New Mapping Tool Shows What HUD Investments Your Community Receives

On December 6, HUD launched the Community Assessment Reporting Tool (CART) – a new online and mobile-friendly tool that offers the public real-time information on HUD investments across a community. This interactive reference and mapping tool uses geospatial technology to show a variety of  property- and grant level detail by city, state, county, metropolitan area, or congressional district levels. According to HUD, CART cuts down the time that it typically takes to generate this information from several days to minutes.

CART includes information on many of HUD’s major programs, including:

  • Community Planning and Development Competitive and Formula Grants
  • Rental Assistance through HUD’s Multifamily programs, Housing Choice Vouchers and Public Housing properties
  • Housing Counseling
  • Signature programs – Promise Zones, Strong Cities Strong Communities and Rental Assistance Demonstration.
  • Census demographic information

CART also allows users to build custom community maps using thematic layers (i.e., voucher concentration, poverty rate) and property layers (i.e., location of public housing buildings, CDBG and HOME activities).Access CART online at: egis.hud.gov/cart

HUD Releases Notice on Removal of Public Housing Units

On December 7, HUD released Notice PIH 2016-23 (HA). The Notice, titled “Requirements for PHAs removing all public housing units and guidance on either the termination of the ACC or the continuation of the public housing program,” provides information and guidance regarding program activities that Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) must complete regarding the removal of the last of their public housing dwelling units from their public housing inventory. This includes public housing removed through Section 18 (demo/dispo), Section 22 (voluntary conversions to tenant-based rental assistance), Section 32 (resident homeownership programs), Section 33 (required conversion of distressed public housing to tenant-based rental assistance), Section 24 (HOPE VI and Choice Neighborhoods demolitions), eminent domain, RAD transactions, and any other HUD approved action that results in the removal of public housing units from the PHA inventory.

Regardless of the removal mechanism chosen, the process to remove public housing units and other public housing real and personal property from a PHA’s inventory by releasing it from either a Declaration of Trust (DOT) or a Declaration of Restrictive Covenant (DORC) and removing it from the Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) results in a status change in IMS/PIC to “Removed from Inventory.” Prior to removal, PHAs must operate and maintain all public housing, including dwelling and non-dwelling property, in accordance with all applicable public housing requirements (and must only use such property for public housing purposes).

The Notice provides guidance on the notification submission to HUD for removing PHA’s final public housing unit, funding considerations for closeout activities, and closeout activities.  The notice also provides guidance on post-closeout activities, including the PHA Board resolution, the termination of the public housing ACC, and PHA record-keeping and post ACC termination responsibilities.

HUD Releases Notice on Environment Review Requirements

On December 5, HUD released Notice PIH 2016-22 (HA) titled “Environmental Review Requirements for Public Housing Agencies.” The notice provides information and guidance regarding Public Housing Agencies’ (PHAs) compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and other related laws. NEPA requires federal agencies to consider the environmental impact of proposed actions early in the planning and decision-making process to avoid and mitigate negative impacts to human health and the environment.

The notice clarifies the applicability of environmental reviews to all PHA activities at project site(s) assisted or to be assisted by HUD and to the use of all HUD funds, including operating funds. The notice also reiterates the prohibition on using any funding without environmental clearance, and presents submission and processing requirements using a five-year submission period as long as there are no changes to the project scope or environmental conditions. The notice also discusses the when PHAs are required to perform environment reviews for administrative, management, and certain maintenance activities and for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) activities.

HUD considers an environmental review for a specific project to be valid for up to five years, so long as there are no changes to the project scope or environmental conditions. PHAs must request an environmental review for each environmental project site every five years. The following items are the responsibility of PHAs:

A. Identify Responsible Entity;
B. Designate Environmental Project Sites;
C. Prepare the Project Description;
D. Submit Project and Environmental Information to HUD or the Responsible Entity (RE);
E. Facilitate Public and Resident Notice and Participation;
F. Wait for Authorization to Use Grant Funds;
G. Abide by Review Requirements;
H. Advise of Changes in Scope or Conditions; and
I. Maintain Appropriate Records.

If a PHA fails to comply with the above-referenced requirements or the requirements of the notice, then HUD can pursue a wide range of remedies at its administrative discretion. PHAs are also required to conform with civil rights and fair housing laws, in addition to affirmatively furthering fair housing. This includes:

  • Mandatory training with the goal to curtail future non-compliance;
  • Corrective action plan tailored to the violation;
  • Suspension of HUD funds used to finance the violating activity;
  • Recapture of HUD funds used to finance the violating activity;
  • Debarment/suspension of principals and housing authorities that engage in the noncompliant activity; and
  • All other remedies at law.

HUD Releases Notice on Automation of CFP 5-Year Plans

On Friday, December 2 HUD released Notice PIH-2016-21 (HA) titled “Guidance on Automation of Capital Fund Program 5-Year Action Plans and Budgets in the Activity Planning Module of HUD’s Energy Performance and Information Center (EPIC).” The notice modifies the submission process for Capital Fund Program (CFP) 5-Year Action Plans and Budgets (formerly referred to as Annual Statements). PHAs will now be required to submit their CFP 5-Year Action Plans and Budgets within HUD’s Energy Performance and Information Center (EPIC) system instead of the current paper submission process. Concurrently with the shift to electronic submission of 5-Year Action Plans and Budgets in EPIC, PHAs will begin using a new Budget Line Item (BLI) structure across EPIC and HUD’s Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS).

The transition to electronic submission of CFP 5-Year Action Plans and Budgets in EPIC will begin with PHAs that have March 31, 2017 Fiscal Year Ends (FYEs). The transition will then proceed quarterly, as PHAs with June 30th , September 30th , and then December 31st FYEs submit electronically.  PHAs may, on a voluntary basis and with approval of their local HUD Field Office, elect to transition to electronic submission early. PHAs with an approved 5-Year Action Plan in EPIC may revise grant amounts in the 5-Year Action Plan to reflect actual awards and may “funge”, or reschedule, approved activities from one year to another without seeking additional HUD Field Office approvals.

Technical Correction to HUD’s VAWA 2013 Implementation Final Rule

On December 6, HUD will issue a technical correction to the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs” final rule. This correction updates the compliance date for completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers, and associated recordkeeping and reporting requirements to June 14, 2017. After the rule’s publication last month, HUD discovered the compliance date was incorrectly listed in the preamble as May 15, 2017, while the regulatory text provided the correct date of June 14, 2017. The final rule’s effective date (separate from the emergency transfer compliance date) is still December 16, 2016. 

New HUD Rule Makes Changes to HOME Commitment Requirement

Today, HUD issued an interim final rule for the HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program that makes changes to how the Department will determine participating jurisdictions’ (PJs) compliance with the statutory 24-month commitment requirement.

Starting with Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 HOME grants, HUD will begin determining compliance using a grant-specific accounting method. In order to prevent PJs from losing appropriated funds when they expend program income, this rule also establishes a new method of administering program income.

Beginning in 2013, HUD has provided frequent discussions and training on the transition from the cumulative method to grant-specific method of accounting for its formula grant programs. With the exception of the new requirements related to program income, this rule does not establish new and unfamiliar requirements for PJs. Thus, HUD has elected to omit the advanced public notice and comment process. This interim final rule becomes effective on January 3, 2017

HUD is still accepting public comments on the rule however, and requests comments on the best way to treat program income to avoid loss of appropriated HOME funds. Public comments are due by January 31, 2017.

NAHRO staff will provide with a section-by-section analysis of this rule in the forthcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor (members only).

[Note: This article previously reported  erroneous effective and comment due dates that were included in HUD’s final rule. HUD has since issued a technical correction and this article has been updated to reflect the correct dates.] 

HUD Releases Disposition Guidance

On November 30, HUD released Notice PIH 2016-20 titled “2 CFR 200.311(c)(1) Disposition Instructions for the Public Housing Agency (PHA) Retention of Certain Public Housing Real Property (that is no longer used or was never used for public housing dwelling purposes) Free from Public Housing Use Restrictions.” The Notice includes “disposition instructions” and applies when a PHA proposes to retain ownership of certain public housing real property in order to use it for purposes outside of the public housing program.

The Notice includes examples of public housing real property that are eligible for retention after disposition and describes compensation requirements. For PHAs undergoing disposition, PHAs are required to compensate HUD with HUD’s percentage of the original purchase (and costs of any improvements and modernization) of the public housing real property to the Fair Market Value (FMV). Because public housing real property has been generally funded exclusively with public housing funds, the percentage of participation costs are typically 100% of the FMV of the public housing real property.

The Notice also discusses potential exceptions to compensation requirements to HUD. PHAs can receive exceptions if the retention of the property includes the development of rental housing or home ownership that will be operated as affordable housing or if the retention of the property is for a use that benefits or supports the services of low-income families.  HUD will not accept a retention application unless all information is provided within Form HUD-52860 Addendum-G. HUD may require a use restriction or other arrangement of public record if HUD grants an exception to the requirement to compensate HUD at the release of the Declaration of Trust (DOT) or the Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (DORC). Typically, use restrictions are for not less than 30 years. If the PHA is unable to use the retained property for its intended use as reported in Form HUD-52860 Addemdun-G, the PHA is required to compensate HUD for the property.

The Notice states that a PHA is required to continue to meet all applicable ACC obligations and public housing regulatory requirements until HUD releases the DOT or DORC.