Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs – March 2018

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $25 million in grants Jan. 17 to identify and eliminate lead-based paint hazards in public housing. The funding directs support to public housing agencies to evaluate and clean up lead-based paint hazards in older housing developments. Agencies will use the funding to perform risk assessments and conduct specialized cleaning to remove or control lead-contaminated dust and soil in and around the public housing units. HUD will award grants to approximately 30 recipients ranging from $25,000 to $1 million. The funds are offered through HUD’s Public and Indian Housing Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund program. Applications are due March 20. 

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HUD published notice PIH 2018-02 Feb. 8 on fiscal year (FY) 2017 set-aside tenant-protection vouchers. In the notice, HUD makes $5 million available from the FY 2017 Appropriations Act that the bill allocated for tenant protection-vouchers (TPVs). Changes from the FY 2016 TPV notice include application submission revisions; adoption of fair market rents (FMRs) and small area FMRs (in metropolitan areas) as a proxy for market rents; revision of owner calculation of household income requirements; allowance for public housing agencies to rely on an owner’s determination of a rent burden for a household; and removal of HUD internal standard operating procedures. 

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The grand opening ceremony for The Branches at Centerville was Jan. 17. The affordable property in Camden, N.J., will provide 50 affordable apartments to households earning less than 60 percent of the area median income. There will be 44 one- and six two-bedroom apartments, with amenities to include approximately 5,000 square feet of community space for resident services, wellness and recreation as well as quiet areas, flex lounges and common veranda spaces. The Branches at Centerville will accept Housing Choice Vouchers and provide project-based rental assistance to eligible residents through HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program. This $16 million development is the first phase of a comprehensive redevelopment planned for the former site of Clement T. Branch Village. Financing for the development of The Branches at Centerville included $6.6 million in federal LIHTC equity and $3.8 million in state LIHTC equity from TD Bank, which also provided a $9.6 million tax-exempt construction loan. Cinnaire Investment Corporation provided a $1.7 million permanent mortgage loan.

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Fourteen U.S. mayors joined with U.S. businesses to launch Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment. The program was announced Jan. 25 to advance public-private partnerships that work to create and preserve affordable housing, end homelessness and actively oppose current funding cuts. Mayors & CEOs for U.S. Housing Investment recommended four policy changes to help stabilize the current outlook: maximize funding for existing federal programs that work, such as Section 8 Housing Vouchers, Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Grants and Community Development Block Grants; issue new, competitive housing innovation, investment and reform opportunities grants designed for local communities to reward innovative thinking and collaborative, cross-sector projects to combat homelessness and affordable housing problems; build on the successful HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing model through HUD-PASS (Partnerships Accelerating Supportive Services), which would pair HUD vouchers with Health and Human Services programs to help families and individuals experiencing homelessness who have mental health issues and other barriers to assistance; and create a Housing Stabilization Fund–a pool of funds within HUD that can provide one-time, short-term emergency housing assistance to households below 80 percent of the area median income.

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HUD awarded more than $1.5 billion in disaster recovery funds Feb. 1 to Puerto Rico to help repair damaged housing and businesses after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. Pamela Hughes Patenaude, HUD deputy secretary, and Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló announced the funds provided through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant–disaster recovery (CDBG-DR) program. The grant is designed to help meet needs not met by private insurance or other sources of federal assistance. HUD will issue administrative guidelines for use of the funds to address grantees’ long-term recovery needs, particularly in the area of housing recovery.

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HUD published a notice in the Federal Register Feb. 9 allocating $7.39 billion in CDBG-DR funds to areas hit by natural disasters in 2017, with a focus on housing recovery needs. The notice highlights the extent of damage to the disaster areas and the limited data regarding unmet infrastructure and economic revitalization needs, mandating that each grantee primarily consider and address its unmet housing recovery needs. The funds will go to areas in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Given the extent of damage to housing in the eligible disaster areas and the very limited data at present regarding unmet infrastructure and economic revitalization needs, the notice requires each grantee to primarily consider and address its unmet housing recovery needs. The notice is at www.hudresourcecenter.com.


 

Journal Category: 
Department of Housing and Urban Development