Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - June 2016

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released Fair Housing Act guidance April 4 for housing property managers and owners. The notice stated that criminal history is not a protected class under the Fair Housing Act, but that housing restrictions on people with criminal backgrounds can violate fair housing rules if they are applied unfairly because of a protected characteristic. Selective use of criminal history as a pretext for treating protected classes unfairly is a violation of fair housing. Housing providers can still be in violation of the Fair Housing Act if their policies or practices have an unjustified discriminatory effect, even when discrimination was not their intention. To clarify the matter, the HUD guidance provides a step-by-step framework evaluating whether a criminal history policy or practice has a discriminatory effect. The notice is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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On March 25, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Notice 2016-28: Empowerment Zone Designation Extension, which provides a simplified procedure under the Protecting Americans from the Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act) for a state or local government to amend an empowerment zone nomination. This notice extends the designation of the empowerment zone through Dec. 31. Notice 2016-28 was published April 11 in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2016-15 and is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced April 11 that Donna Batch will serve as HUD’s Northwest regional administrator. The four-state region includes Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Batch previously served as HUD’s acting regional administrator in that region. In her new position, Batch will be HUD’s chief liaison to state and local elected officials, congressional delegations and other stakeholders. She will also coordinate the delivery of HUD programmatic and financial support in housing, community and economic development to housing authorities, tribes and Alaskan native villages and state, county and local governments serving the homeless in the region. Batch joined HUD as an economic development specialist for the DHUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development in 1999, and has served as the deputy regional administrator the past five years. Before joining HUD, Batch owned a private consulting firm specializing in economic and community development.

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HUD’s Office of Recapitalization released “Preservation Options for Section 236 Properties,” April 4. The step-by-step guide provides information on how to preserve Section 236 properties as affordable housing. The guidance plan covers key issues such as rental assistance guidance as Section 8 contract renewal options, tenant protection vouchers, enhanced vouchers, project-based vouchers and the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The guidance is available at www.hudexchange.info.

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Love Funding announced the closing of two affordable housing transactions in early April. The first was the April 5 closing of an $8.7 million loan for the acquisition and substantial rehabilitation of Arnold Gardens in Suitland, Md. Financing for the 68-home affordable apartment community was secured the financing through HUD’s 221(d)(4) loan insurance program, combined with an award of 4 percent low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs). The loan for the second property, Heritage Oaks Assisted Living and Memory Care, a proposed health care facility in Englewood, Fla., closed April 11. The $17.8 million loan for the construction and permanent financing of Heritage Oaks was secured through HUD’s Section 232 loan insurance program.

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Department of Housing and Urban Development