HUD to Update VMS

On Feb. 28th, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them that the Voucher Management System (VMS) will be revised on March 25th (though the updates should be visible to end users on April 4th). The envisioned changes include revising “existing fields, add[ing] new fields, and delet[ing] fields that are not necessary.” Some of the fields will not be used immediately, but will gain functionality in the future as the appropriate funding has been awarded.

The Department has updated the VMS Quick Reference Guide to reflect these changes. It can be found here.

Charts of the revisions, additions, and deletions of VMS fields can be found below.

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New Guidance on “Designated Housing” and “Accessible Designation” Unit Categories in IMS/PIC

On Feb. 18, HUD issued a notice titled “Guidance on Unit Designation Categories and Accessible Designation Categories in IMS/PIC” (Notice PIH-2022-03 (HA)). This notice instructs PHAs to properly classify their units in IMS/PIC. In particular, units that may have been set aside as “Designated Housing,” for elderly families, disabled families, or units for both elderly and disabled families after approved by HUD through a Designated Housing Plan (DHP), should be properly classified. Additionally, units that are classified with an “Accessible Designation,” for people with a mobility or sensory impairment or to contain some accessible features, should also be properly classified. PHAs should review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of this notice.

Designated Housing

The Sept. 2010 IMS/PIC system release implemented three significant changes to the unit designation categories. First, units titled “Family Unit, Elderly Unit, Family and Disabled, and Elderly and Disabled” were placed in the “General Occupancy” category. Second, “Mixed Elderly and Disabled Not HUD Officially Designated” was created as a new unit designation category. Third, “Merged Units” were reported in the unit designation detail.

Housing agencies must review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of the notice. Any issues or corrections must be worked out by March 31, 2022. The Department will publish data highlighting discrepancies between counts of designated units in IMS/PIC and those approved in Designated Housing Plans. That information will be available here.

Accessible Designation

The Sept. 2010 IMS/PIC system release implemented the accessible designation categories. Housing agencies must ensure that units are properly categorized according to the definitions in the notice. The notice provides definitions for the following units: mobility impairment; hearing/visual impairment; partially accessible; and not accessible.

Housing agencies must review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of the notice. Any issues or corrections must be worked out by March 31, 2022. Additionally, accessible designations require the PHA to obtain HUD user approval to a change in IMS/PIC. Finally, PHAs must continue to maintain the accuracy of accessible designation categories moving forward.

The notice provides instructions for making the necessary changes to both “Designated Housing” units and units with an “Accessible Designation” in IMS/PIC.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Expedited Waiver Notice Deadline Extended to April 1, 2022

The deadline to apply for an expedited waiver has been extended to April 1. The CARES Act waivers, which were passed as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic expired at the end of 2021. A more limited set of regulatory waivers were created in PIH Notice 2021-31 titled “Expedited Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab) Programs.PHAs must apply for these waivers to be able to use them and must apply by April 1. After April 1, PHAs may still apply for the waivers, but they will not be processed as quickly. Available waivers include the following:

  • A waiver to set the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program payment standard up to 120% of the fair market rent (FMR);
  • A waiver to increase the payment standard for a family at any time after the effective date of the increase, instead of the next regular reexamination;
  • A waiver to waive the application of SEMAP for PHAs with certain fiscal year ends;
  • A waiver to grant a voucher term of extension without changing the administrative plan; and
  • A waiver to extend homeownership assistance for an additional year.

Instructions on how to apply for these expedited waivers can be found here.

Reminder: HCV Utilization Webinar Tomorrow at 2 pm ET

[Edit: A prior version of this post incorrectly identified the day and time of this webinar. The date and time has been corrected.]

Tomorrow (2/17/2022) at 2 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar titled “HCV Utilization Webinar – Landlord Engagement.” During the webinar, HUD will provide an overview of newly available resources to improve landlord relationships, including landlord testimonial videos, a toolkit for planning and facilitating a landlord symposium, and and fact sheet explaining the roles of PHAs.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

PHA Voter Registration Activities

On Feb. 9, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them what role a PHA may play in ensuring public housing residents have access to the electoral process and certain voter registration activities. PHAs should note that many electoral rules are set by the state and should ensure that they are complying with all applicable state and local laws.

Permissible PHA activities included the following:

  1. “Providing documentation of residence (e.g., address verification, leases, etc.) to public housing residents when requested to ensure residents are able to register to vote and vote. Your PHA and PHA residents can visit to determine what documentation of residence will be most helpful to persons trying to register to vote in your state.
  2. Applying to States to operate as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. States are allowed to designate state, federal and non-governmental offices as voter registration agencies.
    • If your PHA would like to be considered to be a voter registration agency, you can reach out to state election officials for more information about the rules and laws for your state. HUD does not make determinations about what offices can be designated as voter registration agencies – only your state election officials can make that determination.
    • For more information on what it means to be a voter registration agency, see this FAQ by the Department of Justice:
  3. Making voter registration resources available to residents. If you are not designated by the state as a voter registration agency, you can still facilitate residents’ access to voter registration. Such permissible actions include:
    • Making voter registration forms available to residents.
    • If the laws of your state allow, accepting completed voter registration application forms and transmitting these forms to the appropriate State election official.
    • If the voter registration laws of your state allow, running a PHA-initiated voter registration drive. However, you would need to consult with your counsel and your state election director to identify the rules and laws around voter registration drives for your state.
  4. Permitting the use of PHA community space on an incidental basis to hold meetings, candidate forums, or voter registration, provided that all parties and organizations have access to the facility on an equal basis and are assessed equal rent or use charges.
  5. Collaborating with local election administrators to permit the use of PHA space for voter drop boxes and voting sites, including for early voting.” [Citations removed.]

To meet the costs of the above activities, PHAs may use public housing operating subsidies or administrative fees from the voucher program.

PHAs must not fund partisan political facilities or activities. Additionally, PHAs should not suggest that benefits are tied to voting activity, nor should they give the appearance that voting and voter registration are not voluntary activities. Additionally, PHAs should follow all applicable civil rights laws, including those that ensure voting processes are accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Additional information may be found at Additional questions may be sent to

PHA Executive Compensation Information Collection Released

On February 11, HUD released a 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection in the Federal Register on Public Housing Agency Executive Compensation Information. As required by Congress, HUD collects information on the compensation provided by public housing agencies (PHAs) to the top management official, the top financial official, and all employees who are paid an annual salary over the compensation cap imposed by Congress in HUD’s annual appropriations (Level IV of the Executive Schedule). The compensation data collected includes base salary, bonus, and incentive and other compensation, and the extent to which these payments are made with any Section 8 and 9 appropriated funds.

HUD will shift from collecting data on PHA compensation from annually to triennially (once every three years). This will reduce reporting requirements for all PHAs. While HUD may only collect PHA compensation data once every three years, PHAs are still subject to the annual compensation restrictions imposed by Congress. Therefore, all years remain subject to potential review by HUD to ensure compliance with the Annual Appropriations Act.

Comments are due on March 14, 2022.

PHAS Assessments to Resume for FYE 2022

On February 4, HUD released Notice PIH 2022-02, “Return of Public Housing Assessment Systems (PHAS) Assessments Upon Expiration of PHAS-Related Waivers in Notice PIH 2021-14.” The notice advises PHAs that PHAS scoring will resume starting with the March 31, 2022, Fiscal Year End (FYE) Cohort and also temporarily adjusts the standard under the Management Assessment Subsystem (MASS) indicator for the Tenant Accounts Receivable (TAR) sub-indicator for the fiscal year 2022 PHAS assessment cycle.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Notice PIH 2021-14 provided waivers that enabled HUD to delay PHAS assessments and carry over a PHA’s last PHAS score. These waivers expired on December 31, 2021. Over the last year, HUD began transitioning back to normal requirements associated with HUD and resumed physical inspections of Public Housing properties on October 5, 2020, extending the notification period from 14 days to 28 days. PHAs have also continued to submit Financial Data Schedules (FDS) used to calculate the Financial Assessment Sub-systems (FASS) Indicator under PHAS.

Based on the data submitted by PHAs to HUD, HUD has determined that, aside from issues related to the TAR sub-indicator under the Management Operations Assessment Sub-system (MASS), many PHAs do not need further modifications to PHAS related to the financial and management indicators. However, if your agency feels as though the pandemic has negatively impacted your any of your PHAS sub-system scores, you should contact the HUD REAC Technical Assistance Center (TAC). HUD has the statutory ability to not issue a PHAS score for a given year if the agency has been impacted by unforeseen events, such as the pandemic. If a PHA can prove their score has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, HUD can choose not to issue a score for FYE 2022.

Due to the pandemic and federal and state eviction moratoria that were put in place, many agencies may have experienced a significant impact on their ability to collect rent and manage rent collection activities. As such, HUD is providing an automatic, temporary adjust for TAR scoring for FYE 2022. PHAs will receive 5 points for TAR if the tenant accounts receivable is 80 percent or greater, 2 points if the tenant accounts receivable is between 79 percent and 60 percent, and 0 points if the TAR is below 60 percent.  These changes will be implemented automatically for all agencies by HUD.

HUD will also continue to keep the inspection notification period at 28 days. If agencies do not believe they can get their units ready for an inspection in 28 days due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, staffing concerns, or other issues, they should contact the HUD REAC TAC. PHAs that have questions or need technical assistance should email or call Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at 1-888-245-4860, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time.

The notice can be found here.

HUD to Host HCV Utilization Webinar on Feb. 17 at 3 pm ET

On Feb. 17 at 3 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar titled “HCV Utilization Webinar – Landlord Engagement.” During the webinar, HUD will provide an overview of newly available resources to improve landlord relationships, including landlord testimonial videos, a toolkit for planning and facilitating a landlord symposium, and and fact sheet explaining the roles of PHAs.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

Housing Subcommittee Holds Hearing on Homelessness

Over 500,000 people are homeless in the United States. The number of homeless individuals and families has increased in recently years, partly due to the economic instability of the COVID-19 pandemic. In response, the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development Insurance held a February 2nd hearing on “Housing America: Addressing Challenges in Serving People Experiencing Homelessness.”

In his opening statement, subcommittee Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said the lack of housing resources across the nation is a barrier to solving homelessness. He supports the $150 billion proposed in the Build Back Better Act that would go toward housing and community development programs. Ranking Member Rep. French Hill (R-AR) talked about several nonprofits that successfully serve homeless veterans and others in his district. In his comments, Rep. Hill said homeless service providers should not have to comply with the Housing First approach to receive HUD funding.  

Five witnesses provided testimony on their areas of expertise regarding homelessness:

  • Adrienne Bush, Executive Director of the Homeless and Housing Coalition of Kentucky
  • Marc Dones, Chief Executive Officer of the King County Regional Homelessness Authority
  • Ann Oliva, Vice President for Housing Policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
  • Nan Roman, Chief Executive Officer of the National Alliance to End Homelessness
  • Harriet McDonald, President of the Doe Fund

The witnesses explained that homelessness has increased steadily each year since 2016. Homelessness disproportionately impacts people of color. Bush said only 8% of Kentucky identifies as Black, but 25% of the state’s homeless population is Black. In many cases, homeless individuals have jobs but cannot afford housing because their wages are too low and rents are rising too quickly. All witnesses urged the committee to increase funding for affordable housing and homeless service providers.

Republican members of the subcommittee questioned McDonald about homeless services at the Doe Fund. She said their “three-legged stool” approach includes work, services (including drug treatment), and job training. Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) said he believes the Housing First approach ignores services, such as drug treatment, which are critical to addressing the homeless crisis. Both Oliva and Dones responded to Rep. Steil’s comments, explaining, “Housing First does not mean housing only.” The witnesses described the Housing First model as housing programs with voluntary wrap-around services.

Democrat subcommittee members spoke to the witnesses about several topics, including Housing Choice Vouchers, wages for homeless service providers, and affordable housing development. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) said, “The solution to homelessness is housing… homelessness is a policy choice.” Oliva agreed and advocated for affordable housing development through the National Housing Trust Fund and rental assistance through an expanded Housing Choice Voucher program.

Witness testimonies and the full recorded hearing is available on the House Financial Services Committee website.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms or Detectors Required in HUD Housing

On Jan. 31, HUD published a notice titled “Carbon Monoxide Alarms or Detectors in U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-Assisted Housing.” The notice discusses the risks of carbon monoxide (CO), provides resources for detecting CO and preventing exposure, and requires that CO alarms or detectors be installed in certain HUD-assisted housing. The notice states that housing in the following programs should comply with the International Fire Code (IFC) 2018 standards on the installation of CO alarms or detectors by Dec. 27, 2022:

  • Public Housing (PH);
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program;
  • Project-based Voucher (PBV) program;
  • Project-based Rental Assistance (PBRA);
  • Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly (Section 202);
  • Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities (Section 811).

Carbon monoxide is a “an odorless, colorless, and toxic gas.” It can be caused by the “fuel burned in vehicles, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces.” It can poison people and animals when it builds up indoors. While the effects of CO exposure can vary, it can cause adverse health impacts such as “permanent brain damage, life-threatening cardiac complications, fetal death or miscarriage, and death in a matter of minutes.”

The International Code Council (ICC) publishes the International Fire Code (IFC). HUD encourages PHAs and owners to adopt standards at or above the standards of the 2018 International Fire Code. These requirements will be enforced by HUD after Dec. 27, 2022. HUD encourages PHAs and owners to adopt the standards as soon as possible.

PHAs with PH may use either Operating Funds or Capital funds for CO alarms or detectors. There are also Capital Fund competitions for additional funds. For the HCV and PBV programs, the owner is responsible for the CO alarms or detectors, but PHAs may use their administrative fees for landlord  outreach and education on CO requirements. Owners of PBRA, Section 202, and Section 811 properties may use the property’s reserve for replacement account, residual receipts, general operating reserves, owner contributions, or secondary financing to fund CO alarms and detectors.

The notice helps PHAs and owners prevent the intrusion of CO. The notice provides examples of activities the prevent CO intrusion. It also provides a list of sources of CO that can be found in a housing environment. Finally, it gives examples of activities residents should avoid to prevent unintentional CO poisoning. HUD intends to provide additional guidance to be used to educate tenants.

Finally, the notice provides a list of additional resources including resources from other relevant federal agencies.

The full notice can be found here.