HUD Releases Section 3 Proposed Rule and Outcome Benchmarking

On April 4, HUD will release two notices in the Federal Register related to Section 3. The first is a new proposed rule titled  Enhancing and Streamlining the Implementation of ‘Section 3’ Requirements for Creating Economic Opportunities for Low- and Very Low-Income Persons and Eligible Businesses,” which would update the regulations implementing Section 3. The second is titled “Section 3 Benchmarks for Creating Economic Opportunities for Low- and Very Low-Income Persons and Eligible Businesses,” that sets outcome benchmarks for meeting and following Section 3 requirements. HUD also hosted a call the morning of April 3 on the proposed rule. NAHRO was the only participant to ask questions about the proposed rule on the call, specifically about changes to the definition of a Section 3 business, and the impact of the proposed rule on small agencies.

According to HUD, “[t]he purpose of Section 3 is to ensure that employment, training, contracting, and other economic opportunities generated by certain HUD financial assistance are directed to low- and very low-income persons, particularly those who receive government assistance for housing, and for businesses to provide economic opportunities to low- and very low-income persons.” The proposed rule applies to HUD’s Public Housing program and other programs that provide HUD housing and community development assistance.

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HUD To Begin Carbon Monoxide Detector Data Collection

Starting April 1, HUD will instruct REAC UPCS inspectors who conduct physical inspections of HUD assisted and insured properties to conduct a data collection on the prevalence of Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors at HUD properties subject to UPCS inspections. The collection of this data will not affect a property’s inspection score.

Inspectors are required to identify if the building being inspected contains any units with fuel-fired/burning appliances and/or has an attached garage. Inspectors are only to evaluate attributes of the built environment, not tenant furnished items.

Inspectors are required to note whether a source of CO is present, the total number of CO detectors that are missing, working, and not working. Inspectors are then to report this information in the “Building Comments” text box. If the building does not have any units with fuel-fired/burning appliances and/or attached garages, then the inspector is to leave the “Building Comments” text box blank.

HUD has mentioned they are considering requiring PHAs to provide CO detectors in Public Housing properties as a part of the new UPCS pilot program. Carbon monoxide detectors are not yet required at Public Housing properties across the country.

Emergency Safety and Security Capital Fund Grant Applications Due June 5

HUD will fund $10 million in Emergency Safety and Security capital grants in FY 2019. Interested PHAs should apply to HUD by 5 PM ET, June 5, 2019. HUD Notice PIH-2016-03 provides guidance to PHAs seeking Emergency Capital Needs for safety and security reasons. Grants are made available to address safety and security emergencies that pose an increased threat to the health and safety of PHA residents on a first come, first serve basis until the set-aside funding is exhausted. PHAs must describe and explain how they have experienced an increased threat to the health and safety of their public housing residents in order to be considered for this funding. Examples of eligible uses include: security systems and cameras, fencing, lighting systems, emergency alarm systems, window bars, deadbolts, and doors. Funding cannot be used for patrol cars, salaries for PHA staff including security staff, security contracts or payment to local law enforcement for additional security, or transferring safety and security funding to the Operating budget.

Intersted PHA’s must apply by 5 PM ET, June 5, 2019. More information can be found here.

HUD Announces Webinars for MTW Cohorts 1 & 2

HUD has announced they will be hosting two webinars next week related to the MTW expansion. The first webinar will be on March 26th from 3-4 PM ET and targeted toward agencies eligible for Cohort 2 of the MTW Expansion. Cohort 2, which will evaluate rent reform policy interventions, is open for agencies with 1,001 – 27,000 combined voucher and public housing units. The second webinar, on March 28 from 3-4PM ET, will be targeted toward agencies eligible for Cohort 1 of the MTW Expansion. Cohort 1 is open to agencies with 1,000 or less combined units and will evaluate the overall impact of MTW. 

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HUD Now Accepting Applications for MTW Expansion Cohort #2, Extends Deadline for Cohort #1

On March 14, HUD released two Notices relating to the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration. The first Notice, PIH 0219-03, extends the deadline for PHAs to apply to the first cohort of the expansion from January 11, 2019 to May 13, 2019. The second Notice, PIH 2019-04, is a request for Letters of Interest for the second cohort of the Moving to Work expansion.

In the first Notice, HUD notes the Department is extending the deadline for the first cohort due to the government shutdown which prohibited HUD from providing assistance and feedback to agencies interested in applying. The first cohort will study overall MTW flexibility and will be comprised of approximately 30 PHAs that are high performers and administer 1,000 or fewer aggregate authorized combined Housing Choice Vouchers and public housing units.

The second Notice highlights the application process for agencies interested in applying to the second cohort of the Moving to Work demonstration, focusing on rent reform. The second cohort is open only to PHAs with 1,001 or more aggregate Public Housing units and Housing Choice Vouchers. Applications are due June 12.

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PHAs Must Use OpFund Web Portal for 2019 Operating Fund Forms

HUD has announced that PHAs must use HUD’s Operating Fund (OpFund) Web Portal to access the CY 2019 Excel Tools for Forms HUD-57223 and HUD-52722 to determine PHA operating subsidies. These forms will only be made available to PHAs on the OpFund Web Portal, the department’s evolving web-based platform. HUD publicly released the Portal’s first PHA driven module – the PHA Form 52723/52722 Reporting Module – last year. The module allows PHAs, including PHA fee accountants and IT providers, access to their data to:

  • Review and download historical HUD-52723 (3 years) and HUD-52722 (2 years)
  • Print paper versions of final the HUD-52723 and HUD-52722
  • Review and download the authority’s CY 2019 Pre-Pop data
  • Work with data provided visually that can be filtered and downloaded and manipulated

HUD will publish the CY 2019 Excel Tools for the Forms HUD-57223 and HUD-52722 on or before March 19, 2019 and PHAs must submit their Tools to their Field Office by April 9, 2019. If you don’t have access to the OpFund Web Portal, contact your Authority’s WASS coordinator. Your WASS coordinator can provide you and your staff with access. Once in the Portal, users must create and validate their user profile in order to navigate the Portal. You can find the user profile guide and WASS role assignment guide at the URL: https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/programs/ph/am/webportal

If you need additional assistance, contact REAC – Technical Assistance Center (TAC) by calling 1-888-245-4860 Option #4 or by email to REAC_TAC@hud.gov.

HUD Extends Two Public Housing Forms

On February 20, HUD released two Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposals, Submissions, and Approvals in the Federal Register on the Public Housing Program. Each are extensions of previously approved forms.

The first is the Public Housing Operating Fund Program: Operating Budget and Related Form. HUD has not made any changes to the operating budget and related form. The form provides a record of PHA Board approval of the PHA operating budget and shows how the numbers were arrived at as well as justifications of certain specified amounts. HUD then reviews the form.

The second is the appeals process for Public Housing Operating Subsidy. PHAs are allowed to appeal the subsidy amount provided to them by HUD if they feel that amount is incorrect. There are no changes to the form from prior years.

If you wish to submit comments on the forms, they are due to HUD April 22, 2019.

HUD Announces Changes to UPCS Protocol

HUD has announced two changes to the UPCS inspection protocol that will impact agencies with public housing units and Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) properties. HUD has been performing a “wholesale reevaluation” of the REAC since 2017. HUD’s announcement included two significant changes to the UPCS inspection process.

The first change is a switch to a 14-day notification period for PHAs and inspectors to schedule and perform an inspection on public housing and PBRA units. The second is a new inspection model that will be informed by listening sessions HUD will host across the country. The new model will begin as a pilot and is aimed to ensure REAC scores more accurately reflect the quality and safety of public housing and PBRA units.  

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Revised ACC Comments Due One Month From Today

On December 27, HUD published a revised Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) in the Federal Register via a Notice of Proposed Information Collection (see NAHRO’s Monitor article – members only). This provided 60-days for the public to comment on the revised ACC. Despite what the revised document states, NAHRO continues to believe that the ACC is a bilateral contract and not a unilateral grant agreement. NAHRO believes HUD should negotiate directly with PHAs to bilaterally enact any changes to the ACC, as opposed to publishing a Notice of Proposed Information. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due one month from today on February 25.
In the spring of last year, HUD revised the ACC, which contained terms that PHAs automatically agreed to when they drew down FY 2018 Capital Fund Program (CFP) grants. The new ACC did not require a signature from an Executive Director or approval from a PHA’s Board, however, HUD viewed this ACC as enforceable once the PHA drew down its capital funds. NAHRO, along with our industry partners, had significant concerns regarding the procedural and substantive issues of that ACC. Specifically, the industry took issue with HUD’s lack of communication to PHAs and the industry regarding changes to the ACC and several substantive issues contained within the revised ACC. As a result, HUD suspended the new ACC in October, reverting any agency that executed the new contract back to their prior ACC.
HUD’s latest revised version of the ACC is substantively similar to the version published last Spring with some slight modifications. The December version of the ACC removed language capping PHA executive salaries that is included in recent Appropriations bills. The December revision also includes some slight modifications for clarity.
Unfortunately, NAHRO continues to have the same concerns regarding the process and substance included within the December revision of the ACC. Aside from process concerns that demonstrate HUD does not view the ACC as a bilateral contract between two parties, substantive issues include:
  • Addition of the term “program receipts”;
  • A requirement for PHAs to follow HUD-issued notices and HUD-required forms or agreements;
  • A Prohibition on PHAs from releasing any information contained in HUD’s system of records (SORN) without prior HUD approval – HUD has clarified to NAHRO that PHA’s would be able to release any information stored in PHA systems, however, this version of the ACC does not make that clear;
  • Other mixed-finance issues; and
  • Certain MTW specific concerns.
NAHRO will continue to work with our industry partners and continue to express our member’s concerns to Congress and HUD. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due February 25.
The HUD’s Notice of Proposed Information Collection can be found here.

HUD Announces ROSS-SC Awards

On December 21, HUD published a press release announcing the awarding of $29 million in grants to PHAs and non-profit organizations across the nation to hire or retain service coordinators to help residents find jobs and educational opportunities through the Resident Opportunities and Self Sufficiency Service Coordinators (ROSS-SC) program. According to HUD, the ROSS-SC program “encourages local, innovative strategies that link public housing assistance with public and private resources to enable participating families to increase earned income; reduce or eliminate the need for welfare assistance; and make progress toward achieving economic independence and housing self-sufficiency.”

HUD Secretary Ben Carson noted that “[p]roviding families who live in public housing the opportunity to invest in themselves is a win-win as it helps them to gain economic and housing independence … [t]oday, we’re investing in our residents, offering them the tools they need to build a brighter future for themselves and their children.”

For a list of grant funding by state, see here.