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NMA announces opening of new office in Houston

Posted by NMA on Apr 24, 2019 12:03:12 PM

Today Nan McKay & Associates celebrated the opening of a new company office in downtown Houston. The Texas office joins the NMA team as the eighth location nationwide, with other offices currently in San Diego, California; Miami, Florida; Tallahassee, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Frankfort, Kentucky; Georgetown, Kentucky; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The Louisiana office, located in Jefferson Parish, is the most recently opened office preceding Houston. NMA began administering the Housing Authority of Jefferson Parish (HAJP)'s housing choice voucher program last autumn.

The new Houston office will serve as a base for NMA's community development team, which is assisting Harris County with their Hurricane Harvey disaster recovery plan. Catherine Ures, NMA's vice president of professional services, has been instrumental in helping the county establish and implement a response to the Harvey storm in 2017, which inflicted $125 billion in damage in the Houston metropolitan area and Southeast Texas.

"The hardworking people at the Harris County Community Services Department have done an incredible job in getting Project Recovery off the ground, and we're so excited to be a part of this huge initiative," Ures said. “We want Harris County to be a global model for disaster recovery and resilience."

Project Recovery includes an extensive group of disaster recovery programs for which Harris County has so far been allocated $1.2 billion in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding from the federal government.

Founded in 1980, NMA has led disaster recovery programs in Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, and South Carolina. The company also administers more than 75,000 vouchers at housing authorities nationwide. With offices in across the United States, the San Diego-based, woman-owned company is a leader in program administration and community development strategies, including resilience planning. For more information, visit www.nanmckay.com, or call (800) 783-3100.

Learn more about resilience planning

Topics: disaster programs, CDBG-DR, company news, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience

Community development and housing news

Posted by NMA on Apr 2, 2019 12:51:20 PM

Community development and housing news for April 2, 2019

Landmark decision in Connecticut fair housing case, new UPCS requirements for inspecting carbon monoxide detectors, VAWA reauthorization bill, and other stories we're following this week.

Breaking news

In a landmark civil rights decision, the Connecticut federal District Court established for the first time that consumer reporting agencies must comply with the Fair Housing Act when conducting tenant-screening services for landlords.

The decision in Connecticut Fair Housing Center et al. v. CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions, LLC, which the Center filed with the National Housing Law Project after CoreLogic’s tenant screening product, CrimSAFE, disqualified a disabled Latino man with no criminal convictions from moving in with his mother. CrimSAFE provides landlords with an accept or decline decision based on CoreLogic’s assessment of an applicant’s criminal record. The lawsuit alleges CrimSAFE discriminates on the basis of race, national origin, and disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Read more

HUD will begin requiring federal inspectors to check public housing apartments for carbon monoxide detectors.

Under the new requirements, which took effect yesterday, federal inspectors must check for the detectors in any public housing units that contain fuel-fired appliances or have an attached garage, and determine if they are working, according to a HUD notice issued last week. The new requirements will apply to properties owned and operated by public housing authorities, as well as privately owned developments under contract with HUD, according to HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan. But they will not apply to privately owned apartments rented to people with Section 8 housing choice vouchers. Read more

U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) have introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585.

The bill is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives this week. It retains the baseline housing protections in VAWA 2013 and includes amendments that would strengthen VAWA’s emergency transfer and lease bifurcation remedies; address the need for proper VAWA implementation and compliance; as well as protect VAWA survivors’ right to report crime and support effective law enforcement.

Importantly, VAWA 2013’s housing protections continue to be in effect. These safeguards did not expire when Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA last year. Therefore, VAWA 2013’s statutory housing provisions and related implementing regulations and guidances by HUD and RD are still in force. Read more

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published their annual analysis of recent data, and the results are stark.

Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. Rents have risen faster than renters’ incomes over the last two decades, and while more people are renting than ever, the supply of housing has lagged. Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 deeply poor renter households nationwide. As a result, record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford decent homes. Read more

HUD announced that the Federal Housing Administration is expanding its low-income housing tax credit financing program for multifamily properties.

Back in 2012, the FHA rolled out a LIHTC pilot program that dealt specifically with applications to refinance mortgage debt under FHA's Section 223(f) program. Under the new expansion, FHA will begin to support "new construction and substantial rehabilitation" under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 programs. Read more

What we're reading

In a study that raises alarms about an increasingly tattered safety net for low-income seniors in America, researchers have found that just short of half—44 percent—of all homeless people older than 50 years old hit the streets for the first time after they were 50.

The study’s finding speaks to the danger of a shrinking ability of people to adequately save money and make other arrangements for retirement and indicates that there is too little help in place to catch them before they fall into homelessness when hard times hit. Perhaps most disturbingly, it reflects society’s ambivalence toward the plight of the elderly. Read more

A number of housing groups and state representatives are making another push to reform the scoring process for federal LIHTC applications in Texas.

If those pushing to change that process are successful, they say, the credits will be allocated more fairly and with less political influence, racist NIMBYism will lose some of its leverage, and affordable housing developers will have a better chance of serving residents who are the most in need. Read more

Climate change is getting harder to ignore, from alarming new reports about its impacts to debates around a Green New Deal.

Yet for all this attention, individual places—from the biggest cities to the smallest towns—are still struggling to do something about it. An unpredictable climate should serve as a strong motivator for every community to better maintain its man-made and natural stormwater infrastructure to be more flexible and responsive. Read more

When Sonoma County’s pilot project to build tiny homes for more than a dozen homeless veterans ran into one, then two, then three major roadblocks, it was fitting that the response was to just work around it and get the job done.

After all, the county's veterans have demonstrated their resilience throughout their lives, during their service and after. Thanks to the HUD-VASH (VA Supportive Housing) program, 15 formerly homeless veterans, including one couple, will have rental assistance and case management on a plot of county-owned land. Read more

How New Orleans reduced its homeless population by 90 percent.

New Orleans faced a major crisis in homelessness following Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, two years after the storm, there were more than 11,600 homeless people in the city. The strategy to tackle the "unprecedented explosion" of homelessness in the city following Katrina was threefold. Read more

Housing policy is on the presidential campaign agenda for the first time in decades.

The rising cost of housing has become an issue on the presidential campaign trail for one of the first times in living memory, thrilling advocates who are hopeful that tackling housing affordability can merit inclusion on a crowded 2020 Democratic policy agenda. Read more

Elizabeth Warren took aim last week at another pillar of Wall Street's empire: the rental housing market.

In a portion of her updated version of her ambitious 2018 housing bill, Warren proposed a check on the unregulated takeover of rental housing by the country's biggest investment firms. Instead of allowing Wall Street-backed developers to flip any distressed and foreclosed mortgage into a single-family rental unit, her bill would require the government to help keep the majority of these homes in the possession of individuals, community groups, and affordable-housing developers by setting aside a supply of mortgages that Wall Street can't touch. Read more

Articles to bookmark for later reference

Five ways to prepare your city for next year's census.

Now is the time for cities to lay the groundwork for a successful census. Small steps your community takes today can go a long way in ensuring it is accurately counted next year. Read more

How state and local governments can assume a greater role in disaster recovery.

State and local government leaders are increasingly responsible for shouldering the disaster recovery burden. FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan says recovery should be "federally supported, state managed, and locally executed." Read more

Local tools to address housing affordability.

The fifth annual research collaboration between NLC and the State Municipal Leagues examines interactions between cities and states on tools to improve housing affordability, including inclusionary housing, rent control, housing vouchers, housing trust funds, and tax incentive programs. Read more

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Topics: fair housing, indoor air quality, LIHTC, UPCS, VASH, VAWA, persons with disabilities, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience

HUD approves disaster recovery plans for Florida, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Texas

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Mar 13, 2019 2:21:09 PM

Last week the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it has approved the latest disaster recovery action plans for Florida and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Both plans include tight fiscal controls.

In the first press release, HUD announced approval of the latest disaster action recovery plan to help Florida continue to rebuild from Hurricane Irma. The plan will invest an additional $158 million through the Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) program to address lingering unmet needs in impacted Florida counties, including seriously damaged housing, businesses and infrastructure.

The second press release announces that HUD has also approved an amended disaster action recovery plan for the U.S. Virgin Islands. An additional $779 million in CDBG-DR funds will be invested for continued recovery efforts following Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Each press release includes the following statement:

HUD requires that these recovery dollars be targeted to local communities that experienced the greatest impact and that all disaster relief funds will be spent in a manner that helps disaster victims. As a result, HUD will impose strict conditions and financial controls on the use of these funds.

HUD also recently announced that is has approved Puerto Rico’s latest disaster recovery action plan to help the island continue to rebuild from Hurricanes Maria and Irma, as well as an additional $652 million to support Texas’ recovery from Hurricane Harvey. HUD supports recovery from disasters such as Hurricane Harvey through its CDBG–DR program, which requires grantees to develop recovery plans with thought and input from local residents. Texas’ latest recovery plan adds to the $5 billion in HUD-funded recovery programs for the state that HUD approved last June and focuses mainly on restoring damaged and destroyed homes, businesses, and infrastructure.

Learn more about preparing for a disaster

Topics: CDBG-DR, Industry News, disaster recovery

HUD announces disaster recovery waivers

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Jan 10, 2019 9:31:46 AM

Today in the Federal Register, HUD published a notice waiving timing requirements for disaster recovery action plans and action plan amendments. The waivers for grants under the Community Development Block Grant–Disaster Recovery (CDBG–DR) program are necessary due to the government shutdown “and the resultant inability to satisfactorily complete the review and approval process consistent with (HUD’s) customary timeline.”

As explained in the notice, CDBG-DR grantees are required to submit action plans to HUD describing the intended use of recovery funds. HUD approval is also required for significant amendments to the action plans. HUD is waiving the required 45- to 60-day time limits for review and approval of the plans.

HUD will review the pending Action Plan Amendments and Action Plans and provide affected grantees with a decision within a time period which will be announced by HUD after enactment of funding for the Department’s normal operations.
Failure to extend the review period could lead to deemed approvals upon expiration of the customary 60-day review period, an outcome that would be inconsistent with both HUD’s oversight responsibilities and the purposes of the CDBG–DR funding or, alternatively, disapproval. Grantees with pending submissions are advised that the extension of HUD’s review period and resulting delays should not be considered a commentary on the submissions but is a recognition of the current circumstances.

Learn more about preparing for a disaster

Topics: government shutdown, CDBG-DR, disaster recovery

HUD eases requirements in disaster areas

Posted by Marné Cales on Sep 12, 2018 1:31:56 PM

Today in the Federal Register, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a notice announcing the availability of relief from HUD requirements for public housing authorities (PHAs) to assist with recovery and relief efforts for families affected by recent disasters. Specifically, PHAs in areas that currently have presidentially declared major disaster declarations (MDDs) may request waivers of HUD requirements and will receive expedited review of their requests.

The notice describes the flexibilities available to MDD PHAs, including extensions of obligation and expenditure deadlines for capital funds, Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) minimum program size, and public housing approved vacancies. It also describes the process for PHAs to provide notice and request approval from HUD regarding statutory or regulatory flexibilities. The notice will apply to any MDDs issued during the remainder of 2018 as well.

Topics: disaster recovery, regulatory flexibilities

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