HUD Publishes New Guidance on Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

On Oct. 7, 2021, HUD published a notice titled “Supplemental Guidance to the Interim Final Rule ‘Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent’” Notice PIH 2021-29. This notice serves as additional guidance to an interim final rule that was also published in October. The interim final rule specified that where there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with project-based rental assistance (PBRA) must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

This PIH notice provides additional guidance to the requirements of the interim final rule. First, it clarifies the instances in which the rule is applicable. The rule applies to PHAs with a public housing program, including Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, and owners with PBRA. For the purposes of this notice, PBRA is defined as the following (i.e., this notice applies to the following programs):

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HUD Creates New Eviction Requirements for Public Housing and PBRA

In a notice titled “Extension of Time and Required Disclosures for Notification of Nonpayment of Rent,” HUD updates its regulations–through an interim final rule–to give itself the authority to require that public housing and project-based rental assistance (PBRA) developments give tenants the opportunity to receive emergency rent relief before eviction. Specifically, when there is federal funding available due to the declaration of a national emergency, PHAs with public housing and owners with PBRA properties must do the following at HUD’s discretion:

  • Provide at least 30 days from the date a tenant receives a notice of lease termination for failure to pay rent before terminating the tenant; and
  • Provide information (e.g., information about how to apply for and receive emergency federal funding) to the tenant as determined by HUD.

HUD will publish another notice outlining the specific information that must be included in the lease termination notification. That notice will also provide the requirements for PHAs and owners to provide the information in an accessible manner for effective communication for people with disabilities and people with limited English proficiency (LEP).

These requirements apply to public housing and PBRA, which is defined in this rule to include Section 8, Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation, Section 202/162 Project Assistance Contract, Section 2020 Project Rental Assistance Contract (PRAC), Section 811 PRAC, Section 236 Rental Housing Assistance Program and Rent Supplement. The rule does not apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The interim final rule will become effective in 30 days after publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

Comments for the rule will be due within 30 days of publication of the notice in the Federal Register.

A pre-publication copy of the rule may be found here.

HUD Publishes 2022 OCAFs

In early Oct., HUD published the list of operating cost adjustment factors (OCAFs) for project-based assistance contracts under Section 8. These adjustment factors are used to adjust certain Section 8 rents. They were calculated in the same manner the 2021 OCAFs. They are calculated as “the sum of weighted component cost changes for wages, employee benefits, property taxes, insurance, supplies and equipment, fuel, oil, electricity, natural gas, and water/sewer/trash, using publicly available indices.” They are applicable beginning Feb. 11, 2022. These OCAFs are distinct from renewal funding inflation factors (RFIFs), which are usually applicable for the Housing Choice Voucher program.

The Federal Register notice announcing the OCAFs may be found here.

HUD to Revise HUD-VASH Program Rules

Early next week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Revised Implementation of the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.” The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program assistance with case management and clinical services through Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers (VAMCs), Community-based Outpatient Clinics, or a designated service provide (DSP). The program aims to increase access to affordable housing for veterans, while also providing additional needed supports.

This notice revises the policies and procedures for the administration of HUD-VASH vouchers. As part of this revision, the notice includes new waivers and program flexibility. The new waivers and flexibility include the following:

  • Allowing the PHA to act in the role of the VAMC or the DSP for the purposes of family selection, where the PHA has been selected for this authority in the past;
  • Allowing the PHA and owner to agree to amend a project-based voucher (PBV) housing assistance payment (HAP) contract to re-designate a normal PBV as a HUD-VASH PBV;
  • Allowing PHAs to apply separate payment standards for HUD-VASH families without prior HUD approval; and
  • A new requirement that PHAs must allow special housing types for HUD-VASH.

The notice also updates some of the existing requirements. These updates include the following:

  • Allowing PHAs to house HUD-VASH veterans referred by the VA in a PBV unit without selecting from the PHA’s waiting lists or applying local preferences;
  • Additional explanation for the portability process for moves of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
  • Additional information regarding case management from the VAMC or DSP;
  • Clarification that when a family breaks up, the HUD-VASH assistance must stay with the veteran, but not in cases where the veteran is a perpetrator of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Revision stating that Moving to Work (MTW) agencies may apply their MTW flexibilities to their HUD-VASH program with approval from HUD’s HCV office;
  • Explanation of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) exceptions for project-basing HUD-VASH vouchers;
  • Explanation that when a HUD-VASH family is eligible to move from its PBV unit, the family must be able to move with a HUD-VASH tenant-based voucher; and
  • An explanation of the HUD-VASH reallocation process through voluntary moves between PHAs and voucher recapture.

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

US Supreme Court Overturns CDC Eviction Moratorium

On Thursday, August 26, the United States Supreme Court vacated the stay that has allowed the current CDC eviction moratorium to continue. The order vacating the stay and dissent arguing to keep the stay can be found here. It confirms lower court decisions that the CDC did not have statutory authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium and states, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted.”

The Court order placed considerable responsibility on Congress to act on a federal eviction moratorium, “It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here. And Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”

NAHRO continues to meet and work with HUD to develop solutions that will provide housing authorities the flexibility to minimize local evictions and will provide additional information when it becomes available. NAHRO encourages housing authorities, landlords, and tenants to work together to avoid COVID related evictions and to review HUD’s Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit for information and best practices. A White House Fact Sheet has also been released that provides additional actions that are being taken to prevent eviction and increase access to emergency rental assistance funds.

Eviction Moratorium to Expire Saturday; NAHRO Urges Extension

Despite efforts from House Democratic leaders to extend the federal eviction moratorium, which expires Saturday, July 31, no vote was issued to extend the order as of Friday afternoon. Earlier this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) publicly advocated for the Biden administration to act unilaterally to protect renters at risk of eviction due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

About 11 months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) enacted the federal eviction moratorium to prevent the spread of the deadly virus among families and individuals that could be at high risk if made homeless through eviction. The public health measure has been extended on several instances, with the last extension made in June. The moratorium offered uniform protections to renters across the nation.

With the COVID-19 delta variant surging across the nation, now is not the time to put vulnerable families at risk by ending the eviction moratorium. NAHRO calls on Congress and the Administration to extend the moratorium through at least the end of September 2021.

Whether or not the eviction moratorium expires, NAHRO’s housing agency members remain committed to using every available resource to keep as many people in their homes as possible. Nationwide, NAHRO members continue to work with their residents and with local and national partners to provide support and aid – especially to those who have been most impacted by the pandemic. We are continually looking for new and better ways to help.

The Emergency Rental Assistance Program is a vital and cost-effective tool to help people stay in their homes. As Treasury, HUD, and state and local entities work to distribute these much-needed funds as quickly as possible, we also look forward to the passage of a robust FY 2022 HUD budget and additional housing resources that will further help to provide the safety and stability of a home to all who need it.

NAHRO Interim CEO Mike Gerber statement on extending the eviction moratorium and quickly distributing Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds.

As more information is released on the status of the eviction moratorium, NAHRO will continue to provide updates.

Join Us!! NAHRO Summer Symposium is Tomorrow!

Please join National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) for our 2021 Summer Symposium on universal vouchers and expansion of the housing voucher program tomorrow, July 13, 2021. There is no cost to attend the NAHRO Summer Symposium! Register at https://www.nahro.org/events/summer-symposium/registration/.

The NAHRO Summer Symposium is a day-long event on the present and future of the Housing Choice Voucher program. The event will bring thought leaders from across the country along with housing industry professional together to discuss the expansion of the housing voucher program. There is no registration fee to attend the Summer Symposium. Anyone interested can register at https://www.nahro.org/events/summer-symposium/registration/ for the July 13, 2021 NAHRO Summer Symposium.

HUD Posts First FAQ for Emergency Housing Vouchers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has posted its first frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on Emergency Housing Vouchers. These vouchers–for people at-risk of homelessness, people experiencing homelessness, people fleeing domestic violence, and people experiencing housing instability–were recently allocated to almost 700 PHAs. The Department released guidance discussing how the vouchers will operate. This FAQ answers questions that may not have been answered by the initial operational guidance notice.

Topics in the FAQ include the following:

  • Eligibility;
  • Partnerships and collaboration;
  • Voucher administration;
  • Portability; and
  • Reporting requirements.

The full FAQ may be found here.

HUD Creates Emergency Housing Vouchers Website

HUD has created an Emergency Housing Vouchers website. Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs) were created by the American Rescue Plan and provide 70,000 vouchers for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, fleeing domestic violence and other categories, or who people who are at a high-risk of housing instability. The website currently includes the following:

The website will also host FAQ documents on EHVs in the near future.

The website can be found here.

HUD Publishes Details on New Emergency Housing Vouchers

As part of the American Rescue Plan, Congress allocated $5 billion in funding for Emergency Housing Vouchers. On May 5, 2021, HUD published PIH 2021-15 titled “Emergency Housing Vouchers – Operating Requirements.” HUD is using a portion of that funding to allocate 70,000 vouchers to PHAs. The vouchers are to assist families that are experiencing homelessness (or at risk of homelessness); attempting to flee, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking or human trafficking; or were recently homeless and for whom providing rental assistance will prevent the family’s homelessness or having high risk of housing instability.

For more information about the vouchers, please join us for a webinar on Thursday, May 13: “Emergency Housing Vouchers – What You Need to Know!

The notice lays out the procedures and requirements of receiving and administering the emergency housing vouchers (EHVs). It states operating requirements; allocation of administrative and other support services fees; the housing assistance payments (HAP) funding renewal process; family eligibility requirements; EHV waivers; the EHV recapture and redistribution procedures; and the prohibition on the reissuance of turnover of EHVs after Sept. 30, 2023.

In structuring this program, HUD reached out to industry groups to ask for feedback. NAHRO provided comments on how the program should be structured. We are pleased that much of NAHRO’s feedback was incorporated into this notice including creating a services fee, using enhanced payment standards, allowing security deposit assistance, allowing utility deposit assistance, allowing rental application assistance, allowing the use of landlord incentives, allowing purchasing essential household items (e.g., furniture), allowing initial self-certification of certain information, and using certain other flexibilities.

NAHRO members will receive additional information in the near future.

The full notice can be found here.