HUD Publishes Guidance on Accessing HCV HAP HUD-Held Reserves During Shutdown

Earlier today, HUD sent an email to Executive Directors informing them that those PHAs administering Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs may access their HUD-held Housing Assistance Payment Reserves (HHR) under certain circumstances. In those instances where scheduled payments (for January and February) are not sufficient to meet a program’s Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) need, PHAs may access their reserves.

Specifically, in situations where a failure to act “would result in an imminent threat to the safety of human life or the protection of property,” PHAs may request their HAP reserves from HUD in the following instances:

  1. To protect families that are at imminent risk of termination; or
  2. PHAs that were eligible to receive a payment for January 2019 and did not receive it (e.g., first time Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) payment) and need reserves to ensure that the property owner(s) receives a HAP payment to continue assistance and protect the residents at the property.

These funds may only be used for HAP funding. To request the additional payment, please contact Robert.H.Boepple@hud.gov.  The request should include the following:

  1. amount of the payment;
  2. supporting monthly leasing projections;
  3. point of contact email address;
  4. point of contact phone number; and
  5. cost saving measures that PHAs have taken to decrease the likelihood of a shortfall (see PIH Notice 2011-28).

Housing authorities should also review PIH Notice 2013-28 titled “Guidance on the Use of Outside Sources of Funds in the HCV Program.”

HUD’s email guidance can be found here.

 

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.

Continue reading

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.

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.]

Election Impact on Congressional Committees

The analysis below is simply a prediction of who is likely to serve as leadership on the committees based on the current information available. Frequently after a large number of losses or retirements, members of Congress shift between committees and chair/ranking member positions, changing the seniority structure of committees as a result. One Senator choosing to take an unexpected chair position can have ripple effects across several committees that are difficult to predict. This is particularly true at the subcommittee level. Additionally, Republicans have established a six-year term limit for committee chairs and ranking members, which causes more committee changes than Democrats who don’t have a term limit.

Finally, one of the biggest impacts on committee change is a flip of party control or a dramatic change in majority size. The committee structure is based on majority party and size, and when for example Senate Republicans increase their majority overall in the Senate, their control of committee seats also increases. Depending on how the remaining three Senate races are called, it could force lower-seniority Democrats off committees.

Appropriations

The House Appropriations Committee will see some turnover in the 116th Congress; while all Democrats won his/her races, four Republican members either lost or are retiring, in addition to Rep. Evan Jenkins (R-W.V.) who retired earlier this year.

The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee will look very different next year. Included in the Republican losses/retirements are two members of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee, Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) and Rep. David Young (R-Iowa). Also retiring is full committee Chair Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). There may be some consistency in the THUD leadership, as current Chair Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.) will have the option of remaining chair if he chooses.

Democratic leadership on the committee is expected to remain fairly stable. Current Ranking Member Nita Lowey has stated that she will take over the gavel in January and has already started pushing Republicans to make a budget deal for FY 2020. THUD Ranking Member David Price (D-N.C.) also has the option of taking over as chair of the subcommittee.

The Senate Appropriations Committee will have far less turnover in the 116th Congress and leadership will likely remain the same. Only a single member of the committee is at risk of losing her seat; Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith was forced into a run-off election that will take place on November 27.

Full Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) will remain in the top position on the committee, which he took over in April after the retirement of former chair Thad Cochran (R-Miss.). Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) has the option of remaining ranking member, though as a high-ranking Democrat he may have other committee options. Leadership of the THUD Subcommittee is likely to continue with current Chair Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

Authorizing Committees

As a result of a high number of losses and retirements, the House Financial Services Committee will be a significantly different committee in the next Congress. Eight Republicans either lost their re-election bid or are retiring and four additional races are too close to call. Four Democrats are retiring.

Current Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) will take over as chair in January. Current Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) is retiring and Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) has declared his intention to take over as ranking member. Leadership of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee is likely to remain the same, with current Ranking Member Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) expected to take the chair position and current Chair Sean Duffy (R-Wisc.) likely to be ranking member. The composition of the subcommittee will be extremely different, though, as six Republican members and two Democrats will not return to Congress.

Unlike the big changes coming to Financial Services, the membership of the Senate Banking Committee is likely to remain consistent. Only two Republicans and two Democrats lost their re-election or are retiring. Leadership could see some changes, though. Depending on the committees that other members choose to chair, current Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) could move to head another committee. There are several scenarios that could result in either Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) or Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Penn.) taking over the committee. Current Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is expected to remain in his position.

Tax Writing Committees

The Senate Finance Committee is set for a change in leadership thanks to the retirement of current Chair Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). It’s unclear at this point who will take over, though Sen. Grassley does have the option of taking the Chairmanship if he is willing to give up his current role as the Chair of the Judiciary Committee. If he elects to remain at Judiciary, current Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo would be next in line for the position. Current Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) will probably remain in place, though if he does take a position on another committee, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) would be next in line. I

The House Ways and Means Committee will be lead by current Ranking Member Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and current Chair Kevin Brady will probably take over as Ranking Member, though he will need to request a waiver from leadership.

Election Brings Changes to Housing, Community Development

As widely predicted, the Democrats took control of the House and the Senate will remain in Republican control. Between the shift in control of the House and a large number of retirements and losses, big changes are coming in the 116th Congress for housing and community development.

Right now, Democrats control 225 seats in the House and Republicans have 197 seats. Thirteen races are still too close to call. This is a net gain of 30 seats for the Democrats and gives them a relatively slim majority of 7 seats. In the Senate, Republicans have picked up two seats so far, giving them a 51 seat majority. Democrats managed to hold 46 seats. However, two races are still too close to call and one seat will go to a run-off election later this month.

The big question is how this new dynamic in Congress will play out within Washington, both between the Congressional chambers and with the White House. Will the Senate Republicans and the House Democrats be able to find enough common ground to pass legislation and spending bills? What role will the President choose to play and will his relationship with (presumptive) House Speaker Nancy Pelosi more closely mirror the deals they were able to forge throughout the past two years or will he revert to his recent campaign rhetoric?

These new dynamics will be tested soon during the lame duck session of Congress, which begins next week when all members of the current Congress return to Washington to finalize unfinished business. Newly-empowered Democrats will begin to assert muscle as Congress attempts to deal with a significant amount of legislative work, including a continuing resolution that expires on December 7, the Violence Against Women Act, the Farm bill, flood insurance, disaster relief, tax credits, and other must-pass legislation.

As detailed in a separate blog post, the impact on housing and community development could be significant, particularly in the House Financial Services Committee and the House Appropriations Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Subcommittee.

Democrats taking control of the House means they will also take control of the committees, putting Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Cali.) in charge of the Financial Services Committee and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) in charge of Appropriations.

Though neither has publicized an outline of their priorities for their respective committees, it can be expected that Rep. Waters will focus a significant amount of committee time on housing and HUD. Whereas the Republican-controlled Congress approved legislation like the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) that provided program reform and regulatory relief, a Democratic-controlled House is likely to focus more on topics like the impact of budget cuts on programs, oversight, and subsidized housing resident impacts. There are benefits to both approaches and both required a bipartisan effort to pass the Senate.

Congresswoman Lowey this week insisted that Democrats would not cave on the President’s demand that FY 2019 spending include funding for a border wall and that she intends to negotiate aggressively for a FY 2020 budget deal to avoid $126 billion in automatic cuts that will otherwise be required because of the Budget Control Act of 2011. Her leadership will be tested early in the lame duck session as Democrats will look to her to lead the negotiations to finalize FY 2019 spending. As difficult of a feat as that may prove to be, her leadership will further be tested early in the year as FY 2020 negotiations begin and the extension of the debt ceiling expires in March, which will require Congress to act before the summer.

 

FY 2018 FSS Funding NOFA Released

On October 31, 2018, HUD released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Congress appropriated $75 million for the FY 2018 FSS program. This NOFA is specifically provides renewal funding for FSS programs that were funding under FY 2015, FY 2016, and/or FY 2017 FSS grants. The application deadline is November 30, 2018.

The FSS provisions (Section 306) of  The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155 that became Public Law No: 115-174) are not in effect for this NOFA as HUD must issue the implementing regulations within 365 of the bill passage (May 24, 2018) and the implementing regulations have not, at the time of this blog post, been issued.

The FY 2018 NOFA application can be found on Grants.gov and additional information on this NOFA can be found on the HUD website.

HUD Increases HCV Administrative Fee Proration to 80%

Yesterday, HUD’s Housing Voucher Financial Management Division sent a letter to PHA Executive Directors and certain Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Representatives announcing that the 2018 administrative fee will increase from 76 percent to 80 percent. The Department notes that the final number may change again based on national leasing behavior and finding additional funding. The additional administrative fee funding will be obligated during September 2018. The Department also notes that for portability, it is recommended that PHAs continue to use the original estimated 76 percent proration from January to July and begin to use the new 80 percent proration in August.

While NAHRO is pleased that HUD has found the funds to increase the administrative fee proration to 80 percent, we will continue to stress to decision-makers in Washington, D.C., the importance of fully funding this account.

The full letter can be found here.

RAD Roundup – RAD Supplemental Guidance

There has been a lot of activity around the new RAD guidance documents over the past few days. This post is meant to compile a lot of that information in one place.

New RAD Guidance Documents:

Additional HUD Documentation of new RAD Guidance Documents:

Additional non-HUD Posts: