On September 14, HUD announced it will extend the FY 2017 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) NOFA application deadline for PHAs located in Presidentially-Declared Disaster areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. This includes 39 counties in the state of Texas, St. John and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Municipios of Canovanas, Cuelbra, Loiza, and Vieques in Puerto Rico, and 37 counties in the state of Florida. The deadline for these locations is now September 29, 2017.
Abt Associates recently released a report that evaluated Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs operated by the Lynn Housing Authority and the Cambridge Housing Authority in partnership with Compass Working Capital in Massachusetts. The report, funded by the Oak Foundation and HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), compared the change over time in earnings and welfare and Social Security Income for FSS participants to those in a matched comparison group. The study occurred between October 2010 and March 2015.
The study found that FSS participants performed better than the comparison groups in terms of earning, credit, and debt. This included FSS participants having higher earning growth, reductions in welfare, growth in credit scores, and reductions in credit cards and derogatory debt than the comparison group.
FSS provides a critical source of funding for PHAs to help their residents increase self-sufficiency. Although the FSS program was established by Congress 27 years ago, the Abt study is only the third to compare earnings outcomes of FSS participants to a comparison group and the first to study credit and debt outcomes.
On Wednesday, September 6, HUD will release four agency information collection request revisions relating to public housing. These include: grant drawdown payment request/LOCCS/VRS Voice Activated, public housing annual contributions contract and inventory removal application, public housing financial template, and requirements for designated housing projects. Each is a revision of a currently approved collection. Comments for each information collection activity are due 30 days after their publication in the Federal Register.
Tomorrow, August 23, HUD will release a Notice in the Federal Register increasing the unit cap for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) and setting rents for units accepted under the increase. The FY 2017 enacted budget expanded the 185,000 unit cap on Public Housing conversions to 225,000 units and changed the September 30, 2018 deadline for submission of RAD applications under the first component to September 30, 2020.
PHAs that have already submitted Letters of Interest (LOI) to reserve their position on the RAD waiting list are eligible for award under the expansion if the PHA submits a complete RAD Application, Portfolio Award, or Multi-phase Award for the number of units identified in their LOI within 60 days of publication of the Notice.
HUD will use rent levels based on the FY 16 RAD rent base year for CHAPs issued beyond the 185,000-unit cap and for any replacement awards made as a result of revocations or withdraws that occurred after May 5, 2017. HUD will use rent levels based on the FY 14 RAD rent base year for replacement awards made under the 185,000-unit cap as a result of revocations or withdraws that occurred prior to May 5, 2017.
PHAs that are issued Multi-phase Awards after May 5, 2017 will have until September 30, 2020 to submit an application for the final phase of the project. HUD may approve extensions up to September 30, 2020 for Multi-phase Awards made prior to May 5, 2017 on a case-by-case basis.
On August 16, HUD announced that the FY2017 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) is available via grants.gov. HUD notes that there are several changes from the FY2017 NOFA, including a revised HUD 52651 Form (now an electronic fillable form), and a 3 percent increase in the maximum salary that may be requested per FSS Coordinator. The maximum salary has increased from $69,000 to $72,000.
A pre-recorded webcast will be made available soon with more information.
FSS applications are due September 15, 2017.
On August 10, HUD released Notice PIH 2017-13 (HA)/OHHLHC 2017-01, titled “Guidance on HUD’s Lead Safe Housing Rule Pertaining to Elevated Blood Lead Levels for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher Programs.” This Notice provides information to public housing agencies (PHAs), Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) property owners and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) property owners on the required actions they must take when a child in a family receiving HCV or PBV assistance is identified as having an elevated blood lead level (EBLL). On January 13, HUD published its “Requirements for Notification, Evaluation and Reduction of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Federally Owned Residential Property and Housing Receiving Federal Assistance; Response to Elevated Blood Lead Levels” (Lead-Free) final rule that amended HUD’s lead-based paint regulations (LSHR) on reducing blood lead levels in children under age 6 who reside in federally-owned or -assisted housing that was built pre-1978. The final rule also formally adopted the revised definition of “elevated blood lead levels” (EBLLs) in children under the age of 6 in accordance to the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The compliance date for the final rule was July 13.
On July, 27 HUD released their August and September Explanation of CY 2017 Operating Fund Obligations. HUD bases monthly obligations on eligibility determined after processing 2017 Operating Subsidy forms. The Operating Fund proration for July is 92.85 percent. Operating Subsidy obligations are cumulative, and Public Housing projects are allowed funding in the amount of three fourths of prorated eligibility (nine out of twelve months). Funds will be available in eLOCCS not later than August 1.
On July 18, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them that the web application for the on-line collection of Calendar Year 2016 Executive Compensation data will be available Monday, July 24, through Friday, August 11, 2017. HUD also issued Notice PIH-2017-11 providing additional information on CY 2016 executive compensation reporting.
HUD has changed the log-in process from prior years. To enter data, PHAs will have to login to HUD’s Secure Systems, then open the application link in a new Internet Explorer tab or window and login using the same password used for HUD’s Secure Systems.
The link will be active Monday, July 24, through Friday, August 11, 2017.
Questions? Contact Ken Peterson at 702-236-9112, Deborah Fox at 404-229-8952, Eric Willis at 202-475-8822, or email PHACompensation@HUD.gov.
HUD announced a webinar provided by CSH for PHAs (and partners) that are implementing the FUP-FSS demonstration in their community on July 31 from 3:30 – 5 PM EST. The webinar is directed to PHAs that have already been approved to implement a FUP-FSS demonstration, but other PHAs with an FSS program are also welcome to register. During the webinar, two demonstration sites will review how they have implemented their employment and savings incentive program and will highlight their selection procedures, coaching and service strategy, and how youth are leveraging the program to advance their life goals.
If interested in attending, HUD requests that all participants complete a pre-test survey before the webinar.
On July 13, HUD released a new guidebook on implementing HUD’s Smoke-Free Policy in Public Housing relating to the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing” Final Rule. The guidebook includes reasons to adopt a smoke-free policy, policy dates and deadlines, how to implement a smoke-free policy, and a recommended 18-month timeline.
PHAs have until July 30, 2018 to implement smoke-free policies for their public housing properties. Policies must prohibit smoking within all public housing units and common spaces. Smoking must also be prohibited within 25 feet of all public housing buildings, including administration buildings.
HUD released additional guidance on instituting and enforcing smoke-free public housing policies in February.
HUD’s guidebook can be found on NAHRO’s Public Housing Resource Page (members only).