HUD Updates Shutdown Reserve Guidance for MTW Agencies

Earlier today, a HUD official sent an email to Executive Directors at MTW agencies providing additional guidance on when it is appropriate for MTW agencies to access HUD-held reserves. The guidance is reproduced below.

Dear Executive Director,

The letter sent to your PHA dated January 15th regarding access to the HHR and setting out criteria for requesting HHR applies to MTW and non-MTW PHAs.  During a lapse in appropriations, HUD staff is only permitted to work on certain activities, including activities that address threats to human lives and properties.  As an MTW PHA, if you believe you need access to the HHR to address immediate threats to the health and safety of tenants or the preservation of property beyond those in the January 15th letter, please submit the amount, a justification for the amount, the intended programmatic use (e.g., public housing, low-income housing), and the timing of expenditure to Robert Boepple at robert.h.boepple@hud.gov.

HUD Funds Available for February, But Not for March

NAHRO has learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enough money to ensure that February payments for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and the public housing Operating Fund will be made available to public housing authorities (PHAs). HUD intends to make those payments on time. NAHRO has also learned that there is not currently enough money to make HCV and Operating Fund payments for March, if the government shutdown continues until then.

In order to end the government shutdown, Congress must agree to a funding bill. Now is the time to reach out to your Congresspeople and demand that a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for HUD is passed. NAHRO has prepared a letter that can be sent to your Congressional members through the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center.

As PHAs make their voices heard to Congress, NAHRO will continue to fight for you and the families you serve and will continue to inform members as soon as we learn more.

One More Week!! – MTW Expansion Letters of Interest Due Jan. 11

PHAs interested in applying to the first cohort of the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion must submit their letter of interest to HUD by January 11. Due to the current government shutdown, HUD will not respond to your submitted letter of interest until the government reopens. Regardless, NAHRO recommends that all PHAs interested in applying to the first cohort submit their letters to HUD on or before the January 11 deadline. The HUD notice describing the requirements for letters of interest is here, and letters of interest should be sent to mtw-info@hud.gov. In October 2018, HUD released a notice describing the requirements needed for letters of interest.

PHAs with 1,000 or fewer aggregate units (including special purpose vouchers) are eligible to apply to the first cohort of the MTW Expansion, which will examine the overall impact of MTW flexibility. Before applying, PHAs must complete a baseline research survey that identifies the characteristics of all applicants. After submitting the baseline research survey, PHAs must complete a letter of interest stating a desire to obtain MTW designation, which cannot be longer than two pages and must be signed by the Executive Director. The PHA’s Board of Commissioners must also pass a resolution stating a desire to obtain MTW designation under the first cohort. Lastly, the PHA must also complete a certification of commitment (Attachment I – last few pages).

After the application deadline passes, HUD will divide eligible applicant PHAs into groups based on their geography and then randomly assign each PHA within a geographic area to one of three groups: a treatment group (which will be invited to continue to step 2 to apply); a waitlist group (which may be invited to apply, if a treatment group PHA withdraws); or a control group (which will not receive MTW status, but is expected to participate in the first cohort evaluation). PHAs in the waitlist group will be moved to the control group once the treatment group has 30 PHAs which successfully apply.

NAHRO will continue to monitor the MTW application process and any effects of the government shutdown. We will provide updates as we learn them.

The MTW Operations Notice can be found here.

The first cohort application notice can be found here.

HUD Broadcasts Webinar on MTW Cohort #1

Earlier today, HUD broadcast a webinar on the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion Cohort #1. The webinar explained what MTW was, explained the benefits of an MTW designation, provided presentations from current MTW agencies, and discussed the process by which agencies could apply for Cohort #1. Additionally, questions from webinar participants were answered.

The webinar also gave the following timeline for MTW Expansion activities:

  • Spring 2019 – Revise MTW Operations Notice based on public comment and publish final MTW Operations Notice;
  • Summer / Fall 2019 – Designate the initial cohort of MTW agencies; invite the second cohort of agencies to apply;
  • Winter 2020 – Designate the second cohort of MTW agencies.

The full webinar with audio and the slide presentation will eventually be posted on HUD’s MTW Expansion site, but an unofficial copy of the slides from the webinar can immediately be found here.

HUD Now Accepting Applications for MTW Expansion Cohort #1

Late last week, HUD published a notice–titled “Request for Letters of Interest and Applications under the Moving to Work Demonstration Program for Fiscal Year 2019: COHORT #1 – Overall Impact of Moving to Work Flexibility” (PIH-2018-17)–inviting applications for the first cohort of the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion. The first cohort of the MTW Expansion will include 30 PHAs with 1,000 or fewer aggregate units (including special purpose vouchers).

In addition to laying out the application process for the first cohort of the MTW Expansion plan, the notice also notes the research topic each cohort will examine. The first cohort will examine the overall impact of MTW flexibility, while future cohorts will examine rent reform, work requirements, and landlord incentives. Applying for MTW status with the first cohort is a two-step process including submitting a letter of interest (due January 11, 2019) and submitting a MTW plan and application.

NAHRO will host a MTW application e-briefing for potential first cohort applicants on Wednesday, November 7th from 1:30 to 3 pm ET. Registration for the e-briefing can be found here.

The MTW Operations Notice can be found here.

The first cohort application notice can be found here.

Click below for additional information on the application process.

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HUD Awards Public Housing Capital Funds

Today HUD awarded the FY 2018 Public Housing Capital Fund grants to housing authorities in all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The grants total more than $2.6 billion.

A list of the individual housing authority grants is available here.

An excerpt from the HUD press release states, “The grants announced today are provided through HUD’s Capital Fund Program, which offers annual funding to approximately 3,100 public housing authorities to build, repair, renovate and/or modernize the public housing in their communities. These housing authorities use the funding to complete large-scale improvements such as replacing roofs or making energy-efficient upgrades to replace old plumbing and electrical systems.”

HUD Sends FSS Program Coordinator Funding Letter

Earlier today, HUD sent a Fiscal Year 2018 Family Self-Sufficiency Program Coordinator Funding Letter to PHA Executive Directors. The letter is meant to help “prepare for the upcoming Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Family Self Sufficiency Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) competition.” The letter discusses Public and Indian Housing Information Center (PIC) data; the possible use of composite scores in funding determinations; and checking the System for Award Management (SAM) and DUNS status.

Click below to learn more.

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How Will MTW “Accommodate Regionalization”?

On the Brookings website, there’s a joint post by Greg Russ, the Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and Robin Snyderman, a Nonresident Senior Fellow of Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which discusses the new Moving To Work (MTW) Expansion. The post focuses on the MTW expansion enabling legislation which allows HUD to “accommodate regionalization” in its MTW expansion plans.

What this legislative language specifically means is unclear, but the opportunity exists to use the MTW Expansion and its single-fund flexibilities to create a “a variety of public housing initiatives to operate in a regional market across agency boundaries.” Regional MTW approaches may be particularly relevant in Baltimore, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, where MTW agencies are located in high-poverty areas surrounded by other PHAs in lower-poverty jurisdictions.

In fostering a regional MTW approach, agencies will still need to properly balance the greater cost of mobility initiatives with the tradeoff of potentially serving fewer families. The post notes that one of the benefits of a regional MTW approach may be “the cost-savings associated with reduced administrative burdens of cross-jurisdictional activity.”

The post explores other concepts of what MTW regionalization may look like.

The entire post can be read here.

Past Due Section 3 Reports Due July 31, 2017

On July 7, 2017, HUD’s Economic Opportunity Division of the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity issued a notice regarding Section 3 reporting due dates for PHAs. Reporting due dates for PHAs are now based on the PHA fiscal year end (FYE), and generally are due 60 days after the PHA FYE. Non-PHAs that are recipients of Section 3 funding will continue to submit annual reports as they have done so in the past.

However the notice did provide specific dues dates for past due reports. Past due Section 3 reports for 2013, 2014, and 2015 must be submitted by July 31, 2017. Also Section 3 reports for 2016 are due 60 days after the PHA FYE, if not already submitted. For 2017 and beyond, Section 3 reports are due 60 days after PHA FYE.

The process of for electronically submitting your Section 3 reports can be found on the HUD website.

MTW Operations Notice Comment Period Reopens

In today’s Federal Register Public Inspection Documents, HUD included, “Operations Notice for the Expansion of the Moving to Work Demonstration Program Solicitation of Comment; Waiver Revision and Reopening of Comment Period.” It is anticipated that this notice will be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, May 4, 2017.

This notice reopens, for 30 days from its publication in the Federal Register, the comment period of the January 23, 2017 Moving to Work (MTW) Operations Notice. This notice also makes revisions to one General Waiver in Appendix 1 and two Conditional Waivers in Appendix 2.

The General Waiver that is revised focuses on the Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program and the updated waiver allows housing agencies to require participation in an FSS program. If an agency makes FSS participation mandatory, the agency must also have and apply exceptions and hardship provisions.

The two Conditional Waivers that are revised focus on Work Requirements for Public Housing (PH), and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-Based Voucher (PBV) residents. The first waiver is for “PH — Work Requirements” and the second is for “HCV & PBV — Work Requirements” but the revision is the same – the housing agency may implement work requirements for PH, HCV, and PBV residents between the ages of 18 and 61. The previous versions of these waiver listed 54 as the maximum age.

NAHRO will continue to engage with HUD and housing agencies to maximize the regulatory relief and flexibility essential to the MTW program and the MTW expansion.