Oct. 17th – Last Chance to Receive Issuance Reporting Fee for EHVs Issued on or before Oct. 3rd

Housing agencies with Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) that have issued vouchers before or on Oct. 3, have until Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021 to submit a form HUD-50058 (or form HUD-50058 MTW) to receive the $100 issuance reporting fee. To report in IMS/PIC, PHAs should do the following:

  • “PHAs should report in line 2n when submitting the HUD-50058 by entering ‘EHV.’
  • MTW PHAs that have received HUD approval to apply MTW flexibilities to EHV vouchers may report household participant data on the HUD-50058 MTW and must enter “EHV” on line 2p and leave line 2n blank.”

HUD has created an EHV report to identify IMS/PIC reporting discrepancies.

HUD Publishes New Guidance on Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

On Oct. 7, 2021, HUD published a notice titled “Supplemental Guidance to the Interim Final Rule ‘Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent’” Notice PIH 2021-29. This notice serves as additional guidance to an interim final rule that was also published in October. The interim final rule specified that where there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with project-based rental assistance (PBRA) must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

This PIH notice provides additional guidance to the requirements of the interim final rule. First, it clarifies the instances in which the rule is applicable. The rule applies to PHAs with a public housing program, including Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, and owners with PBRA. For the purposes of this notice, PBRA is defined as the following (i.e., this notice applies to the following programs):

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Chairwoman Waters Holds Press Conference on Housing Funds in Build Back Better Act

On Tuesday, October 12, Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) of the House Financial Services Committee held a press conference on housing funds in the Build Back Better Act. Several members of Congress and housing advocates joined her outside at the House Triangle. During her remarks, Rep. Waters stated:

“There were 13 kids in my family and I can’t even tell you what we went through to try to have decent housing… Housing is needed all over this country – in urban areas and in rural areas – and we intend to fight for it.”  

The representatives who spoke at the press event included Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D-TX), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). Each member expressed their support for the proposed housing funds. Rep. Johnson listed a few of the programs that the Build Back Better Act could fund, including:

  • $90 billion for rental assistance (HCV and PBRA)
  • $80 billion for public housing repairs
  • $40+ billion for CDBG and HOME

Congressional leadership is negotiating cuts to the original $3.5 trillion bill. One reporter who attended the conference asked Chairwoman Waters whether she would support cutting the duration of the proposed funds in order to keep them in the package. Waters responded, “I like the idea.” She closed the press conference by chanting “Housing is infrastructure!” with those in attendance. A recording of the event is available HERE on YouTube.

To voice your support for housing funds in the Build Back Better Act, send an advocacy letter from NAHRO’s Action Alert Center. Urge your legislators to keep the proposed housing and community development funds in the final bill.

HUD Creates New Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

In a notice titled “Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent,” HUD updates its regulations–through an interim final rule–to give itself the authority to require that public housing and project-based rental assistance (PBRA) developments give tenants the opportunity to receive emergency rent relief before eviction. Specifically, when there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with PBRA properties must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

HUD will publish another notice outlining the specific information that must be included in the lease termination notification. That notice will also provide the requirements for PHAs and owners to provide the information in an accessible manner for effective communication for people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

These requirements apply to public housing and PBRA, which is defined in this rule to include Section 8, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation, Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract, Section 2020 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC), Section 811 PRAC, Section 236 Rental Housing Assistance Program and Rent Supplement. The rule does not apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The interim final rule will become effective in 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Comments for the rule will be due within 30 days of publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

A pre-publication copy of the rule may be found here.

Housing at Risk of Being Cut from Infrastructure Legislation – Urgent Action Needed!

Negotiations between a divided Democratic party are threatening to undermine the hard work NAHRO and its members have done to ensure housing is included in infrastructure legislation. The Washington Post reported on Saturday that these critical housing investments “may prove among the first to hit the cutting room floor.” Your voice is urgently needed right now to tell your members of Congress and the White House that this is unacceptable.

The $3.5 trillion Build Back Better Act is stuck in the House of Representatives as leadership tries to gather votes for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (BIF), which is a related piece of President Biden’s “Build Back Better Agenda.” The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to preserve and create affordable housing that currently includes $80 billion for public housing, $75 billion for Housing Choice Vouchers, $40+ billion for HOME and CDBG, and billions more for other essential programs. These essential housing infrastructure investments are at risk of being cut from negotiations entirely. We cannot let this happen! We must tell Congress and the White House not to miss this opportunity to help the lives of millions of Americans.

Visit NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center to send a pre-drafted letter in support of housing is infrastructure. To make your letter more powerful, add personalized stories about what the funding would mean to you, your residents, and your community. Together, our advocacy can help bring this bill across the finish line. Help us send 5,000 letters this week to Congress and the White House – send your letter today!

The NAHRO team will continue to provide real-time updates on where negotiations stand in the coming days, with detailed information provided during the 2021 NAHRO Online National Conference and Exhibition next week. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear from NAHRO experts and affordable housing industry thought leaders at this historic time. Join hundreds of fellow affordable housing and community development professionals from across the country at the 2021 NAHRO Online National Conference and Exhibitionclick here to register!

Treasury Secretary Yellen Testifies on ERAP in House Committee

On September 30, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on “Oversight of the Treasury Department’s and Federal Reserve’s Pandemic Response.” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified before the full committee. Sec. Yellen’s testimony focused on America’s economic recovery from the pandemic, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), and the debt ceiling. On ERAP, Sec. Yellen stated:

“Prior to the pandemic, there was essentially no national infrastructure to get money from government coffers to renters and landlords. Building that infrastructure has been a massive undertaking for states, localities, and tribes. The program is scaling up quickly, with 1.4 million payments made to help struggling renters keep a roof over their heads.”  

Chairwoman Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) questioned Sec. Yellen about the ongoing improvements Treasury is making to ERAP. Rep. Waters promoted her Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act of 2021 bill to ensure ERAP funding gets to renters at risk of eviction. Ranking Member Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-NC) felt that the oversight hearing should have happened months ago but commended both witnesses for their work during the challenges of the pandemic.

Though the hearing covered several topics, a few committee members questioned Sec. Yellen about ERAP. Rep. Ann Wager (R-MO) cited August 2021 data showing that more than 83% of ERAP funds remain unspent while “millions of renters and property owners remain in limbo.” Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) also pressed Sec. Yellen to explain how Treasury will accelerate ERAP spending.

In response to both members, Sec. Yellen reiterated the challenges of implementing ERAP as a new program. She explained that Treasury and HUD are providing technical assistance to grantees and have updated ERAP guidance to reduce program barriers. Sec. Yellen also talked through a few options for reallocating ERAP funds from grantees who are unable to spend them down.  

The full hearing and witness statements are available on the House Financial Services Committee website. The Senate Committee on Housing, Banking, and Urban Affairs held a similar hearing with Sec. Yellen and Chairman Powell earlier in the same week, which is also available online.

Certain HOME Waivers Extended

On September 27, HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development published a new memorandum, effective as of September 30, that updates and revises the memorandum, Revision, Extension and Update of April 2020 Memorandum Availability of Waivers and Suspensions of the HOME Program Requirements in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic, issued on December 4, 2020. The new memo extends certain statutory suspensions and regulatory waivers for the HOME Program that were issued to enable HOME Participating Jurisdictions (PJs) affected by the COVID-19 pandemic to use HOME funds to address immediate housing needs and to help prevent spread of the virus. Prior, all waivers were set to expire on September 30, 2021.

Specifically, the memo revises the matching contribution waiver to include FY 22. The memo also revises the maximum per unit subsidy limit waivers to restrict its applicability to projects that are currently underway or projects to which HOME funds will be committed on or before March 31, 2022. The memo also extends the waiver to perform onsite inspections of HOME-assisted rental housing and annual re-inspections of units assisted with HOME TBRA to December 31, 2021 and extends the timeframe to physically inspect units that would have been subject to on-going inspections during the waiver period from 120 days from September 31, 2021 to 180 days from December 31, 2021. Finally the Insular Areas waiver is revised to clarify the timing of the required written notification and the project completion day.

Congressional Site Visits are a Tool for Advocacy

During the August recess, NAHRO members in three states hosted Congressional staff members at in-person and virtual site visits. The staff learned about the agencies’ properties, their programs, and the potential for Congress to provide additional support. Site visits give Congressional offices a chance to see how housing and community programs work “on the ground” and understand how their decisions impact households in their state.

The August Advocacy site visits included:

  • Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD): A legislative aide from Sen. Rounds’ office visited the Housing and Redevelopment Commission of Pierre at the Midtown Apartments property.
  • Senator John Hickenlooper (D-CO): Staff visited two properties in the Denver area:
    • Maiker Housing Partners
    • Metro West Housing Solutions
  • Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ): A regional director for the office attended a virtual site visit with the South Tucson Housing Authority and the City of Tucson Housing and Community Development Department.
  • Senator Krysten Sinema (D-AZ): Two staff members from the office met with the Tucson agencies listed above and the Phoenix Housing Department for a virtual site visit.

Any agency can host a site visit to build a relationship with legislators and inform them about local affordable housing programs. To host a visit, reach out to the NAHRO Congressional Relations team at thembree@nahro.org or jhampton@nahro.org for support. The team will contact your legislator’s office on your behalf and work with you to schedule a visit.

Flat Rent Guidance Issued

On September 13, HUD issued Notice PIH 2021-27 (HA) titled “Updates to Flat Rent Submission Requirements.” The Notice supersedes and replaces previous guidance on flat rents, clarifies HUD’s interpretation of the statutory amendment related to flat rents, and updates flat rent exception and extension requirements, including review criteria for HUD Form 5880. The Notice applies to PHAs that operate a Public Housing program and families residing in, or applying to, the Public Housing program. MTW agencies continue to have the flexibility to establish alternative requirements to flat rent requirements.

Previous Appropriations Act established that PHAs are allowed to establish flat rents that are set at no less than the lower of 80 percent of the applicable Fair Market rent (FMR) or 80 percent of such other applicable FMR established by the Secretary that more accurately reflects local market conditions based on an applicable market area that is geographically smaller than the applicable market area (such as the applicable Small Area Fair Market Rent (SAFMR) or unadjusted rent). For areas where HUD has not determined a SAFMR or an unadjusted rent, PHAs must set rents at no less than 80 percent of the FMR or apply for an exception flat rent.

To apply for an exception flat rent, PHAs must provide a market analysis that demonstrates specific market conditions. PHAs have 90 days after the effective date of their fiscal year to submit an exception request. If a PHA submits an incomplete flat rent exception request or incomplete supporting market analysis, HUD will provide the PHA two opportunities to cure deficiencies before disapproving the request. The PHA may extend the exception flat rent so long as the market study accompanying the previously approved request is no more than two years old, the market conditions remain unchanged, and the PHA submits the extension within 90 days after the effective date of the final FMRs are published by HUD.

Congress Holds Hearing on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program

On Friday, September 10, the House Committee on Financial Services held a hearing on “Protecting Renters During the Pandemic: Reviewing Reforms to Expedite Emergency Rental Assistance.” During the hearing, members considered two bills that aim to improve the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) – one sponsored by Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and the other sponsored by Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC). In her opening statement, Chairwoman Waters remarked:

“I am very concerned about data showing that state and local governments have only used 11 percent of the $46.6 billion in emergency rental assistance funds that are available… That is why I have introduced new legislation, the ‘Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act of 2021,’ which is designed to make sure that individuals and families are not put out of their homes while this virus continues to harm communities across the county.”

Witnesses from Community Legal Services, the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and Winn Companies provided expert testimony. Although they spoke from different perspectives, the witnesses agreed that Congress must improve ERAP so that the funding reaches landlords and tenants who are most in need.  

For example, David Schwartz, Chair of the National Multifamily Housing Council, asked the committee to streamline document requirements, remove the 18-month limit on arrearages, allow ERAP to reimburse rental property owners even if the renter has moved, and to make other potential improvements. The two proposed bills received a mix of criticism and praise from the witnesses.

The hearing lasted several more hours after the testimonies, as 32 committee members questioned the witnesses. Several Republican members, including Rep. Andy Barr (R-KY) and Rep. French Hill (R-AR), expressed their frustration that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen did not attend the hearing, despite the Dept. of Treasury’s responsibility to administer ERAP. Rep. Ann Wager (R-MO) and many other members spoke about their concern for vulnerable renters and small, “mom and pop” landlords.

Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) discussed the impact of evictions. Rep. Beatty shared her concern about racial equity in housing, as the data shows that households led by Black women represent the majority of those who have applied for ERAP or are at risk of eviction. Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI) attempted to summarize where the two parties agree and where they diverge on ERAP, stating:

I think we all agree that there was a failure to get money out the door that not only put renters at risk of eviction, but it also hurt mom and pop landlords who are more likely to own and operate affordable rental units…”

The committee plans to markup the Expediting Assistance to Renters and Landlords Act of 2021 on Monday, September 13th. The recorded hearing and written witness testimonies are available here on the House Committee on Financial Services website.