HUD REAC Publishes UPCS-V Version 2.5

HUD REAC’s Oversight and Evaluation Division (OED) has published Version 2.5 of the UPCS-V protocol. The UPCS-V protocol is an inspections protocol that HUD is developing as a successor to the current Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections protocol currently in use for the Housing Choice Voucher Program. HUD is developing the protocol in a Demonstration program with nearly 250 PHAs participating.

OED has posted both the protocol itself and a document listing all the changes from version 2.0 of the UPCS-V protocol. At this time, it looks like the majority of changes are language related for clarity or grammar, with a few technical changes.

The UPCS-V 2.5 protocol can be found here.

The document listing changes from the UPCS-V 2.0 protocol to the UPCS-V 2.5 protocol can be found here.

HUD Calculates Renewal Funding Inflation Factors for HCV Program

Tomorrow, June 8, HUD will publish a notice in the Federal Register titled “Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program-Fiscal year (FY) 2017 Inflation Factors for Public Housing Agency (PHA) Renewal Funding.” The notice outlines the methodology for calculating Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs). These factors are applied to leasing and cost data to determine current year Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program eligibility (i.e., these factors determine how much additional money PHAs need to maintain the same number and quality of vouchers as the previous year). Tables showing RFIFs will be available from HUD here (when posted after this notice is published in the Federal Register). The pre-publication notice can be found here.

HUD calculates RFIFs with a three-step process. First, HUD forecasts a national inflation factor. Second, HUD calculates individual area inflation factors (using annual changes in the two-bedroom Fair Market Rent [FMR] for the area). Third, HUD scales the individual area inflation factors so that the weighted average equals the national average, but ensures that each area has an inflation factor of no less than one. This year, 2017, HUD has changed its methodology so that the first step uses forecasts to calculate per unit costs (PUCs) instead of relying on backward-looking historical data.

[6/8/17 Edit – The published notice can be found here.]

Click the link below to read a more detailed description of the methodology.

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Thinking About Solar Panels?

On May 31, 2017 the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) hosted a webinar on Solar Project Development for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs). The webinar presented approaches for implementation based on various readiness levels. Presenters included Crystal Bergemann, Energy Team Lead, Office of Economic Development; Benjamin Foster, ICF expert; Richard Santangelo, Apollo Engineering Solutions, subcontractor to IFC; and Robert Havlicket, Executive Director, Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara. Each presenter outlined a framework for effective planning for a solar photovoltaic (PV) project. Comprehensive steps such as financing, site locations, incentives, and best practices were shared to encourage PHAs to use solar panels.

The webinar focused on solar panels for PHAs, with a framework for financial planning which affordable housing and multiple family programs can utilize. One approach that was presented was HUD’s Renew300 initiative, which started in 2013 as a mechanism to increase the use of on-site community solar panels at federally assisted housing to save energy and money for the community. Solar development can save money for organizations, contribute to the local economy, and positively impact the community.  

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Suspension of HOME 24-Month Commitment Requirement

On June 2, HUD published a message on HUD Exchange addressing the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act’s (Public Law No. 115-31) suspension of the HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) 24-month commitment requirement for deadlines occurring in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Due to this suspension, HUD will not be enforcing the program’s 24-month commitment requirement for deadlines occurring this year or in 2018 and 2019. For deadlines that occurred in 2016, HUD intends to return deobligated funds to participating jurisdictions (PJs). HUD further clarifies that this suspension does not apply to a PJ’s Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) set-aside funds and does not apply to the 5-year expenditure deadline for FY 2014 and earlier grants. The recent HOME interim rule implementing grant-specific commitment requirements remains in effect, except HUD will not enforce the 24-month commitment deadlines discussed above. Additional HUD guidance on the effects of this suspension is forthcoming.