Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - March 2017

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced in the Federal Register Jan. 13 that its assessment tool for public housing agencies (PHAs) to assess fair housing under affirmatively furthering fair housing was reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The announcement says PHAs are not yet required to conduct and submit an assessment. HUD also announced that the OMB approved its request to renew for approval its tool to assess fair housing for local governments that receive Community Development Block Grants, HOME Investment Partnerships Program, Emergency Solutions Grants or Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS formula funding from HUD. Both notices are available at www.taxcredithousing.com.

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On Jan. 12, HUD released the third notice of revision for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. The technical notice provides an in-depth detail on the RAD program’s organization and implementation, eligibility and selection criteria. The first component allows projects funded under the public housing program to convert their assistance to long-term, project-based Section 8 rental assistance contracts. Under this component of RAD, PHAs may choose between two forms of Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) contracts–either project-based vouchers (PBVs) or project-based rental assistance (PBRA). The second component allows owners of properties funded under rent supplement, rental assistance payment and mod rehab programs to convert tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) to PBVs or PBRA upon contract expiration or termination occurring after Oct. 1, 2006. These changes will become effective immediately after the expiration of the comment period unless submitted comments lead to reconsideration. RAD Notice Revision 3 is available at www.portal.hud.gov.

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HUD released Jan. 19 a comprehensive assessment of housing needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives. The assessment included three reports, prepared by Urban Institute that found housing conditions to be substantially worse among American Indian households than other U.S. households.  The three reports are, “Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal Areas,” “Mortgage Lending on Tribal Land” and “Housing Needs of American Indians and Alaska Natives in Urban Areas.” Urban Institute indicated that remoteness, lack of infrastructure, complex legal issues and other constraints related to land ownership make it extremely difficult to improve housing conditions in some areas. Data found that an estimated 68,000 more apartments are needed to replace severely inadequate units and to eliminate overcrowding in tribal areas. Also stated was that overcrowding coupled with another physical condition problem was found in 34 percent of households in tribal areas, compared to 7 percent of all U.S. households. In addition, the percentage of households with at least one doubled-up person staying in the household because they have nowhere else to go was 17 percent, estimated to be up to 84,700 people. Mortgage lending is also limited in Indian Country because reservation land is held in trust and cannot be used to secure a mortgage loan. For Native Americans who struggle to transition from a village or reservation to an urban area, Urban Institute says there are a specific set of challenges, including lack of familiarity with urban life and urban housing markets, lack of employment, limited social networks, insufficient rental or credit history and race-based discrimination. 

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HUD announced requests for comments on the Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) guide Jan. 31. The MAP Guide is a procedural guide that permits approved Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Lenders to prepare, process and submit loan applications for FHA multifamily mortgage insurance. Comments are due April 3. HUD requested comments on utility allowance adjustments for rental assistance. Comments on this were due March 2. Both notices are available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.