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.

####

Census Day is Today!!

censusroadblock

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

 

Another Round of Mainstream Vouchers Awarded

Yesterday, HUD awarded another $131.3 million in Mainstream vouchers to 325 PHAs across the country. Mainstream vouchers provide federal rental assistance to non-elderly people with disabilities. In HUD’s press release, Secretary Carson notes that “[t]he [Mainstream voucher] funding announced today allows our local partners to continue helping residents with disabilities live independently.”

The Department’s press release can be found here.

A list of PHAs who received an award this round can be found here.

Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA FAQ Updated

Yesterday, HUD updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for mainstream vouchers.

The FY 2019 NOFA would make an additional $150 million available for mainstream vouchers (a previous NOFA allocated $98 million). The application deadline for this additional round of funding is September 5, 2019.

The updated FAQ can be found here.

The Department’s Mainstream Voucher page can be found here.

[Edit: Some of the links above were corrected to point to the correct documents or websites and the correct deadline has been added.]

New Notice allows PHAs to use Tenant Protection Vouchers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

In late July, HUD published a notice titled “Tenant Protection Vouchers for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative” [PIH 2019-20 (HA)]. This notice would allow PHAs that do not have a Family Unification Program (FUP), but that have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, to request a tenant protection voucher to house a FUP-eligible youth.

Public Housing Agencies must receive a referral from a partnering Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) to request the tenant protection voucher. While not required, HUD strongly encourages participation of a Continuum of Care (CoC). Requests may be as small as one voucher up to 25 vouchers per PHA for a fiscal year. The funding for this initiative is not from the Family Unification Program account, but from the tenant protection voucher account and is subject to the availability of funding in that account. These vouchers sunset after being used and are not to be project-based.

  • PHA Eligibility Requirements:
    • PHA must have an HCV Program;
    • PHA must not administer the Family Unification Program (FUP);
    • PHA must amend its administrative plan;
    • PHA must accept FUP-eligible youth;
      • FUP-eligible youth: Youth that have met the following criteria:
        • Attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age;
        • Left foster care, or will leave foster care, within 90 days; and
        • Are homeless or are at risk of being homeless;
    • PHA must determine eligibility;
    • PHA must have a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
      • PCWA Roles and Responsibilities:
        • Must identify FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must have a system of prioritization;
        • Must provide written certification to PHA that youth is FUP-eligible; and
        • Must provide supportive services, including:
          • Basic life skills information (money management; meal preparation; and access to health care, etc.);
          • Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements of the HCV program;
          • Providing reasonable assurances to rental property owners;
          • Job counseling; and
          • Educational and career advancement counseling;
      • PCWA Partnership Agreement (May take the form of a memorandum of understanding or letters of intent):
        • Must define FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must list supportive services and provide them for 36 months;
        • Must address PHA responsibilities;
        • Must address PCWA responsibilities; and
        • Must address Continuum of Care–if involved–responsibilities, including:
          • Integrating the referral process into the CoC’s coordinated entry process;
          • Identifying services; and
          • Making referrals of FUP-eligible youth to PCWAs.

The full notice may be found here.

House Approves Two-Year Budget Deal, Senate Vote Next Week

Congress last night moved closer to finalizing a budget deal that would raise spending caps for FY 2020 and FY 2021 and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The deal raises domestic spending by $27 billion in FY 2020, which is a sizable increase, though less than the $88 billion sought by the House.

The bill was approved by the House by 284-149 and now goes to the Senate, which will vote next week. The President has expressed support for the deal and is expected to sign it.

This finally draws a close to one of the more short-sighted policies enacted by Congress in recent history: the Budget Control Act (BCA). Passed in the summer of 2011, the BCA was a complex attempt to deal with the nation’s debt by requiring Congress to form a “super committee” to cut spending by $1.2 trillion dollars. The failure of the super committee resulted in across the board spending cuts and the implementation of arbitrary, low spending limits through FY 2021. However, the spending limits were only adhered to for a couple years and Congress has since approved budget deals to increase spending beyond the caps.

What’s Next

The Senate has a lot of work to do to catch up to the House. This spring House appropriators passed 10 of 12 appropriations bills at $88 billion higher than current levels for both domestic and defense programs, despite the lack of agreement with the Senate.

One of the approved bills is a robust Transportation-HUD spending bill, details of which are available here (NAHRO members only).

The Senate chose not to begin appropriations work until a final deal is in place and they are expected to stay in Washington during the August recess to begin consideration of bills.

At this point it isn’t clear what path Congress is likely to take to finalize FY 2020, though there have been discussions of trying to move small packages of negotiated spending bills in September, similar to the strategy employed in the fall of FY 2019. There is a high likelihood that a continuing resolution will needed for at least part of the new fiscal year, as floor time in September is limited.

Long-Term Impact

The two-year deal allows for $27 billion in additional spending in FY 2020, but only increases spending by $2 billion in FY 2021. This will pose a challenge for appropriators as the year to year cost increases of programs are typically higher than $2 billion. In FY 2020, it’s estimated that the cost of rental assistance programs at HUD will increase by $1 billion. This cost increase is compounded by lowered FHA contributions to the THUD budget.

Advocacy

Your advocacy will be critical to ensuring that THUD is a high priority for lawmakers- download the new NAHRO Advocacy App (members-only) and watch for news on how to participate in NAHRO’s August Advocacy campaign.

NAHRO Submits Comment Letters on Mixed-Immigration-Status rule and FMR Methodology

Mixed Immigration Status Proposed Rule

On July 5, NAHRO submitted comments on HUD’s proposed immigration rule. The proposed rule, if implemented, would terminate federal housing assistance for families with mixed-immigration-statuses.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials believes that the current verification of eligible status system should be left in place. The changes in the proposed rule would unnecessarily hurt families and children, including U.S. citizens, and add additional administrative burden, all without the commensurate benefits suggested in the proposal. The current subsidy proration policy decouples the size of the family from the federal benefit received. This policy has been in place for over two decades and providers of assisted housing, particularly those most impacted by this proposal that serve many mixed-status families, have not vocalized any hardships or desire to change the policy.

In its comment letter to HUD, NAHRO offers the following recommendations:

  1. Make no changes to the current eligible status verification regulations;
  2. If unwilling to follow the first recommendation, then restrict application of the new rule to new applicants of covered programs; and
  3. If unwilling to follow either of the first two recommendations, then take the steps and adopt the recommended language in NAHRO’s comment letter before implementing the proposed rule.

The Department will still be accepting comments until end of the day, July 9th. We encourage all of our members to submit comments in opposition to this rule. We also urge members to use their own language in writing comments, so that they are not automatically screened out before being read. Comments may be submitted here.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official’s full comment letter can be found here.

FMR Methodology Changes

On July 5, NAHRO submitted comments on HUD’s proposed changes in how it calculates FMRs. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official’s comment letter can be found here.

HCV Funding Implementation Webcast Published

Yesterday, HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD) published a webcast on the notice titled “Implementation of Federal FY19 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher.” The notice was published in April, and NAHRO previously mentioned it on this blog.

The webcast published on YouTube can be found here.

PowerPoint slides from the webcast can be found here.

HUD Publishes HCV FY 2019 Funding Provisions Notice

Last week, HUD published a notice titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program“; PIH 2019-08. This notice implements the funding provisions of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget.

The budget includes the following HCV-related amounts:

  • Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Funding – $20,313 million;
  • Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) – $85 million;
  • Administrative Fees – $1,886 million;
  • Mainstream Program – $225 million;
  • Tribal HUD-VASH Renewals – $4 million;
  • New HUD-VASH vouchers – $40 million;
  • New Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers – $20 million;
  • Mobility Demonstration – $25 million; and
  • Total HCV Appropriations – $22,598 million.

Points of Interest:

  • Offset – HUD will perform a “small offset” to ensure that the national HAP proration is at or above 99.5 percent. Detailed calculations of the offsets will be provided to PHAs in the renewal allocation enclosure. Offsets will come from “excess” program reserves.
  • TPVs – HUD will provide TPVs for vacant units that were occupied within the previous 24 months of certain public housing and multifamily housing actions and are no longer available as assisted housing (subject to availability of funds).
  • Blended and Higher Admin. Fees – Applications for blended administrative fees (for PHAs serving multiple administrative fee areas) and higher administrative fees (for PHAs that operate over a large geographic area) are due by Friday, May 31.
  • Special Fees – $30 million in funding is available for HCV homeownership fees; special fees for PHAs that administer TPVs in connection with multifamily housing conversion actions; special fees for portability (the receiving PHA will receive 12 months of funding equal to 15 percent of the PHA’s 2019 Column A rate for administrative fees; while HUD supplies these fees automatically, HUD advises PHAs to make sure accurate PIC data is entered by May 15, 2019); special fees for certain audit costs; and special fees for administrative costs related to administering the HUD-VASH program.
  • Mobility Demonstration – the Department will publish a Federal Register notice to implement that mobility demonstration and announce the competition for funding.
  • Set-Aside Funds – $100 million will be reserved for shortfall funds (no due date); unforeseen circumstances (application due date May 31, 2019); portability (application due date May 31, 2019); project-based vouchers held from use during re-benchmarking (application due date May 31, 2019); and certain instances of HUD-VASH voucher usage (application due date May 31, 2019).

The full notice can be found here.