Housing Affairs Letter

News Capsules From Coast To Coast

Washington
Treasury Sells Last Of Bum Loans: The Treasury Department gets rid of the last of the $225 billion of mortgage-backed securities it bought during the height of the financial crisis from October 2008 through December 2009. The total sale netted $250 billion returning a $25 billion profit to taxpayers. The profit could end up being a washout if many of the 30-year fixed-rate mortgages default. Backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the default tab would be absorbed by taxpayers through another Treasury account created for their financial support to avoid bankruptcy and separate from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bank bailout. The repayment from the MBS sales will go to pay down the nation’s debt unless Congress decides otherwise.

Financial Services
SEC, Citigroup Pact Revived In Appeal Ruling: A decision last year by U.S. District Judge Jed Rankin to reject a $285 million settlement between Citigroup and the Securities & Exchange Commission is rejected in the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. Rankin ruled that the SEC allowed the bank to avoid admitting any wrongdoing. Appeals justices rebuke Rankin telling him that the SEC likely will prevail if the dispute is sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. The SEC claims that a required guilt admission would undermine several enforcement actions and grind settlements to a halt.

Homeownership
NeighborWorks' $74 Million For Housing Counseling: State housing finance agencies, housing counseling intermediaries and community-based groups receive a combined $74 million in grants from NeighborWorks America to provide housing counseling through its National Foreclosure Mitigation Counseling Program. The awards are expected to result in the involvement of some 1,300 nonprofit counseling agencies and local NeighborWorks’ groups, providing free counseling and other aid to families at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure. The latest round of funding also will be used to train more than 2,000 new counselors. Info: www.cdpublications.com/docs/7562

East
Massachusetts Home For Low-Income Seniors:  The Concord Housing Authority begins a $6.7 million renovation of the Peter Bulkeley Terrace, a complex for low-income seniors built in 1912. When completed later this year, the new building will have 23 one-bedroom apartments that will include four handicapped-accessible units. The state Department of Housing and Community Development provided $3 million for the project. Concord received $1 million from the Community Preservation Act and the state Affordable Housing Trust Fund, as well as $1.5 million from the sale of a former elderly housing facility, Belknap House.

Midwest
Detroit’s Brewster Public Housing Doomed: The sprawling Brewster public housing project near downtown Detroit, MI will be demolished this year. Officially the Frederick Douglass complex, the first federally financed public housing development specifically for black families produced several celebrities, including the Supremes singing group, in the 1950s. The abandoned national historic site will convert to a new housing and commercial development.

MidSouth
Immigrant Housing Law Ban Upheld: The 5th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling stopping the Dallas, TX suburb of Farmers Branch from barring illegal aliens from seeking housing. The justices rule the city overstepped its authority in 2008 by requiring the city building inspector to check the immigration status of anyone wanting to rent an apartment who isn’t a U.S, citizen. Landlords who knowingly rent to illegals could have their rental licenses revoked. Farmers Branch officials are mulling an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Southwest
Section 8 Race Bias Charged: Lancaster, CA officials accuse the Los Angeles County Housing Authority of race-based discrimination by favoring black applicants in awarding Section 8 housing vouchers. Lancaster officials say the complaint is a prelude to the city seeking a class-action lawsuit against the housing agency. Officials contend that while the city is home to fewer than 2% of the county’s population, it has become host to a preponderance of the county’s Section 8 families. Housing authority officials acknowledge that Lancaster’s 2,193 voucher holders represent 10% of its countywide roster and that black families hold 70% of those vouchers.
 

Login to read the full story or Subscribe now!

Other Recent Stories

If Congress embraces the framework of President Donald Trump’s federal spending guidelines for FY 2018, the move would effectively restrain HUD’s new Fair Housing Act enforcement program and accelerate implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration program.
If President Donald Trump insists on providing money in the FY 2017 spending bill to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer ((D-NY) suggests there could be a government shutdown in May.
A new report in the HUD inspector general’s continuing stream of criticism of department mismanagement says HUD is unable to keep an eye on an FHA $16 billion insurance program covering borrower-financed downpayment assistance programs.
With the National Flood Insurance Program expiring Sept. 30, lawmakers brace for a long fight to renew the law. Lawmakers insist on participation by private insurers to fill an insurance gap created by insurer refusal to write policies unless they have high premiums to cover the risk.
Housing economists say there is little worry the latest hike in the nation’s benchmark interest rate will have a significant fallout on average mortgage rates for the time being.
An upbeat jobs report and the prospect of an increase in the nation’s benchmark interest rate sends mortgage interest rates up again, signaling the days of record low rates below the 4% mark are likely history. The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending
Roiled over the Trump administration’s signal it wants to cut $6 billion from the HUD budget, advocacy groups link to create “CarsonWatch.” The new umbrella group for the Poverty & Race Research Action Council, Public Advocates, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law,
The Pacific Legal Foundation challenges Seattle’s new mandate forcing landlords to rent to the first qualified person who applies for a unit. PLC lawyers contend that denying owners the freedom to choose among qualified applicants and to exercise nondiscriminatory discretion
When former HUD Secretary Julian Castro departed Jan. 20, he left his predecessor HUD Secretary Ben Carson with an almost insurmountable financial mess – how to properly account for the billions of dollars the agency gets from Congress to administer its programs.
A draft budget report shows HUD could be in for a $6 billion budget cut for FY 2018, a drastic one-year dip into the department’s spending HAL first reported to you in January but likely not the end-all spending blueprint.