After NAHRO Letter, HUD Releases Funds; Still No Word on Additional CARES Act Reporting Guidance

On July 17, 2020, NAHRO CEO Adrianne Todman sent a letter to Secretary Carson asking that HUD, among other things, release Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding related to the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and to release guidance on additional reporting requirements for CARES Act funding.

Specifically, the letter requested that HUD immediately:

  • “Disburse all administrative fee funding from the CARES Act”;
  • “Disburse all Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) funding from the CARES Act”; and
  • “Publish clear and concise guidance on additional CARES Act reporting requirements for” the HCV program.

Earlier today, HUD began the process of disbursing the HCV HAP and administrative fee funding. The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials is pleased that HUD took this step in response to its letter.

Unfortunately, neither the notice on HAP funding nor the notice on admin. fee funding provided additional new information on the additional CARES Act requirements for recipients of $150,000 or more of CARES Act funding. The notices continue to state that within “10 days after the end of each calendar quarter, a report containing information regarding the amount of funds received; the amount of funds obligated or expended for each project or activity; a detailed list of all such projects or activities, including a description of the project or activity; and detailed information on any subcontracts or subgrants awarded by the recipient” be submitted. The notices continue to state that as outlined in Office of Management and Budget memorandum M-20-21, existing reporting requirements may meet CARES Act requirements and that HUD will issue further guidance, if necessary.

The Department has yet to state, if additional CARES Act reporting guidance is necessary. If it is, the Department has yet to publish it.

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials urges HUD to immediately publish clear and concise guidance around the reporting requirements of these CARES Act funds.

Homeland Security’s Public Charge Rule Implementation Stopped!

On July 29, 2020, Judge George B. Daniels of the U.S District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a preliminary injunction and temporary stay of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Public Charge rule. Judge Daniels’ order provides that DHS and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) can not enforce, apply, implement, or treat as effective the Public Charge rule as long as “there is a declared national health emergency in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The preliminary injunction and temporary stay applies nationwide as Judge Daniels wrote, “Each infected individual that travels to Governmental Plaintiffs’ jurisdiction [States of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont; and City of New York] risks undoing crucial progress made in combating this disease. Discouraging noncitizens nationwide from obtaining necessary treatment and care certainly undermines those efforts. Issuing geographically limited relief would not meaningfully abate the public health risk, especially when applied to a population that represents a significant portion of essential workers who continue to work outside of their homes ans interact with the public at large.”

The Public Charge rule, that defined public charge to include individuals receiving federal housing benefits, took effect February 24, 2020; after previous injunctions and stays were lifted by the U.S. Supreme Court. It is anticipated that Judge Daniels’ preliminary injunction and temporary stay order will also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The July 29, 2020 order can be view here. NAHRO’s Public Charge One-Pager provides additional information on the DHS Public Charge rule. NAHRO will continue to follow the implementation of DHS’s Public Charge rule and share additional information as we receive it.

How COVID-19 Sheds New Light on Lung Health and Smoke-Free Public Housing Webinar – Aug. 12 at 2pm EST

Clean Air for All invites you to join us for a complimentary upcoming webinar: How COVID-19 Sheds New Light on Lung Health and Smoke-Free Public Housing. We will discuss ways COVID-19 has impacted smoke-free public housing, learn about the link between smoking, secondhand smoke exposure, and COVID-19, and share resources and strategies to help PHAs manage smoke-free housing during the pandemic.

We are honored to be joined by Dr. Brian King, Deputy Director for Research Translation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for this discussion.

Webinar Objectives:

  • Describe the state of the science with regard to smoking, secondhand smoke exposure and COVID-19.
  • Illustrate ways the COVID-19 pandemic may impact smoke-free public housing and discuss potential adaptive strategies.
  • Outline existing resources to help public health authorities (PHA) improve smoke-free policies.
  • List smoking cessation support resources for public housing authorities (PHA).

Register today for our How COVID-19 Sheds New Light on Lung Health and Smoke-Free Public Housing Webinar!

Clean Air for All: The Smoke-Free Public Housing Project is a collaboration of Live Smoke Free (LSF) a program of the Association for Nonsmokers – Minnesota and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO). This project is made possible with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Webinar for the HCV Mobility Demonstration

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials with our friends, CLPHA, is sponsoring a free webinar on HUD’s new mobility demonstration put on by Mobility Works, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Opportunity Insights.

On July 15, HUD released a notice implementing the $50 million Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration. This important demonstration will enable selected public housing agencies to implement or expand programs that help families to use housing vouchers to locate in “high-opportunity” neighborhoods, which research shows can significantly improve adult and child well-being on several key measures, including children’s chances of attending college.

Housing agencies participating in the program will receive new housing vouchers as well as funding to provide robust mobility services to families with children. Agencies will also participate in a rigorous evaluation of the effectiveness of their mobility programs.

Please join us for this free webinar on August 11, 2020 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm ET to discuss the details of HUD’s demonstration notice, as well as the lessons that experienced practitioners and researchers have learned about developing effective housing mobility programs.

AGENDA

Moderator, Demetria McCain, Inclusive Communities Project

I. The requirements of the HUD NOFA:
● Doug Rice, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
● Megan Haberle, Deputy Director, Poverty & Race Research and Action Council

II. Developing a regional housing mobility plan:
● Andrea Juracek, Executive Director, Housing Choice Partners
● Jeffery Patterson, CEO of the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority

III. Reflections on working with researchers on a mobility evaluation:
● Sarah Oppenheimer, Opportunity Insights
● Andrew Lofton, Seattle Housing Authority

Registration for the free webinar can be found here.

Final AFFH Rule Released

Late last week, HUD published on its website a final rule titled “Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice.” This rule implements the Fair Housing Act’s duty to affirmatively further fair housing (AFFH). Although the rule has not yet been published in the Federal Register, it will go into effect 30 days after its official publication.

Continue reading

CARES Act Eviction Moratorium Ends This Week, Eviction Prevention Resources

Section 4024 of the CARES Act stopped non-payment of rent evictions (and stopped imposing fees and penalties for non-payment of rent) for 120 days beginning on March 27 for many tenants receiving Federal rental assistance including the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher programs. The 120-day eviction moratorium expires this Saturday, July 25, meaning Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) and landlords may begin issuing 30-day notices to vacate for non-payment of rent after July 25, 2020.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has encouraged tenants, landlords, and PHAs to work together to minimize the impact of the CARES Act eviction moratorium ending. Tenants should contact their PHA notifying them of any reduction of income due to the pandemic. Landlords and PHAs should reach out and coordinate with tenants concerning unpaid rent, including potential repayment agreements. PHAs should also consider implementing retroactive recertifications and informing their tenants of their availability.

Below are links to HUD and NAHRO eviction moratorium and eviction prevention resources:

NAHRO continues to provide the latest housing related COVID-19 information at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

HUD PIH Provides Updates on FAQs and Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit

On Thursday, July 9th, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) hosted a conference call providing updates on several items, including PIH Notice 2020-13 (which extends most of the COVID-19 related waivers to December 31st and adds certain new waivers); frequently discussed topics; an eviction and stability toolkit; and new developments in the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.  

Department officials provided updates on the new waiver notice during the first part of the call. Each PHA continues to have discretion to choose which waivers to adopt and use, and must notify the public, if it chooses to use any waiver or alternative requirement. The notice adds six new waivers: 

  • HCV-11: Youth using Family Unification Vouchers may continue to receive housing assistance six months past the 36-month limit.  
  • HCV-12: PHAs may accept referrals from child welfare agencies for youths leaving foster care within 120 days.  
  • HCV-13: For families experiencing hardship in the last year of their homeownership term, PHAs may extend homeownership assistance for up to one year.  
  • HCV-14: Units under a Project Based Voucher (PBV) contract with zero housing assistance payments may remain on contract after 180 days. Public Housing Agencies may resume Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) should the family’s income change to require a HAP payment. This flexibility is available until the end of 2020. 
  • PH-11: Designated Housing Plans may be extended through the end of 2020 if they are set to expire beforehand, but PHAs will need to submit a renewal request 60 days prior to December 31st, 2020.  
  • PH-12: PHAs may waive the requirement to inspect each project during CY 2020, but must complete inspections during CY 2021. PHAs must also keep units in good working order and complete exterior inspections. If a PHA chooses not to use this waiver, HUD encourages use of Remote Video Inspections (RVI) instead. 

The notice also makes some additional changes. For Housing Quality Standards (HQS) waivers, where the PHA has accepted an owner’s certification, an inspection must be conducted within 1 year of the owner certification. For PHA’s that employ biennial inspections, the PHA will be required to perform an inspection as soon as reasonably possible, but not later than 1 year from the date when the biennial inspection would have occurred. The period to informally adopt changes to a PHA’s administrative plan or a PHA’s Admission and Continued Occupancy Plan (ACOP) ends on September 31. The PHA must formally adopt the changes by December 31. 

The HUD officials then provided updates about frequent topics of interest. These topics included the effective date of interim recertifications;  calculating income for hazard pay and other unemployment insurance related topics; planning for the end of the eviction moratorium; privacy concerns; eligible uses of funding; a reminder that Violence Against Women Act guidance remains in effect; and Remote Video Inspections. 

The Department officials then reminded call participants that HUD has posted an Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on its website, which includes resources for PHAs, landlords and tenants on rent repayment agreements and avoiding eviction-related expenses. 

Additionally, presenters discussed a series of recommendations that PHAs could take avoid evictions at the end of the eviction moratorium. The presenters also used Columbus Metropolitan Housing Authority to illustrate some of these best practices. These recommendations include the following: 

  1. enter into repayment agreements with residents, update repayment agreement policies, and encourage Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) landlords to enter into repayment agreements;
  2. revise policies to allow for retroactive interim reexaminations;
  3. review hardship exemption policies and consider setting minimum rent to zero;
  4. communicate with households with unpaid rent; and 
  5. position residents for future stability by maximizing Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) and Jobs Plus benefits with other steps.

Finally, HUD presenters gave an update on the HCV program. The presenters noted that supplemental HAP funding would be provided via a notice to be released in late-July. They also stated that a second round of administrative fees would be disbursed in late-July or August. They noted that the new mobility demonstration would likely be published in the next few weeks and that HUD was going to start allowing PHAs that have Family Unification Programs (FUP) to participate in the Foster Youth the Independence initiative. The next round of FUP funding is anticipated to be announced later this summer. Finally, HUD staff announced the next round of HUD-VASH vouchers and answered some questions. 

Additional COVID-19 resources can be found at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.

NAHRO’s New Housing Proposals Focus on the Future

The nation’s public housing agencies and community development agencies have been housing our nation’s families and creating vibrant, stable communities for decades. And they’re continuing to do this vital work of providing shelter, creating opportunity, and addressing inequities during a pandemic that’s straining both local and national resources.

But even as we continue to cope with the fallout of COVID-19, we must also work on solutions for both current and future housing needs. We need new housing construction, more resources for existing housing programs, and flexibilities that prioritize progress over paperwork. NAHRO’s What Happens Next: Housing Beyond the Pandemic provides funding and policy proposals that will:

  • Increase housing supply and improve affordability
  • Preserve existing affordable housing
  • Stabilize families, and
  • Prioritize progress over paperwork.

The paper is available here.

HUD PIH to Hold Conference Call on CARES Act Funding on July 9th at 4 pm ET

In an email sent earlier today, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) stated that they will be holding a conference call on July 9th, 2020 at 4 pm ET, which will provide updates on CARES Act funding, the second round of waivers, the eviction moratorium, HAP funding and new FAQs.  

Please click here for a calendar invitation. 

The Department invites PHAs to submit questions and topics for future calls to PIH@hud.gov. Call-in information is available below: 

Step 1: Dial into the conference. 

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

Access Code: 0410949## 

If the automated recording indicates the conference is full, please use overflow information: 

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

Access Code: 0120428# 

Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. 

Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/829379 

Additional information and resources on COVID-19 are available at www.nahro.org/coronavirus.  

HUD Reports Worst Case Housing Needs Decreased in 2017

HUD has released the seventeenth edition of Worst Case Housing Needs: 2019 Report to Congress, which measures various demographic and economic trends among very low-income (VLI) renter households with “worst-case” housing needs, who do not receive government assistance and spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, live in inadequate housing, or both. Very low-income renters earn less than half of the Area Median Income (AMI).  

In 2017, 7.7 million households had wors- case needs, representing 6.3 percent of all U.S. households. This total has decreased 7 percent from 8.3 million in 2015, which the report attributes the decline to rising income and other economic factors lifting households out of poverty. However, the report notes that the affordable housing shortage has undermined those gains and worsened housing security for renters who remain low-income. The number of households with worst case needs also remains far above pre-recession levels and 30 percent higher than the 2007 estimate of 5.9 million households.  

Other report highlights include:  

  • Nationally, 47.2 percent of VLI households had worst case needs in 2017. Ninety-five percent of worst-case households reporting having severe rent burdens only. Of the remaining 5 percent, half reported inadequate housing, and half reported both.  
  • The number of households with worst-case needs declined between 2015 and 2017 across all racial and ethnic groups. Nonwhite households accounted for 52.9 percent of all worst-case needs, but non-Hispanic white households have the largest share among ethnic groups with 47.1 percent.  
  • The number of VLI households with children decreased by 763,000 over the two years due to rising incomes. However, many more families would exhibit worst case needs without housing assistance.  
  • Worst case needs were more prevalent in the Southern and Western states and in suburban areas, where relatively fewer VLI households receive government assistance. Less than a third of VLI householders were able to avoid severe housing problems without government assistance.  

The affordable housing shortage and strong demand from renters has intensified competition for available units, resulting in inefficient allocation: more than a third of units affordable to VLI households are instead occupied by higher-income households. While overall rental stock has grown slowly since 2015 and there is a surplus among higher-income renters, the number of affordable units declined four percent in that same period, outpacing the decline in worst case needs. In 2017, there were fewer than 60 affordable units available per 100 VLI renters, and only 35 units per 100 Extremely Low Income (ELI) renters, who make less than 30 percent of the AMI.  

As the number of unassisted VLI households dropped, the proportion of such households with worst-case needs increased, suggesting intensifying need among those who remain unassisted driven mainly by the affordable housing shortage. Furthermore, income gains have been offset by rising rents, and even with government assistance many VLI households have difficulty finding adequate and affordable housing. HUD points to the need to increase access to affordable housing by reducing regulatory barriers to development and recruiting more landlords to participate in voucher programs.