NAHRO Analysis – HUD Issues COVID-19 Related Waivers for Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher Programs

On April 10, 2020, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released a series of waivers and program updates, 44 in total, for the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs. The waivers were issued by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) in Notice PIH 2020-05, COVID-19 Statutory and Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs, Suspension of Public Housing Assessment System and Section Eight Management Assessment Program. The notice also includes 16 waivers related to Native American housing programs, specifically the Native American housing Assistance and Self-Determination Action of 1996 (NAHASDA) Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) and the Indian Community Development Block Grant programs. In order to provide relevant information to Public Housing Authorities, this Direct News will focus on the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher program waivers.

This notice only addresses program waivers and does not discuss the allocation or release of the supplemental funding that was appropriated as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public law 116-136). The funding notices are anticipated to be release towards the end of April 2020 with the first round of funding being available to Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) at the beginning of May 2020.

The purpose of the statutory and regulatory waivers is for HUD to assist PHAs and Tribal housing providers in continuing to operate and provide critical housing services to their local communities. HUD provides a non-inclusive list of critical PHA functions which includes issuing vouchers so families can find housing, processing Requests for Tenancy Approvals (RFTAs) so families can be approved to move into a unit, processing requests for portability moves, ensuring occupancy of Public Housing units, processing minimum rent hardship exemptions, and completing reexaminations for participants who have experienced a decrease in income.

The notice is broken into a number of sections and this Direct News will follow the same layout by discussing the underlining waiver authority by program, the applicability of the waivers, and the duration the waivers will be available.

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