Administration Announces Housing Supply Action Plan

On May 16, the administration announced a housing supply action plan that is intended to “ease the burden of housing costs over time, by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community.” The plan includes both legislative and administrative actions and is meant to align with other policies currently in effect (e.g., federal rental assistance) to create more affordable rents and make homeownership more affordable.

While the plan includes many specific actions, many of those actions can be grouped into the following categories.

  • Incentivizing jurisdictions to reform their zoning and land-use policies by giving higher scores to jurisdictions that do this in federal grant allocations.
  • Implementing new financing mechanisms to build and preserve housing, including manufactured housing; accessory dwelling units; two to four unit properties; and other multifamily buildings.
  • Improving existing federal financing for development and preservation, which includes making construction to permanent loans more available; promoting the use of COVID recovery funds for affordable housing; reforming the low-income housing tax credit and the HOME program.
  • Ensuring that more housing goes to owners that live in the units or non-profits that will rehabilitate them.
  • Addressing supply chain issues by working with the private sector.

The White House’s full announcement of their housing supply action plan can be found here.

$4 Million for Radon Testing NOFA

On Jan. 26, in a press release, HUD announced $4 million to be available for radon testing through the new Radon Testing and Mitigation Demonstration program Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFA). Radon is an odorless, clear radioactive gas that is found in every part of the United States. It can move from soil into buildings through small openings in a building’s foundation. When inhaled, radon can increase the risk of developing lung cancer.

Housing agencies will be able to use this funding to test public housing properties for radon. When needed, they will also be able to apply mitigation measures in their communities. The grants will be allocated in the early summer. The NOFA’s estimated application deadline in March 28. 2022.

HUD’s press release can be found here.

The full NOFA can be found here.

Policies and Procedures for Mainstream Vouchers Published

Earlier this week, HUD published a notice (PIH 2020-01) titled “Revised Policies and Procedures for the Mainstream Voucher Program.” The notice updates HUD’s policies related to the mainstream voucher program and applies to all mainstream vouchers. It became effective upon publication.

The notice lists mainstream  voucher policies. It clarifies who the eligible population for these vouchers are (households that include a non-elderly person with disabilities); clarifies that participants do not “age out” of eligibility; highlights that at turnover, all mainstream vouchers must be reissued to the next mainstream-eligible family; reiterates that mainstream vouchers are regular housing choice vouchers (HCVs) with special eligibility criteria; restates that the vouchers are for new admissions of households; and states that a PHA may only have one waiting list for all tenant-based assistance.

Additionally, the Department discusses admissions preferences. First, preferences apply to all vouchers, not only Mainstream vouchers. If a PHA claimed a preference in its notice of funding availability (NOFA) application, then the PHA must adopt a preference for at least one of the targeted groups in the NOFA. Additionally, PHAs may limit the number of applicants who qualify for the preference. The PHA also has the option to open the PHA waiting list for a limited preference. Finally, the PHA must update preference policies and procedures on how preferences will be applied.

The notice also discusses waiting list updates, portability, funding, tracking and monitoring these vouchers, and partnerships and supportive services.  Questions about the program can be directed to MainstreamVouchers@hud.gov.

The full notice can be found here.

Money Available for Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The Department of Housing and Urban Development sent an email to Executive Directors reminding them that $5 million is available for PHAs for the purchase, installation, replacement, and repair of carbon monoxide detectors. Applications for this funding are due by 5 pm ET on Friday, October 25, 2019.

Additional information can be found here.

Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA FAQ Updated

Yesterday, HUD updated its Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for mainstream vouchers.

The FY 2019 NOFA would make an additional $150 million available for mainstream vouchers (a previous NOFA allocated $98 million). The application deadline for this additional round of funding is September 5, 2019.

The updated FAQ can be found here.

The Department’s Mainstream Voucher page can be found here.

[Edit: Some of the links above were corrected to point to the correct documents or websites and the correct deadline has been added.]

New Notice allows PHAs to use Tenant Protection Vouchers for Youth Aging out of Foster Care

In late July, HUD published a notice titled “Tenant Protection Vouchers for Foster Youth to Independence Initiative” [PIH 2019-20 (HA)]. This notice would allow PHAs that do not have a Family Unification Program (FUP), but that have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program, to request a tenant protection voucher to house a FUP-eligible youth.

Public Housing Agencies must receive a referral from a partnering Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA) to request the tenant protection voucher. While not required, HUD strongly encourages participation of a Continuum of Care (CoC). Requests may be as small as one voucher up to 25 vouchers per PHA for a fiscal year. The funding for this initiative is not from the Family Unification Program account, but from the tenant protection voucher account and is subject to the availability of funding in that account. These vouchers sunset after being used and are not to be project-based.

  • PHA Eligibility Requirements:
    • PHA must have an HCV Program;
    • PHA must not administer the Family Unification Program (FUP);
    • PHA must amend its administrative plan;
    • PHA must accept FUP-eligible youth;
      • FUP-eligible youth: Youth that have met the following criteria:
        • Attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 24 years of age;
        • Left foster care, or will leave foster care, within 90 days; and
        • Are homeless or are at risk of being homeless;
    • PHA must determine eligibility;
    • PHA must have a partnership with a Public Child Welfare Agency (PCWA);
      • PCWA Roles and Responsibilities:
        • Must identify FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must have a system of prioritization;
        • Must provide written certification to PHA that youth is FUP-eligible; and
        • Must provide supportive services, including:
          • Basic life skills information (money management; meal preparation; and access to health care, etc.);
          • Counseling on compliance with rental lease requirements of the HCV program;
          • Providing reasonable assurances to rental property owners;
          • Job counseling; and
          • Educational and career advancement counseling;
      • PCWA Partnership Agreement (May take the form of a memorandum of understanding or letters of intent):
        • Must define FUP-eligible youth;
        • Must list supportive services and provide them for 36 months;
        • Must address PHA responsibilities;
        • Must address PCWA responsibilities; and
        • Must address Continuum of Care–if involved–responsibilities, including:
          • Integrating the referral process into the CoC’s coordinated entry process;
          • Identifying services; and
          • Making referrals of FUP-eligible youth to PCWAs.

The full notice may be found here.

HUD Posts Mainstream Voucher FY 2019 NOFA Webinar

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a webinar on its fiscal year 2019 Mainstream Voucher application.

Additionally, the Department has made the following Mainstream Voucher application materials available:

All of these materials may also be found on HUD’s Mainstream Voucher Program page.

HUD Sends Guidance on Mainstream Vouchers

Earlier today, HUD sent an email outlining additional guidance for mainstream vouchers. The Department highlighted several key issues. The notice can be found here. Additional questions to HUD can be sent to MainstreamVouchers@hud.gov.

Administrative fees – the Department noted that HUD would advance administrative fees on 50 percent of newly awarded mainstream vouchers, and would reconcile administrative fees based on actual leasing later this year (i.e., if less than 50 percent of the vouchers are used, HUD will lower future administrative fee payments by the excess amount awarded). If a PHA awards more than 50 percent of its allocation, it can contact its financial analyst for the additional administrative fee.

Character of mainstream vouchers and new admissions – HUD clarified that mainstream vouchers are regular housing choice vouchers with special eligibility criteria and that awarded vouchers are for new admissions. With respect to the former clause, mainstream vouchers should be treated as regular voucher assistance and program participants should not be treated differently than program participants in the regular housing choice voucher program. Additionally, PHAs must lease awarded vouchers by pulling mainstream-eligible applicants from the waiting list. Housing agencies may not reassign existing participants to the mainstream program to “free up” regular housing choice vouchers.

Waiting list administration – PHAs must maintain one waiting list for all tenant-based assistance, including mainstream voucher assistance. See 24 CFR 982.204(f). In applying for the notice of funding availability (NOFA), if your PHA claimed points for a preference, then it must adopt the preference for one of the targeted groups served by mainstream vouchers. Housing agencies may limit the number of people who will qualify for a preference. See 24 CFR 982.207(a)(3). Housing agencies may adopt criteria defining which families may apply for assistance when opening their waiting lists (PHAs must comply with requirements to provide public notice and accept applications from families for whom the wait list has been opened). See 24 CFR 982.206(b)(1). Housing agencies must have written policies for how preferences will be applied (either first-come, first-served or by random selection). See 24 CFR 982.207(c). Finally, housing agencies may do a full waiting list update or a limited update.

The full notice can be found here.

 

TAC Hosting Peer-to-Peer Call on Mainstream Vouchers

On Wednesday February 6th from 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. ET, the Technical Assistance Collaborative (TAC) is facilitating a peer-to-peer call with PHAs awarded Mainstream Vouchers in September 2018. The call will provide PHAs an opportunity to share implementation challenges, how these are being addressed and to identify any technical assistance needs. NAHRO staff will participate. HUD has been invited and we hope they will be able to participate.

Registration for this call is necessary and can be at the link below

https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8531936849390618625

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. There is no cost to register or participate in this call.

In Spring 2018, TAC conducted a series of outreach webinars to create interest in the Mainstream funding and to facilitate local partnerships. Over 1,200 PHAs and homeless and disability organizations participated in four outreach webainrs.  Polling of PHAs participating in the webinars indicated that only 25% believed working with their service partners would be challenging but more than 50% of PHAs indicated that identifying units, ensuring move-in resources and assistance was available and ensuring long term tenancy supports are available as needed would be very challenging.

In areas with strong rental markets and low vacancy rates, HCV participants find it difficult to lease up.  The Joint Center’s 2018 State of the Nation’s Housing, found that rental markets remain extremely tight at the lower end; for these units, vacancy rates remain lower than in any year since 2001.   Unfortunately, many participants including elders and people with disabilities need to find housing in these markets – where medical and other services as well as public transportation are available.  Success leasing up is particularly challenging for those who have poor tenancy or criminal records.   Through this and subsequent peer-to-peer calls, TAC hopes to provide technical assistance for PHAs and their service partners as they face these implementation challenges.

FY 2018 FSS Funding NOFA Released

On October 31, 2018, HUD released the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA). Congress appropriated $75 million for the FY 2018 FSS program. This NOFA is specifically provides renewal funding for FSS programs that were funding under FY 2015, FY 2016, and/or FY 2017 FSS grants. The application deadline is November 30, 2018.

The FSS provisions (Section 306) of  The Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155 that became Public Law No: 115-174) are not in effect for this NOFA as HUD must issue the implementing regulations within 365 of the bill passage (May 24, 2018) and the implementing regulations have not, at the time of this blog post, been issued.

The FY 2018 NOFA application can be found on Grants.gov and additional information on this NOFA can be found on the HUD website.