HUD Reminds PHAs of Capital Fund Obligation Deadlines

On Monday, HUD reminded PHA executive directors of unusual Public Housing Capital Fund obligation and expenditure deadlines for 2018-2020 and 2021 grants. In short, the 2021 formula grants have obligation and expenditure deadlines that fall before 2019-2020. HUD notes that Most PHAs did receive an extension for their 2018-2020 Capital Fund grants. However, these waivers did not apply to 2021 or beyond. This means that 2021 grant dollars, which were allocated in February of that year, have deadlines in February of 2023, just prior to 2019 funds. PHAs should be sure to use funds with the earliest deadlines first. HUD also notes that extensions can be granted according to the Capital Fund Guidebook.  The nearest obligation dates include the 2021 formula grant: February 22, 2023 and 2019 formula grants: April 15, 2023. The nearest expenditure deadlines are 2019’s emergency grants: January 1 and April 8, 2023.

More information can be found in the upcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor.

HUD Delays Implementation of Build America, Buy America for Most Programs Until February 15, 2023

HUD has released a waiver delaying the implementation of the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) for all HUD programs—aside from CDBG—for 90 additional days until February 15, 2023. This public interest phased implementation waiver is expected to be the final before BABA enters full effect and follows two additional public interest waivers last week. The waiver notes that fully implementing BABA for all programs simultaneously may harm HUD funding recipients’ ability to function because most have never experienced a Buy America Preference (BAP) before.

This waiver excludes Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) programs using iron or steel, so any CDBG funds obligated as of November 15, 2022 and used for that purpose are subject to the BAP. HUD explains that they wish to better implement BABA for remaining HUD programs based on lessons learned from this program.

NAHRO is pleased to see this waiver as part of HUD’s effort to ensure an effective implementation of BAP requirements. Although NAHRO is committed to prioritizing U.S. jobs and manufacturers, NAHRO remains concerned about increased costs to affordable housing development and what reporting and compliance may look like for projects that must meet the BAP.

Additional information from HUD and analysis from NAHRO will be forthcoming. Please see NAHRO Direct News, The NAHRO Monitor, and NAHRO’s Comment Letter and Correspondence page for more.

Find the public interest phased implementation waiver here. Comments on this waiver are due November 17.

HUD Releases Build America, Buy America Waivers

Comments due November 15, 2022

Earlier this year, HUD began implementing the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA), which requires PHAs using federal financial assistance to meet a Buy America Preference (BAP) when purchasing iron or steel, construction materials, or manufactured products for any housing project. One of three situations in which HUD can waive the BAP is when it harms the public interest.  Yesterday, HUD released two waivers under this public interest component of the law: de minimis and exigent circumstances.

The de minimis waiver would eliminate the BAP for any projects totaling under $250,000 or for financial assistance less than that amount, which HUD notes is the current Simplified Acquisition Threshold. Additionally, HUD includes a “Minor Component” element in which 5% of a project that falls under the BAP can be waived, up to $1 million. The second waiver, covering exigent circumstances, allows PHAs to bypass the BAP in order to respond to urgent needs. In the waiver, HUD specifies exigent circumstances include when the “life, safety, and property of the residents” and community members are impacted by maintenance and other rehabilitation and repair activities in connection with affordable housing and community development.

Additional information from HUD and analysis from NAHRO will be forthcoming. Please see NAHRO’s Direct News, The NAHRO Monitor, and NAHRO’s Comment Letter and Correspondence page for more.

Find the exigent circumstances waiver here and the de minimis waiver here.

Join NAHRO for our Webinar “PHAs and CoCs—A True Continuum”

Next webinar November 3rd at 1:30 p.m. ET

The “NAHRO Together Day 3” webinar series continues this week with the fourth informational presentation similar to those in our national conference.

This week, guest speakers Rachel Gagnon of Lucas Metropolitan Housing and Michael Hart of the Toledo Lucas County Homelessness Board will present “PHAs and CoCs – A True Continuum.” They will discuss the partnership between the local PHA and Continuum of Care. In addition to the barriers they faced and needs from other stakeholders, they will discuss the following specific topics:

“[the] PHA’s support of and involvement in a reimagined CoC entity, strategic prioritization of underserved populations (unhoused individuals), housing first partnership with corresponding vouchers, information sharing for new housing development opportunities, deployment of EHVs, etc.”

This webinar is free and open to everyone. Register here.

Join us for the future Day 3 webinars listed below.

We look forward to seeing you at our NAHRO Together Day 3 webinars.

NSPIRE Information Sessions Coming to a City Near You Beginning October 31

Prior to implementing the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), HUD has announced the “NSPIRE Get Ready Series.” NSPIRE will replace current inspection protocols for the units in many of HUD’s programs beginning as early as 2023. These sessions will inform interested stakeholders “about the NSPIRE model and timeline to begin using its capabilities.”

HUD has announced  that the series will travel to 14 cities between October 31, 2022 and February 14, 2023. More information will be forthcoming. You can locate background information about NSPIRE here.

Join NAHRO for the “Building Resilience and Reclaiming Creativity in a Volatile World” Webinar

Next webinar October 27th at 1:30 p.m. ET

The “NAHRO Together Day 3” webinar series continues this week with the third informational presentation similar to those in our national conference.

This week, guest speaker Dr. Diane Biray Gregorio will present “Building Resilience and Reclaiming Creativity in a Volatile World.” She will explore the following questions.

“In a time of pandemic and accelerating climate crisis, advocates for affordable housing face unprecedented challenges and stresses. Yet the global need has never been greater.

How can we build emotional resilience in ourselves, in our families, and communities? 

Is it enough to just bounce back in the face of uncertainty? How can we reclaim our creativity from the jaws of burnout? Can we actually use these challenges as fuel for creativity and far-reaching vision? 

What this difficult time is asking of us is to look with fresh eyes, without the baggage of (emotional) reactivity, so we can see clearly together how we can move forward. 

Is this possible? How?”

This webinar will address the needs of housing professionals directly and the communities they serve indirectly. It is free and open to everyone. Register here.

Future Day 3 topics will include the following.

We look forward to seeing you at our NAHRO Together Day 3 webinars.

HUD Seeks PHAs to Participate in OpFund Web Portal Online Testing

Last week, HUD reached out to PHAs requesting participants to help test a new feature of the Public Housing Operating Fund Web Portal in a process called “User Acceptance Testing.” Participants would use this new electronic module to complete HUD forms 52723 and 52722 to help HUD improve this tool before it is fully implemented. Providing feedback on the user experience should make the module more effective.

This process will take roughly six hours in total and occur in November, 2022. To participate, executive directors should email opfundwebportal@hud.gov by October 25, 2022. HUD requests interested PHAs include the subject line “UAT PHA Participant,” their authorized representative’s name, PHA name and code, and email address.

HUD Updates Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base Guidance

On October 6, HUD issued PIH Notice 2022-32, updating the guidance from Notice 2020-30 for the Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base (SR-FRB) program. This notice applies to small, rural PHAs who operate public housing. The program allows PHAs to receive subsidy amounts based on their average energy usage for the three-year period before entering the program. The money saved from improving efficiency while receiving funding at their prior energy usage level can be used to supplement either Public Housing Operating or Capital Fund needs for up to 20 years. This new notice provides additional updates for calendar year 2023 beyond those described in Notice 2021-30. The four significant updates in Notice 2022-32 are discussed below.

First, PHAs will now join the SR-FRB program via the Operating Fund web portal, unlike in years prior to 2021. Participants will use it to opt in and out of the program as well as make any changes to utility data. HUD notes that they provide a user guide.

Each year, the operating subsidy processing notice and the operating subsidy grant calendar will include the official Notification date. This date is the deadline for joining, leaving, and updating specific data for the program. For 2023 funding, the Grant Submission Schedule currently shows SR-FRB submissions opening November 7, 2022 and closing November 18, 2022. Inclusion in the submission schedule is a change from calendar year 2022.

Like previous years, PHAs may still request one adjustment to their Heating Degree Days (HDD); however, to be eligible, this change must now modify usage by at least 10%. Prior HDD regulations still apply, and this change must be completed by the submission deadline listed above.

Finally, the notice describes a new appeals process. Any denials can be appealed for seven business days after receiving the denial and must be submitted to SRFRB@hud.gov.

Like prior notices, this updated version discusses eligibility, program requirements, entering and leaving the program, modifying program data, specific participation requirements, debt service, and example scenarios. HUD includes a list of eligible PHAs here.

Notice 2022-32 can be found here.

HUD Updates Two Energy-Saving Programs

On July 27th, HUD issued a press release with updates to programs affecting energy and utility usage, two of which may be of interest to PHAs: Community Solar Credits and the Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base program. Both can help PHAs support tenants by lowering the cost of energy.

Community Solar Power

Community Solar Power credits allow residents in a multifamily structure to opt to use power from community solar panels rather than having their own panels installed on their individual units. This model makes solar power more accessible and can lower tenants’ utility bills. HUD issued a national solar credit memo that applies to a number of rental assistance programs within Multifamily Housing. This memo is not the same information HUD recently provided to several states, which were implementing their own solar programs. This new national memo specifies the rental assistance programs eligible for community solar participation. Next, it defines how to determine the effect of community solar on utility allowances. And finally, it articulates how to incorporate or exclude solar credits in annual income calculations. The new community solar power memo can be found here.

Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base Utility Program

The Small Rural Frozen Rolling Base (SR-FRB) is the average amount of utility usage incorporated into the Public Housing Operating Fund formula. This program allows PHAs to capture average usage for their most recent three-year period and use this data in Operating Fund calculations for up to 20 years. Savings generated from using the SR-FRB in the formula and improving efficiency afterward may be used to support the public housing program. HUD has not released new guidance but rather has announced an “educational campaign” to encourage utilization of this program. Currently, HUD has provided PIH 2020-30, a list of eligible PHAs, and a list of properties that qualify for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization program. HUD states that the deadline to apply for the SR-FRB program is September 2022. Notice PIH 2020-30 can be found here. The list of eligible small and rural PHAs can be found here. Properties qualifying for the Department of Energy’s Weatherization program can be found here.

HUD’s press release including additional programs intended to lower electricity costs can be found here.

HUD Announces Public Housing Capital Fund Guidebook Webinars

Trainings begin on July 11th

HUD’s Office of Capital Improvements will provide six webinars on the Public Housing Capital Fund requirements. These trainings will each cover different important program elements and provide an update of recent changes to the program. Though the trainings will provide background on the Capital Fund program, participants who are unfamiliar with it should view short background “vignettes” prior to attending the trainings, available here. Participants must register in advance to attend the trainings and the separate question-and-answer session for participants that will follow each.

The link to register for the July 11th training is available here. The webpage with information and registration for the remaining five trainings is available here.