Initial Chapters of New HCV Guidebook Published

Earlier today, HUD sent an email announcing that the initial chapters of a New Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Guidebook have been published. As the email states, guidebooks consolidate “into one document the requirements outlined in several publications: regulatory requirements, PIH Notices, Federal Register Notices, and other forms of guidance issued by HUD.” Given the complexity of navigating between several layers of regulation and guidance, having a single place to view all of a program’s rules and requirements is essential.

The three chapters that have been completed and can be read online are the following:

Chapters still being worked on include the following:

  • “Fair Housing Requirements”;
  • “Waiting List & Tenant Selection”;
  • “Housing Search and Leasing”;
  • “HAP Contracts”;
  • “Payment Standards”;
  • “Calculating Rent & Housing Assistance Payments (HAP)”;
  • “Utility Allowance”;
  • “Terminations”;
  • “Informal Hearings & Reviews”; and
  • “Special Housing Type.”

NAHRO applauds HUD updating their Housing Choice Voucher Guidebook. During the summer of 2018, NAHRO sent a letter to HUD noting the importance of the guidebooks and urging HUD to prioritize updating them.

The HCV Guidebook can be accessed here.

HCV Funding Implementation Webcast Published

Yesterday, HUD’s Financial Management Division (FMD) published a webcast on the notice titled “Implementation of Federal FY19 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher.” The notice was published in April, and NAHRO previously mentioned it on this blog.

The webcast published on YouTube can be found here.

PowerPoint slides from the webcast can be found here.

Proposed Rule Requires Verification of Eligible Immigration Status for HUD Assistance

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register a proposed rule titled “Housing and Community Development Act of 1980: Verification of Eligible Status.” This proposed rule purports to change how families with mixed immigration statuses receive prorated HUD assistance. Comments are due 60 days after publication.

Current Proration of HUD Assistance

Currently, families with a mixed status may apply for assistance by declaring that each member of the family is 1) a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen; or 2) decide not to contend eligible immigration status (and not submit verification documentation) for that member. Family members that declare themselves eligible must provide acceptable evidence of immigration status. Verification is provided through the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) system–administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The system saves the information of noncitizens. Assistance is then prorated such that only citizen-members (or eligible non-citizen-members) of families receive funding (excluding those who do not contend their eligible immigration status).

Proposed Changes

This proposed rule would make two changes to the current system. First, the proposed rule would require that all family members (except those over the age of 62) have their immigration status verified through SAVE (i.e., family members would no longer have the option to not contend their eligible immigration status). Under most covered programs, those who have not submitted evidence of eligible immigration status will be required to do so at their first regular reexamination.

Second, the proposed rule would specify that individuals that do not have a verified eligible immigration status may not serve as the head of household or spouse–i.e., the holder of the lease.

The pre-publication copy of the proposed rule can be found here.

The published in the Federal Register version can be found here (available 5/10/2019).

 

HUD Publishes Notice on Treatment of ABLE Accounts

[5/6/2019 (12:58 PM ET) – The original version of this post linked to the wrong notice; the links have been corrected.]

In late April, HUD published a notice titled “Treatment of ABLE Accounts in HUD-Assisted Programs” (PIH 2019-09). The notice states that for the purpose of determining eligibility and continued occupancy, HUD and HUD program administrators  must disregard amounts in an individual’s Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) account. These accounts are established by states and allow for contributions to be made to the account to benefit the designated beneficiary for qualified disability expenses. According to the notice, “[t]he designated beneficiary must be a person with disabilities, whose disability began prior to [his, her, or their] 26th birthday and who meets the statutory eligibility requirements.”

The notice requires that the entire value of the ABLE account be excluded, including actual or imputed interest on the ABLE account balance. Additionally, distributions from the ABLE account are also not considered income.

Owners and PHAs should develop a policy and procedure for verifying ABLE accounts that obtains the following:

  • the name of the designated beneficiary; and
  • the State ABLE program administering the account to verify that the account qualifies as an ABLE account.

This notice applies to the public housing program; the housing choice voucher program; project-based section 8; Section 202/162 project assistance contract; Section 202 project rental assistance contract; Section 202 senior preservation rental assistance contracts; Section 811 project rental assistance contract; Section 811 project rental assistance; Section 236; and Section 221(d)(3) and Section 221(d)(5) below market interest rate.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Publishes HCV FY 2019 Funding Provisions Notice

Last week, HUD published a notice titled “Implementation of the Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2019 Funding Provisions for the Housing Choice Voucher Program“; PIH 2019-08. This notice implements the funding provisions of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget.

The budget includes the following HCV-related amounts:

  • Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Funding – $20,313 million;
  • Tenant Protection Vouchers (TPVs) – $85 million;
  • Administrative Fees – $1,886 million;
  • Mainstream Program – $225 million;
  • Tribal HUD-VASH Renewals – $4 million;
  • New HUD-VASH vouchers – $40 million;
  • New Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers – $20 million;
  • Mobility Demonstration – $25 million; and
  • Total HCV Appropriations – $22,598 million.

Points of Interest:

  • Offset – HUD will perform a “small offset” to ensure that the national HAP proration is at or above 99.5 percent. Detailed calculations of the offsets will be provided to PHAs in the renewal allocation enclosure. Offsets will come from “excess” program reserves.
  • TPVs – HUD will provide TPVs for vacant units that were occupied within the previous 24 months of certain public housing and multifamily housing actions and are no longer available as assisted housing (subject to availability of funds).
  • Blended and Higher Admin. Fees – Applications for blended administrative fees (for PHAs serving multiple administrative fee areas) and higher administrative fees (for PHAs that operate over a large geographic area) are due by Friday, May 31.
  • Special Fees – $30 million in funding is available for HCV homeownership fees; special fees for PHAs that administer TPVs in connection with multifamily housing conversion actions; special fees for portability (the receiving PHA will receive 12 months of funding equal to 15 percent of the PHA’s 2019 Column A rate for administrative fees; while HUD supplies these fees automatically, HUD advises PHAs to make sure accurate PIC data is entered by May 15, 2019); special fees for certain audit costs; and special fees for administrative costs related to administering the HUD-VASH program.
  • Mobility Demonstration – the Department will publish a Federal Register notice to implement that mobility demonstration and announce the competition for funding.
  • Set-Aside Funds – $100 million will be reserved for shortfall funds (no due date); unforeseen circumstances (application due date May 31, 2019); portability (application due date May 31, 2019); project-based vouchers held from use during re-benchmarking (application due date May 31, 2019); and certain instances of HUD-VASH voucher usage (application due date May 31, 2019).

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Issues Notice Strongly Encouraging CO Detectors in HUD-assisted Housing

Earlier today, HUD issued a notice titled “Carbon Monoxide Detectors in HUD-Assisted Housing PIH 2019-06. The notice does three things. First, it reminds owners, managers, and agents of HUD-assisted housing that where required by local law, HUD-assisted housing (i.e., public housing, the housing choice voucher program, section 8 project-based rental assistance, section 202, and section 811) is required to have carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. Second, it strongly encourages those not required by local law to still install CO detectors in 1) units with fuel-fired appliances and burning appliances or an attached garage and 2) in bedrooms that contain a fireplace or a fuel-fired appliance or burning appliance. Third, the notice states that HUD will pursue rulemaking to implement a CO detector requirement in units with fuel-fired and burning appliances or attached garages for the housing choice voucher program, public housing, and the multifamily programs.

The press release can be found here.

The notice can be found here.

HUD to Publish FY 19 Inflation Factors for HCV Program

Tomorrow, HUD will publish its Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs) for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Program. These factors are applied to PHAs’ FY 2018 HCV Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) spending to determine HCV HAP eligibility for FY 2019 (i.e., the inflation factor is applied to how much a PHA spent in the previous year to determine how much it is eligible for this year, assuming Congress has fully funded the HAP account). The national inflation factor is 4 percent, though individual PHAs will have different factors depending on their location. The FY 2019 inflation factor calculation methodology remains the same as FY 2018 methodology.

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

When published tomorrow (4/17/2019), the full RFIFs can be found here.

HUD to Host MTW Expansion Call on Wednesday (4/17/19) for Eligible Cohort #1 Agencies

In its effort to publicize the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion, HUD will host a call dedicated to potential cohort #1 applicants this Wednesday (4/17/19). This is in addition to NAHRO’s complementary MTW application webinars. Relevant details on the call, provided by a HUD official, can be found below:

On Wednesday, April 17th from 3-4PM EDT the MTW Team will hold a conference call for all agencies eligible for MTW Cohort 1. Please join the call to get any questions you may have regarding MTW Cohort 1 and/or the application process answered.

The conference begins at 3:00 PM Eastern Time on April 17, 2019; you may join the conference 5 minutes prior.

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633
Access Code: 0397071##

Need an international dial-in number?

Need technical assistance? Call the AT&T Help Desk at 1-888-796-6118 or 1-847-562-7015.

HUD Offers Technical Assistance for PHAs Considering Repositioning their Public Housing Assets

Last week, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing sent an email detailing the communication and technical assistance efforts HUD was making to ensure that PHAs understood the range of options that were available to reposition their public housing assets. The following are bullet points quoted directly from the email:

  • PIH staff have been making presentations at local and national industry meetings to help PHAs become more aware of their repositioning options.
  • PHAs wanting to learn more about their repositioning may ask their local Field Office staff to walk them through the benefits of the various options—always with a focus on how best to address the local needs.
  • PIH has set up Repositioning Assistance Panels. Field office staff can reserve time with program experts identified by the Office of Recapitalization, Special Applications Center (SAC), Urban Revitalization Division, and Office of Housing Voucher Programs. These experts can discuss the various repositioning options with a PHA, enabling an informed decision about what strategy would best meet local needs. You can set up a time with a Panel through your local Field Office.
  • We have also trained Repositioning Expeditors in most Field Offices. These Expeditors are available to help PHAs with their RAD, voluntary conversion, and demo/dispo applications.
  • Understanding that these repositioning options are complex, particularly for small PHAs, the Department is working to provide the following starting late spring:
    1. Develop training materials, sample documents and other tools that help PHAs consider repositioning strategies and understand available options;
    2. Provide local training sessions to present available repositioning tools and considerations to address local affordable housing needs;
    3. Develop an online training platform and training materials to help PHAs and their boards understand repositioning options and HUD requirements; and
    4. Provide direct technical assistance to small PHAs (operating 250 or less assisted units) in how to start and sustain affordable housing strategies.

NAHRO reminds our members that repositioning is a voluntary process. The Department is providing a range of options, none of which are mandatory. Interested agencies should take actions–or not–based on the needs of their local communities and the households the agencies serve.