HUD Offers Technical Assistance for PHAs Considering Repositioning their Public Housing Assets

Last week, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing sent an email detailing the communication and technical assistance efforts HUD was making to ensure that PHAs understood the range of options that were available to reposition their public housing assets. The following are bullet points quoted directly from the email:

  • PIH staff have been making presentations at local and national industry meetings to help PHAs become more aware of their repositioning options.
  • PHAs wanting to learn more about their repositioning may ask their local Field Office staff to walk them through the benefits of the various options—always with a focus on how best to address the local needs.
  • PIH has set up Repositioning Assistance Panels. Field office staff can reserve time with program experts identified by the Office of Recapitalization, Special Applications Center (SAC), Urban Revitalization Division, and Office of Housing Voucher Programs. These experts can discuss the various repositioning options with a PHA, enabling an informed decision about what strategy would best meet local needs. You can set up a time with a Panel through your local Field Office.
  • We have also trained Repositioning Expeditors in most Field Offices. These Expeditors are available to help PHAs with their RAD, voluntary conversion, and demo/dispo applications.
  • Understanding that these repositioning options are complex, particularly for small PHAs, the Department is working to provide the following starting late spring:
    1. Develop training materials, sample documents and other tools that help PHAs consider repositioning strategies and understand available options;
    2. Provide local training sessions to present available repositioning tools and considerations to address local affordable housing needs;
    3. Develop an online training platform and training materials to help PHAs and their boards understand repositioning options and HUD requirements; and
    4. Provide direct technical assistance to small PHAs (operating 250 or less assisted units) in how to start and sustain affordable housing strategies.

NAHRO reminds our members that repositioning is a voluntary process. The Department is providing a range of options, none of which are mandatory. Interested agencies should take actions–or not–based on the needs of their local communities and the households the agencies serve.

HUD Publishes Notice on Voluntary Conversions

In late March, HUD published a notice titled “Streamlined Voluntary Conversions of Last Remaining Projects of Small Public Housing Agencies” (PIH 2019-05 (HA)). This notice allows PHAs with 250 or fewer Public Housing units to convert them to Section 8 vouchers within the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program under a streamlined conversion process. This notice differs from the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program in several ways, but primarily in that instead of receiving RAD rents (i.e., a combination of public housing capital fund, operating fund, and tenant rent amounts), PHAs would receive full HCVs for their residents after conversion.

For a PHA to normally use the voluntary conversion option, it must conduct a conversion assessment and provide a timeline identifying PHA conversion actions. Under this notice, HUD is using its statutory authority to waive the conversion assessment requirement to make it easier for small PHAs to convert their portfolios. Public Housing Agencies are eligible under this notice if they meet the following requirements:

  • They have a portfolio of 250 or fewer public housing units;
  • They intend to close-out their public housing program; and
  • Conversion will result in the conversion of all public housing units.

If a converting PHA does not administer a Section 8 HCV program, then another PHA with a Section 8 HCV program must be identified to administer the vouchers.

To apply for a conversion, eligible PHAs must submit a conversion plan to HUD through the Inventory Management System / Public and Indian Housing Information Center (IMS/PIC). The conversion plan and application must include a PHA plan referencing the proposed conversion; evidence of resident involvement; evidence of board approval; a plan of future use of involved assets; HUD approval of environmental requirements; an impact analysis of the conversion on the neighborhood(s) (in the form of a narrative statement); a summary of information concerning the relocation plan; close-out information; and another Section 8 HCV program identified to receive vouchers, if the applying PHA does not have a Section 8 HCV program. Additionally, certain other requirements must be met (e.g., civil rights reviews, etc.). The Department must respond within 90 days of the PHA submitting the conversion plan.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD to Host MTW Cohort #1 Webinar Tomorrow (March 28th) at 3pm ET

As previously mentioned on this blog, HUD will host a webinar on the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion, Cohort #1 tomorrow at 3 pm ET. Listed below is additional information on the webinar that I received from a HUD official.

MTW Cohort 1

The Department has extended the application timeline for agencies to apply to the  Cohort #1 of Moving to Work Demonstration Program. Through this extension notice the Department will select thirty agencies to study MTW flexibility.

Cohort #1 will consist of high-performing agencies that administer 1,000 or fewer HCVs and public housing units combined. The deadline to submit the letter of interest package for Cohort #1 is May 13, 2019.

On Thursday, March 28th the MTW Office will host a webinar on Cohort #1. There is no registration required to join the webinar and the call-in information is below.

 

Step 1: Dial into the conference.

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633

Access Code: 0604767##

Need an international dial-in number?

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.

Entry Link: http://ems8.intellor.com/login/813201

HUD Updates Mainstream Voucher Program FAQ

An email from the folks at the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) informed me that HUD has updated their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the Mainstream Voucher Program. It was updated on March 22, 2019. This document is essential reading for all those who have Mainstream Vouchers.

The Mainstream Voucher FAQ can be found here.

HUD Sends Email Clarifying Admin. Fee Rates and Portability

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Division sent an email responding to questions received from PHAs regarding HUD’s calendar year (CY) 2019 administrative fee rates. The email notes that the CY 2019 administrative fee rates are effective retroactively to January 1st, 2019. The Department will also publish two additional documents:

  1. A document describing how the 2019 rates were calculated; and
  2. A document to serve as guidance on portability billing, which will include an estimated administrative fee proration that will be recommended for portability.

Until those documents are published, HUD recommends that program administrators use 80% as the estimated administrative fee proration and that they continue to consider using the CY 2018 Portability Administrative Fee Rate Description.

These documents can be found at HUD’s Office of Housing Choice Vouchers, which can be accessed here.

HUD Issues Letter Confirming New Micro- and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds

Last week, HUD sent a letter to Executive Directors confirming that the micro-purchase threshold and the simplified acquisition threshold have been increased. The new thresholds are as follows:

  • the micro-purchase threshold is now $10,000 (previously, it was $3,500); and
  • the simplified acquisition threshold is now $250,000 (previously, it was $100,000).

There was initially uncertainty about the use of these thresholds since the summer of 2018, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a notice implementing increases to the thresholds for all grant recipients. This letter clarifies that the increased thresholds apply to PHAs.

OMB’s original notice can be found here.

HUD’s letter confirming the new thresholds can be found here.

HUD to Publish Revised FY 2019 FMRs

(3/14/19 Edit – the official notice has been published in the Federal Register and can be found here.)

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register revised Fair Market Rents (FMRs) for certain jurisdictions, though a pre-publication copy is currently available. In addition to listing the new FMRs, the notice also responds to comments made to the initial Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 FMRs (See NAHRO’s comment letter here).

According to the notice, “[s]everal commenters suggested that HUD should provide additional funding to PHAs who undertake local area surveys.” (While Congress has the power to decide how to allocate money and how much to spend towards individual programs, HUD may request certain levels of funding for particular programs or tasks through its budget request.) The Department responded by stating that “HUD reminds PHAs that paying for local area rent surveys is an eligible expense to be paid from on-going administrative fees or their administrative fee reserve account.”

FMR by Number of Bedrooms in Unit

2019 Fair Market Rent Area

0 BR

1 BR

2 BR

3 BR

4 BR

Boston-Cambridge-Quincy,  MA-NH HMFA

$1,608

$1,801

$2,194

$2,749

$2,966

Burlington-South  Burlington,  VT  MSA

$992

$1,202

$1,544

$2,008

$2,087

Coos County,  OR.

$538

$684

$837

$1,210

$1,394

Curry  County,  OR

$629

$777

$979

$1,416

$1,574

Douglas  County,  OR.

$657

$773

$1,023

$1,479

$1,796

Oakland-Fremont,  CA HMFA

$1,409

$1,706

$2,126

$2,925

$3,587

Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro,  OR-WA MSA

$1,131

$1,234

$1,441

$2,084

$2,531

San Diego-Carlsbad,  CA MSA

$1,422

$1,590

$2,068

$2,962

$3,632

San Francisco,  CA HMFA

$2,069

$2,561

$3,170

$4,153

$4,392

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa  Clara,  CA

$1,952

$2,316

$2,839

$3,829

$4,394

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

New Evidence Matters Focuses on Landlords and Vouchers

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Winter 2019 issue of Evidence Matters focuses on landlords and their role in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The issue has three articles which provide insight into different aspects of landlord behavior and landlord retention. The first article offers an overview of the HCV program; provides a description of the nation’s rental units and its landlords; provides a broad overview of recent research on landlords; provides an overview of research on the impacts of low landlord participation; and offers strategies to increase landlord participation. The second article, again, discusses research on landlords and voucher acceptance. The third article discusses strategies that two PHAs are using to incentivize landlord participation.

Continue reading

HUD Requests Comments on RAD for PRAC Notice

In an email sent to its RADBlast! email list earlier today, HUD is requesting comments to a new draft Section 4 to be added to the RAD Revised Notice. The new section would allow for the conversion of properties assisted by Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contracts. The draft section is posted on the Office of Multifamily Housing’s Drafting Table website. Comments are due by March 12, 2019.

Specifically, HUD is seeking comment on the following topic areas:

  • Is this document well organized?
  • Is the guidance set forth in this document clear? Are there sections that are unclear?
  • Are the proposed terms of the Use Agreement reasonable and adequate?
  • Are there unique features of 202 PRACs or the elderly population that the properties serve that HUD has not adequately accounted for in this Notice?
  • The draft Section describes an option to convert to Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) or to Project Based Vouchers (PBV) What is the degree of interest in PBV conversions? Please note that while HUD has developed the framework for a process for seamlessly funding a conversion from PRAC to PBRA, funding a conversion from PRAC to PBV is likely to be more complex.
  • Does HUD provide adequate avenues for stakeholders to provide feedback on the direction of the RAD program and, if not, what additional measures for public feedback should HUD consider?

Comments may be submitted to rad2@hud.gov.

The draft section of the notice can be found here.