[Hpn] Bush's "New Freedom Initiative"; + more
Morgan W. Brown
Mon, 05 Feb 2001 11:55:50 -0500
You may already have come across the below information, but I thought I'd
send it your way just in case anyway -- FYI:
On: Monday, February 5, 2001 at 10:16:24 -0500
To: All Coalition Members
[Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition (VAHC)]
Erhard Mahnke <erhardm@VTAffordableHousing.org> sent:
Subject: MEETING REMINDER -- WED 2/7 -- 9:30-11:00 -- VCIL, MONTPELIER
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***PRESIDENT BUSH ANNOUNCES "NEW FREEDOM INITIATIVE"
TO ASSIST AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES***
On February 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced his "New Freedom
Initiative," designed to assist disabled Americans in breaking down the
barriers to employment, housing, and services.
The Initiative, announced with Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), would help
disabled people access technology to help them find and retain employment,
and be able to work from home. While the primary focus is on employment and
technology, the Initiative contains information on homeownership for
disabled people. The initiative will implement new statutory authority
allowing Section 8 rental assistance funds to be used for homeownership
activities, with a focus on people with disabilities. The initiative does
not discuss other housing barriers for people with disabilities, but focuses
solely on homeownership. The New Freedom Initiative is available at
***BUSH PROPOSES TAX CREDIT FOR HOMEOWNERSHIP***
Republican presidential candidate George W Bush has proposed a $1.7 billion,
5-year initiative to encourage the private sector to build more affordable
housing for low income Americans.
The centerpiece of the Texas governor's plan is a tax credit of up to 50% of
project costs of redeveloping single family housing or building new homes
for low-income homebuyers.
The program would provide $1.7 billion during a 5-year period and is
estimated to result in the rehabilitation or construction of 100,000 homes.
Eligible areas would include low-income census tracts and Native American
trust lands. Eligible homeowners would include families with incomes at or
below 80% of the area median.
Bush said he would also provide incentives for states and cities to cut the
regulations and red tape that impede rehabilitating homes and neighborhoods.
What those incentives are was not included in a statement released by the
Bush campaign. It said only that Bush supports pending legislation that
would amend "the existing federal clearinghouse on state and local best
practices to make it more effective, including moving its contents online
and making them more
accessible to state and local agencies."
Bush had earlier announced that he supports use of Sec. 8 rental vouchers to
fund homeownership. He proposed providing an additional $1 billion of
matching grants over five years to help low income families who do not
benefit from Sec. 8 to fund the down payment and closing costs on a new
home. He also offered to create over one million new Individual Development
Accounts that would provide
matching funds to Americans saving for down payments.
***HUD IMPLEMENTS CHANGES TO PROJECT-BASED VOUCHERS***
In a Notice issued on January 16, 2001, HUD implemented changes, effective
immediately, which allow public housing authorities to project-base up to
20% of their vouchers for any structure, including an existing building with
no rehabilitation needs.
These changes were authorized in Section 232 of the FY2001 Appropriations
Act. The result has made project-basing of vouchers more flexible. Under the
new rules, PHAs may enter into contracts with owners for up to ten years.
Any new project-basing of vouchers must include provisions for the new
"continued assistance option," which allows tenants to move after the first
year of occupancy and convert their housing assistance to portable housing
vouchers, while maintaining the project-based assistance attached to the
Restrictions include: 1) new project-based units must be located in census
tracts with a poverty rate of less than 20%, 2) no more than 25% of a
building's units may be funded through project-based vouchers (there are
exceptions where units are for elderly or disabled families, or are linked
to supportive services.), and 3) project-basing must be consistent with the
For more information see the Federal Register Notice, FR-4633-N-01, or visit
www.hudclips.org Also, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has
issued an updated report that describes key features of the new PHA
project-based Section 8 voucher program and compares new provisions to those
previously in effect.
"Revision of the Project-Based Voucher Statute," released January 29, 2001,
also provides a brief background describing the history of "project-basing"
of the Section 8 tenant-based rental assistance program. It outlines 16 key
provisions affected changes to the statutory authority of public housing
agencies. The report by Barbara Sard is available at www.cbpp.org
***MARTINEZ LISTS PRIORITIES AT CONFIRMATION HEARINGS***
Bi-partisan support greeted HUD Secretary-designate Mel Martinez at his
confirmation hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on January 17. At
the hearing, Martinez emphasized the following issues:
* Improving HUD management and evaluation of programs, especially the FHA
single family program, management information systems (MIS), and the 2020
management reform plan.
* Consolidating and merging HUD programs and giving a greater role to state
and local governments.
* Proposing an investor-based tax credit to expand construction and
rehabilitation of housing.
* Expanding homeownership options, especially for minority households and
implementing the Section 8 for homeownership program.
* Addressing the problems of predatory lending.
* Placing greater emphasis on the private sector and faith-based
The lead members of the HUD Transition team are: Robert Woodson, Director of
the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprises; Sean Cassidy, Professional
Staff Member of the House Banking Committee; Joe Ventrone, Deputy Staff
Director of the Housing Banking Committee; and John Weicher, Director of
Urban Policy at the Hudson Institute.
***HUD RELEASES NEW REPORT ON WORST CASE HOUSING NEEDS***
HUD released a report on January 19, 2001 on worst case housing needs based
on analysis of AHS data from 1997 and 1999. People considered to have worst
case housing needs are those who pay more than 50 percent of their monthly
gross income for rent or live in severely inadequate housing. Overall, the
number of very low income renter households with worst case housing needs
dropped by 8 percent between 1997 and 1999, or a total of 440,000
households. This finding is the first decline in worst case housing needs in
Entitled "A Report on Worst Case Housing Needs in 1999: New Opportunity Amid
Continuing Challenges," the report notes that 4.9 million renter households
remain with worst case needs, a number that means this problem continues to
be critical and deserving of attention. In addition, it is important to
point out that the AHS estimates do not include those who are homeless or in
at least 600,000 additional people should be considered in this context.
Full report available at www.huduser.org
***WHY ADVOCATES NEED TO THINK ABOUT MANUFACTURED HOUSING
"Why Advocates Need to Think About Manufactured Housing," a report of new
research by Richard Genz, finds that manufactured homes account for 30% of
all new homes nationwide, and a large majority of these homes are
The homeownership rate for the nation would drop nearly 5% if manufactured
houses were not counted. Although many of these units are occupied by their
owners, the owners frequently must still rent the lot on which the unit is
According to Genz, manufactured homes have the potential to be a significant
source of unsubsidized, low-cost housing. Nevertheless, there are many
issues that need to be addressed before low-income housing advocates take up
the cause of manufactured housing. Financing, legal protections, quality
control, and resale value of manufactured housing should be examined before
such housing could be included as a legitimate option for the low-income
report is available at www.housingcommunity.com
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**In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this
material is distributed without charge or profit to
those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving
this type of information for non-profit research and
educational purposes only.**
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Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA
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