The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced they will no longer defend the 2019 Public Charge rule and have withdrawn their appeal of an Illinois court decision invalidating the 2019 Public Charge rule. The result of DHS’s action is that the court’s decision striking down the 2019 Public Charge rule will become final and the previous 1999 interim field guidance (the immediate past policy) will apply.
Under the 1999 interim field guidance, DHS will not consider a person’s receipt of Medicaid (except for Medicaid for long-term institutionalization), public housing, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as part of the public charge inadmissibility determination. In addition, medical treatment or preventive services for COVID-19, including vaccines, will not be considered for public charge purposes.DHS Statement on Litigation Related to the Public Charge Ground of Inadmissibility, March 9, 2021
DHS has pre-published a final rule, Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds; Implementation of Vacatur, that removes the 2019 Public Charge rule text from the Federal Register. The rule will take affect when published which is scheduled for March 15, 2021.
In late-Jan., HUD updated the CARES Act Reporting Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for PHAs document. It has been updated to version 2. The document provides clarifications on CARES act fund usage, continuing to track COVID expenses after CARES act fund usage, reporting requirements, and other items.
The full document can be found here.
Earlier today, HUD published PIH 2021-07, titled “Demolition and/or disposition of public housing property, eligibility for tenant-protection vouchers, and associated requirements.” This notice updates PIH 2018-04, which was the prior demolition and disposition notice.
The new notice makes several non-substantive and substantive revisions to the prior notice. Non-substantive revisions include clarifying headings, adding spacing between paragraphs, re-numbering paragraphs, and correcting citations to regulatory provisions, which make for a clearer document. Substantive changes in this notice include the following:
- HUD’s Special Applications Center (SAC) no longer claims to return a SAC application that is substantially incomplete or deficient, while informing a PHA of its deficiencies (previously, SAC would “return” the application by changing the status of the application to DRAFT in the Inventory Management System/PIH Information Center [IMS/PIC]);
- The Department clarifies that PHAs must not just make resident consultation accessible, but rather that “PHAs must ensure that communications and materials are accessible to individuals with disabilities and take reasonable steps to provide meaningful access to persons with Limited English Proficiency (LEP)”;
- Use of proceeds is no longer a material term of the SAC application, so if a PHA’s plan on the use of proceeds changes after HUD approval of an application, a PHA would no longer have to request an amendment to the application;
- Includes new RAD/Section 18 blends;
- RAD/Section 18 Construction Blend – the percentage of units eligible for disposition is based on hard construction costs for new construction or rehabilitation of the covered project. Transactions that use the 9 percent Low-Income Housing Tax Credit are not eligible.
- If hard construction costs equal 90 percent of the Housing Construction Costs (HCC) as published by HUD for a given market area, the PHA may dispose of up to 60 percent of the units of the converting project under Section 18;
- For high-cost areas (HCC exceeds 120 percent of the national average), a PHA may dispose of up to 80 percent of the units of the converting project under Section 18;
- If the hard construction costs equal or exceed 60 percent, but are less than 90 percent, of HCC, the a PHA may dispose of up to 40 percent of the units of the converting project under Section 18;
- If the hard construction costs equal or exceed 30 percent, but are less than 60 percent, of HCC the PHA may dispose of up to 20 percent of the units of the converting project under Section 18;
- RAD/Section 18 Small PHA Blend – for any PHA with 250 or fewer public housing units under its Annual Contributions Contract (ACC), up to 80 percent of the units in a converting project may be disposed of under Section 18;
- The Department clarifies that tenant-protection voucher (TPV) requests first go to the field office for a threshold review before being sent to HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD), while HUD’s Financial Management Center (FMC) notifies PHAs of the final TPV awards.
The full notice can be found here.
The Department has made several updates to the mobility demonstration website. The mobility demonstration will provide funding to PHAs to research the efficacy and cost of providing mobility-related services to voucher participants.
- On Jan. 14th, HUD updated their Questions and Answers document.
- On Jan. 6, HUD held a third webinar on the demonstration. The webinar “provided a deeper dive on the application requirements to help PHAs better understand how to submit a proposal to HUD.” A recording can be found here. Slides from the webinar can be found here.
- Finally, as mentioned before, HUD has also restricted MTW participation in the mobility demonstration in certain ways.
The Department’s application deadline is Feb. 1, 2021.
Additional information on the mobility demonstration can be found on HUD’s website.
Earlier today, HUD published applications to apply for additional cohorts in the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion. The Moving to Work program allows PHAs additional regulatory flexibilities to implement innovative strategies to house families. The MTW Expansion incorporates a research component with every new cohort of MTW agencies.
The applications can be found here:
NAHRO members will receive additional information about both applications in the coming days.
Assistant Secretary of Public and Indian Housing Hunter Kurtz has resigned from his position, effective at the close of business today.
In an email to housing authority executive directors, Mr. Kurtz wrote: “Being the Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing and working with you over the past 18 months has truly been the greatest honor and privilege of my life. During this time, we have done incredible work, in some of the most challenging times our industry has faced. Most importantly we helped the residents of our programs prepare for and respond to a virus, that disproportionately affected the people we serve.”
NAHRO has had a strong working relationship with Assistant Secretary Kurtz.
“He is a thoughtful leader who cares deeply for HUD programs, our public housing and Indian housing agencies, and the people who they serve,” said NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman. “We are grateful for his work and wish him the best.”
Mr. Kurtz was confirmed on June 20, 2019. He has spent more than 10 years in federal service. He previously served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public and Indian Housing, and also served in the White House as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Council of Economic Advisers.
He was also previously the Deputy Director of Detroit’s Department of Housing and Revitalization, where he managed the department’s day-to-day operations, implemented programs that helped homeowners, and oversaw reform of the department’s contract and procurement processes.
Tomorrow, HUD will publish a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Implementation of the Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration, Restrictions on Participating in the Mobility Demonstration and the Moving to Work Demonstration Expansion.” To maintain the “Congressionally mandated rigorous evaluation” of the Moving to Work (MTW) Demonstration expansion and the mobility demonstration expansion, HUD is restricting the overlap between MTW agencies and agencies that can participate in the mobility demonstration.
In general, PHAs that participate in MTW Expansion cohorts 2, 3, or 4 may not participate in the mobility demonstration program. Housing agencies that participate in MTW Expansion cohorts 1 or 5 may participate, but will have their MTW flexibilities curtailed.
The restrictions are noted below.
On Dec. 10, HUD revised the list of eligible activities for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Administrative Fee Funds for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. Congress allocated $1.25 billion in administrative fees to HUD to disburse to PHAs. The administrative fees were transferred by HUD to PHAs in two disbursements. The first disbursement occurred in May, while the second occurred in July.
The new coronavirus-related uses of the CARES Act HCV administrative fee are the following:
- Relocation of PHA staff and participating families to health units or other designated units for vaccination.
- Hiring of temporary employees to maintain program operations due to coronavirus.
- Costs related to office improvements, including improved systems for teleworking and/or rental of additional space, to ensure social distancing and other CDC recommended measures.
- One-time utility deposits to assist families in securing units.
The uses listed above are in addition to regular administrative fee uses and the older coronavirus-related uses HUD had already authorized.
The updated list of eligible uses of CARES Act HCV administrative fees can be found here.
On November 30, HUD released a notice extending COVID-19 waivers for PHAs. This notice is titled “COVID-19 Statutory and Regulatory Waivers and Alternative Requirements for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab), Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs, Suspension of Public Housing Assessment System and Section Eight Management Assessment Program, Revision 2” (PIH 2020-33(HA), Rev-2). This notice restates the waivers from previous notices and incorporates the waivers from the mainstream voucher waiver notice and mod. rehab. waiver notice. It also adds several new waivers and alternative requirements and extends most of the waivers until June 30, 2021 (previously, most waivers were set to expire at the end of this year).
Some aspects of the previous waiver notice remain in place. First, the use of these waivers is discretionary. The PHA may choose which waivers it wishes to use. Additionally, some waivers have alternative requirements which should be read carefully. Finally, PHAs must publicly post or otherwise make available a list of all the waivers and alternative requirements the PHA choose to implement. The PHA must also notify residents and owners or the impact of the waivers and alternative requirements.
Members of NAHRO will receive additional information about this notice.
The full notice can be read here.
A quick reference chart of the waivers and their period of availability can be found here.
The Department has published a notice titled “Guidance for PHAs on the Allowability of Remote Hearings and Remote Briefings” (PIH 2020-32). The notice provides additional guidance for conducting remote hearings (e.g., informal hearings for denial of admission, informal settlement of a grievance, etc.) and remote briefings (e.g., oral briefings for new Housing Choice Voucher [HCV] applicants, project-based voucher applicants, and tenant-protection voucher families). The notice outlines requirements for the technology platform used to conduct these activities remotely, discusses how to identify and resolve technology barriers prior to conducting remote hearings or briefings, discusses presenting documents prior to remote hearings and remote briefings, discusses specific public housing requirements, and specific HCV requirements.
Members of NAHRO will receive additional information on this notice.
The full notice can be found here.