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 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.

Public Housing Operating Fund Payments for March, April, and May Prorated at 88.7%

Earlier today, HUD sent an email to PHA Executive Directors informing them that HUD will make subsidy obligations available in the Line of Credit Control System (LOCCS) for the Public Housing Operating Fund within the next six business days. The payments for the months of March, April, and May will be obligated at a 88.7 percent proration. Although PHAs are being funded for three months, they are required to only draw down funds one month at a time, unless a multiple month withdrawal is approved by a HUD field office.

The funds being obligated are based on an estimate of PHA eligibility. The department believes that it should know actual eligibility, based on PHA submissions, by June at the earliest. As certain developments may be under- or over-funded based on current estimates, in instances where the estimated funding varies from the actual eligibility, the PHA should contact its field office representative. The PHA should also refrain from drawing down overfunded amounts and–if underfunded–should utilize its reserves until it receives its actual eligible funding.

If a development has been fully converted to RAD in 2018, but has still been awarded 2019 Operating Funds, the PHA should advise its field office immediately and not draw down 2019 funds.

The full notice can be found here.

HUD Funds Available for February, But Not for March

NAHRO has learned that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has enough money to ensure that February payments for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and the public housing Operating Fund will be made available to public housing authorities (PHAs). HUD intends to make those payments on time. NAHRO has also learned that there is not currently enough money to make HCV and Operating Fund payments for March, if the government shutdown continues until then.

In order to end the government shutdown, Congress must agree to a funding bill. Now is the time to reach out to your Congresspeople and demand that a fiscal year 2019 appropriations bill for HUD is passed. NAHRO has prepared a letter that can be sent to your Congressional members through the NAHRO Advocacy Action Center.

As PHAs make their voices heard to Congress, NAHRO will continue to fight for you and the families you serve and will continue to inform members as soon as we learn more.

HUD Posts RAD Rent Levels for 2019 (Based on 2018 Public Housing Funding Levels)

Earlier today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development sent an email through its RADBlast! email list announcing RAD rents levels for 2019 (based on 2018 Public Housing Funding Levels). These rents will be used for new awards used in 2019. They may also be used for current awardees to update rents in existing Commitments to enter into Housing Assistance Payment contracts (CHAPs). Closed transactions are ineligible to receive these new rents. Remember, these new rents–after being updated with 2019 Operating Cost Adjustment Factors (OCAFs)–may not necessarily be higher than your current CHAP rents depending on how the transaction is structured. NAHRO strongly recommends carefully reading HUD’s Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) document on updating RAD rents before requesting updated rents.

Additionally, HUD has created a streamlined, online RAD application for public housing conversions that can be accessed here.

The 2019 RAD Rents can be accessed here.

The FAQ can be found here.

Secretary Carson to Lead Opportunity and Revitalization Council

In a press release published earlier today, HUD announced that the President established the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council and named Secretary Carson its chairperson. The White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council’s activities include the following:

  • Engage all levels of government on methods to effectively use taxpayer dollars to revitalize low-income communities;
  • Streamline, coordinate, and target existing Federal programs to Opportunity Zones and distressed communities;
  • Consider legislative proposals and undertake regulatory reform to remove barriers to revitalization; and
  • Present the President with options to encourage capital investment in economically distressed communities.

Secretary Carson has said that “[t]hese are still early days for the work of the Council and Opportunity Zones, but the groundwork has been laid . . . [t]he seeds the President has planted are growing and the promise they hold will improve places long forgotten, and the lives of those who call those places home.”

The full press release can be found here.

HUD Updates RAD Notice on Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Requirements

The Department of Housing and Urban Development published a notice in the Federal Register announcing that it has published guidance clarifying the use of Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage Requirements. With the conversion of Rent Supp., RAP, Mod. Rehab., or Mod. Rehab. SRO contracts to PBRA contracts, Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements are not triggered.

The full Federal Register notice can be found here.

The guidance document (H-2018-11; PIH-2018-22) can be found here.

NAHRO Submits Comments on AFFH Rule Streamlining

Earlier this week, NAHRO responded to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s or the Department’s) request for comments on streamlining the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule by submitting a comment letter. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials remains committed to following through on the promise of the Fair Housing Act and its duty to affirmatively further fair housing. At the same time, NAHRO believes that to create a workable rule that delivers results while appropriately balancing the goals of the Fair Housing Act with the limited resources found in communities throughout the United States, certain principles should be followed in refining the AFFH rule.

These general principles are as follows:

  • Entities should not be forced to complete analyses on non-housing factors;
  • Entities should not be forced to complete analyses outside their jurisdiction;
  • Additional funding is required to properly conduct fair housing assessments;
  • Housing agencies should be able to complete any required assessments without having to hire a consultant;
  • The Department should accept and approve assessments for entities that have made a good faith effort to comply with the assessment process;
  • The Department should provide clear, regularly updated guidance for completing assessments;
  • The assessments should provide a greater emphasis on place-based solutions; and
  • The Department should closely follow all requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act and any other process requirements required by law.

The comment letter–after providing background on how HUD substantially deviated from modest recommendations of prior technocratic reports by HUD and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2009 and 2010 respectively–responds to specific inquiries requested by HUD. The comment letter also recommends changes to the definition of “Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing” and “Qualified PHA.”

The full comment letter can be found here.

RAD Roundup – RAD Supplemental Guidance

There has been a lot of activity around the new RAD guidance documents over the past few days. This post is meant to compile a lot of that information in one place.

New RAD Guidance Documents:

Additional HUD Documentation of new RAD Guidance Documents:

Additional non-HUD Posts:

 

HUD Publishes New RAD Guidance

Tomorrow, HUD will publish new Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) guidance in the form of two new Federal Register notices. The Department has also published a new RAD Public and Indian Housing (PIH) Notice. The three new guidance documents are the following:

  1. Rental Assistance Demonstration: Implementation of Certain Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Appropriations Act Provisions (link is to a pre-publication copy);
    1. [7/3/18 Edit – The final, published document can be found here];
  2. Rental Assistance Demonstration: Supplemental Guidance on Final Notice (link is to a pre-publication copy);
    1. [7/3/18 Edit – The final, published document can be found here]; and
  3. PIH-2018-11Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) – Supplemental Guidance.

[7/2/18 11:55 am edit – At the same time this post was published, HUD sent a RADBlast! email with additional information.

  • Modified FY 16 RAD Rents can be found here.
  • HUD will host a webinar on July 9, 2018 at 2 pm ET. Registration can be found here.
  • Finally, a version of the RAD notice revised version 3 as amended with the Supplemental Notice can be found here.]

The first notice announces several things:

  1. HUD will use rent levels based on the FY 18 RAD rent base year for Commitments to enter into a HAP contract (CHAPs), portfolio awards, and multi-phase awards issued on or after January 1, 2019. Those rent levels will be published once the final public housing operating subsidy obligation is made for FY 18.
  2. For awards before Jan. 1, 2019, HUD will modify the FY 16 RAD rent base year by replacing the PHA’s FY 16 Capital Fund Formula Grant  with the PHA’s FY 18 Capital Fund Formula Grant (i.e., in calculating RAD rents before Jan. 1, 2019, HUD will use FY 18 Capital Grant allocations, but FY 16 Operating Fund allocations and tenant rents);
  3. The Department can award RAD authority to certain projects where PHAs have submitted Letters of Interest (LOIs) to reserve their position on the RAD waiting list if they submit a complete RAD application within 60 days of publication of the notice;
  4. For all multi-phase awards issued after March 22, 2018, PHAs will have until September 30, 2024 to submit an application for the final phase of the project covered by the multi-phase award; and
  5. HUD may approve a replacement CHAP without new application materials, when a PHA voluntarily withdraws a project and requests new RAD authority for the same project within one month thereafter.

The second notice summarizes certain aspects of the PIH notice. It expands Rent Bundling such that PHAs may bundle between RAD project-based vouchers and non-RAD project-based vouchers. It allows PHAs to establish a project-specific utility allowances for Covered Projects. It provides alternative developer fee limits when a PHA adopts a waiting list preference for households exiting homelessness. It establishes that HUD will disapprove a proposed conversion where a PHA is disposing units at a proposed project and HUD determines that the use of disposition and RAD undermines the unit replacement requirements of RAD. It creates a streamlined conversion option for PHAs that have a very small public housing portfolio of 50 units or less that will not involve any rehabilitation, new construction, or relocation.

NAHRO members will receive additional coverage on these notices and the RAD program.