On May 11 and 12, NAHRO staff participated in the Housing and Development Law Institute’s (HDLI’s) 2017 Spring Continuing Legal Education (CLE) conference in Washington, DC. The conference brought together over a hundred agency officials, employees, legal counsel, and stakeholders of affordable housing with diverse perspectives from across the nation. NAHRO’s Director of Policy and Program Development, Georgi Banna, presented with industry partners on the potential impacts of the finalized FY 2017 budget for the public housing and Section 8 programs and on how the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) forecasting tool may be a resource to assist PHAs with funding projections and wait list management. Concluding the conference with an open forum, NAHRO had an opportunity to discuss the daily operations of attorneys and directors alike.
The sessions provided attendees an opportunity to learn about current legal topics affecting assisted housing. With the discussion based model, participants were allowed to provide examples, insight, and ask questions for each case presented.
This year’s topics included:
- Annual Review of Case Law Affecting Public Housing and Redevelopment Agencies;
- How to Handle Sex Offenders Living in Assisted Housing;
- Front Burner Fair Housing Issues – Legal Treatment of Transgendered Persons & Gender Identity, Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing, National Origin and Disparate Impact Liability;
- The State of Housing Initiatives Under the New Trump Administration- HOTMA, MTW, Section 8, Immigration, and More!;
- Legal Ethics for 2017 & Beyond;
- Labor and Employment Law Issues for 2017;
- New Development With RAD- Current Strategies and News; and
- How Recent HUD Guidance on Criminal Records & Histories Affects Your Admissions, Terminations, and Grievance Decisions- Challenges and Best Practices.
Presenters were well versed on the topics and effectively articulated the subject’s history, changes, and opportunities. Some highlights included new developments in the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, namely a new checklist and eligibility requirements, changes to the project-based voucher regulations and how the definition of “ownership” could complicate RAD conversions with local property tax exemptions, as well as recent changes concerning the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA), Moving to Work (MTW), Section 8 topics, and immigration issues. An important point was the concerns with MTW expansion and how the expansion does not resemble the current MTW program in regards to the autonomy and flexibility given to local officials. Finally, conference participants discussed the uncertainty regarding the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule within the new administration.
Adrianne Todman, current Executive Director of the District of Columbia Housing Authority and NAHRO’s incoming CEO, gave the keynote address during the conference luncheon. Todman spoke about the advocacy work that is needed to improve the policies of the affordable housing landscape. She discussed a sense of urgency for working with various programs and encouraged all attendees to act swiftly. NAHRO is excited to have someone with an in depth knowledge of affordable housing and passion to lead our organization.
NAHRO will continue to collaborate with HDLI, Congress, HUD, and its members by advocating for the improvement of affordable housing programs through policy change.