HUD Publishes Webcast on HOTMA PHA Owned Units and PBV Provisions

Last week, a HUD official emailed me a link to HUD’s Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) webinar trainings on PHA Owned Units and Project-based Voucher provisions. These webcasts go over notice PIH 2017-21 (HA) titled “Implementation Guidance: Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) and Project-based Voucher (PBV) Provisions.” If you have a little spare time this holiday weekend, it may be useful to watch them.

The trainings can be found here.

How Will MTW “Accommodate Regionalization”?

On the Brookings website, there’s a joint post by Greg Russ, the Executive Director and CEO of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority, and Robin Snyderman, a Nonresident Senior Fellow of Brookings’s Metropolitan Policy Program, which discusses the new Moving To Work (MTW) Expansion. The post focuses on the MTW expansion enabling legislation which allows HUD to “accommodate regionalization” in its MTW expansion plans.

What this legislative language specifically means is unclear, but the opportunity exists to use the MTW Expansion and its single-fund flexibilities to create a “a variety of public housing initiatives to operate in a regional market across agency boundaries.” Regional MTW approaches may be particularly relevant in Baltimore, Chicago, and the Twin Cities, where MTW agencies are located in high-poverty areas surrounded by other PHAs in lower-poverty jurisdictions.

In fostering a regional MTW approach, agencies will still need to properly balance the greater cost of mobility initiatives with the tradeoff of potentially serving fewer families. The post notes that one of the benefits of a regional MTW approach may be “the cost-savings associated with reduced administrative burdens of cross-jurisdictional activity.”

The post explores other concepts of what MTW regionalization may look like.

The entire post can be read here.

Why the 4% LIHTC Matters: Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County

Freetown Village

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) is one of the most effective tools for creating new and critically needed affordable housing, and accounts for the vast majority of all affordable rental housing created in the United States. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing, and to increase the sustainability of their communities.

Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County: Freetown Village

Freetown Village is an existing community built in 1977 on 9.6 acres in Pasadena, Maryland. It is currently owned and operated as public housing by the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County (HCAAC).  The property includes 154 family apartments, ranging in size from one-bedroom to four-bedroom apartments. The current unit mix is 24 one-bedroom units, 48 two-bedroom units, 60 three-bedroom units, and 22 four-bedroom units, contained in 15 two-story townhome-style residential buildings, and two three-story garden-style buildings.

Freetown Village needs modernization and upgrades. The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) Program provides an opportunity to access private capital in order to address the property’s physical needs and secure a more stable funding source for rental assistance long-term. HCAAC will use funding from four key resources of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD): Tax-Exempt Bonds, 4% Low Income Housing Tax Credits, a soft loan from Rental Housing Works loan, and a construction and permanent loan using DHCD’s Risk Share loan product totaling more than $41.5 million. This project is contingent on the use of tax-exempt bonds and issuance of 4% Low income Housing Tax Credits, which have an anticipated commitment date of early 2018.

Existing units will be upgraded with:

  • New kitchen cabinets and counters
  • New kitchen appliances (refrigerators, ranges, range goods)
  • New bathroom vanities
  • New flooring
  • New entry doors
  • R-49 attic insulation
  • Install LED lighting replacement
  • Replace bathtubs with roll-in showers for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) units; other ADA upgrades.

In addition system and common area upgrades will include:

  • New hot water heaters
  • HVAC upgrades
  • Upgraded landscaping features
  • Seal/stripe parking spaces
  • Added insulation
  • LED lighting replacement
  • ADA sidewalk improvements
  • New playground
  • All new flooring in common rooms.

The proposal would also add 36 new homes to Freetown Village, including 24 2BR units (approximately 720 square feet) and 12 3BR units ( approximately 980 square feet). Anne Arundel County’s Workforce Housing requirements mandate 20 of the units would be reserved for households at or below 60 percent of Area Median Income. The other 16 units could be occupied by households up to 120 percent of Area Median Income.

For more information about this project or to share your organization’s 4 percent LIHTC success story, please contact nahro@nahro.org.

Why New Market Tax Credits Matter: Three Success Stories

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) help localities build stronger neighborhoods by investing in housing, schools, and other vital projects that are targeted at helping low-income communities. Between 2003 and 2015, $42 billion in direct NMTC authority has generated almost $80 billion in capital for local businesses and revitalization projects. NMTC investment has resulted in the creation or retention of over 750,000 jobs, and the financing of over 178 million square feet (sq. ft.) of commercial real estate and almost 14,000 affordable housing units. NMTCs are a proven and effective tool for generating private-sector investments in communities in need. This is one in a series of articles that show how public housing authorities (PHAs) and community development agencies have successfully used federal tax credits and tax-exempt bonds to build and/or preserve public housing and affordable housing and to increase the sustainability of communities.  Continue reading

HUD Publishes Expedited Waiver Process Notice for PHAs affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

[10/6/17 Edit – the notice has been published in the Federal Register and can be found here.]

Earlier today, HUD made available a pre-publication copy of a notice titled “Relief from HUD Requirements Available to PHAs to Assist with Recovery and Relief Efforts on Behalf of Families Affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria and Future Natural Disasters where Major Disaster Declarations might be Issued in 2017.” The notice establishes an expedited process for a review of waiver requests for those PHAs that are in Major Disaster Declaration areas (MDD PHAs). PHAs in future Major Disaster Declaration areas in 2017 may also use the flexibilities granted in the notice. The notice becomes applicable tomorrow (October 6, 2017) with its publication in the Federal Register.

To begin the expedited waiver process, PHAs must complete the checklist (listed as Attachment A to the notice) and must include a good-cause justification stating why the waiver is needed for the PHA’s relief and recovery efforts. A MDD PHA may also request a waiver that is not listed and still receive expedited review of the request if the MDD PHA documents that the waiver is needed for relief and recovery purposes.

To apply for these waivers through the expedited waiver process, do the following:

  1. Download the checklist;
  2. Complete the section titled “Information about Requesting Agency” (make sure an MDD PHA official signs it);
  3. Complete the checklists and provide any needed documentation;
  4. Write an email to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov and your Field Office Public Housing Director with the subject line “Hurricane Harvey/Irma Disaster Relief”;
  5. Attach the completed checklist to the email; and
  6. Send the email.

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

A brief description of the available flexibilities can be found be clicking below.

Continue reading

HUD Sends Letter to PHAs in Declared Disaster Counties on Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria

On Tuesday, September 26, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors in Declared Disaster Counties. The email provides information that may be useful for PHAs in those areas.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Public Assistance Program – PHAs in declared disaster areas may be eligible to apply for Stafford Act Section 403 and Section 406 funds through FEMA’s Public Assistance Programs program. The Public Assistance grant program covers emergency work (covered by Section 403; e.g., debris removal, demolition of unsafe structures; or boarding of windows) and permanent work (Section 406), unless Congress appropriates funds to HUD for these purposes. Additional information on this FEMA program can be found here.

FEMA and HUD Data Sharing – Starting the week of September 18, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) began sending reports to PHAs about program participants who have registered for FEMA assistance. HUD anticipates continuing to send these reports on a weekly basis or as new information is available. Please use discretion handling the workbooks and data.

Fraud – If PHAs have concerns about fraud, the email lists methods to contact the federal government.

FEMA’s Fraud Hotline – (866) 720-5721 and

HUD OIG’s Fraud page – (800) 347-3753.

Expedited Waiver Process – As mentioned in NAHRO’s previous blog post, HUD is in the process of creating a expedited waiver process for those PHAs in disaster areas. The process will be articulated in an upcoming Federal Register notice. This notice will be modeled on previous expedited waiver process notices.

Additional information on the Hurricanes and HUD’s response can be found at the following links:

HUD Updates Industry Groups on Hurricane Assistance

Earlier today, NAHRO, along with industry groups PHADA and CLPHA, joined HUD on a conference call to discuss updates on the HUD’s Hurricane Assistance for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. HUD noted that Hurricane Harvey impacted 1,100 properties, while Hurricanes Irma and Maria impacted 1,400 properties. The exact number of households impacted is still growing as additional information becomes available.

To facilitate quick responses to the on-the-ground situation, HUD will be issuing a notice detailing expedited waiver procedures for PHAs in the affected areas. The notice will be published in the Federal Register early next week. According to HUD, the notice will allow PHAs to apply for waivers through an expedited process, which HUD anticipates taking no more than a few business days. There will be an attachment with the notice, which PHAs can use to check off the waivers that they are requesting and provide very general and basic documentation of the need for the waiver. The waiver requests will still be submitted to the field offices.

During the call, HUD also indicated that they will provide additional guidance on how other agencies can update their disaster-related preferences so that disaster-impacted families may be able to utilize the services of other agencies. At this time, HUD believes that updating a PHA’s administrative plan for disaster-related preferences is not a “significant amendment,” making the update less burdensome for those agencies which may decide to do it.

NAHRO remains committed to providing all housing authorities in disaster-related areas with the most up-to-date information as it becomes available and assisting in any way possible.

Update: Additionally, HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has published an integrity bulletin warning “everyone affected by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria to be alert for fraud schemes that commonly occur following a disaster.” Schemes include scam housing inspectors, scam contractors, fake relief programs, flood-damaged cars being offered for resale, and mortgage rescue scams. Additional information can be found here.

HUD, IRS Announce Disaster Assistance for Victims of Hurricane Harvey

Earlier this week, HUD announced that the Department will expedite federal disaster assistance to the State of Texas and provide support to homeowners and low-income renters that are left without a home due to Hurricane Harvey.

Currently, President Trump has issued a disaster declaration for 18 counties in Texas: Aransas, Bee, Brazoria, Calhoun, Chambers, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad, Harris, Jackson, Kleberg, Liberty, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Victoria and Wharton. More counties may be added at a later date.

HUD’s disaster assistance will include: Continue reading

HUD Extends Section 3 “Past Due” Reporting Deadline to December 31, 2017

HUD has revised the July 7, 2017 SPEARS Update that set a reporting deadline of July 31, 2017 for “past due” (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, & some 2017 report years) reports.

On August 14, 2017, HUD issued a SPEARS Update that extended the reporting deadline for “past due” reports to December 31, 2017. The SPEARS Update is available at https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=PHAReportDue8-14-17.pdf.

HUD’s Section 3 office is also aware of issues in submitting adjusted reports (6, 9, or 15 month reports) due to the reporting year switching to the PHA fiscal year. It is anticipated that HUD will update the SPEARS system to correct this issue in the very near future.

More information on Section 3 reporting is available at https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/section3/section3/spears.

Tell Your Senators to Support LIHTC!

In 2015, supporters of the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) achieved a major victory with the permanent authorization of the 9 percent LIHTC rate, but a 4 percent housing credit rate remains unauthorized. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT) have introduced S.548, The Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act, to permanently authorize the 4 percent rate and expand the program’s overall allocation authority by 50 percent, allowing more public housing agencies (PHAs) and local redevelopment authorities (LRAs) to access the credit.

Affordable housing stakeholders should take action today and support Sen. Cantwell and Sen. Hatch’s critical legislation by asking your senators to join the bill as co-sponsors and urging them to include this bill in any tax reform agreement that is reached. Help NAHRO achieve its goal of sending 2,500 letters to members of Congress in August.  Continue reading