HUD Sends Guidance on Mainstream Vouchers

Earlier today, HUD sent an email outlining additional guidance for mainstream vouchers. The Department highlighted several key issues. The notice can be found here. Additional questions to HUD can be sent to MainstreamVouchers@hud.gov.

Administrative fees – the Department noted that HUD would advance administrative fees on 50 percent of newly awarded mainstream vouchers, and would reconcile administrative fees based on actual leasing later this year (i.e., if less than 50 percent of the vouchers are used, HUD will lower future administrative fee payments by the excess amount awarded). If a PHA awards more than 50 percent of its allocation, it can contact its financial analyst for the additional administrative fee.

Character of mainstream vouchers and new admissions – HUD clarified that mainstream vouchers are regular housing choice vouchers with special eligibility criteria and that awarded vouchers are for new admissions. With respect to the former clause, mainstream vouchers should be treated as regular voucher assistance and program participants should not be treated differently than program participants in the regular housing choice voucher program. Additionally, PHAs must lease awarded vouchers by pulling mainstream-eligible applicants from the waiting list. Housing agencies may not reassign existing participants to the mainstream program to “free up” regular housing choice vouchers.

Waiting list administration – PHAs must maintain one waiting list for all tenant-based assistance, including mainstream voucher assistance. See 24 CFR 982.204(f). In applying for the notice of funding availability (NOFA), if your PHA claimed points for a preference, then it must adopt the preference for one of the targeted groups served by mainstream vouchers. Housing agencies may limit the number of people who will qualify for a preference. See 24 CFR 982.207(a)(3). Housing agencies may adopt criteria defining which families may apply for assistance when opening their waiting lists (PHAs must comply with requirements to provide public notice and accept applications from families for whom the wait list has been opened). See 24 CFR 982.206(b)(1). Housing agencies must have written policies for how preferences will be applied (either first-come, first-served or by random selection). See 24 CFR 982.207(c). Finally, housing agencies may do a full waiting list update or a limited update.

The full notice can be found here.

 

HUD Publishes Guidance on (S. 2155) Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act

(2/14/19 Update – the copy below is a pre-publication copy of the notice. The final copy published in the Federal Register today can be found here. Comments are due by April 15, 2019.)

Earlier today, HUD published in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 209 of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and consumer Protection Act: Initial Guidance.” The act added section 38 to the United States Housing Act of 1937 which require amendments to regulations that govern small public housing agencies (PHAs) that administer 550 or fewer combined public housing units and vouchers that predominately operate in a rural area and certain other regulations.

While certain statutory provisions under the notice become active after 60 days after the act passes, these provisions require rulemaking or guidance for implementation. Through this guidance, HUD also seeks comment on the appropriate implementation of these provisions. Comments are due 60 days from today. Guidance and requests for comment are on the following:

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Public Housing Operating Fund Payments for March, April, and May Prorated at 88.7%

Earlier today, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them that HUD will make subsidy obligations available in the Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS) for the Public Housing Operating Fund within the next six business days. The payments for the months of March, April, and May will be obligated at a 88.7 percent proration. Although PHAs are being funded for three months, they are required to only draw down funds one month at a time, unless a multiple month withdrawal is approved by a HUD field office.

The funds being obligated are based on an estimate of PHA eligibility. The department believes that it should know actual eligibility, based on PHA submissions, by June at the earliest. As certain developments may be under- or over-funded based on current estimates, in instances where the estimated funding varies from the actual eligibility, the PHA should contact its field office representative. The PHA should also refrain from drawing down overfunded amounts and–if underfunded–should utilize its reserves until it receives its actual eligible funding.

If a development has been fully converted to RAD in 2018, but has still been awarded 2019 Operating Funds, the PHA should advise its field office immediately and not draw down 2019 funds.

The full notice can be found here.

VMS Open for CY 2018

Earlier today, HUD sent an email informing Executive Directors the Voucher Management System (VMS) for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program is open for calendar year (CY) 2018. It is also open to for the purpose of updating CY 2017 leasing and expenses. The deadline for revising CY 2018 and CY 2017 VMS data is February 22, 2019.  Additionally, January 2019 VMS submissions are due on February 22, 2019. In the event that the government shuts down on February 15th (if the current continuing resolution is not extended or a budget is not adopted), HUD will grant up to 10 days in extension following the resumption of funding.

HUD Sends Additional Information About PH and HCV Payments

Earlier today, HUD sent an email to Executive Directors with additional information about future payments for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and the Public Housing (PH) program. The email noted that the federal government was operating under a continuing resolution (CR) until Feb. 15, and provided information for potential future payments, if additional money is not allocated by Congress (either by extending the CR or passing a full budget).

2019 PH and HCV Funding

 

March

April

May

HCV HAP

On time; 99% proration

On time; 99% proration

Awaiting information from HUD

HCV Admin. Fee

On time

On time

Awaiting information from HUD

PH Operating Fund

On time; 88% proration

On time; 88% proration

On time; 88% proration

HCV Funding – The HAP prorations are calculated without applying Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs). In some places, the actual HAP required may be greater than the amount disbursed as the HAP calculation is not factoring in rising rental prices. Those PHAs with HUD-held reserves (HHR) will still be able to request additional funding from their reserves, if the HUD amount is not enough to cover the PHA’s HAP needs through April. Additionally, some March and April disbursements may automatically include funding from the PHA’s available HHR, if required to meet the PHA’s HAP requirements. The Department has enough funding for March and April administrative fee payments and will also make HAP and administrative fee disbursements for mainstream vouchers for March and April. Finally, in situations where the availability of HCV or mainstream vouchers is in risk, HUD is planning to provide additional guidance on the use of outside funds for HAP and administrative fees–including modifications to the approval process (note: NAHRO asked HUD for this guidance and to modify the approval process). Questions may be directed to PIH.Financial.Management.Division@hud.gov.

PH Funding – The Department will provide funding based on a conservative estimate of need. As HUD receives data on need, it will update funding eligibility.

The full email can be found here.

TAC Hosting Peer-to-Peer Call on Mainstream Vouchers

On Wednesday February 6th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) is facilitating a peer-to-peer call with PHAs awarded Mainstream Vouchers in September 2018. The call will provide PHAs an opportunity to share implementation challenges, how these are being addressed and to identify any technical assistance needs. NAHRO staff will participate. HUD has been invited and we hope they will be able to participate.

Registration for this call is necessary and can be at the link below

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8531936849390618625

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is no cost to register or participate in this call.

In Spring 2018, TAC conducted a series of outreach webinars to create interest in the Mainstream funding and to facilitate local partnerships. Over 1,200 PHAs and homeless and disability organizations participated in four outreach webainrs.  Polling of PHAs participating in the webinars indicated that only 25% believed working with their service partners would be challenging but more than 50% of PHAs indicated that identifying units, ensuring move-in resources and assistance was available and ensuring long term tenancy supports are available as needed would be very challenging.

In areas with strong rental markets and low vacancy rates, HCV participants find it difficult to lease up.  The Joint Center’s 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing, found that rental markets remain extremely tight at the lower end; for these units, vacancy rates remain lower than in any year since 2001.   Unfortunately, many participants including elders and people with disabilities need to find housing in these markets – where medical and other services as well as public transportation are available.  Success leasing up is particularly challenging for those who have poor tenancy or criminal records.   Through this and subsequent peer-to-peer calls, TAC hopes to provide technical assistance for PHAs and their service partners as they face these implementation challenges.

Opportunity Zone Hearing on February 14 at 10am

The Treasury department has announced that on February 14 at 10am a public hearing will be held on proposed regulations concerning investing in qualified opportunity funds (QOF). February 14 is the new date for the Opportunity Zone public hearing that was originally scheduled for January 10 but was canceled due to the lapse in Federal appropriations.

The public hearing will focus on the proposed regulations that provide guidance under new section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code) relating to gains that may be deferred as a result of a taxpayer’s investment in a qualified opportunity fund (QOF).

The hearing is open to the public and will be held in the IRS Auditorium, Internal Revenue Service Building, 1111 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. At this time, it does not appear that there will be a telephone or web-based broadcast of the hearing. NAHRO will attend the hearing and provide a summary of the hearing to our members.

Additional information on the February 14 Opportunity Zone public hearing can be found in the pre-publication Federal Register notice.

 

HUD Working With PHAs to Submit Outstanding VMS Data

Earlier today, HUD’s Financial Management Center sent an email apologizing for Voucher Management System (VMS) updates which were not completed due to the federal government shutdown. Some PHAs have had trouble submitting data through VMS during the shutdown. The VMS updates have occurred and PHAs should be “working to get all CY2018 data submitted, which includes December, 2018 data.” The full email is reproduced below.

As you are aware, the Federal Government was shutdown from December 22nd, 2018 through January 25th, 2019.  Therefore, most HUD programs and systems, including the Voucher Management System (VMS) were temporarily interrupted. That being said, needed uploads to the VMS were not performed, which resulted in technical issues and submission problems  for many Public Housing Authorities (PHAs).

These uploads have now been completed, and Financial Analysts (FAs) at the Financial Management Center (FMC) will be working with their PHAs to get all outstanding VMS data submitted.  PHAs should be working to get all CY2018 data submitted, which includes December, 2018 data. 

Please contact your FA if you have any questions, and we apologize for any inconvenience this has caused your PHA.

Government Shutdown Ends

The historic government shutdown ended Friday night after Congressional leaders and the White House came to a deal to pass a short-term spending bill that expires on Friday, February 15.

The three-week continuing resolution was quickly approved by voice vote in both the Senate and the House. The President signed it shortly after it was cleared by Congress. The measure provides backpay to federal workers and resources for state governments that may have covered expenses otherwise covered by the federal government. It also extends the Violence Against Women Act.

 

NAHRO analysis suggests that the CR may support payments for March, and perhaps April, but we are waiting for confirmation from HUD. If the government had not reopened before the end of February, funding for the Public Housing Operating Fund and the Housing Choice Voucher program would have stopped.

While reopening the government is a positive step, the political situation in Washington is still contentious and it is possible another shutdown will happen at the end of the current CR.

If you’ve contacted HUD during the shutdown, it may take employees time to respond to your email, as workers have a month-long backlog of work to try to get through. NAHRO deeply appreciates the dedication of HUD employees who worked hard without pay during the shutdown to ensure that the impact to PHAs and residents was minimized.

Your voice throughout this shutdown was critical – NAHRO members sent more than 3,300 letters to Congress and the White House in just three weeks. NAHRO and its members were also featured in dozens of national and local news stories about the impact of the shutdown. Please continue to tell us your stories; if the government shuts down again, your stories will be needed to communicate to Congress and the media.

Revised ACC Comments Due One Month From Today

On December 27, HUD published a revised Annual Contributions Contract (ACC) in the Federal Register via a Notice of Proposed Information Collection (see NAHRO’s Monitor article – members only). This provided 60-days for the public to comment on the revised ACC. Despite what the revised document states, NAHRO continues to believe that the ACC is a bilateral contract and not a unilateral grant agreement. NAHRO believes HUD should negotiate directly with PHAs to bilaterally enact any changes to the ACC, as opposed to publishing a Notice of Proposed Information. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due one month from today on February 25.
In the spring of last year, HUD revised the ACC, which contained terms that PHAs automatically agreed to when they drew down FY 2018 Capital Fund Program (CFP) grants. The new ACC did not require a signature from an Executive Director or approval from a PHA’s Board, however, HUD viewed this ACC as enforceable once the PHA drew down its capital funds. NAHRO, along with our industry partners, had significant concerns regarding the procedural and substantive issues of that ACC. Specifically, the industry took issue with HUD’s lack of communication to PHAs and the industry regarding changes to the ACC and several substantive issues contained within the revised ACC. As a result, HUD suspended the new ACC in October, reverting any agency that executed the new contract back to their prior ACC.
HUD’s latest revised version of the ACC is substantively similar to the version published last Spring with some slight modifications. The December version of the ACC removed language capping PHA executive salaries that is included in recent Appropriations bills. The December revision also includes some slight modifications for clarity.
Unfortunately, NAHRO continues to have the same concerns regarding the process and substance included within the December revision of the ACC. Aside from process concerns that demonstrate HUD does not view the ACC as a bilateral contract between two parties, substantive issues include:
  • Addition of the term “program receipts”;
  • A requirement for PHAs to follow HUD-issued notices and HUD-required forms or agreements;
  • A Prohibition on PHAs from releasing any information contained in HUD’s system of records (SORN) without prior HUD approval – HUD has clarified to NAHRO that PHA’s would be able to release any information stored in PHA systems, however, this version of the ACC does not make that clear;
  • Other mixed-finance issues; and
  • Certain MTW specific concerns.
NAHRO will continue to work with our industry partners and continue to express our member’s concerns to Congress and HUD. Comments on the 60-Day Notice of Proposed Information Collection are due February 25.
The HUD’s Notice of Proposed Information Collection can be found here.