Oct. 17th – Last Chance to Receive Issuance Reporting Fee for EHVs Issued on or before Oct. 3rd

Housing agencies with Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) that have issued vouchers before or on Oct. 3, have until Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 to submit a form HUD-50058 (or form HUD-50058 MTW) to receive the $100 issuance reporting fee. To report in IMS/PIC, PHAs should do the following:

  • “PHAs should report in line 2n when submitting the HUD-50058 by entering ‘EHV.’
  • MTW PHAs that have received HUD approval to apply MTW flexibilities to EHV vouchers may report household participant data on the HUD-50058 MTW and must enter “EHV” on line 2p and leave line 2n blank.”

HUD has created an EHV report to identify IMS/PIC reporting discrepancies.

HUD Publishes New Guidance on Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

On Oct. 7, 2021, HUD published a notice titled “Supplemental Guidance to the Interim Final Rule ‘Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent’” Notice PIH 2021-29. This notice serves as additional guidance to an interim final rule that was also published in October. The interim final rule specified that where there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with project-based rental assistance (PBRA) must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

This PIH notice provides additional guidance to the requirements of the interim final rule. First, it clarifies the instances in which the rule is applicable. The rule applies to PHAs with a public housing program, including Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, and owners with PBRA. For the purposes of this notice, PBRA is defined as the following (i.e., this notice applies to the following programs):

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Chairwoman Waters Holds Press Conference on Housing Funds in Build Back Better Act

On Tuesday, October 12, Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) of the House Financial Services Committee held a press conference on housing funds in the Build Back Better Act. Several members of Congress and housing advocates joined her outside at the House Triangle. During her remarks, Rep. Waters stated:

“There were 13 kids in my family and I can’t even tell you what we went through to try to have decent housing… Housing is needed all over this country – in urban areas and in rural areas – and we intend to fight for it.”  

The representatives who spoke at the press event included Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). Each member expressed their support for the proposed housing funds. Rep. Johnson listed a few of the programs that the Build Back Better Act could fund, including:

  • $90 billion for rental assistance (HCV and PBRA)
  • $80 billion for public housing repairs
  • $40+ billion for CDBG and HOME

Congressional leadership is negotiating cuts to the original $3.5 trillion bill. One reporter who attended the conference asked Chairwoman Waters whether she would support cutting the duration of the proposed funds in order to keep them in the package. Waters responded, “I like the idea.” She closed the press conference by chanting “Housing is infrastructure!” with those in attendance. A recording of the event is available HERE on YouTube.

To voice your support for housing funds in the Build Back Better Act, send an advocacy letter from NAHRO’s Action Alert Center. Urge your legislators to keep the proposed housing and community development funds in the final bill.

HUD Creates New Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

In a notice titled “Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent,” HUD updates its regulations–through an interim final rule–to give itself the authority to require that public housing and project-based rental assistance (PBRA) developments give tenants the opportunity to receive emergency rent relief before eviction. Specifically, when there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with PBRA properties must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

HUD will publish another notice outlining the specific information that must be included in the lease termination notification. That notice will also provide the requirements for PHAs and owners to provide the information in an accessible manner for effective communication for people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

These requirements apply to public housing and PBRA, which is defined in this rule to include Section 8, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation, Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract, Section 2020 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC), Section 811 PRAC, Section 236 Rental Housing Assistance Program and Rent Supplement. The rule does not apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The interim final rule will become effective in 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Comments for the rule will be due within 30 days of publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

A pre-publication copy of the rule may be found here.

HUD Publishes 2022 OCAFs

In early Oct., HUD published the list of operating cost adjustment factors (OCAFs) for project-based assistance contracts under Section 8. These adjustment factors are used to adjust certain Section 8 rents. They were calculated in the same manner the 2021 OCAFs. They are calculated as “the sum of weighted component cost changes for wages, employee benefits, property taxes, insurance, supplies and equipment, fuel, oil, electricity, natural gas, and water/sewer/trash, using publicly available indices.” They are applicable beginning Feb. 11, 2022. These OCAFs are distinct from renewal funding inflation factors (RFIFs), which are usually applicable for the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The Federal Register notice announcing the OCAFs may be found here.

Housing at Risk of Being Cut from Infrastructure Legislation – Urgent Action Needed!

Negotiations between a divided Democratic party are threatening to undermine the hard work NAHRO and its members have done to ensure housing is included in infrastructure legislation. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that these critical housing investments “may prove among the first to hit the cutting room floor.” Your voice is urgently needed right now to tell your members of Congress and the White House that this is unacceptable.

The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act is stuck in the House of Representatives as leadership tries to gather votes for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), which is a related piece of President Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda.” The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to preserve and create affordable housing that currently includes $80 billion for public housing, $75 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, $40+ billion for HOME and CDBG, and billions more for other essential programs. These essential housing infrastructure investments are at risk of being cut from negotiations entirely. We cannot let this happen! We must tell Congress and the White House not to miss this opportunity to help the lives of millions of Americans.

Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send a pre-drafted letter in support of housing is infrastructure. To make your letter more powerful, add personalized stories about what the funding would mean to you, your residents, and your community. Together, our advocacy can help bring this bill across the finish line. Help us send 5,000 letters this week to Congress and the White House – send your letter today!

The NAHRO team will continue to provide real-time updates on where negotiations stand in the coming days, with detailed information provided during the 2021 NAHRO Online National Conference and Exhibition next week. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from NAHRO experts and affordable housing industry thought leaders at this historic time. Join hundreds of fellow affordable housing and community development professionals from across the country at the 2021 NAHRO Online National Conference and Exhibitionclick here to register!

Treasury Secretary Yellen Testifies on ERAP in House Committee

On September 30, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the full committee. Sec. Yellen’s testimony focused on America’s economic recovery from the pandemic, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and the debt ceiling. On ERAP, Sec. Yellen stated:

“Prior to the pandemic, there was essentially no national infrastructure to get money from government coffers to renters and landlords. Building that infrastructure has been a massive undertaking for states, localities, and tribes. The program is scaling up quickly, with 1.4 million payments made to help struggling renters keep a roof over their heads.”  

Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) questioned Sec. Yellen about the ongoing improvements Treasury is making to ERAP. Rep. Waters promoted her Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act of 2021 bill to ensure ERAP funding gets to renters at risk of eviction. Ranking Member Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) felt that the oversight hearing should have happened months ago but commended both witnesses for their work during the challenges of the pandemic.

Though the hearing covered several topics, a few committee members questioned Sec. Yellen about ERAP. Rep. Ann Wager (R-MO) cited August 2021 data showing that more than 83% of ERAP funds remain unspent while “millions of renters and property owners remain in limbo.” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) also pressed Sec. Yellen to explain how Treasury will accelerate ERAP spending.

In response to both members, Sec. Yellen reiterated the challenges of implementing ERAP as a new program. She explained that Treasury and HUD are providing technical assistance to grantees and have updated ERAP guidance to reduce program barriers. Sec. Yellen also talked through a few options for reallocating ERAP funds from grantees who are unable to spend them down.  

The full hearing and witness statements are available on the House Financial Services Committee website. The Senate Committee on Housing, Banking, and Urban Affairs held a similar hearing with Sec. Yellen and Chairman Powell earlier in the same week, which is also available online.

Certain HOME Waivers Extended

On September 27, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development published a new memorandum, effective as of September 30, that updates and revises the memorandum, Revision, Extension and Update of April 2020 Memorandum Availability of Waivers and Suspensions of the HOME Program Requirements in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on December 4, 2020. The new memo extends certain statutory suspensions and regulatory waivers for the HOME Program that were issued to enable HOME Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to use HOME funds to address immediate housing needs and to help prevent spread of the virus. Prior, all waivers were set to expire on September 30, 2021.

Specifically, the memo revises the matching contribution waiver to include FY 22. The memo also revises the maximum per unit subsidy limit waivers to restrict its applicability to projects that are currently underway or projects to which HOME funds will be committed on or before March 31, 2022. The memo also extends the waiver to perform onsite inspections of HOME-assisted rental housing and annual re-inspections of units assisted with HOME TBRA to December 31, 2021 and extends the timeframe to physically inspect units that would have been subject to on-going inspections during the waiver period from 120 days from September 31, 2021 to 180 days from December 31, 2021. Finally the Insular Areas waiver is revised to clarify the timing of the required written notification and the project completion day.

HUD to Revise HUD-VASH Program Rules

Early next week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Revised Implementation of the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.” The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program assistance with case management and clinical services through Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers (VAMCs), Community-based Outpatient Clinics, or a designated service provide (DSP). The program aims to increase access to affordable housing for veterans, while also providing additional needed supports.

This notice revises the policies and procedures for the administration of HUD-VASH vouchers. As part of this revision, the notice includes new waivers and program flexibility. The new waivers and flexibility include the following:

  • Allowing the PHA to act in the role of the VAMC or the DSP for the purposes of family selection, where the PHA has been selected for this authority in the past;
  • Allowing the PHA and owner to agree to amend a project-based voucher (PBV) housing assistance payment (HAP) contract to re-designate a normal PBV as a HUD-VASH PBV;
  • Allowing PHAs to apply separate payment standards for HUD-VASH families without prior HUD approval; and
  • A new requirement that PHAs must allow special housing types for HUD-VASH.

The notice also updates some of the existing requirements. These updates include the following:

  • Allowing PHAs to house HUD-VASH veterans referred by the VA in a PBV unit without selecting from the PHA’s waiting lists or applying local preferences;
  • Additional explanation for the portability process for moves of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
  • Additional information regarding case management from the VAMC or DSP;
  • Clarification that when a family breaks up, the HUD-VASH assistance must stay with the veteran, but not in cases where the veteran is a perpetrator of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Revision stating that Moving to Work (MTW) agencies may apply their MTW flexibilities to their HUD-VASH program with approval from HUD’s HCV office;
  • Explanation of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) exceptions for project-basing HUD-VASH vouchers;
  • Explanation that when a HUD-VASH family is eligible to move from its PBV unit, the family must be able to move with a HUD-VASH tenant-based voucher; and
  • An explanation of the HUD-VASH reallocation process through voluntary moves between PHAs and voucher recapture.

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

Congressional Site Visits are a Tool for Advocacy

During the August recess, NAHRO members in three states hosted Congressional staff members at in-person and virtual site visits. The staff learned about the agencies’ properties, their programs, and the potential for Congress to provide additional support. Site visits give Congressional offices a chance to see how housing and community programs work “on the ground” and understand how their decisions impact households in their state.

The August Advocacy site visits included:

  • Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD): A legislative aide from Sen. Rounds’ office visited the Housing and Redevelopment Commission of Pierre at the Midtown Apartments property.
  • Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO): Staff visited two properties in the Denver area:
    • Maiker Housing Partners
    • Metro West Housing Solutions
  • Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ): A regional director for the office attended a virtual site visit with the South Tucson Housing Authority and the City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department.
  • Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ): Two staff members from the office met with the Tucson agencies listed above and the Phoenix Housing Department for a virtual site visit.

Any agency can host a site visit to build a relationship with legislators and inform them about local affordable housing programs. To host a visit, reach out to the NAHRO Congressional Relations team at thembree@nahro.org or jhampton@nahro.org for support. The team will contact your legislator’s office on your behalf and work with you to schedule a visit.