Summary of HCV Landlord Listening Sessions Published

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has published a summary of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program landlord listening sessions it conducted in late 2018. The summary lists the qualities of the HCV program which both attract and drive off landlords from participating in the program. A brief outline of them is presented below.

  • Qualities of the HCV program that attract landlords:
    • National;
      • Helping people who need housing;
      • Receiving a stable, reliable source of income from HUD;
    • Regional;
      • Required by law in some jurisdictions to accept vouchers; and
      • Existence of damage mitigation programs which help landlords repair tenant-caused damages;
  • Qualities of the HCV program that drive off landlords:
    • National;
      • No single point of contact for landlords and other communication deficiencies;
      • Inspections;
        • Delays in the inspection process;
        • Lack of consistency between inspections;
        • Not being informed of changed appointment times by inspectors;
        • Too few inspectors;
        • Not being informed of cancelled appointments in a timely manner;
      • Tenant damages;
        • Lacking a mechanism of collecting on tenant-caused damages;
        • Lacking a way to remove damage-causing tenants;
        • Requirements to repair a unit;
        • Unknown tenant-caused damages cause units to fail inspections;
      • Application and Move-in;
        • Concerns about
          • approved rent amounts;
          • length of time for application approval; and
          • inspections;
      • Voucher and Approved Rent amount;
        • Lack of clarity about required amenities and conditions of units;
        • Fair Market Rents (FMRs) not keeping pace with the local market;
      • Administrative delays;
        • Lack of being able to submit paperwork electronically;
        • Lack of staff that could approve cases during holidays and vacation times;
    • Regional;
      • Confusion over widely varying rent amounts in areas that use Small Area FMRs;
      • Annoyance at the different paperwork and rules for each PHA, in areas where there are multiple PHAs with overlapping jurisdictions;
      • Cumbersome process to access damage mitigation funds in those areas which use them; and
      • The requirement to treat voucher holders differently by requiring a one-year lease initially, when the norm in the market is month-to-month leases.

While the causes of landlord dissatisfaction are multi-faceted and may vary by jurisdiction, NAHRO believes that fully funding the administrative fee account will help PHAs address many of these issues.

The above is a brief outline of the report and excludes details for added brevity. The full summary can be found here.

Webinar for Vera’s Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative

The Vera Institute of Justice (Vera) is offering a webinar that promises to inform potential applicants about the goals of the Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative. The Opening Doors to Public Housing Initiative seeks to provide technical assistance to PHAs that wish to plan and implement reentry programs or change their admissions policies for people with conviction histories. Additionally, the webinar will provide an overview of the application requirements, allow time for questions from interested applicants, and present applicants from past Opening Doors sites who will share their experiences implementing reentry programs and changing their housing policies.

Housing authorities and their justice system partners are strongly encouraged to participate in the webinar, though it is open to all.

Opening Doors to Public Housing (Friday, January 17, 2020 at 1 pm ET)

  • Presenters include the following:
    • Andre Bethea, Policy Advisor, Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice;
    • Laura Gregory, Resident Services Manager, Oklahoma City Housing Authority; and
    • Julio Sanchez, Senior Probation & Parole Officer, Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission (DCRC) In-reach Coordinator, Georgetown Probation & Parole.

The webinar registration can be found here.

HUD Offers Webinar on Landlord Participation

The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Landlord Task Force is offering the first in a series of webinars on landlord participation. The webinar will take place on Jan. 29th at 1 to 2:30 pm ET. This webinar “will provide an overview of HUD’s recent engagement with landlords . . . and public housing authority (PHA) representatives.” In those engagement events, HUD learned about strategies that PHAs are using to recruit and retain landlords for their HCV programs. Prior registration is required to participate in the webinar. Future webinars in the series are tentatively scheduled for April and July 2020.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

A flyer for the webinar can be found here.

FY 2020 Annual Adjustment Factors Released

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register, fiscal year (FY) 2020 Annual Adjustment Factors (AAFs). These factors are used by certain Section 8 contracts to provide annual adjustments to monthly rents. These factors are used “to adjust contract rents for units assisted in certain Section 8 housing assistance payment programs during the initial (i.e., pre-renewal) term of the [Housing Assistance Payment] HAP contract.”

Section 8 programs that use AAFs include the Section 8 New Construction program, Substantial Rehabilitation program, the Moderate Rehabilitation program, and the Section 8 Loan Management and Property Disposition programs. Each program uses the AAFs differently.

These AAFs are distinct from Renewal Funding Inflation Factors (RFIFs), which are inflation factors used by the Housing Choice Voucher program and Operating Cost Adjustment Factors (OCAFs), which are used as inflation factors for other Section 8 contracts.

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

5 Things PHAs Can Do to Improve Landlord Participation

Yesterday, HUD held a landlord symposium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Department recorded the sessions and will be making both the recordings and slides available soon. Until then, here is information from two slides from a presentation by a HUD official that I thought may be immediately useful.

5 Things PHAs Can Do to Improve Landlord Participation

  1. Single point of contact for landlords with quick response (landlord liaison)
  2. Enhanced communications from inspections team
  3. Damage claim funds reduce perceived risk of accepting an HCV tenant
  4. Direct deposit to ensure timely payment
  5. PHA organized engagement events for landlords to help landlords feel heard and valued

Low Resource Investment, High Impact

  1. Biennial Inspections – Take advantage of reduced inspections already authorized under HOTMA [12/18/2019 edit – The Department of Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, 2014; see PIH 2016-05, Attachment K.]
  2. Landlord only phone days – Improve communication and response time by allocating staff time exclusively to manage landlord phone calls and emails one day per week
  3. Damage claim funds – establish damage claim fund to help landlords feel comfortable renting to HCV tenants
  4. Landlord relations working group – establish a working group with PHAs in your area to strive for consistency in PHA policies and practices that impact landlords

HCV CY 2020 Funding Renewal Letter

Yesterday, HUD sent a letter on calendar year (CY) 2020 renewal funding for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The letter notes that the federal budget is currently operating on a Continuing Resolution (CR), which carries forward fiscal year (FY) 2019 funding through December 20, 2019. The letter provides information about housing assistance payments (HAP) and administrative fee disbursements:

  • Housing Assistance Payments;
    • December 2019 – 99.5 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
    • January 2020 – 99.5 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
  • Administrative Fees;
    • December 2019 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility;
    • January 2020 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility; and
    • February 2020 – 79 percent of estimated CY 2020 eligibility.

For PHAs that administer the Mainstream program, HAP will be at 99.5 percent of eligibility and administrative fees will be at 79 percent of eligibility for both January and February.

Housing authorities should expect timely disbursements of HCV HAP and administrative fees in December and January. A second notification on future payments will be provided in January 2020.

Additionally, HUD’s letter provides estimated prorations of HAP and administrative fees based on appropriations bills from both the House and the Senate. The following are HUD’s estimates for CY 2020 funding based on those bills:

  • House bill:
    • HAP – 98.8 percent;
    • Administrative fees – 78 percent;
  • Senate bill:
    • HAP – 99.2 percent;
    • Administrative fees – 81 percent.

The Department recommends that program managers use the Two-Year Forecasting Tool to model potential funding scenarios. Program managers should also consider their PHA’s program individual inflation factors, which will impact their total amount of money. (The national inflation factor is 4.51 percent, but individual inflation factors may vary considerably from this national figure.)

Finally, the deadline to submit CY 2019 Voucher Management System (VMS) costs and leasing adjustments is January 22, 2020.

The full letter can be found here.

HUD to Host Landlord Symposium in Indianapolis on Dec. 5th

On December 5, 2019 in Indianapolis, HUD will host a Landlord Symposium. The Symposium will be composed of two sessions: a morning session on the basics of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and an afternoon session on increasing landlord participation. HUD recommends attendees participate in both sessions.

  • Morning Session (9 am to 12:30 pm):
    • Basics of HCV and a Snapshot of HCV in Indiana;
    • Speakers include the following people and entities:
      • Indianapolis Mayor’s Office;
      • Current HCV Landlords;
      • Local and National HUD Leaders;
  • Afternoon Session (1:30 pm to 5 pm):
    • HUD and PHA Efforts to Increase Landlord Participation and Other HCV Updates;
    • Speakers include the following people and entities:
      • Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority;
      • Public Housing Authorities;
      • HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center; and
      • Local and National HUD Leaders.

Additional information may be found on a handout here.

Please register here.

HUD Continues to Update HCV Guidebook

Earlier this month, HUD continued its process of updating the Housing Choice Voucher guidebook by posting new chapters. The new chapters are on Eligibility Determination and Denial of Assistance, Calculating Rent & Housing Assistance Payments (HAP), and Reexaminations. Currently available chapters include the following:

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials is excited that HUD has begun to update their HCV guidebook in response to our encouragement. We enthusiastically await future chapters and the regular and timely updating of the guidebook.

The full guidebook can be accessed here.

HUD to Publish 2020 OCAFs and Regulatory Request for Information

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register two notices. The first states the new Operating Cost Adjustment Factors (OCAFs) for 2020. The second asks for help in identifying laws, regulations, and guidelines across various levels of government that artificially raise the costs of affordable-housing development.

  • Notice of Certain Operating Cost Adjustment Factors for 2020 – This notice establishes the OCAFs for 2020. They are applicable on February 11, 2020. Operating Cost Adjustment Factors are used to adjust Section 8 rents for certain project-based contracts. (These are different than renewal funding inflation factors [RFIFs] which are–in general–applicable to a different Section 8 program–the Housing Choice Voucher program.)
  • White House Council on Eliminating Regulatory Barriers to Affordable Housing; Request for Information – This notice seeks to identify “Federal, State, local, and Tribal laws, regulations, and administrative practices that artificially raise the costs of affordable-housing development and contribute to shortages in housing supply.” While it notes that some regulations are useful and provide a benefit, it seeks information on those rules where the costs outweigh the benefits. The notice seeks “data, other information, analyses, and recommendations on methods for reducing these regulatory barriers.” Comments will be due in 60 days from the date of publication (tomorrow).

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

The pre-publication copy of the request for information on regulatory barriers to developing affordable housing notice can be found here.

2019 FUP NOFA Released

10/25/2019 edit – correct application due date added.

The Department has released the 2019 Family Unification Program Notice of Funding Availability (i.e., the 2019 FUP NOFA). The NOFA makes available $20 million in funding. Applications are due by December 17, 2019. The Department expects to make approximately 40 awards from this NOFA.

The Family Unification Program serves two categories of people. The first is families for whom the lack of adequate housing is a primary factor in the imminent placement of the family’s child in out-of-home care or the delay in the discharge of the child to the family in out-of-home care. The second category is composed of youth at least 18 years and not more than 24 years of age who left foster care (or will leave foster care within 90 days) and are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless at age 16 or older.

In addition to meeting certain threshold criteria, HUD will be using rating factors in deciding how to allocate FUP funding. In making its decisions, HUD will also look at a PHA’s past performance in managing funds and assess a PHA’s risk (e.g., financial stability, quality of management, history of performance, etc.). Additionally, the Department will look at the following seven rating factors:

  1. Housing search assistance in low-poverty census tracts (16 points) – Points awarded if the PHA, Public Child Welfare Agency (PWCA), or Continuum of Care (CoC) provides, funds, or makes available housing search assistance in low-poverty census tracts;
  2. Financial Assistance (18 points) – Points awarded if the PHA, PCWA, or CoC provide, fund, or otherwise makes available financial assistance to assist FUP-eligible families and youths;
  3. Previous Coordination (6 points) – Points awarded if the PHA or the PCWA can demonstrate recent cross-program coordination with a local CoC;
  4. Post-move counseling (14 points) – Points awarded if the PHA, PCWA, or CoC provides funds, or otherwise makes available post-move counseling to FUP-eligible families or FUP-eligible youth;
  5. Case management to FUP families (16 points) – Points awarded if case management to FUP families will be made available after they have been issued a voucher. These families may not be forced to participate in these services;
  6. Self-sufficiency Programs (12 points) – Points awarded if the PHA administers the HUD Family Self-Sufficiency program, or similar program promoting self-sufficiency, that is active at the time of application; and
  7. Supportive Assistance for Youth to 36 months (18 points) – Points awarded if the services required to be provided to FUP-eligible youth as identified in the Memorandum of Understanding will be provided beyond 18 months.

The Frequently Asked Questions document on the NOFA can be found here.

The 2019 FUP NOFA can be found here.