U.S. Dept. of Agriculture: Federal agencies join focus with WHEDA in Obama administration push to reduce regulatory burden on affordable housing developers

Kelly Edwards, Public Information Coordinator
Cell: 715-340-1264

Federal rental alignment initiative eliminates duplicate physical inspection requirements in Wisconsin subsidized housing

MADISON, WIS. – November 7, 2011 – – – Today, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Midwest Regional Administrator, Antonio R. Riley, and United States Department of Rural Development State Director, Stan Gruszynski, joined Wisconsin Department of Administration Secretary, Mike Huebsch, and Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) Executive Director, Wyman Winston, at a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signing ceremony at WHEDA’s annual Multifamily Housing and Economic Development Conference. The MOU solidifies an agreement to reduce duplicate physical inspections of local subsidized affordable housing– allowing developers and owners to focus on delivering more housing and resources to those in need.

As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to better coordinate federal rental policy, HUD, Treasury and USDA are piloting programs in Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Oregon and Washington to avoid duplicate inspections and reduce regulatory burdens for rental housing that is subsidized through more than one federal agency. Developers and owners often work with several federal agencies to house the lowest-income tenants. In the past, this meant duplicate requirements and extra paperwork. 

“This initiative is an important step forward in the administration’s desire to streamline government policies and build strong inter-agency partnerships to serve the American public as cost-effectively and efficiently as possible,” said Antonio R. Riley, HUD’s Midwest Regional Administrator. “It is an excellent example of HUD partnering with federal and state agencies to eliminate burdensome requirements and provide seamless coordination for our customers.”

“Any time we not only improve the efficiency of a government process, but also reduce the burden on our property owners and developers – that’s a success,” said USDA Rural Development’s Housing Administrator Tammye Treviño. “USDA Rural Development is proud to make this agreement with our colleagues at HUD and Treasury. We know that reducing duplication between our agencies frees up time and resources that can be better spent providing affordable housing to those in need.” Administrator Treviño was represented at the Madison event by Wisconsin State Director, Stan Gruszynski.

“Wisconsin is delighted to be the first state in the country to sign this important MOU alleviating an unnecessary burden on the affordable housing industry,” said Wyman Winston, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA). “Agents and owners are facing increased costs and this program will reduce staff time and travel costs to prepare for multiple inspections and be less intrusive to residents.”
In response to the White House’s Domestic Policy Council request for better coordinated federal rental policy, HUD, USDA Rural Development, Treasury and WHEDA have worked together, since April, to align the often burdensome program requirements of different affordable rental housing government programs. The MOU approved by HUD, Treasury, and USDA Rural Development today is an administrative solution that better aligns and utilizes state and federal affordable rental housing program policies.
USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of more than $155 billion in loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.