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 Posts New Sexual Harassment Training

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has posted several new items related to sexual harassment training. The main sexual harassment training page on HUD Exchange can be found here. Resources include fact sheets, videos, and a training module.

Additional webinar training can be found below:

Webinar Title Date Time Registration Link
Preventing Harassment for PHA Residents & Voucher Program Participants Now until July 29, 2019 3:00-4:00 PM EDT Register to View Webcast
Preventing and Addressing Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment in Housing (for Private Housing Owners and Managers Participating in Voucher Programs) Now until July 29, 2019 3:00-4:00 PM EDT Register to View Webcast
Preventing and Addressing Sexual and Other Discriminatory Harassment in Housing (for PHA Employees) Now until July 29, 2019 3:00-4:00 PM EDT Register to View Webcast

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 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.

Two Complimentary Moving To Work Application Webinars

NAHRO is excited to host two webinars on the Moving To Work (MTW) expansion – April 23, and May 6. Both sessions are complimentary to attendees and additional information along with registration links are below.

Webinar 1

Moving To Work Application Process for Small PHAs

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

1:30pm to 2:30pm eastern time

HUD has announced and extended the application process for the first cohort of MTW expansion which will include 30 smaller PHAs (less than 1,000 combined public housing and HCV units.) and the letter of interest deadline is coming up quickly.

This webinar will provide small PHAs details on the application process and the HUD required information. The NAHRO Policy Team will walk attendees through the application timeline and the commitments that PHA must make.

Bring your questions and comments and prepare your PHA for the MTW possibilities!

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1806478211309396237

Webinar 2

Becoming MTW: A Webinar for Small Public Housing Authorities

Monday, May 6, 2019

1:30pm to 3:00pm eastern time

The MTW Steering Committee, which works on behalf of the current 39 Moving to Work (MTW) agencies, and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) will be hosting a webinar on MTW specifically for smaller size public housing authorities who are interested in the program. In 2015, Congress authorized the expansion of MTW to include an additional 100 agencies and HUD is currently preparing to select the first cohort of new agencies into the program, which will be comprised entirely of small PHAs. Small PHAs will also be eligible to apply for MTW in future application rounds.

During the webinar you will have the opportunity to engage with and learn from current smaller-sized MTW agencies with many years of valuable experience operating under MTW. These agencies are widely recognized as experts and innovators in their local communities and at the national level. Our panelists will focus on the advantages and benefits of MTW, potential challenges, the application process, and other important topics.

If you are a small PHA who has already applied or is considering applying to the MTW program in the future, we highly encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about the program.

Panelists:

Chris Lamberty, Executive Director, Lincoln Housing Authority (invited)

Josh Meehan, Executive Director, Keene Housing Authority

Vivian Bryant, Executive Director, Orlando Housing Authority

Registration Link: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8177264086922641421?source=NAHRO

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.

HUD Publishes Notice on Voluntary Conversions

In late March, HUD published a notice titled “Streamlined Voluntary Conversions of Last Remaining Projects of Small Public Housing Agencies” (PIH 2019-05 (HA)). This notice allows PHAs with 250 or fewer Public Housing units to convert them to Section 8 vouchers within the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program under a streamlined conversion process. This notice differs from the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program in several ways, but primarily in that instead of receiving RAD rents (i.e., a combination of public housing capital fund, operating fund, and tenant rent amounts), PHAs would receive full HCVs for their residents after conversion.

For a PHA to normally use the voluntary conversion option, it must conduct a conversion assessment and provide a timeline identifying PHA conversion actions. Under this notice, HUD is using its statutory authority to waive the conversion assessment requirement to make it easier for small PHAs to convert their portfolios. Public Housing Agencies are eligible under this notice if they meet the following requirements:

  • They have a portfolio of 250 or fewer public housing units;
  • They intend to close-out their public housing program; and
  • Conversion will result in the conversion of all public housing units.

If a converting PHA does not administer a Section 8 HCV program, then another PHA with a Section 8 HCV program must be identified to administer the vouchers.

To apply for a conversion, eligible PHAs must submit a conversion plan to HUD through the Inventory Management System / Public and Indian Housing Information Center (IMS/PIC). The conversion plan and application must include a PHA plan referencing the proposed conversion; evidence of resident involvement; evidence of board approval; a plan of future use of involved assets; HUD approval of environmental requirements; an impact analysis of the conversion on the neighborhood(s) (in the form of a narrative statement); a summary of information concerning the relocation plan; close-out information; and another Section 8 HCV program identified to receive vouchers, if the applying PHA does not have a Section 8 HCV program. Additionally, certain other requirements must be met (e.g., civil rights reviews, etc.). The Department must respond within 90 days of the PHA submitting the conversion plan.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD to Host MTW Cohort #1 Webinar Tomorrow (March 28th) at 3pm ET

As previously mentioned on this blog, HUD will host a webinar on the Moving to Work (MTW) Expansion, Cohort #1 tomorrow at 3 pm ET. Listed below is additional information on the webinar that I received from a HUD official.

MTW Cohort 1

The Department has extended the application timeline for agencies to apply to the  Cohort #1 of Moving to Work Demonstration Program. Through this extension notice the Department will select thirty agencies to study MTW flexibility.

Cohort #1 will consist of high-performing agencies that administer 1,000 or fewer HCVs and public housing units combined. The deadline to submit the letter of interest package for Cohort #1 is May 13, 2019.

On Thursday, March 28th the MTW Office will host a webinar on Cohort #1. There is no registration required to join the webinar and the call-in information is below.

 

Step 1: Dial into the conference.

Dial-in: 1-877-369-5243 or 1-617-668-3633

Access Code: 0604767##

Need an international dial-in number?

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.

Entry Link: http://ems8.intellor.com/login/813201

HUD Issues Letter Confirming New Micro- and Simplified Acquisition Thresholds

Last week, HUD sent a letter to Executive Directors confirming that the micro-purchase threshold and the simplified acquisition threshold have been increased. The new thresholds are as follows:

  • the micro-purchase threshold is now $10,000 (previously, it was $3,500); and
  • the simplified acquisition threshold is now $250,000 (previously, it was $100,000).

There was initially uncertainty about the use of these thresholds since the summer of 2018, when the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a notice implementing increases to the thresholds for all grant recipients. This letter clarifies that the increased thresholds apply to PHAs.

OMB’s original notice can be found here.

HUD’s letter confirming the new thresholds can be found here.