On Sept. 26, HUD published a notice titled “Extension of Certain Regulatory Waivers for the Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream) Program and Streamlined Review Process” (Notice PIH 2022-30). The notice would extend two waivers that were previously made available for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
The waivers that would be extended are the following:
- Increase in Payment Standard During HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] Contract Term – this waiver would allow PHAs to increase the payment standard for a family at any time after the effective date of the increase instead of at the next regular reexamination.
- Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount – this waiver would allow PHAs to establish payment standards up to 120% of the FMR, instead of 110%, which is the maximum usually allowed in most scenarios.
Extending a Waiver
If a PHA already is using one of these waivers, it need only extend the waiver. Agencies that are using these waivers may continue to use them, without taking additional steps, until Dec. 31, 2022 and may extend them until Dec. 31, 2023. To extend the waivers, PHAs must email PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov, while copying their local field office. The notice provides details on the contents of the email to be sent. Waiver extensions may be requested until Dec. 31, 2022.
Requesting a Waiver
Agencies that wish to apply for one or both of the waivers, if they do not currently implement them, or agencies that have not extended their waiver before the deadline, may request the use of the waiver through a streamlined approval process. Requests for waiver usage under this process must be submitted to HUD before the end of Sept. 30, 2023.
Agencies that request a waiver through this process must provide a good cause justification. The good cause justification must include all of the following:
- Why the PHA needs the waiver;
- The impact on PHA operations or applicants if the waiver is not provided; and
- The proposed waiver duration (this should be limited to the time the PHA needs the waiver, but should not exceed Dec. 31, 2023).
Examples of good cause for each of the waivers can be found below:
- Increase in Payment Standard During HAP Contract Term;
- Increases in family rent burdens;
- Potential negative impacts to tenants or the onset of housing instability;
- Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount;
- Rental Market Fluctuations – The PHA is in an area that HUD has determined has significant rental market fluctuations (a list of those areas is listed at the end of the notice);
- Utilization Rate – The PHA has a lower than 98% utilization rate for the current year or more than a 5% utilization drop between 2019 and 2021; The utilization rate for this purpose is the higher of the unit utilization rate or the budget utilization rate; and
- Timely Leasing of Vouchers – the PHA has leased less than 85% of the vouchers that it has issued in the last six months.
A PHA may request a waiver by emailing PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov, while copying their local field office. The notice provides details on the contents of the email to be sent.
As always, a PHA may use the regular waiver request process for any additional waiver it may require, but those requests will not be subject to a streamlined approval process.
The full notice may be found here.
Earlier today, HUD published a press release announcing that it had selected PHAs for the fourth cohort of the Moving to Work (MTW) program. The MTW program allows PHAs that have received MTW status certain additional flexibilities in how they use their funds and greater freedom in how they operate. The program allows PHAs to innovate in how they provide housing.
The current expansion of the MTW program requires PHAs to commit to research on a particular policy topic. In addition to the regulatory and operational flexibility afforded by the program, PHAs selected in this cohort have committed to research asset building policies. Housing agencies in this cohort will have to pick, implement, and track one of the three following options for asset building policies:
- Opt-Out Savings Account Option – PHAs must deposit a certain amount of funds per month into an escrow account on behalf of an assisted household.
- Credit Building Option – PHAs must report public housing rent payments to credit bureaus.
- PHA-Designed Asset Building Option – PHAs must design their own local asset building program.
Currently, HUD has selected 87 of the 100 agencies, including 16 in this cohort, to which it is statutorily mandated to award an MTW designation. According to HUD, “MTW agencies are now in 40 states and the District of Columbia.”
HUD’s press release on the MTW fourth cohort can be found here.
The Request for Applications for the MTW fourth cohort (Notice PIH 2022-11) can be found here.
NAHRO congratulates all of the selected PHAs that were selected in this cohort. The complete list can be found below.
This month, HUD released its Public Housing Agency Disaster Readiness, Response, and Recovery Guidebook. The guidebook includes a collection of information, best practices, and resources for PHAs related to preparation for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters. The first section of the guidebook discusses PHA readiness and covers risk assessment, internal policies and resources, training and communication, coordination and partnerships, and hazard mitigation and resilience. The second portion focuses on response and covers activation and deployment, portfolio assessment, and informing HUD of a diesters. And the last section covers recovery, and includes recovery support strategies, restoring business operations, rehousing displaced residents, repairing and rebuilding the public housing portfolio, and transitioning back to normalization.
Agencies should look to the guidebook before they are impacted by a natural disaster. Although agencies impacted by presidentially declared natural disasters are eligible for assistance from FEMA, they should prepare beforehand to ensure that PHAs can expedite disaster recovery by thinking about risk beforehand and knowing what to expect when and after a disaster strikes.
The guidebook can be found here.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will be accepting FSS Action Plans up until the deadline on September 30, 2022.
New Action Plans must be submitted as required by the FSS final rule. The Plan should describe how a program will be administered, services that will be offered, and the size/characteristics of anticipated participants of the program.
New participants of an FSS program will not be able to be enrolled until the Action Plan is approved by HUD. The reviewal process takes up to 45 days and must be approved by HUD by November 14. Plans should be submitted via email to PHAFSSActionPlans@hud.gov with the subject line and attachment names titled by PHA’s name and number.
More information on the Plan and what to submit can be found in the August 31 edition of The Monitor here.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the Continuum of Care (CoC) Program Supplemental Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness this past August. This competitive funding opportunity would make up to $322 million available to address unsheltered and rural homelessness. Applications must be submitted in e-snaps no later than October 20, 2022, at 8:00 PM EDT.
CoC’s interested in applying must demonstrate a community-wide approach in reducing homelessness. Funding is available for four different categories which include:
- The Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside
- The Rural Set Aside
- CoC Planning Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside
- Unified Funding Agency (UFA) Costs Unsheltered Homelessness Set Aside
Applicants must already be an existing CoC and can apply to either funding opportunity or both depending on their needs and eligibility. The NOFO can be found here.
For more information about this NOFO please see our next edition of The Monitor on September 15.
On Sept. 1, HUD published in the Federal Register a notice announcing the new Fair Market Rents for 2023. Fair Market Rents (FMRs) are used by the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to determine the payment standard, which is used to calculate the amount of rental assistance a family in the program may receive in a certain area. Certain other programs also use FMRs. In calculating these FMRs, HUD altered their methodology to use additional private-sector data. The Department previously asked for comment on their new methodology and NAHRO responded with comments.
Housing agencies that are interested in reevaluating their area’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 FMRs must submit a reevaluation request to HUD by Oct. 3, 2022. The requestor must also submit data to HUD more recent than the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) data used in calculating the FY 2023 FMRs. The Department requires data on “gross rents paid in the FMR area for occupied standard quality rental housing units” and the data “must be sufficient for HUD to calculate a 40th and 50th percentile two-bedroom gross rent.” Requestors may also gather this data through the use of surveys. This data must be submitted by Jan. 6, 2023.
The FMRs are effective on Oct. 1, 2022.
The FY 2023 FMRs along with other FMR-related information can be found here.
The Federal Register notice can be found here.
HUD’s Press Release on the new FMRs can be found here.
On Aug. 26, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD or the Department) published a new notice detailing how new incremental general-purpose vouchers would be distributed and describing certain other operational provisions of the vouchers. The notice is titled “Allocation and Special Administrative Fee for New Incremental Housing Choice Vouchers” [PIH 2022-29 (HA)]. This $200 million in additional funding for vouchers was appropriated by the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022. The notices states that there will be 19,700 new Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) distributed to PHAs.
NAHRO thanks its members for educating decisionmakers in DC on the need and importance of new vouchers. In addition, in implementing the vouchers, NAHRO sent a letter to HUD urging the Department not to add additional terms or conditions to the vouchers, which may have made them harder to use. NAHRO is pleased that HUD has listened to NAHRO’s suggestion.