HUD to Release Additional Mainstream Voucher Funding

Earlier today, HUD released a new Mainstream voucher notice titled “Mainstream Vouchers – Non-Competitive Opportunity for Additional Vouchers Authorized by the CARES Act, Temporary Waivers and Alternative Requirements, and Modified 2020 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Calculation” (PIH 2020-22). This notice does the following:

  1. Allows any PHA with a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to apply for new Mainstream vouchers;
  2. Provides Mainstream-voucher-specific waivers; and
  3. Modifies the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal formula for Mainstream vouchers.

The deadline for applying for new voucher funding is Dec. 31, 2020. The additional flexibilities offered in this notice may be used until Dec. 31, 2020. Additional information on the new notice can be found below.

New Mainstream Vouchers

Any PHA that administers a HCV program is eligible for a new Mainstream voucher allocation. The Department has $150 million in previously allocated appropriations funding for Mainstream vouchers. In determining awards, HUD will consider existing leasing capacity and may use its discretion in limiting awards. To apply for an allocation of Mainstream vouchers in this notice, please email and submit a completed form HUD-52515. The email should come from a PHA’s executive director. Additional email formatting requirements and instructions on filling out the form can be found in the notice.

There are certain limits to the amount of vouchers that may be awarded based on a PHA’s voucher program size. Agencies with more than 5,000 vouchers are limited to a maximum award of 100 vouchers. Agencies with 1,000 to 4,999 vouchers are limited to a maximum award of 75 vouchers. Agencies with fewer than 1,000 vouchers are limited to a maximum award of 40 vouchers.

The deadline for applying for new voucher funding is Dec. 31, 2020.

New Mainstream-voucher-specific Waivers

This notice provides additional waiver flexibility specifically for Mainstream vouchers. These flexibilities are in addition to those provided to all PHAs with HCV programs through PIH 2020-13. These flexibilities may be used until Dec. 31, 2020. If a PHA uses these waivers, it is required to notify participants and owners of their impacts. The available waivers are the following:

  1. Initial lease term – A PHA may enter into initial lease terms of less than one year. This is irrespective of whether the shorter lease term is the prevailing market practice.
  2. Criminal background screening – PHAs may establish alternative criminal screening requirements for Mainstream voucher applicants, which are distinct from the HCV program criminal screening requirements, though PHAs must still comply with statutory requirements.
  3. Mainstream age eligibility – the PHA may expand the definition of eligible non-elderly family member to include “those who were issued a voucher prior to turning 62 and were not yet 63 on the effective date of the HAP Contract.”

Mainstream HAP Renewal Formula Modification

The Department is making a one-time change to the Mainstream HAP renewal formula, which will only apply to calendar year (CY) 2020. In allocating this changed HAP renewal, the Department will calculate a PHA’s PUC and multiply that unit months available (UMAs). The Department will then reduce this amount, if it believes that a PHA has excess reserves. After this reduction, the Department will subtract amounts already paid, and allocate the remaining amount to PHAs. Agencies do not need to do anything to receive these funds.

The full notice may be found here.

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