Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA FAQ Updated

Yesterday, HUD updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for mainstream vouchers.

The FY 2019 NOFA would make an additional $150 million available for mainstream vouchers (a previous NOFA allocated $98 million). The application deadline for this additional round of funding is September 5, 2019.

The updated FAQ can be found here.

The Department’s Mainstream Voucher page can be found here.

[Edit: Some of the links above were corrected to point to the correct documents or websites and the correct deadline has been added.]

HUD, FHA Issue Condominium Rule

Last week HUD released the final rule on FHA approval for single-family condominiums. HUD touts the rule as opening the FHA single-family loan products to both younger, first-time home buyers and seniors looking to age-in-place.

The rule sets the policies to update the Single Family Policy Handbook, expand single-unit approval, establish minimum owner-occupancy requirements, limit FHA insurance concentration in condominium projects, and institute commercial/nonresidential space limits.  The rule is effective October 15, 2019, and HUD estimates that 20,000 to 60,000 condominium units could be eligible for FHA-insured financing annually.

HUD’s press release on the Condominium Approval Final Rule can be viewed here.

The Condominium Approval Final Rule is available here.

Complimentary Webinar!! Fair Market Rent Appeals – August 27, 2pm EDT

On Tuesday, August 27, at 2pm eastern time, NAHRO will be hosting a complimentary webinar in preparation for the release of the 2020 Fair Market Rents and the appeal process. Below is information on the session and the registration link. This session is for agencies of all sizes from the smallest to the largest and will discuss HUD’s process, the options and first-hand PHA experiences.

Using Research Surveys to Raise Your FMR

Do the Fair Market Rents (FMRs) in your area match on-the-ground rental prices that your voucher applicants encounter? If they do not, then this webinar will show you how to increase your FMRs. You will learn about two methods to conduct research surveys. This research survey data can be submitted to HUD to show that on-the-ground rental prices exceed the FMR, allowing HUD to increase the FMR to match the actual rental prices in your area. Bring your questions and comments and prepare your PHA for the 2020 FMRs to be released in a few weeks!

Please register for Using Research Surveys to Raise Your FMR on Aug 27, 2019 2:00 PM EDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/773057130839951117?source=blog

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

$27.8 Million Awarded to PHAs to Reduce Lead Hazards

HUD awarded $27.8 million to PHAs in 25 states to identify and reduce lead-based paint hazards. These competitive grants can be used for risk assessments, abatement, and interim controls as defined in Section 1004 of the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992. Grants would be subject to normal PHA regulations. A list of PHAs that received the funding can be found here.

According to HUD, the Department will award a record $330 million later this year to clean up lead-based paint and other housing-related health and safety hazards in privately owned low-income housing. 

Safety and Security Funding Notice Posted

On August 19, HUD released Notice PIH 2019-22 titled “Emergency Safety and Security Grants Annual Funding Notification and Application Process.” The notice provides guidance to PHAs seeking to apply for Emergency Capital Needs funding for safety and security measures. Funding is available to address needs resulting from unforeseen or unpreventable emergencies and natural disasters, excluding Presidentially Declared disasters, occurring in the current fiscal year. HUD is including the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning as a potential emergency safety need for public housing residents and including costs for the purchase, repair, replacement, and installation of carbon monoxide detectors as eligible activities for emergency safety and security grant funding. HUD will only accept one emergency safety and security grant per PHA, however, the Department may elect to accept separate applications from a single PHA in the same fiscal year for funding to address crime and drug-related activity and for funding for the purchase, repair, replacement, and installation of carbon monoxide detector. Safety and security funding will be limited to $250,000 per application. 

Applications and the application deadline will be posted on HUD’s Office of Capital Improvement Website shortly. 

NSPIRE Demonstration Notice Released

HUD will publish it’s Notice of Demonstration to Assess the National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE) and Associated Protocols in the Federal Register tomorrow. The NSPIRE demonstration will change the way that public housing agencies, owners, and agents (POAs) inspect public housing properties. HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) wants to ensure that public housing units are adequately maintained, so they are developing the NSPIRE protocol to emphasize regular upkeep and maintenance of units throughout the year, rather than immediately before inspections. NSPIRE scores will be advisory, and agencies will keep their current UPCS scores during their participation in the demonstration. Through the Notice, HUD is seeking comment on the proposed, voluntary demonstration. Comments are due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. The demonstration is also anticipated to begin 60 days after publication in the Federal Register. Interested agencies may pre-register for the demonstration here

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ROSS NOFA Released

Up to $35 million in funding has been released through a Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Resident Opportunity and Self Sufficiency (ROSS) Program on grants. gov. ROSS grant funding is provided to eligible applicants to hire a Service Coordinator to asses the needs of Public and Indian Housing residents and link them to supportive services. In the case of elderly or disabled individuals, the Service Coordinator links residents to services to help them age in place.

ROSS funding may be used to pay the coordinator’s salary and fringe benefits, travel and training expenses, and administrative costs. Applications are due October 15 at grants. gov. Please email any questions to ROSS-PIH@hud.gov.

 

 

Public Charge Final Rule Released

On August 14, the Department of Homeland Security will publish a final rule titled “Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds.” The advance copy of the final rule published in the Public Inspection of the Federal Register can be found here.

According to the law, any individual who is applying for a visa or for admission to the United States is inadmissible if he or she is likely at any time to become a public charge. Currently, however, public charge is not defined. The final rule would define a “public charge” based on the receipt of financial support from the general public through government funding (i.e. public benefits).” This includes individuals that receive federal rental assistance. The individual would need to receive one or more designated public benefits, including but not limited to federal rental assistance, for more than 12 months in the aggregate within any 36-month period to meet the threshold.

The final rule goes into effect 60 days after being published in the Federal RegisterNAHRO is currently reading through and analyzing the final “Public Charge” rule, and will provide more information to our members in the coming week. 

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Choice Neighborhood Implementation Grants NOFA Released

On August 5, HUD posted the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for the Choice Neighborhoods (CN) Implementation Grants on grants.gov. In FY 2019, Congress appropriated $150 million to the Choice Neighborhoods and permitted HUD to obligate any unobligated funds from prior year Appropriations in the FY19 NOFA (read more heremembers only).

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Chetty Study Offers Guide to Move Families to High-Upward-Mobility Areas

Opportunity Insights–a Harvard-based group of researchers and policy analysts, including economist Raj Chetty, who analyze data to help stakeholders make more informed policy decisions–has published a paper titled “Creating Moves to Opportunity: Experimental Evidence on Barriers to Neighborhood Choice.” The researchers, working in cooperation with the Seattle Housing Authority and King County Housing Authority, found that when families received the Creating Moves to Opportunity treatment (the treatment consisted of customized search assistance, landlord engagement, and short-term financial assistance), the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas increased by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group.

Findings

The researchers found several insights during the course of their work. First, they found that in the Seattle area, Creating Moves to Opportunity (CMTO) interventions increased the fraction of families who moved to high-upward-mobility areas by forty percent between a control group and a treatment group. The researchers also found that utilization rates among groups remained the same (i.e., those families that chose to move to high-upward-mobility areas were able to use their vouchers at the same rate as the control group); all families across racial and ethnic groups benefited from the treatment; and families in opportunity areas were more satisfied with their new neighborhoods. The researchers also found that the customized manner of providing services according to each family’s need was crucial. Finally, the researchers found that other policy interventions such as higher payment standards (e.g., Small Area Fair Market Rents [SAFMR]) by themselves or providing additional rental information in a standardized manner were not effective. Indeed, on page 38 of the study, the researchers write “[o]ur analysis . . . shows that raising payment standards in more expensive neighborhoods —  as is typically done in SAFMR policies — does not necessarily induce families to move to higher-opportunity areas.”

Services Offered

The CMTO services consisted of three prongs (see pages 12 and 13 of the study):

  1. Search Assistance (page 12);
    1. Information about high-opportunity areas and the benefits of moving to such areas for families with young children;
    2. Help in making rental applications more competitive by preparing rental documents and addressing issues in credit and rental history; and
    3. Search assistance to help families identify available units, connect with landlords in opportunity areas, and complete the application process;
  2. Increased Landlord Engagement (page 13);
    1. Explaining to landlords in high-opportunity areas the program and encouraging them to lease their units;
    2. Damage mitigation fund to cover possible damages to a unit not included in the security deposit (up to $2,000);
    3. Expedited lease-up process for landlords through fast inspections and streamlined paperwork;
  3. Short-term Financial Assistance (page 13);
    1. Funds for application screening fees, security deposits, and other expenses that stood in the way of lease-up;
    2. Payments were customized by staff to address the specific impediments a family faced; and
    3. On average families received $1,070 for these payments.

The researchers stressed that these services were tailored to meet the needs of individual families.

Defining Opportunity Areas

Opportunity areas were defined using Census tracts that have upward mobility in approximately the top third of the distribution across tracts within Seattle and King County. The definitions were adjusted to provide for contiguous areas and to take into account changes in neighborhoods. They were defined using data from the Opportunity Atlas.

Slides on the study can be found here.

A non-technical summary can be found here.

The full study can be found here.