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.

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.  

HUD Extends Section 3 Reporting Deadline until July 31, 2020

Earlier today, HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity sent an email to PHAs extending the deadline for submission of all Section 3 annual reports until July 31, 2020 because of the COVID-19 event. This does not impact reporting for agencies with deadlines due after the extension date. In the email, the Department also reminds PHAs that the SPEARS system transmits emails to agencies with reports due or overdue, and these emails should be ignored for those PHAs complying with this extension.

[6/10/2020 edit – typographical correction.]

COVID-19 CDBG Eviction Moratorium Q&A Released

Earlier today, HUD released a Q&A to address questions concerning the eviction moratorium established by the CARES Act. Section 4024 of the Act imposes a 120-day moratorium on evictions, ending July 24, 2020. The moratorium extends to units in projects receiving funding from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Neighborhood Stabilization Programs (NSP) or Disaster Recovery.  

The Q&A clarifies which units are covered by the eviction moratorium, and which fees landlords may charge tenants for accrued costs after the moratorium ends. The full Q&A can be found here. For additional guidance, please visit the CDBG COVID-19 Resources page.  

NAHRO provides additional COVID-19 resources at www.NAHRO.org/coronavirus.