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ua14no94 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR (DOI)...
<DOC> DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) Statement of Regulatory Priorities In January of 1993, the incoming Administration found a HUD suffering from years of reductions in resources, with no clear sense of direction or mission. Secretary Henry Cisneros immediately embarked on a program to ``Reinvent HUD'' which would involve every HUD employee and key program partners and customers. This effort defined HUD's mission, established priorities for the coming year and identified the most significant program and management problems in need of resolution. Among the significant obstacles to effective performance identified by HUD staff and customers was the lengthy and cumbersome process required to issue regulations. One of the many sources of frustration with HUD on the part of the public and Congress was the failure to issue regulations on a timely basis to implement programs and statutory changes. HUD's regulatory program is a mission-oriented program, with most regulations implementing program requirements. Timely issuance of regulations is a key factor in effective program implementation. In July 1993, the Reinventing HUD Task Force issued a report of ``Employee Recommendations for Internal Management Improvements That Can Be Implemented Within a Six-month Timeframe.'' The regulation issuance process was one of five major problem areas identified. Those recommendations which were found to be within management control were implemented by the Deputy Secretary on October 7, 1993. The most significant change in the rules process has been the implementation of the Top 25 Rules procedure. The highest priority rules under development are identified and reviewed with key staff every two weeks at a meeting co-chaired by the Deputy Secretary and Chief of Staff. This results in a common focus by the responsible policy officials and support organizations on the most significant rules. The Task Force Report also identified external review requirements as an additional source of delay of regulations. The issuance of Executive Order 12866 on September 30, 1993, has addressed the concern for improvement of the external review of regulations by the Office of Management and Budget. The streamlining of the reviews to focus on the Department's significant regulations has resulted in better turnaround and more opportunity for meaningful discussion of significant issues. To make the process still more effective, the Top 25 listing is shared with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and used as a basis for assuring that the critical rules are expedited. Using this process, the Department has been able to focus in the past year on completing action on outstanding legislative mandates and on preparing regulations to implement the 1994 Multifamily Property Disposition Reform Act. At the same time, the basis has been laid for substantial improvement to major programs through legislative change and revised regulation. The extensive discussions with State and local governments, housing authorities and community development agencies, residents, nonprofit organizations, foundations, associations representing all of these groups and other program participants as part of the reinvention process provided recommendations for change which have been invaluable in developing the regulatory and legislative program. Carrying out the intent of Executive Order 12866, public participation in the process has been improved by including program partners and the ultimate beneficiaries in working groups and by more extensive use of public meetings. New formats are also being devised to make regulations more comprehensible and workable. Where appropriate, the Department is working closely with other Federal agencies to develop rules. In addition, the Department is making greater use of modern information technology both internally and externally to support the rules development process and as an integral part of improving program delivery. The Department's internal tracking system is being improved and a new system, HUDCLIPS, is being implemented which will give the public access to Departmental regulations electronically. Information technology is being used to support implementation of streamlined program requirements for the consolidated Community Planning and Development Plan as described below. Innovative techniques are also being used to support the rulemaking process such as the recently completed electronic conference on the RESPA rule described below. The 1994 Regulatory Plan of the Department of Housing and Urban Development will support the achievement of the Department's mission of helping to create cohesive, economically healthy communities all across America, and accomplishment of the five program priorities established to fulfill the mission. In the coming year, we will complete or initiate regulatory actions which support this mission. In the plan which follows, we identify the specific regulatory actions we anticipate to support each priority. Further details on all of these actions are included in the descriptions which follow. In some cases, significant legislative initiatives are pending which will become major elements in our plans when enacted. In those cases, specific details on the regulatory action are not available. Priority: Reducing Homelessness Reduce the number of homeless Americans through partnerships with local governments and private-sector nonprofit groups that help people gain access to housing and the services they need. Regulatory Action: Implement the ``Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Reorganization Act of 1994'' Currently, HUD provides homeless assistance to communities through several programs which have separate applications and program requirements, creating an administrative burden for both grantees and HUD. The proposed legislation will reorganize six separate homeless assistance grant programs into a single program that will be formula- based, flexible and designed to help States and cities develop and implement community-devised continuum of care systems. The specific details and timing of the regulations required to support the new program will be determined after enactment. Priority: Turning Around Public Housing Make public housing a source of pride to communities by encouraging resident participation in its management, downsizing large developments, restoring deteriorating buildings, offering residents opportunities to move to low-poverty areas, giving residents incentives to work and lift themselves economically, and ensuring that these developments become safe, healthy, and attractive places to live and raise children. To support the achievement of this priority, the Department has conducted a comprehensive review of all statutes, regulations and related issuances on the public housing program. The review teams included housing authority employees and residents, legal services representatives and HUD employees. Based on information provided by their review, detailed plans have been developed to improve the program in five functional areas: organization, management and personnel; financial management; facilities management; marketing and lease management; and community relations and involvement. In each of the areas action plans have been developed which include proposals for legislative change and revisions to regulations and directives. As the changes emanating from this process are implemented, the regulations will be revised to simplify existing language, reduce the number of regulations, allow greater flexibility, and make the program more effective. Specific examples of revisions to major regulations which are in process follow. In addition to these initiatives, the Department has proposed legislation to reform the public housing rent structure and to create the Community Partnerships Against Crime (COMPAC) to expand the tools available to eliminate crime in public housing. Implementation of these initiatives will be priorities after enactment. Regulatory Action: Indian Housing Deregulation This rule proposes amendments to the Indian Housing Consolidated Program regulations to simplify program processes, reduce the number of regulatory requirements, and to provide more flexibility to local Tribal and Indian housing authority (IHA) officials in the administration of the Indian housing program. The rule will provide greater discretion and responsibility to IHAs in carrying out their housing programs, thereby returning them to local control. The rule was developed with input from program participants beginning in September 1993. In March 1994, a session to discuss the proposed changes was held in Washington, DC, with the National American Indian Housing Council, eight regional IHA associations, and Tribal leaders, as well as a number of representatives from other IHAs. Additional verbal comments were received from the Native American housing community at that time and the six Office of Native American Programs offices continued to involve affected parties in the process by conducting sessions with IHAs and Tribes on the proposed changes. Regulatory Action: Revision of the Public Housing Management Assessment Program The Public Housing Management Assessment Program is the major tool for assessing the performance of public housing authorities. However, the current system includes some process- oriented, staff-intensive reporting requirements that are thought not to be necessarily accurate or objective measures of results. The proposed revisions will eliminate unnecessary paperwork and provide better measures of performance and program results to promote better management of public housing developments. The rule incorporates recommendations made as a result of the review of program regulations. Regulatory Action: Public Housing Development Program Revision The current public housing development program regulations are outdated and contain unnecessary restrictions on the flexibility of public housing authorities (PHAs). The regulations will be revised to provide more flexibility for all participants with even greater flexibility to the best performers. ``High performer'' PHAs will have maximum latitude to develop public housing within very broad parameters, and with minimal HUD oversight (with the exception of those elements that the Department, by statute, must perform). Remaining PHAs will be given broadened responsibility commensurate with their abilities and areas of expertise. HUD will retain the option of reviewing any PHA action, thus minimizing risk to the Department. Streamlining the program will help to reduce a substantial preconstruction pipeline and expedite the provision of replacement housing for developments that should be fully or partially replaced. The proposed regulation will reflect the recommendations resulting from the review of the public housing program. Priority: Expanding Housing Opportunities Expand Housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income people through partnerships with state and local governments, private developers, lending institutions, and nonprofit agencies, and reestablish the Federal Housing Administration as an active facilitator of homeownership for low- and moderate-income families. In May 1994, Secretary Cisneros called for a study on the future of FHA. The study will re-examine how FHA can be reorganized to eliminate bureaucratic barriers and to transform it into a more entrepreneurial, mission-driven institution. Eight public forums are being held throughout the country this year by Assistant Secretary for Housing-FHA Commissioner Nicolas Retsinas to discuss various aspects of the FHA program and how it could be improved. As this effort continues, the results will be incorporated into plans for revisions of the regulations for the mortgage insurance programs. The specific actions identified below will support the goal of making housing opportunities available at lower cost. Regulatory Action: Federal Housing Enterprises Financial Safety and Soundness Act of 1992--Implementing Regulations This rule will include housing goals for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Government-Sponsored Enterprises, the ``GSEs'') for 1995 and beyond, fair-lending requirements, guidelines for new program approval, regulations for proprietary information, reporting requirements, and other issues. The rule will focus additional financing efforts by the GSEs on underserved areas and lower-income families facing affordability problems. It will provide final guidance to replace the Interim Notice under which the GSEs' affordable housing programs are operating. Prior to drafting this proposed rule, HUD met many times with the GSEs to discuss issues relating to the Interim Notice under which the GSEs were operating. HUD also held two roundtables to discuss the definition of ``underserved'' used in establishing the central cities, rural areas, and other underserved areas goals. Roundtable participants included the GSEs, researchers, other Federal agencies (Department of Agriculture, Farmers Home, Census Bureau), the Congressional Budget Office, and public-interest groups. HUD also held four meetings with the GSEs during the drafting of the proposed rule for the purpose of allowing HUD to clarify assumptions it was making about the GSEs' operations and projections of future activities. Regulatory Action: Regulations Implementing the Multifamily Housing Property Disposition Reform Act of 1994 The Reform Act will expedite the foreclosure of multifamily projects with HUD-held mortgages and the sale of multifamily HUD-owned projects. Expediting the foreclosure and disposition process will reduce the cost to the Federal Government of this program and facilitate the return of the housing inventory to the private housing market. It also will free HUD staff to focus on other housing priorities. The regulations will utilize a user-friendly question-and-answer format, as well as several charts to explain the more complicated sections. Regulatory Action: RESPA: Computer Loan Origination and Controlled Business Amendments This regulation will amend the RESPA rule issued November 2, 1992. It will revise the rule's provisions on use of computer loan origination services and employer-employee exempted payments. This rule promotes the use of interactive electronic technology. In September 1994, the Department sponsored a demonstration of this technology for use in computer loan origination. In addition, the Department conducted an electronic conference on the rule from August 19, 1994, through September 30, 1994. Regulatory Action: GNMA Multiclass Securities Program--Final Rule The GNMA Multiclass Securities Program provides increased demand for federally insured and guaranteed mortgages by allowing sponsors to create multiclass securities, backed by GNMA single class mortgage- backed securities, to meet various investors' particular needs. As a result the program enhances liquidity and promotes expanded housing opportunities for low- and moderate-income people by effectively lowering interest rates to the homebuyer. Priority: Opening Housing Markets Open housing markets to minorities through vigorous enforcement of fair housing laws and support for creative metropolitan-wide housing and urban development initiatives. The rules proposed in this section of the plan support not only the Secretary's priority but also the implementation of Executive Order 12892 of January 17, 1994, Leadership and Coordination of Fair Housing in Federal Programs: Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. Regulatory Action: Implement Fair Housing Planning To Affirmatively Further Fair Housing in Community Planning and Development Programs The Fair Housing Plan rule will establish clear requirements for entitlement recipients on their obligations to affirmatively further fair housing, promote significantly greater housing choice and opportunity for protected classes, and promote customized remedies for locally identified housing and related discriminatory practices. Regulatory Action: Regulation on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing in All HUD Programs This rule will provide clear guidance for HUD staff and program participants on the requirement for affirmatively furthering fair housing in all HUD programs. It will demonstrate the Department's commitment to affirmatively further fair housing. Regulatory Action: Regulation on Significant Facilities and Services This rule sets forth the requirements which must be met for housing for persons 55 or older to qualify for exemption from the provisions of the Fair Housing Act prohibiting discrimination based on familial status. The proposed rule published July 7, 1994, uses a new approach to rulemaking by providing extensive examples and fact patterns describing circumstances which may be a violation of the Act. To assure adequate opportunities for public comment, the proposed rule provides for a 90-day public comment period and the Department is conducting four public meetings to solicit additional comments before preparation of a final rule. Regulatory Action: Mortgage Lending Rule: Implementation of Provisions of Title VIII Which Prohibit Discrimination in Lending and the Provision of Other Financial Assistance This rule will set forth policies and practices in the provision of mortgage lending which may be violations of the Fair Housing Act. It will also implement provisions of the Fair Housing Act that prohibit discrimination in the making, purchasing, selling, and servicing of home mortgage loans, and the provision of other financial assistance relating to dwellings. This rule will also contain an appendix with extensive examples of different fact patterns and circumstances that may be violations of the Act. Four public meetings will be conducted on this issue before publication of a proposed rule. Regulatory Action: Regulation on Property Insurance This rule will set forth the policies and practices in the provision of property insurance which may be violations of the Fair Housing Act. It will provide guidance to the property insurance industry on compliance with the Act and improve the effectiveness of HUD's enforcement. This rule will also contain an appendix with extensive examples of different fact patterns and circumstances that may be violations of the Act. To assure broad public participation in the development of this rule, HUD published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking on August 16, 1994. Four public meetings will also be conducted on this issue before publication of a proposed rule. Regulatory Action: Disparate Impact Rule This rule will set standards for determining if business practices which are neutral on their face are violations of Title VIII of the Fair Housing Act. This rule will indicate that a violation of the Act
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