New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects that are targeted at helping low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2015, $42 billion in direct NMTC authority has generated almost $80 billion in capital for local businesses and revitalization projects. NMTC investment has resulted in the creation or retention of over 750,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet (sq. ft.) of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs are a proven and effective tool for generating private-sector investments in communities in need. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing and to increase the sustainability of communities. Continue reading
In order to aid communities and accelerate disaster recovery for those impacted by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, HUD has announced a package of 19 regulatory and administrative waivers for the following Community Planning and Development (CPD) programs: The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program, HOME Investment Partnerships (HOME) Program, Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) Program, and Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) Program.
According to HUD, this waiver package represents the largest collections of regulatory and administrative waivers ever issued by the Department at one time. State and local grantees located in major disaster declared areas can now access a waiver through a new simplified notification process. HUD’s flexibilities include: Continue reading
Today, the HUD Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) published a new notice (CPD-17-01) that provides guidance on how Emergency Solutions Grants (ESG) Program funds can be sub-awarded to Public Housing Agencies (PHAs) and Local Redevelopment Authorities (LRAs). On July 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) which included language, first proposed by NAHRO, that amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S. 11373(C)) to permit local governments receiving ESG funding to sub-award their ESG funds to PHAs and LRAs for eligible ESG activities. This change saves grantees from having to go through a costly and time-consuming procurement process if they wish to devolve their funds to any PHA or LRA. This change became effective upon enactment of HOTMA last year and required no regulatory rulemaking. This new notice provides additional guidance on the allowable sub-awards to PHAs and LRAs and the key requirements (e.g. consistency with the Consolidated Plan) that apply to sub-awarded funds
Last month, President Trump signed H.R. 601 into law, providing $15.25 billion in disaster relief for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Of the amount, $7.4 billion goes to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help meet immediate needs, and $450 million to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for disaster-relief loans. The remaining $7.4 billion goes to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program for disaster relief and long-term recovery. This blog will explain what the CDBG-DR program is and how funds will be allocated and administered to disaster impacted communities.
On Tuesday, September 26, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors in Declared Disaster Counties. The email provides information that may be useful for PHAs in those areas.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program – PHAs in declared disaster areas may be eligible to apply for Stafford Act Section 403 and Section 406 funds through FEMA’s Public Assistance Programs program. The Public Assistance grant program covers emergency work (covered by Section 403; e.g., debris removal, demolition of unsafe structures; or boarding of windows) and permanent work (Section 406), unless Congress appropriates funds to HUD for these purposes. Additional information on this FEMA program can be found here.
FEMA and HUD Data Sharing – Starting the week of September 18, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) began sending reports to PHAs about program participants who have registered for FEMA assistance. HUD anticipates continuing to send these reports on a weekly basis or as new information is available. Please use discretion handling the workbooks and data.
Fraud – If PHAs have concerns about fraud, the email lists methods to contact the federal government.
FEMA’s Fraud Hotline – (866) 720-5721 and
HUD OIG’s Fraud page – (800) 347-3753.
Expedited Waiver Process – As mentioned in NAHRO’s previous blog post, HUD is in the process of creating a expedited waiver process for those PHAs in disaster areas. The process will be articulated in an upcoming Federal Register notice. This notice will be modeled on previous expedited waiver process notices.
Additional information on the Hurricanes and HUD’s response can be found at the following links:
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.
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.
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
Yesterday, HUD released the sixteenth edition of the Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress which finds that in 2015 there were 8.3 million unassisted very low-income households in the U.S. that were experiencing “worst case housing” by spending more than half of their income on rent, living in severely substandard housing conditions, or both. “Very low-income households” are those earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). Overall, the number of households with worst case needs have increased by 41 percent since 2007 and by 8 percent since 2013.
A few highlights of the report include the following: Continue reading
In 2015, supporters of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) achieved a major victory with the permanent authorization of the 9 percent LIHTC rate, but a 4 percent housing credit rate remains unauthorized. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have introduced S.548, The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, to permanently authorize the 4 percent rate and expand the program’s overall allocation authority by 50 percent, allowing more public housing agencies (PHAs) and local redevelopment authorities (LRAs) to access the credit.
Affordable housing stakeholders should take action today and support Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Hatch’s critical legislation by asking your senators to join the bill as co-sponsors and urging them to include this bill in any tax reform agreement that is reached. Help NAHRO achieve its goal of sending 2,500 letters to members of Congress in August. Continue reading