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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - March 2010

The January 21 Federal Register reported that HUD was issuing for public comment a comprehensive set of revised closing documents for use in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) multifamily rental projects. The notice starts anew the process for updating the multifamily rental project closing documents that originated in 2004. In revising these forms, HUD says it identified language and policies that were outdated and needed to be changed to be consistent with modern real estate and mortgage lending laws and practices. By reflecting current terminology and current lending laws and practices, the updated multifamily rental project closing documents will better protect and benefit all parties involved in these transactions, HUD says. A copy of the notice and links to the closing documents can be found online at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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On January 25, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a final rule amending the eligibility provisions applicable to multi-unit buildings under the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP). Under the rule, if a multi-unit building is under an assisted or public housing program and is identified by HUD, participates in the low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) program, or includes units that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service’s Multifamily Housing Programs and is included on a list published by DOE, that building will meet certain WAP eligibility requirements without the need for further evaluation or verification. DOE says this rule, which is effective February 24, 2010, will reduce the procedural burdens on evaluating applications from buildings that are part of these programs.

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Three public housing agencies will participate in HUD’s Moving To Work (MTW) program. The public housing authorities of Champaign County, Ill., Orlando, Fla. and Tacoma, Wash. will join 30 other agencies from across the country in designing and testing housing strategies to assist lower income families living in public housing or that receive HUD’s Housing Choice Vouchers. HUD exempts these agencies from certain rules and permits them to combine their multiple sources of HUD funding into a single agency-wide funding source. HUD says the program strives to reduce costs and achieve greater cost-effectiveness in federal expenditures; give incentives to families with children where the head of household is working, seeking work or preparing for work; and increase housing choices for low-income families. The housing authorities were selected from among eight agencies that applied for MTW designation late last year. The designation extends to 2018.

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President Barack Obama in January selected three regional HUD directors. Edward L. Jennings Jr. will serve as the regional director for the Southeast region that includes Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Florida. Jennings was a state representative from 2000 to 2006. As founder of Jennings Development Group Inc., he helped develop hundreds of affordable housing units in Gainesville, Fla. Rick Garcia was appointed as the regional director for the Rocky Mountain Region, composed of Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Utah. Elected to the Denver City Council in 2003, Garcia served as chair of the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) and has served as chairman of the Metro Vision Issues Committee and as a voting member of the DRCOG’s Regional Transportation Committee. Mary McBride will oversee HUD’s activities in Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska as the new regional director for the Northwest region. McBride served most recently as the South Sound regional director for Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a position in which she was responsible for addressing diverse constituent concerns and served as a lead resource to the senator for statewide initiatives involving affordable housing and community development. The nation’s 10 regional directors serve as HUD’s liaisons to mayors, city managers, elected representatives, state and local officials, congressional delegations, stakeholders and customers. They are responsible for overseeing the delivery of HUD’s programs and services to communities, as well as evaluating their effectiveness.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

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