HCV Two-Year Tool Updates!

A HUD official emailed me to announce certain updates to the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV) two-year tool. The updates include the following:

  • The two-year tool is now publicly available and accessible by anyone;
  • A series of training videos has been created and is publicly available; and
  • The two-year tool now shows draft inflation factors for the next year to help program managers plan for the next year (depending on the housing market the PHA is located in, this may be a large number).

The two year tool and the training videos can be accessed here.

Have a little spare time this holiday season? Check out HUD’s two-year tool training videos! The table listing the links to the videos is reproduced below. Click below to access it.

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Secretary Carson to Lead Opportunity and Revitalization Council

In a press release published earlier today, HUD announced that the President established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and named Secretary Carson its chairperson. The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council’s activities include the following:

  • Engage all levels of government on methods to effectively use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities;
  • Streamline, coordinate, and target existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones and distressed communities;
  • Consider legislative proposals and undertake regulatory reform to remove barriers to revitalization; and
  • Present the President with options to encourage capital investment in economically distressed communities.

Secretary Carson has said that “[t]hese are still early days for the work of the Council and Opportunity Zones, but the groundwork has been laid . . . [t]he seeds the President has planted are growing and the promise they hold will improve places long forgotten, and the lives of those who call those places home.”

The full press release can be found here.

HUD Updates RAD Notice on Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Requirements

The Department of Housing and Urban Development published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it has published guidance clarifying the use of Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Requirements. With the conversion of Rent Supp., RAP, Mod. Rehab., or Mod. Rehab. SRO contracts to PBRA contracts, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements are not triggered.

The full Federal Register notice can be found here.

The guidance document (H-2018-11; PIH-2018-22) can be found here.

HUD Awards $4.6 Million in HUD-VASH Funding

In a press release published earlier today, HUD announced a second round of HUD-VASH vouchers being funded. The Department will be providing $4.6 million, in the form of 424 vouchers, to housing authorities around the country to help homeless veterans find permanent homes. Secretary Carson said that “[t]he additional HUD-VASH vouchers awarded today will continue to support the important work of communities across the country that ensures our veterans have a safe and stable place to call home.”

The list of agencies receiving this latest round of funding can be found here.

NAHRO Comments on DHS Public Charge Proposed Rule

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials opposes the proposed rule due to its negative impact on immigrant families and the additional negative consequence of inefficient use of limited social service funds. NAHRO requested that the proposed rule be withdrawn as written and the current public charge guidance remain in effect.

On December 10, NAHRO submitted comments on the Department of Homeland Security’s proposed rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.”

The proposed rule makes significant changes and additions to the current public charge guidance. The proposed new definition of “public charge” is “that a person should be considered a public charge based on the receipt of financial support from the general public through government funding (i.e., public benefits).”In order to use this definition of “public charge,” “public benefit” must be defined and the proposed rule provides a definition that vastly and inappropriately expands the programs that are to be considered. The proposed rule defines public benefit as a list of cash aid and noncash medical care, housing, and food benefit programs. The list of benefits includes the current cash assistance and institutionalization benefit and further expands the benefits to include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (Food Stamps), the Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCV), Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA), Medicaid, and Public Housing.

NAHRO made two primary arguments in opposition to the proposed rule – very few noncitizens use housing benefits and the proposed rule causes unnecessary confusion while an inefficient use of resources.

DHS acknowledges in the proposed regulation that noncitizen participation in the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance programs is “relatively low.” Congress, via statute, and HUD, via regulation, have already protected federal dollars from being used on non-eligible noncitizens and there is no fiscally responsible reason for DHS to further step into this arena.

The proposed rule, despite having few benefits for its expected cost, has caused considerable confusion and angst among current and potential residents of HUD’s housing programs. Current residents have left housing programs because of a fear of being separated from their family because of the proposed rule. Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) around the country are attempting to combat the confusion of this public charge proposed rule. Many PHAs are reaching out to their current residents and local communities to explain the proposed rule and how it applies to the HUD housing programs. The resources needed to explain the public charge proposed rule and any future final rule would be much better spent on providing housing and resident services to U.S. citizens and eligible noncitizens.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials opposes the proposed rule due to its negative impact on immigrant families and the additional negative consequence of inefficient use of limited social service funds. NAHRO requested that the proposed rule be withdrawn as written and the current public charge guidance remain in effect.

NARHO’s full comments can be viewed here.

HUD Publishes Notice on Verifying SSNs

Last week, HUD published a notice titled “Verification of Social Security Numbers (SSNs), Social Security (SS) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits; and Effective Use of the Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) System’s Identity Verification Report” (PIH 2018-24). This notice supersedes the previous notice PIH 2012-10.

The notice includes the following updates from the previous notice:

  • Updated website links and other references;
  • Removal of the provision requiring a PHA to notify HUD Headquarters when the PHA determines the tenant name or surname reported on the HUD 50058 is correct;
  • Revisions to the “Authorized Workaround” section for overdue examinations not completed due to pending litigation;
  • Clarification of the penalties for noncompliance with EIV’s Identity Verification Report and elimination of the right to appeal the imposition of penalties; and
  • Elimination of attachments.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Awards $30 million in FUP Vouchers

Last week, HUD announced an award of $30 million to PHAs nationwide for Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers. Family Unification Program vouchers are for youth at risk of homelessness and families whose lack of adequate housing is the primary reason for their children being in foster care.

This funding will provide for 3,000 vouchers. Secretary Carson stated that “HUD is committed to helping parents and caregivers obtain safe and affordable housing for their families . . . [t]his investment will allow thousands of children to leave the foster care system and live with their families so they have the opportunity to thrive together.”

A list of the FUP voucher allocations can be found here.

HUD Sends Public Housing Repositioning Letter to EDs

On November 13, HUD sent a letter to Executive Directors of Public Housing Agencies notifying them of their options related to the repositioning of their public housing properties. In the letter, HUD discusses the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program, new flexibilities for Section 18 demo/dispo, and forthcoming guidance on voluntary conversion and the retention of assets after a Declaration of Trust (DoT) release. HUD notes that the Department is currently encouraging agencies to reposition their public housing properties to help address the significant public housing capital backlog. HUD is not requiring agencies to reposition their public housing properties at this time.

HUD notes that Field Offices plan to reach out to PHAs in the coming months to help agencies “explore repositioning possibilities in [PHA] inventories.” HUD states its goal in contacting agencies is to help ensure PHAs understand their options. HUD plans to make all repositioning resources available on the PIH One-Stop Tool for PHAs (POST).

HUD’s letter can be found here.

HUD Releases Two PIH Notices

Recently, HUD released two new PIH Notices. The first is titled “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Implementation of Minimum Heating Standards in Public Housing Properties” and the second is titled “Partnering with Utility Companies on Energy Performance Contracts.

The first notice provides implementation guidance related to the minimum heating requirements within public housing dwelling units as required by Section 111 of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). For a PHA where state or local minimum heating standards do not exist, the PHA shall use the following minimum heating requirements for public housing dwelling units in order to comply with Section 111 of HOTMA:

  • Minimum Temperature:
    • If PHA-controlled, the minimum temperature in each unit must be at least 68
      degrees Fahrenheit.
    • If tenant-controlled, then the heating equipment must have the capability of
      heating to at least 68 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Minimum Temperature Capability:
    • PHAs are allowed flexibility in maintenance of the indoor temperature when
      the outdoor temperature approaches the design day temperature.2 At no point
      should indoor temperatures in occupied space drop below 55 degrees
      Fahrenheit. This flexibility applies when at least one of the below criteria are
      met:

      • The outside temperature reaches or drops below the design day
        temperature, or
      • The outside temperature is within five degrees Fahrenheit of the design
        day temperature for more than two continuous days.
  • Measurement:
    • Temperature measurements must be taken three feet above the floor and two
      feet from an exterior wall in a habitable room.

The second notice, “Partnering with Utility Companies on Energy Performance Contracts,” provides supplemental guidance for Notice PIH 2011-36 and any update which concerns implementing Energy Performance Contracts (EPCs) at PHAs. The notice also introduces a new initiative called the EPC Utility Partnership Program (UPP). The purpose of EPC-UPP is to encourage more PHAs, especially small- and medium-sized PHAs to consider the “potential benefits of implementing an EPC in partnership with utility companies.” This Notice also includes a new simplified approval and verification process for low-risk EPC projects.

Special Admin Fees Available for Small Area FMR Implementation

Earlier today, the Housing Voucher Financial Management Division sent a notice via email reiterating that additional administrative fees are available for PHAs that are implementing Small Area Fair Market Rents (FMRs). Eligible activities include but are not limited to the following:

  • Outreach to families and landlords;
  • Development of additional briefing materials;
  • Hiring of additional staff;
  • Staff training;
  • Changing rent reasonableness methodology; and
  • Software modification.

Both PHAs that must mandatorily implement Small Area FMRs and PHAs that choose to voluntarily implement Small Area FMRs are eligible to apply. To apply, PHAs must submit the following:

  1. Letter addressed to Steven Durham, the Director of the Office of Housing Voucher Programs, requesting reimbursement of costs for adoption of Small Area FMRs;
  2. A board resolution confirming the adoption of Small Area FMRs;
  3. Supporting documentation showing expenses incurred or estimated;
  4. Narrative describing how the above expenses tie to Small Area FMR implementation; and
  5. Certification Signature of the Executive Director.

Electronic applications should be submitted no later than 3 pm ET on Friday, Dec. 31, 2018. Applications should be emailed to PIH.Financial.Management.Division@hud.gov. The subject line must include the PHA Code and the text “SAFMR – Special Fee Request.”

The full notice sent in the email can be found here.

[11/13/2018 3:20 pm ET edit – The link above has been revised to reflect that HUD sent another letter correcting a date in the attachment.]