New Proposed Fair Housing Rule

Earlier this week, HUD published a new proposed fair housing rule titled “Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements; Adoption of Additional Safe Harbors.” The Fair Housing Act provides that unlawful discrimination against persons with disabilities includes the failure to properly design and construct certain multifamily dwellings. This proposed rule would amend HUD’s regulations to incorporate the 2009 edition of International Code Council (ICC) Accessible and Usable Building and Facilities (ICC A117.1-2009) as satisfying the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule would also designate the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) as safe harbors under the Fair Housing Act.

Comments on this proposed rule are due on March 16, 2020.

A press release from HUD can be found here.

The proposed rule can be found here.

Webinar for Vera’s Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is offering a webinar that promises to inform potential applicants about the goals of the Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative. The Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative seeks to provide technical assistance to PHAs that wish to plan and implement reentry programs or change their admissions policies for people with conviction histories. Additionally, the webinar will provide an overview of the application requirements, allow time for questions from interested applicants, and present applicants from past Opening Doors sites who will share their experiences implementing reentry programs and changing their housing policies.

Housing authorities and their justice system partners are strongly encouraged to participate in the webinar, though it is open to all.

Opening Doors to Public Housing (Friday, January 17, 2020 at 1 pm ET)

  • Presenters include the following:
    • Andre Bethea, Policy Advisor, Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice;
    • Laura Gregory, Resident Services Manager, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; and
    • Julio Sanchez, Senior Probation & Parole Officer, Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) In-reach Coordinator, Georgetown Probation & Parole.

The webinar registration can be found here.

Voucher Reporting Deadlines

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Division sent an email with two reporting deadlines for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. These deadlines are the following:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 – for December 2019 Voucher Management System (VMS) reporting and prior period adjustments (including 2019 cash management adjustments) to be entered; and
  • Friday, Feb., 21, 2020 – all Public Housing Information Center (PIC) reporting must be up to date.

Questions can be directed to your PHA’s FMC Financial Analyst or sent to PIH.Financial.Management.Division@hud.gov.

Proposed Changes to NEPA Released

Today, in the Federal Register, The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has announced a proposed rulemaking updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Currently, PHAs must follow HUD regulations that are bound by NEPA regulations. As such, these changes to NEPA regulations will require HUD to update their environmental review regulations once a final NEPA rule goes into effect.

Comments on the CEQ’s proposed rule update NEPA are due March 10. Comments should be submitted to regulations.gov.

A press release on the update can be found here.

The proposed rule can be found here.

HUD Offers Webinar on Landlord Participation

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Landlord Task Force is offering the first in a series of webinars on landlord participation. The webinar will take place on Jan. 29th at 1 to 2:30 pm ET. This webinar “will provide an overview of HUD’s recent engagement with landlords . . . and public housing authority (PHA) representatives.” In those engagement events, HUD learned about strategies that PHAs are using to recruit and retain landlords for their HCV programs. Prior registration is required to participate in the webinar. Future webinars in the series are tentatively scheduled for April and July 2020.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

A flyer for the webinar can be found here.

PHAs Should Check to Ensure DUNS and TIN Are in Active Registration Status in SAM

Starting in 2020, HUD is requiring that all PHAs have their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) numbers and Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) in active registration status in the System of Award Management (SAM) in order to receive funding. PHAs should check to ensure that their DUNS and TIN are active in SAM and that their SAM registration has not lapsed or expired. PHAs will not receive funding where TIN data conflicts in eLOCCS.  More specifically, if the DUNS Organization TIN and Contractual Organizational TIN in LOCCS are inconsistent, PHAs will not receive funding.

HUD has already obligated funds to PHAs through mid-March. HUD will begin requiring active registration in SAM for DUNS and TIN for the next round of obligations. If a project is not funded because it does not comply with the above requirements, the agency should work to immediately update their registration in SAM or work to correct the inconsistency in TIN data in LOCCS. Once the SAM or TIN deficiency is corrected, the project will be funded in the next obligation.

Additional information about SAM and DUNS and TIN registration is available on the FMD website
under

PHAs can check their SAM status on the SAM website.

According to HUD there are currently 56 PHAs with expired SAM registrations. 37 PHAs have TIN mismatches. HUD will be providing a listserv reminder to all PHAs detailing the SAM and TIN requirements as well as the impact of noncompliance.  In addition, HUD will send an email notification to PHAs in noncompliance, notifying them of their status and providing guidance on how to bring themselves into compliance.

In instances where the TIN data in LOCCS conflicts, the PHA should work with HUD’s CFO by sending an email to FWAC-SF1199A@hud.gov. The email subject should read “LOCCS TIN Correction to match SAM” and the email should include:

  1. A scanned copy of an IRS letter or other documentation that show the TIN in SAMS;
  2. A screen shot from SAM that show the TIN and DUNS

New PBV Online Form Posted

On December 26, HUD posted in the Federal Register a 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection on a new Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Online Form. Through this new collection, HUD will require the submission of project-level data on all PBVs from PHAs. In doing this, HUD aims to better understand the existing number of units in PBV projects, what exceptions apply to these units, their rents, terms of contract, and numerous other potential data points. Comments are due February 24, 2020.

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Final Regulations for Opportunity Zones Released

On December 19, the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued final regulations implementing the Opportunity Zones tax incentive. Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are a new community development program that encourages long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The Opportunity Zone Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF). QOFs are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. NAHRO previously submitted comments to the IRS on Opportunity Zones in December 2018 and July 2019, and to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in June 2019. The final Opportunity Zone regulations aim to provide clarity and certainty for investors and communities that make use of the tax incentive.

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Notice Rescinding Prior Notice on Work Preferences Released

On December 16, HUD issued Notice PIH 2019-26. The Notice rescinds a prior notice (Notice PIH 2011-33) that provided guidance on the use of work preferences in public housing wait lists. Although the prior notice has been rescinded, agencies are still permitted to use work preferences as a local preference in their wait list if they so choose. NAHRO will continue to provide additional information on HUD notices and guidance in the future.

Vera Offering Technical Assistance to PHAs that Seek to Implement Reentry Programs

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is soliciting applications from PHAs that would like to plan and implement reentry programs or change their policies toward people with conviction histories. Applications are due February 28, 2020.

The goals of the initiative are the following (quoted from Vera):

  1. increase housing access for people with conviction histories and increase public safety in communities that people return to on release from jails and prisons;
  2. improve the safety of public housing and surrounding communities through the use of reentry housing strategies; and
  3. promote collaboration among public housing authorities, law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice stakeholders to effectively reduce crime and improve reentry outcomes for people leaving prisons and jails.

Vera encourages PHAs of all sizes–including those with Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs–to apply. Applicants must submit a letter of intent, an application narrative, and letters of support. While PHAs will first be informed, Vera will make a public announcement in April.

Additional information can be found here.