On March 25, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) released a Q&A on using CDBG funds for staff costs and unused and partially utilized space.
Staff costs of CDBG program administration can be used for staff that are on leave due to the closure of the grantees or sub-recipient’s offices in response to COVID-19. These costs can be covered so long as the costs meet program administration requirements related to carrying out eligible activities, the cost of fringe benefits, and costs of other benefits so long as it is allowed under established written leave policies, costs are equitably allocated to all related activities, and the account basis selected for costing each type of leave is consistently followed.
CDBG funds can also be used to cover the cost of unused and partially utilized space related to COVID-19 as well. Although not usually permitted, exceptions exist when the space is unused due to unforeseen consequences, such as COVID-19.
For more COVID-19 related information, see NAHRO’s coronavirus resource page.
On March 23, HUD emailed PHAs with Public Housing programs to remind them that they should review their CY 2020 preliminary Operating Fund (OpFund) Grant eligibility and submit requests for corrections by email to their Field Office on or before April 3, 2020. PHAs can review their preliminary eligibility in the Operating Fund (OpFund) Web Portal in the PHA Form 52723/52722 Module. If you do not have access to the OpFund Portal please follow the guidance found here.
HUD has sent letters to PHAs announcing their 2020 Capital Fund Grant awards. In order to receive their grant awards, PHAs are required to submit an ACC Amendment to HUD. Accepting this amendment does not make any changes to a PHA’s existing ACC. The 2020 ACC Amendment for the Capital Fund Grant awards does not incorporate any changes and is the same version of the amendment PHAs signed in 2017.
In a key victory that NAHRO fought more than a year to achieve, the FY 2020 Appropriations Act included an industry-drafted legislative pause to HUD’s attempt to change the ACC contract. The Act prohibited HUD from requiring or enforcing any changes to the terms and conditions of the ACC as a requisite for PHAs to receive funding unless the changes are mutually agreed upon by HUD and the PHA.
On February 28, HUD published Notice PIH-2020-03 titled “Public Housing Operating Fund (OpFund) Grant Eligibility Calculations and Processing for Calendar Year (CY) 2020.” The Notice provides PHAs with instructions for calculating OpFund grants for CY 2020 and establishes submission deadlines.
There are a few changes and additions included in the notice compared to CY 2019. This includes mixed finance modernization, EnVision Center participation, MTW alternative operating subsidy agencies’ submission of form HUD-52723 for CY2020 OpFund grant eligibility, and the General Depository Agreement (GDA) (form HUD-51999).
The Notice explains in detail how OpFund eligibility is calculated, the submission process, and data HUD requires to calculate OpFund grants.
HUD has released more than $655 million in Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG) to Native American tribes in 38 states. The IHBG program is a formula grant enabled by the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act of 1996 (NAHASDA). The grant provides Federally recognized Indian tribes or their tribally designated housing entity (TDHE) and a limited number of state recognized tribes funds for a range of affordable housing activities on Indian reservations and Indian areas.
In HUD’s press release, HUD Secretary Ben Carson noted that “[t]hese grant funds will allow local leaders to build stronger and vibrant communities that drive more economic development.” Assistant Secretary for Public Housing R. Hunter Kurtz noted that “HUD is committed to helping Native Americans thrive and…build stable communities.”
HUD’s press release can be found here, and the final allocation summaries are posted on the Office of Native American Programs (ONAP) Codetalk website.
HUD has released FY 2020 Capital Fund Processing Information. The 2020 Appropriations Act provided about $2.87 billion for the Capital Fund, $95 million more than FY 2019 funding. The process for retrieving the 2020 ACC amendments is the same the same as it was 2017. More information and the list of Capital Fund awards by PHA can be found on HUD’s website.
The president’s 2021 budget proposes the elimination of the Capital Fund. The president has proposed eliminating the Capital Fund in previous budgets, but Congress has decided to fund the program at increased funding levels for the past 3 years.
After meeting with key resident stakeholders to discuss HUD’s new National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) Demonstration, HUD will test for the best method to add two new procedures into the Demonstration. First, HUD will test for the best method to include up to five additional resident units in the inspection, identified by a resident group, to increase the transparency and trust in the demonstration. If no resident group is available to identify five additional units, HUD will use a risk model to select the additional units. Second, HUD is researching the best practices for stakeholder engagement through the design and conduct of resident surveys.
Today, in the Federal Register, The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has announced a proposed rulemaking updating the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Currently, PHAs must follow HUD regulations that are bound by NEPA regulations. As such, these changes to NEPA regulations will require HUD to update their environmental review regulations once a final NEPA rule goes into effect.
Comments on the CEQ’s proposed rule update NEPA are due March 10. Comments should be submitted to regulations.gov.
A press release on the update can be found here.
The proposed rule can be found here.
Starting in 2020, HUD is requiring that all PHAs have their Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) numbers and Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) in active registration status in the System of Award Management (SAM) in order to receive funding. PHAs should check to ensure that their DUNS and TIN are active in SAM and that their SAM registration has not lapsed or expired. PHAs will not receive funding where TIN data conflicts in eLOCCS. More specifically, if the DUNS Organization TIN and Contractual Organizational TIN in LOCCS are inconsistent, PHAs will not receive funding.
HUD has already obligated funds to PHAs through mid-March. HUD will begin requiring active registration in SAM for DUNS and TIN for the next round of obligations. If a project is not funded because it does not comply with the above requirements, the agency should work to immediately update their registration in SAM or work to correct the inconsistency in TIN data in LOCCS. Once the SAM or TIN deficiency is corrected, the project will be funded in the next obligation.
Additional information about SAM and DUNS and TIN registration is available on the FMD website
PHAs can check their SAM status on the SAM website.
According to HUD there are currently 56 PHAs with expired SAM registrations. 37 PHAs have TIN mismatches. HUD will be providing a listserv reminder to all PHAs detailing the SAM and TIN requirements as well as the impact of noncompliance. In addition, HUD will send an email notification to PHAs in noncompliance, notifying them of their status and providing guidance on how to bring themselves into compliance.
In instances where the TIN data in LOCCS conflicts, the PHA should work with HUD’s CFO by sending an email to FWAC-SF1199A@hud.gov. The email subject should read “LOCCS TIN Correction to match SAM” and the email should include:
- A scanned copy of an IRS letter or other documentation that show the TIN in SAMS;
- A screen shot from SAM that show the TIN and DUNS
On December 26, HUD posted in the Federal Register a 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection on a new Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Online Form. Through this new collection, HUD will require the submission of project-level data on all PBVs from PHAs. In doing this, HUD aims to better understand the existing number of units in PBV projects, what exceptions apply to these units, their rents, terms of contract, and numerous other potential data points. Comments are due February 24, 2020.