HUD Sends Guidance on Mainstream Vouchers

Earlier today, HUD sent an email outlining additional guidance for mainstream vouchers. The Department highlighted several key issues. The notice can be found here. Additional questions to HUD can be sent to MainstreamVouchers@hud.gov.

Administrative fees – the Department noted that HUD would advance administrative fees on 50 percent of newly awarded mainstream vouchers, and would reconcile administrative fees based on actual leasing later this year (i.e., if less than 50 percent of the vouchers are used, HUD will lower future administrative fee payments by the excess amount awarded). If a PHA awards more than 50 percent of its allocation, it can contact its financial analyst for the additional administrative fee.

Character of mainstream vouchers and new admissions – HUD clarified that mainstream vouchers are regular housing choice vouchers with special eligibility criteria and that awarded vouchers are for new admissions. With respect to the former clause, mainstream vouchers should be treated as regular voucher assistance and program participants should not be treated differently than program participants in the regular housing choice voucher program. Additionally, PHAs must lease awarded vouchers by pulling mainstream-eligible applicants from the waiting list. Housing agencies may not reassign existing participants to the mainstream program to “free up” regular housing choice vouchers.

Waiting list administration – PHAs must maintain one waiting list for all tenant-based assistance, including mainstream voucher assistance. See 24 CFR 982.204(f). In applying for the notice of funding availability (NOFA), if your PHA claimed points for a preference, then it must adopt the preference for one of the targeted groups served by mainstream vouchers. Housing agencies may limit the number of people who will qualify for a preference. See 24 CFR 982.207(a)(3). Housing agencies may adopt criteria defining which families may apply for assistance when opening their waiting lists (PHAs must comply with requirements to provide public notice and accept applications from families for whom the wait list has been opened). See 24 CFR 982.206(b)(1). Housing agencies must have written policies for how preferences will be applied (either first-come, first-served or by random selection). See 24 CFR 982.207(c). Finally, housing agencies may do a full waiting list update or a limited update.

The full notice can be found here.