:: May 6, 2005  

FLORIDA LEGISLATIVE UPDATE

LEGISLATURE APPROPRIATES $443 MILLION FOR HOUSING FROM THE HOUSING TRUST FUNDS FOR FY05-06

 

Today, the last day of the Legislative Session, the House passed HB 1889 (passed earlier by the Senate), providing hurricane housing funding in the amount of $250 million. Later today, the appropriation act will be passed; it appropriates another $193 million for affordable housing. Without the continued existence of the Housing Trust Funds and the dedication of doc stamp revenues to those funds, the monies would not have been available for these expenditures.

 

While the $443 represents the largest annual appropriation in Florida's history, the funding for existing programs remained at $193 million. During the debate on HB 1889, several House members noted that there is no cap on housing expenditures for FY06-07, and that the legislature may appropriate amounts above $193 million for that fiscal year.

 

HB 1889 also capped the distributions to the Housing Trust Funds-- but not until July 1, 2007. While an earlier version placed that cap at $193 million per year, beginning July 1, 2006 with no annual increase-- the final version enacted (Senate's version) set the cap at $243 million beginning July 1, 2007, with a very small annual increase related to doc stamp collections. The Senate version also included technical language that would classify the $243 million as "recurring revenue"-- the amount that is in the base appropriation level each year.

 

What this means is that:

  • $443 million is appropriated for FY05-06
  • There is no cap on housing expenditures for FY06-07next year
  • The cap for FY07-08 is $243 million, $50 million higher than current appropriations for ongoing programs.

Details on the budget and sweep of TF monies:

 

In the conference report on the budget and companion implementing bill:

  1. SHIP at $130.886 million from local government housing TF (LGHTF) [note: FHFC also takes some off the top to hold back for disaster related funding
  2. SHIP monitoring at $200,000 from LGHTF
  3. Various homeless programs, from multiple funding sources, at $11,340,050, including $5.9 million from LGHTF (this coming year) and $719,586 from unexpended previous LGHTF money sent to homeless programs in previous FY's
  4. State housing programs (SAIL, Guarantee Fund, HAP, PLP and Catalyst) at $55,906,623 from State Housing Trust Fund (SHTF)
  5. Sweep of all unappropriated revenues from SHTF to Emergency Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund (current estimate of this sweep is $76,793,377)
  6. Sweep of $2.9 million from previous SHTF appropriations to DCA which THEY DID NOT SPEND, to Emergency Preparedness and Assistance Trust Fund
  7. Front Porch Florida at $3,180,332 from GR.

 

The Hurricane Funding is $250 million, $175.5 million from LGHTF and $74.5 million from SHTF, with current proposed Senate distribution of:

ˇ      $207.48 million to local government per Hurricane Work Group recommendation

ˇ      $42 million for rental loan program described in Hurricane Work Group report

ˇ      $520,000 to FHFC for compliance monitoring.



In The News

 

Budget cuts could leave many homeless

05-06-05 - Miami Herald - By: Julianne Malveaux

Hands off state housing trust fund

05-05-05 - Miami Herald - Opinion

Lee County sets $1M aside for community land trust

05-04-05 - Naples Daily News - By: Charlie Whitehead

Aspen has key to crisis in housing

05-03-05 - Daily News - By: Joni Williams

State taps into homes fund

05-03-05 - Miami Herald - By: Mary Ellen Klas

Hurricane housing money gets Senate OK

05-03-05 - Sun Herald

Keeping homes affordable

05-03-05 - Sarasota Herald Tribune

DOCUMENTARY STAMP TAX

05-02-05-TallahasseDemocrat-via Associated Press

Minimum wage bump does little for affordable housing

05-01-05 - Naples News - By: Kathryn Helmke



Homebuyer Expo - Orlando

As part of celebrating National Homeownership Month in June, Florida Housing Finance Corporation will host a Homebuyer Expo on Saturday, June 11 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. in Hall B1-West Building of the Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Drive, Orlando, Florida.  The expo is geared toward first time homebuyers and will include ongoing credit counseling seminars and exhibits and booths on local, state and federal housing programs; lending institutions; down payment assistance programs; home maintenance; disaster preparedness; and much more.  A Realtor continuing education course and a Homebuyer Education Course will also be taught on site. In addition, from Noon to 1:30 p.m., Florida Housing will host a panel discussion on affordable housing issues in the Central Florida area, including Art in Architecture, Preservation, Energy Star Homes, Market Expectations and more.

 

Attendance to the expo is free of charge.  Exhibit booths and sponsorships are also available. Get more details and register today at www.floridahousing.org/expo.

 



Technical Advisor Position - Florida Housing Coalition

The Florida Housing Coalition, a statewide nonprofit training and technical assistance organization, seeks a technical advisor.  The successful candidate will provide training and individualized technical assistance (on-site and distance) to receipients of state housing funds including the Predevelopment Loan Program SHIP, SAIL, and state HOME.

 

Candidates should possess a broad understanding of state of Florida and federal housing programs and procedures relating to community development, neighborhood residential revitalization and affordable housing services. The ideal applicant will have experience in working with diverse neighborhood groups, non-profit organizations and elected officials on community development and affordable housing projects. Candidates must have the ability to prepare reports, grant application and correspondence under deadlines.

 

Qualifications:

Experience in affordable rental housing development and affordable home ownership development is required.

  • Must be capable of acting in an advisory role; good at diagnosing operational inefficiencies in nonprofit organizations and proficient in the development of sound internal systems and procedures. 
  • Excellent communications (oral and written) skills - writing sample required.
  • Must be computer literate. 
  • Consulting, facilitation and experience as a trainer and/or workshop facilitator strongly preferred.
  • Knowledge of or experience with non-profit community development corporations required.
  • Experience supervising publication or research and development projects a plus. 
  • Significant travel required.
  • Must be a very positive, innovative, solution-oriented, results-focused professional with an ability to work well with diverse constituencies.
  • Competitive salary, based on experience; excellent benefits package.

Minimum Requirements

Batchelor's degree and five years of experience providing technical assistance or organizational development support to community based-programs and/or experience in nonprofit affordable housing development. Please email resumes to davis@flhousing.org or fax resumes for review to 850-942-6312.



Florida's Community Land Trust Institute

While Florida's land values continue to climb, and as communities grapple with the complex issues of sustainable affordability, local governments and their nonprofit partners are examining alternative models for addressing the long term needs of residents least served by the prevailing market.  A community land trust can benefit low income families by providing access to affordable housing in high cost, service-industry dependent areas, while keeping housing affordable for future residents.  Just as importantly, the CLT model can be used to capture the value of public investment for long-term community benefit.

 

The Florida Housing Coalition and 1000 Friends of Florida can provide information, education and technical assistance to Florida's communities on creating a local Community Land Trust.  If you would like to learn more about whether the Community Land Trust model is an appropriate tool for sustaining affordability in your community, call the Florida Housing Coalition at (850) 878-4219.



NIMBY books Available

"Creating Inclusive Communities In Florida" is a guidebook for local elected officials and staff on avoiding and overcoming the "Not In My Back Yard Syndrome" (NIMBY).  The newly updated NIMBY books are available, free of charge, to local governments (please note: there will be a shipping and handling fee for orders of more then five.)

 

To obtain copies please email Ms. Sheila Freaney of FHFC at:

sheila.freaney@floridahousing.org or by call (850) 488-4197.

 

 



National Call to Action

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

 

The new HUD bill  "State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005" will radically change Section 8 and Public Housing as we know them.   They will no longer be extremely low income programs, nor will rents necessarily be tied to incomes.  In addition, time limits can be imposed.  Finally, virtually any PHA with over 500 units can be granted Moving to Work status and fashion a program with virtually all regulations waived.

 

We in Florida have an extremely important role to play with respect to this bill.   Senator Martinez is on the Senate Banking committee through which HUD substantive legislation must proceed.   Rep. Katherine Harris is on the Housing subcommittee of the House Financial Banking Committee through which this legislation must go in the House.  In addition, Reps. Dave Weldon and Tom Feeney of Florida co-sponsored the Bill in the House.  All of us can educate members of the legislative delegation as to needs in our community.  We must educate all of these people and their staff as to the need for extremely low income housing

 

Stop Housing Bill Which Will Harm

Lowest Income Families

Call all Senators and Representatives toll free

(888)818-6641

(Ask to speak to staff person who covers housing.)

 

TELL THEM YOU STRONGLY OPPOSE the State and Local Housing Flexibility Act and you WANT CONGRESS TO REJECT IT!

 

Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO) has introduced HUD's "State and Local Housing Flexibility Act of 2005" (SLHFA) in the Senate (S. 771) on April 13, 2005 and Representative Gary Miller (R-CA) introduced companion legislation, H.R. 1999, in the House on April 28, 2005.

 

SLHFA will drastically change how affordable housing programs operate and reduce the number of extremely low-income families and individuals - those with incomes below 30% of Area Median Income (AMI) - who will benefit from public housing and the Section 8 voucher program.

 

WE MUST STOP THIS BILL!

 

SLHFA will make the following changes in Public and Assisted Housing, among others:

 

Income Targeting:

SLHFA allows 90% of vouchers to go to households with incomes up to 60% of area median.  Nationally, 84% of severely cost burdened households have incomes below 30% of area median income.  Today, at least 75% of voucher must go to households with incomes below 30% AMI.  The bill represents a mismatch between known housing needs and use of federal resources.

Rents:

In both the public housing and voucher programs, the bill would allow rents to no longer be tied to incomes, which currently keeps rents affordable to low income people.  The bill would allow housing authorities to establish their own rent policies, which may or may not be affordable to people with low income households.

 Time Limits

The bill allows housing authorities to establish time limits for participating in the voucher program. 

 Portability:

The bill greatly restricts portability and poses other serious fair housing and civil rights problems.  On portability, only certain housing authorities could port voucher to other authorities, and even then only with a written agreement.

 Enhanced Vouchers:

Currently, residents are protected with enhanced vouchers if owners of HUD multifamily properties prepay on their mortgages or opt out of renewing project-based Section 8 contracts, Under SLHFA, enhanced vouchers will only be good for one year then they are converted to regular tenant-based vouchers. Over 60,000 tenants with enhanced vouchers would be forced to move and find housing they can afford with a regular voucher.

Moving to Work

Any housing authority could apply to be a Moving to Work site.  As such, most housing requirements would no longer apply or could be waived (except for public housing demolition/disposition rules).  A housing authority's funds could be transferred and/or merged between the public housing operating and subsidy funds and the voucher program.

 

See NLIHC website www.nlihc.org for more information on this legislation's impact on low income families. Please report back on your calls to Craig Stevens at craig@nlihc.org

 



Congress Strikes Blow To Low Income Programs

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

 

On April 28, Congress passed a budget resolution that will cap discretionary spending and cut funding for low income programs. The final budget, requires almost $35 billion in cuts to mandatory programs, which are to be implemented during reconciliation. Out of the $35 billion, $10 billion, over the next five years, is assumed to come from the Medicaid program. The Agriculture Committee has also been directed to find savings of $3 billion. These savings are expected to come from the food stamp program. These cuts are about half of what the House had requested and double what the Senate had requested. The budget conferees adopted the President's discretionary spending levels of $893 billion, including $373 billion in cuts to domestic discretionary programs, outside of defense and international spending. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), this funding level is $23 billion less than FY05 levels, adjusted for inflation, and will require $212 billion in cuts over the next five years.

 

Housing advocates can claim one small victory in the budget resolution. The conferees retained the Senate budget language that allows for the restoration of cuts to community development programs, including the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The decision will still be left to Appropriators to actually use the increased funding for the CDBG program. The negotiated budget also includes $106 billion in tax cuts over the next five years. Out of the $106 billion, $70 billion are included in the reconciliation process.

 

The reconciliation process requires certain committees to submit legislation that will mandate spending cuts in specific programs. The reconciliation process is used for cuts to entitlement programs and taxes. Committees have until September 16 to submit legislation for cuts to entitlement programs. Legislation for tax cuts does not have to be submitted until September 23. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities surmises that the bills have two separate deadlines to attempt to hide the fact that tax cuts are being given to the wealthy at the expense of the poor. Democrats argue that, if they had been fully involved in the budget process, the budget would not include such drastic cuts. The Democrats on the conference committee said at an April 27 press conference that they were not included in the process and they lambasted Republicans for not working on a budget in a bi-partisan manner.

 



HUD NEWS

Source: National Low Income Housing Coalition

 

HUD Moves to Prevent FHA Foreclosures

On April 26, HUD issued a final rule to increase the penalty for certain banks who fail to attempt to prevent foreclosures of FHA loans; the rule is effective May 26. The rule, which the public commented on last summer, will allow HUD to require banks that issue FHA mortgages and fail to assist in preventing foreclosure to pay triple their FHA loan benefit in fines. According to a HUD-issued press release, banks currently have to pay a maximum of $6,500 for each violation, with a limit of $1.25 million annually.  HUD will target banks that have shown little evidence they are currently engaging in foreclosure prevention, also known as loan loss mitigation. Loan loss mitigation activity usually includes evaluating a loan before it is 120 days in arrears and determining if one of five loan loss mitigation procedures is appropriate. These include allowing individuals to sell their home before the property is foreclosed upon or restructuring the loan to allow the borrower to reduce their payments. According to HUD, 230,000 defaulted FHA borrowers benefited from loss mitigation services during the past three years.

 

HUD Orders NJ PHA To Pay Millions

On April 22, HUD issued a press release announcing that the Newark Public Housing Authority had to repay $6.4 million in misspent funds to HUD. HUD has been investigating the Newark PHA over the past year, since the HA came under attack for lavishly remodeling their headquarters, including buying a plasma television. During this time, the PHA laid off over 80 employees. Also at that time, residents argue that the PHA asserted that they did not have the money to relocate residents affected by HOPE VI redevelopment. One of the most questionable expenditures is the $3.9 million spent to acquire land in an area slated for redevelopment for a new sports arena. Money has also been spent on security for properties and the development of town homes. The money that was spent was intended solely for the Section 8 voucher program. As a result of HUD's investigation, the PHA's public housing and Section 8 assessment scores have significantly dropped and the PHA has been deemed "troubled."  The PHA has 30 days to file an appeal. HUD is also ordering an independent audit of the PHA.

 

HUD Offers Alternatives for CDBG Funding Formula

In February, HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research released a report entitled "CDBG Formula Targeting to Community Development Need." This report was the subject of a Congressional hearing held April 26; the report assesses how well the current Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula targets funds toward communities in need, and offers four alternative funding formulas for consideration. This is the fifth major assessment the program has undergone since its inception in 1974. It has been 15 years since the program was last evaluated. The report finds that, although the current CDBG formula is less effective in appropriately targeting funds to community need than originally intended, it does continue to target to need. "On average, the 10% of communities with the most need get four times larger.grants than the 10% of communities with the least need." It is noted, however, that "a number of troubling inequities exist." Chief among the inequities is mounting evidence that a number of relatively wealthier communities receive higher per capita grants than poorer communities. The report cites Newton, Massachusetts and other older suburbs as examples. These communities' older housing stock, according to the report, allows them higher grants than their actual need justifies. Currently, the annual allocation for CDBG funding is split: 70% to entitlement communities, often highly populated urban areas, and 30% to states to allocate among non-entitlement communities, often lesser populated rural areas. There are currently two formulas used in determining how funds are allocated: Formula A and Formula B. Each formula uses different combinations of five factors, weighted differently. The factors are: population, poverty, overcrowding, growth lag and pre-1940 housing. For the report's purpose of assessing the current formula's accuracy in targeting funds to community development need, a needs index was created. In the past, the needs index combined the five factors into three, relating to problems associated with poverty, aging communities and communities in decline. This report found that two new factors have arisen since the last assessment in 1990: a factor related to fiscal stress associated with immigrant growth, and a factor related to low-density places with high poverty concentrations.

 

The report offers four alternative formulas to improve targeting to communities most in need. The alternatives use different combinations and weighting of factors. Other key changes include: changing the definition of poverty to "persons living in family households or elderly headed households living in poverty" in order to "correct for the relative over-funding of college towns" (students who may be receiving family support are often included in the Census count of the area's poverty); replacing the pre-1940 housing variable with "housing 50 years or older that is occupied by a person in poverty;" and adding in a factor for "female-headed households with children under 18."  The authors of the report acknowledge that any change to the existing formula that improves targeting will result in a significant redistribution of funds.



2005 Working Families Report

A new report from the Center for Housing Policy based on the American Housing Survey finds that between 1997 and 2003 there has been a 67% increase in the number of low and moderate income working families facing critical housing needs, spending more than half of their income on housing or living in physically dilapidated units. The report also includes detailed information on the housing situations of recent immigrants. The report concludes, "contrary to conventional wisdom, housing problems are not confined to cities, renters, or the nation's coasts," and that "working a full time job does not guarantee a family a decent, affordable place to live."

 

The report focuses on "working families," defined as those who work the equivalent of a full time job and have salaries and wages between the federal minimum wage ($10,712) and 120% of the area median income. The underlying data make clear that even among working families the greatest housing need appears among those with the lowest income and families the report describes as "not working" with salaries and wages that are less than 25% of the minimum wage ($2,678), and those who are marginally employed, earning between 25% and 100% of the minimum wage.  This report highlights the growing housing cost burdens and other housing problems faced by low and moderate income working families, which may make policy makers and the general public more aware of the need for affordable housing. But it also makes clear that the difficulties remain concentrated among the poorest households. The Center for Housing Policy New Affordable Housing Studies report can be found at: 

http://www.nhc.org/index/chp-newsroom-events



Upcoming Events

June 12-16

Affordable Energy Conference

The National Fuel Funds Network (NFFN), the National Energy Assistance Directors' Association (NEADA), and the National Low Income Energy Consortium (NLIEC) will hold their annual conferences and meetings in Phoenix, Arizona June 12-16. Each year, consumer advocates, utility personnel, regulators, service providers, energy services company representatives, community action agency staff, weatherization specialists, researchers, and others convene to share experiences, common problems and, most importantly, solutions and successes. Attendees learn the latest updates from local, regional and national experts regarding programs and policies to assist low-income consumers meet their energy needs.

 For more information, see: www.nliec.org/2005conf/2005conf.htm.


FLORIDA HOUSING COALITIONšS 18th ANNUAL

STATEWIDE AFFORDABLE HOUSING CONFERENCE

September 12 - 14, 2005 at Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate

 

"Housing Preservation"

FEATURING

State of the State Addresses

Thaddeus Cohen, Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs

Orlando Cabrera, Executive Director of the Florida Housing Finance Corporation

AND

Public Policy Plenary "Housing Preservation"

A lively debate with a distinguished panel discussing the pros and cons of permanent affordability

 

This year's theme, "Housing Preservation", encompasses preservation in the broadest sense, from historic preservation tax credits for affordable housing, Green Building for preserving affordability, preserving mobile home parks, community land trusts, tools for preserving affordable housing from gentrification displacement, foreclosure prevention, predatory lending prevention, preserving housing from natural disasters, to preservation of expiring use properties.  In addition to our workshops focused on preservation, we will have the traditional favorites, such as Housing 101, FHFC Universal Cycle, the rental development process for nonprofits, grant opportunities for nonprofits, and a track for special needs housing.

 

We will also feature:

Expo, Success Stories, Affordable Housing Study Commission, SHIP and PHA Breakfast Roundtable, Bus Tour, Legislative Reception and the fabulous Raffle!

 

Keynote Speaker Gus Newport Executive Director of the Institute for Community Economics (ICE).  Mr. Newport joined the Institute for Community Economics (ICE) as its Executive Director in June 2004.  Innovative leadership in community development and municipal government, and strategic vision for nonprofit capacity building are the constant denominators throughout his professional career, which includes two terms as the mayor of Berkeley, California. From 1988 to 1992, Mr. Newport served as the Executive Director of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative in Boston. Under his leadership, this major neighborhood redevelopment project, now a national success model, distinguished itself from other community development projects in three key strategies:  resident control and permanent affordability through use of the community land trust; intense engagement of neighborhood residents in project plans and operation; and use of eminent domain authority. Acquiring eminent domain authority from the city of Boston was a first and allowed the project to acquire vacant and abandoned properties for active use in the community.

 


The Florida Housing Coalition's 18th annual Statewide Affordable Housing Conference is the premier training and networking opportunity for affordable housing professionals in Florida, with more than 550 housing professionals in attendance.

 

Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate

8390 Champions Gate Blvd. - Champions Gate, FL 33896 - 321-677-6664

 

For conference flyer please click here

For conference information please contact the Florida Housing Coalition (850) 878-4219 or email Rue Luttrell, Conference Coordinator at: luttrell@flhousing.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


*FAIR USE NOTICE: This document contains copyrighted material whose use has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Florida Housing Coalition is making this article available in our efforts to advance the understanding of current events and issues relevant to the interest of our membership. We believe that this constitutes a 'fair use' of the copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Law.  If you wish to use this copyrighted material for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use,' you must obtain permission from the copyright owner (ref: SOURCE



Workshops

May 11, 2005
The Pre-Development Process (2 DAY WORKSHOP) - Advanced Curriculum
Orlando

May 18, 2005
Planning, Financing and Developing Affordable Rental Housing (2 DAY WORKSHOP) - Advanced Curriculum
Gainesville

June 1, 2005
A Quantitative Analysis of the SHIP Program (2 DAY WORKSHOP) - Advanced Curriculum
Tampa

June 8, 2005
Joint Ventures
West Palm Beach

June 16, 2005
What to Expect During Underwriting
Orlando

June 29, 2005
Income Compliance and Program Management - Advanced Curriculum
Miami (Coral Gables)


Online Workshop Registration Form

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FHC Member Update
memberupdate@flhousing.org
Florida Housing Coalition
1367 East Lafayette Street, Suite C
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: (850) 878-4219
Fax: (850) 942-6312
www.flhousing.org