NAHRO Submits Comment Letters on Mixed-Immigration-Status rule and FMR Methodology

Mixed Immigration Status Proposed Rule

On July 5, NAHRO submitted comments on HUD’s proposed immigration rule. The proposed rule, if implemented, would terminate federal housing assistance for families with mixed-immigration-statuses.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials believes that the current verification of eligible status system should be left in place. The changes in the proposed rule would unnecessarily hurt families and children, including U.S. citizens, and add additional administrative burden, all without the commensurate benefits suggested in the proposal. The current subsidy proration policy decouples the size of the family from the federal benefit received. This policy has been in place for over two decades and providers of assisted housing, particularly those most impacted by this proposal that serve many mixed-status families, have not vocalized any hardships or desire to change the policy.

In its comment letter to HUD, NAHRO offers the following recommendations:

  1. Make no changes to the current eligible status verification regulations;
  2. If unwilling to follow the first recommendation, then restrict application of the new rule to new applicants of covered programs; and
  3. If unwilling to follow either of the first two recommendations, then take the steps and adopt the recommended language in NAHRO’s comment letter before implementing the proposed rule.

The Department will still be accepting comments until end of the day, July 9th. We encourage all of our members to submit comments in opposition to this rule. We also urge members to use their own language in writing comments, so that they are not automatically screened out before being read. Comments may be submitted here.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official’s full comment letter can be found here.

FMR Methodology Changes

On July 5, NAHRO submitted comments on HUD’s proposed changes in how it calculates FMRs. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Official’s comment letter can be found here.

Presenters Updated! Tomorrow!! Complimentary PH Unit Preservation Webinar – July 2, 1pm ET

LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER. NAHRO is hosting a complimentary Public Housing Unit Preservation Webinar tomorrow, Tuesday, July 2, at 1pm eastern time. Join Andy Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Nampa (ID) Housing Authority; Edward Mayer, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Butte (CA); and Georgi Banna, NAHRO’s Director of Policy and Program Development who will share and overview of the preservation options and will their experiences and decision making process in preserving their Public Housing units.

This session is for agencies of all sizes from the smallest to the largest and will discuss HUD’s outreach, the options and first-hand PHA experiences. Below is information on the session and the registration link.

Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective

Has HUD reached out to your agency to discuss the future of your public housing? Join us for this complimentary session to review your options, and the NAHRO Policy team is here to provide more information and help sort through a lot of the chatter. Are you interested in joining the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), using the Section 18 Demolition/Disposition program, removing your Declaration of Trust, participating in a streamlined voluntary conversion process, or continuing in public housing? We’ll provide overviews of the options available to PHAs of all sizes and discuss HUD’s plans for the future. We will also be joined by Andy Rodriguez of the Nampa (ID) Housing Authority and Edward Mayer of the Housing Authority of the County of Butte (CA), who will share their experiences and decision making process in preserving their Public Housing.

Please register for Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective on Jul 2, 2019 1:00 PM EDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4425060811873671691?source=blog2

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Complimentary Webinar – Public Housing Repositioning – July 2, 1pm Eastern

On Tuesday, July 2, NAHRO will be hosting a complimentary webinar on HUD’s current effort of Public Housing Repositioning. Below is information on the session and the registration link. This session is for agencies of all sizes from the smallest to the largest and will discuss HUD’s outreach, the options and first-hand PHA experiences.

Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective

Has HUD reached out to your agency to discuss the future of your public housing? Join us for this complimentary session to review your options, and the NAHRO Policy team is here to provide more information and help sort through a lot of the chatter. Are you interested in joining the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD), using the Section 18 Demolition/Disposition program, removing your Declaration of Trust, participating in a streamlined voluntary conversion process, or continuing in public housing? We’ll provide overviews of the options available to PHAs of all sizes and discuss HUD’s plans for the future. We will also be joined by Andy Rodriguez of the Nampa (ID) Housing Authority, who will share Nampa’s experiences and decision making process in preserving their Public Housing.

Please register for Public Housing Preservation Options – The PHA Perspective on Jul 2, 2019 1:00 PM EDT at:

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4425060811873671691?source=blog

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

FMR Methodology Changes Under Consideration

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is proposing to change the methodology used for estimating fair market rents. Fair market rents (FMRs) are used as the basis for payment standards which determine the maximum level of assistance in the housing choice voucher program. They are also used by certain other programs. The Department’s FMRs are set at a level that should allow a program participant to afford to rent a unit for approximately 40 percent of an area’s standard quality stock.

The Department is updating the methodology for calculating FMRs because in the past it has received comments stating that “FMRs need to incorporate more local and more timely data.” In its comments on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 FMRs, NAHRO recommended that HUD use more timely data when calculating FMRs, fund local research surveys, and continue to refine its methodology for calculating FMRs. Additionally, the Senate Transportation and Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations subcommittee, in report language, urged HUD to improve its FMR estimates to “better reflect the rent inflation that occurs between the time that American Community Survey data is collected and the fiscal year for which the FMRs are produced.”

Comments on the updated process are due in 30 days. (6/5/19 edit – Comments are due by July 5, 2019.)

Click below to read more.

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Enhanced Voucher Minimum Rent Calculation Changed in Certain Circumstances

In late May, HUD published PIH Notice 2019-12 (HA) titled “Enhanced Voucher Minimum Rent Calculation for Families Whose Incomes Subsequently Increase After Having Experienced a Significant Decrease.” The notice discusses how the minimum rent calculation for enhanced vouchers changes when a program participant experiences a significant decrease in income followed by a significant increase in income.

Enhanced vouchers are offered to families following a triggering event (usually a change in status of a development in HUD’s Office of Multifamily portfolio). Families receiving enhanced vouchers must still pay a minimum rent dollar amount. If the family experiences a decrease of at least 15 percent in their income from the date of the triggering event, then the minimum rent switches to a percentage (the specific percentage used will vary depending on whether the family was assisted previously or not). If the family’s income once again increases such that the percentage of income exceeds the dollar amount at the time of the triggering event, then the rent once again reverts back to the initial dollar amount at the time of the triggering event (i.e., the family is not paying more than the dollar amount when they first received the enhanced voucher).

Public housing agencies shall apply this change at the earlier of the family’s first reexamination following the issuance of this notice or an interim reexamination as the result of the increase in family income. The change is applied prospectively from that date–not retroactively.

The full notice can be read here.

HAP Pass-Throughs and HAP Contract Transfers prohibited in PBV program

Earlier today, HUD issued guidance clarifying that Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) pass-throughs and HAP contract transfers are prohibited under current rules for project-based vouchers (PBVs) under the housing choice voucher (HCV) program.

A HAP pass-through would allow the use of HAP to “provide assistance to tenants who are displaced from . . . HAP contract units due to a disaster or rehabilitation in another building or project.” Although HUD envisions guidance that may allow this in the future, at this time PHAs may not make these payments to the owners of unoccupied units  for the purpose of rehousing families.

A HAP contract transfer would allow project-based voucher contracts to be transferred from one project to a separate and distinct project. This is different from the sale, assignment, or transfer of ownership of the HAP contract–which is allowable, if done following the appropriate PBV regulations. Contract transfers of HAP are not allowable (with some Rental Assistance Demonstration exceptions), though future guidance may change this.

The full guidance document can be found here.

HCV Funding Implementation Webcast Published

Yesterday, HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD) published a webcast on the notice titled “Implementation of Federal FY19 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher.” The notice was published in April, and NAHRO previously mentioned it on this blog.

The webcast published on YouTube can be found here.

PowerPoint slides from the webcast can be found here.

Proposed Rule Requires Verification of Eligible Immigration Status for HUD Assistance

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.” This proposed rule purports to change how families with mixed immigration statuses receive prorated HUD assistance. Comments are due 60 days after publication.

Current Proration of HUD Assistance

Currently, families with a mixed status may apply for assistance by declaring that each member of the family is 1) a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; or 2) decide not to contend eligible immigration status (and not submit verification documentation) for that member. Family members that declare themselves eligible must provide acceptable evidence of immigration status. Verification is provided through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system–administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system saves the information of noncitizens. Assistance is then prorated such that only citizen-members (or eligible non-citizen-members) of families receive funding (excluding those who do not contend their eligible immigration status).

Proposed Changes

This proposed rule would make two changes to the current system. First, the proposed rule would require that all family members (except those over the age of 62) have their immigration status verified through SAVE (i.e., family members would no longer have the option to not contend their eligible immigration status). Under most covered programs, those who have not submitted evidence of eligible immigration status will be required to do so at their first regular reexamination.

Second, the proposed rule would specify that individuals that do not have a verified eligible immigration status may not serve as the head of household or spouse–i.e., the holder of the lease.

The pre-publication copy of the proposed rule can be found here.

The published in the Federal Register version can be found here (available 5/10/2019).

 

HUD Publishes HCV FY 2019 Funding Provisions Notice

Last week, HUD published a notice titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program“; PIH 2019-08. This notice implements the funding provisions of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget.

The budget includes the following HCV-related amounts:

  • Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Funding – $20,313 million;
  • Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) – $85 million;
  • Administrative Fees – $1,886 million;
  • Mainstream Program – $225 million;
  • Tribal HUD-VASH Renewals – $4 million;
  • New HUD-VASH vouchers – $40 million;
  • New Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers – $20 million;
  • Mobility Demonstration – $25 million; and
  • Total HCV Appropriations – $22,598 million.

Points of Interest:

  • Offset – HUD will perform a “small offset” to ensure that the national HAP proration is at or above 99.5 percent. Detailed calculations of the offsets will be provided to PHAs in the renewal allocation enclosure. Offsets will come from “excess” program reserves.
  • TPVs – HUD will provide TPVs for vacant units that were occupied within the previous 24 months of certain public housing and multifamily housing actions and are no longer available as assisted housing (subject to availability of funds).
  • Blended and Higher Admin. Fees – Applications for blended administrative fees (for PHAs serving multiple administrative fee areas) and higher administrative fees (for PHAs that operate over a large geographic area) are due by Friday, May 31.
  • Special Fees – $30 million in funding is available for HCV homeownership fees; special fees for PHAs that administer TPVs in connection with multifamily housing conversion actions; special fees for portability (the receiving PHA will receive 12 months of funding equal to 15 percent of the PHA’s 2019 Column A rate for administrative fees; while HUD supplies these fees automatically, HUD advises PHAs to make sure accurate PIC data is entered by May 15, 2019); special fees for certain audit costs; and special fees for administrative costs related to administering the HUD-VASH program.
  • Mobility Demonstration – the Department will publish a Federal Register notice to implement that mobility demonstration and announce the competition for funding.
  • Set-Aside Funds – $100 million will be reserved for shortfall funds (no due date); unforeseen circumstances (application due date May 31, 2019); portability (application due date May 31, 2019); project-based vouchers held from use during re-benchmarking (application due date May 31, 2019); and certain instances of HUD-VASH voucher usage (application due date May 31, 2019).

The full notice can be found here.

HUD to Publish FY 19 Inflation Factors for HCV Program

Tomorrow, HUD will publish its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs) for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. These factors are applied to PHAs’ FY 2018 HCV Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) spending to determine HCV HAP eligibility for FY 2019 (i.e., the inflation factor is applied to how much a PHA spent in the previous year to determine how much it is eligible for this year, assuming Congress has fully funded the HAP account). The national inflation factor is 4 percent, though individual PHAs will have different factors depending on their location. The FY 2019 inflation factor calculation methodology remains the same as FY 2018 methodology.

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

When published tomorrow (4/17/2019), the full RFIFs can be found here.