Categories
Spotlight Uncategorized

Job Opportunity

Executive Director Job Posting March 2020

After 40 years the Executive Director of FNPH is retiring. The Board of Directors with the assistance of the Executive Director will be conducting a thorough search to fill the position. The history, mission and role in the organization is described in more detail below.

This is an exciting opportunity for an individual with the skills and experience to build on a legacy and work collaboratively with a passionate Board of Directors to strategically plan the next phase of growth and development looking at the mission of the organization and creating a long term vision for FNPH.

History and Mission of FNPH:

Florida Non-Profit Housing, Inc (FNPH) is the successor organization of the American Friends Service Committee’s (AFSC) Florida Migrant and Seasonal Farm Worker Housing effort. AFSC organized 5 nonprofit housing corporations by acquiring sites, recruiting self-help applicants and using this early development to gain approval of section 523 Technical Assistance (TA) grants. AFSC then began providing technical assistance and training to these Self-help grantees within the State of Florida in the early 1970’s.

In 1978, FNPH was formed and took over this important effort from AFSC. A statewide meeting was convened to address mutual concerns. That meeting was attended by rural development state district and county personnel, all grantees and FNPH staff. The initial goal was to provide farm worker housing throughout the State of Florida, through the provision of Technical Assistance and Training (TAT) to nonprofit housing providers.

Today the primary goal is still the same. FNPH provides technical assistance and training throughout the Southeast Region of the US. There are two divisions of FNPH: Farm Worker Housing and Self-Help Housing.

Farm Worker Housing:

FNPH is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor as “Lead Agency” for the Southeast Housing Consortium (SEHC). As Lead Agency, we monitor and provide assistance to DOL funded agencies in Delaware, Florida and Mississippi.

On a statewide basis, FNPH provides technical assistance and training to nonprofit housing corporations and units of governments to develop, own and manage housing for farm workers. We assist agencies in leveraging other sources of funds to lower the mortgage from the primary lender, Rural Housing Services (e.g., HOME, SHIP, CDBG, etc.).

Self Help Housing:

Since 1980, FNPH has provided technical assistance and training as a Regional Contractor for the Rural Housing Service’s Section 523 Mutual Self-Help Housing Technical Assistance Grant Program. The primary purpose of this contract is to provide management and fiscal training, as well as technical support, to operating, new and potential Self-Help Housing Grantees.

Summary of the Role:

The Executive Director is responsible for the formulation and interpretation of organizational policies and providing overall direction of the organization within guidelines set up by the FNPH Board of Directors. The Executive Director plans, directs and coordinates operational activities at the highest level of management with the help of program directors and staff specialists.  Work is performed under the general direction and support of the FNPH Board of Directors through meetings, discussion and analysis of reports and updates.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director (ED) will have overall strategic and operational responsibility for FNPH staff, programs, expansion, and exaction of its mission. S/he will initially develop deep knowledge of our service area, core programs, operations, and business plans.

  • Develop and maintain effective collaborative relationships with appropriate local, state, and federal agencies, which have direct or indirect responsibilities to very low, low and moderate income population. Similarly develop and maintain effective collaborative working relationships with the agencies FNPH provides technical assistance and training.
  • Responsible for planning, organization, and direction of the organization’s operations and programs with the DOL and USDA.
  • Provides leadership to and manages the efforts of staff to ensure appropriate support of each funding source.
  • Retains a diverse, highly qualified staff by providing career coaching, growth, and personal development of employees.
  • Ensure ongoing programmatic excellence, rigorous program evaluation, and consistent quality of finance and administration including investment management, fundraising, communications, and systems; recommend timelines and resources needed to achieve strategic goals.
  • Ensure effective systems to track progress and regularly evaluate program components to measure successes that can be effectively communicated to the board, funders, and other constituents.
  • Expand revenue generating and fundraising activities to support existing program operations and future growth and expansion.
  • Expand and refine all aspects of communications – from web presence to external relations with the goal of creating a stronger brand.
  • Begin to build partnerships in new markets; publish and communicate program results with an emphasis on the successes and accomplishments.

Education and Experience:

  • Graduation from an accredited college or university with a Bachelor’s degree. Master’s degree preferred in Public Administration, Business Administration or a related field.
  • A minimum of seven (7) years or progressively responsible management level experience in a not-for-profit management position with proven success developing and operationalizing strategies that have taken an organization to the next stage of growth.
  • Additional experience in one or more of the following areas preferred:
    • Rural Housing
    • Housing Finance
    • Property Management
  • Unwavering commitment to quality programs and data-driven program evaluation.
  • Excellence in organizational management with the ability to coach staff, manage, and develop high-performance teams, set and achieve strategic objectives, and manage a budget.
  • Past success working with a board of directors with the ability to cultivate existing board member relationships.
  • Strong marketing, public relations, and fundraising experience with the ability to engage a wide range of stakeholders and cultures.
  • Strong written and verbal communications skills; a persuasive and passionate communicator with excellent interpersonal and multidisciplinary project skills.
  • Action-oriented, adaptable, and innovative approach to business planning.
  • Ability to work effectively in collaboration with diverse groups of people.
  • Passion, integrity, positive attitude, mission-driven, and self-directed.

Travel:

This position requires frequent travel up to 30% of the time, by both air and ground transportation. Must be able and willing to travel by air and/or drive to other sites and stay overnight or multiple nights in a hotel.

Physical demands:

While performing this job, one is required to use hands and fingers for computer and telephone, talk and hear, as well as stand, walk, drive and travel. Lifting between 5 – 15 pounds is necessary.

Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions of the job.

What we offer:

FNPH provides a competitive salary, generous employer paid health, welfare and retirement benefits along with generous time off including vacation time, sick and holiday pay.

The process:

To apply for this position please send your resume, with a thoughtful cover letter stating the reason you are applying for the job and what you will bring to the organization in terms of knowledge and experience. Please include your salary requirements in your cover letter. Applications without a cover letter and salary requirements will not be considered.

This position is posted on Indeed.com and all interested applicants should apply through Indeed.

Deadline for applications: Friday, April 3, 2020 at 5:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. Only candidates of interest will be contacted. We thank you in advance for your interest in FNPH.

A criminal background check and drug screen will be conducted once an offer of employment has been extended. Any employment offer will be contingent upon the results of these screenings.

FNPH is an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national original, veteran or disability status.

Categories
Uncategorized

Rural Housing Coalition Celebrates 50 Years of Improving Housing Conditions Across America

Over 40 rural organizations gathered in Washington, DC to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the National Rural Housing Coalition

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The Board of Directors of the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) held a two-day meeting on December 3-4, 2019, in Washington D.C., marking the coalition’s 50th Anniversary. A commemorative pin and poster was released by the coalition this week and a page documenting NRHC’s 5 decades of advocacy is featured on the organization’s website. In addition, a reception to honor NRHC’s anniversary and accomplishments was also held on December 3rd on Capitol Hill, with Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA) providing a keynote.

For 50 years, the National Rural Housing Coalition has worked diligently to promote and defend the principle that rural people have the right — regardless of income — to a decent, affordable place to live, clean drinking water, and basic community services.

“NRHC, a national membership organization that advocates for improved housing and community facilities in America’s small town and farming communities, has 120 members located in rural and farming communities across the country,” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition. “For 50 years, our members have worked diligently to promote and defend the principle that rural people have the right — regardless of income — to a decent, affordable place to live, clean drinking water, and basic community services.”

Rep. Costa, during his remarks at the reception, noted the significant contributions that federal rural housing programs have made to improving housing conditions in his rural, Central Valley District. The Congressman also noted the importance of a Mutual-Self Help Housing in helping low-income families build their own homes and gain equity.

The two-day meeting was designed to inform the board on federal housing and community development policy. The board heard from officials from the USDA Department of Agriculture’s Rural Housing Service, staff from the Office of Comptroller of Currency and the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Bob Rapoza reported on the current status of rural housing appropriations in Congress.

The Board meets twice a year to discuss current federal policy and legislation. Beyond getting a status report on Congress and from federal agencies, the board mapped out its policy initiatives for the New Year.

“Throughout its history, NRHC has been at the forefront in pushing for better federal rural housing policy, and we will continue building on that success in the years ahead,” Rapoza said.

About the National Rural Housing Coalition

NRHC is a national membership organization comprised of nonprofit housing organizations, housing developers, state and local officials, and housing advocates. Since 1969, has NRHC worked to focus policy makers on the needs of rural areas through direct advocacy and by coordinating a network of rural housing advocates around the nation. NRHC regularly sponsors conferences to develop specific policies and legislative proposals with direct input from housing experts in the field.

Contact: Bob Rapoza
National Rural Housing Coalition
1155 15th St NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 393-5225
Fax (202) 393-3034

Categories
Uncategorized

People’s Self Help Housing: 50 Years of Improving Housing and Lives

It is the 50 year anniversary of People’s Self Help Housing PSSH (PSSH).  PSSH has been working to increase the availability of affordable housing in California’s central coastal area since 1970.  PSSH’s mission is to help low income families build and purchase their own homes while also providing affordable rental housing.

 PSSH started with the help of a group of local citizens and community leaders who wanted to tackle the shortage of available low income housing. These concerned citizens and community leaders were able to address the lack of low income housing after the Fair Housing act of 1968. PSSH was founded in 1970 with Jeanette Duncan leading the way as founder and President/CEO. 

Over the last 50 years PSSH has helped build 1200 homes in the central coastal area of California through Mutual Self Help housing.  PSSH was one of pioneering organizations that employed this innovative approach to help low income families get the home of their dreams.  The Mutual and Self Help Housing program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture  and is the only federal program where sweaty equity is used in combination with affordable loans and technical assistance. Families that are helped by this program work nights and weekends to provide 65% (or 1,000 hours) of the construction. Nationally families that participate in Mutual Self Help Housing are able to earn on average $18,215 in equity, decrease construction costs and make lasting investments. The hours the family puts in not only reduces the overall construction cost for the family but most times it gives them a better appreciation for their home. It also allows them to learn the construction process necessary to build a sound home.

PSSH also helps build affordable housing complexes for farm workers and their families. People’s Self- Help Housing owns and manages over 1,900 rental units in California. With that they are able to provide low cost, comfortable housing units to over 5,000 individuals and their families.  Canyon Creek is one example of PSHH’s efforts to not only increase the supply of affordable housing but also provide important services. PSSH has established a learning center and health screen clinic at the development. This provides the 69 farmworker families who reside at Canyon Creek access to important health and education resources. People’s Self- Help Housing has also helped many families and their children by offering site based programs such as after school tutoring and college prep. Thanks to these programs PSSH has made it possible for many young adults to be the first ones in their family to attend college.

Today, John Fowler leads PSSH. Throughout these 50 years PSSH has made access to affordable housing more available and has helped many low income communities and families prosper while also allowing them to have place that they can call home.

Categories
Uncategorized

The Dwindling Supply of Affordable Rental Housing

In September 2019 Elizabeth La Jeunesse, Alexander Hermann, Daniel McCue and Jonathan Spader of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, authored the paper  

Documenting the Long-Run Decline in Low-Cost Rental Units in the US by State. In this paper the researchers sought to answer the following questions: “1) has the number of low-cost rental units indeed declined since 1990, and if so, by how much? 2) Over which periods of time did this decline take place? And 3) are there any differences in the size and timing of losses across US states?  

The study conducted by the research team at the Joint Center found that for every 100 low income renter households there are only 58 affordable housing units available for them to rent. Overall from 1990 to 2017 the number of rental units available for $600 per month or less declined by 4.0 million units.   A monthly rent of $600 is the maximum an individual making $24,000 can afford. This decline is in stark contrast to the 10.9 million overall rental stock growth over the same time period.


The steepest decline in low income housing availability occurred during the 2012-2017 time period. During this 5 year period the amount of rental units available for less than $600 dropped from 14 million to 11 million units. The share of affordable rental housing stock also dropped from around 40% to just 25% during this 5 year period. 

Even though there are some variations in losses of rental units in all 50 states all states saw a decline in units. A total of 27 states and the District of Columbia saw almost a 1/3 loss in rental units for less than $600 dollars per month between 1990 and 2017. Only 16 states between the years of 1990 and 2017 saw less than a 20% decline in rental unit shares for less than $600 dollars a month. This decline in readily available affordable rental housing means that more and more low income individuals compete for fewer and fewer low cost rental units.

While the report does not address rental housing in rural America, other, previous Joint Center reports document the lack of affordable housing in small towns and farming communities. Rental housing where it is available, often costs too much.: 41 percent (5 million households) of rural renters are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing costs, and 21 percent (2.1 million households) of rural households that rent pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing.[1]


[1] Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, “America’s Rental Housing.” 2017. http://www.jchs.harvard.edu/sites/default/files/harvard_jchs_americas_rental_housing_2017_0.pdf

Categories
Uncategorized

NBC News Gets it Right: USDA Housing Needs More Investment

By Bob Rapoza, NRHC Executive Secretary

We read with great interest the recent report by NBC News Rats, roaches, mold: Under USDA’s watch, some rural public housing is falling apart. The families profiled in the article are living in a terrible situation that must be remedied, and Washington policymakers must take action to ensure other families aren’t put in similar situations in the future.

NBC News correctly notes that a 2016 USDA report estimated that $5.596 billion is needed just to preserve the agency’s rental housing over the next 20 years. In recent years, USDA budgets have not only sought to eliminate programs designed to finance new developments and repair and preserve USDA-financed multifamily housing, but also proposed to terminate other rural housing programs –for homeownership, repairing existing housing, and financing for housing for migrant and seasonal farmworkers.

While Congress has repeatedly rejected theses budget cuts, USDA’s leadership has persisted, proposing budget cuts and policies that result in fewer field staff, fewer local offices, and diminished organizational capacity, thereby undermining the administration of rural housing programs and delivery of housing assistance to rural families.

Years of declining investment in the renovation of existing housing and construction of new housing in small towns and farming communities has resulted in a housing deficit. According to U.S. Census data, between 1999 and 2008, the average annual production of new single-family houses in non-metro areas totaled 221,000. In the period 2009 to 2017, average production fell to just 68,000 per year.

Where housing is available, it is apt to be in poor condition. Of the 25 million units located in rural and small communities, over 5 percent, or 1.5 million, of these homes are considered either moderately or severely substandard, due to the lack of funding for repairs and renovations and local economic conditions. What’s more, a recent report by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies found that 41 percent of rural renters, or 5 million households, are cost-burdened, meaning they pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing costs, and 21 percent (2.1 million households) of rural households that rent pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing. This means that rural families are often forced to make impossible tradeoffs between paying rent and covering their other basic needs.

By any measure, much of rural America has still not recovered from the great recession. According to the USDA’s Economic Research Service, since 2007, rural median income has averaged 20 percent below the urban median income. Over 15 percent of all rural counties, which accounts for more than 300 counties nationwide, are persistently poor, with at least 20 percent of the population living in poverty for the last 30 years.

Rural Housing programs have been under attack from both the current and previous Administrations. Congress has signaled time and again that it will not go along with the wrongheaded and clearly failing policies proposed by USDA. In particular, the Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 2522) rejects proposed rural housing program eliminations and provides modest increases in programs designed to increase affordable housing resources for rural families. The House bill is a good first step, but much more needs to be done to improve conditions in existing rental housing and to add to the stock of decent, affordable housing in rural America.

USDA’s leadership talks about supporting ‘rural prosperity,’ but ignores the lack of decent housing in rural America and strategies and programs designed to improve housing conditions in small towns and farming communities. We often tell USDA officials that they have a success story on their hands: providing mortgages so low-income families can own their own homes; helping families gain equity in their homes through mutual self-help housing; housing some of the poorest families in America in decent, affordable rental housing; and providing grants to low-income seniors to repair a roof or furnace–this is the picture of success.

The drive to curb government spending has resulted in limited housing choices for rural families and communities. The sad, disgraceful story described in Florida is an example of the neglect of rural America by the federal government. This unfortunate situation should be a reality check for Congress and the Administration—it is time for them to invest in rural America and USDA’s housing programs.

Categories
Budget Uncategorized

Shutdown Impacts Rural Housing

Click to enlarge

As the budget stalemate in Washington drags on the consequences and impacts are becoming clearer and increasingly disturbing. Without any justification, the Administration has closed 25 percent of the federal government and among the casualties are agencies with the responsibility for financing affordable housing, clean drinking water, and community opportunity.

NRHC members have reported about one small but important agency – the Rural Housing Service – and the recent absence of its housing assistance. Families waiting to close their home mortgages are hung out to dry, families building their homes are stymied, and hundreds of thousands of families receiving rental subsidies may soon lose that assistance if the government shutdown goes on for “months or years.”

Below is a compilation of information supplied by NRHC members on the impact of the shutdown on rural housing efforts in their states and communities.

Section 502 Direct

  • Fahe – working in Appalachia — reports that they are currently holding on 424 loans, across 18 states, in the 502 Direct pipeline that either cannot be submitted to USDA or are sitting idle at USDA.
  • Fahe reports that 15 second mortgages that are operating on a funding timeline tied to 502 Direct loans that are held up now as well.
  • Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC) reports that the organization has already accumulated 15-20 Section 502 home ownership loan applications from the packaging program in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington that are awaiting submission.
  • In California, Self-Help Enterprises reports 18 families have been impacted and a total loan obligation of $3.3 million.
  • In Oregon, NeighborWorks Umpqua reports that 7 families are waiting for a loan specialist to issue a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) so they can go shopping.
  • In Oregon, NeighborWorks Umpqua reports that 4 families in contract cannot close their section 502 loans, have their inspections reviewed, or appraisal ordered.
  • In Delaware, Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) reports that the organization has 3 Direct clients under construction that may be paused.
  • In Delaware, MHDC reports on home ownership loans:
    • 1 client at USDA ready to close on their construction loan;
    • 1 client at USDA with contract and leveraged money waiting to be reviewed so they can be approved and close; and
    • 2 clients will have plans and specs submitted soon so they can go to closing.
  • PathStone reports that 2 first time homebuyers, from New York and Pennsylvania respectively, were scheduled to close of 502 mortgages in early January and both deals are now in jeopardy.
  • In Washington, Catholic Charities Housing Services (CCHS) reports a halt to 502 loan underwriting resulting in 2 week delay and counting for a group of 7 families (523 program/502 loans) which impacts CCHS performance measurements on the 523 program.
  • In Utah, Self Help Homes reports 20 Section 502 loan closings are delayed and by the end of January 29 inspections will be needed
  • In Indiana, Pathfinder Homeownership Center reports:
    • 12 homes that are ready to close in January;
    • 6 files that need appraisals and all but one of those are existing;
    • 13 files that are either at the USDA or FAHE
  • In Kentucky, Frontier Housing reports that the organization has 7 Section 502 Direct homebuyers whose loans are on hold because of the shutdown.
    • One homebuyer has a house under contract, and is waiting for RD’s sign-off. If the shutdown drags on too much longer, the buyer runs the risk of the seller walking away from the deal.
  • In New Mexico, Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation reports that 16 families have been delayed in receiving or getting approval for their 502 Loans.
  • In New Mexico, Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation reports construction delays due to lack of mortgage funds for 9 projects with 502 funding.
  • In Missouri, Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation reports that that 3 Section 502 borrowers received letters from Centralized Services Center (CSC) in St. Louis that show their insurance has not been paid and CSC will provide forced insurance coverage if not paid by a specific date to prevent any lapse of coverage on the home financed by RD.
  • In California, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition has heard from 12 families that have had difficulty dealing with Centralized Services Center (CSC) in regards to their insurance that has not been paid, inability to make payments, and reporting tax information.
  • In California, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition has heard from 5 families that were unable to make USDA loan house payments through automated system.
  • In Oklahoma, Deep Fork Community Action Foundation, Inc. reports that 3 applicants are delayed in receiving 502 loans.
  • In Oklahoma, Deep Fork Community Action Foundation, Inc. reports that 5 applicants have construction delays due to lack of funds and 2 from lack of inspectors.
  • NeighborWorks America reports no RHS staff available to discuss coordinating 502 Direct loan packaging trainings, as an example, nor available to design pilots for rural housing rehab.

Single Family Housing Guaranteed Loan Program

  • In Oregon, NeighborWorks Umpqua reports 1 family can’t get the guaranteed commitment issue because USDA is closed
  • Fahe reports that they have 12 Section 502 Guaranteed loans in a holding pattern.

Section 514/516 – Farmlabor Housing

  • In California, Peoples’ Self Help Housing (PSHHC) reports that the first construction billing for one new construction USDA Section 514 project will likely occur in January. If the USDA inspector cannot approve the payment request, then PSHH will be forced to advance payments to the subcontractors to remain on schedule.  The subs payments will be due on February 18, 2019, so it is likely PSHHC could obtain approval prior to that date.
  • In California, PSHHC reports that the organization has 10 new constructions slated to start in February that are now delayed.
  • In California, PSHHC reports that the organization is about to begin working with USDA on a newly completed USDA Section 514 project, to convert the construction loan to permanent financing. If the shutdown continues PSHHC could find itself having to extend the construction loan and paying more fees and interest, simply because USDA cannot finalize 514 loan documents.
  • In Oregon, NeighborWorks Umpqua reports that 1 family is going to return their loan docs to USDA but no one will be there to receive it and there will no funds to start construction.
  • In Washington, Office of Rural Farmworker Housing (ORFH) reports that the organization is awaiting final approval of a relatively minor architectural change on new farm worker housing.

Section 515

  • In Washington, Office of Rural Farmworker Housing (ORFH) reports that the organization cannot close two construction contracts covering the rehabilitation of 515 units because RD staff are not available to sign off on it. Among other impacts is a delay of payment to the contractor.

Self Help Housing

  • In California, Coachella Valley Housing Coalition (CVHC) reports that the organization took a draw before the shutdown for the 80+ houses CVHC has in various stages of construction. However, if the shutdown goes on longer, CVHC may not have the funds to buy the next round of materials and will have to shut down construction for those families.
    • Assuming that USDA will continue to accrue interest on their 502 construction loans so their costs will go up.
  • In California, CVHC reports that the organization has in escrow for 64 lots in the town of Imperial and had families ready to be submitted to USDA for the first group to begin building on those lots. With the closure, CVHC will not be able to qualify those families and close their loans to begin construction.
  • In California, PSHHC reports that the construction starts for 10 families slated to start in February will be delayed.
  • In California, PSHHC will have to advance funds to pay contractors to remain on schedule for completion of 29 self-help homes. The advance could be in excess of $300,000 per the December costs. The advance will likely be extended for at least 30 days if the shutdown ends as scheduled.
  • In Hawaii, Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii (SHHCH) reports that the organization is unable to get 13 loans closed, and start construction with the Pokai Bay Team 4 Project.
  • In Delaware, Milford Housing Development Corporation (MHDC) reports that the organization has 17 homes under construction.
    • 4 of those families are running low on their SH Construction loan funds. MHDC will need to pause their construction.
    • The other families have some money but those funds will dwindle as we then concentrate on those homes with the others paused.
  • In Delaware, MHDC reports that the organization has 3 files at USDA preparing to close but can’t and 6 files at USDA that can’t be reviewed for eligibility if no one is there.
  • In Utah, Mountainlands Community Housing Trust reports that Section 523 Mutual Self Help Housing Grants are not being processed.
  • In Washington, Catholic Charities Housing Services (CCHS) reports that projects involving 5 families have no availability of funding to pay subcontractors for current construction – forcing CCHS to go out of pocket to pay these invoices to help small business owners make payroll.
  • In Washington, CCHS reports no availability of funding for quarterly 523 grant reimbursement which further constrains agency cash flows as CCHS is waiting on reimbursement of expenditures.
  • In Alaska, Rural Alaska Community Action Program reports 10 impacted families.
  • In Kentucky, Frontier Housing reports that the organization has its first self-help build group that is about to start construction, and only 2 of the 5 homebuyers will have USDA financing.  Frontier Housing is weighing whether or not to start construction and retain ownership of all the lots, or wait for USDA to be available to close their loans.  If construction start, and then subsequently In Arkansas, financing, which may include Frontier carrying some of the mortgages ourselves.
  • Little Dixie Community Action Agency reports:
    • In Arkansas, 43 families have been impacted with homes are under construction but payments to contractors and vendors are delayed, USDA certifications are on hold, and certified cannot have surveys ordered due to USDA employees not being available to sign checks or order surveys.
    • In New Mexico, Grantee is waiting on final inspection for 3 participants.
    • In Oklahoma, 10 families have been impacted. Grantee has one family ready for a final inspection, one waiting on loan certification, and four waiting on loan processing in order to close the loan. Grantee has four homes under construction but contractors and vendors payments are delayed due to no USDA employees available to sign checks. Another five certified families are looking for land but surveys cannot be ordered due to no USDA employees available to order them and one application for certification at USDA that cannot move forward.

Rental Assistance

Provides a rental housing subsidy to very low income households, elderly households, and persons with disabilitiesOver 270,000 families receive this assistance from USDA. The last rental assistance payments were made in December 2018.  There is not any information available for January payments.  Without those payments, housing for these families will be in jeopardy.

  • In New York, PathStone reports that rental assistance for farm labor housing will be a major problem later in January if USDA doesn’t come up with a stop gap measure for getting that paid out.
  • In Washington, CCHS reports that if rental assistance is not available, then it will significantly impact the organization’s ability to pay vendors in a timely manner.
  • In California, Self-Help Enterprises reports the organization has 315 units of 514 housing that have rental assistance. A conservative estimate is that the 521 RA payments each month are at least $100,000 in aggregate are at risk.

Home Safety and Maintenance Repair Grants

  • In Kentucky, Housing Development Alliance reports 1 home repair delay for an elderly lady who is line to get a 504 grant because she has no functioning heat system. Her application is on hold so she goes without heat.
  • In Kentucky, Frontier Housing reports that the organization is working with 1 elderly and disabled homeowner whose 504 grant/loan deal is on hold. Her roof leaks, and that has damaged the attic insulation, drywall on the ceiling, and her floors. Frontier is currently looking at what they can do to help at least make her home dry, while she waits for USDA to fund the whole project.
  • In New Mexico, Tierra del Sol Housing Corporation reports that 11 families face delays in receiving or approving Section 504 Loans/Grants

Operation Issues

  • In Hawaii, Self-Help Housing Corporation of Hawaii (SHHCH) reports that if the shutdown lasts more than a month, SHHCH will have to take out an operating loan to make payroll since no Section 523 grant draws will be forthcoming. An extended delay would also impact their ability to attain construction draws; thereby affecting future deliveries of material.
  • In Kentucky, Housing Development Alliance reports the organization was supposed to sell two houses next week. That will not happen now.  That mean two families not only have to wait on their home, but also either convince their landlords to let the stay in the current home a little longer or find temporary housing.
  • In California, Peoples’ Self Help Housing (PSHHC) reports that the organization will not receive 523 grant funds which run about $60,000 per month.
  • In Kentucky, Frontier Housing reports that the organization closed on its 523 grant in mid-December and now has to decide whether to press forward with the self-help program, or wait until Frontier can draw 523 funds. If they go ahead, Frontier risks incurring staff and admin costs without being able to draw on the 523 grant.
  • In California, Self-Help Enterprises is depending on a 523 Grant draw of approximately $200,000 for February.
  • In Oklahoma, Deep Fork Community Action Foundation, Inc. reports they are not able to get checks signed to pay contractors or to order draws for the Homeowners before the Gov’t shut down.
Categories
Blog Uncategorized

Housing and Community Development Organizations Boosted the Rural Economy by $380 Million and 40,000 Jobs in 2013

Press Release Infographicv2Today, the National Rural Housing Coalition (NRHC) published a new report, “Impact Report: The Economic and Human Impact of Nonprofit Organizations on Rural America,” summarizing the results of its annual survey of over 100 rural housing and community development organizations. The report estimates that in 2013 alone, nonprofit organizations generated $380 million in economic activity and created over 40,000 jobs in rural communities.

“This report documents not only the broad economic and human impact of nonprofit housing and community development organizations, but also the critical role of federal programs—particularly those administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—in improving the quality of life in rural America,” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the coalition.

According to the report, rural housing organizations secured $1.3 billion in low-cost mortgages in 2013 to help rural families build, purchase or rehabilitate 8,800 units of affordable housing. The most significant source of this financing was the USDA direct homeownership loan program, which has helped more than 2.1 million rural families become homeowners over the past 50 years. It is also one of most cost-effective federal housing programs; in 2014, each loan cost the government about $3,000 over the entire lifetime of the loan.

“With this program, rural housing organizations can bring hope to underserved, rural communities, one family at a time. No other federal housing program can achieve the same results at such a low cost,” explained NRHC board president, Tom Carew.

Despite the program’s successful track record and strong bipartisan support in Congress, the Obama Administration has proposed significant cuts to the program in recent years. USDA proposed cutting funding by more than 60 percent in 2014 from $900 million to $360 million. Moreover, the Department failed to spend $100 million in program funding as of year’s end. NRHC and others concerned about the lack of affordable housing in rural communities assert that USDA did not process applications in a timely fashion and that demand for rural housing assistance remains high.

Rapoza urges USDA to make rural housing programs and the nonprofit organizations that use them a higher priority.

“Nonprofit organizations have proven their ability to stretch limited federal dollars to make a real impact in rural America,” said Rapoza. “Given tight budgets, Congress and Administration should bolster rural communities by supporting these organizations—and the important programs they use—instead of reducing them.”

Categories
Uncategorized

USDA Leaves $100 Million In Rural Affordable Housing Funds on the Table

On Monday, October 27, NRHC delivered a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, criticizing the Department’s failure to spend $100 million in program funding that aims to help families in rural America obtain and improve affordable housing. NRHC asserts that demand for rural housing assistance remains high, but USDA did not process applications in a timely fashion.

“In this extremely tight budget environment, more than 1,000 families living in small, rural communities will not receive housing assistance authorized by Congress. Who could argue that rural housing conditions are so good or rural economies so strong that an injection of mortgage funds is not needed?” said Bob Rapoza, executive secretary of the National Rural Housing Coalition.

USDA also left unspent one-third of the funds appropriated by Congress for the Mutual Self-Help Housing program. This program helps rural families who come together on nights and weekends to build their own homes. Their sweat equity lowers housing costs by an average of $25,000 per home and helps these families build wealth. The Department also imposed a 10 percent reduction on all program grants, yet at the end of the fiscal year more than enough money was available to fully fund those grants. NRHC contends that the only result of this policy was a downgrading of a very important and successful program.

“In recent years, we have been dismayed by USDA management of rural housing programs in general and especially, the delivery of Section 502 Direct Homeownership Loans and Mutual and Self Help Housing grants,” said Rapoza. “We are extremely disappointed. Rural America deserves better treatment from this Administration.”

Categories
Uncategorized

Rural Revitalization Success Story

Download NRHC’s Success Story Template HERE!

Categories
Blog Uncategorized

Social Media Webinar: How to Create a Social Media Strategy

The focus of this webinar was on how to create an effective social media strategy, regardless of your organization’s limited resources. By providing this webinar, in addition to other critical resources and information, NRHC aims to help build the capacity of rural housing organizations and to help raise awareness of the issues impacting rural families and their communities. NRHC would like to thank Capital One for its generous support of this webinar and our organization.

You can download a copy of the PowerPoint Presentation here.

Check our other Social Media resources, including: