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Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - May 2012

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Housing Service (RHS) will hold a series of public teleconference meetings regarding the Section 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program. Suggested discussion topics for the meetings include the impact of Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program changes on Section 538 financing. The meetings will be held in April, August and November. Any member of the public who wishes to register may contact Monica Cole, financial and loan analyst with the USDA Multifamily Housing Guaranteed Loan Division, at (202) 720-1251 or [email protected].

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Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., introduced the Project Rebuild Act in March to expand on the Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP). The legislation, S. 2162, would provide $15 billion in assistance to renovate vacant residential and commercial properties and help communities recover from the recession. Approximately $10 billion would be directed to states, cities and not-for-profits through a formula modeled after NSP; $5 billion would be distributed through new competitive grants. Each state would receive a minimum of $20 million of the formula funds. The proposal seeks to complement the abilities of private developers and help more communities use land bank models. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that Project Rebuild would create more than 19,000 jobs and be used to renovate 150,000 properties. A copy of S. 2162 is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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President Obama’s fiscal year 2013 budget request for HUD is at least $1.7 billion below the amount needed to fully renew rental assistance under the department’s three major housing programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP). The report says that the proposed renewal funding for Housing Choice Vouchers could be as much as $440 million short of the amount needed to renew all vouchers in use in 2012; the public housing funding request would not be enough to cover agencies’ operating and new capital repair expenses in 2013; and the budget’s project-based Section 8 funding is inadequate to provide a full 12 months of funding for all contracts. The report recommended that Congress increase renewal funding and modify or reject several of the HUD budget’s cost-saving proposals. View the report at www.cbpp.org.

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HUD announced the availability of as much as $25 million in fiscal year 2012 Assisted Living Conversion program grants, which help multifamily apartment complex owners convert their buildings into assisted living facilities for low-income senior citizens. Assisted living facilities are designed to accommodate low-income frail elderly persons and persons with disabilities. These affordable facilities provide or facilitate support services such as personal care, transportation, meals and housekeeping. The grants may also be used to provide service-enriched housing, but do not cover services, which property owners must be able to facilitate. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis; the maximum award amount is $5 million. Applications are due May 15. Details are available at www.grants.gov.

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MassHousing closed a $9.1 million loan to preserve affordability for low-income seniors and residents with special needs at Wait Street Apartments in Boston, Mass. Wait Street Associates, the property owner, will seek to extend the Section 8 housing assistance payment contract and the affordability on all 100 apartments when the contract expires in August 2021. The refinancing is through MassHousing’s Section 8 Proactive Preservation program. Improvements to the roof, exterior wall, and roadway are expected to be made to the property as a result of the refinancing. Accessibility enhancements, elevator upgrades and boiler and fire alarm improvements are also planned.

Journal Category:

Department of Housing and Urban Development

Authors:

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