Reports + Articles


US House Passes Rural Development Budget with Deep Cuts

On June 16, the U.S. House of Representatives passed its FY12 appropriations bill, H.R. 2112, which includes significant cuts to USDA Rural Development (RD) housing programs. The decreased funding levels, unchanged from the committee-passed version of the bill, would greatly affect both rural multifamily rental housing preservation and assistance to rural residents with the lowest incomes. According to analysis by the Housing Assistance Council (HAC), H.R. 2112 would reduce funding for Section 515 rural rental housing and Section 514/516 farm labor housing by approximately 16% and 37%, respectively, compared to FY11. Section 521 rental assistance, which helps those with the lowest incomes, would decrease by approximately $66 million or 7% from FY11. These cuts are all great than those present in the President’s FY12 budget request. RD’s rental preservation revolving loan fund and rental preservation demonstration program (MPR) would receive no funding in FY12, matching the President’s request, as would the set-aside for preservation rental assistance within the Section 521 program, which was not funded in FY11 either. Click here for HAC’s analysis, which includes a link to the bill.

Advocates expect the U.S. Senate to include higher funding levels in its version of the bill, though official work in that chamber is not yet underway. The HUD appropriations bill is expected to surface sometime in July.

— Posted on 6/27/2011

HUD Magazine Profiles NOAH, Cites Preservation Efforts

The spring 2011 edition of HUD’s Evidence Matters magazine features an article on the importance of bank consortia in preserving and expanding affordable rental housing options. HUD chose to profile the Network for Oregon Affordable Housing (NOAH) as a model for how private investment can effectively meet important housing needs in a specific geographic area. NOAH’s strong reputation for combining high-quality financial products with intensive technical assistance positions it to best address the evolving affordable rental housing demand in Oregon. The article specifically notes the current slew of properties with expiring federal rent subsidy contracts that could leave the affordable housing stock and cites the to-date success of the Oregon Housing Acquisition Fund to preserve those properties. Click here for the full article.

— Posted on 6/16/2011

Oregonian Cover Story Underscores Need to Preserve Hard Units

The front page of today’s Oregonian features a story about a Section 8 housing choice voucher recipient in Gladstone experiencing problems securing appropriate rental housing due to limited availability, high prices, and discrimination (Oregon law currently bans many types of housing discrimination, but does not require landlords to accept tenants who have federal rent subsidies). The family profiled – single mother with three boys – received the tenant-based assistance after spending 10 years on the waiting list in Clackamas County but is fast approaching the 120-day deadline by which the voucher must be in use or returned. Click here for the full article.

The article highlights the importance of preserving existing affordable homes, instead of relying on the issuance of an additional housing choice voucher as an adequate replacement. Those who do not support efforts to preserve projects with project-based Section 8 rental assistance often point to the supposed safety net of tenant-based vouchers as a primary reason for their position, because qualified tenants in homes with project-based assistance are eligible for tenant-based assistance if the owner of their current building opts out of the project-based assistance contract. But, as the article reveals, the unfortunate reality is that, though an important resource for many people with low incomes, tenant-based assistance doesn’t guarantee the existence of an affordable home.

— Posted on 6/13/2011

HUD & Fannie Mae Offer Green Refinance Plus Program

As part of the Fannie Mae/Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Risk-Share program, the recently established Green Refinance Plus program promotes the inclusion of energy- and water-saving upgrades in existing affordable rental housing by creating additional loan proceeds through lower debt service coverage and higher loan-to-value ratios. This new preservation tool is available for multifamily rental properties that are at least 10 years old and maintain affordability restrictions at least through the term of the new loan. In exchange for the ability to obtain refinancing, owners must agree to spend at least 5% of the loan proceeds on overall rehab and green retrofits identified using the required green needs assessment. Through its network of lenders, Fannie Mae expects to initially dedicate $100 million toward individual loans in the $3.5 to $5 million range, with FHA insuring up to an additional 4-5% of the loan amount. The program represents both another tool for preservation of existing affordable housing and a means of providing green retrofit funding for older buildings that often struggle to secure funds for such purposes. Click here for more information.

— Posted on 6/09/2011

HUD Publishes FY11 Section 8 Income Limits

Effective May 31, HUD implemented updated income limits for every county and major metropolitan area in the county. These income limits, adjusted by various factors, including family size, are used to determine eligibility of residents applying for housing or assistance through one of HUD’s assisted housing programs. HUD uses annual calculations of Median Family Income (MFI) as the basis for updating income limits. Click here for further information from HUD, including income limit tables for Oregon. Click here for a chart of Oregon MFI changes, produced by the Oregon Housing Blog.

— Posted on 6/02/2011