JUNE 20, 1997
PRESIDENT SIGNS FY97 SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS BILL -- DISASTER RELIEF ON ITS WAY
On June 5 Congress finally approved H.R. 1871, an $8.6 billion FY97 supplemental spending bill that will provide funds for disaster relief, Bosnian peacekeeping and enforcement of the "no-fly zone" over Iraq. The measure cleared the House by the narrow margin of 221-201 and the Senate by a vote of 67-31. However, on June 9, President Clinton vetoed the measure and sent it back to Congress on June 9, citing his disdain over two politically sensitive policy riders.
One of the issues President Clinton objected to was the enactment of a permanent Continuing Resolution (CR) designed to provide automatic funding in instances when the appropriations bills have not been signed into law by the October 1 start of the new fiscal year. According to White House sources, enactment of this provision would significantly weaken the President's bargaining power in appropriations negotiations and he was therefore strongly opposed to it.
In addition, the supplemental spending bill included a provision which would prevent the Census Bureau from using sampling data in combination with traditional in-person counting methods to estimate the U.S. population for the 2000 Census. This language was initially removed from the bill, but was ultimately reinstated in the final version of the Conference legislation. By prohibiting the Census Bureau from collecting sampling data it, in essence, renders the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) formula unusable since there would no longer be "age of housing" or "poverty" data available. The sampling prohibition would also prevent post-census sample surveys currently used to measure the extent of undercounts and overcounts, a critical issue for many urban communities.
The supplemental bill contains $5.56 billion for disaster relief in 35 states and $1.9 billion in peacekeeping funds as well as $500 million in emergency CDBG funds from HUD - $250 of which will be available immediately and another $250 available as of September 30, 1997. The CDBG funds also come with an automatic waiver to allow communities to use them to rebuild public facilities, in additional to the other existing eligible activities.
On June 17, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced $110 million in expedited disaster relief funds to flood areas in North and South Dakota and Minnesota. These disaster relief funds are part of the $500 million additional CDBG funds contained in the supplemental appropriations measure. Communities receiving disaster aid will also have greater flexibility with the funds as well.
Secretary Cuomo acted earlier this year to aid local recovery efforts by waiving rules for the use of CDBG and HOME program funds -- placing an 180-day moratorium on foreclosure of FHA- insured mortgages; making special mortgage insurance possible for disaster victims repairing or replacing their homes; and by allowing loan repayment forbearance by FHA and Ginnie Mae mortgagees.
In addition, the supplemental bill rescinds $3.65 billion in "excess" Section 8 low income housing subsidy funds, or Section 8 housing reserve funds, to help finance the measure. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo vehemently opposed the use of these reserves to pay for disaster relief in statements to both Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) and Senator Christopher (Kit) Bond (R- MO), Chairmen of the House and Senate VA, HUD Appropriations Subcommittees respectively, but to no avail.
The Presidential veto of the supplemental funding bill sent Congressional leaders to the redrafting table to craft another bill. After Congressional leaders stripped the two controversial provision from the supplemental on June 12, the House passed the measure 348 to 74 and the Senate approved the bill 78 to 21. The measure, minus the two contentious provisions, was then immediately forwarded to the White House where President Clinton signed it into law that same day. In exchange for the compromise, the President did agreed to give Congress the details of how the 2000 Census will be conducted within 30 days, and if Congress is unhappy with the methodology proposed, they can attempt to make adjustments in the Commerce Departments FY98 appropriation. According to Census Bureau officials, if prohibited from using sampling, the 2000 Census would result in a significant undercount of minority populations, especially in urban areas.
As far as the automatic CR, the provision was removed from the supplemental, but will move forward as a seperate piece of legislation.
BUDGET RESOLUTION CLEARS CONGRESS --FUNDING ACTIVITY CAN BEGIN
The long-awaited Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 84), which received final approval from Congress on Thursday, June 5, include a five year balanced budget plan and package of tax cuts. The basics of the budget deal include $85 billion in net tax cuts and $115 billion in reduced spending over the next five years. The Senate passed the measure 76-22 with the House passing it 327-97.
With the Budget Resolution complete, Congress moves on to the crafting of a Budget Reconciliation bill -- outlining spending reductions and tax package. Representative Bill Archer (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee began marking up the tax component of the resolution earlier this week. It is unclear how quickly this component will move as there is significant disagreement both within the Republican party as well as among the House Democrats over many of the provisions put forth by Archer.
Congressional leaders did, however, craft a budget resolution which guarantees adequate funding to cover HUD's Section 8 renewal crisis, ensuring that Section 8 contract renewals will be met during the next five years, while also calling for a reductions or freezes in funding for other housing and community development programs. This is good news for the Section 8 programs, but will make the competition for the remaining funds in the VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies pool even more fierce. (See related story below on the Appropriations process, just getting underway.)
The stability of the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) remains safe for now after a valiant effort on the part of Representative Bill Archer (R-TX), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, to sunset the provision. Chairman Archer, a critic of the LIHTC, previously inserted a provision in the House Supplemental Appropriations bill calling for a sunset of the tax credit in FY98. Thankfully, this provision was withdrawn from the supplemental during the agreement negotiations undertaken between Congress and the White House. He then included the LIHTC in his list of possible savings for tax cuts to be included in the budget reconciliation proposal. However, with significant opposition to the sunset appearing over the past few weeks, especially from members of the House Ways and Means Committee itself, Chairman Archer retreated from his earlier position and completed markup of his tax proposal without the sunset clause.
On the other side, the Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved a budget reconciliation bill that will reduce entitlement spending by $101 billion over the next five years and provide most of the savings needed for a balanced budget. The Senate's tax bill also cleared the Finance Committee late on June 19, with $85 billion in tax cuts and many of the same provisions contained in the House tax bill. The most remarkable aspects of the measure include a $8 billion pool of savings to provide new health coverage for uninsured children some of which will come from the $15 billion increase in cigarette taxes included. The additional $8 billion will be added to the $16 billion for children's health already included in the budget agreement with the White House.
Representative Archer still intends to run the reconciliation measure through two bills -- a tax bill and a cost-saving bill -- and hopes to take his tax bill to the floor for a vote next week. It is still unclear as to whether or not the Senate will follow suit and produce two reconciliation bills or one. Further discussion on the spending measures will continue next week.
ACTIVITY ON THE FY98 APPROPRIATIONS BEGINS TO STIR
Now that the FY97 Supplemental Appropriations bill has been signed into law, House Appropriations Chairman Bob Livingston (R-LA) distributed proposed FY98 spending allocations to the 13 House subcommittees on June 13. Overall, FY98 spending in the House appropriations is almost $10.7 billion more than received in FY97.
The 602(b) allocations reflect non-emergency discretionary spending and govern the exact amount each subcommittee can allocate to programs under its jurisdiction. Given the battle which occurred over the Supplemental and the non-related policy riders, the Chairman urged GOP leaders to keep the funding bills clean from policy riders that often bog down spending measures and more recently the Supplemental.
The full House appropriations committee voted to approve the 602(b) allocations handed out by Chairman Livingston on June 18 and mark up of FY98 funding measures began immediately thereafter. The House VA-HUD Independent Agencies Appropriations subcommittee, chaired by Representative Jerry Lewis (R-CA) received a total of $61 billion in 602(b) allocations, $3.1 billion more than in the current year. However, it is not expected that any of this additional funding for the subcommittee will go to HUD programs. Mark-up of the VA- HUD funding measure is tentatively scheduled for next week. NCDA, along with other organizations representing local government elected and appointed officials, succeeded in securing more than 900 non-profit organizations and communities to sign onto a letter to Appropriations Committee chairman Jerry Lewis (R-CA) urging the Subcommittee and him to include $4.6 billion in formula grants for CDBG and $1.5 billion for HOME. Early indications are that the House panel will hold the line on CDBG at $4.6 billion, the HOME program, which the Administration recommended be cut, may be vulnerable to additional reductions. NCDA will work diligently to maintain level funding for both CDBG and HOME. Once Representative Lewis's subcommittee gives its mark, a full scale effort by the membership may be undertaken to ensure adequate funding for these proven and much needed programs.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) distributed its 602(b) allocations Thursday, June 19. The entire Senate Appropriations panel was provided $517 billion, approximately the same as the House. However, there are significantly different funding priorities between the two bodies and as always these differences will need to be reconciled in each individual appropriations bill as they make their way through the House-Senate Conference process. The Senate VA, HUD, and Independent Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee did not fare as well as its House counterpart, receiving $60.2 billion, $757 million less than the House and $1.63 billion less than current levels. In a separate report filed by the funding panel, it indicated that funding would be increased for VA-HUD, if funding for the Section 8 renewals is included as a part of the appropriations bill rather than having the solution funded through the budget reconciliation process. (See related story on page 6.)
Chairman Livingston indicated that he would like several appropriations bills to come to the floor before the July 4 recess, however House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) has indicated he wants the House to pass the budget reconciliation bills before the funding measure comes up for floor action. The entire process is significantly behind schedule, as the House typically has completed action on the funding bills by the end of June.
BUDGET RECONCILIATION BILL CONTAINS CHANGES TO WELFARE AND IMMIGRANT ASSISTANCE
The House Ways and Means Committee reported out reconciliation legislation which includes provisions for welfare-to-work grants and several changes relating to welfare reform and immigrant assistance.
The welfare-to-work proposal, which reflects an agreement between the Human Resource Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee and the White House, provides $3 billion over three years to be used to move long-term recipients from welfare to work. The funds can be used for: job creation through wage subsidies; on-the-job training; contracts with job placement companies or public job placement programs; job vouchers; and job retention or support services no otherwise available.
90 percent of the funds must be spent on recipients who are "the hardest to serve", ie: have been on assistance for at least 30 months and have low skills and education. One-half of the funds are allocated on a formula basis to the states and through them to localities while the other half are to be competitive grants distributed by the Secretary of Labor in consultation with the Secretaries of Health and Human Services (HHS) and HUD. For the competitive grants, 65 percent of the funds shall be available to the 100 cities with the highest number of residents below the poverty line. Either the political subdivision or the private industry county can apply for the funds. Formula funds would go to the states with 85 percent passed through to local service delivery areas (SDAs) to expended by the private industry council.
The formula to the states is based equally on the number of people below the poverty line, the number of people unemployed and the number of people receiving assistance under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant (TANF.) The state must submit a state plan to the Secretary of Labor which indicates how it intends to use the funds, and the plan must contain evidence that it was "developed in consultation and coordination with sub-state areas."
The bill will deny federal wage protection to recipients engaged in workfare in the public and nonprofit sectors because it does not define these persons as "employees" and therefore they are not covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act. If this provision is enacted welfare recipients will be doing the same job as regular employees, yet receiving a different/lower wage. The measure also contains provisions allowing the states the option to count the insurance value of Medicaid, the value of child care benefits and the value of housing benefits along with TANF and food stamp benefits in calculating the welfare benefits package, thereby penalizing those recipients with large families.
Although coverage of Social Security Incentives (SSI) to all non-citizens legally residing in the country who were receiving it on August 22, 1996 was extended, but it does not provide benefits to those who were legally in the country at the time and subsequently became disabled. The law does cut off SSI benefits to all legal immigrants beginning this summer, except disabled immigrants. According to the Social Security Administration estimates, by the year 2007, 125,000 fewer immigrants will qualify for benefits under the Ways and Means approach versus the budget agreement.
MARK-TO-MARKET LANGUAGE TO BE INCLUDED IN SENATE BUDGET RECONCILIATION BILL
The Senate took an important step Wednesday toward addressing the escalating costs of renewing Section 8 contracts on FHA-insured projects. In a move urged by Senate Budget Committee leadership and supported by HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee voted 18-0 to include S. 513, the "Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997," in its budget reconciliation submission to the Senate Budget Committee.
S. 513 -- introduced by Senator Connie Mack (R-FL), Chairman of the Senate Housing Opportunity and Community Development Subcommittee -- is similar to a HUD proposal (H.R. 1433, the "FHA Multifamily Housing Reform Act of 1997"), that would rein in exorbitant rental contracts that can reach 180 percent of the fair market value (see the NCDA Washington Report, May 16, 1997, for details). Specifically, the measure reduces the rental subsidies received by the project's landlord and restructures mortgages to compensate for the subsequent reduction in income. Both the HUD proposal and another House proposal (H.R. 1508, the "Multifamily Housing Reform and Affordability Act") differ from S. 513 in several respects. Such differences include:
The HUD bill provides tax incentives to encourage sales to resident-endorsed or other public-entities, H.R. 1508 and S. 513 do not.
Due to these differences, the House is expected to oppose the Senate language when the measure goes to conference, thereby casting doubt on the ability of Congress to pass mark-to-market legislation this session. Both Secretary Cuomo and Senate Banking Chairman Alfonse D'Amato (R-NY) remain hopeful, however. According to Senator D'Amato, "The opportunity to pass this desperately needed legislation now in the context of budget reconciliation should not be lost over policy differences or pride of authorship." Secretary Cuomo agreed, stating, "Although we have recommendations to make (S. 513) stronger, it is important that this process moves forward."
According to many observers, the reconciliation process presents the best opportunity for Congress to pass mark-to-market legislation, as the measure may be too difficult to pass on its own. Even so, it remains uncertain as to when the Senate Budget Reconciliation bill will reach the floor and whether the S. 513 language will survive the budget markup. In addition, House Banking Staff Director Joseph Ventrone has indicated that Representative Rick Lazio (R-NY), Chairman of House Banking and Financial Services Committee and sponsor of H.R. 1433, has no intention of running his mark-to-market bill through the reconciliation process and is not inclined to go along with the Senate approach.
Before the Banking Committee agreed to include S. 513 in its Budget Reconciliation package, an amendment was introduced by Senator Rod Grams (R-MN) which would prohibit HUD from issuing letters to residents of designated elderly housing units confirming that contracts for their projects have been renewed. Although the amendment was defeated 13-5, Senator Grams stated he intends to introduce the amendment on the Senate floor, citing concerns from his constituents that the letters "scare" the tenants and that they are "unnecessarily alarmist." Currently, HUD issues annual letters to tenants of Section 8 properties that either confirm that funding for their housing unit has been extended or that alerts them that funding is no longer available. Senator Grams' amendment would prohibit only use of the confirmation letters.
NCDA supports the basic goals and principles included in both the Senate and House bills, as failure to reform the Section 8 program will lead to thousands of defaults and unaffordable rent increases for low-income tenants, widespread evictions and a potential explosion in homelessness. As such, NCDA joined the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies and the National Association of Counties in sending a letter to Senator Mack urging him to continue pushing mark-to-market legislation forward, but asking for assurance that as Congress seeks to reduce the cost of contract renewals to the federal government, it still protects the tenants living in this affordable housing stock, provides for needed rehabilitation and treats the owners of the projects fairly.
EDA UPDATE -- REAUTHORIZATION BILL
H.R. 1430, the five year Economic Development Administration (EDA) reauthorization bill drafted by the Clinton Administration, has been introduced by Representative Bud Shuster (R- PA), James Oberstar (D-MN), and James Traficant (D-OH) and is ready for action in the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. It is authorized for $343 million in FY98 and unspecified amounts in the out years, $160.2 million for public work grants, $89 for defense economic adjustment grants and other activities.
The bill would require EDA to coordinate better with federal, state and local governments responsible for urban and rural development activities. The eligibility system for development assistance is replaced by one based on low per capita income levels (80 percent or less of the national average), high unemployment rates or distinct outmigration. A hearing is expected some time this month.
However, the Senate has intentionally not yet introduced a companion measure, partly because Senator Chaffee (R-RI), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, does not support the agency and is committed to abolishing it.
The EDA has been defending its existence and its budget before the Administration and Congress for the past several years. The Clinton Administration's budget request for FY98 was 1.6% less than in FY97 which was already down considerably from previous years. Overall, the President's budget calls for $343 million, down from $348.5 million in FY97. The total budget includes: $319 million for grant programs which include - $160.2 million for public works grants; planning assistance $24 million; technical assistance $9.1 million and trade adjustment assistance $9.5 million; defense economic adjustment funding $89 million; economic adjustment grants $26.7 million, down from $31.2; and, $500,000 for research and evaluation and the remaining funds for staffing and administration..
NCDA 1997 ANNUAL CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
NCDA recently held one of its most successful Annual Conferences on June 8-10, 1997 in Chicago, IL. This year's conference was the second "on-the-road" conference held by the Association and rallied a record breaking crowd of attendants and rousing praise for the in-depth programmatic agenda laid out for the three day meeting.
Tom Cochran, Executive Director of the Conference of Mayors, addressed NCDA Conference participants at the welcoming brunch, reviewing the USCM's major policy efforts which include: welfare-to-work legislation, brownfields, combating drugs and the renewal of the ISTEA. Mr. Cochran also emphasized the importance of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to Mayors and the need to keep the program at the forefront "We should not take the CDBG program for granted ... we need to work on CDBG Week with renewed vigor in the year to come." He commended the Association for the close relationship that has been sustained over the years and recommended that a task force of local practitioners, mayors and members of other national organizations concerned about the CDBG program be formed to make sure the program is protected from cuts.
In addition, a team of representatives from the "Chicago Partners in the American Dream," a collaboration of Chicago organizations participating in the National Partners in Homeownership, provided a dynamic, multimedia description of their efforts in Chicago to increase the homeownership rate and stabilize neighborhoods. The Chicago Partners work with organizations in targeted neighborhoods with the mission to create 5,000 homeownership opportunities in nine to twelve force areas within the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities in the Chicago market by the end of the year 2000. This presentation was particularly fitting as a kick-off to National Homeownership Week, June 7-14.
In one of a number of program highlights, conference participants heard from Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Dwight Robinson and during the Opening General Session on Monday, June 9. Mr. Robinson, spoke of the need for NCDA members to work with HUD to solve the economic and housing problems facing the neediest Americans. As an example, Mr. Robinson reminded members that although overall numbers for homeownership are up, homeownership rates in the central cities continue to founder at 50 percent below the national average. Mr. Robinson suggested that such rates should be of concern to NCDA members, as housing is the foundation to making communities work by aiding the development of family stability and creating solid, healthy communities and better neighborhoods.
As for HUD, Mr. Robinson asserted its mission is to "increase homeownership, increase fair housing and increase jobs." To reach these goals, Mr. Robinson said HUD and NCDA must work together to meet key challenges such as:
Averting the impending Section 8 crisis, which may cause a budgetary ripple effect that could ultimately result in dramatic cuts in all other HUD programs, including CDBG, HOME and homeless assistance funding, if allowed to go unchecked.
Rehabilitating and increasing current public and assisted housing stock: "Public housing must be a place of promise, not of last resort: A safe, temporary stop on the way to the future."
Cleaning house at HUD: "The public must have confidence that we are spending money wisely. To fulfill our mission, we must have credibility."
Mr. Robinson concluded his remarks by acknowledging that the task at hand for HUD and for local governments is not easy, but worthwhile nonetheless. Revisiting the theme begun the day before by the Chicago Partners, Mr. Robinson focused on the role of homeownership and noted, "I look forward to working with you to better the lives of American families and strengthening America's communities."
Concurrent and Technical Sessions and Roundtable Discussions
Topical concurrents, an in-depth technical session, a professional development forum, a city bus tour and discussion-oriented roundtables dominated the conference. Some of the highlights of these elements include:
On Tuesday, June 10 a team of HUD officials from HUD Headquarters in Washington, DC and the local HUD Field Office attended the NCDA Annual Conference to provide programmatic and regulatory updates on the CDBG, HOME, and Homeless Assistance programs as well as other departmental priorities. The speakers included: HUD Secretary's Representative - Midwest Region, Edwin Eisendrath, Deidre Maguire-Zinni, Director of Entitlement Communities; Gordon McKay, Director of Affordable Housing Programs and Raymond Willis, Program Manager, CPD - SNAPS, Chicago Office.
Highlights from the programmatic presentations:
Community Development Block Grant
Deidre Maguire-Zinni of the Office of Block Grant Assistance briefly discussed several issues pertaining to the CDBG program. The most notable of her comments was in reference to the "timeliness issues." As you all know the CDBG program requirements state that a grantee should not have more than 1.5 times their current grant amount in their line of credit at any given time. However, according to Ms. Maguire-Zinni, as of June 1, 274 grantees -- 29% of the entitlements have failed the timeliness test. Some communities have more than three times their current grant amount in their line-of-credit. She did indicate that 71% -- 660 grantees have passed the test, but the 29% failure rate is disturbing and needs to be addressed. Ms. Maguire-Zinni urged conference attendees to spend their CDBG money in a timely fashion, putting this valuable tool to good work now. This issue arose in 1993 when Andrew Cuomo was first appointed Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development at HUD and caused Congress as well as HUD to question ithe prospect of ncreased funding for a program that "had too much money in the pipeline." The issue of timeliness has been predominant on HUD's screen for several years now and is only likely to heighten in the months to come.
NCDA recommends that members spend their money in a timely way, in order to continue to best serve their constituents as well as maintain a positive and productive reputation for the program overall nationwide.
Some of the other areas touched upon by Deidre Maguire-Zinni include:
The HOME briefing, delivered by Gordon McKay, detailed recent HUD actions that impact HOME and related housing programs. The HOME program, now assisting 60,000 to 70,000 people nationwide, continues to be an essential component in the effort to increase homeownership for low-income families. Among the developments:
Although Mr. McKay urged members to submit an application for the upcoming Homeownership Zone competition, he also encourages them to develop a plan without relying on federal funding. "If every community in this room submitted a proposal" he stated, "maybe one would receive funding, yet the need for these Zones is so great. Look to alternative sources of funding to develop and implement your plans." Homeless Assistance Programs
The briefing on homeless assistance programs was delivered by Raymond Willis, a Program Manager in HUD's Office of Community Planning and Development in Chicago. Mr. Willis went in to detail regarding the recent Continuum of Care NOFA referenced on page 18 of this NCDA Washington Report.
NCDA Committee Reports
At the Conference Wide Closing Breakfast, the NCDA Committee Chairpersons provided brief summaries of the outcomes of the Committee meetings held earlier in the conference. These include:
Community Development - Angelito Santos, Quincy, MA
The Community Development Committee meeting was attended by approximately 20 people who discussed several issues including: the "Home Rule"/Title IV of the public housing reform bill H.R. 2, which allows local governments to apply for public housing capital and operating funds (see the NCDA Washington Report, May 16, 1997 for details); the lead-based paint abatement rule, published last year; Community Development Week '97; and, the modification of the NCDA Peer-Assistance-Line (PAL). The Committee will look into the "Home Rule" in the next several weeks and issue a policy position before the middle of July. Members of a Committee task force on the lead-based paint rule will follow up with NCDA staff on an Association position as well. The Committee also decided to encourage NCDA staff to up-date the PAL and continue to provide the service through conventional means, while pursuing it through the internet as well.
Economic Development - Jay Smith, San Francisco, CA
Members of the Economic Development Committee met to discuss several issues surrounding economic development, but focused primarily on the upcoming publication of the new CDBG Section 108 loan guarantee guidelines and the American Cities Investment Act, H.R. 1555 introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives on May 8, 1997 by Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA) calling for the expansion of the Section 108 program. The Committee in cooperation with the staff intends to analyze the impact of the Fattah bill further, prior to rendering an official Association position, as well as work with Congress and HUD further on the upcoming underwriting guidelines for the Section 108 program. NCDA staff will continue to work through the ED Committee and the Section 108 task force on the establishment of these guidelines.
Planning and Professional Development - Amintha Cinotti, Weymouth,
The Planning and Professional Development Committee voted to subdivide into three subcommittees to better meet its over all mission of conference planning, professional development and organizational planning. Further details will be forthcoming.
Technology - Steve Gartrell, Newton, MA (Representing Rona Zevin,
Seattle, WA, the out-going Chair of the Technology Committee)
New ground was broken at this year's technology committee meeting. Under the strong leadership of incoming Committee Chairman Stephen Gartrell, plans are underway to establish a concentrated NCDA presence on the internet. Foremost on the agenda is the development of a long-awaited web site. The site, to be developed completely in-house by NCDA staff, will be a one-stop information center for NCDA members. The site will give members full access to NCDA resources and will feature:
In addition to the web site, plans are also in the works to rely more heavily on electronic communications between members, particularly when a member is seeking a "best practices" solution to a local problem. Members are encouraged to get on-line and be ready to take advantage of this technology.
Note: The Housing Committee did not meet due to conflicts with the other Committee meetings. However, important Committee business will be conducted via mail in the next few weeks.
NCDA President Announces Committee Chairpersons for 1997-1998
At the Annual Business Meeting of the Association, held during the NCDA Annual Conference on June 10, newly elected NCDA President James Caruso, Director of Planning and Community Development for the Nebraska Investment Finance Authority in Lincoln, NE, described his vision for the Association over the next year, which included an emphasis on: increased member activity in National Community Development Week; stronger regional organizations; and, working with HUD to create a stronger and healthy federal presence for housing and community development issues and appointed the following individuals to serve as Committee Chairpersons:
Legislative - Roslyn Phillips, Jacksonville, FL
Organizational Structure - James Allen, Louisville, KY
Community Development - Angelito Santos, Quincy, MA
Economic Development - Jay Smith, San Francisco, CA
Housing - Kathy Ricci, Salt Lake City, UT
Program and Professional Development - Amintha Cinotti, Weymouth, MA
Technology - Steve Gartrell, Newton, MA
Membership - Brenda Richard-Montgomery, Jefferson Parish, LA
Nominations and Elections - Robert Broughton, Gloucester County, NJ
Credentials, By-Laws and Resolutions - Dr. James Huger, Daytona Beach, FL
Please review the enclosed NCDA Committee Participation form to determine the NCDA committee that is most suited to your interest and expertise. Return the completed form to NCDA by July 7, 1997.
Conference attendees also enjoyed: the famous "Chicago Blues Festival", ringing music aside Lake Michigan; entertainment by the talented Ken Chauncey Experience, a local jazz ensemble, during the Welcoming Reception at the historical "Chicago Cultural Center;" and, several members cheered on the Chicago Cubs (or perhaps the New York Mets) at the "post-conference event" at Wrigley Field on Tuesday night.
NCDA would like to extend thanks to Michael Harris, Peg White, Marina Carrott and the staffs of the Office of Budget and Management and the Department of Housing of the City of Chicago for all the time and effort they invested as well as the sponsors of the conference for their financial support in creating a wonderful, fun and substantive conference. Overall the Conference was deemed a complete success and many members are excited to come together yet again in Metro-Dade County/Miami, Florida next year at this same time.
MAYOR DALEY CONVENES A FORUM ON BROWNFIELDS
Richard M. Daley, Mayor of Chicago and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, held a forum on May 29 to discuss issues associated with the redevelopment of brownfield sites. He called upon Congress and the federal government to move quickly to help local governments with the reclamation of these brownfield sites in their communities. Mayor Daley has made this issue one of his top priorities for the City of Chicago as well as the Conference of Mayors.
The Conference of Mayors has adopted a Brownfield Action Agenda for Congress and the Administration containing the following elements:
1) Liability protection for lenders, innovent third party purchasers and redevelopers of brownfield sites;
2) Development and expansion of EPA's brownfields initiative, including funds for preparation and implementation of local brownfield redevelopment strategies, including funds for site assessment and characterization.
3) Development and capitalization of local revolving loan funds for brownfield clean ups.
4) Targeted tax incentives for brownfield redevelopers.
5) Expedited cleanup strategies and cleanup standards based on future end-use; and,
6) The availability of tax exempt financing for redevelopment of brownfield sites.
The Mayors also discussed brownfield success stories in communities such as Elizabeth, NJ, among others. Resolutions dealing with the issues of Superfund and Brownfield Redevelopment will be discussed during the Energy and Environment Committee meeting at the U.S. Conference of Mayors Annual Meeting in San Francisco this weekend.
SECRETARY CUOMO ANNOUNCES INITIATIVES TO BOOST HOMEOWNERSHIP
As part of National Homeownership Week, June 7-14, HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo announced a series of initiatives to boost homeownership across the nation and set a goal of two million new homeowners by the year 2000.
The initiatives include:
NCDA is a member of the National Partners in Homeownership, a partnership of more than 50 public- and private-sector organizations working to bring the level of homeownership to 67.5 percent of the U.S. population by the year 2000. Together, the partnership has generated more than 100 objectives designed to realize this historic increase in homeownership. The Association will continue to work with the National Partners in Homeownership and HUD to promote homeownership for low- and moderate-income families.
TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS MADE TO HOME FINAL RULE
HUD recently announced that several technical corrections have been made to the HOME Final Rule issued September 16, 1996. In a May 28, 1997 notice in the Federal Register, HUD detailed the changes, which include:
For copies of the Federal Register notice, contact NCDA staff at (202) 293-7587.
HOMELESS NOFA DATE CHANGES AGAIN -- NOW AUGUST 18
Good News! According to a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) published on June 5, 1997 in the Federal Register regarding Continuum of Care grants, the application deadline has been extended and there is no longer a limit on the level of refunding of existing projects a community can choose to undertake. The NOFA extends the submission deadline of the April 8 NOFA to August 18, 1997 and nullifies the requirement that limited requests for renewals of existing projects to 50 percent of the amount of leasing and operating costs in the final year of the expiring grant's term. The NOFA also allows applicants to submit the bulk of their applications electronically, an unprecedented option in the Continuum of Care grant process.
The NOFA pertains to the Supportive Housing Program, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program for Single Room Occupancy Dwellings for Homeless Individuals and the Shelter Plus Care Programs.
HUD HOLDS "BEST PRACTICES" SYMPOSIUM JULY 8-10, 1997 IN HOUSTON, TX
As part of their on-going effort to foster "outstanding performance" among the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) grantees, HUD is holding a "Building on Best Practices" Symposium, July 8-10, 1997 at the Wyndham Greenspoint Hotel in Houston, TX. This national symposium is designed to bring together community development practitioners from throughout the nation to share tools, techniques and strategies that can enhance performance of those grantees still striving to make program improvements in areas where weaknesses have been identified.
CPD has identified 385 "best practices" in 237 "blue ribbon communities" where counties, cities, states, nonprofit organizations and their private sector partners are establishing new benchmarks of success for communities implementing CPD programs.
The symposium will be conducted through a series of plenary sessions, discussion roundtables, and 40 breakout sessions focusing on five key "Best Practice" areas -- Consolidated Planning/Suitable Living Environment; Continuum of Care; Housing; Economic Opportunity; and Grants Management/Program Requirements. This session is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to learn about and bring home resources from "Best Practice" projects and programs of interest to them, and to exchange ideas with other communities throughout the nation. For further information regarding the Symposium, contact Letha Strothers at HUD, (202) 708-1283.
The issue of performance measures and "best practices" is returning to the forefront as Congress has begun to reapply pressure on the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which subsequently means the departments, such as HUD, to move faster on the requirements laid out in the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) which requirees that by the end of FY98 every department will identify programs and policy goals for the next five years, as part of the FY99 budget request, with actions and bench marks included. The House has already placed HUD on the "troubled" list due to vague or incomplete plans so be on the look out for a return to the rhetoric of performance measures, benchmarks and standards.
HUD STAFF NEWS
Several changes have occurred in HUD staffing over the past few months. They include:
Request for Operators of Business Development Centers - FR 62 28673-28676, 5/27/97 - The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) a part of the U.S. Commerce Department is seeking operators of business development centers in ten communities: Atlanta, GA; South and North Chicago areas; Austin, TX; New York, NY; Nassau and Suffolk Counties, NY; Orange County, CA; Las Vegas, NV; and, Phoenix, AZ. Awards are pre-determined for each area and will be for 12 months beginning October 1. Applications are due July 7. For questions contact the regional MBDA office near you.
Announcement of Funding Awards: FY96 Economic Development and Supportive Services Program - FR 62 28485-28486, 5/23/97 - Announcement of awards for FY96 Public and Indian Housing Authority applicants under the Economic Development and Supportive Services (EDSS) Program. $30.8 million in EDSS funds were awarded to 45 public housing authorities. The EDSS funds were part of the total $53 million set-aside from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) appropriation for public housing supportive services. The $53 million was divided between $30.8 million for EDSS, $8 million for the Bridges-to-Work Demonstration Program, $9.2 million for the Section 8 Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program and $5 million for Housing's Neighborhood Network and Resident Initiatives programs.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY97: Safe Neighborhood Grants - FR 62, 28585-28601 5/23/97 - $20 million available in FY97 funding for the Safe Neighborhood Grants program designed to eliminate drug-related crime in and around low-income housing, public or private. The funds can be used to reimburse local law enforcement agencies or to hire extra security personnel. The maximum grant award will be for $250,000 over two years. Applications are due August 21, 1997. Applicants must be an owner or operator of one more housing developments supported by government funds or from a private non-profit group, however, local governments may act as a co-applicant. For an applications contact the Multifamily Housing Division of your local HUD Field Office.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY97: Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811) -- FR 62 28776-28789, 5/27/97 - $194 million available in FY97 funding for the Section 811 program. Applications are due July 28, 1997. For an applications package contact the Multifamily Housing Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 6424, Rockville, MD 20850, or call (800) 685-8470.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY97: Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202) -- FR 62 28762-28774, 5/27/97 - $645 million available in FY97 funding for the Section 202 program. Applications are due July 28, 1997. For an applications package contact the Multifamily Housing Clearinghouse, P.O. Box 6424, Rockville, MD 20850, or call (800) 685-8470.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY97: HOPE VI Public Housing Demolition -- FR 62 30402- 30409, 6/3/97 - $30 million available in FY97 HOPE VI funding for public housing authorities for the demolition of obsolete public housing units without revitalization, where demolition could not otherwise occur due to lack of available resources. Applications are due by August 4, 1997. For an applications contact the HUD Headquarters, Attention: Director, Office of Public Housing Investments, 451 Seventh Street, SW, Room 4138, Washington, DC 20410. For additional information call Milan Ozdinec, (202) 401-8812.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control -- FR 62 30379-30400, 6/3/97 - $50 million is available for grants to state and local governments for lead-based paint hazard control in privately owned low-income housing that is not federally assisted. Applications are due August 5, 1997. There are two components to the competition in order to evaluate previous grantees separately and then together with new applicants. Grants will range from $500,000 to $4 million for those houses on or near environmentally contaminated land. A 10 percent match is also required. To obtain applications write the Office of Lead Hazard Control, HUD, 451 Seventh Street, SW, Room B-133, Washington, DC 20410. For more information, call Ellis Goldman (202) 755-1785.
Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA): FY97 Public and Indian Housing Economic Development and Supportive Services Program and Tenant Opportunities -- FR 62 31272-31292, 6/6/97 - Announcement of FY97 funds available for Public and Indian Housing Authority applicants under the Economic Development and Supportive Services (EDSS) Program and Tenant Opportunities (TOP) Program. A total of $62.225 million in EDSS ($42.25 million) and TOP ($19.975 million) funds are now available to public housing authorities. Applications are due August 13, 1997. Applications must be obtained from your local HUD Field Office.
Proposed Rule: New York Small Cities Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program -- FR 62 31944-31955, 6/11/97 - Per the FY96 HUD Appropriations bill, Congress required HUD to issue proposed and final rules for the New York State Small Cities CDBG NOFA competition. Comments due July 11, 1997.
Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Single Family Property Disposition -- FR 62 32251-32252, 6/13/97 - This notice announces HUD's intention to issue a proposed rule to amend HUD's Single Family Property Disposition Program for the purpose of developing innovative methods of disposing of HUD- owned single family properties. Comments due on July 14, 1997.
Best Practices: Spotlighting What Works: A Showcase of Community
Planning Successes in the Field, Issue No. 18, May 12, 1997 - "Blue
Ribbon Practices in Community Development Top Performers Set Standards
for the Field" - Excerpts from HUD's recent "Best Practices"
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