Habitat for Humanity Celebrates 600th House in NM
Last month a commemoration ceremony took place in the NM State Capitol Building Rotunda as Habitat for Humanity announced the completion of the 600th Habitat House in NM. The house in the Tierra Contenta Community represents a statewide effort involving thousands of volunteers, donors and business sponsors to help eliminate substandard housing. Habitat built 6,032 houses in the US in 2010, making the organization the sixth largest builder of new homes in the country. Last year Habitat served 6,707 families in the US and Canada with better housing, including 2,324 house rehabs and repairs. Habitat is also celebrating its success around the world. The organization’s 500,000th house was recently completed in Kenya. For info, call 505.986.5880 or visit www.santafehabitat.org.
Federal Housing Administration 203k Loan Program
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) administers single-family mortgage insurance programs that operate through FHA-approved lending institutions. The lenders fund mortgage loans, which the Department of Housing and Urban Development insures. The FHA 203k loan program is the Department’s primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single-family properties. It is basically a home improvement loan. As such, it is an important tool for community and neighborhood revitalization and for expanding homeownership opportunities.
The program can be used to purchase a dwelling and rehabilitate it; purchase a dwelling on another site, move it onto a new foundation on the mortgaged property and rehabilitate it; or to refinance existing indebtedness and rehabilitate a dwelling.
The 203k streamline loan offers borrowers up to $35k to rehabilitate a home that may be in need of repair, either the home they currently live in or that special fixer-upper opportunity. Borrowers may include owner-occupants or non-profits. Investors are not allowed. Eligible properties include single-family dwellings, condominiums, townhouses, mixed-use (storefront) buildings or 1-4 unit buildings.
For more info, call 505.346.6465 or email NM_Webmanager@hud.gov.
HUD Launches Sustainable Communities Resource Center
The federal Dept. of Housing and Urban Development has created an important online resource for professionals and citizens interested in improving metro regions, cities and neighborhoods. The agency’s Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities describes the site’s purpose:
“America’s communities are developing strategies to help ensure their economic, environmental and social well-being. A sustainable community is an urban, rural, or suburban community that has a vibrant local economy, more housing and transportation choices, is closer to jobs, schools and shops, is more energy independent, and helps protect clean air and water.
“Because every community is different and sustainability encompasses a range of needs and opportunities, there is no ‘one size fits all’ model. Rather, sustainability uses a bottom-up approach and a range of strategies in response to the needs, assets, and visions that each community brings to the table. What all of these communities have in common are coordinated, well-thought-out approaches to leveraging investments that attract jobs, save taxpayer money, offer more energy-efficient housing and transportation choices and that balance economic and natural assets to meet both the current and future needs of all Americans.
“The Sustainable Communities Resource Center is intended to provide the public with a comprehensive set of information that supports local and regional strategies, with a particular emphasis on sustainable housing and planning. The Resource Center provides ready access to best practices, cutting edge research, new reports and resources, and spotlights innovation in the field.”
The site has links to information in six key categories: rural, tribal and small-town sustainability; economic competitiveness; regional planning; green building; healthy communities; and housing and transportation choice. http://www.huduser.org/portal/sustainability/home.html
Rural Energy for America Program Deadlines
The REAP program provides grants and loan guarantees to promote non-residential energy-related projects by agricultural producers and rural small businesses. REAP deadlines are as follows:
1. Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Grants and Loan Guarantees: for energy efficiency improvements (changing out lighting, freezers, boilers, pumps, insulation, roofing, etc. for more efficient ones and the purchase and installation of renewable energy systems (wind, solar, geothermal, biomass and others—including flexible fuel pumps). Applicants can be agricultural producers, small rural businesses, corporations formed under Section 17—or those similarly organized, and rural electric and telephone companies and certain other utilities. Deadlines: For grants and grant/loan guarantee combinations, March 30, 2012. For loan guarantees (without grants), applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, but to compete for Fiscal Year 2012, applications must be submitted to USDA Rural Development by June 29.
2. Renewable Energy Feasibility Study Grants: Grants for feasibility studies for renewable energy projects. Applicants can be agricultural producers, small rural businesses, corporations formed under Section 17—or those similarly organized, and rural electric and telephone companies and certain other utilities. Deadline: March 30.
Any potential applicant should contact a NM Rural Development office immediately to ensure that they are eligible and request an application. Call 505.761.4952, email email@example.com or visit www.rurdev.usda.gov.
SF Community College to Lead NM Centers of Excellence in Biofuels
Under a $1 million NM Dept. of Workforce Solutions State Energy Sector Partnership grant, Santa Fe Community College has been named to lead the statewide Centers of Excellence in Biofuels and Green Building/Energy Efficiency.
The partnership grants were established by the US Dept. of Labor to stimulate green jobs training programs. Students enrolled in SFCC’s Biofuels and Green Building/Energy Efficiency programs will benefit from up-to-the-minute curriculum, new equipment and, in some cases, free tuition.
“As a Center of Excellence, we will provide students with the next generation of biofuels production and algae cultivation technology as well as state-of-the-art green building expertise,” said Randy Grissom, SFCC’s Dean of Economic and Workforce Development and Director of the Sustainable Technologies Center. “This will equip students with a higher skill level, making them more attractive to industry.”
To increase educational opportunities in green jobs training, SFCC is partnering with Central New Mexico Community College, Doña Ana Community College and Luna Community College, among others, to boost existing training programs, making them more relevant to today’s green job opportunities. Biofuels training includes lectures and hands-on opportunities for developing biodiesel, ethanol and algae production skills and workplace competence. The Green Building/Energy Efficiency programs will ensure that all curricula is OSHA compliant and will add new certifications established by the Building Performance Institute; a national standards development and credentialing organization for residential energy efficiency retrofit work. To match training with industry need, SFCC will coordinate with the NM Mortgage Finance Authority, Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, Build Green New Mexico, the city of Santa Fe, and counties of Santa Fe and Bernalillo, HomeBuilders of Central New Mexico, PNM, NM Gas Co., and Grow Raton.
For more information, call SFCC’s Biofuels Center of Excellence at 505.428.1332, the Green Building/Energy Efficiency Center at 505.428.1805 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.