On August 14, HUD announced additional uses and waivers for states and local governments using supplemental CARES Act Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-CV) funds. The CARES Act provided $5 billion in supplemental funding for the CDBG program to help states and local jurisdictions prepare for, prevent, and respond to the coronavirus. To date, HUD has provided over $3 billion in supplement CDBG-CV funds to help communities combat coronavirus and alleviate economic hardship.
HUD will now allow states to carry out activities using CDBG-CV funding directly or pass funds through to local governments. HUD has also updated and streamlined economic development rules so grantees may quickly help small businesses. HUD will also allow CDBG-CV to be used for emergency payments to a provider or landlord on behalf of a family or individual for up to six months, as opposed to 90 days.
The Notice also contains and waivers and requirements to expedite submissions across multiple grant programs.
HUD’s press release can be found here.
On July 28, HUD released Notice PIH-2020-16 “Implementation of Public Housing Operating Fund Shortfall Funding from Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020 Appropriations.” The 2020 Appropriations Act set aside $25 million of the Operating Fund to be allocated to public housing agencies that experience insolvency. This set-aside will be distributed via a need-based application process not subject to the Operating Fund formula. HUD may distribute any remaining funds to all public housing agencies on a pro-rata basis after all insolvency needs are met. The notice provides guidance regarding eligibility, the process for applying, and other requirements for the $25 million set-aside of Public Housing Operating Funds to assist PHAs experiencing financial insolvency.
HUD has recently published its FY 2020 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). The NOFA is available at grants.gov. The 2020 Appropriations Act provided $80 million for the FSS program. Applications are due August 20, 2020. Applicants must have an up-to-date DUNS number, SAM.gov registration and grants.gov registration.
Only PHAs that were funded for FSS in at least one of the last years are eligible to apply for this NOFA. HUD will not have a NOFA for new applicants in FY 2020.
HUD will also be hosting a webinar on the FSS NOFA Monday July 27 from 1:30pm – 3pm Eastern. You can register here.
HUD will be hosting an online presentation on Monday, July 27 at 2pm ET on the use of Choice Neighborhoods Planning and Implementation Grants across the country. Hosted by Mindy Turbov, Director of HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Program, the presentation will focus on the successes and impacts of the program. Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants support the development of comprehensive community-driven neighborhood plans, which direct resources to address three core areas: Housing, People and Neighborhood. In each community, the plan becomes the guiding document for the revitalization of the severely distressed public and/or HUD-assisted housing units, critical improvements in the surrounding neighborhood, and positive outcomes for families.
As a reminder, applications for the FY20 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants are due September 14, 2020.
Join the Zoom Meeting on Monday, July 27 at 2 pm ET
Meeting ID: 861 3515 8689
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.