Department of Housing and Urban Development News Briefs - October 2013

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on July 19 invited comments regarding a proposed rule entitled, “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing.” The proposed rule focuses on refining fair housing practices found in planning processes that states, local governments and public housing agencies carry out. HUD proposes to provide program participants with more effective means to work with the Fair Housing Act. Comments are due by Sept. 17. HUD determined that current fair housing practice has not been as effective as had been envisioned. To establish ways of furthering fair housing, HUD proposes to provide specified areas with data on patterns of integration and segregation, access to education, employment, transportation and environmental health and data on individuals with disabilities and families with children and discrimination, among others. From the data, program participants will evaluate their present environment to assess fair housing issues, identifying the primary determinants that account for those issues, and set forth fair housing priorities and goals. The notice is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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HUD released a final rule for the HOME Investment Partnerships program (HOME) in the July 24 Federal Register. The final rule updated definitions and added new terminology, modified eligibility requirements for community housing development organizations, established deadlines for project completion, strengthened conflict of interest provisions and clarified several existing HOME regulatory provisions. HUD posted section-by-section summaries of the rule and provided information about training courses and webcasts. This is the first major revision of HOME program regulations since 1996. The final rule is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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On July 18, Ted Toon, HUD director of multifamily development, issued a memorandum on age restrictions in Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured housing. The memo recognized that there are irregularities between various program, policies and controlling authorities, and in HUD’s implementation of the aforementioned in relation to seniors and age-restricted multifamily housing. The memo states that HUD prepared a mortgage letter and companion housing notice to clarify FHA and MAP guide policy on these issues. Once the mortgage letter and the housing notice are published, the policies will be included in the next version of the MAP guide and into asset management guidance. This policy will apply to all market-rate properties. For affordable properties, FHA will grandfather affordable properties with current age restrictions and allow age restriction regimes that may not conform to the updated guidance. The memo directs waiver requests to be submitted to HUD headquarters for approval. The memo is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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The Housing Assistance for Veterans Act (HAVEN Act) was reintroduced July 30. Sens. Jack Reed, D-R.I., and Mike Johanns, R-Neb., reintroduced the bipartisan bill, S. 1387, to provide housing for disabled and low-income veterans. The HAVEN Act creates a competitive, five-year, $20 million pilot program that allows nonprofit organizations to apply for grants administered by HUD to help make home safety repairs and improvements for disabled or low-income veterans. Such repairs and improvements include, but are not limited to, repairing roofs, floors, walls, electrical wiring and plumbing, and installing wheelchair ramps and widening doorways and passageways. For this federal funding to be beneficial, it must be matched or in-kind contributions must be made. A copy of the bill is available at www.hudresourcecenter.com.

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Centerline Capital Group (Centerline) provided $91.9 million in fixed-rate financing through Freddie Mac to refinance two multifamily properties in Harlem, N.Y., for Tahl Propp Equities. The number of units totaled 412, with AK Houses Apartments offering 157 units, and 1775 Houses Apartments offering 255 units. Centerline provided a $37.5 million loan to refinance AK Houses and a $54.4 million loan to refinance 1775 Houses Apartments. Tahl Propp Equities will undertake $4 million in renovations and upgrades to both properties and preserve their affordability for an additional 30 years. The term of the two Freddie Mac loans is 10 years within a 30-year amortization schedule.