Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - October 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced immediate federal disaster assistance to homeowners and low-income renters forced by Hurricane Isaac to evacuate their homes in Mississippi and Louisiana. HUD will give both states and other entitlement communities the authorization to allocate existing federal resources toward disaster relief needs, such as housing and services for victims. In addition, Mississippi and Louisiana will receive federally guaranteed loans at the state and local levels for housing rehabilitation, economic development and necessary public infrastructure repairs. HUD will grant a 90-day moratorium on foreclosures and forbearance on foreclosures of homes with mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Details about HUD disaster assistance programs are available at www.hud.gov.

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HUD and the Council of Foundations’ Public-Philanthropic Partnership Initiative have announced the first winners of the Secretary’s Award for Community Foundations. The award will be awarded annually to honor outstanding service in public-philanthropic partnerships that have improved economic employment, health, safety, education, sustainability and diversity in housing access for low- and moderate-income families. The 2012 winners from HUD’s 10 regions are The Boston Foundation, Community Foundation for a Greater Buffalo, Hampton Roads Community Foundation, The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee, Cleveland Foundation, Greater New Orleans Foundation, Lincoln Community Foundation, Telluride Foundation, The San Diego Foundation and The Oregon Community Foundation. More information on the award and winners is available at www.hud.gov.

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Centerline Capital Group announced that it has given a $2.46 million FHA 223 loan to refinance Bay Country Apartments, a multifamily complex in Cambridge, Md. The borrower, Greenwood Avenue Development LP, will put the new funds toward refinancing the previous FHA 221 loan and extending the loan term. The new loan will also increase funds for needed repairs and reduce the former interest rate for the seven-building, 144-unit facility. Each unit will be under a project-based Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) contract and will have low-income housing tax credit (LIHTC) restrictions at average median income levels of 30 to 50 percent.

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HUD recently named the nine finalists in competition for approximately $110 million in 2012 Choice Neighborhoods Implementation grants. The finalists are the Chicago Housing Authority/City of Chicago, The Community Builders Inc. of Boston, District of Columbia Housing Authority, Housing Authority of the City of Jersey City/Michaels Development Company, Housing Authority of Milwaukee, City of Philadelphia/Philadelphia Housing Authority, San Antonio Housing Authority, Housing Authority of the City of Seattle and Housing Authority of the City of Tampa. Chosen from a pool of 42 applicants, the finalists can win individual grants of up to $30 million. HUD expects to award four to five Implementation Grants this year. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is designed to improve housing in distressed areas and to promote access to local services, such as schools and public transit.

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HUD has launched Innovation of the Day, a new online forum where users from around the world can share ideas and practices on various subjects such as affordable housing, community engagement and urban development. The site invites individuals, agencies, companies and nonprofit organizations from different sectors to share experiences and resources, as well as collaborate on solutions to common problems. Users can submit their contributions to the database by filling out a form on the website, with an option to include photos. The platform’s facilitators will select and highlight some of the most noteworthy innovations submitted, in addition to identifying emerging trends and topics. As an extension of the program, HUD will host its first Innovation Summit this winter, which will bring together organizations and policymakers for discussion. Access Innovation of the Day at www.hud.gov.