HUD Publishes 2018 HCV Implementation Notice

Yesterday, HUD published notice PIH 2018-09, titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.” This notice provides information about the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program implementation in 2018. Topics in this notice include calculation of calendar year (CY) 2018 Housing Assistance Payments (HAP); $75 million of HAP set-aside funding; tenant protection vouchers; funding for administrative costs; special-purpose vouchers; and other topics.

The notice also provides a brief summary of FY 2018 HCV account totals (for additional coverage, please see NAHRO’s Section 8 coverage of FY 2018 Omnibus budget bill [members only]):

  • HAP Renewal Funding – $19.6 billion;
  • Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPV) – $85 million;
  • Administrative Fees (both Ongoing and Additional) – $1.76 billion;
  • Mainstream Program – $505 million;
  • Tribal HUD-VASH renewals – $5 million;
  • HUD-VASH vouchers – $40 million; and
  • Family Unification Program – $20 million.

For additional information, please click below.

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HUD Awards Public Housing Capital Funds

Today HUD awarded the FY 2018 Public Housing Capital Fund grants to housing authorities in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The grants total more than $2.6 billion.

A list of the individual housing authority grants is available here.

An excerpt from the HUD press release states, “The grants announced today are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which offers annual funding to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. These housing authorities use the funding to complete large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.”

HUD Updates PHAs on Effects of Possible Rescission

On May 18th, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them of some of the potential effects on HUD Public and Indian Housing programs related to the rescission package proposed by the President. Rescissions are a method by which a President can propose canceling some previously appropriated spending amounts. The President’s package of rescissions has been submitted to Congress. Congress has 45 days to act on the submission and pass it through legislation. If after 45 days, Congress does not pass the rescission package, then the funds will become available for HUD to spend. The rescission package impacts programs from across the federal government, including 2015 – 2017 unobligated balances in the Public Housing Capital Fund.

If Congress does not act on the package (both the House and Senate need to pass it with a simple majority vote), then the effects of the package will be minimal. During the 45 day period, where Congress has the opportunity to pass it, the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Jobs Plus and the FY 2015 – 2017 Emergency Disaster grant awards will be on hold. The rescission has no impact on funds HUD has already awarded to PHAs, including the FY 2017 Capital Fund awards made last year.

If the rescission package is passed, then the following programs will be impacted by the amounts listed below.

  • Modernization Grants – $15,915,042
  • Emergency Disaster Grants – $3,697,949
  • Safety and Security Grants – $618,513
  • Financial & Physical Assessments – $13,152
  • ROSS Grants – $930,206
  • Jobs Plus Grants – $15,602,447
  • Receiverships – $1,717,970
  • Technical Assistance – $439,236
  • Total Proposed HUD Rescission – $38,934,515

NAHRO will continue to provide further updates as new information becomes available.

HUD’s full letter can be found here.

HUD to Withdraw AFFH Local Government Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool

Moments ago, in an email from HUD Exchange, HUD announced that it plans to withdraw the assessment tool for local governments. According to HUD, “the current iteration of the Tools is substantively deficient and unduly burdensome because it resulted in great expense to program participants and HUD, yet it is not adequately guiding participants through the creation of acceptable Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs).” Local governments must still comply with their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.

HUD has posted pre-publication copies of three notices:

  1. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of the Assessment Tool for Local Governments – This notice withdraws the current local government assessment tool because it is “substantively deficient and unduly burdensome”;
  2. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of Notice Extending the Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants – This notice withdraws the previous notice (published on Jan. 5, 2018; 83 Federal Register 683) which extended the submission deadline for AFHs; and
  3. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH): Responsibility to Conduct Analysis of Impediments – This notice notes that local governments still have an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing and must conduct an Analysis of Impediments (AI).

The email notes that applicable program participants should update their AIs in accordance with the HUD Fair Housing Guide.

NAHRO will keep our members informed as we learn additional details.

FY19 House T-HUD Appropriations Bill Released; HUD Programs Receive Level Funding/Slight Increases

On May 15, the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) Subcommittee released its draft FY 2019 appropriations bill. Overall, the bill received an additional $1.5 billion increase to its allocation compared to FY 2018, an achievement considering several spending bills have been level funded and T-HUD was expected to have a similar fate.  A summary is below; NAHRO will release a more detailed analysis soon.

The FY 2018 omnibus bill marked the first significant increase to HUD funding in nearly a decade; NAHRO and its members should be proud that the House bill preserves many of those funding increases in a highly competitive appropriations season.

Most programs within HUD received level funding or a slight increase, with the unfortunate exception of the HOME Investment Partnerships program. HOME was cut by 12 percent compared to FY 2018.

  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $2.75 billion, level funding – including a new $30 million set-aside for competitive grants for the demolition of the most distressed public housing units
  • Public Housing Operating Fund: $4.55 billion, level funding
  • Choice Neighborhoods:$150 million, level funding
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals:$20.107 billion, a 2.6 percent increase
  • Mobility Demonstration: $50 million for a new mobility demonstration program
  • Ongoing Administrative Fees: $1.73 billion, level funding
  • Family Self-Sufficiency: $75 million, level funding
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance: $11.747 billion, a 2 percent increase
  • Community Development Block Grant:$3.3 billion, level funding
  • HOME Investment Partnerships:$1.2 billion, a 12 percent decrease
  • Housing Opportunity for Persons with AIDS:$393 million, a 5 percent increase
  • Homeless Assistance Grants:$2.546 billion, a 1 percent increase

As the FY 2019 appropriations process moves forward, NAHRO will focus advocacy efforts on the HOME program to ensure that the cuts proposed by the House are not enacted. NAHRO will also advocate for increased funding and flexibility for HCV Administrative Fee funds as level funding does not take into account the addition of new vouchers and the increased need for resident opportunity resources.

The bill will be brought before the House T-HUD Subcommittee on May 16 for consideration. No amendments are expected. It’s likely that the full House Appropriations Committee will vote on the bill next week. The timeline for a floor vote is unclear, though Congress typically tries to move as many bills through the process as possible before the August recess.

The Senate T-HUD bill is expected to be considered before the Senate T-HUD Subcommittee during the week of June 4.

Family Unification Program (FUP) Voucher Webinar to be hosted by CSH and CLPHA

Our friends at the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) are hosting a webinar on how to effectively use Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers. The webinar is aimed at PHAs, public child welfare agencies, and homelessness response system partners. The webinar will provide an overview of the program in general, discuss the new notice of funding availability ($30 million; applications due 7/24/18), and provide recommendations and examples from the field.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 16 at 12 pm ET.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

HUD Publishes Study on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Housing Search

Yesterday, HUD published a study titled “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Housing Search: Final Report.” The study seeks to answer four research questions:

  1. How do people search for rental housing?
  2. How do housing searches differ by race and ethnicity?
  3. What are the consequences of these differences for relative housing outcomes?
  4. What are the implications for future research?

To answer these questions, the study used a mixed-method approach. Researchers fielded telephone interviews with a sample of 135 recent movers and 351 current searchers in the Washington, D.C. area. A subsample of 40 respondents were given a face-to-face interview. Finally, researchers also utilized three large datasets–the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the America Housing Survey (AHS), and the Chicago Area Study (CAS)–to provide “statistically rigorous tests of racial or ethnic differences on a limited set of variables.”

While all the findings of the study are outside the scope of this short blog post, here are a few of the findings:

  • When asked about barriers while searching for housing, renters stated poor credit history, lack of a security deposit, and not having transportation to get to a units;
  • Most searchers said that both a unit and its neighborhood were equally important;
  • Renters use their social networks to find vacancies and learn about them;
  • Searchers tend to prioritize building security, landlord responsiveness, and rent; Safety and transportation are top criteria for neighborhoods;
  • Price range was a primary reason for the difficulty of a search;
  • Use of social networks is the most common information gathering method used by Black and Latino renters, and Black and Latino renters are more likely than White renters to use this method;
  • White renters are less likely to have a failed search than are Black and Latino renters;
  • Black renters report longer searches than White and Latino renters;
  • People who move for school or work are more likely to use online resources; and
  • Involuntary movers are more likely to end a search with less favorable outcomes because of constrained alternatives.

There is much more in the full report, which NAHRO staff has only begun to read.

The full study can be found here.

NAHRO Begins New Partnership on Smoke-Free Public Housing; May 17 Complementary Webinar

ANSR2On March 15, Live Smoke Free, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), and the National Alliance of Resident Services in Affordable and Assisted Housing (NAR-SAAH) began a partnership to support successful smoke-free public housing policy and implementation. The Clean Air for All: The Smoke-Free Public Housing Project is made possible by funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It will provide training and technical assistance to public housing authorities (PHAs), resident services staff, and public housing residents impacted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) smoke-free public housing rule. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium at the Public Health Law Center and national smoke-free housing expert Alison Freeman are also partners in the venture.

The Clean Air for All: The Smoke-Free Public Housing Project spans a two-year time period, from March 15, 2018 to March 14, 2020. Services available to PHAs include:

  • Training & educational opportunities (at the national and regional levels),
  • Consultations,
  • Implementation tools,
  • Tips for resident engagement,
  • Referrals to local support,
  • Compliance & enforcement strategies, and
  • Referrals to cessation resources.

On May 17 at 12:30pm Eastern Time join the Clean Air for All team for a complimentary, live discussion and Q&A on the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing” final rule. Participants will hear a brief update on the rule and be able to submit questions to Live Smoke Free, NAHRO, and NAR-SAAH staff. Have any and all your remaining questions on final implementation of the rule answered before the July 30 compliance date. Join us to help your agency transition to and maintain successful smoke-free public housing environments. Register for this complimentary session at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3798829557136111363.

To learn more about the Clean Air for All: The Smoke-Free Public Housing Project or to seek support for a PHA, contact gbanna@nahro.org.

CBPP and PRRAC Publish Small Area FMR Implementation Guide

Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council published a Small Area Fair Market Rent (FMR) implementation guide titled “A Guide to Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs): How State and Local Housing Agencies Can Expand Opportunity for Families in All Metro Areas.” The guide provides background on Small Area FMRs–which are FMRs that are calculated over zip codes instead of broader metropolitan areas to incentivize the deconcentration of poverty in metropolitan areas–as well as advice to PHAs on how to effectively implement them.

For those PHAs that are already familiar with HUD’s Guidance on Small Area FMRs and HUD’s Implementing Small Area FMRs Guidebook, there are still some new ideas in this guide. For example, this guidebook notes that to protect families in low-rent zip codes, which will see a decline in FMR, a PHA may apply a portion of the reduction and then hold families harmless  after the initial reduction. A footnote helpfully explains that though this option is “not mentioned in HUD’s notice or guidebook . . . [it] is permitted by the applicable regulation. 24 C.F.R. § 982.505(c)(3)(ii) [Hyperlink added].”

The CBPP and PRRAC Small Area FMR Implementation Guide can be found here.

Groups sue HUD over AFFH

Earlier today, three groups (the National Fair Housing Alliance [NFHA], the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and Texas Appleseed) filed a complaint in Federal Court (the United States District Court for the District of Columbia) against HUD regarding its recent actions to extend the deadline for local governments to submit their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs).

The complaint states that HUD “published a three-page notice . . . suspending the key requirements of the [Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)] rule” (HUD characterizes this action as an “Extension of Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants“). The action caused “irreparable and ongoing injury” for the three groups suing. As a result of HUD’s action, Texas Appleseed and the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service will have to “divert [mission-critical] resources” to “remedying the effects of [HUD’s] actions.” Additionally, NFHA will have to “divert resources to assisting its members around the country . . . to combat the effects of [HUD’s] actions.”

The groups believe that HUD erred in three ways. First, “[b]y failing to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking before delaying and altering the AFFH Rule, HUD failed to observe procedures required by law, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act].” Second, “HUD’s delay of the Rule is arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act]” because HUD’s rationale for extending the deadline (inadequate technical assistance among other reasons) does not explain why HUD cannot improve its technical assistance or why it is acceptable to go back to the previous regulatory framework (i.e., the Analysis of Impediments). Third, “HUD’s effective suspension of the AFFH Rule violates the Fair Housing Act, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act].” Here, the complaint states that HUD is violating its own “affirmative obligation under the Fair Housing Act to ensure that federal housing programs are administered, and federal housing funds spent, in a manner that furthers fair housing.”

The complaint asks that the Court do five things. First, enter a declaratory judgment that HUD’s action is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or contrary to law, and without observance of procedure required by law.” Second, issue preliminary and permanent injunctions requiring HUD to suspend its notice extending the deadline for submission of AFHs for local governments and implement and enforce the requirements of the AFFH rule moving forward. Third, direct HUD to take affirmative steps to remedy the harms caused by the extension. Fourth, award the groups attorney’s fees and costs. Fifth, award any other relief that may be “just and equitable.”

The full complaint can be found here.