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.

Today – NAHRO Webinar: The Impact of the CDC Eviction Moratorium on PHAs

NAHRO is hosting a webinar on the recently publish CDC order stopping most non-payment of rent evictions in the United States. The webinar is today, September 8, 2020 at 2pm eastern time. Click here to register. This webinar is complimentary for NAHRO members and $25 for non-member. More information on the benefits of NAHRO membership is available here.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have issued an order stopping most residential evictions for non-payment of rent through the end of 2020. What does this mean for Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and their residents? Join the NAHRO team and Housing Development Law Institute (HDLI) staff as they provide a breakdown of the CDC order and discuss how it may affect the day-to-day operations of PHAs’ housing programs.

This webinar is the first of our complimentary member benefit series – monthly online sessions that will tackle hot topics, provide opportunities to hear from your peers in the field, and feature networking events to keep you connected. Keep an eye on our training calendar – more information will be coming soon!

Click here to register for today’s webinar!

CARES Act Eviction Moratorium Ends This Week, Eviction Prevention Resources

Section 4024 of the CARES Act stopped non-payment of rent evictions (and stopped imposing fees and penalties for non-payment of rent) for 120 days beginning on March 27 for many tenants receiving Federal rental assistance including the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher programs. The 120-day eviction moratorium expires this Saturday, July 25, meaning Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and landlords may begin issuing 30-day notices to vacate for non-payment of rent after July 25, 2020.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged tenants, landlords, and PHAs to work together to minimize the impact of the CARES Act eviction moratorium ending. Tenants should contact their PHA notifying them of any reduction of income due to the pandemic. Landlords and PHAs should reach out and coordinate with tenants concerning unpaid rent, including potential repayment agreements. PHAs should also consider implementing retroactive recertifications and informing their tenants of their availability.

Below are links to HUD and NAHRO eviction moratorium and eviction prevention resources:

NAHRO continues to provide the latest housing related COVID-19 information at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

Expanding Housing Access During Coronavirus

The following is a guest blog post by Jacqueline Altamirano Marin, Program Associate at the Vera Institute of Justice.

Interview with Alan Zais, Illinois Reentry Task Force member and Executive Director of the Winnebago County Housing Authority

As much of the country continues to observe stay-at-home orders, some of the most vulnerable members of our communities, including people leaving prisons and jails, continue to struggle with access to safe and stable housing. Housing organizations have sprung into action to create guides that help Public Housing Authorities (PHA) not only reunite returning community members with their friends and families but also provide safe reentry during these unprecedented times. PHAs can take this time to rethink their policies towards people with conviction histories. In this conversation, the Vera Institute of Justice talks to Alan Zais, Illinois Reentry Task Force member and Executive Director of the Winnebago County Housing Authority about what housing authorities can do to help people reentering find safe homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

  1. We know the Illinois Department of Corrections has released 4,000 people in response to the pandemic. How are you and other housing authority directors talking about housing access for people with conviction histories during COVID-19?

The pandemic that affected so many in prison was just one part—those released had the trauma of being exposed and then the trauma of trying to find a place they could afford to live. Housing authorities have needed to be sensitive both to the trauma and the need to provide housing to impact against any like surge in recidivism. Housing authorities also have finite resources and waitlists that can have applicants waiting months to years [to secure housing].  It’s a complex problem, but fortunately, one easy solution is to let released people reunite with their families that are already in housing.

The pandemic is just one piece of this moment. The protests prompted by the deaths of George Floyd and many others have brought the focus to the inequities Black Americans face in criminal charges, convictions, and criminal histories. At this moment, housing authorities can help their communities make these transformational changes to recognize [that] how we currently review criminal histories can be inconsistent from one agency to another and based on a conviction system that is inequitable and disproportionate towards people of color.  

All of this has dramatically raised the conversation of housing access for persons with criminal histories to a high profile and urgent discussion.

Continue reading

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 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.

Chairwoman Maxine Waters joins NAHRO’s Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response webinar: Tomorrow at 12noon eastern

Tomorrow, Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 12noon eastern time NAHRO is hosting a webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response.

Join us for a very special conversation with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Cali.), Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. Congresswoman Waters has been a dedicated advocate for affordable housing throughout her entire career, a priority that has taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis. For this reason, NAHRO leadership will honor her with our Legislator of the Year award.

Help NAHRO thank the Congresswoman for the CARES Act and for her commitment to affordable housing and community development programs!

Register for tomorrow’s webinar: Managing During COVID-19: Congressional Response!

Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar – Wed, May 27 at 2pm ET

On Wednesday, May 27. 2020, NAHRO is hosting a complimentary webinar – Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources.

Join Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, and leaders from NAHRO member agencies for a discussion of available homelessness resources and best practices for their use. Bring your questions and comments and join your fellow PHAs for this interactive webinar!

Register for NAHRO’s Managing During COVID-19: Homelessness Resources Webinar here!