NAHRO’s New Housing Proposals Focus on the Future

The nation’s public housing agencies and community development agencies have been housing our nation’s families and creating vibrant, stable communities for decades. And they’re continuing to do this vital work of providing shelter, creating opportunity, and addressing inequities during a pandemic that’s straining both local and national resources.

But even as we continue to cope with the fallout of COVID-19, we must also work on solutions for both current and future housing needs. We need new housing construction, more resources for existing housing programs, and flexibilities that prioritize progress over paperwork. NAHRO’s What Happens Next: Housing Beyond the Pandemic provides funding and policy proposals that will:

  • Increase housing supply and improve affordability
  • Preserve existing affordable housing
  • Stabilize families, and
  • Prioritize progress over paperwork.

The paper is available here.

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on CARES Act Funding on July 9th at 4 pm ET

In an email sent earlier today, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated that they will be holding a conference call on July 9th, 2020 at 4 pm ET, which will provide updates on CARES Act funding, the second round of waivers, the eviction moratorium, HAP funding and new FAQs.  

Please click here for a calendar invitation. 

The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and topics for future calls to PIH@hud.gov. Call-in information is available below: 

Step 1: Dial into the conference. 

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

Access Code: 0410949## 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

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

Access Code: 0120428# 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/829379 

Additional information and resources on COVID-19 are available at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.  

HUD Reports Worst Case Housing Needs Decreased in 2017

HUD has released the seventeenth edition of Worst Case Housing Needs: 2019 Report to Congress, which measures various demographic and economic trends among very low-income (VLI) renter households with “worst-case” housing needs, who do not receive government assistance and spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, live in inadequate housing, or both. Very low-income renters earn less than half of the Area Median Income (AMI).  

In 2017, 7.7 million households had wors- case needs, representing 6.3 percent of all U.S. households. This total has decreased 7 percent from 8.3 million in 2015, which the report attributes the decline to rising income and other economic factors lifting households out of poverty. However, the report notes that the affordable housing shortage has undermined those gains and worsened housing security for renters who remain low-income. The number of households with worst case needs also remains far above pre-recession levels and 30 percent higher than the 2007 estimate of 5.9 million households.  

Other report highlights include:  

  • Nationally, 47.2 percent of VLI households had worst case needs in 2017. Ninety-five percent of worst-case households reporting having severe rent burdens only. Of the remaining 5 percent, half reported inadequate housing, and half reported both.  
  • The number of households with worst-case needs declined between 2015 and 2017 across all racial and ethnic groups. Nonwhite households accounted for 52.9 percent of all worst-case needs, but non-Hispanic white households have the largest share among ethnic groups with 47.1 percent.  
  • The number of VLI households with children decreased by 763,000 over the two years due to rising incomes. However, many more families would exhibit worst case needs without housing assistance.  
  • Worst case needs were more prevalent in the Southern and Western states and in suburban areas, where relatively fewer VLI households receive government assistance. Less than a third of VLI householders were able to avoid severe housing problems without government assistance.  

The affordable housing shortage and strong demand from renters has intensified competition for available units, resulting in inefficient allocation: more than a third of units affordable to VLI households are instead occupied by higher-income households. While overall rental stock has grown slowly since 2015 and there is a surplus among higher-income renters, the number of affordable units declined four percent in that same period, outpacing the decline in worst case needs. In 2017, there were fewer than 60 affordable units available per 100 VLI renters, and only 35 units per 100 Extremely Low Income (ELI) renters, who make less than 30 percent of the AMI.  

As the number of unassisted VLI households dropped, the proportion of such households with worst-case needs increased, suggesting intensifying need among those who remain unassisted driven mainly by the affordable housing shortage. Furthermore, income gains have been offset by rising rents, and even with government assistance many VLI households have difficulty finding adequate and affordable housing. HUD points to the need to increase access to affordable housing by reducing regulatory barriers to development and recruiting more landlords to participate in voucher programs.  

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on Telehealth Resources for PHAs on June 22nd at 3 pm ET

In an email sent earlier today, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated that they will be holding a conference call on June 22, 2020 at 3 pm ET, which will feature representatives from HHS’s Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) to provide information about how PHAs can encourage and provide telehealth services to residents. 

 The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and topics for future calls to PIH@hud.gov. Call in information is available below. 

Step 1: Dial into the conference. 

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

Access Code: 0403331## 

Need an international dial-in number? 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

Access Code: 0149345## 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/828152 

This information is also posted on NAHRO’s COVID-19 webpage at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

Congress Holds Hearings on Oversight and Rental Assistance

On June 9, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a committee hearing on the oversight of housing regulators. The two witnesses at the hearing were Secretary Ben Carson of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Director Mark Calabria of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).    

Secretary Carson shared that HUD is working to meet all statutory requirements related to the distribution of CARES Act funds. Of the $12.4 billion that HUD received from the CARES Act, $9.1 billion has already been allocated. The remaining CDBG funds will be allocated by October 1st and the remaining ESG fund allocations were announced on the same day as the hearing. Regarding rent payments, Secretary Carson urged HUD-assisted renters to recertify their incomes with their local PHAs if they need lower rent payments due to COVID-19.   

A few Senators expressed their opinion that Americans need expanded rental assistance and unemployment benefits. Secretary Carson did not comment on any plans for future housing-related COVID-19 funding, other than to express that HUD will closely monitor the situation.   

This hearing was followed by a June 10 hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance which featured four witnesses speaking about the impact COVID-19 will have on evictions and rental assistance.  

Cashuana Hill, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, spoke of the role systemic racism plays in housing segregation, as well as the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on black and Latino workers. She called for rental assistance programs to consider equity concerns and reduce housing discrimination.  

Mike Kringsella, the Executive Director of Up for Growth, claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing housing shortage of roughly 7.3 million units, and urged Congress to provide additional renter assistance.  

Ann Oliva, a Visiting Senior Fellow from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, linked housing availability to public health and spoke of the importance a stable housing situation can play in helping people protect themselves from COVID-19. 

Jennty Schuetz, a Fellow from the Brookings Institute, noted that the federal government plays a smaller role in rental housing regulation than in the mortgage market – rental housing oversight is instead left to states, resulting in a patchwork of regulations. She added that an eviction moratorium is not a long-term solution, as owed rent builds up over time and small-scale landlords forgo revenue.  

The Subcommittee’s questions centered around possible funding mechanisms to disburse rental assistance, how to best promote racial equity in the disaster response, and how to help small landlords navigate loss of income and maintenance demand during the pandemic. 

NAHRO continues to advocate for affordable housing funding and effective, community-based policy solutions. Learn about NAHRO’s 2020 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda and more about NAHRO advocacy at www.nahro.org/advocacy.  

June is National Healthy Homes Month; HUD Releases Digital Resource Toolkit

June is National Healthy Homes Month, an awareness campaign designed to educate families about creating a healthy home and identify common health hazards such as lead, radon, pests and allergens. Keeping homes hazard-free has taken on a special importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many families are sheltering-in-place.  

The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has created a 2020 NHHM Campaign Resource Toolkit to provide government agencies and other housing stakeholders with materials to help and encourage local implementation. The toolkit includes tips for public messaging, suggested outreach material and social media posts, and educational resources for the public.  

OLHCHH will also host a series of webinars for stakeholders on how to promote healthy homes. A full schedule and instructions for registration can be found on HUD’s website.  

Chairwoman Maxine Waters joins NAHRO’s Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response webinar: Tomorrow at 12noon eastern

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 12noon eastern time NAHRO is hosting a webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response.

Join us for a very special conversation with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Cali.), Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. Congresswoman Waters has been a dedicated advocate for affordable housing throughout her entire career, a priority that has taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis. For this reason, NAHRO leadership will honor her with our Legislator of the Year award.

Help NAHRO thank the Congresswoman for the CARES Act and for her commitment to affordable housing and community development programs!

Register for tomorrow’s webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response!

Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar – Wed, May 27 at 2pm ET

On Wednesday, May 27. 2020, NAHRO is hosting a complimentary webinar – Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources.

Join Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and leaders from NAHRO member agencies for a discussion of available homelessness resources and best practices for their use. Bring your questions and comments and join your fellow PHAs for this interactive webinar!

Register for NAHRO’s Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar here!

NAHRO Webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission; May 5, 2020 at 2pm Est

NAHRO would like to invite you to a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 2pm eastern time – Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission.

Housing agencies are responding in real-time to the coronavirus and its impact on day-to-day operations and the residents they serve. Hear from federal officials and NAHRO on available resources and flexibilities provided by Congress and being implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

You will also hear from local housing officials on how they are adapting their programs in the current environment.

We will be joined on the webinar by:

  • R. Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Patricia Wells, CME, NAHRO Senior Vice-President, Executive Director, Oakland Housing Authority, CA
  • David S. Gates, CS-PHM, CSO-PH, CME, CMPO, Executive Director, Housing Authority of the County of Lonoke, AR

Bring your questions and comments and join your fellow PHAs for this interactive webinar!

Register for Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission!

HUD’s Section 3 Still Required, Very Limited Reporting Extension (Updated)

While HUD’s Offices of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) and Community Planning and Development (CPD) have provided a number of waivers and flexibilities for the Public Housing program, Housing Choice Voucher program, HOME Investment Partnership program, Community Development Block Grant, and Continuum of Care (CoC) program, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity (FHEO) has not waived any of the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements.

[Updated Text Begins] On April 17, 2020, FHEO released updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for Section 3 Covered Recipients which addresses 13 questions on how COVID-19 affects Section 3 compliance. Question 2 specifically asks “Are Section 3 Compliance requirements waived during the virus condition?” and FHEO’s answer is “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived.” Updated questions are also asked about Section 3 SPEARS reporting requirements and deadlines. In response, FHEO states that the Section 3 reporting requirement is not waived and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have an extension until July 31, 2020. Additional extensions are not addressed in the updated FAQ but generally PHAs and community development agencies may request extensions beyond July 31, 2020 but must provide justification and any extension request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. [Updated Text Ends]

[Removed Text Begins] On April 3, 2020, FHEO released Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) About the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) for Section 3 Covered Recipients which addresses 13 questions on how COVID-19 affects Section 3 compliance. Question 2 specifically asks “Are Section 3 Compliance requirements waived during the virus condition?” and FHEO’s answer is “No, the Section 3 statutory and regulatory requirements have not been waived.” Questions are also asked about Section 3 SPEARS reporting requirements and deadlines. In response, FHEO states that the Section 3 reporting requirement is not waived and Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have an extension until June 1, 2020 but “must clearly demonstrate how COVID-19 precluded timely reporting.” PHAs and community development agencies may request extensions beyond June 1, 2020 but must provide justification and any extension request will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.[Removed Text Ends]

FHEO has not waived or reduced the Section 3 requirements and reporting so PHAs and community development agencies must continue to create employment, training and contracting opportunities to Section 3 residents and Section 3 businesses. The Safe Harbor requirements have not been reduced either. PHAs and community development agencies should continue to hire staff and procure contracts, if possible, and if unable to meet the Safe Harbor requirements, they should document their efforts “to make every possible effort ‘to the greatest extent feasible’ to make employment and contracting opportunities available to” Section 3 residents.

NAHRO is relaying information from our members on the unprecedented operational and economic concerns affordable housing providers are facing to HUD and is requesting maximum flexibility for PHAs and community development agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

NAHRO will continue to provide the latest information from HUD and Congress on the COVID-19 emergency response to our members and the public through our communication tools including the NAHRO coronavirus webpage and the NAHRO blog.