HUD Publishes 2018 HCV Implementation Notice

Yesterday, HUD published notice PIH 2018-09, titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2018 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program.” This notice provides information about the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program implementation in 2018. Topics in this notice include calculation of calendar year (CY) 2018 Housing Assistance Payments (HAP); $75 million of HAP set-aside funding; tenant protection vouchers; funding for administrative costs; special-purpose vouchers; and other topics.

The notice also provides a brief summary of FY 2018 HCV account totals (for additional coverage, please see NAHRO’s Section 8 coverage of the FY 2018 Omnibus budget bill [members only]):

  • HAP Renewal Funding – $19.6 billion;
  • Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPV) – $85 million;
  • Administrative Fees (both Ongoing and Additional) – $1.76 billion;
  • Mainstream Program – $505 million;
  • Tribal HUD-VASH renewals – $5 million;
  • HUD-VASH vouchers – $40 million; and
  • Family Unification Program – $20 million.

For additional information, please click below.

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HUD Updates PHAs on Effects of Possible Rescission

On May 18th, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them of some of the potential effects on HUD Public and Indian Housing programs related to the rescission package proposed by the President. Rescissions are a method by which a President can propose canceling some previously appropriated spending amounts. The President’s package of rescissions has been submitted to Congress. Congress has 45 days to act on the submission and pass it through legislation. If after 45 days, Congress does not pass the rescission package, then the funds will become available for HUD to spend. The rescission package impacts programs from across the federal government, including 2015 – 2017 unobligated balances in the Public Housing Capital Fund.

If Congress does not act on the package (both the House and Senate need to pass it with a simple majority vote), then the effects of the package will be minimal. During the 45 day period, where Congress has the opportunity to pass it, the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Jobs Plus and the FY 2015 – 2017 Emergency Disaster grant awards will be on hold. The rescission has no impact on funds HUD has already awarded to PHAs, including the FY 2017 Capital Fund awards made last year.

If the rescission package is passed, then the following programs will be impacted by the amounts listed below.

  • Modernization Grants – $15,915,042
  • Emergency Disaster Grants – $3,697,949
  • Safety and Security Grants – $618,513
  • Financial & Physical Assessments – $13,152
  • ROSS Grants – $930,206
  • Jobs Plus Grants – $15,602,447
  • Receiverships – $1,717,970
  • Technical Assistance – $439,236
  • Total Proposed HUD Rescission – $38,934,515

NAHRO will continue to provide further updates as new information becomes available.

HUD’s full letter can be found here.

HUD to Withdraw AFFH Local Government Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool

Moments ago, in an email from HUD Exchange, HUD announced that it plans to withdraw the assessment tool for local governments. According to HUD, “the current iteration of the Tools is substantively deficient and unduly burdensome because it resulted in great expense to program participants and HUD, yet it is not adequately guiding participants through the creation of acceptable Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs).” Local governments must still comply with their obligation to affirmatively further fair housing.

HUD has posted pre-publication copies of three notices:

  1. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of the Assessment Tool for Local Governments – This notice withdraws the current local government assessment tool because it is “substantively deficient and unduly burdensome”;
  2. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing: Withdrawal of Notice Extending the Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants – This notice withdraws the previous notice (published on Jan. 5, 2018; 83 Federal Register 683) which extended the submission deadline for AFHs; and
  3. Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH): Responsibility to Conduct Analysis of Impediments – This notice notes that local governments still have an obligation to affirmatively further fair housing and must conduct an Analysis of Impediments (AI).

The email notes that applicable program participants should update their AIs in accordance with the HUD Fair Housing Guide.

NAHRO will keep our members informed as we learn additional details.

Family Unification Program (FUP) Voucher Webinar to be hosted by CSH and CLPHA

Our friends at the Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) and the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) are hosting a webinar on how to effectively use Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers. The webinar is aimed at PHAs, public child welfare agencies, and homelessness response system partners. The webinar will provide an overview of the program in general, discuss the new notice of funding availability ($30 million; applications due 7/24/18), and provide recommendations and examples from the field.

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, May 16 at 12 pm ET.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

HUD Publishes Study on Racial and Ethnic Differences in Housing Search

Yesterday, HUD published a study titled “Racial and Ethnic Differences in Housing Search: Final Report.” The study seeks to answer four research questions:

  1. How do people search for rental housing?
  2. How do housing searches differ by race and ethnicity?
  3. What are the consequences of these differences for relative housing outcomes?
  4. What are the implications for future research?

To answer these questions, the study used a mixed-method approach. Researchers fielded telephone interviews with a sample of 135 recent movers and 351 current searchers in the Washington, D.C. area. A subsample of 40 respondents were given a face-to-face interview. Finally, researchers also utilized three large datasets–the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID), the America Housing Survey (AHS), and the Chicago Area Study (CAS)–to provide “statistically rigorous tests of racial or ethnic differences on a limited set of variables.”

While all the findings of the study are outside the scope of this short blog post, here are a few of the findings:

  • When asked about barriers while searching for housing, renters stated poor credit history, lack of a security deposit, and not having transportation to get to a units;
  • Most searchers said that both a unit and its neighborhood were equally important;
  • Renters use their social networks to find vacancies and learn about them;
  • Searchers tend to prioritize building security, landlord responsiveness, and rent; Safety and transportation are top criteria for neighborhoods;
  • Price range was a primary reason for the difficulty of a search;
  • Use of social networks is the most common information gathering method used by Black and Latino renters, and Black and Latino renters are more likely than White renters to use this method;
  • White renters are less likely to have a failed search than are Black and Latino renters;
  • Black renters report longer searches than White and Latino renters;
  • People who move for school or work are more likely to use online resources; and
  • Involuntary movers are more likely to end a search with less favorable outcomes because of constrained alternatives.

There is much more in the full report, which NAHRO staff has only begun to read.

The full study can be found here.

CBPP and PRRAC Publish Small Area FMR Implementation Guide

Recently, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Poverty and Race Research Action Council published a Small Area Fair Market Rent (FMR) implementation guide titled “A Guide to Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs): How State and Local Housing Agencies Can Expand Opportunity for Families in All Metro Areas.” The guide provides background on Small Area FMRs–which are FMRs that are calculated over zip codes instead of broader metropolitan areas to incentivize the deconcentration of poverty in metropolitan areas–as well as advice to PHAs on how to effectively implement them.

For those PHAs that are already familiar with HUD’s Guidance on Small Area FMRs and HUD’s Implementing Small Area FMRs Guidebook, there are still some new ideas in this guide. For example, this guidebook notes that to protect families in low-rent zip codes, which will see a decline in FMR, a PHA may apply a portion of the reduction and then hold families harmless  after the initial reduction. A footnote helpfully explains that though this option is “not mentioned in HUD’s notice or guidebook . . . [it] is permitted by the applicable regulation. 24 C.F.R. § 982.505(c)(3)(ii) [Hyperlink added].”

The CBPP and PRRAC Small Area FMR Implementation Guide can be found here.

Groups sue HUD over AFFH

Earlier today, three groups (the National Fair Housing Alliance [NFHA], the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, and Texas Appleseed) filed a complaint in Federal Court (the United States District Court for the District of Columbia) against HUD regarding its recent actions to extend the deadline for local governments to submit their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs).

The complaint states that HUD “published a three-page notice . . . suspending the key requirements of the [Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH)] rule” (HUD characterizes this action as an “Extension of Deadline for Submission of Assessment of Fair Housing for Consolidated Plan Participants“). The action caused “irreparable and ongoing injury” for the three groups suing. As a result of HUD’s action, Texas Appleseed and the Texas Low Income Housing Information Service will have to “divert [mission-critical] resources” to “remedying the effects of [HUD’s] actions.” Additionally, NFHA will have to “divert resources to assisting its members around the country . . . to combat the effects of [HUD’s] actions.”

The groups believe that HUD erred in three ways. First, “[b]y failing to engage in notice-and-comment rulemaking before delaying and altering the AFFH Rule, HUD failed to observe procedures required by law, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act].” Second, “HUD’s delay of the Rule is arbitrary, capricious, or an abuse of discretion, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act]” because HUD’s rationale for extending the deadline (inadequate technical assistance among other reasons) does not explain why HUD cannot improve its technical assistance or why it is acceptable to go back to the previous regulatory framework (i.e., the Analysis of Impediments). Third, “HUD’s effective suspension of the AFFH Rule violates the Fair Housing Act, in contravention of the [Administrative Procedure Act].” Here, the complaint states that HUD is violating its own “affirmative obligation under the Fair Housing Act to ensure that federal housing programs are administered, and federal housing funds spent, in a manner that furthers fair housing.”

The complaint asks that the Court do five things. First, enter a declaratory judgment that HUD’s action is “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion or contrary to law, and without observance of procedure required by law.” Second, issue preliminary and permanent injunctions requiring HUD to suspend its notice extending the deadline for submission of AFHs for local governments and implement and enforce the requirements of the AFFH rule moving forward. Third, direct HUD to take affirmative steps to remedy the harms caused by the extension. Fourth, award the groups attorney’s fees and costs. Fifth, award any other relief that may be “just and equitable.”

The full complaint can be found here.

Tomorrow – NAHRO e-Briefing on Rent Reform: A Review of Current Proposals

Join the NAHRO policy team to learn more about HUD’s proposed rent reform proposal; proposed rent reform proposals in Congress; and the President’s executive order on rent reform. While the proposals may be superficially similar, there are several differences between them, which this presentation will discuss. Participants will also learn about the President’s executive order and its potential impact on HUD. The briefing will be followed by a question and answer period.

Registration closes tonight at 11:59 pm ET. The webinar will occur tomorrow, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 from 1:30 pm to 3 pm ET.

The registration process can be found here.

Additional TAC Mainstream Voucher Webinars

HUD recently released a Notice of Funding Opportunity for $100 million in new Mainstream vouchers. To assist in applying, the Technical Assistance Collaborative, along with NAHRO, hosted a webinar for PHAs on Tuesday, May 1st.

If you missed Tuesday’s TAC webinar on Mainstream vouchers for PHAs, you can download the slide deck from that webinar here. Additionally, TAC is planning on hosting two more webinars. Click on the links below the webinar title and time to register.

Mainstream NOFA webinar for Continuums of Care – Thursday, May 3rd at 1 pm ET

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VoucherMay3

Mainstream NOFA webinar for Disability Organizations – Tuesday, May 8th at 1 pm ET

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/VoucherMay8

New Voucher Funding Opportunities (FUP Vouchers and Mainstream Vouchers)

There are currently two open notice of funding opportunities (NOFAs) for new vouchers for PHAs: Family  Unification Program Vouchers and Mainstream Vouchers.

Family Unification Program Vouchers

Application Due Date: 7/24/18.

Amount: $30 million.

The Family Unification Program (FUP) allows PHAs to partner with Public Child Welfare Agencies (PCWAs) to provide housing choice vouchers to two groups:

  • Families for whom the lack of housing is a primary factor in the placement of the family’s child in out-of-home care (or the delay in discharge to the family from out-of-home care); and
  • Youth who are at least 18 and have not yet reached their 25th birthday, who left foster care (or will leave foster care in 90 days) and are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless.

This NOFA now requires that in addition to PHAs and PCWAs to being parties to a required memorandum of understanding (MOU), Continuums of Care (COCs) must also be a party to the MOU. Additionally, there is now a threshold to to prevent FUP low utilizers from receiving a new allocation of FUP vouchers, and the CoC must now contribute to the PCWA’s Statement of Need. Finally, in addition to definitional revisions, this NOFA incorporates HOTMA’s FUP related changes.

Relevant links include the following:

  • The FUP NOFA for FY 2017 and FY 2018 can be found here;
  • A sample FUP MOU can be found here; and
  • HUD’s FUP FAQ can be found here.

Mainstream (Section 811) Vouchers

Application Due Date: 6/18/18.

Amount: $100 million.

This NOFA provides funding for vouchers which must be used to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities and their families. The funding is provided to assist non-elderly persons with disabilities who are:

  • Transitioning out of institutional or other segregated setting;
  • At serious risk of institutionalization;
  • Homeless; or
  • At risk of becoming homeless.

The rating criteria for applications is the following:

  • PHA Capacity and Experience (60 points);
  • Leveraging Resources (30 points); and
  • Achieving Results and Program Evaluation (10 points).

Relevant links include the following:

  • The Mainstream NOFA can be found here;
  • HUD’s NOFA Summary Presentation can be found here;
  • HUD’s NOFA FAQ can be found here; and
  • Additional resources from the Technical Assistance Collaborative can be found here. [5/2/18 Edit – link corrected.]