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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - July 2012

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) proposed changes to the Section 8 tenant-and project-based voucher programs to make those programs conform to Housing and Economic Recovery Act (HERA) provisions. The May 15 proposal reflects HERA’s self-executing provisions and amends regulations required to implement HERA provisions that are not self-executing. The rule is a follow up to a November 24, 2008 notice and request for comment. Comments must be received by July 16. Read the proposed rule at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD has made $85 million available to state housing agencies under the Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities program. The agencies will use the funds to provide affordable supportive housing for an anticipated 2,800 extremely low-income persons with disabilities. Funding will be awarded to agencies that meet HUD’s new eligibility criteria, which include partnerships with a state health and human services agency and a Medicaid agency to provide support and services. The funding must be used for rental assistance only and may not be used for construction or rehabilitation. HUD is targeting this round’s assistance to persons who earn 30 percent or less of the area median income, and has limited to 25 percent the portion of units in a building that can be set aside for supportive housing for persons with disabilities. These reforms are the result of the Frank Melville Supportive Housing Act of 2010. The deadline to apply for this funding round is July 31. View the notice of funding availability at www.grants.gov.

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Because of the flexible nature of HUD’s HOME and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs, information on their effectiveness is limited, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. Grantees have flexibility to tailor activities to meet local needs and to undertake a broad range of activities. As a result, few comprehensive studies exist on the outcomes of the HOME and CDBG programs. However, studies of specific activities have generally found that each program has made positive contributions. HUD has encouraged grantees to develop local performance measurement systems and internal operating procedures for managing subrecipients. GAO’s review of the programs was required under statute. A copy of the report is available at www.gao.gov.

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HUD and the American Institute of Architects selected two affordable housing developments and one community building to receive 2012 HUD Secretary’s Housing and Community Design Awards. This year’s award for excellence in affordable housing design went to Richardson Apartments in San Francisco, Calif., a development that remediated the site of a collapsed freeway. This category recognizes architecture that demonstrates overall excellence in design in response to both the needs and constraints of affordable housing. Bud Clark Commons in Portland, Ore., which joined supportive housing and temporary shelter with a community resource center, was honored in the creating community connections category. That award recognizes developments that incorporate housing and community amenities for the purpose of either revitalization or planned growth. The Boston Public Library, Mattapan Branch, was recognized for community-informed design. The new library building’s strong civic presence supports the rebuilding of communities that may have been weakened by outmigration and disinvestment. More information about the awards and this year’s recipients is available at www.hud.gov.

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Enterprise Community Investment in May closed a $19.4 million Green Refinance Plus (GRP) loan, the first loan to close under the program. GRP is a partnership between Fannie Mae and HUD designed to incentivize energy and resource efficiency improvements in affordable housing. Enterprise’s refinance loan to LINC Housing Corporation provided $1.5 million for property improvements to City Gardens in Santa Ana, Calif. The improvements include replacing inefficient gas furnaces with Energy Star-rated furnaces and installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient lighting, and a solar hot water system. Enterprise will oversee the renovations and service the loan, which it originated and underwrote. GRP provides funding for the refinance, preservation, and energy-efficient retrofits of older multifamily properties, and is intended to refinance the expiring mortgages of affordable housing developments and lower annual operating costs by reducing energy consumption.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

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