Private Activity Bonds Appear Safe in Tax Reform, House Unveils Third CR

According to sources familiar with the on-going negotiations of the tax reform bill, including the Wall Street Journal, the final package will not repeal Private Activity Bonds (PAB), a huge potential win for NAHRO members who advocated strongly against the House-proposed elimination. There is no word yet on the status of New Market Tax Credits or the Historic Preservation Tax Credit.

While PAB appears to be preserved, it is possible that the bill will make changes to the program. We’re unsure at this point what the impact of potential changes to PAB would have on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit and affordable housing production. NAHRO will continue to update its members as more information is available.

The tax reform conference committee is expected to approve the report tomorrow, at which point either the full text of the bill or the conference report summary will be publicly available. The Senate will begin consideration of the bill on Monday, aiming for final passage on Tuesday. The bill then goes to the House for final approval. If passed by both chambers, the President is expected to immediately sign the bill.

Meanwhile, the House introduced bill text for the third continuing resolution (CR) of FY 2018. The current CR expires on Friday, December 22. The House-proposed bill would provide funding for the government until Friday, January 19. It also includes the House’s FY 2018 Defense Appropriations bill and an extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and other health programs. The House is likely to pass the bill, but the Senate is not expected to adopt it with the Defense bill included. It’s unclear whether the Senate will simply pass the CR stripped of the Defense spending bill or if there are other concessions that Democrats will require in exchange for their procedural votes to move the bill forward. If Congress does not act quickly enough, the government will shutdown on Saturday, December 23 at 12:01 am ET.

Also expected to be released on Friday is a disaster relief supplemental package that could be considered in conjunction with the CR or as a stand-alone bill. Congressional leadership has prioritized approving the bill prior to the holidays. The administration released a $44 billion disaster package last month, a request that included the conversion of the Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief (CDBG-DR) program into a competitive grant program to help communities that have experienced “major flood disasters” in the past four years. Congress is expected to ignore that request and increase the size of the package substantially. This will be the third disaster supplemental passed since September and lawmakers already recognize the necessity for a fourth supplemental in early 2018.

 

HUD Publishes Multiple Notices on EnVision Centers, Triennial Recertifications, Small Area FMRs, FSS Performance Measurement, and the 2018 Operating Fund Subsidy Calculation

Today, HUD has made publicly available the rule implementing triennial recertifications from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. HUD has also made available pre-publication copies of notices on EnVision Centers, Small Area FMR Designations, and a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Performance Measurement System. Additionally, HUD published a PIH notice on the Operating Fund Subsidy Calculations for 2018. Additional information on each of these notices is listed below.

  • Advanced Notice of EnVision Center Demonstration (pre-publication copy here) – HUD is seeking comments on a new Demonstration that is designed to test the effectiveness of collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations on accelerating the “economic mobility of low-income households.” Ten communities are anticipated to participate in the Demonstration. The Demonstration is meant to test a “new service-delivery mechanism.” EnVision Centers will provide communities with a centralized hub for support in the following areas: 1) Economic Empowerment; 2) Educational Advancement; 3) Health and Wellness; and 4) Character and Leadership. There will be a 60 day comment period. Comment Due Date: February 12, 2018.
  • FAST Act Triennial Recertifications (pre-publication copy here) – This interim final rule expands the Streamlining Final RulePIH 2016-05 (HA)–issued in 2016, that streamlined income determination for any fixed source of income, among other things. The current streamlining rule does not have a requirement that fixed income be a certain percentage of total income, however it requires a non-fixed income source to be recertified each year. This implementation of the FAST Act language allows any family with at least 90 percent of their income coming from a fixed-source to recertify all of their income every three years. There are certain other changes that this rule makes too. There will be a 30 day comment period and and an effective date of 90 days after tomorrow’s official publication in the Federal Register. Comment Due Date: January 11, 2018. Effective Date: March 12, 2018.
  • Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) Mandatory Implementation Suspension (pre-publication copy here) – Using the authority provided by regulation, HUD suspended the mandatory implementation of Small Area FMRs in most places this past summer in response to an Interim Evaluation of the Small Area FMR Demonstration. The evaluation found that while voucher holders were “slightly more likely” to live in high-rent zip codes, Small Area FMRs also caused a loss of affordable housing stock (fewer units were affordable with vouchers) and increased cost burdens on vulnerable households. Although not required by the Small Area FMR rule, HUD is seeking comments on the suspension of the mandatory aspects of the rule; the comment period will last for 30 days. Comment Due Date: January 11, 2018.
  • Family Self-Sufficiency Performance Measurement System (pre-publication copy here) – this notice details a system to measure performance of FSS programs that receive program coordinator grants. The proposed system would involve three metrics: 1) Earning Performance Measurement (50%); 2) Graduation rate (30%); and 3) Participation Rate (20%). The Earning Performance Measurement would represent “the difference between the earnings growth of FSS participants and the earnings growth of other similar households within the PHA.” This would help control for differences in local economic conditions. The system would use data that HUD believes accurately captures performance and is already reported. There will be a 45 day comment period. Comment Due Date: January 26, 2018.
  • Public Housing Operating Fund Subsidy Calculations for 2018 (PIH 2017-27) – The notice details the Operating Fund Calculations for PHAs for the 2018 calendar year. It is similar to prior notices detailing these calculations.

Additional information on all of these topics will be provided to NAHRO members.

HUD Publishes Notice on Awarding Remaining HCV Set-Aside Funds for Portability

Yesterday, HUD published notice PIH 2017-26 (HA) titled “Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program – Award of Remaining Set-Aside Funds.” The 2017 Appropriations Act provided $75 million of appropriated renewal funding for Prevention of Terminations Due to Insufficient Funding (Shortfall Funding); Unforeseen Circumstances; Portability Cost Increases; Project-based Vouchers; and HUD-VASH. While HUD originally anticipated using all $75 million for shortfall funding, HUD will now award approximately $15 million toward the portability cost increases category for initial PHAs located in a Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) area that was established between August 25, 2017 and December 31, 2017.

To be eligible for the funds, PHAs must be located in MDD areas and have experienced a significant increase in costs due to portability for tenant-based rental assistance. The Department will apply on behalf of non-operational PHAs in MDD areas that are listed as non-operational at the publication time of the notice. Other PHAs can submit requests for this additional funding through regular mail or email, but should not do both. HUD encourages applying electronically.

To apply, PHAs should fill out Attachment A of the notice and submit it to 2017Set-AsideApplications@hud.gov. The subject line should say the following: PHA Number, 2017 Portability Application.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Issues Guidance on Third-Party Agreements Encumbering Public Housing

On November 29, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued PIH-2017-24 (HA) titled, “Guidance on Third-Party Agreements Encumbering Public Housing Property.”  The Notice discusses the procedures and requirements for PHAs that enter into a third-party agreement that would encumber the PHA’s use or interest in public housing property. Third-party agreements may take various forms including but not limited to leases, licenses, leaseholds, rights-of-ways, easements, operating agreements, contracts, liens, assignments, and asset transfers.

The Notice discusses the types of third party agreements that are permissible. These include agreements for normal uses associated with the operation of public housing and agreements unrelated to normal uses associated with the operating of public housing. PHAs are responsible in determining whether a third-party agreement requires HUD approval. This is determined via a disposition analysis and an annual contributions contract (ACC) analysis. PHAs may need approval from either HUD’s Special Application Center (SAC) or their Field Office before entering into a third-party agreement, however this is not always the case. The PHA is responsible for determining whether the SAC or the Field Office is responsible for approval.

Lastly, the notice contains requirements for third-party agreements, and contains a suggested HUD rider to third-party agreements.