NAHRO Policy Team Blog

  • Jeff Falcusan January 31, 2011 11:55am EST

    The January 31 edition of the NAHRO Monitor is now available online.  Highlights include the latest information on proposed spending cuts for FY 2011 and beyond, and coverage of NAHRO's response to the Rental Housing Revitalization Act of 2010.  Also included: an analysis of how dramatic funding reductions would impact the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, NAHRO's comments on the Choice Neighborhoods FY 2010 NOFA, the latest on the HCV admin. fee study, and the recent departure of a high-ranking HUD official.  

    On Page 3 of the NAHRO Monitor, NAHRO CEO Saul Ramirez discusses the unresolved FY 2011 appropriations process and offers thoughts on how advocacy for investments in housing and community development programs can succeed even in the current political climate: 

    "President Obama’s State of the Union address focused heavily on the economic challenges facing our nation and sustaining the fragile recovery that now appears to be underway. The President plans to repair and restore the nation’s infrastructure — HCD programs play a vital role in this. HCD programs create greener homes, efficiently functioning transit systems, stronger educational initiatives and, most importantly, economic growth and global competitiveness." 

    NAHRO members can access the January 31 edition of the NAHRO Monitor here.  

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 26, 2011 10:31am EST

    During last evening's State of the Union Address, President Obama raised the possibility of consolidating federal agencies and/or programs to reduce duplication of effort.  As part of this discussion, the President made specific mention of housing policy:

    "Let me take this one step further.  We shouldn’t just give our people a government that’s more affordable.  We should give them a government that’s more competent and more efficient.  We can’t win the future with a government of the past. 

    "We live and do business in the Information Age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white TV.  There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports.  There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy...

    "Now, we’ve made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste.  Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse.  We’re selling acres of federal office space that hasn’t been used in years, and we’ll cut through red tape to get rid of more.  But we need to think bigger.  In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote –- and we will push to get it passed."

    The cabinet-level agencies that administer federal housing programs include:

    • HUD
    • Agriculture
    • Treasury (Tax Credit Exchange Program, Capital Magnet Fund, Hardest Hit Fund, Making Home Affordable, etc.)
    • Defense (Homeowners Assistance Program, Military Housing Privatization Initiative)
    • Veterans Affairs (VA Home Loans)

    So what exactly does the President have in mind?  We'll probably have to wait at least until the President's FY 2012 budget is released in mid-February to find out, but I am reminded of a similar (and ultimately unsuccessful) proposal from a few years back that caused a great deal of consternation within our industry.  Remember the Strengthening America's Communities Initiative?  President Bush's FY 2006 budget proposed replacing 18 federal community and economic development programs (including the Community Development Block Grant program) with a single, smaller initiative to be administered by the Department of Commerce. That proposal, which NAHRO strenuously opposed, never gained traction and was not included in the Bush Administration's FY 2007 budget.

    NAHRO is generally supportive of reforming our programs to make them more efficient and effective.  Unfortunately, the concept of "consolidation" has often served as a stalking horse for funding reductions and/or program terminations.  We'll reserve judgment until we see President Obama's specific proposals in this area.  Stay tuned.

    Related:  National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials Responds to the State of the Union

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  • Tamar Greenspan January 24, 2011 03:38pm EST

    HUD has posted to its website the latest edition of The Resident, a quarterly newsletter for residents of public housing.  This issue includes a segment entitled “Ten Things to Know about the Rental Housing Revitalization Act” as well as information about the Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program.  A PDF copy of the newsletter can be accessed through HUD’s website.

    A separate newsletter for staff administering the HCV program was also published.  The featured article in this edition focuses on common errors in the Voucher Management System.  The newsletter can be accessed from HUD’s website.  [Note: NAHRO staff experienced difficulty opening the PDF of this newsletter in the web browser.  We suggest right-clicking the link to save the document, and then opening.]

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 24, 2011 09:54am EST

    HUD will hold a two-and-a-half day conference in the Washington, DC area  to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program.  The conference is scheduled for May 2-4, 2011. 

    As part of its ongoing preparations for the event, the  Department invited several industry groups to a meeting at HUD headquarters this past Friday.  NAHRO was in attendance.

    During the meeting, industry groups were informed that HUD expects to launch its new HOME Technical Assistance website (www.hometa.info) later this week.  Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) can learn more about and register for the conference through the new website.

    As part of the 20th anniversary conference, HUD will present "Door Knocker Awards" to PJs "for exceptional programs and projects in key areas that are important to the future of the program."  According to the Department, Door Knocker Award winners will:

    • Be presented with an award at the conference, where they will have their picture taken with high-level HUD officials;
    • Have the opportunity to make a presentation about their award-winning project to peers at the conference;
    • Have a video produced about the award that will be played at the conference, shared with their Congressional Representatives, and posted on HUD.gov, YouTube and other media outlets;
    • Be highlighted in local and national press releases and featured on HUD.gov and HOMETA.info.

    Door Knocker Awards will be presented in the following categories:

    • Promoting Long-term Affordability
    • Reaching Underserved Populations
    • Building CHDO Capacity
    • Producing Sustainable Housing

    Applications will be accepted through February 24. To apply, visit www.hometa.info after the site has launched.

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 21, 2011 09:32am EST

    HUD is set to issue a proposed rule intended "to ensure that its core programs are open to all eligible individuals and families regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity."  The proposed rule is scheduled to appear in the Federal Register on Monday, January 24. 

    Review an advance copy of the proposed rule here.

    HUD's press release announcing the proposed rule is here.

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 20, 2011 10:26am EST

    HUD has issued a press release announcing $1.411 billion in FY 2010 competitive awards for Continuum of Care renewals.  According to the release, HUD will announce awards for new projects "later in the year."  A state-by-state breakdown of the awards made under the renewal competitive programs (Shelter Pluse Care, Single Room Occupancy, and Supportive Housing) is available through HUD's website

    The FY 2011 funding cycle will see major changes in the way HUD provides McKinney-Vento homeless assistance grant funding.  In May 2009 President Obama signed major reform legislation into law.  The bill, known as the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing Act of 2009 (HEARTH), consolidated the three competitive HUD homeless assistance grant programs into a single competitive - and, for the first time, formally authorized - Continuum of Care program. HEARTH also renamed the Emergency Shelter Grant program the Emergency Solutions Grant program and revamps the program to provide grantees with greater flexibility to prevent homelessness and provide re-housing services.

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 19, 2011 11:13am EST

    On January 14 NAHRO submitted a comment letter in response to HUD's request that stakeholders offer feedback on the Planning Grants section of the FY 2010 Choice Neighborhoods Round 1 NOFA.  According to an email message, the Department is looking "to improve the Choice Neighborhoods initiative to better meet the needs of housing owners, public housing authorities, and local communities." 

    HUD requested comments in the following areas:

    1. Application information: Which sections contain particularly helpful information? Were any sections of the application unclear? If so, why?
    2. Required information: Would you change any of the information requirements?  Should applicants be able to substitute certain information? If so, why and how?
    3. Scoring system: Would you make any improvements to the application scoring system? Would you keep particular sections the same? If so, why?
    4. Other: Is there anything else that you particularly liked about the NOFA? Is there anything else you would improve?

    NAHRO members:  We will provide a detailed summary of our comment letter in the January 31 NAHRO Monitor.  For NAHRO's earlier coverage of the Choice Neighborhoods Round 1 NOFA, see our October 24 and November 10 Direct News items. 

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 18, 2011 09:57am EST

    A number of NAHRO members have reached out to us in recent weeks to raise concerns regarding HUD's determination that PHAs and Redevelopment Authorities may not act as developers under the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.  In response to these concerns, we authored a letter to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan requesting that he exercise the waiver authority provided for under both the Recovery Act and the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 in order to place PHAs and Redevelopment Authorities on equal footing with for-profit and private nonprofit developers. 

    NAHRO is not making this request on its own.  In a sign of the importance of this issue, six other national organizations representing local elected officials and housing and community development professionals have joined with us in this effort.  The final letter, which was sent to the Secretary on January 14, was signed by the following groups:

    • NAHRO
    • The National Association of Counties
    • The National League of Cities
    • The U.S. Conference of Mayors
    • The Council of State Community Development Agencies
    • The National Association for County Community and Economic Development
    • The National Community Development Association

    Read the letter here

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  • Jeff Falcusan January 12, 2011 04:31pm EST

    Welcome to NAHRO's new Policy Team Blog!  We hope you'll visit this page often to receive short, to-the-point updates on federal housing and community development programs. 

    NAHRO members: Please feel free to ask questions and offer feedback by leaving comments.  For NAHRO's in-depth analysis of regulatory and legislative developments, members may also access NAHRO Direct News and the online version of the NAHRO Monitor.

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