New HUD Waiver Notice for Disaster Areas

On Jan. 5, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register titled “Regulatory and Administrative Requirement Waivers and Flexibilities Available to HUD Public Housing and Section 8 During CY 2022 and CY 2023 to Public Housing Agencies To Assist With Recovery and Relief Efforts on Behalf of Families Affected by Presidentially Declared Disasters.” The notice provides an expedited process for PHAs to apply for certain waivers and flexibilities when faced with a Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD) for the calendar years (CYs) 2022 and 2023. The notice is effective from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023.

This notice lists the waivers and flexibilities that are available to PHAs, notes that it will consider certain exceptions, and provides instructions on how to submit waiver, flexibility, and exception requests. The following flexibilities and waivers may be requested (please note that the list below is summarized—see the full notice to read the complete descriptions of the waivers):

  • Operating Subsidy Flexibility in Approved Vacancies – a PHA is eligible to receive funding for vacant public housing units that are vacant because of a declared disaster, subject to HUD approval. Eligible units will be considered approved for 12 months.
  • Uniform Financial Reporting Standards; Filing of Financial Reports; Reporting Compliance Dates – HUD may approve delays to certain financial reporting requirements.
  • Public Housing Assessment System – HUD may consider waiving the physical inspection and scoring of public housing projects.
  • Cost and Other Limitations; Maximum Project Cost; TDC Limit – HUD may waive total development costs (TDC) and housing cost cap limits for all work funded through the Capital Fund until the next issuance of TDC limits.
  • Cost and Other Limitations; Types of Labor – HUD may allow PHAs that are not high-performing to use force account labor for modernization-only activities even with not included in the PHA’s 5-year action plan. This waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
  • Capital Fund Formula; Replacement Housing Factor to Reflect Formula Need for Projects With Demolition or Disposition Occurring on or After October 1, 1998 and Prior to September 30, 2013 – HUD may allow unexpended Capital Fund Replacement Housing Factor Grants to be used for public housing modernization. This waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
  • Tenant Selection Policies and Administrative Plan – HUD may waive requirements that a PHA’s Board of Commissioners approves revisions to tenant selection policies and a PHA’s administrative plan if the revisions are temporary, do not exceed a period of 12 months, are not significant amendments, and comply with the PHA’s plan or state law.
  • Waiting List; Opening and Closing; Public Notice – HUD may waive the requirement that it must provide public notice when opening and closing its waiting list by posting in a local newspaper of general circulation. It would replace that requirement by an alternative one requiring the PHA to post notice to its website. The waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
  • HUD Approval of Exception Payment Standard Amount – HUD may approve an exception payment standard that is higher than 110% of the Fair Market Rent.
  • Housing Quality Standards; Space and Security – HUD may waive the requirement that units have at least 1 bedroom for every 2 people to house families displaced by natural disasters. The waiver will be in effect for the initial lease term.
  • Occupancy of Home – HUD may allow families participating in the homeownership program to continue receiving housing assistance payments even if displaced from their homes.
  • Contract of Participation; Contract Extension – HUD may consider authorizing a PHA to extend a family’s contract of participation in a Family Self Sufficiency program for up to 3 years. Any waiver will be in effect for a request made to the PHA during a period of up to 12 months.
  • Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) – HUD may consider a request to carry forward a PHA’s last SEMAP score.
  • Verification of the Social Security – HUD may consider a request to transmit form HUD-50058 within 90 days, instead of the usual 30 days, of the receipt of the applicant’s social security documentation.
  • Specific Criteria for HUD Approval of Demolition Requests – for certain Section 18 demolition requests, HUD will accept certain environmental reviews.
  • Approval of Demolition – HUD may waive the requirement for a list of specific and detailed work items for certain Section 18 demolition requests.

A PHA may also request an exception to a requirement that is not listed. HUD will consider these requests subject to statutory and regulatory limitations.

To request waivers, if in a Presidentially Declared Disaster area, a PHA should complete Appendix A of the notice and email the completed appendix with supporting documentation to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov.

The full notice can be accessed here.

New “Landlord-Focused Customer Service” Chapter for HCV Landlord Strategy Guidebook

A new chapter for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Landlord Strategy Guidebook has been published. The new chapter–titled “Landlord-Focused Customer Service“–discusses landlord service responsiveness, creating a landlord single point of contact, and creating a call center. The guidebook as a whole is meant to raise PHA awareness of strategies that they can employ to improve landlord participation in the HCV program.

The “Landlord-Focused Customer Service” chapter can be found here.

The HCV Landlords Strategy Guidebook can be found here.

HCV Utilization Webinar

HUD will host a webinar on Jan. 12, 2022 at 1:30 pm ET titled “HCV Utilization Webinar – Payment Standard Waiver and Two-Year Tool Overview.” The webinar will discuss best practices to maximize voucher utilization. The webinar will also discuss the new Fair Market Rent (FMR) waiver that will allow many PHAs to increase their payment standard to 120% of the FMR. (See NAHRO’s discussion of PIH 2021-34.) Finally, the webinar will discuss the Two-Year Tool and provide examples of how the tool can help program administrators manage their programs.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

New Guidance on Asset-Repositioning Fee Eligibility

On Dec. 21, HUD published a notice titled “Guidance on Eligibility for Asset-Repositioning Fee (ARF)” (PIH 2021-37). This guidance is for PHAs that are demolishing or disposing public housing units. It details instances when a PHA may be eligible for an Asset-Repositioning Fee (ARF), which helps PHAs manage costs related to the “administration of demolition and disposition [actions], tenant relocation, and minimum protection and services associated with such efforts.” This notice replaces Notice PIH 2017-22. It makes two major changes: 1) including ARF eligibility for projects a PHA demolishes in accordance with de minimis demolition authority; and 2) eliminating ARF eligibility for units sold or projects transitioned to homeownership under a homeownership plan.

Housing agencies must ensure that data related to ARF in the Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) is accurate. If the data in PIC is not accurate, the notice provides information on revising it within the system.

The notice provides guidance on which projects, or entire buildings, are eligible for ARFs and which are not. In general, those units that are eligible are projects that are approved for section 18 demolition or disposition, projects approved for demolition pursuant to a HOPE VI or Choice Neighborhoods plan, and projects slated for demolition through certain de minimis demolition authority. Ineligible projects include Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) conversions; voluntary conversions; certain retentions of units; units that have reached the end of their ARF timeline, but remain under an annual contributions contract; mixed-finance modernization projects; projects sold pursuant to an approved homeownership plan; and projects removed from inventory through a combined process of ARF eligible methods and ineligible methods (e.g., blended RAD conversions incorporating demolition and disposition funds).

Eligible agencies must follow the ARF timeline discussed in the notice. The ARF timeline begins “on the first day of the next quarter six months after the date the first unit becomes vacant after the relocation date included in the approved relocation plan.” The notice provides additional information and detail on the timeline, including a chart visually depicting it. Additionally, there is guidance on how to properly report units that have not been removed from inventory, but are eligible for ARFs.

Finally, the notice provides additional information on the financial side of ARFs. This includes information on how to calculate ARFs (including the needed documentation), the length of the ARF funding period and its relationship with the operating subsidy funding year, information on demolition or disposition actions with different relocation dates, and information on when ARF-eligible units are no longer eligible for other operating fund add-ons and how the rolling base is recalculated.

The full notice may be found here.

HUD Publishes New Guidance on IMS-PIC Unit Classification

On Dec. 17, HUD published a notice titled “Guidance on Inventory Management System/PIH Information Center (IMS-PIC) Sub-Module Reporting and Validation(Notice PIH 2021-35). This notice provides guidance to PHAs, including Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, on reporting occupancy in public housing. The notice revises Notice PIH 2011-7.

The notice makes several revisions to Notice PIH 2011-7, which contained the previous requirements regarding unit classification. These revisions include requiring PHAs to receive a HUD approval letter–in certain instances–prior to making IMS-PIC submissions. The notice also makes changes to the “Undergoing Modernization,” “Casualty Loss,” and “Vacant due to Market Conditions” subcategories of occupancy categories. It adds the “MTW Neighborhood Services” subcategory. It also clarifies that certain units that are vacant, reconfigured, demolished, or sold for certain reasons (e.g., a unit removed to install an elevator shaft) should not be classified as in a non-dwelling category, but should have their ACC, Capital Fund, and Operating Fund indicators set to “No.” The notice also stresses the importance of timely and accurate submissions (60 calendar days from the effective date of any action recorded on line 2b of HUD-50058 or HUD-50058 MTW). Finally, the notice updates the web link used to access the Job Aid website, which provides additional technical assistance.

The notice provides information on unit categories and sub-categories through both a chart and additional detailed descriptions of the requirements needed to classify units. The categories and sub-categories covered are the following:

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HUD Awards Over $1 Million for FYI HCVs

HUD announced, in a press release published on Dec. 16, that it was awarding over $1 million to 26 PHAs in 20 states for its Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) initiative. The initiative provides housing assistance and supportive services to young people who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. Housing agencies can be eligible to receive FYI funding if they administer a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, enter into a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PWCA), accept people referred by the PWCA, and determine that the referred people are eligible for HCV assistance. HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs Danielle Bastarache notes that “[e]very young person deserves the opportunity to live with housing stability.”

The agencies listed below were awarded assistance.

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New Video for Public Housing Residents on the RAD Process

HUD has published a new video that explains the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program to public housing residents. The purpose of the video is to explain the program in an accessible way. HUD encourages housing agencies and property owners impacted, or soon-to-be impacted, by the RAD program to show the video at resident meetings, share the video with resident associations, and upload it to the agencies’ or owners’ websites.

The video can be found above or in the “How Does RAD Impact Me?” subsection of their website.

HUD Publishes Expedited Waiver Notice for Public Housing and Voucher Programs

On Dec. 9, HUD published a notice titled “Expedited Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab) Programs” (Notice PIH 2021-34). This notice provides information on flexibilities that HUD will continue to provide for the public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs, even though most regulatory and statutory waivers related to the COVID-19 pandemic will expire at the end of the year. The COVID-19 waivers for the public housing and voucher programs were published because of authority given to HUD through the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Additional information on the expiration of these waivers can be found in HUD’s guidance for winding down CARES Act waivers; PIH 2021-14 (providing revised waivers for public housing and the HCV program); PIH 2020-20 (providing waivers for the Mod. Rehab. program); and PIH 2020-22 (providing waivers for Mainstream vouchers).

This notice divides the additional potential flexibilities into three categories. First, there are flexibilities that will continue with no waivers needed. Second, there are regulatory waivers that PHAs may request and which HUD will review through a streamlined process. Third, there are additional regulatory waivers which PHAs may request, but which HUD will review through its normal waiver review process. None of the statutory waivers provided through CARES Act authority will be extended. In general, HUD lacks the authority to waive statutory program requirements, so PHAs should not request waivers for statutory requirements.

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HUD and HHS Launch Housing and Services Resource Center

On Dec. 8, in a press release, HUD–in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)–announced the launch of a national Housing and Services Resource Center. According to HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge, “[t]his new joint HHS and HUD center will help communities break down the silos and coordinate the provision of services with housing to ensure that these new resources reach our most vulnerable homeless neighbors.” The press release notes that in every state, there are a number of entities that can help people access housing and supportive services. Many people experiencing homelessness and older individuals need access to community based services like “behavioral health services, personal care assistance, tenancy supports, accessible transportation, and home-delivered meals.”

The goal of the Housing and Services Resource Center is to help coordinate resources to PHAs as well as other entities. The website brings together “Medicaid-funded home and community-based services, behavioral health support, vouchers, and other housing programs.” It also provides examples of successful partnerships and will provide new technical assistance resources. People using the site can do the following:

  • “Learn about how to develop and expand partnerships,
  • Quickly find tools designed for community collaborations;
  • Increase knowledge to support people with disabilities, older adults, and people experiencing homelessness to get and/or keep affordable and accessible housing and voluntary services, and
  • Discover innovative models and strategies.”

The Housing and Services Resource Center can be accessed here.

HUD Requires PHAs to Submit CARES Act Waiver Information by Dec. 20, 2021

On Dec. 6, HUD published a notice titled “Submitting CARES Act Waiver Adoption Information to HUD by December 20, 2021” (PIH 2021-33). This notice requires all PHAs–including those that did not adopt any CARES Act waivers and those that are Moving to Work (MTW) agencies–to report on the waivers that they did or did not implement in the CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool (CAWRT).

The CARES Act, passed on March 27, 2020, provided HUD with the authority to waive certain statutes and regulations for the public housing and the housing choice voucher (HCV) programs as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department exercised its authority to issue waivers through multiple notices, including PIH 2021-14 (providing revised waivers for public housing and the HCV program), PIH 2020-20 (providing waivers for the Mod. Rehab. program), and PIH 2020-22 (providing waivers for Mainstream vouchers). Additionally, HUD has provided guidance for winding down the waivers as they near their end of life.

Housing agencies must now report to HUD the waivers that they adopted. In adopting CARES Act waivers, HUD required PHAs to record which waivers the PHA had adopted. Agencies should have made this document available to the public. The Department also provided a suggested format for recording adopted waivers in the form of Attachment I of PIH Notice 2021-14. HUD requires one response from each PHA code. Agencies participating in the MTW program should only indicate adoption of the waivers that were adopted through CARES Act authority.

This reporting requirement must be met by Dec. 20, 2021.

Step-by-step instructions to complete this reporting requirement can be found here.

Housing agencies can access the CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool here.