After NAHRO’s Urging, HUD Expands Administrative Fee Eligible Uses

On June 13th, HUD published a notice [Notice PIH 2022-18 (HA)] expanding the eligible uses of the administrative fee for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The notice is titled “Use of Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Mainstream Voucher Administrative Fees for Other Expenses to Assist Families and Lease Units.” Earlier this year, NAHRO had written to HUD recommending that it expand the eligible uses of the HCV administrative fee in order to increase voucher utilization. NAHRO wrote that HUD should “[i]mmediately issue guidance in the form of a new PIH notice clarifying that administrative fees may be used for activities and expenses that help a PHA utilize vouchers . . . .” NAHRO is pleased that HUD recognized–after NAHRO’s urging–the importance of allowing administrative fees to be used for these additional purposes, which will have the end effect of helping more families find and lease homes.

The notice clarifies that administrative fees may be used for the following activities:

  • Administrative Activities: These activities include–but are not limited to the following:
    • Front-line, day-to-day operational activities:
      • applicant intake;
      • lease-up activities;
      • income determinations and reexaminations;
      • unit inspections;
      • disbursing HAP to landlords;
      • policy and operational planning and implementation;
      • financial management;
      • HCV record-keeping and reporting;
    • Indirect overhead activities associated with operating the HCV program:
      • PHA management;
      • human resources;
      • legal;
      • finance;
      • accounting and payroll;
      • information technology;
      • procurement;
      • quality control;
      • central office cost center HCV program expenses;
    • Housing search assistance activities;
      • pre-move counseling;
      • helping a family identify and visit potentially available units during their housing search;
      • helping a family find a unit that meets the household’s disability-related needs;
      • providing transportation and directions; and
      • assisting with the completion of rental applications;
    • Post-lease up activities related to search assistance:
      • post-move counseling and landlord/tenant mediation;
    • HCV owner recruitment and outreach activities:
      • costs associated with materials or webpages specifically geared to owners;
      • costs of landlord liaison staff;
      • associated expenses;
  • Other Eligible Activities (PHAs must change their administrative plans to support these activities; Note: some of these activities have certain restrictions, please see Notice PIH 2022-18 (HA) for specifics on use):
    • Expenses for activities designed to help assist HCV families in leasing units:
      • Owner incentive and/or retention payments;
      • security deposit assistance;
      • utility deposit assistance/utility arrears;
      • application fees/non-refundable administrative or processing fees/refundable application deposit assistance/broker fees;
      • holding fees; and
      • renter’s insurance if required by the lease.

Additionally, administrative fee reserves or outside funding sources may also be used for the listed activities. Similarly, mainstream voucher administrative fees may also be used to assist mainstream voucher families to lease units, though mainstream administrative fees may only be used for mainstream vouchers. The notice also notes that for both regular and mainstream HAP funding may not be used to pay for any of these activities. Finally, the notice provides certain information on reporting the new authorized expenses.

The full notice may be found here.

NAHRO to Host Webinar on HCV Utilization Resources

Join NAHRO–tomorrow, June 9th at 2 pm ET–for this webinar focused on HUD voucher utilization resources. HUD staff have been invited to share some of the resources available to PHAs on HUD’s website to help increase voucher utilization. Learn about the various resources available and how they can be used to help your PHA optimize its voucher utilization strategy!

Registration can be found here.

HUD Hosting Payment Standards Webinar

On June 10, 2022, from 2 pm to 4 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar to aid PHAs in “understanding and using payment standards, exception payment standards, Fair Market Rents (FMRs), and Small Area FMRs (SAFMRs).” In addition to learning what these items are, webinar participants will also learn best practices and tools to use them.

Webinar registration can be found here.

After the webinar has been complete, a recording will be found here.

HUD Publishes TPV Funding for FY 2021

Earlier today, a pre-publication version of a notice detailing HUD’s tenant-protection voucher (TPV) funding for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 was published. The notice is titled “Announcement of Tenant Protection Voucher Funding Awards for Fiscal Year 2021 for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.” These vouchers were awarded for a variety of reasons. A special administrative fee of $200 was provided to PHAs in multifamily housing conversion actions. The Department awarded approximately $142 million to recipients for 14,423 vouchers.

The pre-publication notice can be found here.

Voucher Funding Opportunities

Earlier today, HUD sent a letter detailing future funding opportunities for PHAs with Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs. The letter states that voucher funding is currently high (including an approximately 92% administrative fee proration). It also provides a table clearly delineating future voucher funding opportunities. The full letter can be found here (due to technical difficulties, the letter cannot be currently published, but will be soon).

The following is a reproduction of the information in the table. Additional information can be found in Notice PIH 2022-14. (* indicates that there are two deadlines for the funding category.)

  • HAP Set-Aside and Admin. Special Fee category deadlines
    • No Deadline
      • HAP Set-Aside – Prevention of Terminations Due to Insufficient Funding (Shortfall) – Provides funding for PHAs that would be required to terminate participating families from the program due to insufficient funds despite taking reasonable cost savings measures.
    • June 15, 2022
      • HAP Set-Aside – Unforeseen Circumstances – Aids PHAs who have experienced an occurrence, within or after the re-benchmarking period, that could not have been anticipated and was out of the PHA’s control.
      • HAP Set-Aside – Portability – Helps PHAs that experienced a significant increase in renewal costs due to portability for tenant based rental assistance under Section 8(r) of the Act.
      • HAP Set-Aside – Project Based Vouchers – Reimburses PHAs for HCV renewal funds that were not included in the CY2021 re-benchmarking because the PHA intentionally held the funds for an upcoming PBV to enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (AHAP).
      • HAP Set-Aside – Moving to Work (MTW) New Cohorts – Provides funding for PHAs that received their MTW designation in CY 2021 where funds were obligated, but not expended in CY 2021.
      • HAP Set-Aside – HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH)* – Supports PHAs administering HUD-VASH that can demonstrate a need for adjustment funding due to at least one of the following situations: (1) PUC Increase (2) Leasing Cost Increase.
      • HAP Set-Aside – Lower-than-average Leasing – Aids PHAs that are leasing at a lower-than-average percentage of their authorized vouchers, and have low amounts of budget authority in HCV program reserves. A list of eligible PHAs can be found here.
      • HAP Set-Aside – Non-Life Threatening (NLT) Inspection Withheld HAP – Reimburses PHAs for cases where the PHA paid the owner HAP that were withheld during CY 2021 in accordance with the requirements of the NLT initial inspection option.
      • Blended Rate Administrative Fees – Increased Administrative Fees for PHAs serving multiple Administrative Fee areas.
      • Higher Administrative Fees – Increased Administrative Fees for PHAs that operate over a large geographic area, as defined as two or more counties.
    • July 8, 2022
      • Special Fees – HUD-VASH – Supports necessary additional administrative expenses incurred to increase lease-up success rates or decrease the time it takes for a veteran to locate and move into a unit. See Appendix C of the notice.
      • Special Fees – HUD-Family Unification Program (FUP) – Supports necessary additional administrative expenses incurred to achieve either of the following activities: 100% FUP/Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) voucher utilization; and Increase access to the program for FUP-eligible youth. See Appendix C of the notice.
    • September 30, 2022
      • HAP Set-Aside – Disaster* – Supports PHAs whose expenses have been impacted by disasters.
      • HAP Set-Aside – Unforeseen Circumstances* – Second and final deadline for additional funding for unforeseen circumstances.
      • HAP Set-Aside – HUD -VASH* – Second and final deadline for additional funding for HUD-VASH.
    • October 28, 2022
      • Special Fees – Disaster – In the event of a future allocation of disaster vouchers during CY 2022, PIH will provide eligibility and application guidance for disaster related vouchers’ special fees. See Appendix C of the notice.
      • Special Fees – Secretary’s Discretion – Provides additional administrative fee funding to cover administrative expenses incurred as the result of a situation outside of the specific categories described in PIH Notice 2022-14. See Appendix C of the notice.
    • December 30, 2022
      • HAP Set-Aside – Disaster* – Second and final deadline to request funding for Disaster assistance.
  • Other Voucher Funding Opportunities (Date is target publication date of notice; unless noted otherwise, these will be published as PIH notices at www.hud.gov/program_offices/public_indian_housing/publications/notices.)
    • June, FY 2022
      • Mainstream Vouchers ($40 million; 4,200 vouchers) – An opportunity for PHAs to receive new Mainstream vouchers and extraordinary administrative fees to help PHAs lease their Mainstream vouchers. See PIH Notice 2022-07.
      • Stability Vouchers ($43 million; 4,000 vouchers) – Supports families experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, those fleeing or attempting to flee domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and veterans and family members that include a veteran family member that meets one of the preceding criteria. Implements the funds provided in the 2021 appropriation.
      • FYI – Competitive ($15.3 million; 1,500 vouchers) – Provides assistance for FUP-eligible youth under the FYI program. (To be published at www.hud.gov/grants.)
    • July, FY 2022
      • HUD-VASH ($79 million; 8,500 vouchers) – Pairs HCV rental assistance with VA case management and supportive services for homeless Veterans. Awards based on geographic need and performance.
      • FYI – Non-Competitive ($15 million) – Provides assistance for Family Unification Program (FUP)-eligible youth under the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) program.
      • New HCV Incremental Vouchers ($200 million; Up to 25,000 vouchers) – Provides rental assistance to families to support affordable housing and provide greater access to areas of opportunity through noncompetitive formula awards.
    • August, FY 2022
      • FUP ($5 million; 380 vouchers) – Provides rental assistance to families whose lack of adequate housing is a primary cause of the separation or imminent separation, of a child or children from their families. (To be published at www.hud.gov/grants.)
    • March, FY 2023
      • Mobility Related Services ($25 million; no additional vouchers) – Provides funding for mobility related services that are modeled after services provided with the Community Choice Demonstration. Preference will be given to PHAs with a higher concentration of HCV families with children residing in high-poverty areas. (To be published at www.hud.gov/grants.)

Measuring Resident Agency

The Stewards of Affordable Housing for the Future have created a guide to help “outline measures and data gathering practices” that may “amplify resident voice and agency.” The guide is titled “Measuring Resident Agency and Voice in an Affordable Housing Setting: A Set of Guiding Questions to Move Forward.” The measures suggested by the guide fall into four categories. The categories were chosen based on how prevalent they were in current research, their relevance to the affordable housing industry, and their applicability to the affordable housing industry. In each category, the guide presents a few paragraphs on why the category is important, some suggested questions on how to think about the category for organizational staff, and some suggested questions to ask residents.

The categories covered by the guide are the following:

  • Resident Satisfaction – the guide notes that assessing resident satisfaction is a way to check if resident needs and safety are being met, which are needed, if additional and deeper resident engagement is to be had.
  • Social Cohesion – the guide defines this as “connectedness among residents” and notes that it can provide insight into a property’s culture, especially around “neighborliness and collaboration.”
  • Resident Power – the guide notes that this is important because it can help determine what a property remodel can look like or how operations and service delivery can be changed. It is the “ultimate outcome of exercising agency and voice.”
  • Civic Engagement – the guide gives examples of this as “volunteering, attending public hearings, and voting” and notes that these activities have served as indicators of community participation.

The full guide can be found here.

HUD Publishes FY 2022 Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs)

On May 26, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the renewal funding inflation factors (RFIFs) for fiscal year (FY) 2022. The notice is titled “Section 8 Housing Assistance Payments Program-Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Inflation Factors for Public Housing Agency (PHA) Renewal Funding.” HUD uses the inflation factors to determine Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The notice states that HUD “applies the calculated individual area inflation factors to eligible renewal funding for each PHA based on VMS [Voucher Management System] leasing and cost data for the prior calendar year” (i.e., HUD applies an inflation factor to a PHA’s past year leasing data in HUD’s systems to calculate its current year’s formula eligibility). The national inflation factor is 4.68%, but individual PHAs will have inflation factors that differ based on their local contexts.

The full notice can be read here.

HUD Publishes FY 2022 HCV Implementation Notice

On May 19th, HUD published the 2022 Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Implementation notice (PIH Notice 2022-14). Titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2022 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program,” this notice details how HUD will allocate the money appropriated by Congress for the HCV program.

The notice notes how much money Congress has allocated for each voucher account for 2022; how the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal formula is calculated; and discusses the administrative fee rate. It also notes how to apply for administrative fee special fees, HAP set-aside funds, and certain other fees. The notice also discusses each voucher account, and where applicable, notes if another notice will discuss it further. The notice states that the mobility-related services account of $25 million will have a Notice of Funding Opportunity at a later date and that the new $200 million in funding for vouchers will be allocated by a noncompetitive notice with an operational notice following soon afterwards.

Perhaps the biggest change in this notice from prior years is that eligibility for tenant protection vouchers (TPVs) is changed. HUD will no longer provide replacement TPVs for vacant units that were occupied by a family within the previous 24 months. At this time, HUD will only provide replacement TPVs for occupied units. If there are any additional TPV funds at the end of 2022, then HUD may decide to provide TPVs for the vacant units that were occupied within the last 24 months.

Interestingly, the notice hints that the eligible uses of administrative fees may be clarified. It states that “HUD intends to issue additional guidance on the use of administrative fees for other expenses of PHAs administering the HCV program in a forthcoming notice.” NAHRO applauds this forthcoming clarification of administrative fee uses as the current eligible uses are overly circumscribed and not required by any statutory language.

NAHRO members will receive additional information on this notice.

The full notice can be found here.

Administration Announces Housing Supply Action Plan

On May 16, the administration announced a housing supply action plan that is intended to “ease the burden of housing costs over time, by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community.” The plan includes both legislative and administrative actions and is meant to align with other policies currently in effect (e.g., federal rental assistance) to create more affordable rents and make homeownership more affordable.

While the plan includes many specific actions, many of those actions can be grouped into the following categories.

  • Incentivizing jurisdictions to reform their zoning and land-use policies by giving higher scores to jurisdictions that do this in federal grant allocations.
  • Implementing new financing mechanisms to build and preserve housing, including manufactured housing; accessory dwelling units; two to four unit properties; and other multifamily buildings.
  • Improving existing federal financing for development and preservation, which includes making construction to permanent loans more available; promoting the use of COVID recovery funds for affordable housing; reforming the low-income housing tax credit and the HOME program.
  • Ensuring that more housing goes to owners that live in the units or non-profits that will rehabilitate them.
  • Addressing supply chain issues by working with the private sector.

The White House’s full announcement of their housing supply action plan can be found here.

Public Housing Residents and Section 8 Program Participants Eligible for Affordable Connectivity Program

Public housing residents and Section 8 program participants are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The program provides a discount of up to $30 per month (and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands) towards internet service for eligible households. Households can also receive up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

To enroll in the program, a household has to do the following:

  1. Complete an online or mail-in application at ACPBenefit.org; and
  2. Contact a participating provider to select an internet plan and have the ACP discount applied.

There is a limit of one monthly service discount and one device per household.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a consumer outreach toolkit. The toolkit includes infographics, fact sheets, flyers, consumer handouts, audio public service announcements, videos, newsletter blurbs, press release text, and sample social media posts to help spread the word about the program. It also includes translations of some of the handouts, web resources, and a speaker request section.

Additional information on the Affordable Connectivity Program can be found here.

HUD’s guide to the program can be found here.

A program fact sheet can be found here.

The FCC’s ACP Consumer Outreach Toolkit can be found here.