HUD Requests Comments on NSPIRE Standards

On June 16, HUD pre-published its Request for Comments: National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) and Associated Protocols in the Federal Register. The request for public comment is focused specifically on the inspection standards associated with the new NSPIRE inspection protocol that HUD will begin implementing in April, 2023. NSPIRE aims to create a unified assessment of housing quality through inspections across multiple HUD programs. NSPIRE applies to the Public Housing program, Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) units, Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) units, and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) programs. Certain HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs would also be required to adopt theses new standards. These programs include the HOME Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, and Continuum of Care (CoC). A full list of the NSPIRE Standards can be found here. Comments are due 45 days after publication in the Federal Register.

NAHRO will provide an in-depth analysis of the NSPIRE Standards soon.

Operating Fund Shortfall Funding Announced

On July 13, HUD published its notice implementing the Public Housing Operating Fund Shortfall Funding from the FY 2022 Appropriations Act (Notice PIH-2022-17). The FY 2022 Appropriations Act included a provision that provided $25 million for PHAs that experience, or are at risk of, financial shortfalls as determined by HUD. PHAs that are included on the list of eligible PHAs may apply for Shortfall funding by visiting the OpFund Web Portal. PHAs must apply by July 12, 2022. The list of eligible PHAs can be found here.

SF-425 for CARES Act Supplementary Operating Funds due 05/31/2022

If your PHA submitted their SF-425 for each Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) supplemental Operating Funds grant please ignore the remainder of this message.

The SF-425 forms for CARES Act supplemental Operating Funds are due by Tuesday, May 31, 2022. PHAs that received CARES Act supplemental Operating Funds are required to submit an SF-425 for each grant in the Operating Fund (OpFund) Web Portal.

If you have questions about how to complete the SF-425 please contact your local Field Office. For technical issues with the OpFund Web Portal, please contact REAC – Technical Assistance Center (TAC) by calling 1-888-245-4860 Option #4 or send an email to REAC_TAC@hud.gov.

Implementation Guidance for Section 3 Final Rule Issued

HUD has issued guidance on tracking and reporting compliance with the new requirements for the Section 3 Final Rule issued in September, 2020. The new guidance, Notice PIH 2022-10, discusses transition period activities, reporting, contracting and procurement, monitoring and compliance, recordkeeping, complaints, and training for Section 3. Section 3 requires PHAs and their contractors and subcontractors to give low- and very low-income persons training, employment, and economic opportunities, to their best efforts, when using certain federal funding, including public housing Operating and Capital funds.

For more information on the Section 3 final rule, see here. The Notice can be found here.

Dept. of Labor Issues Update to Davis-Bacon Act Labor Standards

The Department of Labor has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking updating the Davis-Bacon Act labor standards. This is the first update to the regulations in 40 years. The Department’s goal in making this update is to “reflect better the needs of workers in the construction industry and planned federal construction investments.” Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA) requirements require the payment of locally prevailing wage rates of construction workers that are employed on federally funded or assisted construction projects.

According to the Department of Labor, proposed changes to the regulations include:

  • Creating several efficiencies in the prevailing wage update system and ensuring prevailing wage rates keep up with actual wages, which over time would mean higher wages for workers.
  • Returning to the definition of “prevailing wage” used from 1935 to 1983 to ensure prevailing wages reflect actual wages paid to workers in the local community.
  • Periodically updating prevailing wage rates to address out-of-date wage determinations.
  • Providing broader authority to adopt state or local wage determinations when certain criteria is met.
  • Issuing supplemental rates for key job classifications when no survey data exists.
  • Updating the regulatory language to better reflect modern construction practices.
  • Strengthening worker protections and enforcement, including debarment and anti-retaliation.

Comments on the proposed rule are due May 17 to regulations.gov. NAHRO will post a more in-depth analysis of the proposed rule in the coming weeks.

PHA Executive Compensation Information Collection Released

On February 11, HUD released a 30-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection in the Federal Register on Public Housing Agency Executive Compensation Information. As required by Congress, HUD collects information on the compensation provided by public housing agencies (PHAs) to the top management official, the top financial official, and all employees who are paid an annual salary over the compensation cap imposed by Congress in HUD’s annual appropriations (Level IV of the Executive Schedule). The compensation data collected includes base salary, bonus, and incentive and other compensation, and the extent to which these payments are made with any Section 8 and 9 appropriated funds.

HUD will shift from collecting data on PHA compensation from annually to triennially (once every three years). This will reduce reporting requirements for all PHAs. While HUD may only collect PHA compensation data once every three years, PHAs are still subject to the annual compensation restrictions imposed by Congress. Therefore, all years remain subject to potential review by HUD to ensure compliance with the Annual Appropriations Act.

Comments are due on March 14, 2022.

PHAS Assessments to Resume for FYE 2022

On February 4, HUD released Notice PIH 2022-02, “Return of Public Housing Assessment Systems (PHAS) Assessments Upon Expiration of PHAS-Related Waivers in Notice PIH 2021-14.” The notice advises PHAs that PHAS scoring will resume starting with the March 31, 2022, Fiscal Year End (FYE) Cohort and also temporarily adjusts the standard under the Management Assessment Subsystem (MASS) indicator for the Tenant Accounts Receivable (TAR) sub-indicator for the fiscal year 2022 PHAS assessment cycle.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Notice PIH 2021-14 provided waivers that enabled HUD to delay PHAS assessments and carry over a PHA’s last PHAS score. These waivers expired on December 31, 2021. Over the last year, HUD began transitioning back to normal requirements associated with HUD and resumed physical inspections of Public Housing properties on October 5, 2020, extending the notification period from 14 days to 28 days. PHAs have also continued to submit Financial Data Schedules (FDS) used to calculate the Financial Assessment Sub-systems (FASS) Indicator under PHAS.

Based on the data submitted by PHAs to HUD, HUD has determined that, aside from issues related to the TAR sub-indicator under the Management Operations Assessment Sub-system (MASS), many PHAs do not need further modifications to PHAS related to the financial and management indicators. However, if your agency feels as though the pandemic has negatively impacted your any of your PHAS sub-system scores, you should contact the HUD REAC Technical Assistance Center (TAC). HUD has the statutory ability to not issue a PHAS score for a given year if the agency has been impacted by unforeseen events, such as the pandemic. If a PHA can prove their score has been negatively impacted by the pandemic, HUD can choose not to issue a score for FYE 2022.

Due to the pandemic and federal and state eviction moratoria that were put in place, many agencies may have experienced a significant impact on their ability to collect rent and manage rent collection activities. As such, HUD is providing an automatic, temporary adjust for TAR scoring for FYE 2022. PHAs will receive 5 points for TAR if the tenant accounts receivable is 80 percent or greater, 2 points if the tenant accounts receivable is between 79 percent and 60 percent, and 0 points if the TAR is below 60 percent.  These changes will be implemented automatically for all agencies by HUD.

HUD will also continue to keep the inspection notification period at 28 days. If agencies do not believe they can get their units ready for an inspection in 28 days due to the pandemic, supply chain issues, staffing concerns, or other issues, they should contact the HUD REAC TAC. PHAs that have questions or need technical assistance should email REAC_TAC@hud.gov or call Technical Assistance Center (TAC) at 1-888-245-4860, between the hours of 7:00 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Eastern Standard time.

The notice can be found here.

MTW Landlord Incentives Cohort Announced

HUD announced the Landlord Incentives Cohort of the expansion of the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration on January 27. NAHRO congratulates all the new MTW agencies entering the Demonstration through this cohort! This cohort will include a research and evaluation component that studies the impact of incentives aimed at encouraging landlords to participate in the Section 8 program. Agencies selected for the Landlord Incentives Cohort will also be able to utilize other flexibilities included within the MTW Demonstration.

Twenty-nine PHAs were selected for this cohort. Since January 2021, HUD has added a total of 70 PHAs to the MTW Demonstration. MTW PHAs are now in 38 states and D.C.

Congratulations to the new MTW Agencies!

  • Housing Authority of the City of Dothan (AL)
  • Berkeley Housing Authority (CA)
  • Housing Authority of the City of Alameda (CA)
  • Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara (CA)
  • Vacaville Housing Authority (CA)
  • Housing Catalyst (CO)
  • Jefferson County Housing Authority (CO)
  • Norwalk Housing Authority (CT)
  • Middletown Housing Authority (CT)
  • Northwest Georgia Housing Authority (GA)
  • Hawaii Public Housing Authority (HI)
  • Rockford Housing Authority (IL)
  • Housing Authority of Joliet (IL)
  • Lake County Housing Authority (IL)
  • Winnebago County Housing Authority (IL)
  • Brockton Housing Authority (MA)
  • Lewiston Housing Authority (ME)
  • Ann Arbor Housing Commission (MI)
  • Housing Authority of Bergen County (NJ)
  • Homes for Good (Lane County Housing Agency) (OR)
  • Harrisburg Housing Authority (PA)
  • Housing Authority of the City of Spartanburg (SC)
  • Greenville Housing Authority (SC)
  • Housing Authority of Florence (SC)
  • Knoxville Community Development Corporation (TN)
  • Housing Authority of Salt Lake City (UT)
  • Burlington Housing Authority (VT)
  • Yakima Housing Authority (WA)
  • Spokane Housing Authority (WA)

Implementation of Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Amendments Published

On Monday January 24, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a notice that implements and provides guidance on the provisions included in the amendments of the Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities Act. The Fostering Stable Housing Opportunities (FSHO) amendments made changes to the assistance provided to eligible youth through the Family Unification Program (FUP) for FUP-eligible youth, including those who received vouchers through the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative. FSHO provides an extension of the assistance provided to eligible youth for up to 24 months beyond the 36-month time limit of assistance if the youth is participating in a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program or if engaged in education, workforce development, or employment activities for at least 9 months of the 12-month period preceding the extension. FSHO also provides an extension of assistance for up to 24 months beyond the 36-month time limit of assistance for eligible youth who meet one of three statutory exceptions – being responsible for the care of a dependent child under the age of 6 or an incapacitated person, regularly participating in a drug addiction or alcohol treatment and rehabilitation program, or being incapable of complying with the requirement to participate in an FSS program or engaging in education, workforce development, or employment activities.

PHAs must inform eligible youth, including those issued vouchers prior to the publication of this notice, of the availability of this extension and the requirements that they must meet to receive an extension once the notice is in effect (90 days after publication). HUD is providing PHAs with flexibility in applying these requirements and encourages PHAs to provide these extensions to the broadest population possible consistent with the statutory requirements. PHAs will be required to update their Administrative Plans to include written policies regarding how they will implement the extension.

Comments on the implementation and guidance are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

Memo on CPD Waivers Released

On December 30, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) issued a memo explaining the availability and extension of waivers of certain regulatory requirements associated with several CPD programs including the Continuum of Care (CoC), Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program, and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). The memo covers current grants and grants that have not yet been awarded. Waivers are to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to facilitate assistance to eligible communities and households economically impacted by COVID-19. The waivers are extensions of previous waivers HUD issued due to the pandemic, set to expire on December 31, 2021. Not all pandemic-related waivers have been extended. Recipients must opt-in to use or continue to use these waivers. The memo also announces a simplified notification process for program recipients to use this waiver flexibly to expedite the delivery of assistance.

The memo lists available waivers and describes the procedure for using available waivers of program requirements. Grantees must mail or email notification to the CPD Director of the HUD Field Office serving the grantee to use one of the listed waivers. The email notification must be sent two days before the grantee anticipates using waiver flexibility, and include the following details: requestor’s name, title, and contact information; date on which the grantee anticipates first use of the waiver flexibility; and a list of the waiver flexibilities the grantee will use. The memo can be found here.