Local and National Affordable Housing News
FHA Helping Underserved Borrowers
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) issued its “Blueprint for Access” outlining the additional steps the agency is taking to expand access to credit for underserved borrowers. These steps include encouraging a broader use of housing counseling. HUD published a notice in the Federal Register for the Homeowners Armed with Knowledge (HAWK) pilot program to further incorporate housing counseling into the home buying process for borrowers using
FHA -insured financing. Under the new four-year pilot, homebuyers will qualify for savings on their FHA-insured loans by completing HUD-approved housing counseling provided through independent nonprofit organizations. This counseling is aimed at improving buyers’ budgeting skills and housing decisions. In addition, the Blueprint for Access includes enhancing FHA’s quality assurance efforts.
Consumers who participate in housing counseling get individualized, objective advice on understanding the rights and responsibilities of homeownership, ad-dressing credit and savings barriers and meeting their overall housing and financial goals. Through the HAWK pilot, FHA is taking active steps to help make responsible homeownership available and sustainable for American families.
Source: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
Highlights, Southeast, May, 2014
Stable Housing Shown to Reduce Health Care Costs
The Center for Outcomes Research and Education at Providence Portland Medical Center published "Integrating Housing & Health," a study about their community’s most costly segment, residents of The Apartments at Bud Clark Commons, which caters to the area’s homeless population who also suffer from severe medical problems. The data showed dramatic reductions in medical spending when people transitioned from homelessness to permanent housing. Health care costs for the residents before securing housing was averaging $2000 a month (“four times higher than the average adult Medicaid member”), after a year of living at Bud Clark Commons the health care costs dropped to $899. Annually the health care costs declined an average of $13,000, more than making up for an individual’s annual cost of housing at Bud Clark Commons.
Reference: Portland Business Journal, April, 2014
Applications Accepted For Mortgage Relief
The Florida Housing Finance Corp. (FHFC) reinstated application submissions for its Hardest-Hit Fund Principle Reduction Program on Thursday, May 15, 2014 and will continue until the $350 million in funds are expended.
The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction (HHF-PR) program is designed to assist eligible homeowners by
providing up to $50,000 to reduce the principal balance of the first mortgage, thereby reducing the loan-to-value (LTV) of the first mortgage to no less than 100 percent. The federal government has allocated funding to assist
eligible Florida homeowners who owe at least 125% more on their home than its current market value, commonly referred to as the home being “underwater.” The Florida Hardest-Hit Fund Principal Reduction (HHF-PR) program will provide up to $50,000 to an eligible homeowner(s) to help reduce the principal balance of the first mortgage. The program is available in all 67 counties in the State.
The application is available online http://PrincipalReductionFLHHF.org
Miami Spotlighted in Nation's Rental Crisis
Rental prices throughout the nation are skyrocketing, available affordable rents are diminishing and the combination is creating a massive lack of affordability for middle and low income renters. Miami comes in as the second highest in the nation at an average of 43 percent of residents’ income going towards housing costs (up from 25 percent).
Homeownership is sometimes more affordable than renting, but often prospective buyers are unable to qualify due to hefty student loans and other debt. Miami is particularly subject to wealthy investors, creating a surge in luxury apartments and a lack of support for affordable developments. The 2012 study, “Losing Ground”, by Center for Housing Policy determined that factoring in both housing and transportation costs Miami ranked number one as the most expensive city to live in the nation.
Reference: New York Times; April, 2014