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.

New Opportunities to Learn Asset Building Strategies

Earlier today, the HUD Moving to Work (MTW) office sent an email with information about upcoming webinars on asset building strategies that PHAs can employ to help their residents. Asset building (as defined in PIH 2022-11–the MTW cohort on asset building) is defined as “activities that encourage the growth of savings accounts and/or aim to build credit for assisted households.” The information from the email is reproduced below.

  • Asset Building Opportunities for HUD-Assisted Tenants
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022 | 2:00-3:00 pm EST
    Join HUD and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Webinar to learn the key financial components for people trying to build assets & increase financial well-being.
    Link to Join | Access Code: KbnJzUPA?782
  • How to Apply – MTW Expansion Asset Building Cohort Webinar
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
    During this webinar, HUD will walk through the selection notice and application materials and give PHAs more information about this cohort.
    Link to Join | Join via telephone phone at 888-251-2949 | Access Code 3334803#
  • Rent Reporting and Credit Building Opportunities for PHA Residents
    Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 2:00-3:00 pm EST
    Join HUD and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Webinar to learn about strategies for helping public housing residents build positive credit histories.
    Link to Join | Access Code: 2SThfN6Zmj$2

New Webinar on Using PBVs

On April 21st, from 2 pm to 3 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar on how PHAs can expand their project-based voucher (PBV) portfolio. According to HUD, “[t]his webinar will review the PBV program requirement, highlight PBV resources, and provide case studies for how PHAs have used PBVs to improve HCV program utilization.”

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

HUD Extends Streamlined Waiver Requests for Certain HCV Waivers

On April 11th, HUD published a notice extending the time in which certain Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) waivers could be applied for in an expedited manner. The notice is titled “Streamlined Regulatory Waivers for the Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab) Program” (PIH 2022-09).

The notice extends the deadline–until September 30, 2022–to apply for three specific waivers that apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program. These waivers were previously available through prior notices, but the deadline to apply through the expedited process had ended.

The three waivers that are still available for the HCV program are the following:

  • Increase in Payment Standard During HAP Contract Term – this waiver would allow the PHA to increase the payment standard for a family at any time after the effective date of the increase, rather than waiting for the next regular reexamination.
  • Term of Voucher: Extensions of Term – this waiver would allow PHAs to grant extensions of the initial voucher term, irrespective of what is written in the PHA’s administrative plan.
  • Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount – this waiver would allow PHAs to establish payment standards from 111 to 120 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR).

In requesting a waiver, the PHA must articulate a good cause justification. The good cause justification must include three elements: 1) why the PHA needs the waiver; 2) the impact on PHA operations or applicants if the waiver is not provided; and 3) the proposed waiver duration. The waiver may not extend past Dec. 31, 2022. The notice provides examples of good cause.

To request a waiver, PHAs should email PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov. The notice provides instructions on the information required and the proper formatting of the email request.

The full notice can be found here.

HCV Mobility Demonstration Supplementary Notice Published

A pre-publication copy of a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Mobility Demonstration Supplementary Notice has been posted to the Federal Register’s public inspection desk. This notice expands on the original implementation notice to describe additional policies and flexibilities for PHAs that are participating in the HCV mobility demonstration (now called the “Community Choice Demonstration“). The notice touches on topics such as the pilot length; enrollment of existing voucher holders and new admissions; flexibility between the treatment groups and the control group; the memorandum of understanding and the performance standards requirements; and the eligible uses of funds.

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2022 Administrative Fee Rates Posted

On March 30, HUD sent an email to Executive Directors of PHAs noting that calendar year (CY) 2022 administrative fee rates have been posted to HUD’s website. Administrative fees are used by agencies to cover the costs of operating the Housing Choice Voucher program. Advanced administrative fee prorations for the months of April through May 2022 were at 88% proration. Final national prorations will be provided via email.

The following files may be found on HUD’s website:

HUD Publishes CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool Dashboard

HUD has published their CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool (CAWRT; pronounced “cart”) dashboard. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This act gave HUD the authority to offer PHAs the option to waive certain statutory and regulatory requirements. In late 2021, HUD requested that all PHAs fill out a survey on which, if any, waivers they used. The Department took that information and created a publicly accessible dashboard on which PHAs used waivers and which waivers they used.

The CAWRT dashboard can be found here.

HUD Publishes Notice Officially Extending Deadline to April 1st for Submitting Expedited Waiver Requests

As previously reported by NAHRO, HUD has now officially extended the deadline to April 1st for submitting a request for an expedited waiver. The new notice, Notice PIH 2022-04, states the following:

“This notice amends PIH-2021-34 solely by extending the submission deadline in Section 5 of the notice from March 1, 2022 to April 1, 2022. No additional submission extensions will be issued.”

From NAHRO’s discussions with HUD staff, NAHRO was able to learn that even after the deadline, PHAs will be able to apply for these waivers, but post-deadline requests will not go through the expedited waiver process. In addition, the simplified payment standard waiver process in the expedited waiver notice will remain in place after the deadline. Additional details on that process remaining in place will be explained in a future notice.

The full notice extending the deadline to April 1st can be found here.

New Guidance on “Designated Housing” and “Accessible Designation” Unit Categories in IMS/PIC

On Feb. 18, HUD issued a notice titled “Guidance on Unit Designation Categories and Accessible Designation Categories in IMS/PIC” (Notice PIH-2022-03 (HA)). This notice instructs PHAs to properly classify their units in IMS/PIC. In particular, units that may have been set aside as “Designated Housing,” for elderly families, disabled families, or units for both elderly and disabled families after approved by HUD through a Designated Housing Plan (DHP), should be properly classified. Additionally, units that are classified with an “Accessible Designation,” for people with a mobility or sensory impairment or to contain some accessible features, should also be properly classified. PHAs should review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of this notice.

Designated Housing

The Sept. 2010 IMS/PIC system release implemented three significant changes to the unit designation categories. First, units titled “Family Unit, Elderly Unit, Family and Disabled, and Elderly and Disabled” were placed in the “General Occupancy” category. Second, “Mixed Elderly and Disabled Not HUD Officially Designated” was created as a new unit designation category. Third, “Merged Units” were reported in the unit designation detail.

Housing agencies must review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of the notice. Any issues or corrections must be worked out by March 31, 2022. The Department will publish data highlighting discrepancies between counts of designated units in IMS/PIC and those approved in Designated Housing Plans. That information will be available here.

Accessible Designation

The Sept. 2010 IMS/PIC system release implemented the accessible designation categories. Housing agencies must ensure that units are properly categorized according to the definitions in the notice. The notice provides definitions for the following units: mobility impairment; hearing/visual impairment; partially accessible; and not accessible.

Housing agencies must review their portfolios and make changes within 30 days of the publication of the notice. Any issues or corrections must be worked out by March 31, 2022. Additionally, accessible designations require the PHA to obtain HUD user approval to a change in IMS/PIC. Finally, PHAs must continue to maintain the accuracy of accessible designation categories moving forward.

The notice provides instructions for making the necessary changes to both “Designated Housing” units and units with an “Accessible Designation” in IMS/PIC.

The full notice can be found here.

PHA Voter Registration Activities

On Feb. 9, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them what role a PHA may play in ensuring public housing residents have access to the electoral process and certain voter registration activities. PHAs should note that many electoral rules are set by the state and should ensure that they are complying with all applicable state and local laws.

Permissible PHA activities included the following:

  1. “Providing documentation of residence (e.g., address verification, leases, etc.) to public housing residents when requested to ensure residents are able to register to vote and vote. Your PHA and PHA residents can visit Vote.gov to determine what documentation of residence will be most helpful to persons trying to register to vote in your state.
  2. Applying to States to operate as a voter registration agency under the National Voter Registration Act. States are allowed to designate state, federal and non-governmental offices as voter registration agencies.
    • If your PHA would like to be considered to be a voter registration agency, you can reach out to state election officials for more information about the rules and laws for your state. HUD does not make determinations about what offices can be designated as voter registration agencies – only your state election officials can make that determination.
    • For more information on what it means to be a voter registration agency, see this FAQ by the Department of Justice: https://www.justice.gov/crt/national-voter-registration-act-1993-nvra
  3. Making voter registration resources available to residents. If you are not designated by the state as a voter registration agency, you can still facilitate residents’ access to voter registration. Such permissible actions include:
    • Making voter registration forms available to residents.
    • If the laws of your state allow, accepting completed voter registration application forms and transmitting these forms to the appropriate State election official.
    • If the voter registration laws of your state allow, running a PHA-initiated voter registration drive. However, you would need to consult with your counsel and your state election director to identify the rules and laws around voter registration drives for your state.
  4. Permitting the use of PHA community space on an incidental basis to hold meetings, candidate forums, or voter registration, provided that all parties and organizations have access to the facility on an equal basis and are assessed equal rent or use charges.
  5. Collaborating with local election administrators to permit the use of PHA space for voter drop boxes and voting sites, including for early voting.” [Citations removed.]

To meet the costs of the above activities, PHAs may use public housing operating subsidies or administrative fees from the voucher program.

PHAs must not fund partisan political facilities or activities. Additionally, PHAs should not suggest that benefits are tied to voting activity, nor should they give the appearance that voting and voter registration are not voluntary activities. Additionally, PHAs should follow all applicable civil rights laws, including those that ensure voting processes are accessible for individuals with disabilities.

Additional information may be found at https://vote.gov. Additional questions may be sent to PHAVoterRegistration@hud.gov.