Senate Approves Reforms for Small Agencies

This week the Senate approved the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (s. 2155), a wide-sweeping banking bill that also included several provisions to provide regulatory relief to small housing agencies and authorization for the Family Self-Sufficiency program.

The bill moved relatively quickly through the Senate; the initial draft was unveiled in November and it was approved by the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in December. After two weeks of floor consideration, it was approved 67-31 on Wednesday, March 14.

While NAHRO did not take a position on the overall bill, NAHRO does support the small agency provisions. The bill includes:

  • Streamline public housing inspections, making the process less burdensome on the agency, while protecting residents’ right to decent, healthy housing;
  • Exempt small agencies from environmental reviews for projects under $100,000 and streamline the environmental review process for projects over $100,000;
  • Create an appeals process for troubled agencies that protects residents and allows agencies to demonstrate satisfactory unit condition;
  • Freeze formula utility and waste costs to accrue cost savings; Deploy a reporting system at HUD for agencies that choose to operate under a consortia; and
  • Enhance the Family Self-Sufficiency program.

The path forward is unclear; the Senate modified the bill to attract more support in the House, but the House has already approved similar legislation. NAHRO is working with Congressional staff to consider options for the small agency provisions.