Join Us!! NAHRO Summer Symposium is Tomorrow!

Please join National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for our 2021 Summer Symposium on universal vouchers and expansion of the housing voucher program tomorrow, July 13, 2021. There is no cost to attend the NAHRO Summer Symposium! Register at https://www.nahro.org/events/summer-symposium/registration/.

The NAHRO Summer Symposium is a day-long event on the present and future of the Housing Choice Voucher program. The event will bring thought leaders from across the country along with housing industry professional together to discuss the expansion of the housing voucher program. There is no registration fee to attend the Summer Symposium. Anyone interested can register at https://www.nahro.org/events/summer-symposium/registration/ for the July 13, 2021 NAHRO Summer Symposium.

Eviction Moratorium Upheld by US Supreme Court

On June 29, 2021, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, allowed a stay of a US District Court order vacating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Eviction Moratorium to stay in place. This means that the recently extended CDC Eviction Moratorium will remain in effect until July 31, 2021.

Justice Kavanaugh in a short opinion stated that, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.” Justice Kavanaugh further went on to say that because July 31, 2021 is only a “few weeks” away and those weeks will allow for additional time to distribute the Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds appropriated by Congress; therefore, Justice Kavanaugh voted to deny the removal of the stay.

NAHRO encourages PHAs, property owners, and landlords to use the resources available in HUD’s updated Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with the residents to minimize evictions.

CDC Extends Eviction Moratorium, White House Promotes Housing Stability

On June 24, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signed an extension of the CDC order halting residential evictions due to non-payment of rent. The CDC eviction moratorium is now in effect until July 31, 2021, a one-month extension.

Existing and new tenant declarations are in effect until July 31, 2021. A CDC statement further provided that the CDC intends this to be the final extension. In preparation of the end of the CDC eviction moratorium on July 31 ,2021; PHAs, property owners, and landlord are encouraged to use the resources available in HUD’s updated Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with the residents to minimize evictions.

Additionally, the White House released Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initiatives to Promote Housing Stability By Supporting Vulnerable Tenants and Preventing Foreclosure. The fact sheet highlights a number of actions that the Administration is taking to help state and local governments prevent evictions with a focus of local court eviction diversion programs and speeding the process of distributing emergency rental assistance funds.

NAHRO and Industry Partners Release Joint Statement Supporting Universal Housing Vouchers

On June 17, 2021, NAHRO along with its industry partners—CLPHA, PHADA, and the MTW Collaborative—jointly issued a statement on universal housing vouchers. Only one in five low-income households that are eligible to receive housing assistance can be served by existing programs due to limited funding. The statement discusses the need for additional rental assistance to address housing instability and prevent homelessness. The statement also discusses the strengths of the voucher program in providing scalable assistance that is proven and effective.

The full statement is can be view here.

President Kicks Off Holiday Weekend With Proposal to Increase HUD Funding

The President’s full FY 2022 budget proposal released May 28, provides additional details to the topline numbers outlined by the Administration in April. Overall, the President proposes to increase HUD funding by 15%, focusing increases core programs, climate change resiliency, disinvested communities, and HUD staff capacity.  

The Administration proposes full funding for Section 8 On-going Administrative Fees, which HUD estimates to be $2.79 billion. In addition to fully funding Admin Fees, the President calls for an additional $490.7 million in Admin Fee for PHAs to use for mobility-related social services. If funded, it would be the first time since FY 2003 the full cost of operating the voucher program has been met. NAHRO commends the Administration for the recognition of the work that PHAs are doing in communities and the resources needed to continue those vital services.

NAHRO is glad to see the Administration’s support for affordable housing and community development reflected in the FY 2022 proposed budget. This 15% increase in HUD funding includes a significant increase for the public housing capital fund to preserve existing affordable housing, $500 million more for the HOME Program, which will build more affordable housing, and an increase in resources to support the Housing Choice Voucher Program. These are all vital steps in helping to house our nation’s families, seniors and children.

NAHRO President Sunny Shaw, in response to the budget proposal
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Federal Judge Vacates CDC Eviction Moratorium

A federal judge has set aside and vacated the eviction moratorium put in place by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). On May 5, Judge Dabney Friedrich of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion that was narrowly focused on one question, “Does the Public Health Service Act grant the CDC the legal authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium?” Judge Friedrich answered the question, “It does not” and further explains that the CDC and the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services exceeded the authority granted to them by the Public Health Service Act by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.

Judge Friedrich’s opinion can be found here. PHAs must continue to follow all local (state, county, city) eviction moratoriums and local landlord tenant laws. NAHRO will continue to follow this case and share additional information as it becomes available.

UPDATE (5/5/2021, 2:26pm ET) – The US Justice Department is appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit the US District Court’s order vacating the CDC eviction moratorium.

UPDATE (5/5/2021, 3:31pm ET) – The US Justice Department has issued a statement respectfully disagreeing with the District Court’s decision and confirming that they have filed a notice of appeal of the decision. The statement is available here.

UPDATE (5/6/2021, 8:48am ET) – Judge Friedrich has issued an administrative stay putting her order vacating the CDC eviction moratorium on hold. The court will allow both parties to submit briefs against and in support of the stay and will then make a further decision on to keep the stay in place or not. As of this update, the CDC eviction moratorium remains in effect.

HUD Restarts Inspections in June

On April 23, HUD announced that the department plans to begin inspections for public housing and project-based rental assistance (PBRA) properties starting June 1. HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge noted that HUD “must take steps to ensure the whole health and well-being of the households we serve—including the conditions and quality of housing. We look forward to working with residents to ensure safe and successful inspections.”.

HUD will focus on properties that are considered “high priority” – those that have not been inspected for a significant amount of time or those that have failed their last inspection. Most of the PHA properties on HUD’s high priority inspection list have inspection scores below 60. HUD will also begin inspecting agencies participating in the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) Demonstration. HUD will inform PHAs if any of their properties fall on the list of targeted inspections for 2021 on Monday, April 26. HUD will further provide notice to PHAs and owners 28 days before any inspection takes place at a property. HUD inspections will include enhanced safety protocols as established by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and HUD has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to allow contracted inspectors to access COVID-19 vaccinations through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs, if they inspector so chooses.

If a resident does not feel comfortable with an inspector entering their unit, the resident may opt out from the inspection. In those instances, another unit will be selected for an inspection.

HUD will not be issuing inspection scores to PHAs in 2021 unless the agency specifically asks for one. Rather, inspectors will only be looking for life threatening deficiencies on the property. Life threatening deficiencies must be fixed within 24 hours of the inspection. HUD will be relying on NSPIRE standards to determine what constitutes a life-threatening deficiency. HUD recently posted an NSPIRE Life-Threatening Deficiencies fact sheet here. Multifamily properties will be inspected using UPCS and the inspections will be scored.

HUD will no longer be using the heat-map created last fall to determine which coronavirus hot-spots in the country to avoid. Rather, HUD will be inspecting units in all parts of the country, although attention will be paid to places that are seeing upticks in their COVID-19 case numbers.

HUD’s announcement can be found here.

CDC Eviction Moratorium Extended to June 30, 2021

On March 28, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky issued a 17-page order extending the CDC Eviction Moratorium from April 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021. The previous eviction moratorium order was set to expire on March 31. 

The order provides tenants with eviction protections for unpaid rent due to the impact of COVID-19. Tenants will be able to provide their landlord a signed declaration that invokes the eviction moratorium protections. Tenants that have previously provided their landlord a signed declaration will continue to have the eviction moratorium protections and will not need to provide a new declaration. 

NAHRO and HUD have provided resources to assist housing providers work with their tenants to catch up on unpaid rent and avoid eviction – these resources can be found here.

2019 Public Charge Rule No Longer Applicable

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they will no longer defend the 2019 Public Charge rule and have withdrawn their appeal of an Illinois court decision invalidating the 2019 Public Charge rule. The result of DHS’s action is that the court’s decision striking down the 2019 Public Charge rule will become final and the previous 1999 interim field guidance (the immediate past policy) will apply.

Under the 1999 interim field guidance, DHS will not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination.  In addition, medical treatment or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes.

DHS Statement on Litigation Related to the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility, March 9, 2021

DHS has pre-published a final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Implementation of Vacatur, that removes the 2019 Public Charge rule text from the Federal Register. The rule will take affect when published which is scheduled for March 15, 2021.

CDC Eviction Moratorium Ruled Unconstitutional, Still in Effect

Late on Feb. 25, 2021, Judge J. Campbell Barker of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas ruled, in a 21-page order, that the eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is unconstitutional.  Meaning the Federal government does not have the constitutional authority to issue the CDC eviction moratorium. The US Justice Department, attorneys for the CDC, argued that the federal government did have the authority to enact an eviction moratorium through Article 1 of the US Constitution’s power to enact laws necessary and proper to regulate interstate commerce. The Court was not convinced by this argument and ruled against the federal government. The Court did acknowledge that landlord-tenant relationship can be regulated by state law. 

Even though the CDC Eviction Moratorium was ruled unconstitutional, Judge Barker did not issue an injunction stopping the effect of the eviction moratorium. Therefore, the CDC Eviction Moratorium is still in place and effective at the time of this writing. The Justice Department released a statement on Saturday, February 27, 2021 “respectfully” disagreeing with the Court’s decision and further stating that “the [Justice] Department has appealed that decision.”  

NAHRO will continue to monitor the court activity surrounding the CDC Eviction Moratorium and will provide additional updates as warranted.