Voucher Programs with Higher Per Unit Costs (PUC) Can Apply for Additional HAP

Earlier this summer, HUD published a notice titled “CARES Act – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) Supplemental Funding” (PIH Notice 2020-17). This notice allows for PHAs to apply for additional CARES Act funding for significant increases in per unit cost (PUC) due to extraordinary circumstances. Applications for this funding must be submitted by October 31, 2020.

If a PHA has previously submitted applications for calendar year (CY) 2020 HAP renewal set-aside funding under the “Unforeseen Circumstances” category due to PUC increases caused by COVID-19, the PHA must resubmit according to instructions in this new notice. For those who submitted under the “Unforeseen Circumstances” category for other reasons, they are not required to resubmit, but may do so if their PUC has further increased because of COVID-19.

Public Housing Agencies must meet certain requirements to access this funding. First, applications must be submitted by Oct. 31, 2020. Applications will be reviewed by HUD on a rolling basis. Second, to be eligible, a PHA must have a PUC that is 102 percent or greater than the PUC HUD used to determine the PHA’s CY 2020 renewal funding. The PHA must also meet the submission requirements detailed in the notice.

The PHA will also receive a priority status. If the PHA’s HAP reserves contain an amount that is less than the amount needed to cover 3 months of HAP expenses, the PHA will qualify for priority status. Public housing agencies qualifying for priority status will receive funding shortly after their application is processed, subject to funding availability. Those agencies that receive regular priority will receive notification that their application has been approved, but funding will not be made until November.

Group Complete ApplicationPUC > than 102%HAP Reserve < 3 months
PriorityEligible for Immediate fundingYesYesYes
RegularTo be funded in Nov. 2020YesYesNo
IneligibleIneligible for FundingNoNoN/A

To be eligible for funding, a PHA must submit a completed Appendix B in the notice to 2020COVIDHCV@hud.gov.

These funds may not be rolled into restricted net position (RNP) and must be tracked and accounted for separately through the period of availability.

HUD to Release Additional Mainstream Voucher Funding

Earlier today, HUD released a new Mainstream voucher notice titled “Mainstream Vouchers – Non-Competitive Opportunity for Additional Vouchers Authorized by the CARES Act, Temporary Waivers and Alternative Requirements, and Modified 2020 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Calculation” (PIH 2020-22). This notice does the following:

  1. Allows any PHA with a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to apply for new Mainstream vouchers;
  2. Provides Mainstream-voucher-specific waivers; and
  3. Modifies the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal formula for Mainstream vouchers.

The deadline for applying for new voucher funding is Dec. 31, 2020. The additional flexibilities offered in this notice may be used until Dec. 31, 2020. Additional information on the new notice can be found below.

Continue reading

HUD to Hold Webinar on Helping Tenants Access Economic Impact Payments

The Department will hold a webinar discussing how organizations can ensure that tenants are able to access their stimulus payments. According to an email sent by the Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH), “[t]he CARES Act . . . includes stimulus payments to help families deal with the economic impacts from the COVID-19 crisis.” The email also states that “Americans risk missing out on the stimulus payments provided through the recent CARES Act . . . [and] [i]n order to receive the stimulus payment they must file a form by October 15, 2020 in order to receive it this year, or file a 2020 tax return next year to receive it in 2021.

The email includes the following resources for the webinar:

The webinar will be on August 26, 2020 at 1 pm ET. A calendar invitation with log in information for the webinar can be found here.

HUD to Restart Physical REAC Inspections

Earlier today, HUD published a press release titled “Secretary Carson Announces HUD Will Safely Resume Physical Inspections.” In the press release, Secretary Carson notes that “[p]hysical inspections are vital in ensuring the health and safety of the Americans who reside in properties enrolled in HUD’s programs.” He also states that he is ” . . . very pleased to announce . . . [that] they are resuming.”

The press release notes that to keep residents and staff safe, HUD will implement a system of prioritization of inspections based on COVID-19 data and health risk scoring methodology (with the data taken from Johns Hopkins University and the methodology from the Harvard Global Health Institute. The Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) has developed a heat map that categorizes localities into four categories of risk along with an associated color:

  • Low Risk – Green;
  • Moderately Low Risk – Yellow;
  • Moderately High Risk – Orange; and
  • High Risk – Red.

According to the press release, “REAC will provide a listing on its website of low-risk counties 45 days prior to the start of physical inspections. At the end of the 45-day period, REAC will provide a 14-day notification to priority properties in that county to inform families that an inspection will take place.” The first outreach about inspections will start after Sept. 21, 2020. A list of safe counties for inspections will be posted on REAC’s website.

HUD’s press release can be found here.

REAC’s website can be found here.

HUD to Host Call on CARES Act HCV Funding

Earlier today, the Department sent an email to PHA executive directors announcing a conference call on Thursday, August 6th at 2 pm ET to discuss HUD’s release of HCV CARES Act funding. The call will be recorded and uploaded to YouTube within a week of it occurring.

The call in information may be found below:

Step 1: Dial into the conference.
Dial-in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694
Access Code: 6514321##
If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information:
Dial in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694
Access Code: 1670463#

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/830869

A calendar invitation for the call can be found here.

After NAHRO Letter, HUD Releases Funds; Still No Word on Additional CARES Act Reporting Guidance

On July 17, 2020, NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman sent a letter to Secretary Carson asking that HUD, among other things, release Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding related to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and to release guidance on additional reporting requirements for CARES Act funding.

Specifically, the letter requested that HUD immediately:

  • “Disburse all administrative fee funding from the CARES Act”;
  • “Disburse all Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funding from the CARES Act”; and
  • “Publish clear and concise guidance on additional CARES Act reporting requirements for” the HCV program.

Earlier today, HUD began the process of disbursing the HCV HAP and administrative fee funding. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials is pleased that HUD took this step in response to its letter.

Unfortunately, neither the notice on HAP funding nor the notice on admin. fee funding provided additional new information on the additional CARES Act requirements for recipients of $150,000 or more of CARES Act funding. The notices continue to state that within “10 days after the end of each calendar quarter, a report containing information regarding the amount of funds received; the amount of funds obligated or expended for each project or activity; a detailed list of all such projects or activities, including a description of the project or activity; and detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants awarded by the recipient” be submitted. The notices continue to state that as outlined in Office of Management and Budget memorandum M-20-21, existing reporting requirements may meet CARES Act requirements and that HUD will issue further guidance, if necessary.

The Department has yet to state, if additional CARES Act reporting guidance is necessary. If it is, the Department has yet to publish it.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials urges HUD to immediately publish clear and concise guidance around the reporting requirements of these CARES Act funds.

Notices on CARES Act HCV HAP and Admin. Fee Distribution Published

Earlier today, HUD released two notices detailing the requirements for accessing Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The notices detail the mechanisms for accessing both additional Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funding and administrative fee funding. The two notices are titled the following:

These notices allocate $400 million in HAP funding and $472 million in administrative fee funding. Additional information on each notice can be found below.

Continue reading

HUD PIH Posts Updated COVID-19 FAQ (Revision 5)

The Department’s Office of Public and Indian Housing has updated their COVID-19 frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document to revision 5. This revision updates information related to the evictions moratorium, preventing evictions, PHA operational considerations, contacting HUD staff, use of disaster-related funding, retroactive reexaminations, whether to consider CARES act unemployment benefits in calculating income, HQS inspections, and many other topics.

The FAQ can be found here.

It can also be found on NAHRO’s coronavirus page.

Expanding Housing Access During Coronavirus

The following is a guest blog post by Jacqueline Altamirano Marin, Program Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice.

Interview with Alan Zais, Illinois Reentry Task Force member and Executive Director of the Winnebago County Housing Authority

As much of the country continues to observe stay-at-home orders, some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including people leaving prisons and jails, continue to struggle with access to safe and stable housing. Housing organizations have sprung into action to create guides that help Public Housing Authorities (PHA) not only reunite returning community members with their friends and families but also provide safe reentry during these unprecedented times. PHAs can take this time to rethink their policies towards people with conviction histories. In this conversation, the Vera Institute of Justice talks to Alan Zais, Illinois Reentry Task Force member and Executive Director of the Winnebago County Housing Authority about what housing authorities can do to help people reentering find safe homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  1. We know the Illinois Department of Corrections has released 4,000 people in response to the pandemic. How are you and other housing authority directors talking about housing access for people with conviction histories during COVID-19?

The pandemic that affected so many in prison was just one part—those released had the trauma of being exposed and then the trauma of trying to find a place they could afford to live. Housing authorities have needed to be sensitive both to the trauma and the need to provide housing to impact against any like surge in recidivism. Housing authorities also have finite resources and waitlists that can have applicants waiting months to years [to secure housing].  It’s a complex problem, but fortunately, one easy solution is to let released people reunite with their families that are already in housing.

The pandemic is just one piece of this moment. The protests prompted by the deaths of George Floyd and many others have brought the focus to the inequities Black Americans face in criminal charges, convictions, and criminal histories. At this moment, housing authorities can help their communities make these transformational changes to recognize [that] how we currently review criminal histories can be inconsistent from one agency to another and based on a conviction system that is inequitable and disproportionate towards people of color.  

All of this has dramatically raised the conversation of housing access for persons with criminal histories to a high profile and urgent discussion.

Continue reading

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on COVID-19 Best Practices for PHAs on June 16th 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 16, 2020 at 3 pm ET, which will feature 3 PHAs that will share PHA best practices during COVID-19. The Department invites PHAs to submit their own best practices and submit 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: 0576321##
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: 0153620##
Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/827974

A calendar invitation can be accessed by clicking here.