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.