Yesterday, HUD published the FY 2016 Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Competition Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA), making $1.9 billion available in funds available for continuums across the nation. For this competition, the total amount of funding available may not cover all anticipated eligible renewal projects and HUD continues to require CoCs to rank their projects into two tiers (Tier 1 and Tier 2). The submission deadline for this competition is Wednesday, September 14, 2016.
A few notable changes to this year’s NOFA include:
- Changes to Tiers: Funding for Tier 1 this year is equal to 93 percent of the CoC’s Annual Renewal Demand (ARD). This is an increase from 85 percent last year, which means CoCs will have a the better opportunity to protect those higher priority projects and fewer projects will be in jeopardy of cut funds.
- New Policy Priority: Creating a systematic response to homelessness is a new policy priority this year. According to a recent CoC Competition Focus message from HUD, having a systemic response to homelessness requires establishing a coordinated entry system, cohesive planning by the entire community, making assistance appealing and accessible, and using system performance measures.
- Additional Points: System performance and reallocation will be worth more points in this NOFA. Beginning this year, CoCs are now required to report their system performance measures into HUD’s Homeless Data Exchange (HDX) by August 1, 2016. For this competition, a CoC could receive up to 10 points for attaching their system performance measures report to it’s application.
HUD’s announcement for the competition also included a message encouraging CoCs to reallocate funds from lower performing transitional housing projects serving households fleeing domestic violence to other types of projects serving people fleeing domestic violence. This would “ensure that CoC-funded projects serving people fleeing domestic violence are as effective as possible.” HUD will soon release further guidance on this issue.
On June 29 and 30, NAHRO staff met with HUD staff to discuss the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion that was included in the FY 2016 Omnibus and the upcoming smoke-free final rule. HUD also hosted a Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) proposed rule briefing.
Although HUD is still finalizing the MTW Expansion, they recently unveiled their MTW Expansion website, which contains information on the expansion process. HUD has also posted a MTW Expansion Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.
According to HUD, a PIH notice should be published in the fall of 2016 soliciting applications for the initial cohort of new MTW PHAs. Additional cohorts of MTW PHAs will be added through separate notices through 2020 or until a total of 100 new MTW PHAs have been added. HUD has yet to determine the number of cohorts that will be included in the expansion nor specific policies to be tested through the expansion. The Secretary will weigh the advice of the MTW expansion advisory committee before determining both of these matters. For each cohort of new MTW PHAs, the specific policy proposals and methods of research and evaluation will be described in the PIH notice to be published in the fall of 2016. NAHRO’s policy proposals and recommended research evaluation methods for HUD regarding the MTW expansion can be found here (members only).
HUD plans to release the Instituting Smoke-Free Final Rule late summer or early fall. Although the rule is still undergoing the rule making process, NAHRO staff has learned HUD plans to submit the final rule to the Office of Management and Budget shortly. NAHRO was able to provide HUD staff with input on members concerns regarding the proposed rule. NAHRO’s comments on HUD’s proposed rule can be found here (members only).
HUD also hosted a briefing on the proposed SAFMR rule. The briefing went over the basics of the proposed rule and reviewed specific areas on which HUD was seeking comment. Comments and questions posed at the briefing from industry and advocacy groups included a question about the variability of all Fair Market Rents (FMRS) (to which HUD responded that they are working on a new methodology for FY 2017 FMRs); the current status of the SAFMR demonstration (it’s still going); and whether tenants who receive a subsidy cut in certain zip codes because of the SAFMR rule will be able to find housing in other zip codes because there are not enough available units or because landlords are not accepting vouchers (HUD does not know how to deal with this problem). Read our coverage of the proposed SAFMR rule here (members only).
HUD has released PIH-Notice 2016-10, REV-1, entitled “Public Housing Operating Subsidy Calculations for Calendar Year 2016.” The notice provides public housing agencies (PHAs) with instructions for the calculation of operating subsidy eligibility in Calendar Year (CY) 2016.
HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing also released its Explanation of Obligations for May and June 2016. Funding for May and June uses a proration level of 89.73 percent.This rate may fluctuate throughout the year.
More information can be found here (members only).
HUD has posted additional information on its new Small Area FMR rule titled “Establishing a More Effective Fair Market Rent (FMR) System; Using Small Area Fair Market Rents in Housing Choice Voucher Program Instead of the Current 50th Percentile FMRs.” HUD has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) and a one page fact sheet.
Here’s an excerpt from the FAQ about HUD’s anticipated timeline:
What is the timeline for the Proposed Rule?
The federal rulemaking process is complex and seeking public input takes time. Hence, timing is not easy to predict. HUD’s hope would be to issue a final rule in 2016. The Proposed Rule is currently open for public comment.
Read the fact sheet here
On June 14, 2016, HUD published the interim rule “Continuum of Care Program-Increasing Mobility Options for Homeless Individuals and Families with Tenant-Based Rental Assistance,” which will apply two amendments to the Continuum of Care (CoC) program regulations. The first amendment will permit program participants to retain their tenant-based rental assistance (TBRA) if the individual or family moves outside of their CoC’s geographical area. The second amendment will exempt CoC recipients and subrecipients from complying with all non-statutory program regulations when a program participant moves in order to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking. HUD has elected to forego an advance notice for public comment because “a delay would be contrary to the public interest.” The interim rule becomes effective on July 15, 2016, but public comment will be accepted until August 15, 2016.
HUD is seeking comments from providers on the impact of exempting CoC recipients and subrecipients from non-statutory requirements when a program participant moves outside the CoC area to flee an imminent threat/violence and when participants request to move outside the area in order to access better opportunities and resources, and to support mobility. Comments are accepted online at: https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-13684.
HUD will conduct a webcast on its new proposed rule titled “Establishing a More Effective Fair Market Rent (FMR) System; Using Small Area Fair Market Rents in Housing Choice Voucher Program Instead of the Current 50th Percentile FMRs.” The briefing will take place on Thursday, June 30 2016, from 11 am to 12:30 pm EST. Previously, NAHRO has voiced concerns about the impact of SAFMRs on tenants, some of whom will have lower payment standards; on landlord participation rates; and on the administrative costs, among other concerns.
To register for the event, please click here.
NAHRO’s prior coverage of this rule can be found here. (Members only.)
Several members have requested a chart showing the timelines for Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) submissions under the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule. Here is a decision tree chart that we came up with that we hope will simplify the process of figuring out the appropriate date an AFH is due. Please let us know if you have suggestions for how this chart can be improved or if you feel it is unclear.
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee members Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), along with Senators Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Christopher Coons (D-Del.) took a big step this week by introducing S. 3083, which is companion legislation to the House-passed H.R. 3700. Substantially, the bills are the same.
This is a huge victory, but our work is just beginning in the Senate – contact your Senators today to urge them to take action immediately on S. 3083 – send a letter to your senators and tweet at them (your Senators’ Twitter handles can be found on their websites).
- TY @RoyBlunt @SenatorTimScott @ChrisCoons @SenatorMenendez for #S3083 – I will help you pass this critical legislation @NAHRONational
- #PHAs hit hard by budget cuts, over regulation – S 3083 protects residents, helps #PHAs serve comm better- @SENATOR pass #S3083
- House passed #HR3700 unanimously 4 months ago. @SENATOR please act on #S3083
NAHRO has supported many of the reforms within the bill since it was originally drafted in the House; NAHRO President Steve Merritt testified at a hearing on H.R. 3700 in October 2015 and NAHRO has been working with a coalition of housing stakeholders pushing for the passage of the bill. In April, NAHRO joined the coalition on a letter to Senators urging the quick passage of the legislation.
Specifically, NAHRO supports these provisions of HOTMA (H.R. 3700 and S. 3083):
- Capital Replacement Reserves – Using NAHRO language also included in the Senate FY16 and FY17 Appropriations Acts, HOTMA would allow PHAs to voluntarily establish Capital Fund replacement reserves.
- Subsidy Flexibility – HOTMA would allow for PHAs to transfer 20 percent of their Operating Funds to their Capital Fund, language NAHRO has advocated for strongly over many years.
- Income Review Safe Harbors – HOTMA would allow PHAs to use other federal data to determine income including TANF, Medicaid, and SNAP.
- Project-Based Voucher Program – PHAs would be able to calculate project-based vouchers (PBVs) based on authorized units instead of voucher funding. Additionally, those PHAs that have units targeting homeless individuals and families, veterans, elderly households, disabled households, or units in areas where vouchers are difficult to use, would be permitted to project-base up to 30 percent of those targeted units. In other instances, PHA project-based voucher (PBV) assistance may not exceed 25 percent of the units in a project or 25 units, whichever is greater. In areas where vouchers are difficult to use and in census tracts with a poverty rate of equal to or less than 20 percent, PHAs may provide project-based voucher assistance for up to 40 percent of the units in a project. HOTMA allows PBV contracts and extensions of up to 20 years; allows PHAs to permit site-specific waiting lists managed by owners; and clarifies that PHAs may project-base HUD-VASH and Family Unification Project (FUP) vouchers.
- Extended Family Unification Vouchers – HOTMA would increase the age of eligibility for FUP vouchers from 21 to 24 and make youth who will leave foster care within 90 days and are homeless or at risk of homelessness eligible. S. 3083 contains provisions that would also expand FUP vouchers by allowing eligible youth “who have attained 16 or 17 years” and who have left foster care to remain in the program for up to 36 months.
- PHAs and LRAs as ESG Subrecipients – HOTMA includes statutory language, supported by NAHRO, that would permit any state or local government receiving Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) allocations to distribute all or a portion of its grant funds to PHAs and local redevelopment authorities (alongside private nonprofit organizations).
- Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs and an Annual Supplemental Report – HOTMA would create a new position of Special Assistant for Veterans Affairs that reports directly to the Secretary of HUD and would be responsible for, among other things, ensuring veterans have access to housing programs and homeless assistance, coordinating veteran-related programs at HUD, and serving as a liaison between HUD, the VA, and the USICH, and officials of state, local, regional, and nongovernmental organizations. HOTMA would also require HUD to collaborate on and submit to Congress an annual supplemental report on veteran homelessness.
Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Chairman Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member Robert Menendez (D-N.J), Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Sen. Christopher Coons (D-Del.) introduced companion legislation to the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (H.R. 3700) in the Senate today. The Senate bill number is S. 3083.
“NAHRO commends Chairman Tim Scott and Ranking Member Robert Menendez, with Sen. Roy Blunt and Sen. Christopher Coons, on the introduction of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act in the Senate. This common-sense legislation will help public housing authorities across the country do their jobs more efficiently and better serve their residents. NAHRO was honored to have the opportunity to testify at the House Financial Services Committee last fall about this bill and I am thankful to the senators for their commitment to moving it forward,” said John Bohm, Acting NAHRO CEO.
This is a huge victory, but our work is just beginning in the Senate. Send a letter to your senators today urging them to take immediate action on the Senate bill.
For more information, see NAHRO’s coverage of the introduction of H.R. 3700 and the revised version that was approved unanimously by the House in February.
On Wednesday, June 22, HUD published the names of the members of the MTW Advisory Committee. In its FY 2016 Appropriations bill, Congress directed HUD to expand MTW to include a hundred additional public housing agencies (PHAs) over the next seven years. Congress also called on HUD to establish a federal research advisory committee. The research advisory committee is responsible for advising HUD on specific policy proposals and methods of research and evaluation for MTW.
HUD has appointed the following people to the advisory committee:
- Josh Meehan – Keene Housing;
- Austin Simms – Lexington-Fayette Urban County Housing Authority;
- Chris Lamberty – Lincoln Housing Authority;
- Adrianne Todman – District of Columbia Housing Authority;
- David Nisivoccia – San Antonio Housing Authority;
- Janny Castillo – Former Resident of the Oakland Housing Authority;
- Cindy Fernandez – Former Resident of the Housing Authority of Tulare County;
- Asia Coney – Resident of the Philadelphia Housing Authority;
- Larry Orr, Ph.D. – Johns Hopkins University;
- Heather Schwartz, Ph.D. – RAND Corporation;
- Mark Joseph, Ph.D. – Case Western Reserve University;
- Stefanie DeLuca, Ph.D. – Johns Hopkins University;
- Jill Khadduri, Ph.D. – Abt Associates;
- Marianne Nazzaro – HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing; and
- Todd Richardson – HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research.
HUD has also published an anticipated timeline for the expansion.
Early Summer 2016
Publish a summary of submitted comments on www.hud.gov/mtw.
Begin the calls with the advisory committee, with an in-person meeting in Washington, DC in late-summer.
Publish the notice to select the initial cohort of MTW agencies, with up to four months to submit applications.
Select initial cohort of new MTW public housing authorities.
Read the full HUD Press Release here.
Read NAHRO’s coverage of the FY 2016 appropriations bill and the included MTW expansion here.