UPCS-V Demonstration Update (February, 2017)

Earlier today, HUD held a conference call for participants of the UPCS-V Demonstration. The call provided an update of what was occurring with the Demonstration and the next steps in the process.

There are 234 agencies that are participating in the UPCS-V Demonstration. Of these, four agencies are currently doing UPCS-V inspections. Fifteen additional agencies are scheduled to begin doing UPCS-V inspections in April 2017. HUD has been gathering feedback from PHAs to improve the usability of the inspection software and has identified 39 items to improve in the software. Additionally, the protocol and decision trees are being updated from feedback from PHAs. HUD has noted that there are a limited number of electronic devices that will be available for the Demonstration and is prioritizing PHAs who need them and do not have them.

During the call, HUD noted two areas where they were looking for additional feedback. First, HUD would like feedback from landlords. They would like to hear from PHAs about landlord groups in their area. They are also looking to conduct a landlord event–possibly a call or a conference. Second, HUD will hold two IT vendor days in Phoenix, AZ and Jacksonville, FL on April 5th and April 7th respectively. They are encouraging PHAs to attend these events with their software vendors so that HUD is able to “facilitate a conversation.”

Finally, HUD shared this timeline during the update:

  • Past;
    • First PHAs completed inspections of record in January;
    • UPCS-V 2.0 released;
    • Updated software;
    • Updated decision trees;
  • Present;
    • Expand adoption of UPCS-V to larger number of PHAs;
    • In-person and WebEx training;
    • Incorporating weekly updates from weekly trainings;
  • February – June;
    • Increase the number of inspections for statistical valid sample;
    • Understanding potential challenges for PHAs;
    • Release of next version of protocol of refinement of decision trees with PHA input;
    • Continuous software user experience;
    • IT Vendor Day;
  • June – January (2018);
    • Working towards a full online training tool; and
    • Continue training PHAs and evaluating data collected from the Demonstration.

Any questions or feedback can be given to HUD at OED@hud.gov. In the past, HUD has posted a recording of the call and the accompanying slides on their OED website, within a few weeks.

New Presidential Executive Order on Regulatory Reform Agenda

On Friday, February 24, the White House published a new executive order titled “ENFORCING THE REGULATORY REFORM AGENDA.” The executive order is meant to create a framework to implement and enforce regulatory reform. The order directs agencies to create regulatory reform task forces to evaluate existing regulations to repeal, replace, or modify.

The executive order has six sections. A brief summary of each section follows.

Section 1 – Sets the policy of the United States to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

Section 2 – The head of each agency (except those receiving waivers) must  designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) within 60 days of publication of the order. The RRO is to oversee the implementation of the regulatory reform agenda and report to the agency head.

Section 3 – Each agency is instructed to create a regulatory reform task force with an RRO serving to chair each task force, unless another official is designated by the agency head. Entities staffed by multiple agencies are also required to create regulatory reform task forces. The task forces’ objectives are to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to repeal, replace, or modify. They should also seek input from entities affected by the regulation and provide a report to the agency head within 90 days detailing the agency’s progress at implementing the regulatory reform agenda and identifying regulations. At a minimum, the task forces are to identify regulations that fall into the following categories:

  1. eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
  2. are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
  3. impose costs that exceed benefits;
  4. create a serious inconsistency or interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
  5. rely on data or methods that are not publicly available or lack sufficient transparency; and
  6. derive from past executive orders that have been rescinded or substantially modified.

Section 4 – Each agency is required to measure its performance in performing the tasks outlined in the executive order.

Section 5 – The OMB Director may issue a waiver to those agencies that publish few regulations and must publish which agencies receive waivers.

Section 6 – Miscellaneous provisions ensuring that the order does not have unintended adverse effects.

NAHRO commends the administration’s goals to streamline those regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, ineffective, or impose costs that exceed benefits and looks forward to working with HUD’s regulatory reform task force to achieve these goals.

The full order can be read here.

HUD Guidance on HOPWA Permanent Supportive Housing Grant Renewal

Last week, HUD published a Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) notice (CPD-17-02) that announces renewal application requirements and procedural guidance for eligible grantees with expiring HOPWA Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) competitive grants.

Eligible renewal applicants are grantees with grants set to expire between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. These grantees must demonstrate that the remaining balance on the current HOPWA PSH grant would be insufficient to fund activities beyond May 31, 2018. The notice lists 33 grantees that are eligible for renewal in FY 2017.

HUD expects to renew all eligible expiring HOPWA PSH competitive grants initially funded by appropriated funds from FY 2010 or earlier. If it turns out that appropriations for FY 2017 do not provide adequate funding for the renewals needed, HUD will contact all applicants.

The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2017.

HUD Releases Guidance on Smoke-Free Rule

On February 15, HUD Released Notice PIH-2017-03 “HUD Guidance on Instituting and Enforcing Smoke-Free Public Housing Policies.” The Notice provides regulatory guidance to PHAs regarding the implementation of the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing(members only) Final Rule, issued in December, 2016. PHAs have 18 months after the effective date of the final rule to implement smoke-free policies. The effective date has currently been pushed back due to the Administration’s regulatory freeze.

The Notice describes required PHA plan and lease amendments, flexibilities afforded to PHAs while creating their smoke-free policy, signage requirements, funding, and designated smoking areas. The Notice further discusses tools that PHAs may use to enforce and monitor their smoke-free policies. These include graduated enforcement approaches, intensified compliance monitoring, lease terminations or transfers, and evictions.

The final rule also requires PHAs to provide reasonable accommodation when needed. Although reasonable accommodation cannot include allowing an individual to smoke in a restricted area, reasonable accommodations can be made if individuals have trouble accessing designated smoking areas. Reasonable accommodations must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, the Notice encourages PHAs to work closely with residents in the development on the smoke-free policies, and provides resources for best practices, smoking cessation, and PHA and resident training.

Urban Institute Releases MTW Mobility Report

The Urban Institute recently released a report titled “Moving to Work and Neighborhood Opportunity” that examines how MTW agencies have been able to use their status to promote mobility for their residents to “opportunity-rich” neighborhoods. These policies include “changes to the tenant-based Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program or policies that increase the affordable housing supply in opportunity neighborhoods through the project-based voucher (PBV) program.”

The report examines 45 mobility-related initiatives in place, proposed but not implemented, or closed out as of 2015, implemented by the existing 39 MTW agencies. The report specifically looks at four key MTW policy interventions that promote mobility: comprehensive mobility services (including mobility counselling and case management), incentives and supports for landlords, supports for tenants, and project-basing vouchers in “high-opportunity neighborhoods.” The report also examined MTW interventions that limit mobility. The reported notes that PHAs provided the following reasons for limiting mobility, “fairness, administrative burden, avoiding tenant evasion of work requirements, and limiting the amount of housing dollars leaving their jurisdiction.”

The report notes the limitations that come from relying solely on MTW plans and reports to catalog mobility-related efforts, however it justified the need to focus specifically on MTW agencies due to the “policy and funding flexibility that allows them to explore new approaches to providing housing assistance.”

HUD Offers Grants to Clean Up Lead-Based Paint Hazards – HUD Press Release

HUD Press Release (February 8, 2017):

Funding to protect children from lead poisoning

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced that it is making grants available to help eliminate dangerous lead-based paint hazards from lower income homes in order to protect young children. Additionally, this funding will provide an opportunity for local communities to establish and support programs to control other housing-related health and safety hazards.

Unsafe and unhealthy homes affect the health of millions of people of all income levels, geographic areas, and walks of life in the U.S. These homes affect the economy directly, through increased utilization of health care services, and indirectly, through lost wages and increased school days missed. The housing improvements communities will make will help prevent injuries and illnesses, reduce associated health care and social services costs, reduce absentee rates for children in school and adults at work, and reduce stress, all which help to improve the quality of life.

HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes promotes local efforts to eliminate dangerous lead paint hazards and other housing-related health hazards from lower income homes, stimulate private sector investment in lead hazard control, support cutting-edge research on methods for assessing and controlling housing-related health and safety hazards, and educate the public about the dangers of hazards in the home.

The grants to States, local governments and the private sector are being offered through HUD’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program, and Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration Program. In these grant programs, HUD is providing additional funding (healthy homes supplemental funds) to identify and remediate, in homes where lead-based paint hazards are being controlled, other housing-related health hazards.

HUD expects to make approximately 32 awards under these programs. This estimate assumes funding at the same level as Fiscal Year 2016. The actual number of awards made under this funding notice will depend on the amount of Congress appropriates in the Fiscal Year 2017 budget, the number of eligible applicants, and other factors.

HUD requires prospective grantees to submit their applications electronically at www.grants.gov. Any changes to HUD-published funding notices will be made available to the public through a Federal Register publication and published on this government-wide portal. Applicants are urged to sign up for Grants.gov’s notification service to receive periodic updates or changes to these grant offerings.


HUD Publishes CY 2017 Administrative Fee Rates

HUD has published its Administrative Fee Rates for Calendar Year (CY) 2017. The administrative fees are paid on the basis of units leased on the first of each month as taken from the Voucher Management System (VMS). There are two fee rates: the Column A fee rate applies to the first 7200 unit months leased in CY 2017, while the Column B fee rate applies to all remaining unit months leased in CY 2017. In cases where the CY 2017 fee rates were lower than those provided CY 2016, PHAs will continue to receive CY 2016 rates. PHAs that have been receiving blended fee rates will continue to receive blended fee rates. PHAs that are eligible and wish to receive blended fee rates, can send their request to the Financial Management Division at HUD. Instructions for applying will be detailed in the 2017 Housing Choice Voucher funding implementation notice.

The CY 2017 Administrative Fee Rates Description can be found here.

The CY 2017 Administrative Fee Rate Table can be found here.

(2/14/17 Edit – the link to the “CY 2017 Administrative Fee Rate Table” pointed to last year’s rates. It has been updated to point to the correct CY 2017 rates.)

HUD Updates HCV Forecasting Tool

According to a HUD official, HUD has updated the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program forecasting tool. The updated tool now includes updated information, including a higher inflation renewal factor; a default forecasting HAP proration of 94% for year 2–i.e., 2017–but the proration can be changed depending on scenarios that the user would like to test; and the ability to forecast up until a fourth year. To access the tool, the user needs to log in through WASS.

Additional information about accessing the tool can be found here.

Operating Fund Obligations for February Released

HUD has released their explanation of FY17 Operating Fund obligations for February on HUD’s 2017 Subsidy Processing website. The Department is providing an interim proration of approximately 85 percent for the Operating Fund. This proration may change later in the year to reflect the difference in the amount of the actual eligibility for final approved PHA subsidy requests and the FY17 Appropriation Bill. Congress has yet to pass a FY17 appropriations bill and is currently working off of a Continuing Resolution (C.R.) of FY16 appropriation levels.