Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - January 2011

Journal of Tax Credits Volume 2 Issue 1Saturday, January 1, 2011

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-MN, introduced H.R. 6468, the Rental Housing Revitalization Act, designed to revitalize public housing structures in need of capital for repairs. Ellison said that H.R. 6468, which replaces the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD's) earlier Preservation, Enhancement, and Transformation of Rental Assistance proposal, would allow public housing authorities to use mortgage financing to generate upfront capital. Public housing funding has lagged behind need for decades and caused more than 10,000 public housing units to leave the federal housing stock each year, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). In NLIHC's analysis of the bill, the coalition said it would streamline rental assistance programs and give tenants more control over where they live by allowing housing agencies and assisted housing owners to convert their subsidy streams to new property-based rental assistance contracts. Download a copy of H.R. 6468 from www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD announced $25 million in grants through the Rural Innovation Fund for rural and tribal communities struggling to address distressed housing conditions and poverty. Applicants may apply for only one of three grant types under the fund: single purpose, which offers $7.5 million to applicants that identify a specific area of need, with a maximum individual grant amount of $300,000; comprehensive, which provides as much as $2 million to applicants that can address a target area's social, housing and economic needs; and economic development and entrepreneurship for federally recognized tribes, under which $5 million is available to support those types of economic opportunities, with a maximum individual grant amount of $800,000. The full text of the funding notice is available at www.grants.gov.

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The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) announced its physical inspection requirements for all IHCDA-assisted properties. All properties are subject to two inspections during the award period. IHCDA said a licensed home inspector must conduct the first inspection upon the completion of the documented scope of work, to document and minimize issues that are discovered before IHCDA's final physical inspection. If paid staff of the award recipient completes the work on a home, then a third-party inspector must be used. Conversely, if an outside contractor completes the work, IHCDA will permit the recipient's staff to conduct the initial inspection. An IHCDA community development inspector will schedule and conduct the second physical inspection after construction is completed. The award recipient is responsible for making arrangements with unit owners or tenants prior to the inspection. More information is available on IHCDA's web site at www.in.gov/ihcda.

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Scholars are calling for new policies to accelerate stalled brownfield development, according to an independent journal published by HUD. Brownfield redevelopers confront larger obstacles than site contamination, Cityscape's November issue reported. One article explores the conflicts between economic development and environmental improvement, and concludes that partial brownfield clean-up projects are more likely to fail than those in which residents and other stakeholders are involved from the start. Another article examines whether a state's voluntary clean-up program can support redevelopment of contaminated properties in an urban area, finding that participation over time may significantly enhance the use of inner-city property industrial and commercial purposes. A third article considers HUD's own brownfields policy and finds that more guidance and oversight is needed to sustain brownfields mitigation efforts. Cityscape's articles are available online at www.huduser.org.

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The National Leased Housing Association (NLHA) posted scholarship applications for assisted housing residents, including Section 8 vouchers recipients and tax credit property residents, on its education fund web page. The education fund provides scholarships that cover tuition and related college or trade school expenses. NLHA is encouraging its members to notify their residents of the scholarship availability through community newsletters or other resident communications prior to the application deadline of February 25. NHLA awarded 24 scholarships last year. An application and a description of the scholarships are available at www.hudnlha.com.

Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentNovogradac & Company LLP