HUD’s Section 3 Still Required, Very Limited Reporting Extension (Updated)

While HUD’s Offices of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and Community Planning and Development (CPD) have provided a number of waivers and flexibilities for the Public Housing program, Housing Choice Voucher program, HOME Investment Partnership program, Community Development Block Grant, and Continuum of Care (CoC) program, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) has not waived any of the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements.

[Updated Text Begins] On April 17, 2020, FHEO released updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for Section 3 Covered Recipients which addresses 13 questions on how COVID-19 affects Section 3 compliance. Question 2 specifically asks “Are Section 3 Compliance requirements waived during the virus condition?” and FHEO’s answer is “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived.” Updated questions are also asked about Section 3 SPEARS reporting requirements and deadlines. In response, FHEO states that the Section 3 reporting requirement is not waived and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have an extension until July 31, 2020. Additional extensions are not addressed in the updated FAQ but generally PHAs and community development agencies may request extensions beyond July 31, 2020 but must provide justification and any extension request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. [Updated Text Ends]

[Removed Text Begins] On April 3, 2020, FHEO released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for Section 3 Covered Recipients which addresses 13 questions on how COVID-19 affects Section 3 compliance. Question 2 specifically asks “Are Section 3 Compliance requirements waived during the virus condition?” and FHEO’s answer is “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived.” Questions are also asked about Section 3 SPEARS reporting requirements and deadlines. In response, FHEO states that the Section 3 reporting requirement is not waived and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have an extension until June 1, 2020 but “must clearly demonstrate how COVID-19 precluded timely reporting.” PHAs and community development agencies may request extensions beyond June 1, 2020 but must provide justification and any extension request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.[Removed Text Ends]

FHEO has not waived or reduced the Section 3 requirements and reporting so PHAs and community development agencies must continue to create employment, training and contracting opportunities to Section 3 residents and Section 3 businesses. The Safe Harbor requirements have not been reduced either. PHAs and community development agencies should continue to hire staff and procure contracts, if possible, and if unable to meet the Safe Harbor requirements, they should document their efforts “to make every possible effort ‘to the greatest extent feasible’ to make employment and contracting opportunities available to” Section 3 residents.

NAHRO is relaying information from our members on the unprecedented operational and economic concerns affordable housing providers are facing to HUD and is requesting maximum flexibility for PHAs and community development agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

NAHRO will continue to provide the latest information from HUD and Congress on the COVID-19 emergency response to our members and the public through our communication tools including the NAHRO coronavirus webpage and the NAHRO blog.

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