On October 26, NAHRO submitted comments (members only) to HUD in response to its Lead-Free Paint Proposed Rule, published in the Federal Register on September 1. The proposed rule would amend HUD’s lead-based paint regulations on reducing blood lead levels in children under age 6 who reside in federally-owned or -assisted housing that was built pre-1978, and would formally adopt the revised definition of “elevated blood lead levels” (EBLLs) in children under the age of 6 in accordance to the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). For all HUD programs covered in the proposed rule, HUD also proposes a new protocol for responding to a case of a child under 6 that has an EBLL. NAHRO’s comment letter consisted of seven main sections. NAHRO’s comments included HUD’s proposed implementation timeline, the use of CDC’s moving trigger reference value, HUD’s proposed lead-abatement schedule, the need for adequate funding to successfully comply with the proposed rule, as well concerns about how the proposed rule will impact mixed-finance units, UPCS-V, Section 8 landlords, and legal implications.
Comments for the proposed rule are due October, 31.
On October 25, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) released a report titled Family Options Study: Long-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families, which seeks to identify the most efficient and cost-effective way to house and serve homeless families with children.
The report presents the long-term (37 months) outcomes of HUD’s Family Options Study, which tracked how homeless families in emergency shelters across 12 U.S. communities responded to various homelessness interventions. Between September 2010 and January 2012, over 2,000 families were enrolled and randomly assigned to participate in one of four homelessness interventions: housing subsidy, community-based rapid re-housing, project-based transitional housing, and usual care (defined as any housing or services that a family accesses in the absence of immediate referral to the other interventions).
The study found long-term housing subsidies, typically Housing Choice Vouchers, had the greatest impact on reducing family homelessness and improving non-housing family outcomes (i.e., increased adult well-being, child well-being, food-security, and less economic stress). While not as effective as housing vouchers, rapid re-housing programs were significantly less expensive, with an average per-family monthly cost of approximately $800, compared to voucher at $1,172/month, transitional housing at $2,700/month and emergency shelter programs at $4,800/month.
Read more about HUD’s study and findings here.
On October 24, HUD announced the impending publication of a final rule that will expand the housing protections for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (hereinafter known as “victim”) regardless of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age. The final rule will fully codify the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into HUD’s regulations.
At its core, VAWA 2013 prohibits housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a victim. HUD’s final rule expands the universe of HUD rental assistance programs subject to the VAWA 2013 statute beyond Public Housing and Section 8 programs to also include:
- Housing Trust Fund (HTF) – a program originally not listed under VAWA 2013;
- HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) program;
- Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program;
- HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless programs;
- Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities;
- Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly;
- Section 221(d)(3) Below Market Interest Rate (BMIR) Program
- Section 236 Rental Program
These programs, along with properties assisted through the USDA Rural Housing programs and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, are collectively referred to as “covered housing programs.”
Overall, HUD’s final rule:
- Codifies the core protections under VAWA 2013 across HUD’s covered programs by ensuring survivors are not denied assistance as an applicant, or evicted or have assistance terminated due to the individual’s victim status, or for being affiliated with a victim.
- Provides a model emergency transfer plan for housing providers and explains how housing providers must address their tenants’ requests for emergency transfers.
- Offers protections against the adverse effects of abuse that can often have negative economic and criminal consequences on a survivor. For example, a perpetrator may take out credit cards in a survivor’s name, ruining their credit history. Covered housing providers may not deny tenancy or occupancy rights based solely on adverse factors that are a direct result of being a survivor.
- Makes clear that under most circumstances, a survivor need only to self-certify in order to exercise their rights under VAWA, there by “ensuring third party documentation does not cause a barrier in a survivor expressing their rights and receiving the protections needed to keep themselves safe.”
HUD’s final rule is currently pending publication in the Federal Register. Once published, the rule’s regulations will become effective after 30 days.
An in-depth analysis of the final rule can be found in the October 30, 2016 edition of the NAHRO Monitor (members only).
On October 26, HUD will publish a proposed rule titled “Tenant-based Assistance: Enhanced Voucher” in the Federal Register. The rule codifies HUD’s existing policy regarding enhanced vouchers, specifically regarding the eligibility criteria for enhanced vouchers, rental payment standards and subsidy standards applicable to enhanced vouchers, the right of enhanced voucher holders to remain in their units, procedures for addressing over-housed families, and the calculation of the enhanced voucher housing assistance payment. Comments are due December 27, 2016.
Currently, HUD’s enhanced voucher policy is based on statutory requirements, and summarized in guidance provided in PIH notices. These notices include: PIH 2001-41 on Enhanced and Regular Housing Choice Vouchers for Housing Conversion Actions; PIH 2010-18 on PHA Determinations of Rent Reasonableness in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program —Comparable Unassisted Units; PIH 2011-46 on Determination of Rent Reasonableness in the Housing Choice Voucher Program; and PIH 2016-02 on Enhanced Voucher Requirements for Over-housed Families. The proposed rule codifies HUD’s existing policy.
HUD is specifically asking for comments on three specific issues. HUD is asking for comments on how to define the vacancy rate for a “low-vacancy” area. HUD asks commenters to consider: whether the low-vacancy area should be based on a constant vacancy percentage applied universally, or whether it should vary with differing factors, such as area population growth, demand for rental, or any other relevant factors; and whether the low-vacancy area definition should be unique to this enhanced voucher program, or should be constant across all HUD programs that use the concept of a low-vacancy area. HUD also requests comments on whether it is appropriate to allow families to be rescreened and potentially denied admission to the program so long as the screening is consistent with the PHA policy for regular admission. Lastly, HUD seeks comments on whether language in the proposed rule relating to a tenants right to remain should be removed, qualified or modified in some way, or made final. Language in the proposed rule solely states that an owner may not terminate tenancy except as provided in existing regulations.
On October 31st from 2pm to 4pm eastern time, HUD will host a UPCS-V quarterly update call. During the call, two broad topics will be discussed:
- The UPCS-V Test Plan – looking at the potential burdens and barriers to UPCS-V implementation.
- Immediate Next Steps – How UPCS-V demonstration PHAs can use UPCS-V as their inspection of record.
The conference call may be connected to at: http://ems7.intellor.com/login/707781, up to 10 minutes prior to the conference start time, 2pm eastern time on October 31, 2016. Feel free to contact HUD UPCS-V staff at OED@hud.gov with any questions, thoughts or suggestions.
On October 20, NAHRO submitted comments on HUD’s PHA Assessment of Fair Housing Tool. This was in response to a 30 Day Solicitation of Comment on the Tool. NAHRO had previously submitted comments (members only) on the tool in May.
NAHRO’s comment letter was divided into three parts that focused on NAHRO’s broad concerns about the implementation of the tool, specific issues with the tool itself, and a list of recommendations to improve the tool.
NAHRO’s comment letter can be found here (members only).
On October 24, HUD will publish a Notice in the Federal Register announcing that they are extending the deadline to submit an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) for small community development agencies. These include: consolidated plan program participants that received a Community Development Block Grant of $500,000 or less in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, or in the case of a HOME consortium, whose members collectively received a CDBG grant of $500,000 or less, from the program year that begins on or after January 1, 2018, to the program year that begins on or after January 1, 2019 for which a new consolidated plan is due, the same date that qualified public housing agencies (PHAs) are to submit their AFHs.
NAHRO learned that HUD created a streamlined version of the AFH tool for these groups to help limit the administrative burden caused by completing the longer and more intensive AFH Tool for Local Governments. NAHRO recommended HUD work to streamline the AFH Tools and is pleased that HUD created a separate insert for smaller community development groups.
NAHRO’s comments on the AFH Tool for Local Governments can be found here (members only).
NAHRO’s joint comments on the AFH Tool for Local Governments with NCDA can be found here (members only).
On October 24, HUD will issue in the Federal Register the initial implementation guidance for the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (HOTMA). HOTMA was signed into law by President Obama on July 29 after being passed unanimously by Congress. HOMTA provides updates and improvements to multiple HUD programs. HUD’s initial implementation guidance informs the public of which statutory provisions are effective immediately and which will require further action by HUD.
The initial implementation guidance includes information on provisions that went into effect immediately upon enactment of the law, provisions which will require either guidance or rulemaking, provisions that require new regulations, and provisions that require HUD to provide PHAs with more information before implementation.
NAHRO’s in-depth summary of HOTMA can be located here (members only).
Last week, HUD Secretary Julian Castro awarded $500 million in Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to Louisiana, Texas and West Virginia to help recover from severe flooding earlier this year. These recovery funds will help the most impacted counties that experienced the greatest level of damage to their housing stock. CDBG-DR grants can provide support for housing redevelopment, business assistance, and infrastructure repair.
According to HUD’s press release, “[i]n the hardest-hit counties of Louisiana (6 counties), Texas (3 counties), and West Virginia (2 counties), more than 102,000 households experienced some level of damage to their homes including more than 41,000 families who saw the most serious level of damage or destruction and unmet needs.” The following allocations of funds are based on each state’s proportional share of serious unmet housing needs:
|State of Louisiana
|State of Texas
|State of West Virginia
Also last week, Secretary Castro announced that HUD will expedite assistance to the States of North Carolina, Florida, and Georgia to address the impacts of Hurricane Matthew. The Department will help by: assisting the affected states and local governments in re-allocating existing federal resources toward disaster relief; granting immediate foreclosure relief; making mortgage insurance available; making insurance available for both mortgages and home rehabilitation; offering Section 108 loan guarantee assistance; and providing information to FEMA and the State on housing providers that may have available units in the impacted counties.
On October 4, HUD announced its proposed Utility Benchmarking Initiative. The initiative would require PHAs to benchmark water and energy in their portfolios of public and assisted, as well as newly-insured, multifamily housing. Benchmarking allows property owners to compare a building’s utility consumption pattern against similar buildings and helps owners measure and manage energy and water consumption across building portfolios. The proposal was first announced in the President’s Climate Action Plan. Under the initiative, certain providers of HUD-assisted or public housing will be required to collect and report on their water and energy use. This will allow PHAs to make informed decisions, reduce operating costs and improve building performance over time. The proposal will establish procedures for PHAs to input utility and energy data into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s free, web-based ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager®. HUD also posted a 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection: Energy Benchmarking of Public Housing in the Federal Register. PHAs would benchmark their utilities every three-years.