Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants NOFA Released

On April 10, HUD posted the FY18 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants NOFA to www.grants.gov.

HUD is making available up to $5,000,000 for Planning Grants, including Planning and Action Grants. Planning Grants are two-year grants that assist communities with severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing in developing a successful neighborhood transformation plan and building the support necessary for that plan to be successfully implemented. Planning Action Grants are three and a half year planning grants that pair planning with action. According to HUD, ‘[t]hese actions improve neighborhood confidence, which in turn sustains the community’s energy, attracts more engagement and resources, and helps convince skeptical stakeholders that positive change is possible.”

Applications are due on Tuesday, June 12. Applicants must download the application package from the www.grants.gov site. Questions can be submitted to ChoiceNeighborhoods@hud.gov.

Opportunity Zones Designated in 18 States

On April 9, the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) announced designated Opportunity Zones in 18 states. Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress created the new community development program that encourages long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The Opportunity Zone Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds. Opportunity Funds are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. This new program has the potential to be an important, viable program for housing and community development agencies.

Currently, submissions have been approved by: American Samoa; Arizona; California; Colorado; Georgia; Idaho; Kentucky; Michigan; Mississippi; Nebraska; New Jersey; Oklahoma; Puerto Rico; South Carolina; South Dakota; Vermont; Virgin Islands; and Wisconsin.

HUD Expects to Raise Operating Fund Proration in May

In light of the recently passed FY 2018 budget, HUD is expecting to raise the Operating Fund proration to 93.53 percent in May. The April proration will remain the same as January, February, and March 2018 as the budget was passed too late in March for HUD to make any changes for April. NAHRO will continue to closely monitor the Operating Fund and provide updates as they occur.

The budget provided $4.55 billion to support the operation and management of public housing. This is $150 million more than funding for FY 2017, $50 million more than what was proposed by the Senate, $150 million more than the House bill and $650 million more than what was proposed by the President’s FY 2018 budget request.

HUD Releases New Demo/Dispo Guidance

On March 22, HUD released a Notice on demolition and/or disposition of public housing property, eligibility for tenant-protection vouchers and associated requirements (Notice PIH 2018-04). This Notice supersedes and replaces Notice 2012-7, and explains the application requirements to request HUD approval to demolish and/or dispose of public housing under Section 18 of the US Housing Act of 1937, including PHA justification criteria. This Notice includes related Tenant Protection Voucher (TPV) eligibility and application processes for residents of properties that undergo demolition or disposition.

NAHRO will issue an in-depth analysis of the Notice next week.

HUD Issues Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants

Last week, HUD awarded nearly $5 million in Choice Neighborhood Planning Grants to six communities to “help create plans to redevelop severely distressed HUD assisted housing and revitalize neighborhoods.” The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is place-based and focuses on three goals: housing, people, and neighborhoods. Through the Choice Neighborhoods planning process,  local governments, housing authorities, residents, nonprofits, tribal authorities, private developers, school districts, police departments, and other civic organizations “create a common vision and develop effective strategies to revitalize their neighborhood.”

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HUD Releases Guidance on Using Operating Subsidy for Capital Fund Program Activities

On Wednesday, February 28, HUD published Notice 2018-03 titled “Guidance on the Use of Operating Subsidy for Capital Fund Purposes for Subsidy Appropriated and Allocated for Calendar Year 2018 and Subsequent Years.” The Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) included language that allows PHAs to transfer up to 20 percent of their Operating Funds to their Capital Fund, language NAHRO has advocated for strongly over many years. This guidance explains how public housing agencies (PHAs) operating public housing may use a portion of their Operating Subsidy for capital activities, subject to HUD requirements.

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Congress Creates Opportunity Zone Program

Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Congress has created a new community development program that encourages long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The Opportunity Zone Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Opportunity Funds by providing a temporary tax deferral for capital gains. Opportunity Funds are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. This new program has the potential to become an important, viable program for housing and community development agencies across the country.

Governors for all U.S. states and territories, along with the mayor of the District of Columbia, are allowed to identify 25 percent of the total number of low-income census tracts in their state, territory, or federal district as an Opportunity Zone. States must conform to the Low-Income Community federal standard as a baseline for zone designations but are free to establish additional criteria to reflect local needs and priorities.

Governors have until March 22, 2018 to identify their Opportunity Zones to the Treasury Department.

HUD Releases Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund Program NOFA

HUD has released its Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for its Lead-Based Paint Capital Fund Program (LBPCF). The FY 2017 Appropriations bill provided $25 million to be available for competitive grants to PHAs to evaluate and reduce lead-based paint hazards in public housing. These grants are for risk assessments, abatement, and interim controls as defined in Section 1004 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. Grants are subject to normal PHA regulations. Applications are due Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

Properties eligible for funding under this NOFA must have at least one family with a child under age six at the time of application. HUD will use data in the IMS/PIC system to verify family occupancy for eligible applications after the threshold review is completed. Eligible properties may include playgrounds or child-care centers that are part of the public housing project. Applications that request more than $1,000,000 in grant funds will not meet the threshold eligibility and will not be reviewed further. A PHA that is troubled or under the direction of HUD is eligible for funding, provided the PHA is in compliance with any current Memorandum of Agreement or Recovery Agreement.

Funds can only be used for the activities of lead-based paint risk assessments, inspections, abatement, interim controls, and clearance examinations. Other work in the property, including work to prepare for lead hazard control (e.g., repairs to the substrate, fixing leaks or other renovations) cannot be funded with this grant. Housing units that have had lead-based paint abated (as demonstrated by documentation of a prior lead evaluation and abatement), and where the abatement is still performing are not eligible for enrollment under this grant program.  Funds under this NOFA may not be used at projects under Commitments to enter into Housing Assistance Payments Contracts (CHAPs) under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).

Applications should be submitted to grants.gov. Applications are due Tuesday, March 20, 2018. 

HUD Sends Email on Transition Funding Issue in Form-52723

On January 24, HUD sent out an email notifying PHAs that there is an issue with the calculation of Transition Funding in the PHA HUD-52723 tool. According to HUD, PHA tools are not calculating Transition Funding for PHAs that have one project initially approved for stop loss and that continue to comply with asset management requirements. HUD is currently working on the issue and notes that they do not expect the solution to impact the PHA tools. HUD notes that PHAs experiencing this issue should proceed to submit their tools to their Field Offices within the published timeline/deadline, and that impacted PHAs should indicate that they are eligible for Transition Funding and specify the amount in the comments section of the PHA tool.

PHAs should contact their Field Office if there are any questions or concerns.

2018 Public Housing Management Fees Published

On January 17, HUD released it’s 2018 Public Housing Management Fee Table. PHAs may use the amounts published in the table to establish “reasonable” fees for each of their public housing projects. Some PHAs may see a decrease from the 2017 schedule. Fees in the fee table have already been adjusted for occupancy. Nationally, the 80th percentile management fee is $60.46 per unit month (PUM).