HUD Extends FSS NOFA Application Deadline for PHAs Affected by Harvey and Irma

On September 14, HUD announced it will extend the FY 2017 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) NOFA application deadline for PHAs located in Presidentially-Declared Disaster areas impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. This includes 39 counties in the state of Texas, St. John and St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Municipios of Canovanas, Cuelbra, Loiza, and Vieques in Puerto Rico, and 37 counties in the state of Florida. The deadline for these locations is now September 29, 2017.

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HUD Webinar on Procurement Requirements for CDBG Disaster Recovery Programs

On September 19, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT, HUD will host a webinar titled “Buying Right: CDBG-DR and Procurement A Guide to Recovery,” which will focus on procurement requirements for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery programs. This webinar will cover the latest procurement guidance under the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Uniform Guidance as provided in 2 CFR Part 200. This 1.5 hour webinar is designed for all CDBG and CDBG-DR grantees, especially staff charged with purchasing goods and services.

Participants will learn:

  • Roadmap of the procurement process
  • Procurement methods for different types of goods and services
  • Best practices to ensure compliance with the Uniform Guidance requirements
  • Common pitfalls in procuring goods and services by grantees

Register for the webinar here.

Abt Releases New Study on FSS Program Results

Abt Associates recently released a report that evaluated Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) programs operated by the Lynn Housing Authority and the Cambridge Housing Authority in partnership with Compass Working Capital in Massachusetts. The report, funded by the Oak Foundation and HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R), compared the change over time in earnings and welfare and Social Security Income for FSS participants to those in a matched comparison group. The study occurred between October 2010 and March 2015.

The study found that FSS participants performed better than the comparison groups in terms of earning, credit, and debt. This included FSS participants having higher earning growth, reductions in welfare, growth in credit scores, and reductions in credit cards and derogatory debt than the comparison group.

FSS provides a critical source of funding for PHAs to help their residents increase self-sufficiency. Although the FSS program was established by Congress 27 years ago, the Abt study is only the third to compare earnings outcomes of FSS participants to a comparison group and the first to study credit and debt outcomes.

 

HUD Releases 2018 QCTs and DDAs for the LIHTC Program

On September 11, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a Notice in the Federal Register designating its statutorily mandated list of qualified census tracts (QCTs) and difficult development areas (DDAs) for the purposes of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Under LIHTC, projects located in QCTs and DDAs are eligible to receive up to a 30 percent basis boost while receiving Housing Credits. The 2018 QCTs and DDAs will be effective for LIHTCs allocated after December 31, 2017, and for bond-financed  properties where the tax-exempt bonds are issued and the building is placed in service after December 31, 2017.

HUD publishes QCT and DDA designations annually. While this Notice provides specific details on the methodology in determining 2018 QCTs and DDAs, the full listings and other historical data can be accessed at: https://www.huduser.gov/portal/datasets/qct.html.

Congress Approves Short-Term Spending Bill

On Friday, September 8, Congress approved a package that included a three-month continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends on September 30, putting an abrupt end to what was expected to be a contentious debate throughout the month of September.

Negotiated by the President, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the package deal was signed by the President immediately after it was approved by Congress. Among other things, the deal includes:

  • Continued government funding until Friday, December 8 with an across-the-board cut of .6791 percent
  • Extension of the debt limit until Friday, December 8
  • $15.25 billion disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey
  • Extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until Friday, December 8

 

The House also began work on an eight-bill omnibus package last week, including the FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bill. It is expected to finish work this week on the omnibus, which will serve as the foundation for negotiations with the Senate when considering a final spending package for the fiscal year.

Congress still needs to come to an agreement on overall spending levels for the year; neither the House nor the Senate have approved budget resolutions, but both chambers wrote appropriations bills based on extremely different spending levels. The House and the Senate both propose an increase in spending, so an agreement will need to be reached on an overall funding level and, presumably, to raise the funding cap for the fiscal year.

HUD To Release Public Housing Information Collection Notices

On Wednesday, September 6, HUD will release four agency information collection request revisions relating to public housing. These include: grant drawdown payment request/LOCCS/VRS Voice Activated, public housing annual contributions contract and inventory removal application, public housing financial template, and requirements for designated housing projects. Each is a revision of a currently approved collection. Comments for each information collection activity are due 30 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

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HUD Increases HCV Administrative Fee Proration

In a letter to PHA Executive Directors on Wednesday, August 30, 2017,  HUD announced that it had calculated each PHA’s Administrative Fee eligibility for the months of January to June and established an estimated proration factor. In March of 2017, the proration factor was slightly higher than 74 percent. HUD “[t]hrough the use of recaptured and carryover funds that were reprogrammed” was able to increase the national administrative fee proration to “be around 76%-77%.” The Department will provide a 77 percent proration from between January to June with a 76 percent proration for the final six months of the year. This is only an estimated proration factor. The final reconciliation will determine the final proration factor.

While NAHRO is pleased at the increase in the proration of the administrative fee, it is still far from the full funding that is needed to run the Housing Choice Voucher program. NAHRO continues to educate policy makers about the need for full funding to properly administer affordable housing programs.

9/6/17 update – HUD has sent an email on the administrative fee proration stating “[a]t this point, HUD has reprogrammed available carryover funds, which have increased the national proration to 77% through June 2017. However, the final administrative fee reconciliation (December 2017), which will account for the total number of units leased for CY 2017, will determine the final administrative fee proration.”

9/11/18 correction – typographical error for the old proration was corrected.

HUD Publishes HUD-VASH Registration of Interest Notice

Today HUD published a notice, PIH 2017-17 (HA), titled “Registration of Interest for HUD-VASH Vouchers.” The notice instructs PHAs that HUD seeks to award tenant-based HUD-VASH vouchers to “self-identified, interested PHAs based on local need.” All awarded vouchers may be project-based. The 2017 Appropriations Act provides $40 million of for HUD-VASH vouchers for approximately 5,500 new HUD-VASH vouchers. The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Vouchers (HCVs) with case management and clinical services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs at its medical centers (VAMC) and community based outpatient clinics (CBOCs) for veterans. The registration deadline is midnight of the PHA’s local time on October 31, 2017.

There will be a two-step award process:

  1. PHAs will respond to the published notice with an email and a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Letter of Support (PHAs must respond to the notice to be considered for a HUD-VASH award); and
  2. Based on a need formula, registered PHAs that are selected will receive an invitation to apply for a specific number of HUD-VASH vouchers.

To register interest, PHAs must send an email to VASH2017@hud.gov. The subject line of the email should include the text “Registration of Interest” and include the PHA code. The body of the email should identify with which VAMC or CBOC the PHA will be partnering. The PHAs must also attach a signed letter of support from their partnering VA facility, and the letter must be signed by the Director of the VA Medical Center or Veterans Integrated Service Network. A separate email must be sent for each partnership with a VAMC or CBOC. Emails without the signed letter or support will not be considered for an award (this can not be fixed at a later date).

HUD may award remaining funds via an invitation to additional PHAs. All civil rights matters must be resolved prior to the invitation to apply for HUD-VASH vouchers.

The full notice can be read here.

HUD Publishes FY 2018 Fair Market Rents

Today, HUD released its fiscal year (FY) 2018 Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and published notification of the release in a notice titled “Fair Market Rents for the Housing Choice Voucher Program, Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy Program, and Other Programs Fiscal Year 2018 and Adoption of Methodology Changes for Estimating Fair Market Rents.” In addition to providing notification of the release of the FY 2018 FMRs, the notice also adopts the previously proposed tweaks to the FMR methodology, describes how the FY 2018 FMRs are calculated, lists how to request reevaluations of FMRs, and responds to previously submitted comments on the previously published notice on methodology changes.

Changes to law and regulation have created some differences in the notification about FMRs. Due to a change in the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016, HUD may now post FMRs on their website without having to publish them in the Federal Register as long as interested stakeholders are given opportunity to comment on material changes in methodology and are given the opportunity to request a reevaluation of a specific FMR. A change from the Small Area FMR rule is that both FMRs and Small Area FMRs may be no less than 90 percent of the prior year’s FMRs (i.e., Small Area FMRs and FMRs may only decrease by a maximum of ten percent from the previous year).

HUD previously announced proposed changes in the methodology, which HUD is adopting with this notice. In NAHRO’s comment letter, we did not object to any of the changes and expressed cautious optimism that the changes may lead to marginal improvements in the accuracy of FMRs.

In the notice, HUD notes that it will “continue to accept public comments on the methods HUD uses to calculate FY 2018 FMRs, including Small Area FMRs and the FMR levels for specific areas.”

The published FY 2018 Fair Market Rents can be found here.

The notice announcing the publication of the FY 2018 Fair Market Rents can be found here.

HUD, IRS Announce Disaster Assistance for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Earlier this week, HUD announced that the Department will expedite federal disaster assistance to the State of Texas and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters that are left without a home due to Hurricane Harvey.

Currently, President Trump has issued a disaster declaration for 18 counties in Texas: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton. More counties may be added at a later date.

HUD’s disaster assistance will include: Continue reading