The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) made a point of warning and helping prospective grant applicants to prepare for the 2006 Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA). The SuperNOFA is a notice that will make available approximately $2.1 billion in grants through 40 individual programs.
First, the Dec. 9, 2005, Federal Register invited applicants to register early with the Grants.gov online application service, which must be used for all 2006 applications except in Continuum of Care programs or as specifically exempted. Then, in the Jan. 20, 2006, Federal Register, HUD unexpectedly published the “general section” of the SuperNOFA, containing 23 pages of general instructions plus the names of affected programs, although as yet neither deadlines nor individual program details were unveiled. HUD’s press release for the January publication acknowledged that in last year’s “transition” from paper to electronic applications “... a small minority had difficulty with the submission process, primarily because applicants waited to register ...” The full 2006 SuperNOFA is expected to appear in early spring; the last one was published March 21, 2005. The Federal Register is at www.gpoaccess.gov.
Sec. 538 applications invited
The Department of Agriculture (USDA) posted a request for proposals in the Jan. 27 Federal Register for $99 million in loan guarantees available under the Sec. 538 Guaranteed Rural Rental Housing Program.
New hurricane housing program
A HUD official backhandedly announced in a Jan. 20 letter to a nonprofit housing advocate that as of Jan. 31, 2006, the Katrina Disaster Housing Assistance Program would be replaced with a new Disaster Supplemental Voucher Program. The National Multi Housing Council (www.nmhc.org) posted a copy of the letter by Milan Ozdinec, HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for public housing and voucher programs. It gave no details about the new program.
In other hurricane recovery news, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released Publication 4492 summarizing hurricane relief tax provisions. HUD backed a public relations effort to reduce housing discrimination against hurricane evacuees. USDA Rural Development stopped giving special priority to hurricane victims in multifamily housing, per a Rural Development unnumbered letter of Jan. 3, 2006. An announcement of $11.5 billion in Community Develop-ment Block Grant relief funds left political leaders in Gulf Coast states asking for more. The House Financial Services housing subcommittee held field hearings on the relief effort; similar Senate hearings were expected. And HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development posted a memo explaining how to arrange quicker environmental reviews for disaster recovery projects. Some Federal Emergency Management Agency rent payments to Hurricane Katrina relief hotels were to continue until tenants could switch to longer-term individual assistance.
HUD updates Handbook
For the first time since 1997, HUD’s Community Planning and Development office has updated its Handbook 1378.0, which details procedures for acquiring real property and removing its tenants. The new material interprets 2005 changes to Vol. 49, Part 24, of the Code of Federal Regulations. The handbook affects both publicly and privately owned subsidized housing, including even HOPE VI displacements, which are subject to separate federal codes. See the “Library” page at www.hudclips.org.
Split ownership of mingled units OK with IRS
An IRS Private Letter Ruling (PLR) has determined that a whole bond-funded building can still be a "qualified residential rental project" where one partnership owns the market-rate rental units, a different partnership owns the subsidized units, and the two types of units are "interspersed throughout the building." The PLR is No. 200601021. Three additional PLRs, numbers 200603007, 200604011 and 200604012, gave taxpayers extra time to avoid increased taxes by posting bonds after low-income housing tax credit properties changed hands. The PLRs appear at www.irs.gov/foia/lists/0,,id=97705,00.html. They may not be cited as precedent.