Two Documents From The Feds This Week

The Feds released two documents this week that are worth mentioning, at least in passing.

First, the Obama Administration’s “housing scorecard” for September.  Lots of fun facts in it, but this one is a real humdinger:  “Cumulative Foreclosure Completions since April 2009: 1.42 Million.”

That’s more housing units than exist in North Dakota, Vermont, Alaska and Wyoming combined.  Foreclosure starts are off their peak, but foreclosure completions are still rising: 95,400 housing units in August.

Secondly, the GAO released a new installment on its ongoing review of activities funded by the 2009 Recovery Act.  The report was accompanied by an Appendix focusing on the use of Recovery Act funds in public housing projects and energy efficiency and conservation block grant projects in Texas.

The report highlighted recovery act activities at the San Antonio Housing Authority (SAHA). Under the Recovery Act, SAHA received $5.3 million of Public Housing Capital Fund competitive grants, and $14.6 million of Public Housing Capital Fund formula grants awarded.  SAHA tells GAO that the funds are being used for capital improvements benefiting residents of 42 percent of the agency’s 6,273 public housing units.

All of the 10 public housing agencies in Texas that received Public Housing Capital Fund competitive grants ($21.5 million total) are on track to meet the September 2010 deadline for obligation of funds.  In fact, one SAHA project (Highview Apartments) is scheduled to be completed this week, two years prior to the 2012 deadline for 100% expenditure.

The report also discussed Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant activities at the Cities of Austin, Bryan, and Round Rock.  The following table examines the obligation and spending rates of these grantees under this program:

Grantee Amount Obligated Spent
City of Austin $7.5 Million 81% 2%
City of Bryan $0.7 Million 100% 3%
City of Round Rock $1.0 Million 15% 6%

The City of Austin’s projects include an energy efficiency retrofit of a building that houses first responders, two lighting retrofits at city hall and parking and other facilities, installation of programmable thermostats with two-way communication at multiple city facilities, weatherization and duct sealing at fire and emergency medical service stations and park facilities, and the installation of biogas generation equipment at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant.

The GAO report also mentioned that as of August 1, 2010, Texas’s Weatherization Assistance Program had spent 16% of its funds, an improvement of a factor of three from last March.  This progress was also recently highlighted in a press release by TDHCA.