PAHRC Releases “Housing is a Foundation” 2016 Report

Today, July 20, PAHRC released its yearly research report for 2016 titled “Housing is a Foundation.” This year’s report focuses on the lack of available housing assistance, the people who receive housing assistance, and the beneficial impacts of housing assistance. The report supplies data to “foster a better understanding of the need for housing assistance and how this assistance helps meet the needs of low-income families and their communities.”

Here’s a great graphic on how helpful rental assistance is on all facets of a household.

https://www.housingcenter.com/sites/default/files/styles/panopoly_image_full/public/general/Summary.png?itok=lOA8Moub

The full report can be read here.

NAHRO Publishes New RAD Toolkit

Last week, NAHRO published the “RAD Toolkit,” a new online resource that serves as a primer for PHAs interested in HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program. This educative tool will provide PHAs with a background on RAD, a step-by-step outline of the conversion process and compliance, as well as links to additional resources important to understanding how to close a RAD transaction.

The RAD Toolkit was developed by the NAHRO Community Revitalization and Development (CR&D) Committee Redevelopment Task Force.

NAHRO members can access the toolkit here: www.nahro.org/RAD.

RADTOOLKIT2

MTW Research Advisory Committee – Conference Calls

The Moving to Work (MTW) Research Advisory Committee will be holding two public conference calls. The MTW Research Advisory Committee will advise HUD on how to move forward with the MTW expansion, especially with respect to specific policies to test in the expansion. The calls are open to the public, but members of the public must register to provide comment.

The calls are at the following dates and times [edit: the calls are until 4 pm; previously this post stated they were until 3 pm]:

July 26, 2016 – Increasing Housing Choice for Low-Income Families (1 pm to 4 pm); and

July 28, 2016 – Cost-Effectiveness and Incentives to Increase Self-Sufficiency for Families with Children (1 pm to 4 pm).

Use the following numbers to call-in:

  • United States –  (800) 230-1766;
  • Outside the United States – (612) 288-0329; and
  • Persons with hearing impairments – (800) 977-8339 and providing the FRS operator with the conference call toll-free number: (800) 230-1766.

To register, please click here.

Additional information on the call agendas can be found here.

Our prior blog post on these calls can be found here.

Importance of Grade Level Reading, NAHRO Signs MOU

On Friday July 15, NAHRO and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (CGLR) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU.) NAHRO and CGLR are committed to ensuring that children living the communities that NAHRO members serve are set up for success in schools — by arriving ready to learn, maintaining consistent attendance and gaining access to enrichment over the summer so they don’t fall behind.

An important predictor of school success and high school graduation is grade-level reading by the end of third grade. Currently 80 percent of children from low-income families are missing a milestone that is a major predictor of high school graduation and success in life — reading proficiency by the end of third grade.

NAHRO believes that schools need a 24/7/365 partner and understands that Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and community development organizations are uniquely positioned to fill this role. Through our Housing and Education Task Force and our Housing America campaign, NAHRO raises national awareness of the need for and importance of safe, quality, affordable housing in addition to advocacy and ensuring that children receive the education they need and deserve. NAHRO shares the CGLR’s desire to help PHAs and community development organizations become learning enablers by ensuring that the young learners in affordable housing can read proficiently by the end of third grade and to promote grade-level reading as a step on the path to future success.

More information on the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is available on their website – www.GradeLevelReading.net. Updates on this new and exciting NAHRO – CGLR partnership will be posted on this blog and the NAHRO website – www.nahro.org – over the coming weeks and months.

Voucher Mobility Debate at the Furman Center

The Furman Center has published a discussion on their website about voucher mobility. The discussion centers around HUD’s proposed Small Area Fair Market Rents rule, which would require certain metropolitan areas to use zip code level fair market rents. There are four written pieces, each with a unique viewpoint:

Here’s a quote from Rachel Fee’s essay:

HUD’s proposal is made without a Section 8 budget increase, so housing “opportunity” for some low-income families will come at the expense of others.  Families who choose to stay in their current homes in high poverty areas or those who are unable to move, will literally pay the price of higher rents for families using their voucher in more expensive neighborhoods.

While NAHRO is still in the process of writing its comment letter on the proposed rule, NAHRO’s initial concerns about the Small Area FMR proposed rule include concerns about tenant welfare, limiting the choice of tenants, and administrative burdens. NAHRO also believes that additional research should be done before implementing HUD’s rule and that additional funding is required to properly implement it.

HUD Awards $75 Million in FSS Grants

Today, HUD announced that it was awarding $75 million in grants through the Family Self-Sufficieny (FSS) program. The grants allow for public housing residents, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participants, and recipients of Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) to advance their education or receive job-training skills. The grants allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to work with social service agencies, community colleges, businesses, and other local partners to help individuals participating in the program.

HUD’s press release on the awards can be found here.

A list of the grant awards can be found here.

HUD Partners with Comcast to Expand Internet Essentials Program

On July 15, HUD announced that it was teaming up with Comcast to expand Comcast’s Internet Essentials program. After this expansion, all public housing and HUD-assisted residents that are within Comcast’s service area are eligible to apply for Internet Essentials. Internet Essentials is Comcast’s high-speed internet adoption program for low-income families. An estimated 2 million HUD-assisted homes will now be eligible for low-cost internet service.

HUD’s full press release can be read here.

HR 3700 Sent to President for Signature

In a huge victory for NAHRO and its members, the Senate today approved the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HR 3700) unanimously by a voice vote, sending the bill to the President for his signature.
The bill was approved using a process known as “hot-lining”, a procedure to quickly pass non-controversial legislation. It was passed by the House unanimously on February 2, 2016.

“NAHRO commends the House and the Senate for their work on this critical legislation. With the President’s signature, housing authorities across the country will be able to do their jobs more efficiently and serve their residents and communities better,” said NAHRO President Steve Merritt.

NAHRO thanks everyone involved in the passage of this important legislation, including legislators and their staff, NAHRO membership, and partner housing advocacy groups.

“This is a big deal. The passage of HR 3700 marks the culmination of years of work by members of Congress and their staff, NAHRO members and staff, and the housing community at large. It demonstrates that housing reform is a priority and can be accomplished, and that the legislative process does still work,” said NAHRO’s Acting CEO John Bohm.

New HUD Guidance on the Review Process for Assessments of Fair Housing

Last week, HUD published a new document that will assist program participants in understanding how the Department will conduct its review of an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) and apply the two standards established in Section 5.162 of the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule. HUD will not accept an AFH if:

  1. The AFH is inconsistent with fair housing or civil rights requirements; or
  2. The AFH is substantially incomplete.

The document also describes the general principles that will guide HUD reviewers as they apply the two standards and additional information related to HUD’s review. Also included are examples of reasons that HUD will not accept an AFH, an explanation of why the AFH would be substantially incomplete or inconsistent with fair housing or civil rights requirements, and the corrective actions HUD will seek.

Visit the NAHRO Resource Center for more information on the AFFH rule and requirements.