HUD OIG Publishes Semiannual Report to Congress

HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published it’s Semiannual Report to Congress for the second half of fiscal year 2016. These reports are “intended to keep the Secretary and the Congress fully informed of significant findings, progress the Agency has made and recommendations for improvement.”

The report can be found here.

HUD Awards $1.95 Billion for Local Homeless Programs

Yesterday, HUD announced $1.95 billion in FY 2016 Continuum of Care (CoC) grants to provide support to over 7,600 local homeless housing and service programs across the United States, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. View a complete list of the state and local homeless projects awarded here.

This year, HUD continued to strongly urge CoCs to compete for funding by making challenging decisions that involved shifting funds from existing projects to new projects considered to be more effective, such as investments in permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing.

For this competition, local CoCs reallocated a combined $103 million in renewal funding from lower performing projects in order to apply for new housing projects. Together with funding for permanent housing “bonus” projects, HUD is awarding at total of $139 million for new projects.

Additional information on HUD’s FY 2016 CoC awards  will be included in the forthcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor (members only)

ICYMI: NAHRO members have long been on the front lines of preventing and ending homelessness. A recent NAHRO white paper demonstrates how public housing authority (PHA) are collaborating with communities and perusing new directions and opportunities for ending homelessness. Case studies include: 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 Publishes FY 2017 Section 8 Annual Adjustment Factors

Today, December 20, 2016, HUD published in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Assistance Program–Annual Adjustment Factors, Fiscal Year 2017.” The notice announces the FY 2017 Annual Adjustment Factors (AAFs) for adjustment of contract rents on the anniversary of certain assistance contracts. The Housing Choice Voucher program does not use AAFs, and a separate notice is published announcing the renewal funding inflation factors (RFIFs) for that program. There are three categories of Section 8 programs that use the AAFs.

Category 1: The Section 8 New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, and Moderate Rehabilitation programs.

Category 2: The Section 8 Loan Management (LM) and Property Disposition (PD) programs.

Category 3: The Section 8 Project-Based Certificate (PBC) program.

Each Section 8 program uses AAFs differently, and the specific application of the AAFs is determined by the law, the HAP contract, and the program regulations and requirements.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Extends Comment Period for Public Housing Income Limits

On December 20, HUD published in the Federal Register an extension of the public comment period on the methodology HUD proposes to use to implement a new income limit in public housing, as mandated by the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). Comments are now due January 29, 2017.  NAHRO and other industry organizations asked HUD for an extension of the comment period in light of the large amount of notices and guidance HUD has recently released. NAHRO’s letter can be found here (members only). More information on HUD’s proposed methodology using very-low income thresholds to determine income limits can be found here.

HUD Issues Final Rule Requiring Broadband Infrastructure in New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation

Tomorrow, HUD will publish a final rule that requires the installation of broadband infrastructure at the time of new construction or substantial rehabilitation for multifamily rental housing that is funded or supported by HUD. Since the installation of broadband infrastructure may not be feasible for all new construction or substantial rehabilitation, the rule allows limited exceptions to the installation requirements.

The following programs will be covered by this final rule:

  1. Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant program;
  2. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, including the CDBG Disaster Recovery program;
  3. Continuum of Care program;
  4. HOME Investment Partnerships program;
  5. Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS program;
  6. Housing Trust Fund program;
  7. Project-Based Voucher program;
  8. Public Housing Capital Fund program;
  9. Section 8 project-based housing assistance payments programs, including, but not limited to, the Section 8 New Construction, Substantial Rehabilitation, Loan Management Set Aside, and Property Disposition programs; and
  10. Section 202 and Section 811 Supportive Housing for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities programs.

The rule will not apply to multifamily rental housing that only has a mortgage insured by HUD’s Federal Housing Administration or with a loan guaranteed under a HUD loan guarantee program.

The final rule does not change any of the substantive requirements that were in the proposed rule (members only), but adds clarifications on the threshold for substantial rehabilitation and on the point in the planning process for new construction or substantial rehabilitation at which a project must be to not be subject to the rule’s requirements. This final rule will become effective 30 days after the rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

This new rule supports the Obama Administration’s efforts to narrow the Digital Divide in the low-income communities served by HUD. Earlier this month, HUD also issued a final rule that will “modernize” the consolidated planning process for Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula grantees by adding the concepts of broadband access and vulnerability to natural hazard risks to the Consolidated Plan’s housing market analysis.

HUD Adds New Requirements to Consolidated Planning

Today, the HUD Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) published a final rule that will “modernize” the consolidated planning process (24 CFR 91) for CPD formula grantees. The rule adds the concepts of broadband access and vulnerability to natural hazard risks to the Consolidated Plan’s existing housing market analysis. According to HUD, this rule seeks to “promote a balanced planning process that more fully considers the housing, environment, and economic needs of communities.”

Under the new rule, States and local governments must analyze the broadband needs (i.e., broadband wiring and connection to broadband service in the household unit, or the need for additional broadband Internet service providers to increase competition) of housing occupied by low- and moderate-income (LMI) households, including housing in rural areas. The rule also requires States and local governments to assess the vulnerability of housing units occupied by LMI households to increased natural hazard risks, particularly risks associated with climate change.

HUD does not expect the new regulations to result in significant additional expenses and administrative burden to jurisdictions since the requirements are similar to existing planning requirements, and the data necessary is readily available on the internet. HUD plans to input data for both broadband and resilience assessment requirements within the Consolidated Plan pre-populated data tables for use by jurisdictions, though jurisdictions can opt to use other data of their choice. HUD will provide grantees with this data early in Fiscal Year 2018.

Compliance with the requirements of the final rule will apply to Consolidated Plans submitted on or after January 1, 2018. Additional coverage of this final rule will available in the forthcoming edition the NAHRO Monitor (members only).

HUD Forms that Provide Expanded Housing Protections for Survivors of Violence Now Available

As NAHRO previously reported, HUD recently finalized a rule that will provide expanded housing protections for survivors of violence and fully codifies the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013 into HUD regulations.

HUD has made available the relevant forms necessary under the new rule:

  • Notice of Occupancy Rights under VAWA  (HUD-5380) that certain housing providers must give to tenants and applicants to ensure they are aware of their rights under VAWA and these implementing regulations;
  • New Certification form  (HUD-5382) for documenting incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking that must be used by housing providers;
  • Model emergency transfer plan (HUD-5381) that may be used by housing providers to develop their own emergency transfer plans; and
  • Model emergency transfer request form (HUD-5383) that housing providers could provide to tenants requesting an emergency transfer under these regulations.

HUD is currently translating these forms into 8 main language.

The final rule become effective on December 16, 2016 and housing providers must now include the Notice of Occupancy Rights and the new certification form with future denials or admissions of assistance notices and future eviction or termination of assistance notices.

Additionally, housing providers have until December 16, 2017 to provide existing tenants with the Notice of Occupancy Rights and the new certification form (via the annual recertification or lease renewal process, or through other means). Compliance with the final rule’s emergency transfer provisions is required no later than June 14, 2017.

Read more about HUD’s implementation of VAWA 2013 in the October 31, 2016 edition of the NAHRO Monitor (members only).

HUD Issues New Certification Requirements for Housing Counselors

On December 14, HUD issued a final rule titled “Housing Counseling Certification” that codifies statutory requirements that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs will be provided by HUD-Certified Housing Counselors. In order to become certified, housing counselors must pass a standardized written examination and work for a HUD-approved housing counseling agency (HCA). The goal of these new requirements is to improve the knowledge and effectiveness of housing counselors that serve HUD-assisted renters, prospective homebuyers, or existing homeowners.

The final compliance date for the certification requirement is three years after the date the certification examination becomes available. HUD will publish a separate Federal Register notice to announce the start of the testing and certification process. However, some of the provisions of the final rule will become effective on January 13, 2017, including:

  • Requirement for agencies that provide homeownership counseling,
  • Requirement related to distribution of home inspection materials,
  • Provision for agencies found to have misused housing counseling program grant funds, and
  • Prohibition against distribution of funds to organizations convicted of violating election laws.

Access HUD’s resource page on the final rule here.

It is important to note that this new rule now covers not only participants in HUD’s Housing Counseling Program but also participants in other HUD programs including HOME Investment Partnerships, Community Development Block Grant, Public and Indian Housing, and FHA Single Family. Covered stakeholders will have three years from the date the certification examination becomes available to comply with the housing counselor certification requirement. A resource sheet for other HUD programs covered under this final rule is available here.

Additional coverage of the final rule will be available in the forthcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor (members only).

Five Communities Awarded $132 Million in Choice Neighborhoods Grants

On December 12, HUD announced that five U.S. communities will receive a combined total of $132 million in FY 2016 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) grant funds. The goal of the CNI is to aid struggling communities with severely distressed public housing or HUD-assisted housing by reinvesting in the community’s housing, residents, and neighborhoods.

These five communities will receive funding under the CNI’s Implementation Grant component, which supports communities that are ready to implement their neighborhood revitalization plan, or “Transformation Plan.” All five awardees are also past Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant recipients.

The following communities will receive Implementation Grants:


According to HUD’s press release, the awardees will replace 1,853 severely distressed public housing units with nearly 3,700 new mixed-income, mixed-use housing units, and leverage every $1 in Choice Neighborhood funding with an additional $5 in public and private funding for their project proposals. Together, the awardees and their partners are expected to leverage a combined total of $636 million through other public/private sources and indirectly stimulate another $3.3 billion in their local economies.

Read a summary of each grants here.


Early Lessons Learned in Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing

This is a guest blog by Mark Shelburne, Novogradac & Company LLP.

As most readers are aware, in 2015 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) substantially revised its approach to affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH). One of the key aspects is submitting an Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH), using a “Tool” document as a template.

The first group of 22 cities and counties sent their AFHs to HUD for review October. Under the 2015 rule, thousands of other local governments, states, and housing authorities will do the same over the next several years.

Novogradac & Company LLP partnered with Civitas, LLC to help the city of Wilmington, N.C., and Wilmington Housing Authority on their AFH submission. Late in November, HUD staff reached out regarding a few additions and clarifications, which Novogradac, Civitas, and local officials were able to complete in the two days before Thanksgiving. The notice of acceptance came Dec. 2, making Wilmington’s plan one of the first to be completed in the nation. (Reports suggest HUD did not accept all of the AFHs submitted in the initial round.)

The best news for jurisdictions with upcoming AFFH deadlines is you are not going first. There is an opportunity to learn from those who’ve begun the process. The following is a summary list of the most important lessons learned from Novogradac’s experience in Wilmington.

  1. Collaborate with other local HUD funding recipients. This item is first both because of being an early decision and one of the most important. There is no reason to go it alone–partnering may result in some challenges, but the net is a benefit for all involved.
  1. Have widespread, diverse opportunities for public input. Try to include any fair housing organizations operating within your area. Also be aware of limited English proficiency and disability-access considerations.
  1. Start early and speak often. Applying the prior two lessons will take time, as does drafting the text. In fact, the best time to get started is as soon as you’re finished reading this post. Frequent communication (not just meetings but emails and calls), particularly around goals, is essential.
  1. Consider a consultant, but be realistic. Contracting for assistance can be particularly helpful for data analysis and providing a more objective view, but local staff will do a lot of work regardless.
  1. You know at least some of the concerns. In many cases what should happen in the community is not a mystery. You do not need to rigidly follow the steps in the Tool, it is okay to think of some goals first.
  1. Read accepted AFHs. Wilmington’s and New Orleans’ are good places to start.
  1. Be careful about dot density. Try different settings in the HUD-provided maps. For example, using the 75-per-person setting does not always show patterns of segregation.
  1. Address all protected classes. Usually the focus is on race, but all seven classes are covered. Most will vary even within a state, with disability as the most uniform. Be aware of possible implications of an ADA/Olmstead settlement underway.
  1. Don’t assume the reader knows your community. The review might not be limited to your local or state HUD office. For example, staff from across the HUD Region (Columbia, Greensboro, Jacksonville, and Nashville) were involved in Wilmington’s submission.
  1. Have specific, actionable goals. The next steps should strike a balance between making real progress and being actually achievable. You will need to have a goal for any issue either identified or apparent to the HUD reviewer.
  1. Address all issues identified. Some of the assessed factors may appear to be beyond the jurisdiction’s control. For example, many school districts are distinct governing entities from HUD funding recipients. Yet even in this instance, the goal could be to build new affordable rental properties in areas with high-performing schools.
  1. Change your mindset. True AFFH compliance is less about completing the Tool (although doing so is necessary) and more about a change of thinking. For too long, our nation has seen federal housing programs as being meant only for construction and rehabilitation; reducing segregation and expanding opportunities are equally important. This purpose should be part of program administrators’ every decision.

Final Thoughts

There is certainly a possibility the process may be different under Secretary Carson, who has expressed concerns about certain aspects of fair housing. However nothing has been announced, nor is likely to change early in the next Administration, so for now HUD recipients should continue with current approach.

Please feel free to reach out with any comments or questions.


Housing Rules Series! Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: How did we get here?

January 10, 2017 from 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM ET

If feels like there is a notice on affirmatively furthering fair housing every few days. In this rapidly changing environment, NAHRO staff will look back at the AFFH rule. Then an overview of the current notices and guidance specifically focusing on the Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) tools will be discussed. This e-briefing will provide a regulatory context for a constructive and informed discussion on AFFH moving forward. Guest speaker, Mark Shelburne, Senior Manager at Novogradac & Company LLP, will share the important lessons learned from Novogradac’s experience in Wilmington, N.C.