* An estimated 240,000 families can avoid foreclosure by refinancing their mortgages using the new FHASecure plan. FHA will allow families with strong credit histories who had been making timely mortgage payments before their loans reset-but are now in default-to qualify for refinancing. -------------------------------------------
HUD No. 08-003 Shantae Goodloe (202) 708-0685
For Release Monday January 14, 2008
HUD SETTLES DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINT AGAINST LAS VEGAS LANDLORD Owners of Nevada apartment complex to pay $75,000 to families with children
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a settlement agreement with two Las Vegas landlords for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. Sun and Christine Young, owners of Summer Place Apartments voluntarily agreed to pay $75,000 to several tenants; to cease discriminatory practices against families with children; and to stop refusing to make reasonable accommodations to persons with disabilities.
“Finding safe and affordable housing for families can be difficult, and it should not be complicated by persons who refuse to rent to people with children, or to make reasonable accommodations,” said Kim Kendrick, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “Equal access is more important than ever and we are extremely pleased with Summer Place Apartments’ responsiveness and its commitment to achieve full civil rights compliance.”
Under the agreement, Summer Place Apartments will:
Pay $75,000 to families who were adversely affected by the owners’ discriminatory practices. Included in the $75,000 is $35,000 to a woman who was evicted because she had a child under the age of 18; a total of $10,500 to three individuals whom the owners tried to evict because they have children; and $29,500 to create a fund to compensate other persons who show they were denied housing going back to December 1, 2005, because they have a child or were pregnant.
Stop advertising Summer Place Apartments as an “Adult Community.”
Stop denying applicants with children the opportunity to rent based on their familial status.
The agreement, announced today, is voluntary and is a full settlement of the disputed complaint. Summer Place and its agent admit no wrongdoing.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1 (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed at www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.
HUD No. 08-002 Brian Sullivan (202) 708-0685
For Release Thursday January 10, 2008
HUD REPORTS PROGRESS IN "OPERATION FEDRENT" Joint investigation nets federal employees defrauding housing programs
WASHINGTON - Federal employees who fail to report their income to qualify for housing assistance they would not otherwise be eligible for stand to lose their jobs, pay steep fines and face possible criminal penalties. That's the stern warning issued today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as it reported that an ongoing joint investigation has so far produced 34 indictments, 13 convictions, and recovered $541,813.
In April of 2006, HUD and investigators from the Department's Office of Inspector General launched "Operation FedRent," an anti-fraud effort designed to expose and prosecute federal government employees who misrepresent their incomes to obtain rental subsidies, effectively denying housing assistance to eligible families.
"Operation FedRent is sending a very clear message to federal employees who are defrauding our programs - if you try to game the system, you'll be found," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "This joint investigation protects the integrity of our housing assistance programs and makes certain every available dollar reaches those families who have a true need."
HUD Inspector General Kenneth Donohue said, "This investigation and its positive outcome were the result of a national collaborative effort representing the involvement of many agencies. I want to thank those that assisted in this endeavor specifically, the Veterans Administration OIG, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and the Department of Homeland Security OIG who was particularly effective regarding Federal Emergency Management Administration and Transportation Safety Administration issues."
Federal employees who are receiving housing assistance must meet household income limits in order to be eligible. In some areas of the country, waiting lists for subsidized housing are long and a low-income family might wait months or even years to receive such assistance. In one case, Marjorie Chatman, an employee of the Social Security Administration (SSA), plead guilty in U.S. District Court for theft of government funds. HUD's OIG and the SSA's OIG found that Chatman failed to report income to the Richmond, California Housing Authority and received $64,000 of housing assistance she was not entitled to receive.
In another case, Shellette Jackson, a State Department employee, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to false claims and fraudulently obtaining rental assistance from the Washington, D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA). A joint investigation by the HUD and State Department OIG discovered Jackson failed to report income to the DCHA and D.C. Department of Human Services and obtained $22,705 of housing assistance and $27,679 of Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits she was not qualified to receive.
HUD and its OIG use computer-matching techniques to determine whether federal employees are under-reporting their income in order to qualify for rental assistance and other public benefits Once identified, these tenants will be required to repay any excess assistance and the appropriate administrative or legal action will be taken.
HUD and the OIG compare income data with employment information maintained by other federal agencies on federal employees and retirees. After a thorough evaluation and comparison of the employment and housing data, investigative leads are developed and referred to the HUD Inspector General's Regional Field Offices for further investigation. In many instances HUD OIG works with other Inspectors General investigating allegations. Investigations that uncover different criminal violations are referred to the appropriate federal or state prosecutors.
HUD currently spends more than $28 billion a year to support a number of rental assistance programs that serve approximately 4.8 million families. In 2000, HUD estimated that tenant under-reporting of income cost taxpayers $978 million. HUD's efforts to tighten controls in its rental assistance programs are working. The Department has dramatically cut rental miscalculations by half and tenant under-reporting of income by 61 percent. Initiatives like "Operation FedRent" help build on HUD's operational improvements to cut waste, fraud and abuse in its rental assistance programs.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development as well as enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.
Operation FedRent Convictions as of 12/14/07
Darlene Thomas, a Baltimore City Housing Authority (BCHA) HCVP participant and employee of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), pled guilty in Maryland State Court to theft. The defendant failed to report income on BCHA certifications. Thomas has been removed from HCVP participation.
Crystal Humphries, a Delaware County Housing Authority (DCHA) HCVP participant and employee of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), was sentenced in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania District Court to Supervised Release of 36 months and restitution of $7,745. Humphries failed to report her income on annual DCHA certifications and obtained $7,745 of DCHA housing assistance she was not entitled to receive. Humphries has been removed from participation.
Shellette Jackson, a former Washington D.C. Housing Authority (DCHA) Section 8 tenant and an employee of the U.S. Department of State was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 100 hours of Community Service, Supervised Release of 36 months and restitution of $50,384. Jackson failed to report income on DCHA and DC Department of Human Services certifications and obtained $22,705 of DCHA housing assistance and $27,679 of Medicaid, food stamps and other benefits she was not entitled to receive. HUD OIG and U.S. Department of State OIG are conducting this investigation. In addition, Jackson resigned State Department during the investigation.
LaGloria Timmons, a former Miami-Dade Housing Agency (MDHA) and Tampa Housing Authority (THA) Section 8 tenant, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to Supervised Release of 60 months and restitution of $18,000. From 2001 to March 2006, Timmons failed to report Social Security Administration (SSA) income on MDHA/THA certifications and obtained $19,855 of MDHA/THA housing assistance she was not entitled to receive.
Shavonne Coleman-Modest and Patricia Knight, former Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) Section 8 tenants and employees of the IRS, entered into pretrial diversion agreements filed in U.S. District Court, agreeing to perform community service and pay HUD a total of $53,036 in restitution. Both Coleman-Modest and Knight failed to report income on MSHDA certifications and obtained a total of $53,036 of MSHDA housing assistance they were not entitled to receive. HUD OIG and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration conducted this investigation.
Patricia Frazier, a Cleveland Housing Authority (CHA) Section 8 tenant and VA employee, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to pay restitution of $4,466. Frasier underreported her income to obtain $4,466 in housing assistance she was not entitled to receive.
Janet Buckner, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and former St. Louis County Housing Authority (SLCHA) Section 8 tenant, was sentenced to 5 months probation and ordered to pay SLCHA and others $33,775 restitution for her earlier guilty plea to false statements to HUD, SSA and USDA. Buckner failed to report income and obtained $16,534 of SLCHA housing assistance and more than $109,000 of USDA and SSA benefits she was not entitled to receive.
Connie Wooten, a former Housing Authority of Kansas City, MO (HAKC), pled guilty in Jackson County Circuit Court to stealing by deceit; Wooten was sentenced to 40 hours community service and ordered to pay HAKC $5,000 restitution. Wooten, a USPS and IRS employee, failed to report income to HAKC and obtained $16,294 of HAKC housing assistance she was not entitled to receive.
Chantelle Maddix, a Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC) Section 8 tenant and IRS employee, was sentenced in Jackson County District Court to 20 hours of Community Service and Supervised Release of 24 months.
Kim Carson, a former Santa Monica Housing Authority (SMHA) Shelter Plus Care Program recipient and an auditor with the Department of Defense, Defense Contract Audit Agency, was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 60 months supervised release, 250 hours of community service and ordered to pay HUD $44,843 restitution for her earlier guilty plea to theft of public money. From March 2002 to January 2005, Carson underreported her income by submitting altered employer earning statements to SMHA, and obtained $26,284 in SMHA housing assistance and $18,559 in SMHA Family Self-Sufficiency Program assistance she was not entitled to receive. Carson was removed from participation.
Majorie Chatman, a SSA employee and former Richmond (California) Housing Authority (RHA) Section 8 tenant, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to theft of government funds. From April 1997 through November 2006, Chatman failed to report income on RHA certifications and obtained $64,000 of RHA housing assistance she was not entitled to receive. HUD OIG and SSA OIG conducted this investigation. Chatman was removed from participation.
Charlotte Washington, a former Alexandria Housing Authority (AHA) HCVP recipient was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 100 hours of Community Service, Supervised Release of 36 months and restitution totaling $7,952. This case was referred by the AHA in response to HUD OIG's request for information on the OPM data match; however, it was determined that Washington was not a Federal employee.
HUD No. 07-189 Brian Sullivan (202) 708-0685
For Release Friday December 21, 2007
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES RECORD $1.5 BILLION TO SUPPORT HOMELESS PROGRAMS NATIONWIDE Nearly 6,000 housing and service programs to benefit from Continuum of Care grants
WASHINGTON - A record number of local homeless programs across America will receive an unprecedented $1.5 billion in Continuum of Care grants announced today by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. This historic-level funding will offer transitional and permanent supportive housing to more than 168,000 homeless individuals and families. For a detailed local summary of the projects awarded funding, visit HUD's website.
"These grants will reach into every corner of the nation, helping individuals and families to move beyond the cycle of homelessness," said HUD Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi. "We know this record funding will literally save lives and we at the federal level are proud to play our part in helping our partners at the local level who are on the front lines of helping those in need."
Since 2001, HUD has awarded approximately $10 billion in funding to local communities to support the housing and service needs of homeless individuals and families. The FY 2008 Budget seeks $1.6 billion, another record federal investment. This increased funding request of the President represents a 55 percent increase over funding provided in 2001.
Bernardi added, "Homelessness is not a seasonal problem; it's a tragedy being played out on our streets and in our shelters every day. While we're turning an important corner in our understanding of homelessness, we're also working harder than ever to end the revolving door of homelessness, especially for those experiencing mental illness, addictions and chronic disabilities."
HUD's funding is provided in two ways:
Continuum of Care grants provide permanent and transitional housing to homeless persons. In addition, Continuum grants fund important services including job training, health care, mental health counseling, substance abuse treatment and child care. More than $1.3 billion in Continuum of Care grants are awarded competitively to local programs to meet the needs of their homeless clients. Continuum grants fund a wide variety of programs from street outreach and assessment programs to transitional and permanent housing for homeless persons and families. Half of all Continuum funding awarded today, more than $706 million, will support new and existing programs that help to pay rent and provide permanent housing for disabled homeless individuals and their families (see attached summary of the funding awarded today).
Emergency Shelter Grants provide funds for the operation of local shelters and fund related social service and homeless prevention programs. HUD is awarding $160 million in Emergency Shelter Grants that are allocated based on a formula to state and local governments to create, improve and operate emergency shelters for homeless persons. These funds may also support essential services including job training, health care, drug/alcohol treatment, childcare and homelessness prevention activities. By helping to support emergency shelter, transitional housing and needed support services, Emergency Shelter Grants are designed to move homeless persons away from a life on the street toward permanent housing.
The Goal to End Chronic Homelessness
For six years, ending chronic homelessness has been one of President Bush's national goals. Research indicates that approximately 20 percent of all homeless persons experience long-term or chronic homelessness. These studies conclude that this hardest-to-serve population utilizes more than half of all emergency shelter resources designed to assist homeless individuals and families. By shifting the federal emphasis toward meeting the needs of the most vulnerable homeless persons, more resources become available for those who experience situational homelessness. To learn more about chronic homelessness, visit the HUD's Chronic Homelessness webpage.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.
Highlights of HUD's Homeless Assistance
An unprecedented number of local programs - nearly 6,000 - will receive nearly $1.5 billion.
1.217 of the project awards being announced today target individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. Total funding to these projects is more than $330 million, a commitment that directly supports the national goal of ending chronic homelessness.
More than $727 million is being awarded to projects that provide permanent housing solutions for homeless persons.
3,068 local projects that serve families with children will receive $729 million.
607 programs that primarily serve victims of domestic violence will receive nearly $97 million.
$32 million is being awarded to 149 projects that primarily target homeless veterans among
1,768 of the projects funded today are dedicated to providing housing and support services to severely mentally ill clients, totaling $453 million. These persons are at high risk of experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.
$351 million will support 1,487 local programs that primarily help homeless individuals with substance abuse problems.
Newsroom December 20th, 2007 Statement by HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson on New Orleans City Council’s Support for Redevelopment of Public Housing
I would like to personally thank the members of the City Council, Mayor Nagin, the public housing residents, and all those who support this common sense effort to build a better future for New Orleans. Today's vote is a victory for the residents of New Orleans who deserve to live in a socially and economically integrated environment where their children can play safely and families can thrive. We recognize there is a tremendous need for affordable housing throughout the Crescent City and are deeply committed to ensuring that everyone who resided in public housing prior to Hurricane Katrina has the opportunity to return to something better than they left.
We have heard the voices of those who live in this great City and we will continue to listen and work with them as we pursue this comprehensive redevelopment plan. We began this process for one reason and one reason only - to provide low-income families with quality housing and better neighborhoods that are no longer crime-ridden and drug-infested. This model has transformed entire communities in Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and many other cities, and we are optimistic it will do the same for New Orleans.
We sincerely believe that today is another step forward in creating neighborhoods of hope, not despair. Thank you for your vote of confidence. We will not let you down.
Content updated December 20, 2007
Newsroom December 20th, 2007 Fact Sheet: Redevelopment that Respects New Orleanians
Even before Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, decades of mismanagement, poor maintenance, and neglect had left many housing units in New Orleans unfit for habitation. More than 30 percent of units were unoccupied. Long before the storm, HUD was working to rebuild the public housing system to meet the needs of low-income New Orleanians, including the need for safety and access to economic services, through its proven "mixed-use, mixed-income" plan. HUD is also committed to addressing the immediate housing needs of former New Orleans residents seeking to return to the City. Every resident who wishes to return will continue to be supported in that effort.
FACT: Prior to Hurricane Katrina, many New Orleans public housing units were vacant and/or unfit for habitation.
Total number of units: 7,379
Number occupied by residents / others: 5,146 (69.7 %) Source: Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO)
QUOTE: "Even before Katrina, the public housing projects here were among the nation's most notorious, ridden with crime and slumping into disrepair." -USA Today, 12-14-07
QUOTE: "Desire and the city's other eight projects, which were started in 1937, deteriorated from solid, low-cost housing to crime- and drug-riddled slums of crumbling buildings.... [HUD's] plan is to make major changes for the long-suffering tenants of the projects." -Associated Press, 4-10-04
FACT: In 2002, HUD took the rare step of taking over the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), which had been plagued by years of mismanagement, waste, and delay. After careful review to determine which structures were unfit for habitation, HUD acted.
Since 2002, HUD and HANO have embarked on redevelopment of half of the City's largest public housing complexes, including St. Thomas, Guste, Abundance Square (formerly Desire), Fischer, and Florida.
Prior to Katrina, HUD and HANO had plans to redevelop the B.W. Cooper, C.J. Peete, Lafitte, and St. Bernard complexes.
Every resident affected by redevelopment has been provided with a roof over their heads, either through a housing voucher or a home in a repaired unit.
QUOTE: "Even longtime HANO critics say the federal team has helped turn around a Section 8 office that was slow, disorganized and possibly corrupt." -New Orleans Times-Picayune, 11-14-04
FACT: HUD is replacing distressed housing that once "warehoused" the poor with new units in healthy, mixed-income communities. This "mixed-use" redevelopment strategy has a proven track record of success in cities like Atlanta and Chicago, and a long history of bipartisan national support.
In 1992, the National Commission on Severely Distressed Public Housing published a National Action Plan to eradicate severely distressed housing.
Under President Clinton, the HOPE VI program began promoting mixed-income communities to break up concentrations of poverty.
In 1995, Congress removed the one-for-one unit replacement requirement for public housing redevelopment.
PRESENT & FUTURE:
The damage from Hurricane Katrina added urgency to the redevelopment effort HUD had already begun. Redevelopment of the B.W. Cooper, C.J. Peete, Lafitte, and St. Bernard complexes has been launched with strong community support. Residents will continue to be consulted, and a number of buildings at each site will be preserved. Last month (Nov. 2007), a U.S. district court judge refused to delay redevelopment. Our goal is that by Christmas 2010, families will celebrate the holidays in their new, safe, clean, and vibrant neighborhoods. To meet this goal, we can no longer afford to delay the beginning of a new New Orleans.
FACT: HANO is committed to moving forward in the development of 5,108 affordable rental homes by 2010:
3,343 public housing units; and
1,765 units for low-income families and Section 8 voucher recipients.
In addition, 1,800 new residential units will be made available:
At least 900 market-rate rental units; and
At least 900 affordable or market-rate homeownership units.
FACT: Delay of redevelopment would be extremely costly, in both financial and human terms. If redevelopment of the four complexes does not go forward:
Approximately $300 million in tax credit equity for the creation of affordable housing will be lost;
$108 million in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds will be lost;
3,000 housing vouchers would be lost, forcing families to make their own rental payments; and
At least 94 units of rehabilitated affordable housing would be jeopardized.
QUOTE: "As the saying goes, 'The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.' Maintaining New Orleans's failed public housing would be a prime example of that." -Washington Post, 12-20-07
FACT: Public housing residents who left New Orleans because of the hurricane have priority in reclaiming their original units or other available public housing units. And they have HUD's ongoing support.
HUD is willing to pay certain relocation costs.
HUD is willing to negotiate terms of leases with current landlords.
No minimum income level is required for residency.
FACT: HUD is contacting families and phasing-in redevelopment to ensure that housing supply meets demand.
Up to 300 units remain open and "key-ready," awaiting displaced residents.
QUOTE: "HUD is surveying former public housing residents to find out how many want to come home, but so far the agency has had trouble filling even the few units it has reopened." -USA Today, 12-14-07
QUOTE: "The current population [of New Orleans] remains stuck at somewhere between 200,000 and 280,000, far below the pre-hurricane level of 450,000." -New York Times, 12-18-07
FACT: HUD has strongly supported Louisiana and the Gulf Coast region with ample funds for housing, community development, and infrastructure.
Since the 2005 hurricanes, HUD has provided $19.7 billion in CDBG funding to the Gulf Coast.
Of that amount, more than half-$10.4 billion-has already been allocated to Louisiana.
HUD SETTLES DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS AGAINST MANAGERS OF ST. LOUIS APARTMENT COMPLEX
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced a $170,000 settlement with managers of a St. Louis apartment complex for alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. Seven families claimed the managers of the Ridge Crest Apartments subjected them to stricter community rules than residents without children and/or retaliated against them for exercising their fair housing rights.
The seven families claimed Ridge Crest Apartments generally required families to keep their children inside and maintained a policy that "a parent or adult must supervise young children at all times when playing outside." Notices of lease violations, verbal warnings, and the enforcement of the policy indicated that the complex applied the policy to anyone under 18 years of age.
Management at Ridge Crest Apartments routinely threatened tenants with eviction for allowing their children to play outside unsupervised and at least one tenant was unlawfully evicted.
"We understand how managers can feel the need to maintain order at a property, but families with children shouldn't be subjected to rules and policies that other residents are not required to abide by," said Kim Kendrick, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "That kind of treatment not only prevents families from fully enjoying their homes, it also violates the Fair Housing Act."
Under the settlement agreement, Ridge Crest's management will pay $83,000 to the seven families and establish a $15,000 fund for any additional victims. The property will also spend $72,000 over the next two years to create an after-school program for children who live at the complex. In addition, the operators of Ridge Crest Apartments will modify their community rules and enforcement practices to comply with the Fair Housing Act, and establish a tenants' council to give residents the opportunity to discuss mutual issues of concern and provide input into how the property is managed.
HUD and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at (800) 669-9777 (voice), (800) 927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed.
HUD No. 07-184 Shantae Goodloe (202) 708-0685
For Release Tuesday December 18, 2007
HUD ANNOUNCES AGREEMENT WITH SEATTLE HOUSING AUTHORITY TO MAKE 263 UNITS ACCESSIBLE FOR RESIDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced that the Seattle Housing Authority (SHA) has signed a Voluntarily Compliance Agreement that will make 263 public housing units fully accessible for residents and applicants with disabilities.
"This nation's severe shortage of accessible housing is one of the most significant challenges facing persons with disabilities today. That is why we are extremely pleased with the agreement," said Kim Kendrick, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "Not only is it a victory for disabled residents of the Seattle Housing Authority and residents of Seattle, it also reflects HUD's ongoing commitment to create more of this much needed type of housing. I appreciate the Seattle Housing Authority's spirit of collaboration and commitment to achieving full civil rights compliance. Their voluntary cooperation should serve a model to other housing authorities."
Under the agreement, the Seattle Housing Authority will:
Create a minimum of five percent (263 units) of its housing stock into fully-accessible units that will include lower kitchen counters, ramps, grab bars, and other features of accessible design;
Make improvements in the management of their housing wait list to maximize the availability of accessible units for disabled individuals and their families;
Pay reasonable moving expenses for residents with disabilities who require a transfer to an accessible SHA unit or development due to barriers in their current housing;
Ensure that applicants and residents with disabilities who rely on assistance animals have equal, unrestricted access to SHA's programs; and
Train current and new employees about the responsibilities and procedures created under this agreement.
The agreement, announced today, stems from a review HUD launched in June 2006 of SHA's Low Income Public Housing Program. HUD's review included an examination of agency files, interviews with staff and residents, and accessibility surveys of units and common areas.
FHEO and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints annually. People who believe they are the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed.
HUD No. 07-182 Steve O'Halloran (202) 708-0980
For Release Friday December 14, 2007
STATEMENT BY HUD SECRETARY ALPHONSO JACKSON ON PASSAGE OF FHA MODERNIZATION LEGISLATION BY THE U.S. SENATE
"I applaud the Senate's overwhelming passage today of an FHA Modernization bill that will provide hundreds of thousands of hard working American families a safer mortgage option -- whether they're looking to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. HUD's Federal Housing Administration can provide many homeowners with a fairer, more affordable, and more sustainable alternative to costly subprime loans. I especially appreciate the bipartisan leadership of Senators Chris Dodd and Mel Martinez in our effort to reform FHA.
I strongly urge the House and Senate to send the President a bill he can sign before the end of the year. Keeping a roof over the heads of families is the best gift Congress could give the American public this year."
HUD No. 07-183 Donna White (202) 708-0685
For Release Thursday December 13, 2007
HUD OUTLINES CONSEQUENCES IF DEMOLITION OF LAFITTE IS NOT APPROVED Jackson to Nagin: Mayor must reverse decision of Conservation District
WASHINGTON - U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today sent a letter to New Orleans Mayor C. Ray Nagin explaining the future of affordable housing in New Orleans would be severely impacted if the Mayor does not overturn the Historic Conservation District Review Committee's (HCDRC) rejection of a plan to redevelop the Lafitte housing project.
Approximately three years before Hurricane Katrina, the Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO), which was taken over by the federal government due to gross property mismanagement, embarked on an ambitious redevelopment program for its nine major complexes. Five of those redevelopments are complete or near completion (St. Thomas, Guste, Abundance Square (formerly Desire), Fischer and Florida). The remaining "Big Four" (B.W. Cooper and C.J. Peete, Lafitte and St. Bernard) were in the planning stages for redevelopment when Katrina struck.
Overall, HANO's plan is to demolish 4,500 public housing units and to replace them with 5,108 affordable rental homes, a net increase of 608 units. These affordable homes will include 3,343 public housing units and 1,765 units voucher-holding families can rent. In addition, there will be 900 market-rate rental units and 900 market-rate and affordable homes for sale. HANO is building more affordable housing than was occupied pre-Katrina.
This week, HANO requested demolition approval from the HCRDC for three properties - Cooper, Peete and Lafitte (St. Bernard is not in an historic district). Lafitte was the only one of the three not approved, and the Committee gave no reason for the disapproval. HANO is appealing the committee's decision to the Mayor.
In a letter to the Mayor, Jackson outlined three principle reasons that it is imperative to allow redevelopment of Lafitte to move forward. These reasons include:
The loss of approximately $137 million in funds specifically to create affordable housing;
The loss of nearly 900 vouchers for Lafitte tenants requiring them to make their own rent payments; and
The loss of the 94 units of rehabilitated affordable housing previously agreed to as part of phased redevelopment.
HUD No. 07-180 Donna White
For Release Wednesday December 12, 2007
HUD AWARDS NEARLY $60 MILLION TO HELP INDIVIDUALS FIND JOBS Funding to make families employable, self-sufficient
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today awarded $59.1 million to hundreds of public housing agencies (PHAs) across the nation to help low-income individuals get job training and employment placement.
"Thousands of people will get the assistance they need to help them find jobs that will get them on their road to financial independence," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson who announced the funding. "Some families have become homeowners or debt-free as a result of this program, thanks to their commitment and determination to thrive."
The funding is provided through HUD's Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Program, which encourages communities to develop local strategies to help families who live in public housing or participate in HUD's Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program obtain employment that will lead to economic independence and self-sufficiency. PHAs work with welfare agencies, schools, businesses, and other local partners to develop a comprehensive program that gives participating FSS family members the skills and experience to enable them to obtain employment.
The funding is distributed to PHAs, which allows them to hire or retain FSS coordinators on staff to assist adult residents to find employment. The coordinators link participants to resources in the community that can help with their job search, such as job training opportunities, employment placement programs or local employers. The coordinators also help individuals locate childcare, counseling services, and transportation, which are often times impediments to employment.
Participants, some of whom are on welfare, sign a contract that stipulates the head of the household will find suitable employment and the family will be off of welfare assistance within five years. Because public housing and voucher rents are tied to income, when income rises, rent rises. With the FSS program, the rent increase is paid to the PHA, but goes into an interest-bearing escrow account. If the participant successfully graduates from the program, he or she can use the escrow account for a variety of goals, including down payment on a home, starting a business, paying back debts or paying educational expenses.
BUSH ADMINISTRATION ALLOCATES $3 BILLION TO MEET PROJECTED SHORTFALL IN LOUISIANA’S ROAD HOME PROGRAM Additional funding to help compensate state’s homeowners
WASHINGTON - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson today allocated an additional $3 billion to meet a projected shortfall in Louisiana’s Road Home Program. Appropriated by Congress, the funds will help reassure thousands of Louisiana homeowners that they will be compensated for their losses following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Last month, President Bush signed an emergency spending bill to supplement the $10.4 billion already allocated to Louisiana through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, bringing the state’s CDBG total to $13.4 billion. CDBG disaster funding is supporting the long-term recovery efforts throughout the Gulf by funding State plans to compensate homeowners, stimulate the production of affordable rental housing and restore vital infrastructure. The Louisiana rebuilding plan, known as the Road Home, was both designed and administered by the State but was in danger of running out of funds. This $3 billion, in addition to the $1 billion in other federal funds that the state must commit to plug its shortfall, is expected to allow the program to serve all applicants.
“Louisiana homeowners can rest easier knowing that there will be enough money in the Road Home Program to compensate them for their losses,” said Jackson. “As always, HUD will continue to work with state leaders to help thousands of residents who want to rebuild their homes and their lives in the wake of this natural disaster.”
Many homeowners who applied for assistance feared that the state’s homeowner compensation program was without enough money to satisfy their eligible claims. Jackson’s announcement today, however, will provide sufficient funding into Louisiana’s homeowner program to cover these costs and restore faith in the state program.
HUD anticipates that the State of Louisiana will submit an application quickly with HUD approval expected shortly thereafter. The funding allocated today will satisfy eligible claims that homeowners filed on or before Louisiana’s application deadline of July 31, 2007.
HUD No. 07-176 HUD Public Affairs 202) 708-0980
For Release Tuesday December 4, 2007
RENTAL PAYMENTS CONTINUE FOR REMAINING KATRINA/RITA HOUSEHOLDS IN RENTAL HOUSING FEMA-HUD Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) Launched Dec. 1, 2007
WASHINGTON - Thousands of residents displaced by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes are continuing to have their rent paid through a new government initiative, the Disaster Housing Assistance Program, which is being administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
To give families more time to regain self-sufficiency, the Administration announced in April that housing for hurricane victims, which was set to end on Sept. 1, 2007, would be extended an additional 18 months until March 1, 2009.
HUD and FEMA have been working together for months to transfer information about tenants and their housing situation to ensure that the transition from one agency to another does not negatively impact residents. HUD assumed day-to-day management of the program from FEMA Dec. 1, 2007.
HUD is administering the program through its network of public housing agencies (PHA) to reach out to those families who are eligible for this critical housing program to ensure that their rent payments continue, and to offer them services to help them get back on the road to self-sufficiency. PHAs, in turn, are working with 12,000 landlords throughout the nation to ensure that rental payments continue for the 28,000 residents continuing to receive government rental housing assistance and that they receive case management services, such as job training and child care.
Over the past several months, HUD and PHAs have been aggressively reaching out to families eligible for assistance, sending letters, knocking on doors and calling households. HUD has also deployed nearly 20 staff members to cities where the largest numbers of displaced families are currently living, including Houston, Dallas-Forth Worth, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Memphis.
FEMA and HUD will continue to work together to ensure that all eligible individuals and families are aware of the program and their eligibility. We want to ensure that everyone eligible, particularly over this holiday season, is seamlessly transitioned into the new program. Individuals who believe they may be eligible for the program, but do not think they have been contacted, should call into the referral call center immediately. The phone number to the toll-free call center is 1-866-373-9509. Operators are available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. EDT, and 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday and Sunday. More information is available at www.hud.gov/news/dhap.cfm.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development, and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov. For more information about FHA products, please visit www.fha.gov.
BUSH ADMINISTRATION’S FHASECURE PLAN HELPING TENS OF THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES KEEP THEIR HOMES New HUD data shows program has helped 33,000 homeowners prevent foreclosure in three months; More than 50,000 to be helped by end of year
WASHINGTON - In response to the Bush Administration's plan to help families avoid foreclosure, tens of thousands of homeowners are refinancing their exotic subprime loans with HUD's new government-backed mortgage product. HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson today announced that more than 33,000 borrowers have already refinanced their subprime home loans with FHASecure, a government-insured foreclosure avoidance initiative created in September. An additional 20,000 are in the pipeline for approval this month, bringing the total to more than 53,000 in a four month period.
"FHASecure is providing tens of thousands of families with a powerful incentive to obtain affordable and safe home loans," Jackson said during his keynote address to the Office of Thrift Supervision's National Housing Forum. "Homeowners finally have an opportunity to save their American Dream without risking their financial future, and they're taking advantage of it everyday."
On August 31, 2007, President Bush announced the creation of FHASecure. Backed by the government, FHASecure is enabling homeowners who have a history of on-time mortgage payments under their original interest rates, but missed payments after their rates reset, to refinance into FHA's mortgage insurance program. Families with high-cost mortgages and mortgages that are due to reset, but are still current on their loan, also continue to refinance through FHASecure. This is a more viable option because FHA-backed loans are less likely to result in foreclosure.
HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA) is on target to insure over 240,000 FHASecure home loans in Fiscal Year 2008, nearly two and one-half times the number served in Fiscal Year 2007. Since the creation of FHASecure three months ago, FHA has received more than 113,000 refinance applications from families whose loans are current or past due.
FHA refinancing has increased 125 percent over the past year, and is expected to increase further next year as more homeowners examine their mortgage options. FHASecure will save the average subprime homeowner about $400 a month, or $30,000 over the expected life of the loan.
As a result of extensive nationwide consumer outreach, more subprime borrowers recognize they have a choice and are turning to FHA for assistance. FHA's toll-free call center has received more than 137,000 calls over the past three months. Nearly 900 FHA-approved lenders around the country are participating in FHASecure by helping families refinance with home loans insured by FHA.
"This is a decisive moment in the economic history of our country...We must turn the housing market around, and create greater stability and predictability...In the near future, homeownership should continue to be the bedrock of our economy, this time with affordable loans that won't implode," Jackson added.
Jackson also said FHA could reach more borrowers who need safe and affordable financing alternatives if Congress approves bipartisan legislation to further modernize the 74-year old agency. HUD estimates 200,000 more first-time homebuyers and current homeowners who need access to capital could obtain FHA-insured mortgages next year if Congress expedites passage of FHA reform legislation. Higher FHA loan limits and flexible downpayment requirements would help more subprime borrowers refinance, particularly in high-cost areas such as California and the Northeast United States. Expanded FHA activity will also stabilize local real estate markets by reducing foreclosures.
"Each day of delay by the Congress unnecessarily places thousands of families at risk of foreclosure. These families are in danger of losing their homes. Think of what this means to them," Jackson added.
The House overwhelmingly approved The Expanding American Homeownership Act on September 18, 2007. The Senate Banking Committee approved similar legislation the following day. Yet, the full Senate has delayed passing this critical legislation.
For more information about FHASecure or to find the nearest FHA approved lender, phone 1 (800) CALL-FHA (225-5342) or visit www.FHA.gov.
HUD CHARGES ALABAMA LANDLORD WITH VIOLATING FAIR HOUSING ACT Owner allegedly refused to rent home to an African-American man
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it has charged Neysa C. Crim of Decatur, Alabama, with violating the federal Fair Housing Act for refusing to rent her home to an African-American man, making unlawful and discriminatory statements and falsely representing that a house was unavailable to rent.
According to HUD's investigation, Jimmy Lewis Crump responded to an advertisement for a two-bedroom home on East Moulton Street and left several messages for the landlord. After telling his white supervisor about the situation, she offered to call on his behalf, and as she was leaving a message, Crim answered the phone and identified herself as the owner. The supervisor explained that she was inquiring about the rental property on behalf of a friend. Crim allegedly asked, "What color is he?" Crim also allegedly asked the supervisor whether her friend was "black or white."
When the supervisor told the owner that it was against the law to ask such a question, Crim allegedly said she could ask it and that she did not want to rent to an African-American because she did not want her neighbors damaging her property because she rented to a black person.
"It's unbelievable that in 2007, almost 40 years after the Fair Housing Act was enacted, this woman would deny someone a place to live just because of his race," said Kim Kendrick, HUD Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "When it comes to renting a property, a landlord should be concerned with the applicant's character, the ability to pay and whether the applicant will be good neighbor, not the color of his skin."
Unless one of the parties elects to have the case heard in U.S. District Court, the hearing on the charge will be held by a U.S. Administrative Law Judge on February 5, 2008, in Decatur, Alabama. Housing discrimination charges heard before an administrative law judge carry a maximum civil penalty of $16,000 for each violation for a first offense, in addition to actual damages for each complainant, injunctive or other equitable relief, and attorneys' fees. Sanctions can be more severe if a respondent has a history of housing discrimination.
HUD's Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) and its partners in the Fair Housing Assistance Program investigate approximately 10,000 housing discrimination complaints a year. People who believe they may be the victims of housing discrimination should contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 (voice), 800-927-9275 (TTY). Additional information is available at www.hud.gov/fairhousing. Stay on top of the most up-to-date news regarding the Fair Housing Act by signing up for the FHEO RSS Feed at www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.
HUD No. 07-171 Steve O'Halloran (202) 708-0980
For Release Monday November 19, 2007
HUD TO TAKE OVER RENTAL HOUSING ASSISTANCE FOR NEARLY 30,000 RESIDENTS AFFECTED BY 2005 HURRICANES Eligible families still needing help should call HUD’s toll-free number immediately
WASHINGTON - Nearly 30,000 residents affected by the 2005 Gulf Coast hurricanes will continue to receive housing assistance when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) assumes control of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) rental program on December 1, 2007. HUD continues to work with its local public housing agencies (PHA) to reach out to those families who are eligible for this critical housing program to ensure their rent payments continue, and to offer them services to help them get back on the road to self-sufficiency.
"Thousands of hurricane victims still need help," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "That's why earlier this year we decided to extend the rental housing program, but for FEMA to hand it over to HUD since we are in the long-term housing business."
On December 1, thousands of families affected by the hurricanes will continue to receive the housing assistance they need to rebuild their lives and regain self-sufficiency. Families who have been contacted by a local public housing agency will continue to see no break in rent payments. "If you think you're eligible for assistance, but have not been contacted, please call us immediately. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to help those who need it most," added Secretary Jackson.
To ensure help reaches all eligible families, HUD continues to work closely with approximately 375 PHAs and 12,000 landlords who will be implementing and managing the temporary rental assistance under the new Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) now run by HUD. In the past seven months, HUD and PHAs have been aggressively reaching out to families eligible for assistance, sending letters, knocking on doors and calling households. HUD will deploy nearly 20 staff members to cities where the largest numbers of displaced families are currently living, including Houston, Dallas-Forth Worth, New Orleans, Atlanta, Baton Rouge, and Memphis.
To date, participating PHAs are working hard at reaching out to approximately 29,000 people for DHAP, linking them with case managers that help them gain access to job training, housing counseling and other forms of support, enabling them to regain self-sufficiency. However, individuals who believe they may be eligible for the DHAP program, but do not think they have been contacted, should calls HUD's toll-free referral center immediately at 1-866-373-9509. Operators are available Monday through Friday from 9:00am to 7:00pm EDT, 9:00am to 1:00pm EDT on Saturday and Sunday.
"All hands are on deck to make this transition as seamless as possible for these families who have already been through so much. Working with HUD's extensive network of public housing agencies and thousands of landlords, we have built a coalition that is working overtime to help families get the housing assistance they need. We will not rest until every eligible family has a roof over their head," Jackson added.
HUD is also requiring all landlords and PHAs participating in DHAP, like it does for all its programs, to meet basic housing quality standards by providing residents with decent, safe and sanitary living conditions. PHA's are required to conduct limited inspections of units to make sure there are no serious health and safety items that may impact the life and well being of these families.
DHAP will also be vital for helping families rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient. Starting March 1, 2008, the level of rental assistance will begin to be gradually reduced to help put program participants on a path to independence. While still receiving supportive services, program participants will have ample time to prepare themselves for self-sufficiency. Residents will pay a small portion of the housing cost, which will begin at $50 per month in March and incrementally increase each month thereafter until the program concludes on March 1, 2009. Seniors and the disabled whose primary source of income is Supplemental Security Income or other fixed income that make them eligible to receive assistance under existing HUD programs will be protected.
Finally, beginning January 2008, HUD will begin working with FEMA to transition remaining eligible families out of travel trailers and into rental housing in the private market.
HUD No. 07-170 Brian Sullivan (202) 708-0685
For Release Friday November 16, 2007
HUD AND STATE OF FLORIDA SETTLE CASE AGAINST FIRST AMERICAN TITLE CO. IN ALLEGED KICKBACK SCHEME First American to shut down 84 limited partnerships in Florida and will pay $5 million
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and two Florida regulators today announced a legal settlement with First American Title Insurance Company for alleged violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA) and similar state laws. HUD, the Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), and the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) claim First American made payments to scores of affiliated partnerships based on the referral of business to the title company.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement announced today, First American will shut down 84 partnerships and pay $5 million to the U.S. government and the State of Florida.
"Closing 84 affiliated partnerships and negotiating this significant monetary settlement is an outstanding example of ongoing cooperation between state regulators and HUD to enforce RESPA," said Brian Montgomery, HUD's Assistant Secretary for Housing and FHA Commissioner. "Our joint investigation found these partnerships were created to generate referrals in violation of RESPA and HUD's policies against sham affiliated business arrangements."
The investigation found that over a number of years, First American formed or acquired limited partnerships in the State of Florida to act as title insurance agencies. While these partnerships were created as title insurance agencies, the joint investigation concluded that all regular title services were performed by First American. HUD, DFS and OIR claim the partnerships acted only as "pass throughs" to pay real estate agents, mortgage brokers, builders and other limited partners for referring business to First American.
Section 8 of RESPA prohibits a person from giving or accepting anything of value in exchange for the referral of settlement service business. It also prohibits a person from giving or accepting any part of a charge for services that are not performed.
First American further agreed that any future affiliated title company operating in Florida will:
Employ individuals who are licensed and experienced in the title industry and will provide core title services through its own employees;
Have operating capital and net worth comparable to independent title agencies in the market area in which it operates;
Hire employees who will work exclusively for it and who will not be compensated, employed or managed by any affiliated real estate agent, mortgage broker, title insurance company or homebuilder;
Actively compete in the marketplace for title insurance business and actively market its services and seek title business from persons other than the agency's owners and persons associated with First American, and;
Comply with RESPA, HUD policy statements, and relevant state law.
To read the settlement agreement announced today, visit HUD's website.
HUD No. 07-169 Steve O'Halloran (202) 708-0980
For Release Thursday November 15, 2007
JACKSON HIGHLIGHTS FORECLOSURE PREVENTION MEASURES AT WORKSHOP TO HELP MICHIGAN FAMILIES KEEP THEIR HOMES HUD announces incentives for using reliable, government-backed mortgages to find a home
DETROIT - More Michigan families can obtain financial relief from their exotic subprime home loans, thanks to a new government-backed refinancing resource offered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Federal Housing Administration (FHA). HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson highlighted the new FHASecure product and other reliable homebuying incentives at a HUD-sponsored foreclosure prevention workshop for homeowners who want to stay in their homes and prospective borrowers who want to make an educated choice when they buy.
"Homeownership has been an anchor of stability in uncertain times. And it will be once again. The steps we take today to educate and encourage potential homebuyers will help put that anchor back into place," Jackson told the audience.
The Bush Administration's new FHASecure plan is helping troubled homeowners who have good credit, but have found themselves in default after their adjustable interest rates reset - typically doubling or tripling from the original rate that was teased to them. An affordable alternative to high-cost, high-risk mortgages, FHASecure will enable many families who have a history of on-time mortgage payments under the original interest rates to refinance into FHA's mortgage insurance program. Families with high cost mortgages and mortgages that are due to reset, but are still current on their loan, are also eligible to refinance through FHASecure, which is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.
HUD estimates FHA's current and new products will bring the total number of families it can help refinance to approximately 240,000 next year. In fact, FHA's mortgage insurance business in Michigan has increased 34 percent in 2007. FHA refinancing in Michigan has also increased 140 percent since 2005, and is expected to increase further next year thanks to FHASecure. FHASecure will save the average subprime homeowner about $400 a month, or $30,000 over the expected life of the loan, Jackson noted.
Even more families could avoid the subprime market's risky home loans if Congress passes legislation to modernize the FHA, Jackson said. The Administration's bipartisan FHA modernization proposal, which was first sent to Congress 17 months ago, would lower downpayment requirements, allow FHA to insure bigger loans in high cost areas, and give FHA more pricing flexibility. These reforms would empower FHA to reach an additional 200,000 families that need help - first-time homebuyers, minorities, and those with low-to-moderate incomes - and offer more options to homeowners looking to refinance their existing mortgage.
"We need to give qualified homeowners who find themselves behind on payments a second chance. At this workshop, consumers will learn about FHASecure. For the first time, it allows homeowners who have fallen into default because of a resets the ability to obtain a safe, affordable, government-backed loan. Families still current on their loan can also qualify," Jackson added.
Beginning today, prospective homebuyers in Michigan and Ohio will also be offered unique incentives to purchase HUD-owned properties using financing insured by the FHA. The Department estimates 2,000 people in Michigan and Ohio will benefit from these options over the next 10 months.
First, individuals will be able to purchase a HUD Home with a $100 downpayment when they utilize an FHA-insured mortgage. Second, homebuyers can obtain a $2,500 sales allowance at closing when they use FHA financing, or a $1,000 sales allowance using other financing types. This incentive can be put towards closing costs, to make home repairs, or to pay down the mortgage. The $1,000 allowance for non-FHA financing must be used to pay closing costs. Finally, real estate brokers can obtain a $500 bonus when borrowers utilize FHA financing and a $250 bonus if borrowers use other financing options. The incentives are available through September 30, 2008.
HUD expects these incentives will be widely used with its Purchase and Repair Program, which allows homebuyers to finance needed repairs and desired updates from the same loan used to purchase the home. By selling homes to families who then repair their home using FHA financing, HUD is helping to stabilize neighborhoods in Michigan and Ohio that have been hard hit by defaults and foreclosures. A state-by-state list of HUD Homes is available at: www.hud.gov/homes/
Jackson also discussed several other ways homeowners can avoid foreclosure, including contacting local HUD-approved housing counselors and calling their lenders for help before their adjustable rate mortgages reset. HUD has reached out to a wide variety of groups that offer foreclosure prevention, counseling, and refinancing for American homeowners. The goal of this initiative is to expand mortgage financing options, identify homeowners before they face hardships, help them understand their financing options, and allow them to find a mortgage product that works for them.
"It is vital that we prevent foreclosure. Foreclosure doesn't just hurt families, it devastates neighborhoods. We must help these communities recover," concluded Jackson.
Following Jackson's remarks, attendees were able to attend several seminars aimed at addressing their current financial situation, including one-on-one assistance. Homeowners currently delinquent on their mortgages could participate in a seminar on options for keeping their homes. A second seminar focused on refinancing options for those not yet delinquent, but concerned about increased mortgage payments when their loans reset. The third seminar is targeted to prospective homebuyers -- those thinking about homeownership for the first time.
More than 75 HUD-sponsored workshops and seminars for first-time homeowners, current homeowners and industry representatives have been held in over 50 cities throughout 25 states since late July and will continue through the remainder of the year. Interested parties should call 1-800-CALL-FHA to learn more and sign up for these events.
HUD No. 07-167 Brian Sullivan (202) 708-0685
For Release Wednesday November 7, 2007
HUD REPORTS DROP IN NUMBER OF CHRONICALLY HOMELESS PERSONS LIVING ON NATION'S STREETS Decrease largely attributed to increase in supportive housing
WASHINGTON - For the first time ever, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is reporting a nearly 12 percent decrease in the number of chronically homeless persons living on the nation's streets. HUD's analysis found that more than 20,000 persons moved from the streets into transitional and permanent supportive housing between 2005 and 2006.
According to data from 3,900 cities and counties across the country, HUD found that more than 1,500 communities reported a reduction in the number of long-term homeless persons over a one-year period. HUD's analysis indicates there were 155,623 chronically homeless individuals in 2006, down from 175,914 from the year before - an 11.5 percent decrease.
"While we have a lot of work ahead of us to eliminate chronic homelessness in America, these numbers show remarkable progress is being made," said HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson. "HUD and local communities are increasingly providing permanent housing solutions and breaking a vicious cycle of homelessness for those who have lived on the streets as a way of life."
The reduction in the number of chronically homeless persons can be directly attributed to the investment HUD and local "continuums of care" are devoting to create more permanent supportive housing units. In addition, better data collection and reporting methods are giving local communities a more accurate sense of the scope of homelessness in their own areas.
Last year alone, HUD awarded $286 million to 1,100 local programs that exclusively house and serve individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. This funding created approximately 4,000 new units of permanent supportive housing. Since 2001, HUD has awarded more than $9 billion to support thousands of local housing and service programs throughout the nation and is seeking a record $1.6 billion through the Department's Continuum of Care homeless assistance grant programs for FY 2008. This request of Congress represents a 41 percent increase over HUD's investments in 2001.
Each year, local communities conduct one-night counts of homeless persons living in shelters. In 2005 and in 2007, local communities also undertook a census of homeless persons living on the streets, in parks and other places not meant for human habitation. Combined, these comprehensive shelter and street "point-in-time snapshots" offer a powerful tool to gauge progress in meeting the homeless challenge and creating innovative housing solutions in response.
Quantifying homelessness is challenging to researchers both in and out of government. Previous surveys have attempted to produce unduplicated counts of homeless persons by measuring homelessness over very limited periods of time, usually for a single night. While HUD continues to collect this point-in-time data for both sheltered and unsheltered persons, new data collection techniques being implemented will allow researchers to study the sheltered homeless population over time.
HUD CREATES BLUEPRINT FOR PRESERVING AFFORDABLE HOUSING Panel of national experts challenge myth that "historic preservation is only for the rich"
WASHINGTON - Historic preservationists and affordable housing advocates are often at odds when it comes to developing strategies to preserve older housing while providing affordable housing opportunities for working families. In fact, there is a prevailing myth that the cost of historic preservation actually prices many working families out of many urban neighborhoods.
Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation announced a blueprint that seeks to challenge this myth and employ historic preservation as a tool to not only preserve historic homes but keep them affordable in the process.
HUD and the ACHP held a symposium of national experts on affordable housing and historic preservation policies and unveiled a policy road map to potentially offer a promise of affordable housing in urban neighborhoods.
"Historic preservation and affordable housing are not two separate worlds," said HUD Deputy Secretary Roy A. Bernardi. "Historic preservation can be a powerful tool to fuel the preservation of affordable housing too."
In 2004, HUD published Preserving America, a how-to guide designed to help local communities utilize federal assistance to promote historic preservation by stimulating "heritage tourism," economic development and job growth. Panelists provided their comments on new guidelines from various viewpoints and perspectives. The speakers represented economic development, HUD community development grantees, state historic preservation offices, and the banking and development sectors.
Today's symposium kicks off a national dialogue that will include other federal agencies, state organization, public interest groups, and the private sector as part of HUD's America's Affordable Communities Initiative (AACI). The Initiative presently works with over a hundred state and local governments to cut red tape and reduce regulatory barriers. AACI also features a Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse including local best practices.
HUD No. 07-165 Donna White (202) 708-0685
For Release Tuesday November 6, 2007
RESIDENTS RECEIVE WARM WELCOME AT NEW GUSTE PUBLIC HOUSING COMMUNITY
NEW ORLEANS -Thanksgiving came early for three Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) families today when they were welcomed to their new townhomes at the newly constructed Guste Homes and were presented with gift baskets stuffed with a turkey and all the trimmings.
"These three families, as well as the thousands of public housing residents who had to leave their homes two years ago have endured a lot, but they have survived," said C. Donald Babers, HANO board chairman. "For all HANO residents who have persevered despite everything, HUD is committed to bringing everyone back to new housing that you can be proud of, like these homes at Guste."
Karen Cato-Turner, HANO's HUD-appointed Recovery Administrator, joined Babers in presenting a basket to 86-year-old Mary Gracin. Gracin, a native of New Orleans, was one of the first occupants in the original Guste Homes built in 1964. The presentation today was a culmination of her dream to move into a new home.
Joining Gracin in the moving in ceremony were James and Brittany Thornton, the parents of four children, and Keywana Reaux and her family. They are among the first of 31 families to move into the new 82 homes.
All three families evacuated prior to Hurricane Katrina and received relocation assistance from HANO to come back to New Orleans. They returned home three months after the storm and moved back into their old units. Guste Homes was among only a few of the city's public housing communities that suffered minimal damage from the storm.
Guste was among the five public housing communities HANO had slated for revitalization prior to Hurricane Katrina. When HUD took over HANO in 2002, it had begun planning for the redevelopment of Guste, Desire (Abundance Square and Treasure Village), Florida, and Fischer and St. Thomas (River Garden) - the two HOPE VI communities that were already being redeveloped as part of HUD's overall strategy to improve the supply of low-income and affordable housing in New Orleans.
With the Guste high-rise senior community renovation completed, the first phase of redevelopment at the Guste low-rise community had begun in the summer of 2004 with the demolition of 237 units. The hurricane interrupted construction which had begun in 2005. Construction resumed about three months after Katrina and all 82 units are now complete. Nearly half of the units are occupied by families who lived in the old development. The Guste Resident Management Corporation, which manages the Guste properties including Guste Senior Homes, expects all the units will be occupied by the end of this year.
Prior to Hurricane Katrina, HANO had planned to demolish the remaining units at the Guste site to begin Phase 2. Since the storm, however, HANO has selected contractors to renovate the old units for families who have relocated outside of the city and want to return.
HUD is the nation's housing agency committed to increasing homeownership, particularly among minorities; creating affordable housing opportunities for low-income Americans; and supporting the homeless, elderly, people with disabilities and people living with AIDS. The Department also promotes economic and community development and enforces the nation's fair housing laws. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.
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