HUD Publishes Multiple Notices on EnVision Centers, Triennial Recertifications, Small Area FMRs, FSS Performance Measurement, and the 2018 Operating Fund Subsidy Calculation

Today, HUD has made publicly available the rule implementing triennial recertifications from the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. HUD has also made available pre-publication copies of notices on EnVision Centers, Small Area FMR Designations, and a Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Performance Measurement System. Additionally, HUD published a PIH notice on the Operating Fund Subsidy Calculations for 2018. Additional information on each of these notices is listed below.

  • Advanced Notice of EnVision Center Demonstration (pre-publication copy here) – HUD is seeking comments on a new Demonstration that is designed to test the effectiveness of collaborative efforts by government, industry, and nonprofit organizations on accelerating the “economic mobility of low-income households.” Ten communities are anticipated to participate in the Demonstration. The Demonstration is meant to test a “new service-delivery mechanism.” EnVision Centers will provide communities with a centralized hub for support in the following areas: 1) Economic Empowerment; 2) Educational Advancement; 3) Health and Wellness; and 4) Character and Leadership. There will be a 60 day comment period. Comment Due Date: February 12, 2018.
  • FAST Act Triennial Recertifications (pre-publication copy here) – This interim final rule expands the Streamlining Final RulePIH 2016-05 (HA)–issued in 2016, that streamlined income determination for any fixed source of income, among other things. The current streamlining rule does not have a requirement that fixed income be a certain percentage of total income, however it requires a non-fixed income source to be recertified each year. This implementation of the FAST Act language allows any family with at least 90 percent of their income coming from a fixed-source to recertify all of their income every three years. There are certain other changes that this rule makes too. There will be a 30 day comment period and and an effective date of 90 days after tomorrow’s official publication in the Federal Register. Comment Due Date: January 11, 2018. Effective Date: March 12, 2018.
  • Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs) Mandatory Implementation Suspension (pre-publication copy here) – Using the authority provided by regulation, HUD suspended the mandatory implementation of Small Area FMRs in most places this past summer in response to an Interim Evaluation of the Small Area FMR Demonstration. The evaluation found that while voucher holders were “slightly more likely” to live in high-rent zip codes, Small Area FMRs also caused a loss of affordable housing stock (fewer units were affordable with vouchers) and increased cost burdens on vulnerable households. Although not required by the Small Area FMR rule, HUD is seeking comments on the suspension of the mandatory aspects of the rule; the comment period will last for 30 days. Comment Due Date: January 11, 2018.
  • Family Self-Sufficiency Performance Measurement System (pre-publication copy here) – this notice details a system to measure performance of FSS programs that receive program coordinator grants. The proposed system would involve three metrics: 1) Earning Performance Measurement (50%); 2) Graduation rate (30%); and 3) Participation Rate (20%). The Earning Performance Measurement would represent “the difference between the earnings growth of FSS participants and the earnings growth of other similar households within the PHA.” This would help control for differences in local economic conditions. The system would use data that HUD believes accurately captures performance and is already reported. There will be a 45 day comment period. Comment Due Date: January 26, 2018.
  • Public Housing Operating Fund Subsidy Calculations for 2018 (PIH 2017-27) – The notice details the Operating Fund Calculations for PHAs for the 2018 calendar year. It is similar to prior notices detailing these calculations.

Additional information on all of these topics will be provided to NAHRO members.

HUD Publishes Notice on Awarding Remaining HCV Set-Aside Funds for Portability

Yesterday, HUD published notice PIH 2017-26 (HA) titled “Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program – Award of Remaining Set-Aside Funds.” The 2017 Appropriations Act provided $75 million of appropriated renewal funding for Prevention of Terminations Due to Insufficient Funding (Shortfall Funding); Unforeseen Circumstances; Portability Cost Increases; Project-based Vouchers; and HUD-VASH. While HUD originally anticipated using all $75 million for shortfall funding, HUD will now award approximately $15 million toward the portability cost increases category for initial PHAs located in a Major Disaster Declaration (MDD) area that was established between August 25, 2017 and December 31, 2017.

To be eligible for the funds, PHAs must be located in MDD areas and have experienced a significant increase in costs due to portability for tenant-based rental assistance. The Department will apply on behalf of non-operational PHAs in MDD areas that are listed as non-operational at the publication time of the notice. Other PHAs can submit requests for this additional funding through regular mail or email, but should not do both. HUD encourages applying electronically.

To apply, PHAs should fill out Attachment A of the notice and submit it to 2017Set-AsideApplications@hud.gov. The subject line should say the following: PHA Number, 2017 Portability Application.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Publishes Webcast on HOTMA PHA Owned Units and PBV Provisions

Last week, a HUD official emailed me a link to HUD’s Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) webinar trainings on PHA Owned Units and Project-based Voucher provisions. These webcasts go over notice PIH 2017-21 (HA) titled “Implementation Guidance: Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-based Voucher (PBV) Provisions.” If you have a little spare time this holiday weekend, it may be useful to watch them.

The trainings can be found here.

How Will MTW “Accommodate Regionalization”?

On the Brookings website, there’s a joint post by Greg Russ, the Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and Robin Snyderman, a Nonresident Senior Fellow of Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which discusses the new Moving To Work (MTW) Expansion. The post focuses on the MTW expansion enabling legislation which allows HUD to “accommodate regionalization” in its MTW expansion plans.

What this legislative language specifically means is unclear, but the opportunity exists to use the MTW Expansion and its single-fund flexibilities to create a “a variety of public housing initiatives to operate in a regional market across agency boundaries.” Regional MTW approaches may be particularly relevant in Baltimore, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, where MTW agencies are located in high-poverty areas surrounded by other PHAs in lower-poverty jurisdictions.

In fostering a regional MTW approach, agencies will still need to properly balance the greater cost of mobility initiatives with the tradeoff of potentially serving fewer families. The post notes that one of the benefits of a regional MTW approach may be “the cost-savings associated with reduced administrative burdens of cross-jurisdictional activity.”

The post explores other concepts of what MTW regionalization may look like.

The entire post can be read here.

HUD Updates Disaster Portability Guidance

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Center sent additional guidance for PHAs receiving porting requests from program participants from Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declaration areas. Although previous guidance had been issued in an email, this guidance gives additional details on how receiving PHAs should process ports when the initial PHA is unable to complete portability requests.

This guidance applies to receiving PHAs that are contacted directly by families that are from areas covered by Presidentially declared Major Disaster Declarations and that wish to port, but have an initial PHA that cannot complete their portability responsibilities.

HUD has published a list, which includes all PHAs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and whether receiving PHAs should use these alternative portability guidelines. HUD will continually update this list by 5 pm EST every Thursday to reflect changes that allow initial PHAs to resume portability operations. This disaster portability guidance will be in effect until January 31, 2018, unless HUD extends this date. Questions can be emailed to the HUD Disaster Portabilty Team at DisasterPortability@hud.gov.

The PHA Portability Status List can be found here.

HUD’s updated portability guidance can be found here.

HUD REAC Posts October 2017 UPCS-V Conference Call

HUD Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) Oversight and Evaluation Division (OED) posted their quarterly conference call with UPCS-V Demonstration participants. UPCS-V is the inspection protocol that HUD is developing to replace Housing Quality Standards (HQS), which is the current inspection protocol used for the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The 10/25/17 UPCS-V conference call can be found here.

HUD Publishes Additional Guidance on Implementing HOTMA Voucher Provisions

Yesterday, October 30, HUD published notice PIH 2017-21 (HA) titled “Implementation Guidance: Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Provisions.” The notice provides additional guidance on HUD’s previous Federal Register notice implementing HOTMA’s changes to the definition of PHA-owned housing and changes to the project-based voucher program. It also incorporates HUD’s previous technical corrections notice.

This notice provides guidance on the following topics:

  • PHA-Owned Units;
  • PHA-Owned Units and Independent Entities;
  • Percentage Limitation (Program Cap) and PHA Submission Requirements;
  • PBV Percentage Limitation – 10 Percent Increase for Eligible Units;
  • Income-Mixing Requirement (Project Cap);
  • Units Not Subject to Percentage Limitation (Program Cap) or Income-Mixing Requirement (Project Cap);
  • Priority of PBV HAP Contracts;
  • PBV Biennial Inspections;
  • Adding Units to PBV HAP Contract Without Competition;
  • PBV Contract Termination or Expiration without Extension;
  • Attaching PBVs to Certain PHA-Owned Projects Without Following a Competitive Process;
  • Project-Basing Family Unification Program and HUD-VASH Vouchers;
  • Appendix – PBV Program Cap Calculation Instructions;
  • Appendix – PHA Plan, Administrative Plan, and Other PBV Topics;
  • Appendix – Reporting; and
  • Appendix – HCV, Homeownership, and PBV Inspection Requirements.

NAHRO is still in the process of reading through the notice and will provide additional information to our members.

The notice can be found here.

HUD Publishes Guidance on Implementing HOTMA Inspection Provisions

On October 27, HUD published PIH 2017-20 (HA) titled “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Implementation Guidance.” The notice provides additional guidance on two previously implemented provisions that theoretically should allow PHAs to approve a unit and execute a HAP contract with a landlord more quickly.

The two provisions may help PHAs in tight rental markets. The first provision allows PHAs to approve an assisted tenancy and make Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) on units that fail to meet Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Inspection protocol, but only have non-life-threatening deficiencies. The second provision allows PHAs to approve assisted tenancies of a unit prior to the HQS inspection if the property has passed an alternative inspection within the past 24 months.

The notice discusses the following topics:

  1. Implementing the approval of assisted tenancy for units with non-life-threatening HQS deficiencies provision;
    1. HUD definition of non-life-threatening and life-threatening conditions;
    2. Incorporating life-threatening conditions for all inspections;
    3. Documenting the presence or absence of life-threatening conditions;
    4. Notification of owners and tenants;
    5. Effective date of HAP contract;
    6. Housing Assistance payments;
    7. Administrative plans;
    8. Notification of HUD;
    9. Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP);
  2. Implementing the Alternative Inspections Provision;
    1. Eligible alternative inspection methods;
    2. Timing of the initial HQS inspection;
    3. Approval of assisted tenancy and execution of HAP contract;
    4. Housing assistance payments;
    5. Notification of owners and tenants;
    6. Administrative plans;
    7. Notification of HUD; and
    8. SEMAP.

The notice also includes helpful charts and tables. Particularly useful is a chart in the notice that provides examples of life-threatening conditions and explains where to record them on the HUD Inspection Form. Additionally, the notice includes four flowcharts, which visually explain how to use the provisions. The notice is logically structured, clearly written, and makes good use of charts–my compliments to the HUD staffers who put it together.

NAHRO members will receive additional coverage of this notice.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Publishes Preliminary Guidance on Porting from Non-Operational PHAs

Earlier this month, HUD sent an email detailing procedures to be followed when a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program participant wanted to port (move) from a jurisdiction covered by a non-operational PHA. As of October 6, 2017, all PHAs in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are considered to be non-operational. A complete list can be found on HUD’s website.

HUD has established a portability procedure for PHAs that are contacted by families in Major Disaster Declaration areas (following Hurricanes Irma and Maria), who wish to exercise their option to port their voucher, but whose initial PHAs are non-operational and unable to complete their portability responsibilities. HUD stresses that “communication disruptions” or “portability billing concerns” should not interfere with helping displaced families in major disaster declaration areas. HUD will ensure that “legitimate portability moves” are paid for.

Click below for more details.

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