New Resources for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD or the Department) has posted several new resources for its foster youth to independence initiative (See Notice PIH 2019-20). The initiative allows for PHAs without a Family Unification Program to request tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) for youth aging out of foster care on an as-needed basis. The Department has posted several resources related to the initiative.

 

These resources include the following:

All of these resources can also be found on HUD’s Foster Youth to Independence website here.

HUD Webinars for new RAD Notice (Rev. 4)

The HUD Office of Recapitalization sent a RADBlast! email reminding those on the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) email list that HUD will be hosting live public webinars on sections of the new RAD notice. The webinars will be recorded and posted on the RAD Resource Desk.

The schedule can be found below:

  • Public Housing Conversions, September 19, 2019, 2 pm ET; Register here;
  • Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC), September 26, 2019, 2 pm ET; Register here;
  • Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod. Rehab.), October 3, 2019, 2 pm ET; Register here;
  • Resident Rights in Public Housing Conversions, October 10, 2019, 2 pm ET; Register here;
  • Resident Rights in Section 202 PRAC and Mod. Rehab. Conversions, October 17, 2019, 2 pm ET; Register here.

The new RAD notice (Rev. 4) can be found here.

New HOTMA Provisions to be Implemented

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016: Implementation of Sections 102, 103, and 104” (pre-publication copy). This proposed rule is the first regulatory step toward implementing certain provisions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). The Department is seeking comment on certain aspects of the implementation. Comments on the proposed implementation of these provisions will be due 60 days after official publication.

A brief, non-exhaustive list of the topics covered by the proposed rule can be found below. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials will provide additional details as staff continue to examine the proposed rule.

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New RAD Notice, Revision 4 Released

Earlier today, HUD released the new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) notice: “Rental Assistance Demonstration – Final Implementation, Revision 4” (Notice H-2019-09; PIH-2019-23 (HA)). The RAD program allows for units to be converted from certain Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funding streams, such as public housing, to either a Section 8 project-based voucher (PBV) funding stream or a Section 8 project-based rental assistance (PBRA) funding stream. There are several major changes in this notice, including changes to the First Component of RAD (which allows public housing units to be converted to PBV or PBRA) and implementation of the 2018 Appropriations Act provision allowing Section 202 project rental assistance contracts (PRAC) to be converted to PBV or PBRA.

The changes to the First Component of RAD include the following:

  • A policy that RAD rents will be updated every two years (RAD awards after each update will use the updated rents);
  • A newly added “Concept Call” step to the RAD process, to allow PHAs to receive confirmation that project plans are sufficiently advanced to submit a Financing Plan;
  • More stringent notice requirements for residents in developments to be converted (the new notice details resident participation requirements at each step of the RAD process);
  • A policy that all households residing in regular PBV units will have the same resident rights extended to them as households that reside in RAD-PBVs in converted developments;
  • A mechanism for PHAs to enter into partnerships with each other to convert developments;
  • A policy allowing for rent increases in certain scenarios for PBRA conversions, such as developments located in Opportunity Zones;
  • Elimination of the requirement to submit the Capital Needs Assessment (CNA) tool in certain scenarios; and
  • Other changes (including changed requirements for portfolio awards, a change in how PHAs report debts owed, and broadening the use of “tiered environmental reviews”).

At this time, NAHRO staff are still reviewing the new notice. Additional analysis will be provided in future NAHRO publications.

The RAD Notice, Revision 4 can be found here.

[2:17 pm edit – The new notice can also be found on HUD’s RAD website here.]

FY 2020 FMRs Published

Tomorrow, HUD will publish the Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 on its website. A pre-publication copy of the notice was published today in the Federal Register–titled “Fair Market Rents for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program, and Other Programs Fiscal Year 2020.” These FMRs will become effective on October 1, 2019. Comments for these FMRs (or requests for reevaluation for specific FMRs) are due within 30 days of their official publication.

Click below to read more.

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HUD Updates VMS Quick Reference Guide and VMS User’s Manual

Earlier today, the Financial Management Center at HUD sent an email stating that it has updated the Voucher Management System (VMS) Quick Reference Guide and the VMS User’s Manual. The updated text has been highlighted in green, so that it is easy to find within each document.

According to the email, the changes “provide clarification about the specific reporting requirements related to RAD, VASH and Mainstream programs.” Additionally, the following definitional fields have been updated (list taken from the email):

  • All HAP Expense data – the change is located in the narrative found immediately before the Field Definitions;
  • All Voucher HAP Expenses After the First of the Month;
  • Rental Assistance Component 1 (HAP);
  • Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HAP);
  • All Voucher HAP Expenses for Contracts Effective After the First of the Month;
  • 5-Year Mainstream – this change is located in the narrative found immediately before the Field Definitions;
  • 5-Year Mainstream HAP;
  • Number of PBVs Under HAP and Not Leased with Vacancy Payment and Associated Vacancy HAP Expense; and
  • Number of PBVs Under HAP and Not Leased.

The updated VMS Quick Reference Guide can be found here.

The updated VMS User’s Manual can be found here.

Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA FAQ Updated

Yesterday, HUD updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for mainstream vouchers.

The FY 2019 NOFA would make an additional $150 million available for mainstream vouchers (a previous NOFA allocated $98 million). The application deadline for this additional round of funding is September 5, 2019.

The updated FAQ can be found here.

The Department’s Mainstream Voucher page can be found here.

[Edit: Some of the links above were corrected to point to the correct documents or websites and the correct deadline has been added.]

Chetty Study Offers Guide to Move Families to High-Upward-Mobility Areas

Opportunity Insights–a Harvard-based group of researchers and policy analysts, including economist Raj Chetty, who analyze data to help stakeholders make more informed policy decisions–has published a paper titled “Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice.” The researchers, working in cooperation with the Seattle Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority, found that when families received the Creating Moves to Opportunity treatment (the treatment consisted of customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance), the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas increased by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group.

Findings

The researchers found several insights during the course of their work. First, they found that in the Seattle area, Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) interventions increased the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group. The researchers also found that utilization rates among groups remained the same (i.e., those families that chose to move to high-upward-mobility areas were able to use their vouchers at the same rate as the control group); all families across racial and ethnic groups benefited from the treatment; and families in opportunity areas were more satisfied with their new neighborhoods. The researchers also found that the customized manner of providing services according to each family’s need was crucial. Finally, the researchers found that other policy interventions such as higher payment standards (e.g., Small Area Fair Market Rents [SAFMR]) by themselves or providing additional rental information in a standardized manner were not effective. Indeed, on page 38 of the study, the researchers write “[o]ur analysis . . . shows that raising payment standards in more expensive neighborhoods —  as is typically done in SAFMR policies — does not necessarily induce families to move to higher-opportunity areas.”

Services Offered

The CMTO services consisted of three prongs (see pages 12 and 13 of the study):

  1. Search Assistance (page 12);
    1. Information about high-opportunity areas and the benefits of moving to such areas for families with young children;
    2. Help in making rental applications more competitive by preparing rental documents and addressing issues in credit and rental history; and
    3. Search assistance to help families identify available units, connect with landlords in opportunity areas, and complete the application process;
  2. Increased Landlord Engagement (page 13);
    1. Explaining to landlords in high-opportunity areas the program and encouraging them to lease their units;
    2. Damage mitigation fund to cover possible damages to a unit not included in the security deposit (up to $2,000);
    3. Expedited lease-up process for landlords through fast inspections and streamlined paperwork;
  3. Short-term Financial Assistance (page 13);
    1. Funds for application screening fees, security deposits, and other expenses that stood in the way of lease-up;
    2. Payments were customized by staff to address the specific impediments a family faced; and
    3. On average families received $1,070 for these payments.

The researchers stressed that these services were tailored to meet the needs of individual families.

Defining Opportunity Areas

Opportunity areas were defined using Census tracts that have upward mobility in approximately the top third of the distribution across tracts within Seattle and King County. The definitions were adjusted to provide for contiguous areas and to take into account changes in neighborhoods. They were defined using data from the Opportunity Atlas.

Slides on the study can be found here.

A non-technical summary can be found here.

The full study can be found here.

 

New Notice allows PHAs to use Tenant Protection Vouchers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

In late July, HUD published a notice titled “Tenant Protection Vouchers for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative” [PIH 2019-20 (HA)]. This notice would allow PHAs that do not have a Family Unification Program (FUP), but that have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, to request a tenant protection voucher to house a FUP-eligible youth.

Public Housing Agencies must receive a referral from a partnering Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) to request the tenant protection voucher. While not required, HUD strongly encourages participation of a Continuum of Care (CoC). Requests may be as small as one voucher up to 25 vouchers per PHA for a fiscal year. The funding for this initiative is not from the Family Unification Program account, but from the tenant protection voucher account and is subject to the availability of funding in that account. These vouchers sunset after being used and are not to be project-based.

  • PHA Eligibility Requirements:
    • PHA must have an HCV Program;
    • PHA must not administer the Family Unification Program (FUP);
    • PHA must amend its administrative plan;
    • PHA must accept FUP-eligible youth;
      • FUP-eligible youth: Youth that have met the following criteria:
        • Attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age;
        • Left foster care, or will leave foster care, within 90 days; and
        • Are homeless or are at risk of being homeless;
    • PHA must determine eligibility;
    • PHA must have a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
      • PCWA Roles and Responsibilities:
        • Must identify FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must have a system of prioritization;
        • Must provide written certification to PHA that youth is FUP-eligible; and
        • Must provide supportive services, including:
          • Basic life skills information (money management; meal preparation; and access to health care, etc.);
          • Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements of the HCV program;
          • Providing reasonable assurances to rental property owners;
          • Job counseling; and
          • Educational and career advancement counseling;
      • PCWA Partnership Agreement (May take the form of a memorandum of understanding or letters of intent):
        • Must define FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must list supportive services and provide them for 36 months;
        • Must address PHA responsibilities;
        • Must address PCWA responsibilities; and
        • Must address Continuum of Care–if involved–responsibilities, including:
          • Integrating the referral process into the CoC’s coordinated entry process;
          • Identifying services; and
          • Making referrals of FUP-eligible youth to PCWAs.

The full notice may be found here.

“Housing Search and Leasing” Chapter of HUD HCV Guidebook Published

The Department has published another chapter of the HCV Guidebook. The new chapter is titled “Housing Search and Leasing.”

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials remains pleased that–at our urging–HUD is updating their guidebooks. We look forward to the completed, and regularly maintained, guidebook.

The new chapter can be found here.

The full guidebook can be found here.