[Hpn] Bush's "New Freedom Initiative"; + more

Morgan W. Brown morganbrown@hotmail.com
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:


-------Forwarded 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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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


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.


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 
housing units.

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 
PHA Plan.

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


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 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 
ten years.

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 
shelters, so
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," 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 
community.  The
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.**


-------End of forward-------

Morgan <morganbrown@hotmail.com>
Morgan W. Brown
Montpelier Vermont USA

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