Recovery Act Reporting Milestone

Last Friday was a major milestone in the extensive reporting requirements of the Recovery Act.  Recovery.gov released the first round of reports by local recipients regarding the status of some 142,825 initiatives receiving recovery funds.   This round of reports covered Feb. 17, 2009, through Sept. 30, 2009—the reports will be updated quarterly going forward.

As TXLIHIS is closely following the recovery act funds related to housing, we awaited these initial reports with interest.  However, a quick glance at the data revealed little new insight regarding the programs we are following.

TCAP, the supplemental funding program for low income housing tax credit developments, is well underway in Texas.  In fact, the TDHCA board has already awarded the first round of TCAP funding.  However, none of the funds have been dispersed because the winning developments are still undergoing underwriting and the contract language for the funding structures are still being finalized.

Because none of the funds have been actually dispersed, the Recovery.gov report on the TCAP program in Texas merely states “During the first reporting period project activity has been limited to administrative activities at the Prime Recipient level.”   This is in line with other states:  The only state to report actually expending TCAP funds by September 30th is Colorado, which reported making its first award in mid-September.

Similar language describes the status of the Weatherization Assistance Program in Texas.   While that funding was available in early September to local service providers that executed contracts with TDHCA, as of September 30th, Texas reported spending just .03% of its weatherization funding from the recovery act.  While this lags behind other states (Georgia reports spending 19% of its funding, South Carolina 15%), this may indicate that service providers initially prioritized conventional Weatherization Assistance Program funding over Recovery Act funding rather than a lack of weatherization activity.  At a housing conference in early October, TDHCA staff indicated that some 4,000 units had been weatherized in Texas.

So, this data release is a case where the interesting details were those behind the data, not in the data itself.  The next round of recipient reports should be released Jan 29th.  By then, we hope to have more activity reported from these programs.

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