WASHINGTON – As part of the Obama Administration’s effort to prevent and effectively end homelessness, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today that it will offer $1.9 billion for fiscal year 2015 to support existing and new homelessness programs. Funded throughHUD’s Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Program Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), this notice will further incentivize local applicants to pursue permanent housing using a Housing First approach to target their resources to proven strategies.

Continue reading

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today announced $29 million in grants to help approximately 1,200 extremely low-income persons and families living with HIV/AIDS annually. These grants provide a combination of housing assistance and supportive services for this vulnerable population.

Continue reading

WASHINGTON - The US Department of Agriculture announced the launch of two new private funds, known as Rural Business Investment Companies (RBICs), which make equity investments in rural businesses, helping them grow and create jobs. This announcement is part of USDA's ongoing efforts to help attract private sector capital to investment opportunities in rural America to help drive more economic growth in rural communities.

Continue reading

WASHINGTON – The head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced that for the second year, the SBA is launching an Accelerator Growth Fund competition for accelerators and other entrepreneurial ecosystem models to compete for monetary prizes of $50,000 each, totaling $4 million. The application period is from April 10-June 1 and information about the application process can be found at:

“We’re launching a second Accelerator Growth Fund competition to spur even greater opportunities for America’s small businesses,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.  “Last year’s event was so successful, we’re looking forward to discovering and empowering the next trailblazers.  Accelerators provide valuable resources to potential startups: a physical infrastructure to work in their infancy, mentoring, business-plan assistance, networking, opportunities to obtain venture capital, and introductions to potential customers, partners and suppliers—all critical elements to ensuring that small businesses flourish and succeed.”

Similar to last year’s competition, several panels containing expert judges from the private and public sector with collective experience in early stage investing, entrepreneurship, academia, start-ups and economic development will select the winners.  The competition includes accelerators, incubators, co-working startup communities, shared tinker-spaces or other models.  The panel will give particular attention to, applicants that fill geographic gaps in the accelerator and entrepreneurial ecosystem space.

Through this competition, the SBA is looking to support the development of accelerators and their support of startups in parts of the country where there are fewer conventional sources of access to capital (i.e., venture capital and other investors).

In addition, the SBA is also seeking accelerators headed by women and those that support them or other underrepresented groups. Thirty-two percent of last year’s accelerator winners were run by women and 14 percent were classified as underrepresented groups.

Manufacturing accelerator models will be given special consideration during this year’s competition, because they are critical to job growth and strengthening the nation’s economy.

Please click hereDownload Adobe Reader to read this link content for the Accelerator Growth Fact Sheet and specifics on how to apply and the timeline for 2015’s competition.

ORLANDO, Fla., April 1, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that USDA has awarded $31.5 million in funding to local, state, and national organizations to support programs that help participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) increase their purchase of fruits and vegetables. Recognizing that all Americans fall well short of the servings of fruits and vegetables recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the grants will test incentive strategies to help SNAP participants better afford fruits and vegetables. These grants were made through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.

The Secretary, who made the announcement at the Freshfields Farm market in Orlando, said, "Encouraging low income families to put more healthy food in their grocery baskets is part of USDA's ongoing commitment to improving the diet and health of all Americans." Vilsack continued, "These creative community partnerships also benefit regional food producers and local economies along with SNAP participants."

FINI is a joint effort between USDA's National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, which oversees SNAP and has responsibility for evaluating the effectiveness of the incentive projects. FINI brings together stakeholders from distinct parts of the food system and fosters understanding of how they might improve the nutrition and health status of SNAP households. The awards under FINI represent a variety of projects, including relatively small pilot projects, multi-year community-based projects, and larger-scale multi-year projects.

USDA is funding projects in 26 states for up to 4 years, using funds from FY2014 and FY2015. USDA will issue a separate request for applications in FY16, and in subsequent years. Fiscal year 2014 and 2015 awards are:

Pilot projects (up to $100,000, not to exceed 1 year):

  • Yolo County Department of Employment and Social Services, Woodland, Calif., $100,000
  • Heritage Ranch, Inc., Honaunau, Hawaii, $100,000
  • Backyard Harvest, Inc., Moscow, Idaho, $10,695
  • City of Aurora, Aurora, Ill., $30,000
  • Forsyth Farmers' Market, Inc., Savannah, Ga., $50,000
  • Blue Grass Community Foundation, Lexington, Ky., $47,250
  • Lower Phalen Creek Project, Saint Paul, Minn., $45,230
  • Vermont Farm-to-School, Inc., Newport, V.T., $93,750
  • New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association, Santa Fe, N.M., $99,999
  • Santa Fe Community Foundation, Santa Fe, N.M., $100,000
  • Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services, Greensboro, N.C., $99,987
  • Chester County Food Bank, Exton, Pa., $76,543
  • Nurture Nature Center, Easton, Pa., $56,918
  • Rodale Institute, Kutztown, Pa., $46,442
  • Rhode Island Public Health Institute, Providence, R.I., $100,000
  • San Antonio Food Bank, San Antonio, Texas, $100,000

Multi-year community-based projects (up to $500,000, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Mandela Marketplace, Inc., Oakland, Calif., $422,500
  • Market Umbrella, New Orleans, La., $378,326
  • Maine Farmland Trust, Belfast, Maine, $249,816
  • Farmers Market Fund, Portland, Ore., $499,172
  • The Food Trust, Philadelphia, Pa., $500,000
  • Utahns Against Hunger, Salt Lake City, Utah, $247,038
  • Opportunity Council, Bellingham, Wash., $301,658

Multi-year large-scale projects ($500,000 or greater, not to exceed 4 years):

  • Ecology Center, Berkeley, Calif., $3,704,287
  • Wholesome Wave Foundation Charitable Ventures, Inc., Bridgeport, Conn., $3,775,700
  • AARP Foundation, Washington, D.C., $3,306,224
  • Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, Gainesville, Fla., $1,937,179
  • Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance, Boston, Mass., $3,401,384
  • Fair Food Network, Ann Arbor, Mich., $5,171,779
  • International Rescue Committee, Inc., New York, N.Y., $564,231
  • Washington State Department of Health, Tumwater, Wash., $5,859,307

The announcement featured Marty Mesh, Executive Director of Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers (FOG). With FINI funding, FOG will expand its Fresh Access Bucks program, which allows SNAP participants to double their food dollars for fresh, Florida-grown fruits and vegetables at farmers markets around the state.

An evaluation of the funded projects will help policymakers determine how best to provide incentives to SNAP participants to increase healthy purchases. Priority was given to projects that develop innovative or improved benefit redemption systems that can be replicated, use direct-to-consumer marketing, show previous success implementing nutrition incentive programs that connect low-income consumers with agricultural producers, provide locally- or regionally-produced fruits and vegetables, and are located in underserved communities.

All FINI projects must (1) have the support of a state SNAP agency; (2) increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables by SNAP participants by providing incentives at the point of purchase; (3) operate through authorized SNAP retailers; (4) agree to participate in the comprehensive FINI program evaluation; (5) ensure that the same terms and conditions apply to purchases made by both SNAP participants and non-participants; and (6) include effective and efficient technologies for benefit redemption systems that may be replicated in other states and communities.

The FINI program is authorized and funded by the 2014 Farm Bill. The Farm Bill builds on historic economic gains in rural America over the past six years, while achieving meaningful reform and billions of dollars in savings for taxpayers. Since enactment, USDA has made significant progress to implement each provision of this critical legislation, including providing disaster relief to farmers and ranchers; strengthening risk management tools; expanding access to rural credit; funding critical research; establishing innovative public-private conservation partnerships; developing new markets for rural-made products; and investing in infrastructure, housing and community facilities to help improve quality of life in rural America. For more information, visit

SNAP — the nation's first line of defense against hunger — helps put food on the table for millions of families experiencing hardship. The program has never been more critical to the fight against hunger. Over 60 percent of SNAP participants are children, elderly, or individuals with disabilities, and 42 percent of participants live in households in which at least one adult is working but still cannot afford to put sufficient food on the table. SNAP benefits provided help to millions who lost their jobs during the Great Recession. For many, SNAP benefits provide temporary assistance, with the average new applicant remaining on the program 12 months.

Through federal funding and leadership for research, education and extension programs, NIFA focuses on investing in science and solving critical issues impacting people's daily lives and the nation's future. More information can be found on the NIFA website.

GDF represents a client building a public farm market in Shelbyville, Indiana.  News of this initiative will be forthcoming.

WASHINGTON–The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced today that the Impact Investment Fund of the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program has tripled in the last 12 months.

“Capital investment in some sectors, geographies and industries is still lower than you would expect and like. Through the Impact Investment Fund, we’ve sent a message to professional fund managers with expertise in areas like clean energy, education technology, and advanced manufacturing as well as those looking for 'off the beaten path' gems in low income or economic distressed communities across the country. SBICs as a whole, fill capital formation gaps at the low end of the middle market, the Impact Fund, puts a magnifying glass where the gaps are widest," said SBA Associate Administrator for Investment and Innovation Javier Saade.

The SBA began 2014 with two Impact SBICs managing $182 million and ended the year with six Impact SBICs collectively managing between $442 million and $572 million in total assets depending on the amount of credit guarantees approved and employed.   Given the SBIC Impact Investment Fund is still well below the originally expected $1 billion leverage level, there is room to further grow the list of professional investors interested in pursuing impact strategies.

Three of the six Impact SBICs have not deployed capital.  The other three have invested in 33 companies across the country and collectively employ approximately 4,600 people.  These companies include an organic cage-free poultry operation in Texas, a wood waste-to-pellet fuel concern in Michigan and an educational institution in an urban low-income community in Puerto Rico.

One of the policy changes made was seemingly simple but equally meaningful – the Impact Investing Initiative became the Impact Investment Fund, making it a permanent feature of the SBIC Program.  The Fund uses the rapidly evolving strategies that involve marrying financial gains and intentional social returns to narrow gaps.

Initially, SBIC’s were limited to SBA-identified impact investments, but now because of the flexibility of the Impact Investment Fund, participating funds can identify and pursue their own strategies.  In addition to the expansion of this fund, SBA removed several key barriers that prevented access to it by:

  • Lifting the $200 million restriction to offer licensed Impact SBICs better access to leverage;
  • Removing the waiting period in accessing multiple leverage commitments; and
  • Permitting existing SBICs to opt-in if they meet the Impact Fund requirements.

The reasons for the relatively slow deployment of impact investing strategies at the institutional level are varied and complex, but one of the main reasons, is the adoption of standards to measure intentional social impact has been spotty.  The SBA and the federal government, supports the adoption of standards to further enable more institutional private capital flow to the small business community.

Information on the fund and the policy can be found here.  The changes were made based on feedback from a significant number of private sector stakeholders and were consistent with themes the SBA heard from impact investors the White House roundtable on Impact Investing that was held this past summer.  The comments align with the recommendations of the US National Advisory Board on Impact Investing released this summer and with the findings of the G8 Task Force on Social Impact Investing, Impact Investment: The Invisible Heart of Markets.

The six Impact SBICs are:

2011 Michigan Growth Capital Partners SBIC, LP
2012 SJF Ventures III, LP
2014 Bridges Ventures U.S. Sustainable Growth Fund, LP
2014 Morgan Stanley Impact Fund
2014 Bluehenge Secured Debt SBIC, LP
2014* Renovus Capital Partners, LP

MCLEAN, VA---  Freddie Mac announced today that it had another strong year with $28.3 billion in loan purchase and bond guarantee volume for its multifamily business in 2014, up 10 percent from $25.9 billion the previous year. This was the second largest year of multifamily purchases in the company's history.

New business volume reflects $25.8 billion of our $25.9 billion purchase cap for 2014 established by Freddie Mac's conservator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). In addition, new business volume not subject to the FHFA purchase cap totaled $2.5 billion and included certain affordable housing loans, loans for smaller multifamily properties, and loans for manufactured housing communities.

Quotes from David Brickman, executive vice president of Freddie Mac Multifamily:

  • "We used 99.9 percent of our $25.9 billion volume cap for 2014 mortgage purchases by expanding our market presence and improving our market position as a leading multifamily debt capital provider in the U.S."
  • "We are on a roll and growing by serving more markets including manufactured housing communities and smaller apartment communities. Our financing also increased for class B&C properties, as well as for those in secondary and tertiary markets due to rising demand for rental housing throughout the U.S."
  • "We expect to have another year of double digit percent growth in our new business volume given that our volume cap for 2015 has been increased by 16 percent to $30 billion and we expect to increase our activity in uncapped products, particularly small property loans."

Freddie Mac Multifamily 2014 Business Highlights:

  • Generated nearly $1.2 billion in total comprehensive income through the first three quarters.(Fourth quarter 2014 earnings data has not yet been released).
  • Executed 21 Multifamily securities offerings in 2014 for a total transactions volume of $22.4 billion which, in addition to K-Deals, included a small volume of other securities, including the company's Q- and M-Deals.
  • Issued $21.3 billion in K-Deals in 2014 and securitized almost $93 billion in multifamily loans since the program started in 2009, backing approximately $79 billion in guaranteed certificates and almost $14 billion in unguaranteed certificates.
  • Settled roughly $2.7 billion in targeted affordable housing business of which approximately $1.4 billion were multifamily bond credit enhancements and Tax-Exempt Bond Securitizations (TEBS).
  • Purchased just over $1.2 billion in seniors housing mortgages.
  • Transacted close to $1.3 billion in student housing loans.
  • Continued to provide a consistent source of liquidity to support affordable rental housing nationwide. Approximately 90 percent of the apartment units Freddie Mac finances are affordable to households earning up to the area median income, and most of those loans are securitized.
  • Provided financing for nearly 1,800 properties amounting to almost 427,000 apartment units, of which the majority are affordable to families earning low or moderate incomes.
  • Provided additional liquidity to more underserved markets by launching new initiatives to provide financing for Small Balance Loans and Manufactured Housing Community loans.
  • Reported a low delinquency rate of 4 basis points as of December 31, 2014, reflecting our continued strong portfolio performance.

Click here to read the 2013 business volume press release.

Since the launch of Freddie Mac's multifamily business in 1993, it has provided more than $344 billion in financing for about 63,000 multifamily properties.

Freddie Mac was established by Congress in 1970 to provide liquidity, stability and affordability to the nation's residential mortgage markets. Freddie Mac supports communities across the nation by providing mortgage capital to lenders. Today Freddie Mac is making home possible for one in four home borrowers and is one of the largest sources of financing for multifamily housing.

Guidance allows lenders to assign loan to HUD and keep non-borrowing spouse in the home


WASHINGTON – The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) today issued a new policy under its Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) Program giving FHA-approved lenders the option to delay calling HECMs with eligible  ‘non-borrowing spouses’ due and payable.  A delay would postpone foreclosure normally triggered by the death of the last surviving borrower.   FHA’s new guidance will allow reverse mortgage lenders to assign eligible HECMs to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrowing spouse, thereby allowing eligible surviving spouses the opportunity to remain in the home despite their non-borrowing status.


Last year, FHA amended its HECM policies to allow for the deferral of foreclosure, or ‘due and payable status’ for certain Eligible Non-Borrowing Spouses for case numbers assigned on or after August 4, 2014.  Today’s action allows lenders to offer similar treatment for eligible HECMs and Eligible Non-Borrowing Spouses with FHA case numbers issued before August 4, 2014.


Under FHA’s new policy, lenders will be allowed to pursue claim payments for HECMs with Eligible Surviving Non-Borrowing Spouses and Case Numbers assigned before August 4, 2014 by:


  • Allowing claim payment following sale of the property by heirs or estate;
  • Foreclosing in accordance with the terms of the mortgage, and filing an insurance claim under the FHA insurance contract as endorsed; or
  • Electing to assign the HECM to HUD upon the death of the last surviving borrower, where the HECM would not otherwise be assignable to FHA. (The MOE Assignment)


By electing the Mortgagee Optional Election Assignment, lenders will be permitted to modify their FHA mortgage insurance contracts to permit assignment of an eligible HECM to HUD despite the HECM being eligible to be called due and payable as a result of the death of the last surviving borrower.

Read FHA’s new mortgagee letter.

​​​The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) today directed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to begin setting aside and allocating funds to the Housing Trust Fund and the Capital Magnet Fund pursuant to the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).   HERA authorized FHFA to temporarily suspend these allocations, and FHFA informed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of a temporary suspension on November 13, 2008.  In letters sent today (links below), FHFA notified Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac of the agency’s decision to reverse the temporary suspension.

Separately, FHFA sent to the Federal Register an Interim Final Rule to address the statutory requirement that the allocations may not result in transferring their expense to originators or other Enterprise counterparties.  The Interim Final rule is effective upon publication and has a 30-day comment period.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced recently that USDA is investing $29 million to provide affordable housing for farm laborers and their families.

"Housing is often the first step on the road to more economic prosperity for farmworker families," Vilsack said. "These loans and grants will significantly improve the lives of farmworkers, who are vital to America's agriculture sector. This program is one of many tools that USDA has to strengthen the rural economy, which will help bring a brighter future for children from farmworker families."

USDA is providing assistance through the Farm Labor Housing Loan and Grant program. Financing is available to qualified organizations to develop housing for domestic farm laborers. USDA also provides rental assistance to help very-low-income families afford the monthly rent.

Through today's announcement, USDA is awarding $20.7 million in loans and $8.3 million in grants for 10 projects in six states. When completed, the properties will provide 320 farmworker families with new homes. Rental assistance will be offered for 315 of the new housing units.

"I have witnessed firsthand the way these loans and grants help farmworkers and their communities," said Tony Hernandez, Administrator of USDA's Rural Housing Service, which runs the Farm Labor Housing program. Earlier this month, Hernandez toured the Sugarloaf Apartments farm labor housing complex in Hendersonville, N.C. Since the complex opened in 1995, it is usually fully occupied. Sugarloaf has two day care facilities onsite, one of which is year-round, making it a convenient place for residents to work and raise their families.

Below is a complete list of loan and grant recipients announced today. Funding is contingent upon the recipients meeting the terms of their agreements.


  • Coachella Valley Villa Hermosa Phase II – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to add 68 units to the complex.
  • Peoples Self Help – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 33 units.
  • 9355 Avenida Maria – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 60 units.
  • 1006 Golden Valley – $3 million loan. Funds will be used to develop 41 units.


  • San Luis Valley – $1.5 million loan and $1.5 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 30 units.
  • Straton Area Foundation – $750,000 loan and $1.6 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 12 units.


  • Homestead Housing Authority – $2 million loan and $1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.


  • BDT Housing – $1.5 million loan and $1.1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.


  • Farmworker Housing Development Corporation – $1 million loan and $2 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 20 units.


  • Grant County Housing Authority – $2 million loan and $1 million grant. Funds will be used to develop 16 units.

USDA Rural Development provided a $3.3 million low-interest Farm Labor Housing loan to build Villa Hermosa – apartment-style housing for migrant workers in Indio, Calif. Construction began in 2012. The complex is adjacent to the Fred Young Labor Camp, which began in the late 1930s as one-room, dirt-floor wooden shacks. It was converted in the 1960s to small, cinder-block apartments without heat or air conditioning.

The $3 million loan USDA announced today will finance a second phase of construction at Villa Hermosa. It will finance 68 more apartments for the remaining occupants at the nearby Fred Young facility. Phase Two will have spacious units with heat and air conditioning, private patios, washer/dryers, dishwashers, a community center, a garden, playgrounds and a computer lab. For some residents, this will be their first home with carpets.