UPCS-V Demonstration to be Extended for Additional 2 Years

On Tuesday, May 28th, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a notice titled “Notice of Continuation of Demonstration to Test Proposed New Method of Assessing the Physical Conditions of Voucher-Assisted Housing.” The notice states that the UPCS-V Demonstration–the program testing the in-development UPCS-V inspection protocol, used by certain testing agencies in the housing choice voucher program–will be extended for an additional two years.

The Demonstration will have three goals. First, to validate the UPCS-V beta protocol through active field testing. Second, to provide PHAs with inspection data and standardize inspection procedures. Third, to glean insight for improvement.

The notice notes that the additional time will be used to test and validate the UPCS-V beta protocol. Currently, version 2.5 of the UPCS-V protocol is active and being tested in the field. The extension will allow the newest version (i.e., the beta version) of the UPCS-V protocol to be tested.

Moving forward, HUD wishes to consider several additional questions:

  • Does the protocol meet PHA needs?
  • Is UPCS-V clear, accurate, objective, and consistent?
  • Is it practical for all inspectors, from entry level to experienced?
  • Does it provide valuable insight to PHAs, and is it cost effective for them to use?

Additionally, HUD would like to recruit more PHAs to the demonstration to gather more representative data. Agencies that wish to participate should contact HUD at ISDV@hud.gov.

Finally, the notice notes that in the long-term, public housing, the housing choice voucher program, and multifamily programs will all shift to a uniform inspection standard. This standard–called the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE)–“will leverage the infrastructure of UPCS-V to demonstrate, test, and validate NSPIRE protocols.”

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

Initial Chapters of New HCV Guidebook Published

Earlier today, HUD sent an email announcing that the initial chapters of a New Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Guidebook have been published. As the email states, guidebooks consolidate “into one document the requirements outlined in several publications: regulatory requirements, PIH Notices, Federal Register Notices, and other forms of guidance issued by HUD.” Given the complexity of navigating between several layers of regulation and guidance, having a single place to view all of a program’s rules and requirements is essential.

The three chapters that have been completed and can be read online are the following:

Chapters still being worked on include the following:

  • “Fair Housing Requirements”;
  • “Waiting List & Tenant Selection”;
  • “Housing Search and Leasing”;
  • “HAP Contracts”;
  • “Payment Standards”;
  • “Calculating Rent & Housing Assistance Payments (HAP)”;
  • “Utility Allowance”;
  • “Terminations”;
  • “Informal Hearings & Reviews”; and
  • “Special Housing Type.”

NAHRO applauds HUD updating their Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook. During the summer of 2018, NAHRO sent a letter to HUD noting the importance of the guidebooks and urging HUD to prioritize updating them.

The HCV Guidebook can be accessed here.

NSPIRE Demonstration Approval of Information Collection Released

On May 23, HUD will release a Notice of Emergency Approval of an Information Collection on the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) Demonstration in the Federal Register. The Notice is related to HUD’s new NSPIRE Demonstration, which will replace UPCS for agencies that opt to participate in the demonstration, however the notice does not detail the demonstration itself. More information on the actual demonstration will be forthcoming.

HUD’s Emergency Approval of an Information Collection lists the information that PHAs participating in the demonstration will be required to submit to HUD. This includes: an annual self-inspection report or work order receipts, a property profile, copies of building system certificates, local code violations over the rolling calendar year, and participation in feedback sessions.

Comments on the Notice are due 14 days after the publication of the Notice in the Federal Register.

Grants for Carbon Monoxide Detectors Announced

On Monday May 20, HUD issued a press release announcing that $5 million of the $10 million appropriated in FY 2019 for Emergency Safety and Security Capital grants will be made available to PHAs for the purchase and installation of carbon monoxide detectors in public housing. HUD will continue to make the remaining $5 million available for safety and security measures to address crime, specifically drug-related crime, under the FY 2019 Emergency and Safety Security set-aside. These grant applications are still due to HUD by June 5.

Agencies interested in receiving grant funding for the purchase and installation of carbon monoxide detectors should apply for the grant via a separate application from the safety and security grants for addressing crime. PIH Notice 2016-03 will be amended to include the carbon monoxide detector grant application and eligibility requirements. HUD will notify PHAs of the application due date via email and posting at the web page referenced above.

Free Smoke-Free Compliance and Enforcement Webinar

Looking for useful tools and strategies to boost compliance and improve enforcement of a smoke-free public housing policy? Join Clean Air for All, a collaboration between NAHRO, Live Smoke Free MN, and NAR-SAAH, on June 4 to familiarize yourself with our new Smoke-Free Public Housing Compliance and Enforcement Toolkit. On this webinar, Clean Air for All will review resources from the toolkit and highlight examples and strategies that public housing agencies can utilize at their properties. The webinar will conclude with trends from a resident survey (currently underway) that illustrate resident perspectives on smoke-free public housing.

The webinar will be held Tuesday, June 4, from 12:30 – 1:30 PM.

Register here.

HCV Funding Implementation Webcast Published

Yesterday, HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD) published a webcast on the notice titled “Implementation of Federal FY19 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher.” The notice was published in April, and NAHRO previously mentioned it on this blog.

The webcast published on YouTube can be found here.

PowerPoint slides from the webcast can be found here.

FY 2019 Housing Trust Fund Allocations Released

FY 2019 Housing Trust Fund (HTF) allocations will be announced in the Federal Register on Friday, May 17. Today, HUD published the allocations in the Public Inspection section of the Federal Register. HTF grantees include all 50 states, the District Columbia, and U.S. territories. The formula allocation guarantees funding to increase and preserve the supply of rental housing for extremely low- and very low-income families and to increase homeownership for extremely low- and very-low income households. Funding for FY 2019 is $247,666,778.80. While all states at least received $3 million, the formula awards bonus points to certain factors. For example, California received $32 million, New York State received $19 million, Texas $11 million, Florida $9.5 million, Illinois $8.5 million, and New Jersey received $7 million.

New Incentives for Multifamily Properties in Opportunity Zones Announced

On May 9, HUD announced new incentives for multifamily property owners applying for certain Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loans in Opportunity Zones. HUD will reduce FHA mortgage insurance application fees for multifamily market-rate transactions and for transactions that meet HUD’s definition of affordable or broadly affordable when the property is located in an Opportunity Zone. Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are designated low-income census tracts that can provide incentives to encourage investment within their community. To date, 8,761 communities in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and five territories have been designated as Opportunity Zones. 

HUD is also improving the procedure for processing applications by designating HUD Senior Underwriters to process applications.

 

Proposed Rule Requires Verification of Eligible Immigration Status for HUD Assistance

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.” This proposed rule purports to change how families with mixed immigration statuses receive prorated HUD assistance. Comments are due 60 days after publication.

Current Proration of HUD Assistance

Currently, families with a mixed status may apply for assistance by declaring that each member of the family is 1) a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; or 2) decide not to contend eligible immigration status (and not submit verification documentation) for that member. Family members that declare themselves eligible must provide acceptable evidence of immigration status. Verification is provided through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system–administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system saves the information of noncitizens. Assistance is then prorated such that only citizen-members (or eligible non-citizen-members) of families receive funding (excluding those who do not contend their eligible immigration status).

Proposed Changes

This proposed rule would make two changes to the current system. First, the proposed rule would require that all family members (except those over the age of 62) have their immigration status verified through SAVE (i.e., family members would no longer have the option to not contend their eligible immigration status). Under most covered programs, those who have not submitted evidence of eligible immigration status will be required to do so at their first regular reexamination.

Second, the proposed rule would specify that individuals that do not have a verified eligible immigration status may not serve as the head of household or spouse–i.e., the holder of the lease.

The pre-publication copy of the proposed rule can be found here.

The published in the Federal Register version can be found here (available 5/10/2019).

 

Guidance on Over-Income Implementation Process Released

On May 3rd, HUD released Notice PIH-2019-11 (HA) titled “Final Implementation of Public Housing Over-Income Limit Under the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA).” The notice provides supplemental information on the implementation process for public housing income limits, which were codified through regulation last summer.

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