National Housing Trust
National Housing Trust Newsletter
 May 9, 2012
In This Issue
Senate Appropriations Committee Rejects Short Funding Section 8
NHT/E Commits to 100% Clean Energy at Four Properties
Senior Property Saved in SC; Demonstrates the Importance of Full Funding for Section 8
Right of First Refusal Preserves Affordable Housing in MA
PWG Corner
Section 8 Reports Posted to NHT Website
HUD Updates Section 202 Refinancing Policies
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Greetings!   

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In welcome news, the Senate Transportation and HUD (THUD) Appropriations Committee recently provided sufficient funding for all Section 8 contracts for 12 months, appropriating $536 million more than the FY2012 budget, totaling over $1.1 billion over HUD's FY'13 request. A Section 8 advocacy campaign led by NHT and others ultimately convinced the Senate that short-funding Section 8 contracts saved the government no money, was misguided and would have stalled private investment in Section 8 properties. In the words of the Subcommittee, led by Senators Murray (D-WA) and Collins (R-ME): "...the policy of short-funding contracts devised to keep the program within budget jeopardized the Department's credibility, created unnecessary administrative inefficiencies and reduced investor confidence." For those who participated, on behalf of the families and elderly who call this home-Thank you!

 

The Senate vote underscores the important role that advocacy plays in ensuring that low-income families are protected from cuts in this difficult budget environment. While this is a significant first step, those who rely on Section 8 for affordable, decent housing are still it risk. We must continue to emphasize the importance of full funding and what it means for individuals, families, communities and housing investment across the country. The fight has just begun. The House THUD Appropriations Subcommittee's spending cap is $1 billion less than the Senate.  As I write, the House vote is scheduled for early June. NHT and our partners will work closely to urge members of Congress to fully-fund the Project-Based Section 8 account. Keep it up! 

  

Stay tuned, 

Michael Bodaken

NHT/Enterprise Marks Earth Day by Committing to 100% Clean Energy at Four Affordable Properties 

Nearly 300 D.C. low-income families will enjoy improved building maintenance and resident services as a result of an energy power-purchasing agreement that includes the National Housing Trust- Enterprise Preservation Corporation and various community organizations, churches and synagogues.  Coordinated by Groundswell, the agreement allows mission-based organizations to use their collective buying power to purchase clean energy at a reduced rate. NHT/Enterprise will use the initiative to provide 100% wind-produced electricity at four of its affordable housing properties.


Through the agreement, NHT/Enterprise has locked in rates approximately 25% below the local utility's standard offer service by purchasing wind-produced electricity from renewable energy provider CleanCurrents. This agreement will allow NHT/Enterprise to save tens of thousands of dollars in operating expenses over the next three years and will reduce carbon emissions by more than 180 metric tons. These savings will be reinvested in efforts to provide quality affordable housing.   

 

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40-Year-Old Senior Property Saved in South Carolina; Demonstrates the Importance of Full 12-Month Funding for Section 8

On December 15, 2011, the renovation of Christopher Towers in Columbia, South Carolina was completed. An affordable Section 8 senior property, Christopher Towers was originally built in 1971.  The property is at risk of being short-funded under the President's proposed FY2013 Project-Based Section 8 budget. However, with full Section 8 funding, Christopher Towers will continue to provide healthy housing to the elderly who live there.

The 225 unit, 16-story high-rise has been renovated with new appliances, refurbished kitchens, up fitted handicapped units, re-tinted windows, new fire suppression and alarm systems, and renovated lobby and reception areas. The Navigation Corporation managed the renovation while PDI Architecture oversaw the architectural changes.  C.F. Evans Construction of Orangeburg - a company that has worked with HUD on over 60 projects - signed on as the contractor. Financing was provided through HUD's 221(d)3 mortgage insurance program, and property management has already witnessed increased resident comfort and satisfaction since renovation. 
Photo Source: Homeowners Rehab, Inc.

New Right of First Refusal Law Preserves Affordable Housing in Cambridge, MA

 

On February 8th, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation (CEDAC) was pleased to celebrate with its preservation partners the dedication of Chapman Arms, a 50-unit building located in Cambridge's busy Harvard Square, as the first affordable housing to be preserved through the state's right of first refusal - an important provision of the state's innovative Chapter 40T law... Click here to read more.  

Preservation Working Group (PWG) Corner: Members Set Advocacy Priorities

 

The Preservation Working Group, facilitated by the National Housing Trust, met in late March in Washington, D.C., to outline the group's agenda for the remainder of the year and to advocate preservation policies that will ensure long-term affordability of rental housing for low-income families.  PWG is a coalition of affordable housing preservation practitioners, housing agencies, lenders, and advocates from around the country.

  

PWG hosted officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Rural Housing Service to discuss preservation policies that each agency is implementing throughout the rest of the year.  In addition, staff from Congressional offices provided PWG members with an outlook on the budget and appropriations process, as well as the schedule for the two authorizing committees.  

 
Since the convening, PWG has provided comments to HUD on the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) implementation.  Included in the RAD Notice PIH 2012-18 was the Merkley-Brown amendment which makes it possible to convert tenant protection vouchers to project-based vouchers for Rent Supp, RAP and Section 8 Moderate Rehab properties.  See PWG's comments here.

PWG members expressed deep concern that HUD was failing to protect unassisted residents residing in properties with maturing mortgages or expiring use restrictions. In response to these concerns, HUD has issued PIH Notice 2012-20 which reverses HUD's current position and promises that HUD will shortly re-issue guidance that will fully protect all residents in such properties.

Project Based Section-8 State Reports Posted to NHT Website

The National Housing Trust has posted new Project-Based Section 8 Reports to our website.

Each report includes properties with project-based Section 8 contracts expiring over the next five years. Also included is information about property location, housing subsidy expiration date, physical inspection scores, ownership, management, and mortgage terms. All reports were updated in April of 2012.

HUD Updates Section 202 Direct Loan Prepayment and Refinancing Policies

HUD has announced updated guidance for the prepayment and refinancing of Section 202 Direct Loan projects.  This notice implements the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2010 and should help owners preserve older 202 units by enabling them to refinance and address the physical needs of the property. This Notice supersedes all prior HUD guidance on Direct Loan prepayment and refinance. The Notice outlines requirements for the prepayment and refinance of all Section 202 Direct Loan prepayments that require prior approval of the Secretary;  Section 202 Direct Loan prepayments and refinancing where debt service savings are anticipated; and Section 202 Direct Loan projects with original interest rates of six (6) percent or less, where no debt service savings are anticipated.

Click here for the Notice.