June is National Healthy Homes Month, an awareness campaign designed to educate families about creating a healthy home and identify common health hazards such as lead, radon, pests and allergens. Keeping homes hazard-free has taken on a special importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many families are sheltering-in-place.
The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has created a 2020 NHHM Campaign Resource Toolkit to provide government agencies and other housing stakeholders with materials to help and encourage local implementation. The toolkit includes tips for public messaging, suggested outreach material and social media posts, and educational resources for the public.
OLHCHH will also host a series of webinars for stakeholders on how to promote healthy homes. A full schedule and instructions for registration can be found on HUD’s website.
Greetings! My name is Chris Campbell, and I’m a Master of Public Policy (MPP) student at the University of Michigan. I’ll be interning remotely with NAHRO’s Policy and Program Development team this summer.
Before starting graduate school, I worked for the Los Angeles City Council’s Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, where I staffed the Planning and Land Use Management Committee. My work with the Committee introduced me to the basic aspects of the nation’s affordable housing shortage, as well as the debate over which strategies can best help families meet their housing costs.
Everyone needs a place to live – as a lifelong resident of Southern California, I understand the stress high housing costs can place on a family. This isn’t just a West Coast problem, however. Cities and rural areas across the country need more affordable, high-quality homes to promote the health and well-being of their residents, a fact laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. The urgency of our nation’s affordable housing shortage will only grow in its aftermath. I look forward to working with NAHRO’s member agencies and HUD this summer to gain more insight into how federal, state and local government can work together to help renters and owners keep a roof over their heads, especially in these unprecedented times.
I’ll be posting to the NAHRO blog weekly about housing-related policy developments, so stay tuned!
Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, NAHRO remains committed to connecting you with industry leaders and important perspectives. In lieu of our cancelled Washington Conference, we’re thrilled to invite you to a virtual convening on Monday, March 30, from 12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. eastern time with two very special guests:
• Dr. Raphael Bostic, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, will give a presentation on Inclusive Economic Development: Lessons and Challenges, and take questions from attendees; and
• Dr. Mark Calabria, Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, will discuss FHFA’s mission, its role in the housing sector, and his thoughts on critical milestones ahead.
This virtual convening is a complimentary benefit for NAHRO members, and reasonably priced for non-members. We look forward to connecting with you!
Earlier today, HUD published a press release announcing a campaign “to help protect people from harassment by landlords, property managers, and maintenance workers in HUD-assisted housing.” The campaign–named “Call HUD: Because Sexual Harassment in Housing is Illegal”–will educate people on what activities constitute sexual harassment and who to contact if people experience it. The campaign will also offer sexual harassment training to PHAs and other housing providers.
HUD will introduce the “Call HUD” campaign at HUD headquarters on Thursday, April 4th from 2 pm to 4 pm at the Brooke-Mondale Auditorium.
Persons who believe they have experienced discrimination may file a complaint by contacting HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity at (800) 669-9777 or (800) 927-9275.
The complete press release may be found here.
Last week, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing sent an email detailing the communication and technical assistance efforts HUD was making to ensure that PHAs understood the range of options that were available to reposition their public housing assets. The following are bullet points quoted directly from the email:
- PIH staff have been making presentations at local and national industry meetings to help PHAs become more aware of their repositioning options.
- PHAs wanting to learn more about their repositioning may ask their local Field Office staff to walk them through the benefits of the various options—always with a focus on how best to address the local needs.
- PIH has set up Repositioning Assistance Panels. Field office staff can reserve time with program experts identified by the Office of Recapitalization, Special Applications Center (SAC), Urban Revitalization Division, and Office of Housing Voucher Programs. These experts can discuss the various repositioning options with a PHA, enabling an informed decision about what strategy would best meet local needs. You can set up a time with a Panel through your local Field Office.
- We have also trained Repositioning Expeditors in most Field Offices. These Expeditors are available to help PHAs with their RAD, voluntary conversion, and demo/dispo applications.
- Understanding that these repositioning options are complex, particularly for small PHAs, the Department is working to provide the following starting late spring:
- Develop training materials, sample documents and other tools that help PHAs consider repositioning strategies and understand available options;
- Provide local training sessions to present available repositioning tools and considerations to address local affordable housing needs;
- Develop an online training platform and training materials to help PHAs and their boards understand repositioning options and HUD requirements; and
- Provide direct technical assistance to small PHAs (operating 250 or less assisted units) in how to start and sustain affordable housing strategies.
NAHRO reminds our members that repositioning is a voluntary process. The Department is providing a range of options, none of which are mandatory. Interested agencies should take actions–or not–based on the needs of their local communities and the households the agencies serve.
As previously mentioned on this blog, HUD will host a webinar on the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion, Cohort #1 tomorrow at 3 pm ET. Listed below is additional information on the webinar that I received from a HUD official.
MTW Cohort 1
The Department has extended the application timeline for agencies to apply to the Cohort #1 of Moving to Work Demonstration Program. Through this extension notice the Department will select thirty agencies to study MTW flexibility.
Cohort #1 will consist of high-performing agencies that administer 1,000 or fewer HCVs and public housing units combined. The deadline to submit the letter of interest package for Cohort #1 is May 13, 2019.
On Thursday, March 28th the MTW Office will host a webinar on Cohort #1. There is no registration required to join the webinar and the call-in information is below.
Step 1: Dial into the conference.
Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633
Access Code: 0604767##
Need an international dial-in number?
Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
Entry Link: http://ems8.intellor.com/login/813201
On Wednesday February 6th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) is facilitating a peer-to-peer call with PHAs awarded Mainstream Vouchers in September 2018. The call will provide PHAs an opportunity to share implementation challenges, how these are being addressed and to identify any technical assistance needs. NAHRO staff will participate. HUD has been invited and we hope they will be able to participate.
Registration for this call is necessary and can be at the link below
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is no cost to register or participate in this call.
In Spring 2018, TAC conducted a series of outreach webinars to create interest in the Mainstream funding and to facilitate local partnerships. Over 1,200 PHAs and homeless and disability organizations participated in four outreach webainrs. Polling of PHAs participating in the webinars indicated that only 25% believed working with their service partners would be challenging but more than 50% of PHAs indicated that identifying units, ensuring move-in resources and assistance was available and ensuring long term tenancy supports are available as needed would be very challenging.
In areas with strong rental markets and low vacancy rates, HCV participants find it difficult to lease up. The Joint Center’s 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing, found that rental markets remain extremely tight at the lower end; for these units, vacancy rates remain lower than in any year since 2001. Unfortunately, many participants including elders and people with disabilities need to find housing in these markets – where medical and other services as well as public transportation are available. Success leasing up is particularly challenging for those who have poor tenancy or criminal records. Through this and subsequent peer-to-peer calls, TAC hopes to provide technical assistance for PHAs and their service partners as they face these implementation challenges.
Join Clean Air For All, a joint effort between NAR-SAAH, NAHRO, and Live Smoke Free on third Thursday of the month, for a live discussion and Q&A on the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing” final HUD rule. Participants will hear a brief update on the rule and will be able to submit questions to NAR-SAAH, NAHRO, and Live Smoke Free staff. Have your questions about the rule, cessation resources, and enforcement answered.
These calls are intended for those working and living in affordable housing. The January, March, May, July, September, and November calls will have a housing authority staff focus while the April, June, August, October and December calls will have a resident service provider, resident leader, and resident focus. Everyone is welcome to attend all of the calls and hear the various perspectives.
The January Connect Call will have a guest speaker from Leading Age, the trusted voice for aging in America, will join us to provide tips and strategies for working toward compliance with aging residents in smoke-free public housing.
Last week, the Vera Institute of Justice, announced the expansion of its Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative. The initiative is a “national project that aims to substantially change public housing admissions policies and reduce barriers that prevent people from safely and successfully reentering their communities once released from prison or jail.” Two individual PHAs and two consortia entities were selected after a competitive selection process: Lafayette Housing Authority; Oklahoma City Housing Authority; the Housing Authority of the County of San Diego in collaboration with five other housing authorities; and a consortium of five agencies led by the Delaware State Housing Authority.
These housing authorities will receive up to 12 months of technical assistance to conduct the following activities:
- “Safely increase access to housing for people with conviction histories or juvenile records to improve reentry outcomes and reduce recidivism rates.
- Improve the safety of public housing and surrounding communities through the use of reentry housing strategies.
- Promote collaboration between public housing authorities, law enforcement agencies, and other criminal justice stakeholders to effectively reduce crime and improve reentry outcomes for people leaving prisons and jails.”
Vera’s full press release can be found here.
Vera’s Opening Doors fact sheet can be found here.
Today, July 19 at 12:30pm Eastern Time join the Clean Air for All team for a complimentary, live discussion and Q&A on the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing” final rule. Participants will hear a brief update on the rule and be able to submit questions to Live Smoke Free, NAHRO, and NAR-SAAH staff. Have any and all your remaining questions on final implementation of the rule answered before the July 30 compliance date. Join us to help your agency transition to and maintain successful smoke-free public housing environments. Register for this complimentary session at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/884748810457188355.
To learn more about the Clean Air for All: The Smoke-Free Public Housing Project or to seek support for a PHA, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or goto www.smokefreepublichousingproject.org.