HUD Releases Final Smoke-Free Rule

Earlier today, Wednesday, November 30, HUD released a press release for its final rule on smoke-free public housing. Secretary Castro announced the final rule in Boston, Massachusetts at a gathering that included NAHRO National President Stephen Merritt.

The smoke-free final rule will require PHAs to implement smoke-free policies over the next 18 months. The final rule “prohibits lit tobacco products (cigarettes, cigars, or pipes) in all living units, indoor common areas, administrative offices and all outdoor areas within 25 feet of housing and administrative office buildings.”

The rule makes two changes from the proposed rule. First, waterpipes (i.e., “hookahs”) are included in the list of products that may not be used in restricted areas. Second, HUD has changed the term “lit tobacco products” to “prohibited tobacco products.”

HUD’s full press release can be found here.

The text of the final rule can be found here.

NAHRO Provides Recommendations to the HUD 2017 Transition Team

Today NAHRO provided members of President-elect Trump’s HUD transition team with the NAHRO Transition 2017 recommendations. All recommendations and positions in this document have been previously approved by our standing committees and the NAHRO Board of Governors. We also intend to make ourselves available to the new transition team and supply them with any and all information and assistance they may require from us to make the transition at HUD under the Trump Administration as smooth as possible.

The transition recommendations can be used as you reach out to your local HUD officials, your elected officials who will be seated in the new Congress, the media and your own state and local officials in a united effort to move a responsible and responsive housing agenda forward at HUD and on Capitol Hill. In addition to this document, the association will also be producing the NAHRO 2017 Regulatory and Legislative Agenda, which will be drafted over the coming weeks with input from NAHRO membership and leadership and will be available at the NAHRO 2017 Washington Conference.

NAHRO’s Transition 2017 recommendations for HUD may be viewed here.

Registration Open for HUD MTW Research Advisory Committee Call

On November 29, HUD opened registration for the MTW Research Advisory Committee teleconference on Tuesday, December 13, from 1PM EST to 4PM EST. Once registered, the public is invited to call-in to the meeting at 1-800-230-1074. Please be advised that the operator will ask callers to provide their names and their organizational affiliations (if any) prior to placing callers into the conference line. Members of the public that register in advance may  provide a comment at the end of the call.

HUD published a Federal Register notice announcing a meeting of the MTW Research Advisory Committee on November 7. The call will continue discussions from HUD’s last in-person meeting of the Research Advisory Committee and will discuss policy framework and research methodology for the third MTW Statutory Objective – increasing housing choice.


HUD Soliciting Comments on Income Limits for Public Housing Residents

On November 29, HUD will publish a solicitation of comments regarding the implementation of income limits for public housing residents. A provision limiting incomes for public housing residents was included within the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) of 2016 (members only). Section 103 of the bill contains language oriented to limit the tenancies of over-income residents in a responsible, effective way that still provides significant discretion to PHAs. The language in HOTMA places the threshold for over-income families as those with incomes over 120 percent of area median income (AMI) for the most recent two consecutive years. If a family meets this threshold, PHAs have the option of either charging the higher of the fair market rent for the unit or the monthly subsidy (operating and capital fund), or terminating the tenancy within 6 months. Language in HOTMA also provides the Secretary the discretion to establish different income limitations based on local construction costs or unusually high or low incomes, vacancy rates, or rents. Prior to HOTMA’s passage, HUD also solicited comments on income limitations for public housing residents via an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (members only).

HUD is soliciting comments on its proposal to use its calculation of very low-income (VLI) to determine income limits. VLIs are preliminarily calculated as 50 percent of the estimated area median family income. VLI limits include several adjustments to align the income limits with program requirements including: high housing cost adjustments, low housing cost adjustments, state and non-metro median family income adjustments, and ceiling and floors for changes. HUD is proposing to use the VLI as the basis for the 120 percent income limit by multiplying the VLI limit by a factor of 2.4. Areas without a VLI adjustment would result in an income limit of 120 percent of AMI. Areas with an adjustment would be higher or lower than 120 percent AMI, depending upon the adjustments made.

Comments are due Thursday, December 29 at midnight.

Upcoming Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Webinar

NAHRO would like to share information on an upcoming Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Webinar provided by HUD, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and TDA next Monday, November 21st at 2 PM (EST).

 Climate Corps for Affordable Housing

On October 4, 2016, HUD announced a proposed reporting requirement that will require all Public Housing Authorities and owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing to benchmark their portfolios’ utility usage.  The notices can be found at and; the 60-day public comment period ends December 5, 2016.  Benchmarking will give affordable housing owners and operators a better understanding of the overall utility consumption and costs associated with their properties and enable them to more efficiently and effectively manage their portfolios.

To help owners with the greatest need for technical assistance in complying with the benchmarking requirement, HUD is partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and TDA Consulting to bring you the Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Summer Fellowship program.  The program will embed 12 fellows with affordable housing organizations across the country for the summer of 2017 and will be offered at no cost to host institutions, which will be chosen on the basis of need.  This free, full-time technical assistance will allow affordable housing organizations to get ahead of the curve on this upcoming HUD requirement.

Please join us for a webinar to further explain the details of this exciting new opportunity on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 @ 2 PM ET.

To register, please click here.

Report: Homelessness in the U.S. Continues to Decline

Earlier this week, HUD published Part 1 of the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment (AHAR) Report, providing Congress with local estimates of sheltered and unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2016. According to the report, on a single night in 2016, there were 549,928 persons experiencing homelessness – a 14 percent decrease from 2010 and a 3 percent decrease over the past year. This decline was especially prevalent among families with children, Veterans, and individuals with long-term disabling conditions. Despite the downward trend of homelessness nationally, 13 states and the District of Columbia still saw an increase in their share of homelessness between 2015 and 2016.

The AHAR is typically released in two parts: Part 1 provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates that offer a “snapshot” of homelessness as reported by Continuums of Care (CoCs) across the U.S.; Part 2 offers in-depth detail on the characteristics of the homeless. The PIT methodology is regarded as a reliable estimate of the general size of the homeless population; however, it is important to note that it does not count every single homeless person, nor does it measure the number of people who are at risk of homelessness.



NAHRO members have long been on the front lines of preventing and ending homelessness. Read this recent NAHRO white paper to learn about public housing authority (PHA) collaborations and new directions and opportunities for ending homelessness.Case studies include: effectively ending veteran homelessness in Houston, Texas; implementing medical respite to save lives and reduce costs in Fargo, North Dakota.; and using a model for working with the chronically homeless in encampment settings by the City of West Sacramento, Yolo County, California.

HUD Final Rule Provides Expanded Housing Protections for Survivors of Violence

Today, HUD published a final rule in the Federal Register that provides expanded housing protections for survivors of violence and fully codifies the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into HUD’s regulations. At its core, VAWA 2013 prohibits housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a survivor of violence.

The rule’s regulations become effective on December 16, 2016, and compliance with the rule with respect to completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers, and associated recordkeeping and reporting requirements, is required no later than June 14, 2017.

Read more about the rule’s provisions in our blog post, published last month. A more in-depth analysis of the rule is also available in the NAHRO Monitor (members only).

[Note: After the final rule’s publication, HUD discovered an incorrect compliance date in the rule’s preamble, with respect to completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers, and associated recordkeeping and reporting requirements. The compliance date was incorrectly listed as May 15, 2017, while the regulatory text provided the correct date of June 14, 2017. This blog post has been updated to reflect the correct compliance date of June 14, 2017]

HUD Releases Guidance on Full Flexibility for Eligible Small PHAs

On November 14, HUD Issued Notice PIH 2016-18 titled Guidance on Full Flexibility for Eligible Small PHAs. The notice provides guidance on the full flexibility of capital funds and operating funds for public housing agencies (PHAs) which own or operate less than 250 public housing units small PHAs and are not designated as a troubled PHA (eligible small PHAs).

Eligible small PHAs are allowed to use up to 100% of a Capital Fund Program (CFP) grant for Operating Fund Program (OFP) activities if the PHA does not have debt service payments, significant capital needs or emergency needs. Regulations require eligible small PHAs to plan and budget for significant CFP needs prior to using capital funds for operating fund expenditures. Eligible small PHAs seeking to exercise full flexibility must have an approved CFP 5-Year Action Plan that indicates the amount of each grant they intend to use for operating fund expenditures. In addition, eligible small PHAs seeking to exercise full flexibility must submit a capital fund budget for each year. Eligible small PHAs must complete a thorough assessment of their capital needs prior to completing the 5-Year Action Plan and accurately reflect those needs in the capital fund submission.

Eligible small PHAs may exercise full flexibility to use operating funds for eligible CFP activities included in an approved CFP 5-Year Action Plan and budget submitted to HUD. HUD anticipates shifting from paper submission of CFP 5-Year Action Plans and budgets to an automated submission through the upcoming Energy Performance and Information Center (EPIC). In order to account for capital expenditures funded with operating funds and operating reserves (including excess cash), PHAs must enter the project’s annual financial report into the Financial Assessment Subsystem (FASS).

Eligible small PHAs that elect to fully use their operating funds for capital fund expenditures must continue to follow statutory and regulatory requirements, including those related to the conduct of public hearings, Resident Advisory Board consultation, consideration of comments, board approval, and environmental reviews.

HUD Releases Small Area FMR Final Rule

HUD will release the Small Area Fair Market Rents in Housing Choice Voucher Program Values for Selection Criteria and Metropolitan Areas Subject to Small Area Fair Market Rents Final Rule in the Federal Register tomorrow (November 16). HUD will also release a Notice in the Federal Register that would set the selection values for Small Area FMRs (SAFMRs). Subsequent SAFRMs will be specified through the Federal Register notice providing the public the opportunity to comment as new SAFMR designations are made. More information on HUD’s proposed rule (released June 2), can be found here (members only), and NAHRO’s comments can be found here (members only). NAHRO will hold a webinar on the final rule on Monday, December 19. Save the date and stay tuned for additional information.

In additional to other changes, the final rule includes additional criteria by which SAFMRs will be set. The final rule adds the vacancy rate of an area as a criterion and excludes metropolitan areas with a certain ACS vacancy rate from being designated a SAFMR area. The final rule also adds a threshold for the voucher concentration ratio to better target communities where voucher concentration is most severe.

As a result of the additional criteria, 7 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) have been exempted from complying with the SAFMR final rule that were included in the proposed rule. These MSAs are:

  • Nassau County-Suffolk County
  • New York, NY
  • Oakland-Hayward-Berkeley, CA
  • Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA
  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
  • Tacoma-Lakewood, WA
  • Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA

NAHRO will provide a detailed analysis of the final rule in the coming days. The final rule will go into effect 60 days after its publication date. 

Senior Housing Focus: Aging in Place Webinar


NAHRO would like to share information on an upcoming webinar conducted by Community Catalyst on aging in place for low-income and chronically ill seniors. Below is the invitation from Community Catalyst for their webinar on Thursday, December 1, 2016, at 1pm to 2:30pm eastern time.

Aging in Place: Integrating Health and Housing for Low-Income and Chronically Ill Seniors

Thursday, December 1, 2016 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm EDT


This is the third webinar in a series Community Catalyst is hosting to engage with national, regional, state and local partners who are working or want to start working in the health and housing space.

This call will provide an overview of the issue from what is being discussed and worked on from the federal, state and local levels, featuring leaders in these areas.

Speakers will discuss the growing research and recognition that the aging population requires more effective integration of housing and health care systems and highlight impact that affordable housing has on older adults’ ability to live at home and in the community. There will be ample time for questions and answers between participants and speakers, allowing for dialogue and learning for those working in both the health and housing areas.

This webinar will feature:

In response to the growing national and local discourse about the connections between housing and health outcomes, we at Community Catalyst see a clear interest in identifying the role health policy advocates can play in protecting and expanding access to quality, affordable and appropriate housing for vulnerable populations. In addition to the demonstrable connections between housing and health outcomes, housing is a fundamental human right that is under threat in many communities.

Please RSVP here to participate on December 1st.

We hope you will join us in this opportunity to connect stakeholders working on initiatives related to aging in place for low-income and chronically ill seniors with those from other sectors to address housing issues.

Carol Regan, Senior Advisor

Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation

This Community Catalyst Learning Community webinar is part of an ongoing effort to help advocates from across the country share best practices, explore new ideas and learn from each other’s experiences. The Learning Community connects advocates, giving them a needed forum to effectively collaborate with and learn from their peers.