On July 2, HUD released Notice PIH 2020-13 which provides relief to PHAs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by extending current waivers and releasing new waivers to help ease administrative burden and provide safe, secure housing to low-income individuals. The CARES Act provided broad authority to HUD to provide waivers to PHAs to help them manage their properties and keep their residents safe during the pandemic. HUD released the first round of waivers on April 10. Through critical member feedback, NAHRO has consistently updated HUD on the need for additional waivers and flexibilities throughout the pandemic so that PHAs can better serve their residents and keep their staff safe.
HUD has recently released an update to its Public Housing Occupancy guidebook. The guidebook is being published as chapters are completed. The Public Housing Occupancy guidebook provides PHAs, families, and other stakeholders with a one-stop resource to assist in the administration of the public housing program. The guidebook consolidates the most up-to-date guidance outlined in PIH notices, regulatory requirements, Federal Register Notices, and other forms of guidance issued by HUD.
The updated Public Housing Occupancy guidebook now includes chapters on income determination, reexaminations, and utilities. The guidebook can be found here.
On June 17, the White House Opportunity Zone Council, lead by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, delivered a report to the Administration outlining best practices and examples of revitalization that relate to Opportunity Zone investments. According to its press release, “President Trump established the Council to support the Administration’s pledge to encourage public and private investment in urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones.”
Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are 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 Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF). QOFs are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. The report issued to the administration includes case and best practices observed across the country.
Yesterday, HUD released its second allocation of Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) funding included in the CARES Act. The amount allocated totaled $2.96 billion. HUD will immediately begin distributing award letters notifying ESG Program recipients of their second allocation of CARES funding. The funds are available to be used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Eligible recipients generally include states, metropolitan cities, urban counties and territories. Local governments may subgrant ESG funds to public housing agencies (PHAs) and local redevelopment authorities.
Earlier today, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) finalized their overhaul of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) regulations. Although the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) released a proposed CRA rule together, the FDIC noted that they are not prepared to finalize a CRA proposal at this time, meaning the FDIC’s final rule may differ from the OCC’s. Moreover, the Federal Reserve, also responsible for governing the CRA, was not involved in the proposed rule.
The CRA is a critical tool that encourages banking and lending institutions to lend necessary funding to affordable housing and community development projects by receiving favorable CRA consideration for community development activities. These activities include investment in Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects, New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) projects, and historic rehabilitation tax credit projects. Virtually no affordable rental housing development would occur without LIHTC, and the CRA is critical to ensuring banks remain motivated to invest in LIHTC.
Today, HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD), sent out an email to PHAs regarding the draw down of CARES Act Supplemental Operating Funds. PHAs should only draw down CARES Act Supplemental Operating Funds as needed to fund eligible, immediate needs to prepare for, prevent, and respond to coronavirus. Unlike regular Operating Funds, which can be drawn down all at once, CARES Act Supplemental Operating Funds can only be drawn down to pay for immediate needs and cannot be held as reserves. These funds are available to PHAs via a single obligation to a unique grant number, ending with the letter “C.” Any funds that have been drawn down other than to pay for immediate needs must be returned to HUD. Returned funds will be reapplied to the funds available under the Award Number/Project Number and will remain available through December 31, 2020 or at a later date if HUD deems an extension necessary. PHAs that have drawn down funds in excess of their immediate needs should contact their Field Office.
On May 11, HUD announced the allocation of $1 billion of CARES Act funding through the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. To date, HUD has allocated over $3 billion funding to communities to help them combat coronavirus and alleviate economic hardship through funding from the CARES Act.
Today, HUD allocated the $685 million in supplemental Operating Fund dollars included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to PHAs. The funding was allocated to PHAs via the Operating Fund formula. In HUD’s press release announcing the allocations, Assistant Secretary for PIH Hunter Kurtz noted “[t]he work of public housing authorities has never been more important than today.” PHAs with public housing programs can use the supplemental funding to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. HUD issued guidance on how these supplemental funds can be spent on Tuesday, April 28.
A list of allocations can be found here.
Thank you to everyone that contacted your legislators through NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to help get the CARES Act passed last March. Your messages of how important affordable housing is during a pandemic played a critical role in the HUD programs receiving supplemental relief funding.
NAHRO is providing additional coronavirus resources on our website.
On April 28, HUD issued Notice PIH-2020-07 titled “Implementation of Supplemental Guidance to the Federal Fiscal Year 2020 Operating Fund Appropriations.” The Notice provides guidance on the allocation and eligible uses of the $685 million supplemental funding included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, as well as the additional flexibilities provided through the CARES Act to use previously appropriated Capital and Operating Funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. The Notice applies to both MTW and Non-MTW PHAs. Obligations of the supplemental funding will be calculated based on each project’s pro rata Calendar Year (CY) 2020 Operating Fund grants. Using the waiver authority provided in the CARES Act, HUD is waiving the requirement to make payments equal to one-twelfth of the total annual Operating Fund under the formula so that HUD may make CARES Act supplemental funding available to PHAs via a single obligation.
HUD has released it’s Housing Trust Fund (HTF) allocations for FY 2020. Allocations for FY 2020 total $322,564,267. Funds are distributed to states via formula, with larger states receiving more funding. All states receive at least $3 million. Larger states, such as California, New York, Texas, and Florida received $50.8 million, $29 million, $16.5 million, and $14.4 million respectively. Housing Trust Fund dollars can be used to increase and preserve the supply of rental housing for extremely low-income families with incomes between 0 and 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and very low-income families with incomes between 30 and 50 percent of AMI, including homeless families. HTF dollars can also be used for increasing homeownership for extremely low-income and very low-income families.
A full list of state awards can be found here.