ROSS NOFA Released

Up to $35 million in funding has been released through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Program on grants. gov. ROSS grant funding is provided to eligible applicants to hire a Service Coordinator to asses the needs of Public and Indian Housing residents and link them to supportive services. In the case of elderly or disabled individuals, the Service Coordinator links residents to services to help them age in place.

ROSS funding may be used to pay the coordinator’s salary and fringe benefits, travel and training expenses, and administrative costs. Applications are due October 15 at grants. gov. Please email any questions to ROSS-PIH@hud.gov.

 

 

Public Charge Final Rule Released

On August 14, the Department of Homeland Security will publish a final rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” The advance copy of the final rule published in the Public Inspection of the Federal Register can be found here.

According to the law, any individual who is applying for a visa or for admission to the United States is inadmissible if he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Currently, however, public charge is not defined. The final rule would define a “public charge” based on the receipt of financial support from the general public through government funding (i.e. public benefits).” This includes individuals that receive federal rental assistance. The individual would need to receive one or more designated public benefits, including but not limited to federal rental assistance, for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period to meet the threshold.

The final rule goes into effect 60 days after being published in the Federal RegisterNAHRO is currently reading through and analyzing the final “Public Charge” rule, and will provide more information to our members in the coming week. 

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Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants NOFA Released

On August 5, HUD posted the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Choice Neighborhoods (CN) Implementation Grants on grants.gov. In FY 2019, Congress appropriated $150 million to the Choice Neighborhoods and permitted HUD to obligate any unobligated funds from prior year Appropriations in the FY19 NOFA (read more heremembers only).

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Chetty Study Offers Guide to Move Families to High-Upward-Mobility Areas

Opportunity Insights–a Harvard-based group of researchers and policy analysts, including economist Raj Chetty, who analyze data to help stakeholders make more informed policy decisions–has published a paper titled “Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice.” The researchers, working in cooperation with the Seattle Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority, found that when families received the Creating Moves to Opportunity treatment (the treatment consisted of customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance), the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas increased by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group.

Findings

The researchers found several insights during the course of their work. First, they found that in the Seattle area, Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) interventions increased the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group. The researchers also found that utilization rates among groups remained the same (i.e., those families that chose to move to high-upward-mobility areas were able to use their vouchers at the same rate as the control group); all families across racial and ethnic groups benefited from the treatment; and families in opportunity areas were more satisfied with their new neighborhoods. The researchers also found that the customized manner of providing services according to each family’s need was crucial. Finally, the researchers found that other policy interventions such as higher payment standards (e.g., Small Area Fair Market Rents [SAFMR]) by themselves or providing additional rental information in a standardized manner were not effective. Indeed, on page 38 of the study, the researchers write “[o]ur analysis . . . shows that raising payment standards in more expensive neighborhoods —  as is typically done in SAFMR policies — does not necessarily induce families to move to higher-opportunity areas.”

Services Offered

The CMTO services consisted of three prongs (see pages 12 and 13 of the study):

  1. Search Assistance (page 12);
    1. Information about high-opportunity areas and the benefits of moving to such areas for families with young children;
    2. Help in making rental applications more competitive by preparing rental documents and addressing issues in credit and rental history; and
    3. Search assistance to help families identify available units, connect with landlords in opportunity areas, and complete the application process;
  2. Increased Landlord Engagement (page 13);
    1. Explaining to landlords in high-opportunity areas the program and encouraging them to lease their units;
    2. Damage mitigation fund to cover possible damages to a unit not included in the security deposit (up to $2,000);
    3. Expedited lease-up process for landlords through fast inspections and streamlined paperwork;
  3. Short-term Financial Assistance (page 13);
    1. Funds for application screening fees, security deposits, and other expenses that stood in the way of lease-up;
    2. Payments were customized by staff to address the specific impediments a family faced; and
    3. On average families received $1,070 for these payments.

The researchers stressed that these services were tailored to meet the needs of individual families.

Defining Opportunity Areas

Opportunity areas were defined using Census tracts that have upward mobility in approximately the top third of the distribution across tracts within Seattle and King County. The definitions were adjusted to provide for contiguous areas and to take into account changes in neighborhoods. They were defined using data from the Opportunity Atlas.

Slides on the study can be found here.

A non-technical summary can be found here.

The full study can be found here.

 

Guidance on Executive Compensation Reporting Released

HUD recently issued Notice PIH-2019-21 (HA) providing additional information on calendar year (CY) 2018 executive compensation reporting. The Notice specifically instructs PHAs on how to use the HUD-52725 Form that reports executive compensation for CY 2018. The form will be available to PHAs through October 18, 2019. The requirements apply to all PHAs that administer a public housing or Section 8 program, including PHAs that have  converted their entire public housing portfolio through RAD that still receive funding sourced from Section 8 or 9 of the US Housing Act of 1937.

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New Notice allows PHAs to use Tenant Protection Vouchers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

In late July, HUD published a notice titled “Tenant Protection Vouchers for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative” [PIH 2019-20 (HA)]. This notice would allow PHAs that do not have a Family Unification Program (FUP), but that have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, to request a tenant protection voucher to house a FUP-eligible youth.

Public Housing Agencies must receive a referral from a partnering Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) to request the tenant protection voucher. While not required, HUD strongly encourages participation of a Continuum of Care (CoC). Requests may be as small as one voucher up to 25 vouchers per PHA for a fiscal year. The funding for this initiative is not from the Family Unification Program account, but from the tenant protection voucher account and is subject to the availability of funding in that account. These vouchers sunset after being used and are not to be project-based.

  • PHA Eligibility Requirements:
    • PHA must have an HCV Program;
    • PHA must not administer the Family Unification Program (FUP);
    • PHA must amend its administrative plan;
    • PHA must accept FUP-eligible youth;
      • FUP-eligible youth: Youth that have met the following criteria:
        • Attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age;
        • Left foster care, or will leave foster care, within 90 days; and
        • Are homeless or are at risk of being homeless;
    • PHA must determine eligibility;
    • PHA must have a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
      • PCWA Roles and Responsibilities:
        • Must identify FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must have a system of prioritization;
        • Must provide written certification to PHA that youth is FUP-eligible; and
        • Must provide supportive services, including:
          • Basic life skills information (money management; meal preparation; and access to health care, etc.);
          • Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements of the HCV program;
          • Providing reasonable assurances to rental property owners;
          • Job counseling; and
          • Educational and career advancement counseling;
      • PCWA Partnership Agreement (May take the form of a memorandum of understanding or letters of intent):
        • Must define FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must list supportive services and provide them for 36 months;
        • Must address PHA responsibilities;
        • Must address PCWA responsibilities; and
        • Must address Continuum of Care–if involved–responsibilities, including:
          • Integrating the referral process into the CoC’s coordinated entry process;
          • Identifying services; and
          • Making referrals of FUP-eligible youth to PCWAs.

The full notice may be found here.

FY19 Jobs Plus NOFA Out

HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for FY 2019 Job Plus Grants. Applications must be submitted to HUD by October 1, 2019 via grants.gov. The Jobs Plus program develops “locally-based, job-driven approaches that increase earnings and advance employment outcomes through work readiness, employer linkages, job placement, educational advancement, technology skills, and financial literacy for residents of public housing. ”

PHAs that operate one or more public housing projects may apply. PHAs that have received a Commitment to enter into a Housing Assistance Payment Contract (CHAP) through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) may apply for a grant for the project so long as said project has not yet received a RAD Conversion Commitment (RCC). PHAs that received a Jobs Plus program grant for FY15, FY16, FY17, or FY18 are not eligible for FY19 grants.

Applications are due by midnight ET, on October 1, 2019 via grants.gov.

House Approves Two-Year Budget Deal, Senate Vote Next Week

Congress last night moved closer to finalizing a budget deal that would raise spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The deal raises domestic spending by $27 billion in FY 2020, which is a sizable increase, though less than the $88 billion sought by the House.

The bill was approved by the House by 284-149 and now goes to the Senate, which will vote next week. The President has expressed support for the deal and is expected to sign it.

This finally draws a close to one of the more short-sighted policies enacted by Congress in recent history: the Budget Control Act (BCA). Passed in the summer of 2011, the BCA was a complex attempt to deal with the nation’s debt by requiring Congress to form a “super committee” to cut spending by $1.2 trillion dollars. The failure of the super committee resulted in across the board spending cuts and the implementation of arbitrary, low spending limits through FY 2021. However, the spending limits were only adhered to for a couple years and Congress has since approved budget deals to increase spending beyond the caps.

What’s Next

The Senate has a lot of work to do to catch up to the House. This spring House appropriators passed 10 of 12 appropriations bills at $88 billion higher than current levels for both domestic and defense programs, despite the lack of agreement with the Senate.

One of the approved bills is a robust Transportation-HUD spending bill, details of which are available here (NAHRO members only).

The Senate chose not to begin appropriations work until a final deal is in place and they are expected to stay in Washington during the August recess to begin consideration of bills.

At this point it isn’t clear what path Congress is likely to take to finalize FY 2020, though there have been discussions of trying to move small packages of negotiated spending bills in September, similar to the strategy employed in the fall of FY 2019. There is a high likelihood that a continuing resolution will needed for at least part of the new fiscal year, as floor time in September is limited.

Long-Term Impact

The two-year deal allows for $27 billion in additional spending in FY 2020, but only increases spending by $2 billion in FY 2021. This will pose a challenge for appropriators as the year to year cost increases of programs are typically higher than $2 billion. In FY 2020, it’s estimated that the cost of rental assistance programs at HUD will increase by $1 billion. This cost increase is compounded by lowered FHA contributions to the THUD budget.

Advocacy

Your advocacy will be critical to ensuring that THUD is a high priority for lawmakers- download the new NAHRO Advocacy App (members-only) and watch for news on how to participate in NAHRO’s August Advocacy campaign.

“Housing Search and Leasing” Chapter of HUD HCV Guidebook Published

The Department has published another chapter of the HCV Guidebook. The new chapter is titled “Housing Search and Leasing.”

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials remains pleased that–at our urging–HUD is updating their guidebooks. We look forward to the completed, and regularly maintained, guidebook.

The new chapter can be found here.

The full guidebook can be found here.

HUD Posts Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA Webinar

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a webinar on its fiscal year 2019 Mainstream Voucher application.

Additionally, the Department has made the following Mainstream Voucher application materials available:

All of these materials may also be found on HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program page.