HUD PIH Provides Updates on FAQs and Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit

On Thursday, July 9th, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) hosted a conference call providing updates on several items, including PIH Notice 2020-13 (which extends most of the COVID-19 related waivers to December 31st and adds certain new waivers); frequently discussed topics; an eviction and stability toolkit; and new developments in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.  

Department officials provided updates on the new waiver notice during the first part of the call. Each PHA continues to have discretion to choose which waivers to adopt and use, and must notify the public, if it chooses to use any waiver or alternative requirement. The notice adds six new waivers: 

  • HCV-11: Youth using Family Unification Vouchers may continue to receive housing assistance six months past the 36-month limit.  
  • HCV-12: PHAs may accept referrals from child welfare agencies for youths leaving foster care within 120 days.  
  • HCV-13: For families experiencing hardship in the last year of their homeownership term, PHAs may extend homeownership assistance for up to one year.  
  • HCV-14: Units under a Project Based Voucher (PBV) contract with zero housing assistance payments may remain on contract after 180 days. Public Housing Agencies may resume Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) should the family’s income change to require a HAP payment. This flexibility is available until the end of 2020. 
  • PH-11: Designated Housing Plans may be extended through the end of 2020 if they are set to expire beforehand, but PHAs will need to submit a renewal request 60 days prior to December 31st, 2020.  
  • PH-12: PHAs may waive the requirement to inspect each project during CY 2020, but must complete inspections during CY 2021. PHAs must also keep units in good working order and complete exterior inspections. If a PHA chooses not to use this waiver, HUD encourages use of Remote Video Inspections (RVI) instead. 

The notice also makes some additional changes. For Housing Quality Standards (HQS) waivers, where the PHA has accepted an owner’s certification, an inspection must be conducted within 1 year of the owner certification. For PHA’s that employ biennial inspections, the PHA will be required to perform an inspection as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 1 year from the date when the biennial inspection would have occurred. The period to informally adopt changes to a PHA’s administrative plan or a PHA’s Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) ends on September 31. The PHA must formally adopt the changes by December 31. 

The HUD officials then provided updates about frequent topics of interest. These topics included the effective date of interim recertifications;  calculating income for hazard pay and other unemployment insurance related topics; planning for the end of the eviction moratorium; privacy concerns; eligible uses of funding; a reminder that Violence Against Women Act guidance remains in effect; and Remote Video Inspections. 

The Department officials then reminded call participants that HUD has posted an Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on its website, which includes resources for PHAs, landlords and tenants on rent repayment agreements and avoiding eviction-related expenses. 

Additionally, presenters discussed a series of recommendations that PHAs could take avoid evictions at the end of the eviction moratorium. The presenters also used Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to illustrate some of these best practices. These recommendations include the following: 

  1. enter into repayment agreements with residents, update repayment agreement policies, and encourage Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) landlords to enter into repayment agreements;
  2. revise policies to allow for retroactive interim reexaminations;
  3. review hardship exemption policies and consider setting minimum rent to zero;
  4. communicate with households with unpaid rent; and 
  5. position residents for future stability by maximizing Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) and Jobs Plus benefits with other steps.

Finally, HUD presenters gave an update on the HCV program. The presenters noted that supplemental HAP funding would be provided via a notice to be released in late-July. They also stated that a second round of administrative fees would be disbursed in late-July or August. They noted that the new mobility demonstration would likely be published in the next few weeks and that HUD was going to start allowing PHAs that have Family Unification Programs (FUP) to participate in the Foster Youth the Independence initiative. The next round of FUP funding is anticipated to be announced later this summer. Finally, HUD staff announced the next round of HUD-VASH vouchers and answered some questions. 

Additional COVID-19 resources can be found at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

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 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.  

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.

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.  

June is National Healthy Homes Month; HUD Releases Digital Resource Toolkit

June is National Healthy Homes Month, an awareness campaign designed to educate families about creating a healthy home and identify common health hazards such as lead, radon, pests and allergens. Keeping homes hazard-free has taken on a special importance during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many families are sheltering-in-place.  

The Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) has created a 2020 NHHM Campaign Resource Toolkit to provide government agencies and other housing stakeholders with materials to help and encourage local implementation. The toolkit includes tips for public messaging, suggested outreach material and social media posts, and educational resources for the public.  

OLHCHH will also host a series of webinars for stakeholders on how to promote healthy homes. A full schedule and instructions for registration can be found on HUD’s website.  

COVID-19 CDBG Eviction Moratorium Q&A Released

Earlier today, HUD released a Q&A to address questions concerning the eviction moratorium established by the CARES Act. Section 4024 of the Act imposes a 120-day moratorium on evictions, ending July 24, 2020. The moratorium extends to units in projects receiving funding from Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Neighborhood Stabilization Programs (NSP) or Disaster Recovery.  

The Q&A clarifies which units are covered by the eviction moratorium, and which fees landlords may charge tenants for accrued costs after the moratorium ends. The full Q&A can be found here. For additional guidance, please visit the CDBG COVID-19 Resources page.  

NAHRO provides additional COVID-19 resources at www.NAHRO.org/coronavirus.

HUD’s Friday Call Review: Changes to PIC and REAC reporting requirements and Remote Video Inspections

On May 15, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) hosted a conference call providing updates on changes to PIC and REAC PHAS reporting requirements and operational planning strategies included in the CARES Act.   

Form 50058 Reporting Requirements: HUD will continue to use IMS/PIC to calculate funding allocations and carry out program evaluations and oversight. HUD urges PHAs to submit required Form-50058 transactions in a timely manner to prevent backlog.  

  • The time period for Form-50058 submission has been extended from 60 to 90 days, with the period of availability ending December 31st, 2020. 
  • PHAs that submit their forms during the extended timeframe will see a warning error upon submission, but the forms will be accepted, if there are no fatal errors present. 
  • For new submissions where the PHA does not have a date of previous HQS inspection, enter 01/01/1900. If there has been a date previously entered, use that date instead until a new date is available.  
  • Due to the temporary suspension of Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR), PHAs should mark all household members “Pending” unless they are designated as “Exempt.” 

PHAS Scoring: Per PIH Notice 2020-05, REAC is waiving PHAS scoring requirements through the end of the year unless a PHA requests a new PHAS score release. HUD will begin re-scoring with fiscal years ending March 21, 2021, and will notify PHAs 30 days prior to resumption in accordance with local coronavirus restrictions and health protocols.  

EIV Requirements: HUD is waiving Enterprise Income Verification (EIV) requirements through July 31, 2020 in favor of allowing tenants to electronically self-certify with their PHA. However, HUD urges PHAs to download EIV reports during the waiver period, as the data will be overwritten when EIV monitoring requirements resume. HUD reminds PHAs they remain responsible for protecting tenants’ Personally Identifiable Information (PII), and that privacy guidelines will not change in response to the pandemic. 

Remote Video Inspections (RVI): RVIs are HQS inspections conducted via proxy and are intended to provide PHAs additional flexibility to fulfill inspection requirements during the pandemic. As this is a new method of conducting inspections, HUD will follow up with further guidance and a best practices document.  

NAHRO provides additional COVID-19 information at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

Chris Campbell Joins NAHRO for the Summer!

Greetings! My name is Chris Campbell, and I’m a Master of Public Policy (MPP) student at the University of Michigan. I’ll be interning remotely with NAHRO’s Policy and Program Development team this summer.  

Before starting graduate school, I worked for the Los Angeles City Council’s Office of the Chief Legislative Analyst, where I staffed the Planning and Land Use Management Committee.  My work with the Committee introduced me to the basic aspects of the nation’s affordable housing shortage, as well as the debate over which strategies can best help families meet their housing costs.  

Everyone needs a place to live – as a lifelong resident of Southern California, I understand the stress high housing costs can place on a family. This isn’t just a West Coast problem, however. Cities and rural areas across the country need more affordable, high-quality homes to promote the health and well-being of their residents, a fact laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. The urgency of our nation’s affordable housing shortage will only grow in its aftermath. I look forward to working with NAHRO’s member agencies and HUD this summer to gain more insight into how federal, state and local government can work together to help renters and owners keep a roof over their heads, especially in these unprecedented times.  

I’ll be posting to the NAHRO blog weekly about housing-related policy developments, so stay tuned!