Certain HOME Waivers Extended

On September 27, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development published a new memorandum, effective as of September 30, that updates and revises the memorandum, Revision, Extension and Update of April 2020 Memorandum Availability of Waivers and Suspensions of the HOME Program Requirements in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on December 4, 2020. The new memo extends certain statutory suspensions and regulatory waivers for the HOME Program that were issued to enable HOME Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to use HOME funds to address immediate housing needs and to help prevent spread of the virus. Prior, all waivers were set to expire on September 30, 2021.

Specifically, the memo revises the matching contribution waiver to include FY 22. The memo also revises the maximum per unit subsidy limit waivers to restrict its applicability to projects that are currently underway or projects to which HOME funds will be committed on or before March 31, 2022. The memo also extends the waiver to perform onsite inspections of HOME-assisted rental housing and annual re-inspections of units assisted with HOME TBRA to December 31, 2021 and extends the timeframe to physically inspect units that would have been subject to on-going inspections during the waiver period from 120 days from September 31, 2021 to 180 days from December 31, 2021. Finally the Insular Areas waiver is revised to clarify the timing of the required written notification and the project completion day.

Flat Rent Guidance Issued

On September 13, HUD issued Notice PIH 2021-27 (HA) titled “Updates to Flat Rent Submission Requirements.” The Notice supersedes and replaces previous guidance on flat rents, clarifies HUD’s interpretation of the statutory amendment related to flat rents, and updates flat rent exception and extension requirements, including review criteria for HUD Form 5880. The Notice applies to PHAs that operate a Public Housing program and families residing in, or applying to, the Public Housing program. MTW agencies continue to have the flexibility to establish alternative requirements to flat rent requirements.

Previous Appropriations Act established that PHAs are allowed to establish flat rents that are set at no less than the lower of 80 percent of the applicable Fair Market rent (FMR) or 80 percent of such other applicable FMR established by the Secretary that more accurately reflects local market conditions based on an applicable market area that is geographically smaller than the applicable market area (such as the applicable Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) or unadjusted rent). For areas where HUD has not determined a SAFMR or an unadjusted rent, PHAs must set rents at no less than 80 percent of the FMR or apply for an exception flat rent.

To apply for an exception flat rent, PHAs must provide a market analysis that demonstrates specific market conditions. PHAs have 90 days after the effective date of their fiscal year to submit an exception request. If a PHA submits an incomplete flat rent exception request or incomplete supporting market analysis, HUD will provide the PHA two opportunities to cure deficiencies before disapproving the request. The PHA may extend the exception flat rent so long as the market study accompanying the previously approved request is no more than two years old, the market conditions remain unchanged, and the PHA submits the extension within 90 days after the effective date of the final FMRs are published by HUD.

White House Releases Fact Sheet on Increasing Affordable Housing

On September 1, the White House released a Fact Sheet on the Biden Administration’s efforts to increase the affordable housing supply by creating, preserving, and selling nearly 100,000 additional affordable homes to homeowners and non-profits. The Administration is working with federal agencies to boost the supply of quality, affordable rental units, boost the supply of manufactured housing and 2-4 unit properties, make more single-family homes available to individuals, families, and non-profit organizations, and work with state and local governments to boost housing supply.

In order to boost the supply of quality, affordable rental units, the Administration plans to relaunch the Federal Financing Bank and HUD Risk Sharing Program, increase Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Investment cap by $700 million, and strongly encourage the development of affordable housing under the next Capital Magnet Fund NOFA.

The Administration will also make financing allow Fannie Mae to accept loan delivery for manufactured housing and revise certain mortgage eligibility requirements for 2-4 unit properties.

The Administration will work to make more single-family homes available to individuals, families, and non-profit organizations – rather than large investors. The Administration will do this by prioritizing homeownership in the sale of FHA-insured properties by providing guidelines over the next year that include an exclusive listing period for governmental entities, non-profits, and owner occupant buyers for Second Chance sales. The Administration will also promote the sale of distressed HUD properties to non-profits by increasing the amount of FHA-insured mortgage notes offered to non-profit and community organizations. HUD and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will also expand the exclusivity period for Real Estate Owned (REO) sales, and will improve outreach to non-profits for REO sales.

Lastly, the Administration will work with state and local governments to boost housing supply by leveraging federal funding to spur state and local action, and exploring federal levers to partner with states and local governments to reduce exclusionary zoning.

The fact sheet can be found here.

$95 Million Awarded to Protect from Lead-Based Paint and Other Hazards

On August 26, HUD announced awards for nearly $95 million to 28 state and local government agencies to protect children and families from lead-based paint and other home health hazards. The grants are through the Lead Based Paint Hazard Reduction (LBPHR) Grant Program. The grants also include more than $12 million from HUD’s Healthy Homes Supplemental funding. A list of the grantees can be found here.

FY 2021 CoC NOFO Released

On August 18, HUD released its FY 2021 Continuum of Care (CoC) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). Through the NOFO, over $2.6 billion in competitive funding will be made available to homeless services organization across the country for supportive services and housing programs for people experiencing homelessness. The NOFO will also provide an addition $102 million for new rapid re-housing, supportive services, and other activities critical to assist survivors of domestic violence, date violence, sexual assault, or stalking. This is the first CoC NOFO to be released since the COVID-19 pandemic as HUD was granted the authority to renew grants without a NOFO in FY 2020. The NOFO is available at grants.gov. Applications are due November 16, 2021.

CoCs can renew existing projects, apply for new projects, and reallocate resources from lower performing projects to better serve people experiencing homelessness. The FY 2021 NOFO also invites Indian Tribes and Tribally Designated Housing entities (TDHE) to apply for grants. HUD is specifically seeking projects that:

  • End homelessness for all persons experiencing homelessness;
  • Use a Housing First approach;
  • Reduce unsheltered homelessness and reduce the criminalization of homelessness;
  • Improve system performance;
  • Partner with housing and health agencies, including to leverage and coordinate American Rescue Plan resources;
  • Advance racial equity and addressing racial disparities in homelessness; and
  • Engage people with lived experience of homelessness in decision-making

The NOFO is available at grants.gov. Applications are due November 16, 2021.

FSS NOFO Released

On July 28, HUD published the FY 2021 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on its webpage. The application deadline is August 27.

PHAs applying for FSS funding should note that the 2021 FSS- Renewal NOFO has changed. For the FY21 NOFO only, all PHAs that were funded in FY20, FY19, or FY18 are eligible for renewal funding even if the PHA did not meet the minimum number of participants requirement. HUD is providing PHAs a one-year grace period due to the impacts of COVID-19. HUD will also not use 2020 PIC counts to limit PHAs maximum positions. Starting in FY21, HUD is using a 3-year looking period for determining Maximum Positions and will use the highest number of funded positions in the eligibility period, with all part-time positions above the first position rounded up to the next highest number of full-time positions. The FY21 will have three funding priority categories: 1) funding to the amount the PHA was last funded, 2) if applicable, increases to part-time positions to a full time position, and 3) additional increases in funding. Unlike previous years, the NOFO does not require salary comparability information to be submitted by the PHA.

The FSS NOFO application is due on August 27.

Section 3 Resources Released

HUD recently released a new Section 3 Landing Page and Section 3 FAQs. HUD’s Section 3 Final Rule became effective July 1, 2021. HUD’s Section 3 Program requires that recipients of certain HUD financial assistance provide training, employment, contracting and other economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons to the greatest extent possible. HUD’s new Section 3 Landing Page includes resources, training, and news on Section 3. The FAQ provides answers to a number of questions about the transition to and the workings of the new rule. FAQ topics include: general information, applicability, consistency with other laws, recipient responsibilities, certification, economic opportunities and numerical benchmarks, and complaints.

ROSS NOFA Released

On July 19, HUD released the NOFA for FY 2021 funding for the Resident Opportunity & Self Sufficiency Service Coordinator (ROSS-SC) program. ROSS-SC grant funding allows eligible applicants to hire a Service Coordinator who assesses the needs of Public and Indian housing residents and links them to local training and supportive services. The ROSS-SC grant also provides funding for grantees to provide direct services to further support the work of the ROSS-SC and the goals of the ROSS program. FY 2021 funding for ROSS was $35 million. Award ceilings are at $737,500. Eligible applicants can apply at grants.gov. Applications are due September 17.

CY 2021 Interim Operating Fund Grant Eligibility

HUD has updated the Public Housing Operating Fund Grant interim eligibility for calendar year 2021. PHAs can find their interim eligibility in the Operating Fund Web Portal in the PHA Form 52723/52722 module. PHAs have until August 16, 2021 to request revisions to their Operating Fund eligibility by email to their Field Office. Reasons that HUD may revise Operating Fund eligibility can be found listed in Section 12 of Notice PIH-2021-04, “Submission of Requests for Revision to the CY 2-21 OpFund Grant Eligibility.” PHAs should contact their local field office with any questions.

July Operating Fund Delayed

Due to unforeseen technical issues, HUD will delay the release of the July Operating Fund subsidy. HUD anticipates that July’s obligations will be available in eLOCCS no later than July 8, 2021. PHAs should use available reserves to cover any immediate or unanticipated cost. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your local HUD field office.