Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - March 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

In 2009, 7.1 million low-income households paid more than half their monthly income for rent or lived in substandard housing, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report found. That figure represents a 20 percent growth in "worst case needs" since 2007 with an overall increase of 42 percent since 2001. The annual study, "Worst Case Housing Needs 2009: A Report to Congress," uses data from the American Housing Survey to measure the scale of critical housing problems facing low-income unassisted renters. HUD said the report, which predates the effects of the Obama Administration's economic recovery efforts, establishes a direct link between the increased numbers of worst case needs and the recent recession and related unemployment levels. Download the report at www.huduser.org. This report is also discussed on page 30.

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HUD issued guidance to public housing authorities (PHAs) on how to determine the amount of rent for a Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) tenancy paid to an owner of a Section 236, Section 202, Section 221(d)(3) or Section 515 property. HUD released the guidance, PIH-2011-1, in response to an Office of the Inspector General audit that found significant inaccuracies in the calculation of the rent to owner for HCV participants living in subsidized multifamily properties. The agency clarified that the rent to the owner should be set at the subsidized rental rate rather than at the area's market rate. HUD said the guidance serves as a reminder to PHAs of the manner in which rent is determined when an HCV participant leases a unit in a subsidized property. Read a copy of the notice online at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD announced the availability of $31 million in fiscal year 2010 funding for the employment and support of service coordinators working with persons with disabilities in assisted multifamily developments. The agency defines service coordinators as staff members who help residents obtain supportive community services that they need in order to live independently or age in place. HUD also made available $30 million for the physical conversion of eligible multifamily assisted housing projects or portions of projects converted to assisted living facilities. The notices of funding availability (NOFAs) provide information on the application process, funding criteria and eligibility requirements. Access both NOFAs at www.grants.gov.

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EAH Housing completed the acquisition of a 355-unit affordable senior community in Napa, Calif. EAH was hired to manage Rohlffs Manor in 2001 and in 2007 began to piece together the $24.3 million in financing needed to purchase the property, rehabilitate it and maintain its affordability. Renovations, which are now complete, included a doubled number of accessible units, new roofs, remodeled kitchens with energy efficient appliances, redesigned common areas, and improved fire and emergency call systems. Rents for the studio, one- and two-bedroom units range from $450 to $855. Union Bank, HUD, the California Housing and Community Development Department and the Housing Authority of the City of Napa contributed funding for Rohlffs Manor's acquisition and rehabilitation.

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Utah officials and developer Wasatch Advantage Group recently celebrated the groundbreaking of Providence Place Apartments, an $18.7 million residential community in Salt Lake City. The building will occupy the former site of an abandoned community center, which was completely demolished to make room for the seven-story, 125-unit affordable development. Unit types will include 27 studio, 68 one-bedroom and 30 two-bedroom units. The building will also feature a clubhouse, business center, fitness center and atrium. All of the units will be available to households earning 60 percent or less of the area median income. Providence Place was funded with nearly $9.8 million tax-exempt bond credit enhanced by HUD, more than $5 million in LIHTC equity provided by Goldman Sachs, $921,000 in developer equity, $2 million in tax credit assistance program funds from Utah Housing Corporation, $800,000 in Olene Walker Housing Trust Funds and $200,000 in Salt Lake City Housing Trust Funds.