On Thursday, July 9th, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) hosted a conference call providing updates on several items, including PIH Notice 2020-13 (which extends most of the COVID-19 related waivers to December 31st and adds certain new waivers); frequently discussed topics; an eviction and stability toolkit; and new developments in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
Department officials provided updates on the new waiver notice during the first part of the call. Each PHA continues to have discretion to choose which waivers to adopt and use
, and must notify the public, if it chooses to use any waiver or alternative requirement. The notice adds six new waivers:
- HCV-11: Youth using Family Unification Vouchers may continue to receive housing assistance six months past the 36-month limit.
- HCV-12: PHAs may accept referrals from child welfare agencies for youths leaving foster care within 120 days.
- HCV-13: For families experiencing hardship in the last year of their homeownership term, PHAs may extend homeownership assistance for up to one year.
- HCV-14: Units under a Project Based Voucher (PBV) contract with zero housing assistance payments may remain on contract after 180 days. Public Housing Agencies may resume Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) should the family’s income change to require a HAP payment. This flexibility is available until the end of 2020.
- PH-11: Designated Housing Plans may be extended through the end of 2020 if they are set to expire beforehand, but PHAs will need to submit a renewal request 60 days prior to December 31st, 2020.
- PH-12: PHAs may waive the requirement to inspect each project during CY 2020, but must complete inspections during CY 2021. PHAs must also keep units in good working order and complete exterior inspections. If a PHA chooses not to use this waiver, HUD encourages use of Remote Video Inspections (RVI) instead.
The notice also makes some additional changes. For Housing Quality Standards (HQS) waivers, where the PHA has accepted an owner’s certification, an inspection must be conducted within 1 year of the owner certification. For PHA’s that employ biennial inspections, the PHA will be required to perform an inspection as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 1 year from the date when the biennial inspection would have occurred. The period to informally adopt changes to a PHA’s administrative plan or a PHA’s Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) ends on September 31. The PHA must formally adopt the changes by December 31.
The HUD officials then provided updates about frequent topics of interest. These topics included the effective date of interim recertifications; calculating income for hazard pay and other unemployment insurance related topics; planning for the end of the eviction moratorium; privacy concerns; eligible uses of funding; a reminder that Violence Against Women Act guidance remains in effect; and Remote Video Inspections.
The Department officials then reminded call participants that HUD has posted an Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on its website, which includes resources for PHAs, landlords and tenants on rent repayment agreements and avoiding eviction-related expenses.
Additionally, presenters discussed a series of recommendations that PHAs could take avoid evictions at the end of the eviction moratorium. The presenters also used Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to illustrate some of these best practices. These recommendations include the following:
- enter into repayment agreements with residents, update repayment agreement policies, and encourage Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) landlords to enter into repayment agreements;
- revise policies to allow for retroactive interim reexaminations;
- review hardship exemption policies and consider setting minimum rent to zero;
- communicate with households with unpaid rent; and
- position residents for future stability by maximizing Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) and Jobs Plus benefits with other steps.
Finally, HUD presenters gave an update on the HCV program. The presenters noted that supplemental HAP funding would be provided via a notice to be released in late-July. They also stated that a second round of administrative fees would be disbursed in late-July or August. They noted that the new mobility demonstration would likely be published in the next few weeks and that HUD was going to start allowing PHAs that have Family Unification Programs (FUP) to participate in the Foster Youth the Independence initiative. The next round of FUP funding is anticipated to be announced later this summer. Finally, HUD staff announced the next round of HUD-VASH vouchers and answered some questions.
Additional COVID-19 resources can be found at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.