HUD Devotes $21M To Hawaii Affordable Housing

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is devoting more than $21 million to support affordable housing for low-income Native Hawaiian families. The funding will be distributed as a Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and may be used for everything from constructing new homes to buying existing homes for rehab, as well as various support services. It can also be used to provide rental assistance to Native Hawaiians living both in Hawaii and in the continental U.S. HUD officials say NHHBG funds throughout the last twenty years have created 750 affordable homes, supported community centers, and provided families with housing-related services like rent assistance and home repair training. In line with this…

HUD Takes Aim At Rental Housing Fees

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is taking aim at transparency in rental housing fees in a bid to make life more affordable for the average American. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced commitments by some of the biggest rental search platforms to address unexpected and junk fees. Zillow, Apartments.com, and AffordableHousing.com all said they will provide tools renters can use to calculate exactly how much their rental will cost. Zillow is adding a Cost of Renting Summary to its active apartment listings, while Apartments.com is launched a new calculator that includes these fees on its website. AffordableHousing.com will require listings to disclose all fees and charges upfront.  “[M]any renters today face fees that are hidden, duplicative, or unnecessary as…

Former HUD Official Sentenced To Prison

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A Virginia man who worked as an assistant inspector general for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has been sentenced to one year and one day in prison after being convicted of engaging in a scheme to steer government contracts to a personal friend. Eghbal “Eddie” Saffarinia, 63, of Front Royal, was sentenced on Thursday, according to a press release issued by officials at the U.S. Department of Justice. Saffarinia was employed by HUD-OIG from 2012 to 2017 and oversaw the Office of Information Technology. He was also the head of contracting activity, according to court paperwork. Prosecutors claim tens of millions of dollars in government business was affected. Saffarinia allegedly concealed material facts about…

Focused On Housing Crisis, HUD Unveils 2024 Fiscal Year Proposed Budget

By SCOTT KIMBLER Leaders at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development have unveiled their proposed budget for FY 2024 and say funds will be directed at solving the nation’s housing crisis. Secretary Marcia Fudge said in a statement that the proposed budget will help ensure every American has access to housing. “The budget invests in Americans at every station in life – from those seeking to purchase a home to those who receive HUD rental assistance – and will ensure families across the country can live in communities that are safe, affordable, and resilient,” Fudge said. HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman said during a press call that the budget reflects the Biden administration’s values and provides a blueprint…

Administration: Buyers Will Save Money On Mortgage Payments Through Premium Reduction

By KIMBERLEY HAAS The Biden administration has announced a reduction on mortgage insurance premiums in a move they say could benefit an estimated 850,000 borrowers over the coming year. New borrowers who take out loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration will see the effects of the reduced premiums, according to a press release. The premiums will be reduced from 0.85% to 0.55% for most homebuyers, which could mean an estimated savings of $678 million for American families by the end of 2023, according to officials. Vice President Kamala Harris and Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge made the announcement in Bowie, Md., on Wednesday. White House officials said the average homebuyer in Prince George’s County –…

HUD Officials To Fight Inequities In Housing With New Proposed Rule

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A new proposed rule meeting President Joe Biden’s call to fully enforce the Fair Housing Act was announced by officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday. “Affirmatively furthering fair housing means more than merely steering clear of housing discrimination violations,” Demetria McCain, principal deputy assistant secretary for fair housing and equal opportunity, said in a statement. “Today, HUD is taking new, bold action to eliminate the historic patterns of segregation that continue to harm American families. This action will help make the purpose of the Fair Housing Act reality by making it easier for local communities to identify inequities and make concrete commitments to address them.” According to a press release, the rule…

Homelessness Report Released By HUD Officials

By KIMBERLEY HAAS Homelessness has risen for individuals and people with disabilities, according to the 2022 Annual Homeless Assessment Report released on Monday by officials at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Homelessness among single individuals increased by 3.1%. The number of people with disabilities experiencing homelessness for long periods of time increased by 16% between 2020 and 2022. The report found 582,462 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2022. States with the highest numbers of people who were homeless in 2022 include California (171,521), New York (74,178), Florida (25,959), Washington (25,211), and Texas (24,432). Officials say the Biden-Harris Administration is working to reverse the post-2016 trend of rising homelessness. Their goal is to…

California Broker Sentenced To Years In Prison For Mortgage Loan Fraud

By KIMBERLEY HAAS A Los Angeles broker convicted of defrauding lenders to obtain more than $8 million in mortgage loans has been sentenced to five years and four months in prison. Alex Ashod Dadourian, 61, was a licensed mortgage loan broker whose company, Success Funding, doing business as Pride Funding, was located in Northridge, California. Investigators claim that Dadourian received more than $254,000 in fees and commissions by taking out 17 mortgage loans based on fraudulent applications and supporting documentation between 2017 and 2019. Dadourian was convicted on 91 felony charges of mortgage fraud, grand theft, identity theft, and conspiracy, according to a press release issued on Dec. 7. “We won’t stand idly by when bad actors take advantage of…

Raleigh, NC, Is The Best U.S. City For Veterans

Americans agree that military families deal with more financial stress than the average family. Ahead of Veterans Day, WalletHub looked at the best places veterans can live to reduce that burden. The Midwest and South offer the best places for veterans to live well, according to WalletHub’s 2022 Best & Worst Places for Veterans to Live report. The report analyzed the 100 largest U.S. cities for key metrics related to veterans’ quality of life, including the share of military skill-related jobs, housing affordability, and proximity to VA health facilities. Raleigh, NC, took the top spot for the best place for veterans to live, followed by Austin, TX, and Laredo, TX. Madison, WI, and Tampa, FL, rounded out the top five.…

September New Home Sales See Downward Spiral

New home sales fell in September to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 603,000, down 10.8% from August and 17.6% YOY, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The month-over-month figure is slightly better than expected. Economists polled by The Wall Street Journal predicted home sales to fall 13.4%. The seasonally‐adjusted estimate of new houses for sale at the end of August was 462,000, representing a supply of 9.2 months at the current sales rate. September saw mortgage rates soar from the high-5%s to nearly 7% at month’s end, pricing many potential buyers out of the market. Home shoppers who could have afforded a mortgage payment earlier this year now may…