On December 30, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued a memo explaining the availability and extension of waivers of certain regulatory requirements associated with several CPD programs including the Continuum of Care (CoC), Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). The memo covers current grants and grants that have not yet been awarded. Waivers are to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate assistance to eligible communities and households economically impacted by COVID-19. The waivers are extensions of previous waivers HUD issued due to the pandemic, set to expire on December 31, 2021. Not all pandemic-related waivers have been extended. Recipients must opt-in to use or continue to use these waivers. The memo also announces a simplified notification process for program recipients to use this waiver flexibly to expedite the delivery of assistance.
The memo lists available waivers and describes the procedure for using available waivers of program requirements. Grantees must mail or email notification to the CPD Director of the HUD Field Office serving the grantee to use one of the listed waivers. The email notification must be sent two days before the grantee anticipates using waiver flexibility, and include the following details: requestor’s name, title, and contact information; date on which the grantee anticipates first use of the waiver flexibility; and a list of the waiver flexibilities the grantee will use. The memo can be found here.
HUD has released Notice PIH 2021-38 which removes the requirement that PHAs must request a new PHAS score from HUD in order to meet eligibility for the FFY 2021 High Performer Capital Fund Formula bonus. HUD will instead use FFY 2019 PHAS scores to determine FFY 2021 High Performers. PHAs may still request a PHAS score from HUD if they were non-high performers in FFY 2019, but believe they are now. The notice is titled “COVID-19 Statutory and Regulatory Amendment to PIH Notice 2021-14 (HA), Providing for the Release of Public Housing Assessment System Scores for Federal Fiscal Year 2019.”
HUD will host a webinar on Jan. 12, 2022 at 1:30 pm ET titled “HCV Utilization Webinar – Payment Standard Waiver and Two-Year Tool Overview.” The webinar will discuss best practices to maximize voucher utilization. The webinar will also discuss the new Fair Market Rent (FMR) waiver that will allow many PHAs to increase their payment standard to 120% of the FMR. (See NAHRO’s discussion of PIH 2021-34.) Finally, the webinar will discuss the Two-Year Tool and provide examples of how the tool can help program administrators manage their programs.
On Dec. 21, HUD published a notice titled “Guidance on Eligibility for Asset-Repositioning Fee (ARF)” (PIH 2021-37). This guidance is for PHAs that are demolishing or disposing public housing units. It details instances when a PHA may be eligible for an Asset-Repositioning Fee (ARF), which helps PHAs manage costs related to the “administration of demolition and disposition [actions], tenant relocation, and minimum protection and services associated with such efforts.” This notice replaces Notice PIH 2017-22. It makes two major changes: 1) including ARF eligibility for projects a PHA demolishes in accordance with de minimis demolition authority; and 2) eliminating ARF eligibility for units sold or projects transitioned to homeownership under a homeownership plan.
Housing agencies must ensure that data related to ARF in the Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) is accurate. If the data in PIC is not accurate, the notice provides information on revising it within the system.
The notice provides guidance on which projects, or entire buildings, are eligible for ARFs and which are not. In general, those units that are eligible are projects that are approved for section 18 demolition or disposition, projects approved for demolition pursuant to a HOPE VI or Choice Neighborhoods plan, and projects slated for demolition through certain de minimis demolition authority. Ineligible projects include Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversions; voluntary conversions; certain retentions of units; units that have reached the end of their ARF timeline, but remain under an annual contributions contract; mixed-finance modernization projects; projects sold pursuant to an approved homeownership plan; and projects removed from inventory through a combined process of ARF eligible methods and ineligible methods (e.g., blended RAD conversions incorporating demolition and disposition funds).
Eligible agencies must follow the ARF timeline discussed in the notice. The ARF timeline begins “on the first day of the next quarter six months after the date the first unit becomes vacant after the relocation date included in the approved relocation plan.” The notice provides additional information and detail on the timeline, including a chart visually depicting it. Additionally, there is guidance on how to properly report units that have not been removed from inventory, but are eligible for ARFs.
Finally, the notice provides additional information on the financial side of ARFs. This includes information on how to calculate ARFs (including the needed documentation), the length of the ARF funding period and its relationship with the operating subsidy funding year, information on demolition or disposition actions with different relocation dates, and information on when ARF-eligible units are no longer eligible for other operating fund add-ons and how the rolling base is recalculated.
On November 17, HUD released Notice PIH-2021-36, “CARES Act Supplemental Operating Fund Close Out Procedures.” The Notice provides information on how to close out supplemental Operating Funds that were provided to PHAs through the CARES Act. PHAs must incur all eligible CARES Act expenses by December 31, 2021. PHAs should liquidate all obligations incurred under the supplemental funding not later than 120 calendar days after December 31. By April 30, 2022, PHAs must submit an SF-425 for each CARES Act grant via the Operating Funds Web Portal. Any funds reported as unobligated will be recaptured by HUD. Any remaining CARES Act Operating Funds in LOCCS will be locked after April 30, 2022 and PHAs will be required to follow a specific process to draw down unliquidated obligations that are paid between May 1, 2022 and December 31, 2022.
The notice makes several revisions to Notice PIH 2011-7, which contained the previous requirements regarding unit classification. These revisions include requiring PHAs to receive a HUD approval letter–in certain instances–prior to making IMS-PIC submissions. The notice also makes changes to the “Undergoing Modernization,” “Casualty Loss,” and “Vacant due to Market Conditions” subcategories of occupancy categories. It adds the “MTW Neighborhood Services” subcategory. It also clarifies that certain units that are vacant, reconfigured, demolished, or sold for certain reasons (e.g., a unit removed to install an elevator shaft) should not be classified as in a non-dwelling category, but should have their ACC, Capital Fund, and Operating Fund indicators set to “No.” The notice also stresses the importance of timely and accurate submissions (60 calendar days from the effective date of any action recorded on line 2b of HUD-50058 or HUD-50058 MTW). Finally, the notice updates the web link used to access the Job Aid website, which provides additional technical assistance.
The notice provides information on unit categories and sub-categories through both a chart and additional detailed descriptions of the requirements needed to classify units. The categories and sub-categories covered are the following:
HUD announced, in a press release published on Dec. 16, that it was awarding over $1 million to 26 PHAs in 20 states for its Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative. The initiative provides housing assistance and supportive services to young people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Housing agencies can be eligible to receive FYI funding if they administer a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, enter into a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PWCA), accept people referred by the PWCA, and determine that the referred people are eligible for HCV assistance. HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs Danielle Bastarache notes that “[e]very young person deserves the opportunity to live with housing stability.”
The agencies listed below were awarded assistance.
HUD has published a new video that explains the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to public housing residents. The purpose of the video is to explain the program in an accessible way. HUD encourages housing agencies and property owners impacted, or soon-to-be impacted, by the RAD program to show the video at resident meetings, share the video with resident associations, and upload it to the agencies’ or owners’ websites.
This notice divides the additional potential flexibilities into three categories. First, there are flexibilities that will continue with no waivers needed. Second, there are regulatory waivers that PHAs may request and which HUD will review through a streamlined process. Third, there are additional regulatory waivers which PHAs may request, but which HUD will review through its normal waiver review process. None of the statutory waivers provided through CARES Act authority will be extended. In general, HUD lacks the authority to waive statutory program requirements, so PHAs should not request waivers for statutory requirements.