HCV CARES Act Funding Closeout for the HCV, Mainstream, and Mod. Rehab. Programs

On August 3, HUD published a notice titled “CARES Act Funding Reconciliation and Closeout – Housing Choice Voucher Program, Mainstream Vouchers, and Moderate Rehabilitation Program.” The notice describes the closeout procedures for funds received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), the Mainstream, and the Moderate Rehabilitation (MR) programs. The period of availability for CARES Act funds ended on Dec. 31, 2021, but PHAs had 120 calendar days to “liquidate/disburse unliquidated obligations.” That 120 day period ended on April 30, 2022.

Housing agencies will receive a form SF-425 shortly and should follow instructions found in the appendix of the notice to fill out the form to report CARES Act related financial activity. The form is due Sept. 6, 2022 and should be emailed to HCVCARESActReconciliation@HUD.gov. Submitting this form will not remit amounts owed, which will be completed by the Housing Voucher Financial Management Division.

In certain scenarios, where there are unliquidated obligations that were disbursed after April 30, 2022, the PHA may issue a special request to HUD for an extension not later than Sept. 6, 2022.

Housing agencies should expect CARES Act closeout statements after they have submitted the required form.

The full notice may be found here.

FSS NOFO Released

HUD released its FY 2022 Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Opportunity on August 4. The FSS program provides grants to PHAs to support the salaries and training needs of FSS Program Coordinators who assist participating families receiving assistance through the Section 8 or Public Housing Program.

HUD’s FSS Final Rule was published on May 17 which made certain changes to program requirements related to program eligibility, escrow deposits, and supportive services. The rule also allows the Secretary to establish a funding formula and extends eligibility by allowing private owners of PBRA properties to voluntarily make an FSS program available to their tenants. 

Agencies will only be eligible for Renewal funding if the agency was funded under any of the FY 2021, FY 2020, and/or FY 2019 FSS NOFOs. PHAs that have not been funded for an FSS grant in any of the last 3 years and PBRA owners already implementing or wishing to implement an FSS program are eligible for funding after renewal funding is distributed. HUD expects to award 800 grants with an estimated total program funding of $113 million. Applications can be submitted through grants.gov.

Senate Holds Hearing on Rental Housing Affordability

This article was written by Richa Goel, NAHRO’s Legislative Affairs Intern.

As rents skyrocket across the country, many Americans are struggling to find safe, affordable housing. On August 2, the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing to discuss the impact of today’s housing market on renters and communities.

Chairman Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) opened by discussing the impact of housing shortages on renters:

“We’re 3.8 million homes short of what we need. Not a single state in the country has enough housing. For the lowest income renters, there are just 36 units affordable and available for every 100 renters who need them…this huge shortage of housing means renters have to make do with what they’ve got.”

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Treasury Announces New Steps to Increase Affordable Housing Supply and Lower Long-Term Housing Costs

On July 27, the Treasury Department released new guidance to increase the flexibility of how governments can use State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) to expand affordable housing in their areas. The new guidance:  

  1. “Increases flexibility to use SLFRF to fully finance long-term affordable housing loans” 
  1. “Expands presumptively eligible affordable housing uses to further maximize the availability of SLFRF funds for affordable housing” 
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Housing Bills Pass Committee Along Party Lines

This article was written by Richa Goel, NAHRO’s Legislative Affairs Intern.

The House Financial Services Committee held a markup on July 27 and July 28 that included multiple housing-related bills. Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) led the markup, overseeing amendments offered by committee members. Waters began the markup by offering a brief overview of the housing-related legislation:

“This markup includes a slate of bills to strengthen oversight of our country’s affordable housing and give communities the tools they need to address the homelessness crisis”

The “Studying Barriers to Housing Act” and “Housing Inspections Accountability Act of 2022” would increase transparency and oversight of affordable housing. The first bill would instruct the Government Accountability Office to produce a report about the barriers that make it difficult to address homelessness with Housing Choice Vouchers. The second bill would require HUD and the USDA to provide a joint report to Congress about failed inspections in public housing. Rep. John Rose (R-TN) proposed an amendment to require HUD and the EPA to also analyze the prevalence of superfund sites within one mile of public housing. Rose’s amendment did not pass. Both bills passed along party lines.

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Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program 

In May 2022, NYU researchers Ingrid Gould Ellen, Katherine O’Regan, and Katharine WH Harwood published “Advancing Choice in the Housing Choice Voucher Program: Source of Income Protections and Locational Outcomes”. This blog post summarizes the key findings from their paper, which explores how source of income (SOI) laws impact locational outcomes for housing choice voucher (HCV) holders.  

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Senate Holds Hearings on the Housing Crisis

This article was written by Richa Goel, NAHRO’s Legislative Affairs Intern.

Affordable housing is becoming increasingly scarce in the United States. Last week, the Senate held three hearings discussing drivers and solutions to homelessness and the affordable housing crisis. On July 19th, the Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee held a hearing addressing homelessness. The Finance Committee held a hearing on July 20th discussing the importance of tax incentives in affordable housing. On July 21st, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee held a hearing about rising costs in both the homebuying and rental markets.

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House Holds Hearing on the Affordable Housing Crisis

This article was written by Richa Goel, NAHRO’s Legislative Affairs Intern

Housing is a basic necessity, but many Americans struggle to find affordable housing, both in the rental and homeownership markets. On July 13th, The Ways and Means Committee held a hearing about the affordable housing crisis and its impacts on communities across the country.

Chairman Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) opened the hearing by discussing the impacts of affordable housing shortages on minority and low-income communities:

“The housing affordability crisis has deepened the already wide racial, wealth, and homeownership gaps. Today’s racial disparities in housing and wealth grow out of a long legacy of discrimination and unequal access.”

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HUD Proposes Changes to FMR Calculation Methodology

Earlier today, HUD published in the Federal Register proposed changes to the methodology for calculating fair market rents (FMRs). The notice is titled “Proposed Changes to the Methodology Used for Calculating Fair Market Rents.” Fair market rents are used to determine payment standards for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and also impact certain other federal programs.

Currently, HUD calculates FMRs through a seven-step process. First, HUD establishes a two-bedroom base rent from American Community Survey (ACS) 5-year data. HUD then updates this base rent with a “recent mover adjustment factor” based on one-year ACS data. This adjusted data is then inflated by a “gross rent adjustment factor” and then trended forward through the use of a “trend factor.” HUD then adjusts the rents for other unit sizes by applying “bedroom ratios” calculated from the relationships between different size units in the five-year ACS data. There is also a regulatory limit to how much HUD will allow an FMR to decline from one year to the next (i.e., an FMR cannot fall below this percentage “floor” in the span of one year). Finally, HUD also calculates minimum FMRs for each state based on the median FMR for non-metropolitan portions of each state.

The Department is proposing certain changes to the calculation of FMRs—primarily the use of private sector data in two steps during the calculation process in certain instances. First, due to the pandemic, there is a lack of ACS 1-year data. To correct for this, there is a special tabulation of the five-year ACS data for 2020 of rents paid by people who moved in 2020 or 2019. This special tabulation will be updated by private data sources in certain situations where the data sources are accurate and there are three private data sources. HUD would like to estimate the “recent mover adjustment factor” from these sources. When one-year ACS data becomes available again, HUD would like to use it again, while still considering augmenting it with private sector data. Second, HUD would like to use private data sources along with its standard Consumer Price Index (CPI) data in calculating the average gross rent inflation factor in certain instances. These changes would impact the calculation of Small Area FMRs also.

The Department is seeking comment on the appropriateness of using these private sector data sources. Additionally, HUD is seeking comment on whether HUD should continue to use these private rent data sources for FMR calculation after fiscal year 2023.

Comments are due Aug. 12, 2022.

The full Federal Register notice can be found here.

NOFO Deadline for ROSS Program is Fastly Approaching While FSS NOFO is Set to Be Announced

The deadline for the Resident Opportunity and Self-Sufficiency – Service Coordinator (ROSS-SC) Program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) is approaching as applications are set to close by July 18, 2022. The grant program will provide funds to hire a Service Coordinator with the goal of assisting residents of Public and Indian Housing through economic improvements and housing self-sufficiency. Funding flexibility will also be given for grantees to provide direct services to ROSS participants. Approximately 125 awards are set to be granted with available funds totaling to $35 million.

In addition, the Family Self Sufficiency (FSS) Program announced on July 12, 2022 that their NOFO is set to be released this summer. Potential applicants should make sure their SAM.gov registration and Unique Entity ID (UEI) is up to date in preparation for the upcoming grant application. Guidance on how to ensure up to date information for your future grants can be found here.

More information regarding the ROSS FY2022 NOFO will be found in our next addition of The Monitor.