HUD Proposes Final Rule to the FSS Program

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released its final rule, which will amend regulations to implement changes to the Family
Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program. After consideration of public comments made about the new regulations in Section 306 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act, HUD has decided to further revise and incorporate the changes proposed in the previous amendments.

The final rule, which is targeted to improve the program for PHAs, multifamily property owners, and eligible families, will include several revisions. Some revisions include: allowing HCV and Section 8 families to be eligible for the FSS program; revising definitions; further revising the Contact of Participation (CoP); revising the lists of activities for which forfeited escrow funds may be used; and making changes to portability provisions.

The rule is set to go into effect 30 days after publication. Compliance of the proposed rule is required no later than 180 days after date of publication.

Further information on the FSS program can be found here.

The proposed rule from September 2020 can be found here.

HUD Issues Notice on Submitting Consolidated and Annual Action Plans for FY 2022

In March, HUD submitted a notice to instruct all grantees of programs under the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) on the timing of their plan submissions. Programs within this notice include: the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME), Housing Trust Fund (HTF), Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) and Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA).

The notice provides the following information:

  • Grantees and HOME participating jurisdictions (PJs) should not submit their Plans until the actual grant amounts have been determined and announced by HUD.
  • Instructions to grantees/PJs on waiver applications and CPD’s flexibility pertaining to consolidated planning citizen participation requirements for submissions.
  • Instructions to grantees/PJs regarding costs incurred prior to the execution of a grant agreement.
  • Waiver information for Entitlement CDBG grantees and HOME PJs that are meant to assist in the implementation of pre-award costs instructions.

HUD notes that the provisions within the notice apply equally to grantees’ 3-to 5-year Consolidated Plans as well as to annual Action Plans. This can apply as a stand-alone document or part of the overall Plan submission.

For questions concerning this notice, individuals should contact their local HUD Field Office Community Planning and Development Division.

Dept. of Justice Issues Guidance on Web Accessibility and the ADA

The Department of Justice Civil Rights Division has just recently issued guidance describing how state, local governments and businesses can better make sure their websites are accessible to people with disabilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The guidance provides reasons why website accessibility matters; examples of website accessibility; ADA requirements; how to implement accessible web content; and resources that provide links to guides and tools for implementation.

Importance of Website of Accessibility

Designing websites that are accessible allow equal access to information. People with disabilities navigate the web in many different ways (screen readers; voice recognition software; the use of closed captioning), which require organizations to account for each type of need depending on the type of disability. Websites that are inaccessible can exclude individuals just as much as steps at an entrance to a store or building for individuals with physical disabilities.

Barriers to Website Accessibility

The department notes various obstacles that can hinder an individuals’ ability to access web content, which include:

  • Poor color contrast
  • Use of color alone to give information
  • Lack of text alternatives (“alt text”) on images
  • No captions on videos
  • Inaccessible online forms
  • Mouse-only navigation (lack of keyboard navigation)

ADA Requirements

Under Title II (refers to state and local governments) and Title III (refers to businesses open to the public) of the ADA, organizations are prohibited from discrimination against people with disabilities. Various governments and businesses open to the public must take steps to ensure that their communications are just as effective with people with disabilities as they are with individuals without disabilities Also, that goods, services, facilities, privileges, and advantages are offered equally.

How to Make Web Content Accessible

The department allows organizations flexibility in how they ensure that the programs, services, and goods they provide online are accessible to people with disabilities. They include various links that help guide organizations in implementing web accessibility. Please see the links below that they provide: