HUD PIH Publishes Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 Guidance

On May 19, HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a new notice (PIH-2017-08) that provides guidance to PHAs and owners on the requirements of the “Violence Against Women Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs Final Rule,” (VAWA Final Rule, published November 16, 2016) with respect to the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs (including the Project-Based Voucher (PBV)), and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation (Mode Rehab).

Overall, the VAWA Final Rule 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.

Notice PIH-2017-08 provides a summary of the major changes of the final rule’s impact on PIH programs and details who is eligible to receive VAWA protections and how eligibility is determined and certified.

Among its topics, the notice reviews policies for:

  • PHA Documentation Requirements
  • Notice of Occupancy Rights
  • Victim Confidentiality
  • Emergency Transfers (Emergency Transfer Plans must be in place by June 14, 2017)
  • Family Break-up
  • Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements
  • Developing Partnerships with Victim Service Providers
  • Lease Bifurcations
  • Establishing Waiting List Preferences
  • Landownership: Move with Continued Tenant-Based Assistance
  • Owners in the HCV Program
  • Assistance Under More Than One Covered Housing Program
  • Fair Housing and Nondiscrimination

Please note that this guidance does not encompass every aspect of the VAWA Final Rule and should be used in conjunction with the VAWA Final Rule. NAHRO will provide a deeper analysis of this PIH notice for members in a forthcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor.

NAHRO attends meeting at HUD on the HCV Program

On May 10, NAHRO staff, along with other industry and advocacy groups, attended a meeting at HUD at which the current state of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program was discussed. HUD staff at the meeting had two main points for the attendees:

  1. With the passage of the FY 2017 budget, most PHAs will be receiving a similar amount or more in HAP than they received the year before (this is happening despite the 97.277 proration of HAP because of higher inflation factors);
  2. HUD highly recommends using their HCV forecasting tool.

Read more by clicking the link.

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HUD Releases Notice on Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Cost

On May 15, HUD published a notice and request for comment titled “Reducing Regulatory Burden; Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Under Executive Order 13777.” Comments can be made at Regulations.gov until June 14, 2017.

Executive Order 13771, issued January 30, requires that for every new regulation issued, at least two prior regulations be identified for elimination. The Order attempts to alleviate the costs associated with the government imposition of private expenditures, which must comply with Federal Regulations. Furthermore, to ensure cost efficiency, another Executive Order, 13777, signed on February, 24, requires HUD to establish a Task Force to evaluate its regulations’ effectiveness. The Order requires federal agencies, including HUD, to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.

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NAHRO Participates in HDLI’s 2017 Spring Conference

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.  
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HUD Issues Waiver for a Citizen Participation Requirement in CPD Programs

On May 10, HUD’s Office of Community Planing and Development (CPD) issued a waiver that concerns the 30-day public comment standard for CPD formula grantees submitting their FY 2017 consolidated plan or action plan to HUD.

As a consequence of Congress’s seven month delay in passing a FY 2017 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill, there is now insufficient time for CPD grantees to complete their pre-submission or pre-amendment citizen participation process before the statutory August 16, 2017 submission deadline – if HUD does not receive a consolidated plan or action plan by this date, a grantee automatically loses its FY 2017 CDBG funding.

To help ensure grantees do not lose their FY 2107 funding, HUD’s waiver replaces the regulatory 30-day citizen participation public comment period with a minimum 14-day comment period. This waiver applies to all CPD grantees and is in effect only until August 16, 2017.

The Continued Importance of Affordable Housing and “Poverty, Politics and Profit”

On May 9, PBS aired a Frontline and NPR investigation on federal dollars that are spent on affordable housing, examining why so few low-income Americans receive the help they need. Central themes of the investigation highlighted the urgency for additional resources needed to address the nation’s growing affordable housing crisis. Currently, one in four renter households spends more than 50 percent of their income on housing, and there is no state in the U.S. where a worker earning full-time minimum wage can afford a modest, one-bedroom apartment. NAHRO welcomes discussion on the importance of addressing our nation’s affordable housing needs, which continue to escalate, however, we would like to clarify a number of points in response to this program.

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Operating Fund Proration Increases as Funding Decreases

According to HUD, PHAs will see an increase in the proration for the Public Housing Operating Fund from 85 to 92.9 percent. This reflects funding included in the appropriations bill, or omnibus, recently passed by Congress. The 2017 omnibus provides $4.4 billion to support the operation and management of public housing. This is $100 million less than 2016 funding levels, $100 million less than what was proposed by the 2017 House Appropriations bill, and $175 million less than the Senate bill. Although 2017 Operating Fund levels are less than 2016 levels, the funding provided by the omnibus is sufficient to fund 92.9 percent of PHAs’ anticipated formula eligibility for 2017, higher than the 2016 proration. This is due to declines in Operating Fund formula eligibility from 2016 to 2017. The decline in formula eligibility was caused by high formula income inflation factors and utility expense level deflation due to declining oil and natural gas costs.

Although the proration in 2017 is higher than the proration in 2016, PHAs may still receive smaller subsidies in 2017 than 2016 due to the overall decline in Operating Fund formula eligibility. Less money will be made available to the Operating Fund overall due to the impact of these inflation and deflation factors on formula eligibility. As not all PHAs have seen increases in incomes or declines in utility expenses, some PHAs will experience declines in Operating Fund subsidies for 2017 as compared to 2016, even though the proration for 2017 is higher. PHAs need to be prepared since this issue will not disappear next year without changes to the subsidy eligibility formula. Any formula change would be a substantial process that would result in gainers and decliners for Operating Fund subsidy distribution, and will involve a lengthy process at HUD headquarters.

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VAWA Implementation e-Briefing Next Week

VAWA 2013 Implementation
A NAHRO Professional Development e-Briefing

Next Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 1:30 – 3:00 pm EDT

Last November, HUD published a long-awaited final rule that provides expanded housing protections for survivors of violence by fully codifying the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into HUD regulations. At its core, VAWA 2013 prohibits HUD housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a survivor of violence.

Join NAHRO’s in-house policy experts as they discuss compliance with the final rule and the requirements for completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers. HUD’s deadline to implement a VAWA Emergency Transfer Plan is June 14, 2017.

Just $95 for NAHRO Members!

Reminder: Whether you’re watching alone or with an audience of 100, only one registration per connected device is required, making NAHRO Professional Development’s e-Briefings an outstanding value!

Online registration will close Monday, May 15 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Reminder: Vera Institute of Justice Solicitation for Technical Assistance Application Due Friday (May 12)

The Vera Institute of Justice is still soliciting applications for technical assistance from PHAs, including those PHAs running Housing Choice Voucher Programs, who seek to implement reentry programs or to change their policies for the purpose of increasing access to housing for people with conviction histories. There are no financial commitments for PHAs.

Applications will be accepted until this Friday, May 12, 2017. To apply, interested PHAs should send (as a PDF) the following: (1) a letter of intent of commitment; (2) an application narrative; and (3) optional, but recommended, letters of support. All documentation should be sent to kfinley@vera.org.

Our previous blog post on this “Request for Proposals for Technical Assistance” can be found here.

The entire application can be found here.

President Signs FY 2017 HUD Spending Bill

After seven months and three continuing resolutions, Congress on Thursday finally approved, and the President on Friday signed, an omnibus spending bill of all 11 remaining appropriations bills, including Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.

The $1.07 trillion deal provides funding for federal departments and agencies until the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2017. The bill contains level funding or a slight increase to most housing and community development programs, with few exceptions.

The bill was passed on a bipartisan basis easily in both the House and the Senate. On Wednesday, the House approved the bill by 309 to 118 and on Thursday the Senate approved it by 79-18, sending the omnibus to the President for his signature. President Trump signed the bill this afternoon.

The final passage of the omnibus ends more than seven months of delays in finalizing spending for the current fiscal year. Initially opting to postpone making final spending decisions until after the election, Congress approved a short-term spending bill that ran out in mid-December, with the intention of wrapping up work on the fiscal year during the lame duck. However, the then President-elect signaled to Congress that he would like to have input on spending in the current fiscal year, so legislators passed a short-term bill until April 28. Congressional leadership, close to wrapping up negotiations, signaled last week that they needed an additional week of time, requiring the passage of yet another week-long continuing resolution.

The path to a deal was bumpy, but far less rocky than it could have been. Controversial policy riders and requests from the President to fund a border wall with Mexico and an increase defense spending were omitted, likely delaying a larger battle for later in the year. Critically, the parity between defense and non-defense spending was also maintained, a huge victory in a difficult political environment.

NAHRO Acting CEO John Bohm called upon Congress to begin work immediately on a responsible 2018 federal spending bill and expressed concern regarding the year-over-year need to approve continuing resolutions. “Despite promises to return to regular order with regard to the appropriations process,” Bohm said, “NAHRO members continue to struggle to meet local needs given the uncertainties and delays inherent in the approval of continuing resolutions. With the 2018 fiscal year to begin in a mere four months (including the annual August recess) there is at this point every assurance that we will be operating under yet another CR come October. We can do better than this to help those in need.”

Below is a summary of the FY 2017 housing and community development funding levels. The NAHRO Policy Staff has conducted a detailed analysis of the Public Housing, Section 8 and Community Development provisions and funding levels. NAHRO Members can read each of these deep-dive analysis documents on the NAHRO website:


Housing and Community Development Funding Levels

  • Public Housing Programs
    • Public Housing Capital Fund – $1.9415 billion, $41.5 million higher than FY 2016
      • Competitive Lead-Based Paint Grants – $25 million, new program
      • ROSS – $35 million, level funding
      • Emergency Capital Needs – $21.5 million, $500,000 less than FY 2016
      • Jobs Plus – $15 million, level funding
      • PH Financial Physical Assessment – $10 million, $7 million higher than FY 2016
    • Public Housing Operating Fund – $4.4 billion, $100 million less than FY 2016
    • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative – $137.5 million, $12.5 million higher than FY 2016
    • Family Self-Sufficiency – $75 million, level funding
    • RAD – expanded to 225,000 units
  • Section 8 Programs
    • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance – $20.292 billion
      • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals – $18.355 billion, $663 million higher than FY 2016
      • Ongoing Administrative Fees – $1.64 billion, level funding
    • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance – $10.816 billion, $196 million higher than FY 2016
  • Community Development Programs
    • Community Development Block Grant – $3 billion, level funding
    • HOME Investment Partnerships – $950 million, level funding
    • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – $356 million, $21 million higher than FY 2016
    • Homeless Assistance Grants – $2.383 billion, $133 million higher than FY 2016