Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - January 2012

Sunday, January 1, 2012

The U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development (HUD) awarded a total of $749 million in Section 202 and Section 811 grants to provide affordable supportive housing for senior citizens and persons with disabilities. The programs help not-for-profit organizations produce accessible housing, offer rental assistance and facilitate supportive services. This funding round included $545 million in Section 202 capital advances, $54 million in Section 202 rental assistance, $137 million in Section 811 capital advances and $12.6 million in Section 811 project rental assistance contracts. It will allow construction or major rehabilitation to begin work on more than 189 housing developments in 41 states and Puerto Rico. When complete, the properties will accommodate approximately 4,800 households. HUD said that legislation enacted earlier this year, the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act and the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act, reformed both programs and extended their reach to greater numbers of elderly and disabled individuals. A summary of each grant is available at www.hud.gov.

***

HUD published a proposed rule designed to strengthen energy audit data by revising energy audit requirements under the agency's public housing program. HUD says the proposed rule clarifies these requirements, identifies energy-efficient measures that need to be addressed within the audits, and identifies procedures for improved coordination with physical needs assessments. The rule would also move the energy audit requirements to a different part of HUD's title of the Code of Federal Regulations. The department invited public comment on whether it should consider adopting energy audit standards and energy auditors' minimum qualifications that are not covered in the proposed rule. Comments are due on January 17. See the notice in the November 17 Federal Register for details.

***

Paige Warren was selected to lead Prudential Huntoon Paige, Prudential Mortgage Capital Company's FHA lending business. Warren, who also heads Prudential's affordable housing lending business, assumed the role formerly held by Marie Head, who has been appointed to serve as HUD's deputy assistant secretary of multifamily housing. Warren joined the company in 2003 and is president of its Prudential Affordable Mortgage Company. Before joining Prudential, she served as deputy director for debt restructuring for HUD's mark-to-market program. Warren holds a bachelor's degree from Vassar College and a master's from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

***

Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., on November 18 introduced H.R. 3502, the Project Rebuild Act of 2011 that would provide $15 billion under Project Rebuild, which builds on the neighborhood stabilization program (NSP). The funds would allow local governments and not-for-profits to purchase and rehabilitate foreclosed and abandoned properties that are then sold to low- and moderate-income buyers. Commercial properties would also be eligible under the proposed program. Waters' office estimates that the program could help rehabilitate 150,000 properties and create as many as 191,000 jobs. President Obama proposed the Project Rebuild initiative in his American Jobs Act in September. A copy of the bill is available online at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

***

HUD announced that there are 56 recipients of nearly $96 million in grants under the 2011 Sustainable Communities awards. The program is designed to help communities and regions improve their economic competitiveness by connecting housing with quality jobs, schools and transportation. Twenty-seven communities and organizations will receive Community Challenge grants to address local challenges to integrating transportation and housing; another 29 regional areas will receive Regional Planning grants, which support comprehensive planning efforts to align housing, transportation, environment and other infrastructure investments within a region. HUD reported receiving more than $500 million in Sustainable Communities funding requests. The 2011 grants have leveraged more than $115 million in contributions from the selected grantees, and the agency estimates that more than 45.8 million people will be affected when the grantees' plans take effect. View the list of grant recipients at www.hud.gov.