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Glossary

Affordable Housing - (also called public housing and subsidized housing) - The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD's) affordable housing program was established to provide decent and safe rental housing for eligible low-income families, the elderly, and persons with disabilities. Because public housing is limited to low-income families and individuals, local Public Housing Authorities determine each individual's eligibility based upon the following criteria: (1) annual gross income; (2) whether a person qualifies as elderly, a person with a disability, or as a family; and (3) U.S. citizenship or eligible immigration status. Public Housing Authorities use income limits, which are set by HUD; these income limits vary from area to area. All affordable housing communities comply with federal fair housing regulations, accepting income-qualified residents without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

Affordable Senior Housing - The HUD 202 Program offers rental assistance for seniors who meet the requirements of the federal program. Rents are based on a resident's adjusted gross income, which is calculated by subtracting approved medical expenses from their income. The resident then pays 30 percent of the adjusted gross income for rent and utilities. Residency requirements have been determined by HUD. To be eligible for an apartment under the HUD 202 program, individuals or their spouse must be at least 62 years of age or older; individuals must have an annual income consistent with HUD guidelines for income maximums; individuals must be able to meet the posted residency criteria. All affordable senior housing communities comply with federal fair housing regulations, accepting age- and income-qualified residents without regard to race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin.

American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (LeadingAge) - This national organization represents not-for-profit organizations that are dedicated to providing high-quality health care, housing, and services to the nation's elderly. Its membership consists of over 5,000 not-for-profit nursing homes, continuing care retirement communities, senior housing communities, assisted living, and community services. LeadingAge organizations serve more than one million seniors of all income levels, creeds, and races.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) - The purpose of the ADA is to: (1) provide a clear and comprehensive national mandate for the elimination of discrimination against individuals with disabilities; (2) provide a clear, strong, consistent, enforceable standard addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities; (3) ensure that the Federal Government plays a central role in enforcing the standards established in this chapter on behalf of individuals with disabilities; and (4) invoke the sweep of congressional authority, including the power to enforce the fourteenth amendment and to regulate commerce, in order to address the major areas of discrimination faced day-to-day by people with disabilities.

The Act has subchapters or titles: Title I covers employment; Title II covers public services; Title III covers privately operated public accommodations and transportation services; Title IV covers telecommunications relay services; and Title V covers miscellaneous provisions.

Title III of the ADA requires public buildings meet minimum standards and make reasonable accommodations for disabled persons. Multifamily dwellings may require an ADA review prior to rehabilitation design. 

Below Market Interest Rate Program (BMIR) - This program was created in 1988 when approximately 301 of HUD's below market interest rate (BMIR) multifamily housing mortgage loans were purchased by the Arkansas Development Finance Authority (ADFA) in order to preserve thousands of low-income housing units. The loans were purchased through the sale of $215,625,000 in Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) Guaranteed Bonds. This innovative financing by ADFA was accomplished in order to provide assurances to low-income housing advocates regarding preservation of the low-income rental housing projects, which secure the BMIR loans. The 3 to 3-1/2 percent interest rate BMIR loans offered through ADFA include low-income rental requirements that must be met. The BMIR loans also prohibit prepayments for a period of 20 years. 

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) - A Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) is a federal entitlement program administered by HUD's Community Planning and Development Office. The purpose of CDBG funds is to improve communities by providing decent housing, a suitable living environment, and expanding economic opportunities—principally for persons with low and moderate incomes. Since the program began in 1974, more than $55 billion has been appropriated. Local governments automatically receive a designated portion of these funds and participate in either the Entitlement Program (for cities with more than 50,000 people or urban counties with more than 200,000 people) or the States and Small Cities Program (for communities with less than 50,000 people). 

Census Tract - A census tract is a small statistical subdivision of a county. Census tract data identifies population and housing statistics about a specific part of an urban area. This is particularly important when you want information about a particular part of a large city. A single community may be composed of several census tracts. 

Consolidated Plans (ConPlans) - These are HUD-approved housing and community development plans that are written by states and local communities to assess local housing needs and to prioritize and plan local and federal housing and community development resources that will address these needs. The ConPlan describes how a state or local jurisdiction will use its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) or its HOME money for affordable housing and community development. The ConPlan is a planning tool and therefore, it must be updated yearly as local housing conditions, needs, and priorities change.

Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community (EZ/EC) - This is an initiative sponsored through HUD's Community Planning and Development Office. The goal of the EZ/EC Initiative is to create self-sustaining, long-term economic development in underserved areas. The initiative accomplishes this by using innovative and comprehensive strategic plans developed and implemented through partnerships among private, public, and non-profit entities in each community. The EZ/EC framework is represented in four key principles: strategic vision for change, economic opportunity, sustainable community development, and community-based partnerships. Eligible applicants include local governments and states in which a nominated area is located. 

Fair Housing Act - This Act establishes a broad national policy to "provide, within constitutional limitations, for fair housing throughout the United States." Section 3604c of the Act provides that: "It shall be unlawful...to make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, disability, familial status, or national origin, or an intention to make any such preference, limitation, or discrimination."

Fair Market Rents (FMRs) - These are used to determine initial contract rents in new commitments for Section 8 project-based assistance. FMRs are also used to determine whether comparability applies to adjustment of contract rents during the term of an existing HAP contract in the Section 8 new construction, substantial rehabilitation and moderate rehabilitation programs, and as a limit on renewal rents for certain Section 8 projects. Generally, the FMR for an area is the amount that would be needed to pay the gross rent (shelter rent plus utilities) of privately owned, decent, safe, and sanitary rental housing. 

Federal Environmental Assessments - A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a visual and record search of a site in order to determine environmental hazards. There are several Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) protocols that have been developed. A Phase II Environmental Site Assessment is a site assessment that identifies the characteristics and extent of suspected contamination. Phase II site assessments involve taking samples for analysis and often require several testing cycles before they are completed.

HOME Investment Partnerships Program - This program consists of a block-grant of federal housing funds that goes to 500 states and local jurisdictions. This program is designed to expand the supply of safe, decent, sanitary, and affordable housing, with an emphasis on providing rental housing for very low-income and low-income Americans. Its second focus is to mobilize and strengthen state and local governments' abilities to design and implement strategies for achieving adequate supplies of affordable housing. Third, this program promotes the development of partnerships among state and local governments, the federal government, private industry, and non-profit organizations. Congress typically allocates approximately $1.4 billion a year for the HOME program.

Income Qualifiers - "Very low-income" is defined as 50 percent of the median family income for the area, subject to specified adjustments for areas with unusually high or low incomes. "Low-income" is defined as 80 percent of the median family income for the area, subject to adjustments for areas with unusually high or low incomes or housing costs.

Low Income Housing Preservation and Resident Homeownership Act (LIHPRHA) - This Act, which was passed in 1991, provides incentives to owners to extend affordability terms on Section 236 and 221(d)(3) housing where subsidy contracts have expired or where owners have reached an "opt out" point. During the last five years, thousands of units have been "preserved" under LIHPRHA provisions. The term "preservation" relates to the federal assistance program that helps owners keep their properties affordable to low-income individuals. Under this program, federal assistance pays the difference between 30 percent of a tenant's income and market rents.

Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) - Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC) funds are used to cover the difference between what affordable housing residents pay for rent and the HUD-approved expense to operate the project.

Section 8 Housing - This type of affordable housing is based on the use of subsidies, the amount of which is geared to the tenant's ability to pay. The subsidy makes up the difference between what the low-income household can afford, and the contract rent established by HUD for an adequate housing unit. Subsidies are either attached to specific units in a property (project-based), or are portable and move with the tenants that receive them (tenant-based). The Section 8 program was passed by Congress in 1974 as part of a major restructuring of the HUD low-income housing programs. Section 8 was created to permit federal housing assistance to go for construction or rehabilitation of new low-income housing or to subsidize existing housing. 

Section 202 Housing - This is a type of affordable housing designed for low-income individuals who are elderly. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) 202 Program offers rental assistance for seniors who meet the requirements of the federal program. Rent subsidies are based on a resident's adjusted gross income, which is calculated by subtracting approved medical expenses from their gross income. 

Section 236 Housing - Section 236 of the National Housing Act (1934) provided a rent subsidy, in the form of interest reduction, through which multifamily housing could be produced. Two rent schedules were utilized: market rent, based on a market rate mortgage; and basic rent, based on a one percent mortgage. Tenants were required to pay the basic rent of 25 percent of their income, whichever was greater, with rent payments never to exceed the market rents. Units were restricted to households that met the low- and moderate-income limits established for the program. The subsidized housing moratorium imposed by President Nixon in January 1973 brought an end to additional Section 236 construction.

Super Notice of Funding Availability (SuperNOFA) - Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issues a super Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Department's Housing, Community Development, and Empowerment programs. This SuperNOFA announces the availability of HUD program funds covering 32 grant programs, including the Supportive Housing, Shelter Plus Care, and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy programs; the Housing Opportunities for Homeless Persons with AIDS (HOPWA); Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly; and Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities.

 

 

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