HUD Releases MTW Expansion Operations Notice

On Friday, October 5th, HUD will release the Operations Notice for the Expansion of the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration program. The notice establishes the requirements for the implementation and continued operations of the MTW demonstration program pursuant to the 2016 MTW Expansion Statute. Comments are due 45 days from publication of the Operations Notice in the Federal Register.

The 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act (the Act) authorized HUD to expand the MTW demonstration program by adding an additional 100 high-performing public housing agencies (PHAs) over a period of seven years. The Act requires agencies be added to the MTW Demonstration by cohort and that HUD direct one specific policy change to be implemented per cohort to facilitate the evaluation of that policy. At least 50 of the new slots are reserved for PHAs that administer 1,000 or fewer aggregate vouchers and units, at least 47 for PHAs that administer 1,001-6,000 aggregate vouchers and units, and no more than three that administer 6,001-27,000 aggregate vouchers and units. PHAs with over 27,000 aggregate units and vouchers are ineligible for the expanded program. Furthermore, the Act reserves five slots for agencies that have portfolio awards under RAD and authorizes HUD to designate an MTW agency and one or more adjacent public housing agencies in the same area as a regional MTW agency, making the flexibilities specified in the MTW agreement with HUD applicable to all participating PHAs.

The Operations Notice contains numerous changes from the two previous publications. The primary changes are as follows:

  • The term of participation has been set at 12 years from the year of designation.
  • HUD has removed the general and conditional waivers category and replaced them with an MTW waivers category which MTW agencies may implement without approval from HUD. These waivers include safe harbors, which are additional requirements beyond those specified in the activity description that the agency must follow in implementing activities without HUD approval. The MTW waivers also include specific guidance on impact analyses, hardship policies, and the applicability of waivers on elderly/disabled families.
  • The 90 percent voucher utilization requirement was removed. Rather, the MTW Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Formula has been revised to use as a base. This includes all prior-year MTW-eligible Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) funding expenses paid from HAP, including HAP expenses plus non-HAP expenses.
  • The notice clarifies that an agency must be either a high performer in the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) or the Section Eight Management Assessment Program instead of being a high performer in both.
  • Regionalization was removed the MTW Operations Notice and will be implemented through a separate forthcoming notice.
  • Agencies will formalize their MTW status with an amendment to their ACC.
  • The requirement for MTW PHAs designated through the expansion to assist substantially the same number of families has been simplified. Compliance will be determined using a baseline ratio of total public housing and HCV HAP funding to families served.

The prepublication version of the MTW Operations Notice can be found here. NAHRO’s comments on the previous MTW Operations Notice can be found here and here.

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