agents when verifying the employment and income of program participants. A final rule on the matter was published on January 27, 2009; however, consistent with administration policy to review rules issued during the transition from one Administration to another, HUD re-opened the January 27, 2009 final rule for public comment, and delayed the effective date of the regulatory amendments to January 31, 2010. After consideration of the issues raised by the commenters, HUD decided to make three minor technical changes to the rule to clarify the scope of the provision governing termination of assistance, and the scope of the Social Security number (SSN) disclosure requirements applicable to new household members younger than 6 years and current participants older than 62 years or older. The final rule went into effect on January 31.

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MassHousing on January 11 announced a loan commitment of as much as $14.4 million to preserve affordability at Mountain View Terrace, a 194-apartment community for seniors and families in Stoneham, Mass. The Atlantic Tambone Company, owner of Mountain View Terrace, will seek to extend as part of MassHousing's loan commitment the Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contract on all 194 apartments for the longest term possible. The taxable permanent loan will help fund capital improvements including window and door replacement, fire alarm system and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) upgrades, and repairs to concrete balconies. The transaction was part of MassHousing's Section 8 Proactive Preservation Program, which provides incentives for owners to renew soon-to-expire Section 8 HAP contracts instead of choosing to convert the units to market rate.

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On January 14, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan announced that HUD had awarded $2 billion in Recovery Act funding to states, local governments and not-for-profit housing developers, under HUD's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). Nearly 60 grantees are receiving awards. Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, this round of NSP grants is being awarded competitively to applicants to redevelop communities, create jobs and grow local economies by providing communities with the resources to purchase and rehabilitate vacant homes and convert them to affordable housing. A full list of those awarded grants can be found on HUD's web site: hud.gov/recovery.

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HUD recently released an update of the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) data, which provide counts of households that fit HUD-specified criteria such as housing needs, HUD-defined income limits and household types, of interest to planners, researchers, housing advocates and policymakers. Local governments use the information in the consolidated planning process; HUD uses it to develop allocation formulas for fund distribution to local jurisdictions. The data are tabulated from the Census Bureau's annual American Community Survey (ACS) that offers timely data for the period between censuses. Send comments and suggestions regarding the 2009 CHAS data to [email protected] with "CHAS Feedback" in the subject line.

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Department of Housing and Urban Development