House Approves Big Increases to Housing, Community Development Funding

The House on Tuesday approved a spending package that would provide HUD, particularly community development programs, with the highest funding levels seen in several years. Unfortunately, unless the Senate and the White House agree to the overall spending increases proposed by House Democrats, the funding levels contained in the bill are likely to change.

Along with Transportation-HUD, the minibus spending package included the FY 2020 Commerce-Justice-Science, Military Construction-VA, Agriculture, and Interior-Environment (HR 3052) bills. Consideration of the minibus began last week, and legislators worked through over 200 amendments before final passage of the bill. It was approved by a largely partisan vote of 227-194. A list of approved HUD amendments is below.

NAHRO’s coverage of the legislation, including in-depth analysis, can be found here (member protected).

The House will narrowly miss its target of completing all appropriations work before July, passing 10 of the 12 spending bills before adjourning for the 4th of July recess. The Legislative Branch bill was pulled from a prior spending package because of a controversy over Congressional pay raises and the Homeland Security bill is being held from the floor because of disagreements over border wall funding.

While the House has made significant progress on FY 2020 spending, the Senate has not yet begun its appropriations work. The Budget Control Act of 2011 set arbitrary spending limits on federal spending through FY2021, but Congress has mostly avoided the limits by passing bipartisan budget deals to raise the caps. The current budget deal expires in FY2020 and a new deal will need to be reached to avoid massive spending cuts and sequestration next fiscal year.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) did not want to start writing spending bills until a spending deal is reached. However, with negotiations dragging on and the time to deal with appropriations before the beginning of the fiscal year becoming increasingly limited, Chairman Shelby is expected to instruct appropriators to start consideration of bills in July.

It isn’t clear what spending level the Senate will use, but it seems likely that it will stick with the current FY 2019 level, which is $88 billion lower than the topline level used by the House. As a result, the FY 2020 House and Senate THUD bills are likely to be very different. Unless the Senate and White House agree to a budget deal at the House-proposed level, the funding levels contained in the House THUD bill will almost certainly be lowered in the final version of THUD.

Approved HUD Amendments:

  • Homeless Assistance Grants: Proposed by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cali.). Increases funding for the Homeless Assistance Grants by $5 million. Another amendment proposed by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash) funding by an additional $1 million, bringing the total funding level to $2.806 billion.
  • Continuum of Care: Proposed by Rep. Lisa Blunt-Rochester (D-Del.). Requires HUD to study the continuum of care program and its impact of awarding transitional family housing grants via competitive assessments and the effectiveness of these programs versus alternative programs in achieving long-term housing stability.
  • Fair Market Rent Calculations: Proposed by Rep. Mike Levin (D-Cali.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). Requires HUD PD&R to study alternative methods for calculating Fair Market Rents in rental markets with rapidly rising rents.
  • Community Development Block Grant Disaster Relief: Proposed by Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-Texas). Requires the HUD Office of Inspector General to investigate the Department’s delay in releasing over $5 billion in Hurricane Harvey Disaster Community Block Grant funds.
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing: Multiple co-sponsors: Increases funding for the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program by $2 million, bringing the total funding level to $42 million.
  • Public Housing Oversight: Proposed by Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.) and Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.). Orders HUD to continue to work with the HUD Office of Inspector General (OIG) to incorporate findings and recommendations of the OIG investigation, “Final Evaluation Report – HUD’s Oversight of Alexander County Public Housing Authority” and “Alexander County Housing Authority’s improper usage of HUD subsidized Asset Management Project Funds,” for the purposes of protecting public housing residents and improving agency oversight and enforcement of public housing regulations.
  • Family Self-Sufficiency: Proposed by Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.). Increases funding for FSS by $5 million, bringing the total funding level to $105 million.

Guidance on DOT/DORC Requirements Guidance Released

Recently, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing released Notice PIH 2019-14 (HA) titiled “Declaration of Trust or Declaration of Restrictive Covenants (DOT/DORC) Requirements. The notice reminds PHAs of their continuing legal responsibility to ensure a valid DOT/DORC is recorded against all of their public housing property, requires PHAs to be in full compliance with the DOT/DORC, and provides guidance on adding and removing public housing units and other public housing property from IMS/PIC and ACC.

The notice focuses specifically on the terms and compliance of the DOT/DORC, monitoring of the DOT/DORC, and the release of the DOT/DORC if PHAs close out their public housing portfolios via the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), Section 18 demolition/disposition, Section 22 voluntary conversion, or other public housing repositioning options. The notice also details how public housing agencies should add or remove public housing units to their Annual Contributions Contract (ACC), how to terminate the ACC, and how to document ACC removals in IMS/PIC.


Complimentary Webinar – Public Housing Repositioning – July 2, 1pm Eastern

On Tuesday, July 2, NAHRO will be hosting a complimentary webinar on HUD’s current effort of Public Housing Repositioning. Below is information on the session and the registration link. This session is for agencies of all sizes from the smallest to the largest and will discuss HUD’s outreach, the options and first-hand PHA experiences.

Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective

Has HUD reached out to your agency to discuss the future of your public housing? Join us for this complimentary session to review your options, and the NAHRO Policy team is here to provide more information and help sort through a lot of the chatter. Are you interested in joining the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), using the Section 18 Demolition/Disposition program, removing your Declaration of Trust, participating in a streamlined voluntary conversion process, or continuing in public housing? We’ll provide overviews of the options available to PHAs of all sizes and discuss HUD’s plans for the future. We will also be joined by Andy Rodriguez of the Nampa (ID) Housing Authority, who will share Nampa’s experiences and decision making process in preserving their Public Housing.

Please register for Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective on Jul 2, 2019 1:00 PM EDT at:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

House Appropriations Approves FY 2020 THUD Spending Bill, Report on Small Agencies Included in S.2155

The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved the FY 2020 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) spending bill by a vote of 29 to 21. The bill now moves to the House floor, though the timing on a full House vote is unclear.

The spending bill was approved with a single amendment, a manager’s package that includes a provision mandating HUD report on which small agencies are included in regulatory relief provided by the Economic Growth, Regulatory Reform, and Consumer Protection Act of 2018 (frequently referred to as S. 2155). Congressman Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.) requested the language be included at the advice of NAHRO.

Full details of the bill can be found on NAHRO’s web site (password restricted).

The House will consider a five-bill omnibus package next week, but unfortunately THUD is not included in the package. Timing of when the THUD bill will move to the floor isn’t known, though House Democratic leadership said they intend to approve all spending bills by the end of June. The Senate has not begun appropriations work yet, insisting that they will wait for a budget deal to be approved.

Prior to the full committee mark-up, report language was also released on the bill. These notable provisions were included:

  • Sexual Harassment in Housing – Committee wants a report no later than 90 days after enactment on the activities of an interagency task force between HUD and DOJ to combat sexual harassment.
  • Tenant-based rental assistance:
    • TPVs – more funding for TPVs is not to reposition public housing, but to address anticipated closures of certain PHA properties.
    • Fair Market Rents – committee directs HUD to work with authorizing committees to “develop statutory flexibilities” so that vouchers will be usable in rapidly rising rental markets.
    • Purchasing power of vouchers – committee directs HUD to report on impacts of rising rental market prices on purchasing power of vouchers. HUD should develop recommendations regarding funding levels necessary to ensure that PHAs can serve the same number of households.
  • PD&R
    • Studies in the works:
      • Collaborating with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services – how Medicare and Medicaid funds can be used to support programs that use affordable senior housing as a platform for coordinating health, etc.
      • A study of alternative methods for calculating FMRs in rental markets with rapidly rising rents.
  • Public Housing
    • Secretary must evaluate requiring carbon monoxide detectors in HUD rental housing.
    • HUD must continue improving REAC inspections, as required in the House bill. This includes looking into potentially using civil monetary penalties to ensure PHAs and landlords maintain physical quality of HUD rental units. Congress also asks HUD to solicit comments from stakeholders, including tenants, on how they can improve REAC inspections. HUD needs to submit a 60-day progress report to Congress.
    • Congress asks HUD to create more stringent inspections for lead.
    • HUD must release S. 2155 FSS regulations within 90 days of enactment.


Clean Air for All Presents Practical Smoke-Free Tools in Webinar

Clean Air for All, a collaboration between NAHRO, Live Smoke Free, and NAR-SAAH, hosted a webinar about smoke-free requirements for public housing yesterday. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) smoke-free rule went into effect on July 30, 2018 and requires that all buildings funded by public housing prohibit smoking in units, in indoor common spaces, and within 25 feet of buildings.

Throughout the webinar, Clean Air for All emphasized the importance of fostering communication between housing authorities and residents. The presenters demonstrated how several specific tools might help agencies to both comply with the rule and improve health outcomes. Example strategies for housing staff included engaging with residents about smoke-free policies formally and informally, using conflict resolution methods, and providing materials for quitting smoking. They demonstrated that enforcing the rule is an opportunity to support residents’ health goals. Finally, initial results from an ongoing NAR-SAAH resident survey highlight that successful compliance with smoke-free policies requires resident participation and buy-in.

For more information about smoke-free public housing, visit the Clean Air for All website here.

FMR Methodology Changes Under Consideration

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to change the methodology used for estimating fair market rents. Fair market rents (FMRs) are used as the basis for payment standards which determine the maximum level of assistance in the housing choice voucher program. They are also used by certain other programs. The Department’s FMRs are set at a level that should allow a program participant to afford to rent a unit for approximately 40 percent of an area’s standard quality stock.

The Department is updating the methodology for calculating FMRs because in the past it has received comments stating that “FMRs need to incorporate more local and more timely data.” In its comments on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 FMRs, NAHRO recommended that HUD use more timely data when calculating FMRs, fund local research surveys, and continue to refine its methodology for calculating FMRs. Additionally, the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations subcommittee, in report language, urged HUD to improve its FMR estimates to “better reflect the rent inflation that occurs between the time that American Community Survey data is collected and the fiscal year for which the FMRs are produced.”

Comments on the updated process are due in 30 days. (6/5/19 edit – Comments are due by July 5, 2019.)

Click below to read more.

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Free Smoke-Free Compliance and Enforcement Webinar

On June 4, from 12:30 PM EDT to 1:30 PM EDT Clean Air for All is hosting a free webinar on smoke-free public housing compliance and enforcement. Looking for useful tools and strategies to boost compliance and improve enforcement of a smoke-free public housing policy? Join Clean Air for All 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 is 12:30 PM EDT to 1:30 PM EDT on June 4. Register here.