Summary of HCV Landlord Listening Sessions Published

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a summary of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program landlord listening sessions it conducted in late 2018. The summary lists the qualities of the HCV program which both attract and drive off landlords from participating in the program. A brief outline of them is presented below.

  • Qualities of the HCV program that attract landlords:
    • National;
      • Helping people who need housing;
      • Receiving a stable, reliable source of income from HUD;
    • Regional;
      • Required by law in some jurisdictions to accept vouchers; and
      • Existence of damage mitigation programs which help landlords repair tenant-caused damages;
  • Qualities of the HCV program that drive off landlords:
    • National;
      • No single point of contact for landlords and other communication deficiencies;
      • Inspections;
        • Delays in the inspection process;
        • Lack of consistency between inspections;
        • Not being informed of changed appointment times by inspectors;
        • Too few inspectors;
        • Not being informed of cancelled appointments in a timely manner;
      • Tenant damages;
        • Lacking a mechanism of collecting on tenant-caused damages;
        • Lacking a way to remove damage-causing tenants;
        • Requirements to repair a unit;
        • Unknown tenant-caused damages cause units to fail inspections;
      • Application and Move-in;
        • Concerns about
          • approved rent amounts;
          • length of time for application approval; and
          • inspections;
      • Voucher and Approved Rent amount;
        • Lack of clarity about required amenities and conditions of units;
        • Fair Market Rents (FMRs) not keeping pace with the local market;
      • Administrative delays;
        • Lack of being able to submit paperwork electronically;
        • Lack of staff that could approve cases during holidays and vacation times;
    • Regional;
      • Confusion over widely varying rent amounts in areas that use Small Area FMRs;
      • Annoyance at the different paperwork and rules for each PHA, in areas where there are multiple PHAs with overlapping jurisdictions;
      • Cumbersome process to access damage mitigation funds in those areas which use them; and
      • The requirement to treat voucher holders differently by requiring a one-year lease initially, when the norm in the market is month-to-month leases.

While the causes of landlord dissatisfaction are multi-faceted and may vary by jurisdiction, NAHRO believes that fully funding the administrative fee account will help PHAs address many of these issues.

The above is a brief outline of the report and excludes details for added brevity. The full summary can be found here.

New Proposed Fair Housing Rule

Earlier this week, HUD published a new proposed fair housing rule titled “Fair Housing Act Design and Construction Requirements; Adoption of Additional Safe Harbors.” The Fair Housing Act provides that unlawful discrimination against persons with disabilities includes the failure to properly design and construct certain multifamily dwellings. This proposed rule would amend HUD’s regulations to incorporate the 2009 edition of International Code Council (ICC) Accessible and Usable Building and Facilities (ICC A117.1-2009) as satisfying the design and construction requirements of the Fair Housing Act. The proposed rule would also designate the 2009, 2012, 2015, and 2018 editions of the International Building Code (IBC) as safe harbors under the Fair Housing Act.

Comments on this proposed rule are due on March 16, 2020.

A press release from HUD can be found here.

The proposed rule can be found here.

Webinar for Vera’s Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is offering a webinar that promises to inform potential applicants about the goals of the Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative. The Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative seeks to provide technical assistance to PHAs that wish to plan and implement reentry programs or change their admissions policies for people with conviction histories. Additionally, the webinar will provide an overview of the application requirements, allow time for questions from interested applicants, and present applicants from past Opening Doors sites who will share their experiences implementing reentry programs and changing their housing policies.

Housing authorities and their justice system partners are strongly encouraged to participate in the webinar, though it is open to all.

Opening Doors to Public Housing (Friday, January 17, 2020 at 1 pm ET)

  • Presenters include the following:
    • Andre Bethea, Policy Advisor, Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice;
    • Laura Gregory, Resident Services Manager, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; and
    • Julio Sanchez, Senior Probation & Parole Officer, Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) In-reach Coordinator, Georgetown Probation & Parole.

The webinar registration can be found here.

Voucher Reporting Deadlines

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Division sent an email with two reporting deadlines for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. These deadlines are the following:

  • Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 – for December 2019 Voucher Management System (VMS) reporting and prior period adjustments (including 2019 cash management adjustments) to be entered; and
  • Friday, Feb., 21, 2020 – all Public Housing Information Center (PIC) reporting must be up to date.

Questions can be directed to your PHA’s FMC Financial Analyst or sent to PIH.Financial.Management.Division@hud.gov.

HUD Offers Webinar on Landlord Participation

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Landlord Task Force is offering the first in a series of webinars on landlord participation. The webinar will take place on Jan. 29th at 1 to 2:30 pm ET. This webinar “will provide an overview of HUD’s recent engagement with landlords . . . and public housing authority (PHA) representatives.” In those engagement events, HUD learned about strategies that PHAs are using to recruit and retain landlords for their HCV programs. Prior registration is required to participate in the webinar. Future webinars in the series are tentatively scheduled for April and July 2020.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

A flyer for the webinar can be found here.

Vera Offering Technical Assistance to PHAs that Seek to Implement Reentry Programs

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is soliciting applications from PHAs that would like to plan and implement reentry programs or change their policies toward people with conviction histories. Applications are due February 28, 2020.

The goals of the initiative are the following (quoted from Vera):

  1. increase housing access for people with conviction histories and increase public safety in communities that people return to on release from jails and prisons;
  2. improve the safety of public housing and surrounding communities through the use of reentry housing strategies; and
  3. promote collaboration among public housing authorities, law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice stakeholders to effectively reduce crime and improve reentry outcomes for people leaving prisons and jails.

Vera encourages PHAs of all sizes–including those with Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs–to apply. Applicants must submit a letter of intent, an application narrative, and letters of support. While PHAs will first be informed, Vera will make a public announcement in April.

Additional information can be found here.

FY 2020 Annual Adjustment Factors Released

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register, fiscal year (FY) 2020 Annual Adjustment Factors (AAFs). These factors are used by certain Section 8 contracts to provide annual adjustments to monthly rents. These factors are used “to adjust contract rents for units assisted in certain Section 8 housing assistance payment programs during the initial (i.e., pre-renewal) term of the [Housing Assistance Payment] HAP contract.”

Section 8 programs that use AAFs include the Section 8 New Construction program, Substantial Rehabilitation program, the Moderate Rehabilitation program, and the Section 8 Loan Management and Property Disposition programs. Each program uses the AAFs differently.

These AAFs are distinct from Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs), which are inflation factors used by the Housing Choice Voucher program and Operating Cost Adjustment Factors (OCAFs), which are used as inflation factors for other Section 8 contracts.

The pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

5 Things PHAs Can Do to Improve Landlord Participation

Yesterday, HUD held a landlord symposium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Department recorded the sessions and will be making both the recordings and slides available soon. Until then, here is information from two slides from a presentation by a HUD official that I thought may be immediately useful.

5 Things PHAs Can Do to Improve Landlord Participation

  1. Single point of contact for landlords with quick response (landlord liaison)
  2. Enhanced communications from inspections team
  3. Damage claim funds reduce perceived risk of accepting an HCV tenant
  4. Direct deposit to ensure timely payment
  5. PHA organized engagement events for landlords to help landlords feel heard and valued

Low Resource Investment, High Impact

  1. Biennial Inspections – Take advantage of reduced inspections already authorized under HOTMA [12/18/2019 edit – The Department of Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2014; see PIH 2016-05, Attachment K.]
  2. Landlord only phone days – Improve communication and response time by allocating staff time exclusively to manage landlord phone calls and emails one day per week
  3. Damage claim funds – establish damage claim fund to help landlords feel comfortable renting to HCV tenants
  4. Landlord relations working group – establish a working group with PHAs in your area to strive for consistency in PHA policies and practices that impact landlords

HCV CY 2020 Funding Renewal Letter

Yesterday, HUD sent a letter on calendar year (CY) 2020 renewal funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The letter notes that the federal budget is currently operating on a Continuing Resolution (CR), which carries forward fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding through December 20, 2019. The letter provides information about housing assistance payments (HAP) and administrative fee disbursements:

  • Housing Assistance Payments;
    • December 2019 – 99.5 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
    • January 2020 – 99.5 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
  • Administrative Fees;
    • December 2019 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
    • January 2020 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility; and
    • February 2020 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility.

For PHAs that administer the Mainstream program, HAP will be at 99.5 percent of eligibility and administrative fees will be at 79 percent of eligibility for both January and February.

Housing authorities should expect timely disbursements of HCV HAP and administrative fees in December and January. A second notification on future payments will be provided in January 2020.

Additionally, HUD’s letter provides estimated prorations of HAP and administrative fees based on appropriations bills from both the House and the Senate. The following are HUD’s estimates for CY 2020 funding based on those bills:

  • House bill:
    • HAP – 98.8 percent;
    • Administrative fees – 78 percent;
  • Senate bill:
    • HAP – 99.2 percent;
    • Administrative fees – 81 percent.

The Department recommends that program managers use the Two-Year Forecasting Tool to model potential funding scenarios. Program managers should also consider their PHA’s program individual inflation factors, which will impact their total amount of money. (The national inflation factor is 4.51 percent, but individual inflation factors may vary considerably from this national figure.)

Finally, the deadline to submit CY 2019 Voucher Management System (VMS) costs and leasing adjustments is January 22, 2020.

The full letter can be found here.

HUD to Host Landlord Symposium in Indianapolis on Dec. 5th

On December 5, 2019 in Indianapolis, HUD will host a Landlord Symposium. The Symposium will be composed of two sessions: a morning session on the basics of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and an afternoon session on increasing landlord participation. HUD recommends attendees participate in both sessions.

  • Morning Session (9 am to 12:30 pm):
    • Basics of HCV and a Snapshot of HCV in Indiana;
    • Speakers include the following people and entities:
      • Indianapolis Mayor’s Office;
      • Current HCV Landlords;
      • Local and National HUD Leaders;
  • Afternoon Session (1:30 pm to 5 pm):
    • HUD and PHA Efforts to Increase Landlord Participation and Other HCV Updates;
    • Speakers include the following people and entities:
      • Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority;
      • Public Housing Authorities;
      • HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center; and
      • Local and National HUD Leaders.

Additional information may be found on a handout here.

Please register here.