HUD Publishes Expedited Waiver Process Notice for PHAs affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

[10/6/17 Edit – the notice has been published in the Federal Register and can be found here.]

Earlier today, HUD made available a pre-publication copy of a notice titled “Relief from HUD Requirements Available to PHAs to Assist with Recovery and Relief Efforts on Behalf of Families Affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Future Natural Disasters where Major Disaster Declarations might be Issued in 2017.” The notice establishes an expedited process for a review of waiver requests for those PHAs that are in Major Disaster Declaration areas (MDD PHAs). PHAs in future Major Disaster Declaration areas in 2017 may also use the flexibilities granted in the notice. The notice becomes applicable tomorrow (October 6, 2017) with its publication in the Federal Register.

To begin the expedited waiver process, PHAs must complete the checklist (listed as Attachment A to the notice) and must include a good-cause justification stating why the waiver is needed for the PHA’s relief and recovery efforts. A MDD PHA may also request a waiver that is not listed and still receive expedited review of the request if the MDD PHA documents that the waiver is needed for relief and recovery purposes.

To apply for these waivers through the expedited waiver process, do the following:

  1. Download the checklist;
  2. Complete the section titled “Information about Requesting Agency” (make sure an MDD PHA official signs it);
  3. Complete the checklists and provide any needed documentation;
  4. Write an email to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov and your Field Office Public Housing Director with the subject line “Hurricane Harvey/Irma Disaster Relief”;
  5. Attach the completed checklist to the email; and
  6. Send the email.

The pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

A brief description of the available flexibilities can be found be clicking below.

  • Flexibilities that are available to MDD PHAs (Upon notification to HUD or HUD approval):
    • Extension of deadline for obligation and expenditure of Capital Funds (24 CFR 905.306) – deadline extended for 12 months;
    • Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) minimum program size (24 CFR 984.105(d)) – upon submission to HUD of a certification and upon request by an MDD PHA, HUD will grant an exception to the FSS minimum program size requirement for 12 months;
    • Public housing dwelling units with approved vacancies (24 CFR 990.145(b)) – If an MDD PHA has a unit that is vacant because of “severe storms and flooding,” then the MDD PHA may treat it as a “approved vacancy” with HUD approval;
  • HUD Requirements that may be Waived;
    • Verification of eligible immigration status; Secondary verification (24 CFR 5.512(d)) – HUD is willing to extend the timeframe for secondary verification requests to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to 90 calendar days for up to 12 months after HUD approval;
    • Uniform financial reporting standards; Filing of financial reports; Reporting compliance dates (24 CFR 5.801(c) and 5.801(d)(1)) – For MDD PHAs with fiscal years ending in Dec. 31, 2016 and March 31, 2017, the deadline for submission of certain financial information may be extended to 13 months; For MDD PHAs with fiscal years ending June 30, 2017, Sept. 30, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017, the deadline for submitting certain financial information and unaudited financial statements may be extended to 180 calendar days, while the deadline for submission of audited financial statements may be extended to 13 months;
    • Public Housing Assessment System (24 CFR 902) – For MDD PHAs with certain fiscal year ends (June 30, 2017; Sept. 30, 2017; Dec. 31, 2017; March 31, 2018; or June 30, 2018) may waive the inspection and scoring of public housing developments;
    • Fiscal closeout (24 CFR 905.322(b)) – HUD may be willing to extend Actual Development Cost Certificate (ADCC) and Actual Modernization Cost Certificate (AMCC) deadlines by 12 months;
    • Cost and other limitations; Maximum project cost; TDC limit (24 CFR 905.314(b)-(c)) – HUD may waive the total development cost (TDC) and housing cost cap limits for all work funded by the Capital Grant until the issuance of 2018 TDC levels;  MDD PHAs must still keep costs reasonable;
    • Cost and other limitations; Types of labor (24 CFR 905.314(j)) – HUD may allow non-high performer PHAs to use force account labor for modernization activities (even if not included in 5-Year Action Plan); will not exceed 12 months;
    • Capital Fund Formula; Limitation of Replacement Housing Fund to New Development (24 CFR 905.400(i)(5)) – HUD may allow all Capital Fund Replacement Housing Factor Grants with unused balances to be used for public housing modernization; will impact funds obligated within 12 months of waiver approval;
    • Requirements for energy audits (24 CFR 965.302) – HUD may extend the deadline for energy audits due to take place in FY 2017 by 12 months;
    • Waiting List; Opening and closing; Public notice (24 CFR 982.206(a)(2)) – HUD may allow MDD PHAs to provide public notice of waiting list opening on its website; at its offices; or in voice mail messages; fair housing implications must be taken into account;
    • HUD approval of exception payment standard amount (24 CFR 982.503(c)) – HUD may allow a MDD PHA to set a payment standard at 150 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR); in effect until HUD changes FMRs;
    • Housing Quality Standards; Space and security (24 CFR 982.401(d)) – HUD may waive adequate space requirement for Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participant; requires written consent of program participant and will only be in effect for 12 months (for family, the waiver will be in effect for initial lease term);
    • Occupancy of  home (24 CFR 982.633(a)) – HUD may allow MDD PHA to make homeownership assistance Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) without the family residing in the home; PHA must show good cause;
    • Contract of participation; contract extension (24 CFR 984.303(d))- HUD may allow MDD PHA to extend an FSS Family’s contract for up to 3 years;
    • Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) (24 CFR 985) – For certain MDD PHAs (those with fiscal year ends of Sept. 30, 2017; Dec. 31, 2017; or March 31, 2018), HUD may consider a request to carry forward the last SEMAP score received by the PHA;
    • Verification of the Social Security Number (SSN) (PIH 2012-10, Section 8(c)) – HUD may extend SSN documentation submittal requirement to 90 days;
    • Processing Special Applications Center (SAC) Applications (PIH 2012-7, Section 9 and 4) – HUD may process incomplete SAC applications to allow for PHAs to apply for tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) after the submission of a SAC application  based on imminent health and safety issues;
    • Section 18 Demolition applications; Location obsolescence (24 CFR 970.15(b)(1)(ii)) – HUD is willing to accept certain environmental reviews for Section 18 demolition applications, if the review indicates the environmental conditions jeopardize the suitability of the site or a portion of the site and its housing structures for residential use;
    • Section 18 Demolition applications; Obsolescence (24 CFR 970.15(b)(2) and PIH 2012-7, Section 14) – HUD is willing to waive cost-effectiveness and submittal of list of specific work items, if other evidence is shown that program of modifications is not cost-effective;
    • Section 18 Demolition applications; Obsolescence (PIH 2012-7, Section 14) – similar to above; HUD is willing to waive physical obsolescence criteria with submittal of other evidence;
    • TPV Availability for Section 18 (PIH 2017-10, Section 6(f)(2)(a)) – For MDD PHAs that have vacated units based on health and safety concerns prior  to the submission of a TPV application, HUD may make TPVs available for units that were occupied immediately prior to the disaster.

The pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

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