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Senate Confirms Julian Castro as HUD Secretary

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro was confirmed by the Senate as HUD Secretary today by a vote of 71-26. The Senate is expected to confirm current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan’s nomination to replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell as Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) later this month, although a date for the confirmation vote has not been set.

Coalition Report Proposes Federal Strategies to Preserve Access to Affordable Rural Rental Housing

The National Rural Housing Coalition recently published a report, entitled Rural America’s Rental Housing, which describes how lower incomes, higher poverty rates, and other factors continue to present obstacles to renters trying to find affordable housing in rural areas.

Treasury Secretary Announces New Initiative to Support FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing Loans

Treasury and HUD will partner together in a new initiative to lower the financing costs for HFA multifamily loans originated through the FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing Program, Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced June 26. During remarks delivered at the five-year anniversary summit for the Making Home Affordable program (MHA), Lew said that he had directed Treasury’s Federal Financing Bank (FFB) to use its authority to finance mortgages insured under the Risk-Sharing Program. Mary Miller, the Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, indicated that Treasury was considering enacting such a policy in a speech a couple week ago.

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Report Details Housing Recovery, Affordability Challenges

According to Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies' annual The State of the Nation's Housing report released on June 26, the nation's housing recovery is continuing to push forward, but complications still exist for both renters and homeowners. Although home construction and sales increased in 2013, rising prices and interest rates may keep more families from becoming homeowners. Furthermore, increasing demand for rental homes and lacking rental assistance may continue to keep renting unaffordable for low- and moderate-income families.

Donovan, Castro Nominations Approved by Senate Committees

On June 24, the Senate Budget Committee approved HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan's nomination to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) by a vote of 15-6. On June 25, the Senate Banking Committee approved by a vote of 16-6 San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro's nomination to replace Donovan as HUD Secretary.

HUD Implements Statutory Changes to Section 8 Inspections, Extremely Low-Income Definition, and Utility Allowances

In the June 25 Federal Register, HUD published a notice of statutory changes implementing provisions included in the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill enacted in January 2014. The notice, effective July 1, 2014, establishes the terms and conditions for implementing changes to the statutory definition of a public housing agency (PHA), the frequency of required housing inspections, the statutory definition of extremely low-income (ELI), and utility allowances.

HUD Implements Statutory Changes to Section 8 Inspections, Extremely Low-Income Definition, and Utility Allowances

In the June 25 Federal Register, HUD published a notice of statutory changes implementing provisions included in the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill enacted in January 2014.

May Housing Scorecard Shows Further Signs of Recovery

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration released the May Housing Scorecard, a monthly report on the state of the nation's housing market. According to the report, the housing market continues to show signs of recovery, including growing home equity and rising new and existing home sales.

Treasury Official: Department May Take Action to Support FHA-HFA Risk Sharing Loans

The U.S. Department of Treasury is considering policy options to help lower the cost of HFA loans originated through the FHA-HFA Risk-Sharing program, Mary Miller, Treasury Under Secretary for Domestic Finance, said in a speech delivered to the National Housing Conference’s Annual Policy Symposium last week. Miller also touted several initiatives the Obama Administration has taken to revitalize the housing market and promote access to affordable housing options and called on policymakers to continue working on comprehensive housing finance reform.

HUD Secretary Nominee Castro Appears Before Senate Banking Committee

On June 17, San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, President Obama's nominee for HUD Secretary, appeared before the Senate Banking Committee and answered questions about his plans for HUD. During the hearing, Senators asked Castro about housing finance reform and the soundness of the Federal Housing Administration's (FHA) finances.

OMB Nominee Shaun Donovan Appears Before Senate Committees

Last week, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan testified at two confirmation hearings held by the two Senate committees with jurisdiction over his nomination as the next Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director. Donovan was nominated by President Obama on May 22.

House Passes FY 2015 HUD Bill with Significant Cuts to HOME and Other Housing Programs

On June 10, the House passed by a vote of 229 to 192 its FY 2015 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (T-HUD) appropriations bill, H.R. 4745. A number of housing-related amendments were offered during consideration of the bill.