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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

REAC previews new inspection protocol, issues inspector notice on carbon monoxide detectors

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Apr 2, 2019 11:17:33 AM

HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) has established a new website with information about planned changes to its physical housing inspection model. The new model, National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), is intended to improve upon the current Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol by prioritizing health, safety, and functional defects.

As a first step in revising inspection requirements, HUD published Notice PIH 2019-02/H 2019-04 on February 22. The notice reduced the advance notification time for REAC inspections to 14 days. HUD then began a nationwide series of listening sessions on the new inspection model.

Resources available on the NSPIRE website include a description of the NSPIRE concept and learning materials from the listening sessions held in Philadelphia and Fort Worth.

A two-year, voluntary demonstration of the NSPIRE protocol is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019. REAC will publish a notice on the demonstration at a later date. Recommendations on the new model and demonstration may be submitted to NSPIRE@hud.gov.

On March 25, HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) issued Inspector Notice 2019-01 establishing guidance for inspectors on performing a data collection process to determine the prevalence of carbon monoxide detectors at properties subject to inspection under the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol.

The notice does not require the presence of carbon monoxide detectors, nor does the absence of such detectors affect a property’s UPCS score—noting the presence or absence of such detectors is for data collection purposes only. The specific procedures required for inspectors to collect data can be found on page 2 of the notice. As the notice explains, this data collection is part of the department’s efforts to support decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is in good repair, and REAC’s commitment to continuous improvement of physical inspection standards.

Need help with UPCS? Talk to our inspections team

Topics: indoor air quality, inspections, PIH notices, UPCS, Industry News, NSPIRE

HUD announces Hurricane Harvey resources

Posted by NMA on Sep 5, 2017 11:58:41 AM

govt-columns.jpgToday HUD introduced two websites offering information and resources for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief. An accompanying press release discusses the housing needs of hurricane survivors.

First, in an email this morning HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) announced that it has established a website devoted to Hurricane Harvey Latest News. The site includes links to resources to assist survivors in beginning the building clean-up process safely so that they can get back into their homes as soon as possible. The site also features guides on dealing with mold, asbestos, lead, and other home health hazards that can occur after a disaster. Click here to join the OLHCHH mailing list.

A hurricane recovery website has also been posted on HUD Exchange. The site contains information and resources for HUD grantees, partners, and residents. Resources include links to press releases, disaster recovery toolkits, information for HUD and non-HUD residents, and resources for the care of pets and other animals.

In a press release posted this morning, HUD addressed the need for affordable rental housing for hurricane survivors. In partnership with other federal departments and agencies, HUD is the lead coordinating agency for long-term disaster-related housing needs resulting from Hurricane Harvey. HUD, its federal partnering agencies, and the Texas state housing task force are focused on identifying strategies to strengthen the housing market, building inclusive and sustainable communities, and integrating disaster mitigation measures into community design and development to reduce future damages.

Topics: disaster programs, indoor air quality, CDBG-DR

Affordable housing news 3/17/17

Posted by NMA on Mar 17, 2017 4:13:56 PM

CBPP: 3 out of 4 at-risk renters don't get housing assistance

The HUDdle: New study shows why all public housing should be smoke-free

NCSHA: FY 2018 budget blueprint proposes deep cuts to HUD, elimination of HOME

Next City: Investment in affordable housing has ripple effect

NHC: Digging deep into who struggles to afford housing in your region

NLIHC: Register for March 20 webinar on opposing HUD funding cuts

Urban Wire: Improving the lives of kids in public housing

Topics: budget cuts, CDBG, HOME, indoor air quality, LIHTC

PIH issues guidance on smoke-free rule

Posted by NMA on Feb 16, 2017 12:11:24 PM

Late yesterday HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2017-03, “HUD Guidance on Instituting and Enforcing Smoke-Free Public Housing Policies.” The notice follows December’s publication of the smoke-free final rule.

Subjects discussed in the guidance notice include implementation, PHA flexibility, and PHA policy options concerning use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and designated smoking areas (DSAs). The notice also includes instructions for revisions to public housing leases and PHA plans.

The notice also encourages PHAs to adopt graduated enforcement mechanisms for violations of smoke-free policies. PHAs may not evict for a single incident of smoking.

On the subject of reasonable accommodations, the notice includes suggestions for smoke-free policies for residents with disabilities. Such measures could include offering the resident a transfer to a unit near an exit, to a unit on the ground floor, or to a unit in another development where DSAs are provided. However, a PHA may not permit continued smoking in restricted areas.

The notice concludes by encouraging PHAs to engage residents early in the development of smoke-free policies. Best practices have indicated that resident engagement in policy development, implementation, and enforcement are less likely to result in evictions.

Got questions about the smoke-free rule? Don’t miss Nan’s legislative update at the The Housing Conference this August in Boston, where she’ll discuss acts of Congress, regulation changes, and what’s ahead for 2017. Register now for the best rates!

Topics: final rule, indoor air quality

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