Federal Government Funded for Another Year

Both Senate and House passed an omnibus appropriations bill addressing domestic housing and community development programs.  HUD’s HOME program took a hit, from 1,000 million in FY 14 to 900 million in FY 15 and CDBG a hit as well from $3.1 million in FY14 to $3.066 million in FY15. Housing Counseling bumped up from $45 million to $47 million in FY 15 Continue reading

NOFA issued by NYS HCR

Applications will be due on Friday, February 13, 2014

Advocates fought hard to increase the per unit cap to $10,000 per unit from $5000 for the RESTORE program and this was approved by the legislature in 2014. However, this is not reflected in the NOFA even though repairs of roofs, furnaces, electric work and plumbing are specifically eligible. It does note the lifetime cap is increased to $10,000. Questions remain!

Cooperstown was the retreat we needed!

The growing need to stabilize mobile homes, consumer awareness about land contracts and rural land banks were just some of the topics discussed at the Rural Advocates Annual meeting in Cooperstown.  A funding pool for the purchase, rehabilitation and resale of vacant units to low income and working families was identified as a need to address the impact of foreclosure.  The cost of bringing basic Infrastructure to single family homes as well as rental units including mobile home parks and the need for security deposit revolving funds were some priorities for this year.

The Preservation Program is the most effective and efficient delivery system for affordable housing programs as long as every company has a community presence.  Several counties fail to have that presence although they may be incorporated into an existing contract “service area” and without a go-to, recognized program for each County, there continues to be program gaps in rural New York.  Advocates called for consistent and active management of contracts to produce reliable data. To that end, they support funding for additional HCR staffing after an 80% program staff cut and an increase in funding for RHC for TA and support for assistance in collecting data for effective program evaluation.

New needs identified include technology update and training through a one time technical advancement compliance program for preservation companies. Groups need training on communicating electronically.

Anticipating a decrease in Federal housing funds, increases to AHC, RESTORE and ACCESS to HOME can address single family housing gaps. One time settlement money can be used for these existing programs as well as greater utilization of the Main Street and the Community Investment Fund.  Advocates identified a need for small scale projects and a rural area revitalization program with minimum project funding that can address small projects and not be encumbered with documentation necessary to secure and protect investments of larger sums

Attend the Rural Advocates Meeting in Cooperstown

Advocates meet in Cooperstown November 18-19 at the Otesaga Hotel.  Join the discussion as we examine how funding and legislation can be used to improve housing and the economy of Rural New York. More information if you Email ruraladvocates at gmail.com; the meeting starts Tuesday at 10 am.

State Budget Surplus Reported

The TU and Politics on the Hudson report that there’s another $625 million coming from bank settlements for a total of over $5 billion in settlements. That means that the state will end the year with a  $4.8 billion surplus.”  The money came from three settlements: $300 million each from Bank of America and Standard Chartered banks as well as $25 million from Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

State Republicans will be conferencing on Monday and may begin to think about spending this one time windfall as well as staffing and committee assignments.

However the  Governor will be involved in these negotiations and has been talking about infrastructure upgrades.

Cuomo’s Division of Budget “expects that a formal plan for use of the projected financial settlement moneys, consistent with adherence with the 2 percent spending benchmark, will be proposed no later than the submission to the Legislature of the (2015-16) Executive Budget,” according to the budget update. Cuomo 2015-16 spending plan will be proposed in late January.

Rural Advocates Annual Meeting Announced

The NYS Rural and Neighborhood Preservation Programs have undergone some changes over the last few years, even though the legislative intent of this program has not changed.  Is the Preservation Program the key program it once was? Should changes be made to the program? How can it be made to work better for your company?

These issues will be considered, among others, at the NYS Rural Advocates Annual Meeting, November 18-19, 2014 at the Otesaga Hotel in Cooperstown. Come for the day on Tuesday or come for the full program on both days as we consider the Advocates legislative agenda for housing and community development.

We want to hear from you! Don’t let other people make the decisions that will impact you and your company. Join us and let your voice be heard.