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June 2013 Bulletin Summaries

Update on Federal Affordable Housing Funding Picture
The past few months have clarified the federal budget situation for affordable housing programs, although not revealing many positives. The sequestration cuts, mandated to take effect in January under the terms of 2011’s Budget Control Act, became concrete with March funding allocations for federal programs. In mid-March, Congress then provided funding for the remainder of FY 2013 through a full-year Continuing Resolution. Finally, the Administration released its FY 2014 Budget Request. This article briefly summarizes these events and their most significant implications for the major affordable housing programs requiring annual federal appropriations.

Sequester Not Expected to Affect RHS Multi-Family Tenants
In a May 22, 2013, conference call with stakeholders, Rural Housing Service (RHS) staff disclosed that it does not expect the cuts imposed on RHS by the congressionally mandated sequester to impact residents living in RHS Section 515 multi-family rental housing or Section 514-516 farm labor housing. This article describes how RHS intends to proceed.

Voucher Applicants’ Preliminary Victory on Due Process Claims
Applicants to the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) often wait years for an opportunity to receive housing assistance. Unfortunately, if they are denied without proper review, little case law exists to help advocates fight for such families. Recently, a U.S. District Court affirmed the rights of these applicants to a meaningful review of denials to the program. This article provides an overview of the cases of Ms. Jones and Mr. Palmer, two applicants to the Upland Housing Authority (UHA) voucher program who filed suit after waiting 12 years and 6 years respectively before being denied admission.

Questions Corner
This Questions Corner is concerned with how much weight a court will give to statements in HUD Handbook 4350.3 in a motion to dismiss an eviction case for a client accused of committing fraud because of inconsistencies in reported income.

Rural Housing Service Modifies Its Debt Collection Practices
On February 28, the Rural Housing Service (RHS) disclosed that it has modified its debt collection practices—first implemented nearly 10 years ago—against single family home loan borrowers who have defaulted on their direct or guaranteed home loans and from whom the RHS was unable to recover the full outstanding debt through foreclosure. It appears that the agency has stopped most efforts to collect past due debts from borrowers, under both the direct and guaranteed loan programs, if formal collection efforts have not been instituted against them. The agency, however, has not stopped collections against borrowers whose debts have been referred to the Department of Treasury for collection, claiming that these collections are out of its control. This article examines RHS’ actions.

Recent Housing Cases
This issue of the Bulletin contains a brief summary of recent significant state and federal court decisions relating to affordable housing issues.

Recent Regulations and Notices
This issue of the Bulletin includes a brief summary of significant proposed and final regulations recently published in the Federal Register by federal housing agencies as well as summaries of other published notices and handbook changes recently made by HUD, RHS and other agencies administering affordable housing programs.

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