Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants NOFO Released

On May 12, HUD posted the FY 2021 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) on grants.gov. HUD is making available up to $5 million for planning grants. Planning grants are two-year grants of up to $450,000 that assist communities with severely distressed public or HUD-assisted housing in developing a neighborhood transformation plan and carrying out early action activities to help successfully implement the plan.

Applications are due to grants.gov on Tuesday, July 13, 2021.

Nearly $51.4 Million Awarded to PHAs to Address Lead Hazards

On May 11, HUD awarded nearly $51.4 million to 25 Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) in 19 states to help clean up lead hazards in public housing. NAHRO has long advocated for increased funding for PHAs to help remediate and eradicate lead-paint in public housing properties. Provided through HUD’s Public Housing Capital Fund, these grants are targeted to public housing units occupied by families with young children. HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge noted in HUD’s press release that “protecting families with young children from lead and other health hazards is an important part of HUD’s mission, and we don’t take it lightly… HUD is committed to President Biden’s directive to prioritize environmental justice and equity for disadvantaged communities.” HUD’s press release can be found here.

Guidance on Public Housing Fund Shortfall Funding Released

On April 26, HUD released Notice PIH-2021-12, “Implementation of Public Housing Operating Fund Shortfall Funding from Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021 Appropriations.” The FY 2021 Appropriations Act included $25 million for PHAs that experience, or are at risk of, financial shortfalls. The funding was provided to mitigate the risk of financial shortfalls among PHAs and was directed to prioritize the funding to PHAs with 249 or fewer public housing units that are determined to be experiencing shortfalls and have less than one-month of reserves before allocating funds to larger PHAs. MTW Agencies are eligible to apply as well.

For the purposes of this Notice, HUD defines having a financial shortfall as having less than two months of operating expenses held in reserve. The eligibility for the Shortfall Funding Program will be based on the amount of Monthly Operating Reserves (MOR) a PHA has according to their most recent audited or unaudited FDS submission. A list of agencies that fit this shortfall definition can be found here.

PHAs that are included on the list of eligible PHAs described above may apply for Shortfall funding by completing the Shortfall Funding Application found in Appendix A of the Notice and submitting it via e-mail to 2021ShortfallFunding@hud.gov no later than midnight (Eastern Time) on June 4, 2021. The application must be submitted by the PHA’s Executive Director or other authorized representative and include the PHA name and PHA code (e.g., CA001), as well as the contact information for HUD follow-up if necessary.

The Notice can be found here.

HUD Announces HOME-ARP Allocations

Today, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge announced the allocation of nearly $5 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to help create affordable housing and services for people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. The supplemental funding is allocated through the HOME Investment Partnerships Program to 651 grantees, included states, insular areas, and local governments. A full list of grantees can be found here.

The funding gives states the flexibility to meet the needs of people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Funding can be used to develop affordable housing, tenant-based rental assistance, supportive services, and acquisition and development of non-congregate shelter units. The funding is also the first of two homelessness-related funding opportunities from the American Rescue Plan (ARP) that HUD will release.

HUD’s press release can be found here.

Nearly $700 Million Allocated for Housing Trust Fund

Earlier this week, HUD announced the allocation of over $689 million through the nation’s Housing Trust Fund (HTF) for affordable housing. The HFT is capitalized through contributions made by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The 2021 allocation represents an increase in funding of over $367 million from 2020. A list of state allocation can be found here.

The HTF is specifically focused on housing for the most vulnerable populations. States must use at least 80 percent of their annual grant for rental housing, up to 10 percent for homeownership, and up to 10 percent for reasonable administrative and planning costs. HTF funds can be used for the production or preservation of affordable housing through acquisition, new construction, reconstruction, and/or rehabilitation of non-luxury housing with suitable amenities. HTF-assisted units for a minimum affordability period of 30 years.

Section 3 F.A.Q. Released

On March 25, HUD published a Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) on Section 3. HUD’s “Enhancing and Streamlining the Implementation of Section 3 Requirements for Creating Economic Opportunities for Low- and Very Low-Income Persons and Eligible Businesses” final rule was published on September 29 in the Federal Register. The rule updates Section 3 regulations and reporting requirements and clarifies the obligations of entities that are covered by Section 3. PHAs have until July 1, 2021 to implement their Section 3 activities pursuant to the rule and comply with new reporting requirements.

The final rule includes separate requirements for Public Housing Section 3 projects and Section 3 projects that use other HUD program assistance for housing rehabilitation, housing construction, and other public housing construction projects. All PHAs that receive funding for public housing are required to report on Section 3, however, agencies with fewer than 250 units are only required to report on qualitative efforts to meet Section 3 requirements and are not required to report on whether they have met specific Section 3 outcome benchmarks or not. Generally, any housing rehabilitation, housing construction, or other public construction projects that uses other HUD program assistance that exceeds a $200,000 threshold or any project that receives funding from HUD’s Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes programs, is required to report Section 3 activities to HUD. Section 8 program activities are excluded from the rule.

HUD’s F.A.Q. provides guidance for Section 3 funding recipients, subrecipients, contractors, subcontractors, workers, and other stakeholders. The F.A.Q. lacks the force and effect of binding law. The F.A.Q. is broken up into seven sections. The sections include general questions regarding Section 3, applicability, consistency with other laws, recipient responsibilities, Section 3 certification, economic opportunities numerical benchmarks, and Section 3 complaints. HUD plans for this FAQ to be a living and evolving document with new questions added for guidance as HUD receives them. If you would like to ask additional or clarifying questions, please feel free to contact the Section 3 team at Section3@hud.gov. The F.A.Q. can be found here.

Housing-Related Hazards Capital Fund Grant Notice Released

The FY2020 Appropriations Act made $20,000,000 available for competitive grants to public housing agencies to evaluate and reduce housing-related hazards including carbon monoxide and mold in public housing through the Housing-related Hazards Capital Fund Program. HUD released its Grants Notice for the program today.

Applications are due to HUD by May 25 and should be submitted here. There is an award floor of $10,000 and an award ceiling of $4,000,000.

FY2021 Capital Fund Grants Released

On February 23, HUD released $2.7 billion to public housing agencies through the Public Housing Capital Fund program, included in the FY 2021 Appropriations Act. FY2021 included $19 million more in Capital Fund formula grants than FY 2020. NAHRO was pleased with the increase in funding as the Capital Fund is critical to ensure PHAs are able to build, renovate, and/or modernize their public housing properties.

HUD’s press release can be found here.

HUD Memo on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination

On February 11, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) released a memo implementing President Biden’s Executive Order on preventing discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. The Executive Order directs federal agencies to assess agency actions taken under federal statutes that prohibit sex discrimination and fully enforce those statutes to include prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As a result of the Executive Order, FHEO will begin accepting for filing and investigating all complaints of sex discrimination including sexual orientation and gender identity. FHEO will also conduct all other activities involving the application, interpretation, and enforcement of the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include discrimination because of sexual orientation and gender identity. The memo also impacts state and local agencies that enter agreements with HUD under the Fair Housing Assistance Program (FHAP) and the Fair Housing Initiative Program.

Continuum of Care Grants Awarded

HUD has awarded $2.5 billion in Continuum of Care (CoC) grants to support 6,597 local homeless assistance programs across the nation. This funding renews grants for existing programs. Due to the pandemic, grants were renewed through a dramatically streamlined process. HUD’s CoC program supports a broad array of interventions designed to assist individuals and families experiencing homelessness, particularly those living in places not meant for habitation, located in shelter programs, or at imminent risk of experiencing homelessness. HUD’s press release can be found here.