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Monthly Newsletter - February 13, 2012

Federal News 

 

White House Provides Details of Housing Recovery Plan Announced In President's  State of the Union Address. On February 1, the White House released President Obama's Plan to Help Responsible Homeowners and to Heal the Housing Market. This fact sheet provides details on the President's proposals for an expanded mortgage refinance program and other initiatives to promote the recovery of the housing market, a newly expanded Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), a Homeowner Bill of Rights, and requested funding for Project Rebuild and the National Housing Trust Fund. 
Some elements of the housing plan can be implemented by Administration actions, but most require Congressional approval. Both the National Housing Trust Fund and Project Rebuild will be in the President's FY13 Budget.

 

Administration to Release FY 2013 Budget Request Today; CBO Released Budget and Economic Outlook. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2012 to 2022, its annual baseline budget projections. In addition, majority members of the House Committee on the Budget have introduced a package of ten bills aimed at overhauling the federal budget process, and committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) is expected to introduce a FY 2013 budget proposal in mid-March. Go to the "Events" section of this newsletter to learn about webinars on the FY 2013 budget hosted by Enterprise, NLIHC, and the Housing Assistance Council.

 

HHS's Office of Community Service Offers Advance Notice of 2012 Community Economic Development Funding Opportunity. The Community Economic Development (CED) awards grants for projects that create business development opportunities and employment for low-income individuals. They are reaching out to potential applicants in advance of the release of the 2012 Funding Opportunity Announcement. CED grantees collaborate on community efforts that sustain local workforce and economic growth and create jobs that lead to self-sufficiency for low-income individuals and their families. Private, non-profit community development corporations are eligible. The maximum grant amount is $800,000. This program is administered by the Office of Community Services within the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Learn more on the Office of Community Service website.
 
FHFA Announces Interested Investors May Pre-Qualify For REO Initiative. On February 1, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) announced the first
step of a Real-Estate Owned (REO) Initiative targeted to hardest-hit metropolitan areas announced in August 2011. Investors interested in participating may "pre-qualify" to establish eligibility to bid on transactions in the initial pilot phase as well as subsequent phases. The REO Initiative will allow qualified investors to purchase pools of foreclosed properties and require them to rent the purchased properties for a specified number of years. This rental period could provide relief for local housing markets that continue to be depressed by the volume of foreclosed properties, and provide additional rental options to certain markets. Read the FHFA press release.

 

FTA Requests Comments On New Starts/Small Starts, a Proposed Rule to Promote Affordable Housing Near Transit. On January 25, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released a proposed rule and policy guidance and request for comments for New Starts/Small Starts, a Major Capital Investments Program that would amend the evaluation criteria for new federal transit projects to take into account investments and policies designed to preserve and develop affordable housing near transit.  FTA is accepting comments on the proposed rule through March 26. Read a joint regulatory comment letter supporting such an action submitted by Enterprise and the National Housing Conference.

NACEDA News

 

NACEDA and National CAPACD to Offer Joint Comments on HOME Rule Change. A team of NACEDA members partnered with National CAPACD to offer comments on HUD's proposed regulatory changes to the HOME Program. The committee received comments from NACEDA members, which they will consider before sending a final version to HUD. All comments are due to HUD on on February 14. National CAPACD is the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development NACEDA and CAPACD are accepting co-signers to the letter. Email Frank (fwoodruff@naceda.org) by COB Monday, February 13 to add your organization's signature. Click here to read the letter.

 

Save the Date: NACEDA Summit Annual Summit - May 20-23 in Washington, DC.  Jamie Schriner-Hooper, Executive Director of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, will chair the summit committee for the second consecutive year. The committee includes Brian McGrain of the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan, Brigette Rasberry of the North Carolina Association of CDCs, Chris Hannifan and Elizabeth Debs of the Housing Network of Rhode Island, Karen Blandford of the Maryland ABCD Network, Lisa Stolarski of the National Cooperative Business Association, Lynn Haskin of the Philadelphia Association of CDCs, Michael Anderson of the Center for Community Change, Nate Coffman of the Ohio CDC Association, Frank Woodruff of NACEDA, and event coordinator Amy Dominici. The committee welcomes suggestions for presenters and panel discussions. Please contact Frank at fwoodruff@naceda.org with suggestions.

Partner News

  

New Loan Scam Prevention Materials Available from NeighborWorks America. The Loan Modification Scam Alert website has added resources to help educate homeowners about scams and how to report them - a standard loan scam flyer in Haitian Creole, and a "How to Know if You've Been Scammed" reporting flyer in English. These are the latest additions in NeighborWorks America's  national public education campaign to empower homeowners to protect themselves against loan modification scams, find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities.  

  

NeighborWorks Network Organizations Offer Free Tax Prep Services. Several NeighborWorks network organizations offer free tax preparation services to new and existing low- and moderate-income clients, with several working in partnership with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program sponsored by the Internal Revenue Service. They're encouraging filers not to be fooled by "low cost" quick refund services and encouraging homeowners who have faced foreclosure to evaluate their interest statements. View contact information for local NeighborWorks network organizations and a press release announcing free tax prep services.

Member News

 

Land Banking Bills Move Ahead in Pennsylvania and Philadelphia. 

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Philadelphia City Council are both considering land banking legislation. The Land Bank bill (HB 1682) before the Pennsylvania House permits (but does not require) counties and certain municipalities to establish land banks by ordinance and/or intergovernmental cooperation agreements. It grants them the power to clear title in an expedited manner and gives communities another weapon in the fight against blight. "We have a strong bill in Harrisburg that will allow counties and municipalities to establish Land Banks, enabling them to systematically remove problem properties from an endless cycle of vacancy, abandonment, and tax foreclosure and return them to productive use. Land banks not only address blight, but make more developable land available," explained Cindy Daley, Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania Policy Director, who is currently organizing advocacy campaign. Learn more on the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania website

 

The Philadelphia City Council is considering legislation to create the Philadelphia Land Bank to streamline the reuse of vacant and blighted property, which the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations (PACDC) has been advocating for. Under the bill, properties currently held by multiple public agencies would be consolidated at one entity, and could be sold for reduced or nominal amounts for projects beneficial to the community such as affordable housing and community gardens. Currently, more than 40,000 parcels sit vacant in Philadelphia, concentrated in the poorest neighborhoods. "If you consolidate the ownership of vacant property in one place with one policy, one set of rules, it will streamline the disposition process and make it quicker and easier to put vacant property back into productive use," noted PACDC Executive Director Rick Sauer. You can access the 
ordinance, fact sheet, and media coverage on the PACDC website.

 

New Jersey Member Urges Court to Invalidate Governor's Affordable Housing Reorganization Plan. Asserting that reorganization is in violation of Fair Housing Act, the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey (HCDNNJ) filed an amicus brief with the New Jersey Appellate Division requesting that the Court invalidate the governor's Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) reorganization plan. The Appellate Court will hear oral arguments on February 15. Last June, Governor Christie issued an executive order that transferred the functions and duties of COAH to the Department of Community Affairs. The amicus brief argues that shifting COAH from an independent agency to one controlled by the executive branch "unconstitutionally consolidates power." 

 

Since 1986, COAH has been charged with the implementation and oversight of the constitutionally mandated requirement of every municipality in the state when exercising the zoning power. More than 60,000 homes were built for people of low and moderate income under COAH. Up until the governor's reorganization, there were a total of twelve seats on the COAH board, two of those represented the needs of low and moderate income housing. The Corporation for Supportive Housing and the Mercer Alliance to End Homelessness co-filed the brief. The Executive Order has already been challenged in court by Fair Share Housing Center. Read the amicus brief and the HCDNNJ press release.

 

Doughnuts With Your Delegation Initiative Links Massachusetts CDCs with State Legislators. North Shore CDC invited Congressman Joe Tierney to their annual Doughnuts With Your Delegation meeting in Beverly, MA. It was the first in a series of local breakfast meetings sponsored this year by the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC) to strengthen their members' relationships with state legislative delegations and other officials, show what members do in the communities they serve, learn about the officials' priorities, and discuss issues of importance for the CDC. This year, the goal is 20 meetings throughout the state and MACDC members are focusing on The Community Development Partnership Act. MACDC's Director of Advocacy Allison Staton, "For five years our members have been hosting Doughnuts with Your Delegation and it is a very effective way for our members, and us, to link with state legislators and 'make real' the good works of CDCs in Massachusetts."

 

North Shore CDC in MA with Congressman Joe Tierney
North Shore CDC staff visit with Congressman Joe Tierney as part of the Massachusetts Association of CDC's annual "Doughnuts with your Delegation" effort.

 

Events & Educational Opportunities 

  

NLIHC Webinar on the President's FY13 Budget - February 16 at 1 pm EST. Learn about the affordable housing resources requested in the HUD and USDA portions of the budget request.

 

Enterprise Webinar: Overview of President's FY13 Budget Request - February 15, 3:00-3:00 pm EST. Learn about key housing and community development proposals.


PolicyLink Webinar: Equitable Strategies for Growing Urban Agriculture - February 16 at 2 pm EST. The first in a series of PolicyLink webinars building on their new Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Toolkit 

 

Housing Assistance Council Webinar - Overview of the 2013 Budget - February 21 EST. Learn what the president's 2013 budget means for rural housing programs.

 

National Housing Conference Annual Budget Forum - February 24, 10 am to noon in Washington, DC. Learn what the President's FY 2013 Budget Proposal will mean for critical housing programs, discuss the outlook for the FY 2013 budget process and beyond, and get the latest research from the Center for Housing Policy's release of Housing Landscape 2012.  The forum is free; registration is required.


The Institute for Comprehensive Community Development Presents Getting It Done II - March 5-6 in Chicago, IL.
Includes workshops on placed-based strategies and public health, building partnerships with local schools, and incorporating community safety into neighborhood planning. Due to the generous sponsor support, the program is free of charge except for a $50 fee for the opening session and luncheon.

 

Housing First Partners' Conference 2012 - March 21-23 in New Orleans, LA. 

A national forum for those engaged in ending homelessness through Housing First. Presented by Pathways to Housing and DESC.

 

NLIHC's 2012 Annual Housing Policy Conference and Lobby Day - March 25-28 in Washington, DC. Confirmed keynote speakers are Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson, AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Arlene Holt-Baker and Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA). Early registration rates end February 15.  

 

National Interagency Community Reinvestment Conference - March 25-28 in Seattle, WA. Sponsored by FDIC, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Department of Treasury's Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Registration and information

Publications & Resources

  

Rebuilding America's Legacy Cities: New Directions for the Industrial Heartland, The American Assembly, 2012.

 

Rural Research Note: Population Change In Rural America, Housing Assistance Council, 2012.

  

Has Foreclosure Counseling Helped Troubled Homeowners? Evidence from the Evaluation of the National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program, Urban Institute, January 2012.

 

Regaining the Dream: How to Renew the Promise of Homeownership for America's Working Families, UNC Center for Community Capital 

 

Rehab-to-Rent Can Help Hard-Hit Communities and Our Economy: What to Consider When Converting Vacant Foreclosed Homes into Affordable, Energy Efficient Rentals, Center for American Progress, January 2012.

 

More than a Roof: Case Studies of Public Housing Agency Initiatives to Increase Residents' Economic Security, Center for Housing Policy, January 2012.

 

The State of Homelessness In America 2012, National Alliance to End Homelessness, January 17, 2012. 

 

 

Housing Wealth and Higher Education: Building a Foundation for Economic Mobility,The Pew Charitable Trust Poll Economic Mobility, December 2011.

 

Revitalizing Distressed Older Suburbs,  What Works Collaborative and Cleveland State University, November 2011.

Employment Opportunities

 

Want to post a job opening? Contact Suzanne Gunther at sgunther@naceda.org. Please include a link to the job description.

 

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National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations

phone: (202) 518-2660