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Notice

Notice of Request for Extension of a Currently Approved Information Collection

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AGENCY:

Rural Housing Service, USDA.

ACTION:

Proposed collection; comments requested.

SUMMARY:

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, this notice announces the Rural Housing Service's intention to request an extension for a currently approved information collection in support of the program for Management and Supervision of Multiple Family Housing Borrowers and Grant Recipients.

DATES:

Comments on this notice must be received by May 18, 2004, to be assured of consideration.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Janet Stouder, Multi-Family Housing Portfolio Management Division, Rural Housing Service, Room 1245, Stop 0782, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20250, Telephone: (202) 720-9728.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: Management and Supervision of Multiple Family Housing Borrowers and Grant Recipients.

OMB Number: 0575-0033.

Expiration Date of Approval: October 31, 2004.

Type of Request: Extension of a currently approved information collection.

Abstract: The Rural Housing Service (RHS) is authorized under sections 514, 515, 516, and 521 of title V of the Housing Act of 1949, as amended, to provide loans and grants to eligible recipients for the development of rental housing in rural areas. Such multi-family housing (MFH) projects are intended to meet the housing needs of persons or families having very low to moderate incomes, senior citizens, the disabled, and domestic farm laborers.

RHS has the responsibility of assuring the public that MFH projects financed are managed and operated as mandated by Congress. This regulation (7 CFR part 1930, subpart C) was issued to insure consistent and proper management and operation of projects financed with MFH loan and grant funds. Minimal requirements have been established as deemed necessary to assure that applicable laws and authorities are carried out as intended.

With the provisions of this regulation, RHS will be able to provide the necessary guidance and supervision to new and existing borrowers to assist in the economical operation of their projects. RHS must be able to assure Congress and the general public that all MFH projects will be operated as economically as possible, for the purposes for which they are intended, and for the benefit of those they are mandated to serve.

The required information is collected on a project-by-project basis and is done so in accordance with the amended Housing Act of 1949, so that RHS can provide guidance and be assured of compliance with the terms and conditions of loan, grant, and/or subsidy agreements.

RHS will use the information collected to identify financially detrimental trends, poor management practices, and potential problems before they manifest themselves in the form of loan delinquencies, unpaid operation expenses, improper discriminatory practices, or high vacancy rates. With this information, RHS can assist the borrower through consultation (supervision) to improve the efficiency of the project and its operation. RHS supervision is especially critical during the first year of operation. In addition, the information provided is intended to verify whether or not the borrower is complying with the terms and conditions of loan, grant, or subsidy agreements. After the first year of operation, the information is requested of the borrower to assure continued compliance with the loan and grant agreements.

Failure by RHS to monitor progress of borrower operation through review of collected information and consultation would reasonably lead to noncompliance with statutory intent in some instances and financial default in others. Corrective action to remove such noncompliance or default would be costly to RHS and the public in terms of program integrity, public confidence, dollars, and staff time.

Estimate of Burden: Public reporting burden for this collection of information is estimated to average .90 hours per response.

Respondents: Individuals or households.

Estimated Number of Respondents: 18,200 borrowers, 420,000 tenants and 100,000 tenant applicant respondents.

Estimated Number of Responses Per Respondent: 4.43.

Estimated Total Annual Burden on Respondents: 2,143,740 hours.

Copies of this information collection can be obtained from Tracy Givelekian, RPMB Analyst, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, at (202) 692-0039.

Comments: Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of RHS, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of RHS' estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments may be sent to Tracy Givelekian, Regulations and Paperwork Management Branch, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, STOP 0742, 1400 Independence Ave., SW., Washington, DC 20250. All responses to this notice Start Printed Page 13019will be summarized and included in the request for OMB approval. All comments will also become a matter of public record.

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Dated: March 9, 2004.

Arthur A. Garcia,

Administrator, Rural Housing Service.

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[FR Doc. 04-6171 Filed 3-18-04; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 3410-XV-P