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Accessing Funds for Rental Assistance Programs

To access funds for rental assistance programs, Housing Authorities respond to Notices of Funding Availability (NOFAs) published in the Federal Register. Each NOFA identifies allocation areas, amounts of funds available per area, and the selection criteria for rating and ranking applications.

Public Housing Authorities are given at least 30 days to submit applications. Interested households apply for assistance through their PHA. A federal program of interest is HUD’s HOME program. It provides grants to state and local governments, which may use them to offer rental assistance. The program’s flexibility allows States and local governments to use HOME funds for grants, direct loans, loan guarantees or other forms of credit enhancement, or rental assistance or security deposits. Visit the HOME Investment Partnership Program page for further information.

Proposition 46 The State of California approved a $2.1 billion dollar bond measure that provides funds for the construction, rehabilitation and preservation of affordable rental housing, emergency shelters and homeless facilities. Proposition 46 has five rental programs. See Table 1.

There are two programs that directly help tenants become homeowners. REALTORS should be aware of these because they constitute valuable tools that renters can use to achieve the dream of homeownership.

Section 8 Public housing vouchers for homeownership: Homeownership vouchers can be used to assist first-time homeowners with their monthly homeownership expenses. Families must meet certain income and employment requirements of eligibility. These vouchers are a solid step to help public housing voucher recipients to become homeowners.

Pay Rent Build Credit: This is a new national credit bureau that tracks rent payments and helps renters build a credit score, thereby overcoming one of the most common obstacles that many renters face: the lack of credit.

REALTORS can participate in any rental assistance program in different capacities:

  • Direct Provider  Develops, administers and manages the program. Activities such as fundraising, publicity, recruiting both tenants and landlords, and screening are part of the daily job. In other words, it requires the creation of a formal rental assistance non-profit organization. This is a time-consuming process that requires a long-term financial and organizational commitment.
  • Partnership with an existing organization  Raising public awareness, fundraising, interviewing, education, financial sponsorship and publicity are some of the forms in which REALTORS can help an existing organization in its efforts to either set-up a new program in the community or support its on-going labor. This has the advantage that limited resources can be used towards a worthy cause.
  • Government Programs Advocate  Championing the use of existing resources towards rental assistance programs and specially those that lead to homeownership. Local officials and housing advocates should be aware of existing financial resources to help renters and use them.

Finally, once the level of participation is decided, REALTORS need to contact any of the following for information, advice or for establishing a partnership:

  • Local shelter organizations. Local groups such as the apartment association, church charities or other housing and homeless support groups.
  • Local housing authority. The city or county housing authority. A very good source for finding the local housing non-profit organizations. They are also the primary source for finding government funds.
  • Local business community. They might be interested in echoing the efforts of a rental assistance program.
  • Local rental organization. Many of these organizations have educational programs.

HOUSING PRIMER

Government Housing Links You Need

Federal Agency Housing Links

Homeless Information and Resources in California

Statewide

Regional

click here!Click here for more information from the HUD Shelters and Emergency Housing page.

Resources for Home Buyers/Owners

If you have a complaint against a bank or lending institution, click on the links available below:

Resources for Renters

Permanent Modifications on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Loans Reach 1.1 Million

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac completed more than 2.1 million foreclosure prevention actions since the start of conservatorship including 1.1 million permanent loan modifications. These actions, designed to help borrowers stay in their homes, are detailed in the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s fourth quarter 2011 Foreclosure Prevention and Refinance Report. The report also shows that after nine months, fewer than 20 percent of Enterprise loans modified in the four quarters ended March 31, 2011, had missed two or more payments, an improvement over prior years.

With this report, FHFA releases new state data sets and launches an interactive Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac State Borrower Assistance Map, showing the number of loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, delinquencies, foreclosure prevention activities, Real Estate-Owned (REO) properties, and refinances in each state. In addition, the report now includes a graphic showing Delinquent Loans by State and Profiles of Key States, with detailed information about states with the biggest five-year decline in house prices and the highest number and rate of seriously delinquent loans.

Also in the report:

  • The Enterprises’ cumulative HARP refinancings increased 10 percent in the fourth quarter of 2011.
  • Half of all borrowers who received loan modifications in the fourth quarter had their monthly payments reduced by over 30 percent, and one-third included principal forbearance.
  • Serious delinquency rates for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac loans remain below industry levels and continue to decline.
  • Florida had the highest number of serious delinquencies at the end of the fourth quarter.
  • California had the largest number of completed foreclosure prevention actions since the beginning of conservatorship in 2008.
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