Eviction Moratorium to Expire Saturday; NAHRO Urges Extension

Despite efforts from House Democratic leaders to extend the federal eviction moratorium, which expires Saturday, July 31, no vote was issued to extend the order as of Friday afternoon. Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly advocated for the Biden administration to act unilaterally to protect renters at risk of eviction due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

About 11 months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enacted the federal eviction moratorium to prevent the spread of the deadly virus among families and individuals that could be at high risk if made homeless through eviction. The public health measure has been extended on several instances, with the last extension made in June. The moratorium offered uniform protections to renters across the nation.

With the COVID-19 delta variant surging across the nation, now is not the time to put vulnerable families at risk by ending the eviction moratorium. NAHRO calls on Congress and the Administration to extend the moratorium through at least the end of September 2021.

Whether or not the eviction moratorium expires, NAHRO’s housing agency members remain committed to using every available resource to keep as many people in their homes as possible. Nationwide, NAHRO members continue to work with their residents and with local and national partners to provide support and aid – especially to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic. We are continually looking for new and better ways to help.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a vital and cost-effective tool to help people stay in their homes. As Treasury, HUD, and state and local entities work to distribute these much-needed funds as quickly as possible, we also look forward to the passage of a robust FY 2022 HUD budget and additional housing resources that will further help to provide the safety and stability of a home to all who need it.

NAHRO Interim CEO Mike Gerber statement on extending the eviction moratorium and quickly distributing Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds.

As more information is released on the status of the eviction moratorium, NAHRO will continue to provide updates.

FSS NOFO Released

On July 28, HUD published the FY 2021 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on its webpage. The application deadline is August 27.

PHAs applying for FSS funding should note that the 2021 FSS- Renewal NOFO has changed. For the FY21 NOFO only, all PHAs that were funded in FY20, FY19, or FY18 are eligible for renewal funding even if the PHA did not meet the minimum number of participants requirement. HUD is providing PHAs a one-year grace period due to the impacts of COVID-19. HUD will also not use 2020 PIC counts to limit PHAs maximum positions. Starting in FY21, HUD is using a 3-year looking period for determining Maximum Positions and will use the highest number of funded positions in the eligibility period, with all part-time positions above the first position rounded up to the next highest number of full-time positions. The FY21 will have three funding priority categories: 1) funding to the amount the PHA was last funded, 2) if applicable, increases to part-time positions to a full time position, and 3) additional increases in funding. Unlike previous years, the NOFO does not require salary comparability information to be submitted by the PHA.

The FSS NOFO application is due on August 27.

Congress Holds Hearings on Evictions and Native Housing

On Tuesday, July 27, Congress held two housing-related hearings in the House of Representatives. The Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis held a hearing on “Oversight of Pandemic Evictions.” Then, the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development and Insurance held a hearing on “NAHASDA Reauthorization.”

Oversight of Pandemic Evictions

Chairman James Clyburn (D-SC) opened the evictions hearing by reviewing the plight of America’s renters during the COVID-19 pandemic. He explained, “One of the most pressing challenges has been ensuring that the loss of a job did not also mean the loss of a roof over their family’s head.” Ranking Member Steve Scalise (R-LA) then noted the slow distribution of Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) funds and cautioned against appropriating additional funding.

Witnesses included representatives from the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, National Low Income Housing Coalition, and BakerRipley. One witness testified about her experience as a renter during the pandemic. After losing her customer service job due to COVID-19, she fell behind on rent by one month and received eviction threats from her landlord even during the CDC eviction moratorium.

Committee members questioned the witnesses about several topics, including ERAP distribution, the eviction moratoriums, predatory corporate landlords, and pathways to provide housing assistance as it relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. The recorded hearing and witness statements are available online.

NAHASDA Reauthorization

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Reauthorization Act (NAHASDA) hearing focused in part on the housing needs of freedmen in Native American communities. Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) stated:

“The legacy of land and cultural dispossession has contributed to Native people experiencing, of course, high levels of chronic homelessness, over-crowding, and poor housing conditions. We also know that a key determinant of housing access on reservations is tribal citizenship, which is one of the barriers faced by descendants of Black Native American Freedmen today.”

Witnesses from the Cherokee Nation, Cook Inlet Housing Authority, Descendants of Freedman of the Five Tribes Association, National American Indian Housing Council, and the Native CDFI Network provided expert testimony. In general, the witnesses urged Congress to improve and reauthorize NAHASDA as a step toward addressing housing issues in Native communities. The recorded hearing and witness statements are available online.

Section 3 Resources Released

HUD recently released a new Section 3 Landing Page and Section 3 FAQs. HUD’s Section 3 Final Rule became effective July 1, 2021. HUD’s Section 3 Program requires that recipients of certain HUD financial assistance provide training, employment, contracting and other economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons to the greatest extent possible. HUD’s new Section 3 Landing Page includes resources, training, and news on Section 3. The FAQ provides answers to a number of questions about the transition to and the workings of the new rule. FAQ topics include: general information, applicability, consistency with other laws, recipient responsibilities, certification, economic opportunities and numerical benchmarks, and complaints.

ROSS NOFA Released

On July 19, HUD released the NOFA for FY 2021 funding for the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency Service Coordinator (ROSS-SC) program. ROSS-SC grant funding allows eligible applicants to hire a Service Coordinator who assesses the needs of Public and Indian housing residents and links them to local training and supportive services. The ROSS-SC grant also provides funding for grantees to provide direct services to further support the work of the ROSS-SC and the goals of the ROSS program. FY 2021 funding for ROSS was $35 million. Award ceilings are at $737,500. Eligible applicants can apply at grants.gov. Applications are due September 17.

2021 Adjustment Funding for the HCV Program

HUD has published a notice titled “American Rescue Plan Act – Adjustment Funding for Calendar Year 2021 Housing Choice Voucher Program and Mainstream Vouchers Renewal Funding and Updated Application Process for Unforeseen Circumstances Funding” (PIH Notice 2021-23). In allocating money for Emergency Housing Vouchers, the American Rescue Plan also stated that the money may be used for adjustments in the 2021 voucher renewal funding allocation. This notice makes $200 million available for PHAs that fall under the following categories:

  1. They experience a significant increase in voucher per unit cost (PUC) due to extraordinary circumstances (i.e., extraordinary circumstances); or
  2. That despite taking reasonable cost saving measures, they would otherwise be required to terminate rental assistance for families as a result of insufficient funding (i.e., shortfall funding).

Extraordinary Circumstances

This category is for PHAs and Moving to Work (MTW) PHAs that administer the voucher program or have Mainstream vouchers. To qualify, a PHA’s PUC must be 102% or greater than the PUC HUD used to determine the PHA’s calendar year (CY) 2021 renewal funding and PHAs must have less than four months of reserves. If the PHA’s reserves account has less than the amount needed to cover two months, the application will receive priority status. HUD will fully fund priority applications before considering regular applications. If the PHA has previously applied for funding from the extraordinary circumstances funding, it does not need to reapply. Adjustment funding in this category must be used by June 30, 2022 or will be recaptured. Applications should be submitted to 2021ARPApplications@hud.gov by 5 pm local time on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

Shortfall Funds

The criteria for these shortfall funds are the same as for the shortfall category in PIH Notice 2021-10. The reporting requirements for these funds will differ depending on the source of funding (the appropriations act HAP set-aside or the American Rescue Plan). If the funding is from the American Rescue Plan, PHAs must track and report the funding and expenses of the funds according to the requirements of this notice. If a PHA has previously applied for shortfall funding, it does not need to reapply under this notice. Adjustment funding under this category must be used by Dec. 31, 2021 or will be recaptured.

The full notice can be found here.

Congress Holds Hearing on Expanding Housing Access to All Americans

On July 14, the Oversight Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing on “Expanding Housing Access to All Americans.” The hearing covered a variety of housing and community development topics, including the recent increase in home prices, low rate of home construction, tax credits, and rental assistance. Subcommittee members from both parties agreed on the dire need for more affordable rental homes and homeownership across the nation.

Five witnesses joined the hearing to provide expert testimony. They included:

  • Jeff Tucker: Senior Economist, Zillow
  • Gerald Howard Jr.: CEO, National Association of Home Builders
  • Staci Berger: President and CEO, Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey
  • Lilian Faulhaber: Professor of Law, Georgetown University
  • John Persinger: CEO, Erie Downtown Development Corporation

The first two witnesses testified about the extreme mismatch of supply and demand in the current homeownership market. Faulhaber and Persinger spoke about tax credits and other community development tools, including the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Opportunity Zones. Persinger also pointed out that his community needs more resources to fill financial gaps in redeveloping aging housing stock. Finally, Berger mentioned the recent National Low-Income Housing Coalition Out of Reach report, which finds that minimum wage workers cannot afford a moderate, two-bedroom rental unit anywhere in the country.

Following the testimonies, subcommittee members questioned the witnesses. Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) discussed the Housing Trust Fund and LIHTC with Berger, asking how nonprofit developers can use the two programs together to develop affordable housing in high-cost areas. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) noted that the lack of affordable housing in her community is blocking job growth. Many workers cannot afford to live near employment opportunities because the cost of housing in those neighborhoods is too high.

Several members asked further questions about access to homeownership, including Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA). The Congressman had a conversation with the witnesses about the need to address the racial disparity in homeownership rates. Rep. Thomas Suozzi (D-NY) expressed his concern that many young people are unable to purchase homes in the current market without financial assistance. Subcommittee members and witnesses both offered potential policy solutions that could address these affordable housing and homeownership challenges.

The recorded hearing and witness testimonies are available on the Ways and Means Committee website.

Extended Deadline and New Webinar for MTW Landlord Incentives Cohort

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has extended the deadline for the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration Expansion under the Landlord Incentives Cohort to October 15, 2021. The department will hold a webinar for PHAs interested in applying on July 20, 2021 at 1:30 EST to learn more about the application process, ask questions, and hear from current MTW PHAs.  

MTW agencies have the ability to waive certain statutory requirements to create more flexible, locally-designed approaches. The Landlord Incentive Cohort (MTW Cohort #4) must use at least two MTW activities designed for their cohort, including flexibility around payment standards and small area fair market rent, vacancy loss and damage claims, inspections, a signing bonus for new landlords, and more.

To attend the webinar:

Step 1:  Dial into the conference. 

  • Dial-in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694 
  • Access Code: 4047630#  

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.

For technical assistance:

  • Audio Connection: 1-888-796-6118
  • WebEx Connection: 1-888-793-6118

To learn more about the Landlord Incentives MTW cohort, see here. For a complete list of approved cohort activities, see here.

HUD-VASH Registration of Interest Notice Made Public

In an email to Executive Directors, HUD attached the HUD-VASH Registration of Interest Notice (PIH 2021-21). The notice provides $49 million for new HUD-VASH assistance. The 2021 Appropriations Act provides $40 million, while the additional $9 million is from prior appropriations. HUD estimates that this funding has the potential to fund 6,000 new vouchers.

Awards of vouchers will follow a two-step process. First, eligible PHAs will respond to the notice with an email and a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) letter of support. Second, registered PHAs will receive an invitation to apply for a specific number of vouchers based on a “relative need” formula.

Registrations of interest should be submitted electronically to VASH_ROI@hud.gov no later than August 31, 2021.

Although not yet published on HUD’s website, the HUD-VASH registration of interest notice may be found here.

A document explaining the benefits of project-basing HUD-VASH vouchers can be found here.

A slide deck explaining the notice may be found here.

HUD Updates Emergency Housing Vouchers FAQ to Version 4

HUD has updated the Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) frequently asked questions (FAQ) to version 4. The document covers questions on eligibility; partnerships and collaborations; voucher administration; administrative and service fees; portability; reporting requirements; EHV voucher allocation; EHV voucher acceptance/rejection process; Moving to Work (MTW); and Housing location and landlord resources.

Version 4 of the document can be found here.