On Wednesday February 6th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) is facilitating a peer-to-peer call with PHAs awarded Mainstream Vouchers in September 2018. The call will provide PHAs an opportunity to share implementation challenges, how these are being addressed and to identify any technical assistance needs. NAHRO staff will participate. HUD has been invited and we hope they will be able to participate.
Registration for this call is necessary and can be at the link below
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is no cost to register or participate in this call.
In Spring 2018, TAC conducted a series of outreach webinars to create interest in the Mainstream funding and to facilitate local partnerships. Over 1,200 PHAs and homeless and disability organizations participated in four outreach webainrs. Polling of PHAs participating in the webinars indicated that only 25% believed working with their service partners would be challenging but more than 50% of PHAs indicated that identifying units, ensuring move-in resources and assistance was available and ensuring long term tenancy supports are available as needed would be very challenging.
In areas with strong rental markets and low vacancy rates, HCV participants find it difficult to lease up. The Joint Center’s 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing, found that rental markets remain extremely tight at the lower end; for these units, vacancy rates remain lower than in any year since 2001. Unfortunately, many participants including elders and people with disabilities need to find housing in these markets – where medical and other services as well as public transportation are available. Success leasing up is particularly challenging for those who have poor tenancy or criminal records. Through this and subsequent peer-to-peer calls, TAC hopes to provide technical assistance for PHAs and their service partners as they face these implementation challenges.
The Treasury department has announced that on February 14 at 10am a public hearing will be held on proposed regulations concerning investing in qualified opportunity funds (QOF). February 14 is the new date for the Opportunity Zone public hearing that was originally scheduled for January 10 but was canceled due to the lapse in Federal appropriations.
The public hearing will focus on the proposed regulations that provide guidance under new section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) relating to gains that may be deferred as a result of a taxpayer’s investment in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF).
The hearing is open to the public and will be held in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Service Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. At this time, it does not appear that there will be a telephone or web-based broadcast of the hearing. NAHRO will attend the hearing and provide a summary of the hearing to our members.
Additional information on the February 14 Opportunity Zone public hearing can be found in the pre-publication Federal Register notice.
Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Center sent an email apologizing for Voucher Management System (VMS) updates which were not completed due to the federal government shutdown. Some PHAs have had trouble submitting data through VMS during the shutdown. The VMS updates have occurred and PHAs should be “working to get all CY2018 data submitted, which includes December, 2018 data.” The full email is reproduced below.
As you are aware, the Federal Government was shutdown from December 22nd, 2018 through January 25th, 2019. Therefore, most HUD programs and systems, including the Voucher Management System (VMS) were temporarily interrupted. That being said, needed uploads to the VMS were not performed, which resulted in technical issues and submission problems for many Public Housing Authorities (PHAs).
These uploads have now been completed, and Financial Analysts (FAs) at the Financial Management Center (FMC) will be working with their PHAs to get all outstanding VMS data submitted. PHAs should be working to get all CY2018 data submitted, which includes December, 2018 data.
Please contact your FA if you have any questions, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused your PHA.
The historic government shutdown ended Friday night after Congressional leaders and the White House came to a deal to pass a short-term spending bill that expires on Friday, February 15.
The three-week continuing resolution was quickly approved by voice vote in both the Senate and the House. The President signed it shortly after it was cleared by Congress. The measure provides backpay to federal workers and resources for state governments that may have covered expenses otherwise covered by the federal government. It also extends the Violence Against Women Act.
NAHRO analysis suggests that the CR may support payments for March, and perhaps April, but we are waiting for confirmation from HUD. If the government had not reopened before the end of February, funding for the Public Housing Operating Fund and the Housing Choice Voucher program would have stopped.
While reopening the government is a positive step, the political situation in Washington is still contentious and it is possible another shutdown will happen at the end of the current CR.
If you’ve contacted HUD during the shutdown, it may take employees time to respond to your email, as workers have a month-long backlog of work to try to get through. NAHRO deeply appreciates the dedication of HUD employees who worked hard without pay during the shutdown to ensure that the impact to PHAs and residents was minimized.
Your voice throughout this shutdown was critical – NAHRO members sent more than 3,300 letters to Congress and the White House in just three weeks. NAHRO and its members were also featured in dozens of national and local news stories about the impact of the shutdown. Please continue to tell us your stories; if the government shuts down again, your stories will be needed to communicate to Congress and the media.
On December 27, HUD published a revised Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) in the Federal Register
via a Notice of Proposed Information Collection (see NAHRO’s Monitor article
– members only
). This provided 60-days for the public to comment on the revised ACC. Despite what the revised document states, NAHRO continues to believe that the ACC is a bilateral contract and not a unilateral grant agreement. NAHRO believes HUD should negotiate directly with PHAs to bilaterally enact any changes to the ACC, as opposed to publishing a Notice of Proposed Information. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due one month from today on February 25
In the spring of last year, HUD revised the ACC, which contained terms that PHAs automatically agreed to when they drew down FY 2018 Capital Fund Program (CFP) grants. The new ACC did not require a signature from an Executive Director or approval from a PHA’s Board, however, HUD viewed this ACC as enforceable once the PHA drew down its capital funds. NAHRO, along with our industry partners, had significant concerns regarding the procedural and substantive issues of that ACC. Specifically, the industry took issue with HUD’s lack of communication to PHAs and the industry regarding changes to the ACC and several substantive issues contained within the revised ACC. As a result, HUD suspended the new ACC in October, reverting any agency that executed the new contract back to their prior ACC.
HUD’s latest revised version of the ACC is substantively similar to the version published last Spring with some slight modifications. The December version of the ACC removed language capping PHA executive salaries that is included in recent Appropriations bills. The December revision also includes some slight modifications for clarity.
Unfortunately, NAHRO continues to have the same concerns regarding the process and substance included within the December revision of the ACC. Aside from process concerns that demonstrate HUD does not view the ACC as a bilateral contract between two parties, substantive issues include:
- Addition of the term “program receipts”;
- A requirement for PHAs to follow HUD-issued notices and HUD-required forms or agreements;
- A Prohibition on PHAs from releasing any information contained in HUD’s system of records (SORN) without prior HUD approval – HUD has clarified to NAHRO that PHA’s would be able to release any information stored in PHA systems, however, this version of the ACC does not make that clear;
- Other mixed-finance issues; and
- Certain MTW specific concerns.
NAHRO will continue to work with our industry partners and continue to express our member’s concerns to Congress and HUD. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due February 25.
The HUD’s Notice of Proposed Information Collection can be found here
Earlier today, a HUD official sent an email to Executive Directors at MTW agencies providing additional guidance on when it is appropriate for MTW agencies to access HUD-held reserves. The guidance is reproduced below.
Dear Executive Director,
The letter sent to your PHA dated January 15th regarding access to the HHR and setting out criteria for requesting HHR applies to MTW and non-MTW PHAs. During a lapse in appropriations, HUD staff is only permitted to work on certain activities, including activities that address threats to human lives and properties. As an MTW PHA, if you believe you need access to the HHR to address immediate threats to the health and safety of tenants or the preservation of property beyond those in the January 15th letter, please submit the amount, a justification for the amount, the intended programmatic use (e.g., public housing, low-income housing), and the timing of expenditure to Robert Boepple at email@example.com.
Earlier today, HUD sent an email to Executive Directors informing them that those PHAs administering Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs may access their HUD-held Housing Assistance Payment Reserves (HHR) under certain circumstances. In those instances where scheduled payments (for January and February) are not sufficient to meet a program’s Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) need, PHAs may access their reserves.
Specifically, in situations where a failure to act “would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property,” PHAs may request their HAP reserves from HUD in the following instances:
- To protect families that are at imminent risk of termination; or
- PHAs that were eligible to receive a payment for January 2019 and did not receive it (e.g., first time Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) payment) and need reserves to ensure that the property owner(s) receives a HAP payment to continue assistance and protect the residents at the property.
These funds may only be used for HAP funding. To request the additional payment, please contact Robert.H.Boepple@hud.gov. The request should include the following:
- amount of the payment;
- supporting monthly leasing projections;
- point of contact email address;
- point of contact phone number; and
- cost saving measures that PHAs have taken to decrease the likelihood of a shortfall (see PIH Notice 2011-28).
Housing authorities should also review PIH Notice 2013-28 titled “Guidance on the Use of Outside Sources of Funds in the HCV Program.”
HUD’s email guidance can be found here.
NAHRO has learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enough money to ensure that February payments for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and the public housing Operating Fund will be made available to public housing authorities (PHAs). HUD intends to make those payments on time. NAHRO has also learned that there is not currently enough money to make HCV and Operating Fund payments for March, if the government shutdown continues until then.
In order to end the government shutdown, Congress must agree to a funding bill. Now is the time to reach out to your Congresspeople and demand that a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for HUD is passed. NAHRO has prepared a letter that can be sent to your Congressional members through the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center.
As PHAs make their voices heard to Congress, NAHRO will continue to fight for you and the families you serve and will continue to inform members as soon as we learn more.
PHAs interested in applying to the first cohort of the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion must submit their letter of interest to HUD by January 11. Due to the current government shutdown, HUD will not respond to your submitted letter of interest until the government reopens. Regardless, NAHRO recommends that all PHAs interested in applying to the first cohort submit their letters to HUD on or before the January 11 deadline. The HUD notice describing the requirements for letters of interest is here, and letters of interest should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. In October 2018, HUD released a notice describing the requirements needed for letters of interest.
PHAs with 1,000 or fewer aggregate units (including special purpose vouchers) are eligible to apply to the first cohort of the MTW Expansion, which will examine the overall impact of MTW flexibility. Before applying, PHAs must complete a baseline research survey that identifies the characteristics of all applicants. After submitting the baseline research survey, PHAs must complete a letter of interest stating a desire to obtain MTW designation, which cannot be longer than two pages and must be signed by the Executive Director. The PHA’s Board of Commissioners must also pass a resolution stating a desire to obtain MTW designation under the first cohort. Lastly, the PHA must also complete a certification of commitment (Attachment I – last few pages).
After the application deadline passes, HUD will divide eligible applicant PHAs into groups based on their geography and then randomly assign each PHA within a geographic area to one of three groups: a treatment group (which will be invited to continue to step 2 to apply); a waitlist group (which may be invited to apply, if a treatment group PHA withdraws); or a control group (which will not receive MTW status, but is expected to participate in the first cohort evaluation). PHAs in the waitlist group will be moved to the control group once the treatment group has 30 PHAs which successfully apply.
NAHRO will continue to monitor the MTW application process and any effects of the government shutdown. We will provide updates as we learn them.
The MTW Operations Notice can be found here.
The first cohort application notice can be found here.