Federal Housing News
October 27, 2014
CPD Advises Certain Grantees to Delay Submitting FY15 Consolidated and Annual Action Plans
HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued Notice CPD-14-15 on October 21, advising grantees not to submit a new 3-5 year Consolidated Plan (ConPlan) or an Annual Action Plan until after Congress enacts an FY15 HUD appropriation and CPD announces FY15 grantee formula allocations. Grantees may delay submitting a ConPlan or Annual Action Plan until 60 days after formula allocations are announced by CPD. The ConPlan-oriented formula programs are Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA).
FY15 began on October 1 without an appropriation for HUD or other federal agencies. Instead, HUD and the rest of the government are operating at FY14 appropriation levels under a continuing resolution (CR) until December 11 (see Memo, 9/22). Congress will return after the November elections to determine the fate of the FY15 appropriations process. Once Congress acts, CPD will know how much is appropriated for the formula programs.
The Notice provides revised procedures for submitting ConPlans and Annual Action Plans prior to Congress enacting an FY15 HUD appropriation. Although grantees could estimate amounts they might receive, if there are major differences grantees, might have to undertake the substantial amendment process, which entails public participation. The revised procedures in the Notice apply to any grantee with a normal ConPlan or Action Plan submission deadline that falls either before or less than 60 days after the date HUD announces FY15 formula allocation amounts. Submission deadlines are 45 days before the start of a grantee’s program year.
The Notice provides a hypothetical example of CPD announcing FY15 allocations on February 20, 2015, which would allow grantees with program year start dates between January 1 and June 1 to postpone submissions until April 21, 2015. About 308 grantees have program years that would fit that situation. The remaining 910 grantees, those with a program year start date of July 1 or later, would be expected to submit their ConPlan or Action Plan on time.
HUD Releases Guide for Establishing Smoke-Free Policies
HUD recently released Change is in the Air, an action guide for voluntarily establishing smoke-free policies in public housing and HUD-assisted multifamily housing. Encouraging smoke-free housing is part of a nationwide Healthy Homes effort involving coordination among federal agencies to address housing-related health hazards.
HUD issued a Federal Register notice on October 4, 2012 asking for public comment regarding how HUD could continue to support implementation of smoke-free policies (see Memo, 10/5/12). A summary of comments are included in an appendix to the guide. HUD has strongly encouraged public housing agencies and multifamily owners to voluntarily adopt smoke-free policies at some or all of their properties.
In the action guide, nine public housing or multifamily staff provide brief descriptions of their experiences establishing and carrying out smoke-free policies. Four of the nine indicate that residents either were in favor of smoke-free policies or had no problem with it. Five discuss enforcement efforts.
The guide recommends steps to take when considering adopting, implementing, and enforcing a smoke-free policy. Resident-oriented steps suggested include surveying residents, providing a draft smoke-free policy for resident comment, and focusing on vulnerable residents, such as those who are elderly or who have disabilities.
Change is in the Air is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=SMOKEFREEACTIONGUIDE.PDF
An October 17 Memorandum from Benjamin Metcalf, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing Programs announcing the guide is at http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=Smoke_Free_Memo.pdf
SEPT. 15-OCT. 15 IS NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH. President Obama’s proclamation includes a call for comprehensive immigration reform.
CONGRESS TO PASS CONTINUING RESOLUTION FOR EARLY FY15. The House is expected to pass a CR on September 17 and the Senate soon after that. It will fund the federal government at FY14 levels until December 11. In a post-November-elections session Congress will have to complete work on FY 2015 appropriations or pass another CR.
VILSACK RESPONDS TO CONGRESSIONAL LETTER ABOUT 502 SPENDING. Responding to concerns about USDA’s ability to use all available Section 502 direct funds before FY14 ends September 30 (see HAC News, 8/6/14), USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack wrote to House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee leaders explaining steps being taken this year (see HAC News, 7/23/14) and planned for next year.
SENATE COMMITTEE ADVANCES MENSAH NOMINATION. The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing September 10 on the selection of Lisa Mensah as USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development (see HAC News, 5/14/14). A confirmation vote by the full Senate has not yet been scheduled.
RURAL POVERTY DECREASES, YET REMAINS HIGHER THAN U.S. POVERTY. The number of rural Americans living in poverty decreased last year, according to a new Census Bureau report. Overall, the official U.S. poverty rate was 14.5% in 2013, a decline from 15% in 2012. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013 says there was no statistically significant change in either the number of people living in poverty or real median household income. State and local data will be released September 18. A HAC Rural Research Note provides more details.
HUD OFFERS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUNDS FOR APPALACHIA AND THE MISSISSIPPI DELTA. Both programs aim to increase access to capital for business lending and economic development, and applications are due November 3. For Appalachia, the only eligible applicants are state community and economic development agencies. For Delta funds, nonprofits and tribal governments are eligible. Contact Thann Young or Monica Wallace, HUD, 877-787-2526.
USDA POSTS AMENDED MAPS SHOWING FUTURE AREA ELIGIBILITY. Maps now available on RD’s website (under the Future Eligible Areas heading) eliminate “rural in character” changes (see HAC News, 9/3/14). A disclaimer indicates slight alterations may be made before the maps take effect on October 1.
REGULATORS SEEK COMMENTS ON PROPOSED REVISIONS TO CRA QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS. The Interagency Questions and Answers Regarding Community Reinvestment, revised periodically, supplement the Community Reinvestment Act regulations issued by the Federal Reserve board, the FDIC, and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Comments are due November 10. Contact Bobbie Kennedy, OCC, 202-649-5470.
HUD REVISES MODEL STANDARDS FOR MANUFACTURED HOME GROUND ANCHORING. A final rule amends the Manufactured Home Model Installation Standards, establishing a uniform test method to determine and rate ground anchor performance in different soil classifications. Contact Pamela Beck Danner, HUD, 202-708-6423.
GAO REPORT SAYS HUD CAN DO MORE ON MANUFACTURED HOUSING. Manufactured Housing: Efforts Needed to Enhance Program Effectiveness and Ensure Funding Stability (GAO-14-410) recommendations related to the HUD Code updates, FHA insurance, and fees. Contact Matthew Scirè, GAO, 202-512-8678.
BROAD ACCESS TO MORTGAGE FINANCING RECOMMENDED TO HELP REDUCE INCOME INEQUALITY. Continued government provision of affordable housing and financing is among the recommendations of Responding to Rising Inequality: Policy Interventions to Ensure Opportunity for All, a brief published by the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society at the University of California at Berkeley.
FARMWORKER HOUSING AND HEALTH CONFERENCE SET FOR NOVEMBER. “Farmworker Housing Quality and Health: A Transdisciplinary Conference” will be held November 11 in Arlington, VA. Registration is $50 until October 1.
WEBINAR TO COVER PROTECTING SENIORS AND OTHER RD TENANTS FROM DISPLACEMENT. The National Housing Law Project will offer a free webinar on October 21 at 2:00 pm Eastern time/11:00 am Pacific on “Prepayments, Maturing Mortgages, and Foreclosures: Protecting Seniors and Others from Rural Development Rental Housing Displacement.”