NAHRO’s New Housing Proposals Focus on the Future

The nation’s public housing agencies and community development agencies have been housing our nation’s families and creating vibrant, stable communities for decades. And they’re continuing to do this vital work of providing shelter, creating opportunity, and addressing inequities during a pandemic that’s straining both local and national resources.

But even as we continue to cope with the fallout of COVID-19, we must also work on solutions for both current and future housing needs. We need new housing construction, more resources for existing housing programs, and flexibilities that prioritize progress over paperwork. NAHRO’s What Happens Next: Housing Beyond the Pandemic provides funding and policy proposals that will:

  • Increase housing supply and improve affordability
  • Preserve existing affordable housing
  • Stabilize families, and
  • Prioritize progress over paperwork.

The paper is available here.

HUD-VASH Registration of Interest Notice Published

Yesterday, HUD published a notice titled “Registration of Interest for HUD-VASH Vouchers” (PIH 2020-14). The notice announces the availability of $50 million for new HUD-VASH vouchers which allow homeless veterans to access housing with supportive services.

Public Housing Agencies that are interested in receiving an allocation of HUD-VASH vouchers must email VASH_ROI@hud.gov by midnight (in the PHA’s time zone) of September 15, 2020. To be eligible, PHAs must have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and meet certain threshold requirements:

  • Utilization Requirements (only for PHAs that currently have a HUD-VASH program with more than 25 vouchers):
    • Minimum of 70% HUD-VASH unit utilization rate; or
    • Greater than 100% HUD-VASH budget utilization rate;
  • Capacity to administer HUD-VASH vouchers:
    • No major unresolved program management findings;
    • No significant program compliance issues;
    • No unresolved civil rights matters; and
  • Signed Letter of Support from a partnering Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.

To register interest for the vouchers with HUD, PHAs must consult their partnering VA facility to discuss their intentions of registering their interest and request a letter of support for HUD-VASH. The letters do not need to include a specific number of vouchers requested. The PHA must then send an email to HUD for each facility it partners with.

The email must meet certain requirements. The subject line should read “Registration of Interest [followed by the PHA code].” The body of the email should identify the name of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), the Veterans Integrated Services number (VISN), and the facility’s Station ID. Finally, all registrations of interest must include a signed letter of support from the partnering entity.

The notice also makes several other miscellaneous points. Interested PHAs are encouraged to consult with their Continuum of Care lead agency, though PHAs are not required to provide a letter of support from them. The Department is establishing a minimum of 5 vouchers allocated and a maximum of 500 vouchers allocated per agency. Some PHAs will be invited to apply for HUD-VASH vouchers.

The full notice may be found here.

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on CARES Act Funding on July 9th at 4 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 July 9th, 2020 at 4 pm ET, which will provide updates on CARES Act funding, the second round of waivers, the eviction moratorium, HAP funding and new FAQs.  

Please click here for a calendar invitation. 

The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and 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: 0410949## 

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: 0120428# 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/829379 

Additional information and resources on COVID-19 are available at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.  

HUD Publishes Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit

Earlier today, HUD published an eviction prevention and stability toolkit. The toolkit consists of six documents that offer “information and resources to PHAs and HCV landlords on ways to stabilize families during and after COVID-19.” The documents are listed below.

  • PHA brochure – this brochure “contains information on permitting repayment agreements and updating repayment agreement policies, adopting policies for retroactive interim reexaminations, directing outreach to households behind on rent, reviewing policies on minimum rent and financial hardship exemptions, and positioning residents for stability during and after COVID-19.”
  • Tenant brochure – this brochure provides helpful information to help tenants avoid eviction through preventative strategies. It also provides tenants with information related to COVID-19; information related to protections for domestic and sexual violence; and other resources related to tenant needs (e.g., disaster distress helpline, unemployment insurance website, economic impact payments website, etc.).
  • Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) landlord flyer – this flyer provides information for landlords to avoid evicting participants.
  • Repayment agreement guidance – this document “centralizes HUD guidance on repayment agreements for PHAs and HCV landlords.”
  • Sample repayment agreements – sample repayment agreements for public housing and the housing choice voucher program.
  • COVID-19 resident needs assessment survey – a survey that may be used to “identify resident needs and potential reasons for nonpayment of rent.”

The full toolkit can be found on HUD’s Public and Indian Housing (PIH) coronavirus resources webpage.

The toolkit and other resources can also be found on NAHRO’s coronavirus resource page.

HUD Reports Worst Case Housing Needs Decreased in 2017

HUD has released the seventeenth edition of Worst Case Housing Needs: 2019 Report to Congress, which measures various demographic and economic trends among very low-income (VLI) renter households with “worst-case” housing needs, who do not receive government assistance and spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, live in inadequate housing, or both. Very low-income renters earn less than half of the Area Median Income (AMI).  

In 2017, 7.7 million households had wors- case needs, representing 6.3 percent of all U.S. households. This total has decreased 7 percent from 8.3 million in 2015, which the report attributes the decline to rising income and other economic factors lifting households out of poverty. However, the report notes that the affordable housing shortage has undermined those gains and worsened housing security for renters who remain low-income. The number of households with worst case needs also remains far above pre-recession levels and 30 percent higher than the 2007 estimate of 5.9 million households.  

Other report highlights include:  

  • Nationally, 47.2 percent of VLI households had worst case needs in 2017. Ninety-five percent of worst-case households reporting having severe rent burdens only. Of the remaining 5 percent, half reported inadequate housing, and half reported both.  
  • The number of households with worst-case needs declined between 2015 and 2017 across all racial and ethnic groups. Nonwhite households accounted for 52.9 percent of all worst-case needs, but non-Hispanic white households have the largest share among ethnic groups with 47.1 percent.  
  • The number of VLI households with children decreased by 763,000 over the two years due to rising incomes. However, many more families would exhibit worst case needs without housing assistance.  
  • Worst case needs were more prevalent in the Southern and Western states and in suburban areas, where relatively fewer VLI households receive government assistance. Less than a third of VLI householders were able to avoid severe housing problems without government assistance.  

The affordable housing shortage and strong demand from renters has intensified competition for available units, resulting in inefficient allocation: more than a third of units affordable to VLI households are instead occupied by higher-income households. While overall rental stock has grown slowly since 2015 and there is a surplus among higher-income renters, the number of affordable units declined four percent in that same period, outpacing the decline in worst case needs. In 2017, there were fewer than 60 affordable units available per 100 VLI renters, and only 35 units per 100 Extremely Low Income (ELI) renters, who make less than 30 percent of the AMI.  

As the number of unassisted VLI households dropped, the proportion of such households with worst-case needs increased, suggesting intensifying need among those who remain unassisted driven mainly by the affordable housing shortage. Furthermore, income gains have been offset by rising rents, and even with government assistance many VLI households have difficulty finding adequate and affordable housing. HUD points to the need to increase access to affordable housing by reducing regulatory barriers to development and recruiting more landlords to participate in voucher programs.  

Wednesday Webinar: Show Your Agency’s Excellence With Accreditation! Tomorrow at 2pm ET

Join us tomorrow, July 1, 2020 at 2pm eastern time for NAHRO’s Wednesday Webinar to get caught up on the latest assessment standards! Accreditation is a very effective way to demonstrate your agency’s excellence to the community and other stakeholders. Join special guests from the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board and accredited housing agencies as they discuss the benefits of AHAB accreditation and share stories about the accreditation process for their organizations. Also learn about the eight industry-adopted management standards and how accreditation can be used to enhance staff morale and public trust, and to reduce inefficiencies.

Our panelists include:

• Diana McWilliams, CEO, Affordable Housing Accreditation Board

• Coy Maienza, Director of Accreditation, Affordable Housing Accreditation Board

• Amy Wright, Director of Administration, Keene Housing, New Hampshire

• Duane Leonard, Executive Director, Housing Authority of Snohomish County, Washington

• Sarah Max, Executive Assistant & Accreditation Coordinator, Housing Authority of Snohomish County, Washington

• Maria Zissimos, Chief Counsel and Chief Operating Officer, Accreditation Coordinator, Chester Housing Authority, Pennsylvania

Register Here!

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on Telehealth Resources for PHAs on June 22nd 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 22, 2020 at 3 pm ET, which will feature representatives from HHS’s Health Resource Services Administration (HRSA) to provide information about how PHAs can encourage and provide telehealth services to residents. 

 The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and 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: 0403331## 

Need an international dial-in number? 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

Access Code: 0149345## 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/828152 

This information is also posted on NAHRO’s COVID-19 webpage at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

New Eviction Moratorium Resident Flyer Released by NHLP and NAHRO

The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) have collaborated to produce a resident flyer on the federal eviction moratorium. The flyer is designed for Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher residents and simplifies the 120-day eviction moratorium that was included in the CARES Act when it passed in March by using a question and answer format along with descriptive case studies.

The eviction moratorium flyer is available here and on NAHRO’s COVID-19 Resource page at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

Click to access NAHRO_NHLP_FinalTenantFlyer_2sided_6.12.2020.pdf

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 Posts new FAQ on PBVs and Repositioning

HUD’s Office of Housing Choice Vouchers has published a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) document about project-based vouchers (PBVs) and public housing repositioning. Topics covered in the document include the following (taken from the table of contents):

  • Overview of Public Housing Repositioning Options;
  • Project-basing TPVs: General;
  • Project-basing TPVs: SAC Removal Tool Differences;
  • TPVs and Voucher Management System Reporting;
  • Project Basing: Existing Housing;
  • Competitive and Noncompetitive Selection;
  • Public Housing-Only Agencies;
  • PBV HAP Contract;
  • New Construction/Rehabilitation;
  • PBVs and PHA Annual Plan;
  • PBV General;
  • PBVs and Section 18;
  • PBVs and Section 22; and
  • Traditional PBVs in RAD Covered Projects.

Additionally, the document cites the appropriate statutory, regulatory, or guidance (e.g., PIH Notices) authority in its answers.

The FAQ may be found here.