NAHRO’s New Housing Proposals Focus on the Future

The nation’s public housing agencies and community development agencies have been housing our nation’s families and creating vibrant, stable communities for decades. And they’re continuing to do this vital work of providing shelter, creating opportunity, and addressing inequities during a pandemic that’s straining both local and national resources.

But even as we continue to cope with the fallout of COVID-19, we must also work on solutions for both current and future housing needs. We need new housing construction, more resources for existing housing programs, and flexibilities that prioritize progress over paperwork. NAHRO’s What Happens Next: Housing Beyond the Pandemic provides funding and policy proposals that will:

  • Increase housing supply and improve affordability
  • Preserve existing affordable housing
  • Stabilize families, and
  • Prioritize progress over paperwork.

The paper is available here.

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on CARES Act Funding on July 9th at 4 pm ET

In an email sent earlier today, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated that they will be holding a conference call on July 9th, 2020 at 4 pm ET, which will provide updates on CARES Act funding, the second round of waivers, the eviction moratorium, HAP funding and new FAQs.  

Please click here for a calendar invitation. 

The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and topics for future calls to PIH@hud.gov. Call-in information is available below: 

Step 1: Dial into the conference. 

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 

Access Code: 0410949## 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633  

Access Code: 0120428# 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/829379 

Additional information and resources on COVID-19 are available at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.  

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on Telehealth Resources for PHAs on June 22nd at 3 pm ET

In an email sent earlier today, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated that they will be holding a conference call on June 22, 2020 at 3 pm ET, which will feature representatives from HHS’s Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) to provide information about how PHAs can encourage and provide telehealth services to residents. 

 The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and topics for future calls to PIH@hud.gov. Call in information is available below. 

Step 1: Dial into the conference. 

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633 

Access Code: 0403331## 

Need an international dial-in number? 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

Access Code: 0149345## 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/828152 

This information is also posted on NAHRO’s COVID-19 webpage at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

Congress Holds Hearings on Oversight and Rental Assistance

On June 9, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a committee hearing on the oversight of housing regulators. The two witnesses at the hearing were Secretary Ben Carson of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Director Mark Calabria of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).    

Secretary Carson shared that HUD is working to meet all statutory requirements related to the distribution of CARES Act funds. Of the $12.4 billion that HUD received from the CARES Act, $9.1 billion has already been allocated. The remaining CDBG funds will be allocated by October 1st and the remaining ESG fund allocations were announced on the same day as the hearing. Regarding rent payments, Secretary Carson urged HUD-assisted renters to recertify their incomes with their local PHAs if they need lower rent payments due to COVID-19.   

A few Senators expressed their opinion that Americans need expanded rental assistance and unemployment benefits. Secretary Carson did not comment on any plans for future housing-related COVID-19 funding, other than to express that HUD will closely monitor the situation.   

This hearing was followed by a June 10 hearing held by the House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance which featured four witnesses speaking about the impact COVID-19 will have on evictions and rental assistance.  

Cashuana Hill, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center, spoke of the role systemic racism plays in housing segregation, as well as the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on black and Latino workers. She called for rental assistance programs to consider equity concerns and reduce housing discrimination.  

Mike Kringsella, the Executive Director of Up for Growth, claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated a pre-existing housing shortage of roughly 7.3 million units, and urged Congress to provide additional renter assistance.  

Ann Oliva, a Visiting Senior Fellow from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, linked housing availability to public health and spoke of the importance a stable housing situation can play in helping people protect themselves from COVID-19. 

Jennty Schuetz, a Fellow from the Brookings Institute, noted that the federal government plays a smaller role in rental housing regulation than in the mortgage market – rental housing oversight is instead left to states, resulting in a patchwork of regulations. She added that an eviction moratorium is not a long-term solution, as owed rent builds up over time and small-scale landlords forgo revenue.  

The Subcommittee’s questions centered around possible funding mechanisms to disburse rental assistance, how to best promote racial equity in the disaster response, and how to help small landlords navigate loss of income and maintenance demand during the pandemic. 

NAHRO continues to advocate for affordable housing funding and effective, community-based policy solutions. Learn about NAHRO’s 2020 Legislative and Regulatory Agenda and more about NAHRO advocacy at www.nahro.org/advocacy.  

Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar – Wed, May 27 at 2pm ET

On Wednesday, May 27. 2020, NAHRO is hosting a complimentary webinar – Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources.

Join Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and leaders from NAHRO member agencies for a discussion of available homelessness resources and best practices for their use. Bring your questions and comments and join your fellow PHAs for this interactive webinar!

Register for NAHRO’s Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar here!

NAHRO Webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission; May 5, 2020 at 2pm Est

NAHRO would like to invite you to a complimentary webinar on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 2pm eastern time – Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission.

Housing agencies are responding in real-time to the coronavirus and its impact on day-to-day operations and the residents they serve. Hear from federal officials and NAHRO on available resources and flexibilities provided by Congress and being implemented by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

You will also hear from local housing officials on how they are adapting their programs in the current environment.

We will be joined on the webinar by:

  • R. Hunter Kurtz, Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Patricia Wells, CME, NAHRO Senior Vice-President, Executive Director, Oakland Housing Authority, CA
  • David S. Gates, CS-PHM, CSO-PH, CME, CMPO, Executive Director, Housing Authority of the County of Lonoke, AR

Bring your questions and comments and join your fellow PHAs for this interactive webinar!

Register for Managing During COVID-19: Funding, Flexibility, and Fulfilling our Mission!

PHAs Make Coronavirus Requests of Congress

In partnership with our sister groups CLPHA, PHADA and the Moving to Work (MTW) Collaborative, NAHRO has drafted and sent a letter to the House and the Senate thanking them for the nearly $3 billion in affordable housing assistance in the CARES Act, and asking for substantial resources and flexibilities, including:

  • An additional infusion of $8.5 billion for the Operating Fund and the Section 8 voucher program;
  • An increased supply of Tenant Protection Vouchers;
  • Additional rental assistance for families in need; and
  • A $70 billion investment in public housing infrastructure.

Almost 800 PHAs and organizations joined NAHRO, PHADA, CLPHA, and the MTW Collaborative in signing the letter. You and your partners can also send the letter to your members of Congress through NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center.

NAHRO continues to provide the latest information on the NAHRO Coronavirus page.

Social Security Recipients Do Not Need to File a Tax Return to Receive COVID-19 Relief Payments

NAHRO has reviewed a press release from the U.S. Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) that announces Social Security beneficiaries will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments. This announcement will allow many seniors and low-income individuals, that have not filed a tax return, to receive their Economic Impact Payment without requesting it. There was a previous concern that Social Security recipients, that did not file a tax return in 2018 or 2019, would have to file a special simple tax return to receive their Economic Impact Payment.

NAHRO is maintaining a coronavirus resource page at www.nahro.org/coronavirus. The Treasury Department and IRS press release is reprinted below and is available at home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm967.

Social Security Recipients Will Automatically Receive Economic Impact Payments

April 1, 2020

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service today announced that Social Security beneficiaries who are not typically required to file tax returns will not need to file an abbreviated tax return to receive an Economic Impact Payment. Instead, payments will be automatically deposited into their bank accounts.

“We want to ensure that our senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and low-income Americans receive Economic Impact Payments quickly and without undue burden,” said Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “Social Security recipients who are not typically required to file a tax return need to take no action, and will receive their payment directly to their bank account.”

The IRS will use the information on the Form SSA-1099 and Form RRB-1099 to generate $1,200 Economic Impact Payments to Social Security recipients who did not file tax returns in 2018 or 2019. Recipients will receive these payments as a direct deposit or by paper check, just as they would normally receive their benefits.

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Census Day is Today!!

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April 1, 2020 is Census Day and NAHRO would like to share the Census Day press release from the United States Census Bureau. An accurate count is essential to ensure the maximum amount of funding and resources are available to your local community!

Census Day Is Here – Make It Count!

April 1, 2020 – Today is Census Day, the day that determines who is counted in the 2020 Census and where they are counted.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Responding to the 2020 Census is easy, safe and important, and is key to shaping the future of communities. Census statistics are used to determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and informs legislative district boundaries. They also inform how hundreds of billions of dollars in public funds are allocated by state, local and federal lawmakers to communities for public services and infrastructure like hospitals, emergency services, schools and bridges each year over the next 10 years.

36.2 percent of households across the nation have responded to the 2020 Census since invitations began arriving in mailboxes March 12-20. Response rates are updated in the map daily seven days a week so that the public can see how well their community is doing compared to the nation and other areas.

The Census Bureau is strongly encouraging the public to respond to the 2020 Census online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet. You can respond online or by phone in English or 12 other languages. There are also 59 non-English language guides and videos (plus American Sign Language) available on 2020census.gov ensuring over 99% of U.S. households can respond online in their preferred language. It has never been easier to respond on your own — all without having to meet a census taker. This is really important with the current health and safety guidance being provided by national, state and local health authorities.

When you respond:

  • Respond for where you live as of April 1 (Census Day).
  • Include everyone who usually lives and sleeps in your home as of April 1, even if they are staying somewhere else temporarily. This includes relatives, friends, roommates and anyone else who lives and sleeps in your home most of the time — even children under age five and babies born on or before April 1, even if they are still in the hospital.
  • Count college students where they live while attending school. If they live on campus in university/college housing such as dorms or fraternity/sorority houses, they will be counted by school officials and do not need to respond. However, if they live off campus in private housing or apartments, they should respond to the census on their own using their off-campus address even if they are currently staying elsewhere.
  • Find additional answers about “Who to Count” at 2020census.gov.

You can use the Census ID from your invitation or provide your address when you respond. Then, please make sure your friends, family and social networks know about the importance of responding and encourage them to complete their census. Responding now will minimize the need for a census taker to follow up and visit your home later this year.

Some households — in areas less likely to respond online — have already received a paper questionnaire along with their first invitation. Households that have not responded online or by phone will receive a paper questionnaire April 8-16.

For more information, visit 2020census.gov.

Please note: Based on continuing assessments of guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, the Census Bureau is suspending 2020 Census field operations for two additional weeks to April 15, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone who will go through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions. The Census Bureau continues to evaluate all 2020 Census field operations, and will communicate any further updates as soon as possible.

The 2020 Census is open for self-response online at 2020Census.gov, over the phone by calling the number provided in your invitation, and by paper through the mail.

President Signs $2T COVID-19 Relief Bill

 

The third coronavirus (COVID-19) relief bill has passed the Senate and the House, been signed by the President, and is now law. The entire bill includes more than $2 trillion to help the United States economy.

Thank you to everyone that contacted your legislators through the NAHRO’s Advocacy Action Center. Your messages of how important affordable housing is during a pandemic played a critical role in the HUD programs receiving supplemental, relief funding. NAHRO is providing additional coronavirus resources at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

The relief bill includes additional funds for HUD’s Public and Indian Housing (PIH), Community Planning and Development (CPD), and Office of Housing programs. The HUD funding in the bill is in line with the previously discussed Senate bill – except for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, which is $5 billion in the relief bill. All the funding in the bill is in addition to the previously appropriated FY2020 funding. The chart below provides the amounts of the supplemental funding for select HUD programs from the relief bill.

Relief Bill HUD Funding

Program

Relief Bill

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance

$1.25 Billion

HAP Adjustments (included above)

$400 Million

Admin Fee (included above)

$850 Million

Public Housing Op Fund

$685 Million

Native Housing Programs

$300 Million

HOPWA

$65 Million

202 – Elderly

$50 Million

811 – Disabled

$15 Million

CDBG

$5 Billion

Homeless Assistance Grants

$4 Billion

Project-Based Rental Assistance

$1 Billion

In addition to the supplemental funding the relief bill includes several policy provisions including limited statutory and regulatory waivers. HUD is expected to issue notices soon that provide the allocation of the supplemental funding and implements the policy provisions and program waivers, as many of the provision dates are tied to the date of enactment, March 27, 2020. The program policy provisions, along with the funding for each, are described below.

Temporary Moratorium on Eviction Filings

The relief bill includes a provision that requires PHAs to implement a temporary moratorium on evictions. The moratorium applies to Public Housing, Housing Choice Vouchers, Low-Income Housing Tax Credit units, rural housing assistance, and other programs as defined by the Violence Against Women Act. The eviction moratorium will last for 120 days from the enactment of the relief bill, July 25, 2020. The PHA will not be allowed to file an eviction action for nonpayment of rent, fees, or charges and no late fees or penalties may be charged. A 30-day notice to vacate for nonpayment of rent cannot be issued until the expiration of the eviction moratorium. In practice, nonpayment of rent eviction hearings cannot be heard for 5 months from the enactment of the relief bill, August 24, 2020. The moratorium only addresses eviction for non-payment of rent evictions and does not address any other type of eviction. Evictions for issues such as criminal activity or safety of residents are, therefore, allowed.

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance (TBRA)

The relief bill provides $1.25 billion for tenant-based rental assistance.

Administrative Expenses – Of the relief bill’s $1.25 billion for the TBRA account, there is $850 million for additional administrative and other expenses PHAs encounter in administering Section 8 programs, including mainstream vouchers, in response to coronavirus. The bill states that these expenses shall be new eligible activities to be defined by HUD and shall be activities to “support or maintain the health and safety of assisted individuals and families and costs related to retention and support of current participating landlords.” Funds from the FY 2020 appropriations bill may also be used for these expenses.

Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Adjustments – Of the relief bill’s $1.25 billion for the TBRA account, $400 million will be available for “adjustments in the calendar year 2020 Section 8 renewal funding allocations, including Mainstream vouchers.” These adjustments will be for those PHAs that “experience a significant increase in voucher per-unit costs due to extraordinary circumstances or that, despite taking reasonable cost savings measures,” as determined by HUD, would be forced to terminate voucher assistance.

Need-based allocation – The Department is instructed to allocate the above funding based on need as determined by HUD.

Section 811 – The relief bill allows for any amounts unobligated, including administrative expenses, that remain available after funding renewals and administrative expenses to be used for non-competitive section 811 tenant-based rental assistance to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. HUD will award no less than 25 percent of the remaining amounts proportionately to PHAs who received awards in the 2017 and 2019 competitions within 60 days of enactment, May 26, 2020.

Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers – Funds from tenant-protection vouchers used for youth in the FUP program and funds from FUP funding reserved for youths will not have to be reported to the appropriate congressional committees when grants are awarded.

Waivers – The relief bill allows that the Department may “waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of any statute or regulation [except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment] that [HUD] administers in connection with the use of the amounts made available” in this bill or the FY 2020 appropriations act, upon a finding by HUD that waivers “are necessary for the safe and effective administration of these funds to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.”

Notice of waivers – HUD must notify the public through the Federal Register or “other appropriate means to ensure the most expeditious allocation of this funding” of waivers or alternative requirements. A public notice at the appropriate government website or through other electronic media determined by HUD may suffice.

Length of waivers – Waivers or alternative requirements will remain in effect for the time and duration specified by HUD by public notice and may be extended by HUD.

Project-Based Rental Assistance

Project-based rental assistance – The relief bill provides $1 billion for project-based rental assistance. These funds are to “prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus,” including funds to maintain normal operation and take other necessary actions, while the program is impacted by coronavirus. The funding is also for owners and sponsors of properties receiving project-based assistance.

Waivers – The Department may “waive, or specify alternative requirements for, any provision of any statute or regulation [except for requirements related to fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and the environment] that [HUD] administers in connection with the use of the amounts made available” in this bill, upon a finding by HUD that waivers are necessary “to expedite or facilitate the use of such amounts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus” and the waivers are consistent with program purposes.

Notice of waivers – HUD must notify the public through the Federal Register or other appropriate means. At a minimum on the Internet at the appropriate government website or through other electronic media decided by HUD.

Public Housing

Public Housing Operating Fund – The relief bill provides $685 million to the Operating Fund. These funds would be distributed by the Operating Fund formula.

Public Housing Subsidy Flexibility The relief bill allows PHAs fungibility of their Operating and Capital Funds so long as the funds are used to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. This includes Operating and Capital Funds appropriated to PHAs prior to these bills. The ability to transfer funds between the Operating and Capital accounts will remain available through December 31, 2020. HUD can extend this provision in 12-month increments if needed.

WaiversThe relief bill allows HUD to provide waivers for statutory and regulatory requirements related to the Capital and Operating Fund if those waivers would help PHAs prepare for, prevent, and respond to coronavirus. These waivers will be released in the Federal Register. 

Community Development Programs

HOPWAThe relief bill provides $65 million to HOPWA – $50 million to be distributed by formula and $10 million by one-time, non-renewable grants to existing contracts for permanent support housing that were initially made in FY 2010 and prior years.

The bill allows these funds to be used to help individuals living with HIV-AIDS relocate for the purposes of self-isolation, quarantine, or provide other coronavirus control services as recommended by the CDC.

Community Development Block Grant The Community Development Fund receives $5 billion to be distributed as Community Development Block Grants (CDBG). Of this funding, $2 billion will be distributed to entitlement communities by formula and $1 billion will go directly to states to prepare for and respond to coronavirus based on need. The need-based formula will consider public health needs, the number of COVID-19 cases compared to the national average, and economic and housing disruptions. Allocations must be made within 45 days of enactment of the relief bill, May 11, 2020. HUD would have the discretion to distribute the remaining funds to states or local governments.

The relief bill allows entities an expedited procedure to amend their statements of activities to engage in coronavirus activities. In-person meetings are not required however entities must provide notice a comment period of no less than 5 days to receive public input. Virtual meetings are also allowed.

Homeless Assistance Grants The relief bill provides $4 billion for the Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) program. Of this, $2 billion will be distributed as formula grants and $2 billion will be distributed to states by a formula developed by HUD. The formula would consider risk of transmission of coronavirus, rising rate of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals, disruptions to economic and housing markets, and other factors.

The relief bill allows funding to be used for temporary emergency shelters, costs related to infectious disease prevention, and hazard pay. The Secretary may waive statutory and regulatory waivers as needed to prepare for, prevent, and respond to coronavirus. Up to one percent of the funds can be used to increase prior technical assistance awards that relate to providing health care services. Ten percent of the funds received by grantees can be used for administrative purposes. None of the funds provided can be used to require homeless individuals to enter treatment or perform any other prerequisite activity as a condition or receiving shelter, housing, or other services.

Policy and Legislative Contact Information

Georgi Banna, Esq.

Director of Policy & Program Development

GBanna@nahro.org

Tess Hembree

Director of Congressional Relations

THembree@nahro.org