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-VASH Registration of Interest Notice Published

Yesterday, HUD published a notice titled “Registration of Interest for HUD-VASH Vouchers” (PIH 2020-14). The notice announces the availability of $50 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers which allow homeless veterans to access housing with supportive services.

Public Housing Agencies that are interested in receiving an allocation of HUD-VASH vouchers must email VASH_ROI@hud.gov by midnight (in the PHA’s time zone) of September 15, 2020. To be eligible, PHAs must have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and meet certain threshold requirements:

  • Utilization Requirements (only for PHAs that currently have a HUD-VASH program with more than 25 vouchers):
    • Minimum of 70% HUD-VASH unit utilization rate; or
    • Greater than 100% HUD-VASH budget utilization rate;
  • Capacity to administer HUD-VASH vouchers:
    • No major unresolved program management findings;
    • No significant program compliance issues;
    • No unresolved civil rights matters; and
  • Signed Letter of Support from a partnering Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

To register interest for the vouchers with HUD, PHAs must consult their partnering VA facility to discuss their intentions of registering their interest and request a letter of support for HUD-VASH. The letters do not need to include a specific number of vouchers requested. The PHA must then send an email to HUD for each facility it partners with.

The email must meet certain requirements. The subject line should read “Registration of Interest [followed by the PHA code].” The body of the email should identify the name of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), the Veterans Integrated Services number (VISN), and the facility’s Station ID. Finally, all registrations of interest must include a signed letter of support from the partnering entity.

The notice also makes several other miscellaneous points. Interested PHAs are encouraged to consult with their Continuum of Care lead agency, though PHAs are not required to provide a letter of support from them. The Department is establishing a minimum of 5 vouchers allocated and a maximum of 500 vouchers allocated per agency. Some PHAs will be invited to apply for HUD-VASH vouchers.

The full notice may be found here.

HUD Extends Existing COVID-19 Waivers Releases New Waivers

On July 2, HUD released Notice PIH 2020-13 which provides relief to PHAs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic by extending current waivers and releasing new waivers to help ease administrative burden and provide safe, secure housing to low-income individuals. The CARES Act provided broad authority to HUD to provide waivers to PHAs to help them manage their properties and keep their residents safe during the pandemic. HUD released the first round of waivers on April 10. Through critical member feedback, NAHRO has consistently updated HUD on the need for additional waivers and flexibilities throughout the pandemic so that PHAs can better serve their residents and keep their staff safe.

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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 Publishes Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit

Earlier today, HUD published an eviction prevention and stability toolkit. The toolkit consists of six documents that offer “information and resources to PHAs and HCV landlords on ways to stabilize families during and after COVID-19.” The documents are listed below.

  • PHA brochure – this brochure “contains information on permitting repayment agreements and updating repayment agreement policies, adopting policies for retroactive interim reexaminations, directing outreach to households behind on rent, reviewing policies on minimum rent and financial hardship exemptions, and positioning residents for stability during and after COVID-19.”
  • Tenant brochure – this brochure provides helpful information to help tenants avoid eviction through preventative strategies. It also provides tenants with information related to COVID-19; information related to protections for domestic and sexual violence; and other resources related to tenant needs (e.g., disaster distress helpline, unemployment insurance website, economic impact payments website, etc.).
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) landlord flyer – this flyer provides information for landlords to avoid evicting participants.
  • Repayment agreement guidance – this document “centralizes HUD guidance on repayment agreements for PHAs and HCV landlords.”
  • Sample repayment agreements – sample repayment agreements for public housing and the housing choice voucher program.
  • COVID-19 resident needs assessment survey – a survey that may be used to “identify resident needs and potential reasons for nonpayment of rent.”

The full toolkit can be found on HUD’s Public and Indian Housing (PIH) coronavirus resources webpage.

The toolkit and other resources can also be found on NAHRO’s coronavirus resource page.

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.  

Wednesday Webinar: Show Your Agency’s Excellence With Accreditation! Tomorrow at 2pm ET

Join us tomorrow, July 1, 2020 at 2pm eastern time for NAHRO’s Wednesday Webinar to get caught up on the latest assessment standards! Accreditation is a very effective way to demonstrate your agency’s excellence to the community and other stakeholders. Join special guests from the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board and accredited housing agencies as they discuss the benefits of AHAB accreditation and share stories about the accreditation process for their organizations. Also learn about the eight industry-adopted management standards and how accreditation can be used to enhance staff morale and public trust, and to reduce inefficiencies.

Our panelists include:

• Diana McWilliams, CEO, Affordable Housing Accreditation Board

• Coy Maienza, Director of Accreditation, Affordable Housing Accreditation Board

• Amy Wright, Director of Administration, Keene Housing, New Hampshire

• Duane Leonard, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Snohomish County, Washington

• Sarah Max, Executive Assistant & Accreditation Coordinator, Housing Authority of Snohomish County, Washington

• Maria Zissimos, Chief Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, Accreditation Coordinator, Chester Housing Authority, Pennsylvania

Register Here!

Public Housing Occupancy Guidebook Updated

HUD has recently released an update to its Public Housing Occupancy guidebook. The guidebook is being published as chapters are completed. The Public Housing Occupancy guidebook provides PHAs, families, and other stakeholders with a one-stop resource to assist in the administration of the public housing program. The guidebook consolidates the most up-to-date guidance outlined in PIH notices, regulatory requirements, Federal Register Notices, and other forms of guidance issued by HUD.

The updated Public Housing Occupancy guidebook now includes chapters on income determination, reexaminations, and utilities. The guidebook can be found here.

White House Opportunity Zone Council Report Released

On June 17, the White House Opportunity Zone Council, lead by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, delivered a report to the Administration outlining best practices and examples of revitalization that relate to Opportunity Zone investments. According to its press release, “President Trump established the Council to support the Administration’s pledge to encourage public and private investment in urban and economically distressed areas, including Opportunity Zones.”

Established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, Opportunity Zones are a new community development program that encourages long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities. The Opportunity Zone Program provides tax incentives for investors to re-invest unrealized capital gains into Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF). QOFs are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in Opportunity Zones. The report issued to the administration includes case and best practices observed across the country.

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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.