HUD has published a notice titled “American Rescue Plan Act – Adjustment Funding for Calendar Year 2021 Housing Choice Voucher Program and Mainstream Vouchers Renewal Funding and Updated Application Process for Unforeseen Circumstances Funding” (PIH Notice 2021-23). In allocating money for Emergency Housing Vouchers, the American Rescue Plan also stated that the money may be used for adjustments in the 2021 voucher renewal funding allocation. This notice makes $200 million available for PHAs that fall under the following categories:
- They experience a significant increase in voucher per unit cost (PUC) due to extraordinary circumstances (i.e., extraordinary circumstances); or
- That despite taking reasonable cost saving measures, they would otherwise be required to terminate rental assistance for families as a result of insufficient funding (i.e., shortfall funding).
This category is for PHAs and Moving to Work (MTW) PHAs that administer the voucher program or have Mainstream vouchers. To qualify, a PHA’s PUC must be 102% or greater than the PUC HUD used to determine the PHA’s calendar year (CY) 2021 renewal funding and PHAs must have less than four months of reserves. If the PHA’s reserves account has less than the amount needed to cover two months, the application will receive priority status. HUD will fully fund priority applications before considering regular applications. If the PHA has previously applied for funding from the extraordinary circumstances funding, it does not need to reapply. Adjustment funding in this category must be used by June 30, 2022 or will be recaptured. Applications should be submitted to 2021ARPApplications@hud.gov by 5 pm local time on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.
The criteria for these shortfall funds are the same as for the shortfall category in PIH Notice 2021-10. The reporting requirements for these funds will differ depending on the source of funding (the appropriations act HAP set-aside or the American Rescue Plan). If the funding is from the American Rescue Plan, PHAs must track and report the funding and expenses of the funds according to the requirements of this notice. If a PHA has previously applied for shortfall funding, it does not need to reapply under this notice. Adjustment funding under this category must be used by Dec. 31, 2021 or will be recaptured.
The full notice can be found here.
On June 29, 2021, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, allowed a stay of a US District Court order vacating the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Eviction Moratorium to stay in place. This means that the recently extended CDC Eviction Moratorium will remain in effect until July 31, 2021.
Justice Kavanaugh in a short opinion stated that, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its existing statutory authority by issuing a nationwide eviction moratorium.” Justice Kavanaugh further went on to say that because July 31, 2021 is only a “few weeks” away and those weeks will allow for additional time to distribute the Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds appropriated by Congress; therefore, Justice Kavanaugh voted to deny the removal of the stay.
NAHRO encourages PHAs, property owners, and landlords to use the resources available in HUD’s updated Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with the residents to minimize evictions.
On Thursday June 24th, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a full committee hearing, “Examining Bipartisan Bills to Increase Access to Housing,” to consider the following legislation:
Witnesses included Lisa Mensah, CEO of the Opportunity Finance Network, and Nan Roman, CEO and President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, who both testified about the need to rehabilitate existing housing and build more housing in order to address the current crisis in affordable housing and homelessness. American Enterprise Institute witness Howard Husock argued against expanding Housing Choice Vouchers without making sure that emergency rental assistance was being disbursed more efficiently. Mr. Husock also testified in favor of the Moving to Work approach to voucher rental contracts for new tenants that use flat rent for a fixed-period, independent of tenant income, so that tenants can avoid an income cliff and put any additional income into an escrow account.
In his questions, ranking member Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) was very interested in this MTW model and the possibility that the current model might discourage increased work, following up on his opening statement criticizing elevated unemployment benefits. Both Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) asked about bills that would collect more data on different aspects of the housing crisis, and ways that agencies could collaborate on high-needs populations, including work to prevent evictions and services for vouchers to high-opportunity areas. Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN) and Sen. Cortez Masto (D-NV) both asked questions in support of the Native American Homeownership Act. Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) argued that none of the bills under discussion addressed the current address “the failed state of our housing finance system,” focusing on the lack of diversity and competition in the mortgage market. To make credit more available for mortgages, Sen. Scott argued that the committee also needed to look for serious, bipartisan approaches to comprehensive mortgage finance reform.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked about the overall disrepair in the nation’s housing stock, the $70 billion backlog in repairs in public housing, and the estimated 10,000 units of public housing lost per year as a result of these deferred costs. She reiterated her belief that housing is infrastructure, and the importance of making public housing safe for families who are there now. Commenting on the current infrastructure talks, she argued that the current state of housing puts families at risk and that Congress must go further than the President has proposed in order to meet the needs of families.
Secretary Fudge and HUD Senior Advisors led a briefing on Monday June 21st to update housing advocates on details of the American Jobs Plan (AJP), and urge continued support across advocacy networks. In the briefing, she called the AJP a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to address decades of disinvestment in moderate and low-income housing, and its $40 billion Capital Fund investment “the biggest down payment we will make,” while simultaneously acknowledging that the $40 billion did not go far enough. The HUD team emphasized the importance of redeveloping and preserving public housing units to the administration’s dual goals of racial equity and reducing the environmental footprint of public housing.
HUD Senior Advisor Peggy Bailey also gave a more detailed breakdown of the proposed $40 billion for the Capital Fund:
$27 billion: Major Rehabilitation, Modernization, and Redevelopment
- Leveraging capital through Capital Fund, mixed finance, and RAD
- Build new units up to Faircloth
- Includes RAD rent boost ($1 billion), tenant-protection vouchers ($500 million), expanding the scale of Choice Neighborhoods ($2 billion)
$13 billion: Immediate Health/Safety Needs and Environmental Impact of Public Housing
- $6 billion to Public Housing Authorities with public housing for immediate needs and renovations – capital grants by formula
- $7 billion for health, safety, and climate needs – competitive grants
Secretary Fudge issued new guidance yesterday clarifying that citizens returning from jail and/or prison and at risk of homelessness are eligible for Emergency Housing Vouchers.
In a letter sent out to PHAs, Continuums of Care, and HUD grantees, Sec. Fudge wrote that “HUD strongly encourages PHAs to work with their Continuum of Care (CoC) partners to ensure that individuals who are at-risk of homelessness after leaving prisons or jails are considered for these vouchers.”
HUD has eliminated permissive prohibitions for drug-related criminal activity for EHVs, since drug addiction can be a root cause of homelessness. Following a Housing First approach, it now recommends considering drug-related prohibitions to be separate from prohibitions on criminal activity against a person. HUD also no longer requires a “one strike” rule for residents for criminal activity, and instead defers to discretion of landlords and PHAs. More detail on criminal records and eligibility for EHVs can be found here.
Beyond EHVs, more guidance on criminal records in accordance with the Fair Housing Act can be found here. PHAs and federally-assisted housing cannot use arrest records as the basis to deny admission, terminate assistance, or evict residents.
HUD plans to issue future guidance and tools for PHAs and private landlords on tenant screening and best practices on reentry housing. Later this month it will also issue guidance on using Community Development Block Grants on community violence intervention (CVI).
On June 24, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr. Rochelle Walensky, signed an extension of the CDC order halting residential evictions due to non-payment of rent. The CDC eviction moratorium is now in effect until July 31, 2021, a one-month extension.
Existing and new tenant declarations are in effect until July 31, 2021. A CDC statement further provided that the CDC intends this to be the final extension. In preparation of the end of the CDC eviction moratorium on July 31 ,2021; PHAs, property owners, and landlord are encouraged to use the resources available in HUD’s updated Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with the residents to minimize evictions.
Additionally, the White House released Fact Sheet: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Initiatives to Promote Housing Stability By Supporting Vulnerable Tenants and Preventing Foreclosure. The fact sheet highlights a number of actions that the Administration is taking to help state and local governments prevent evictions with a focus of local court eviction diversion programs and speeding the process of distributing emergency rental assistance funds.
On June 22 at 2 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar titled “Eviction Prevention Best Practices for PHAs.” The webinar will feature three PHAs that have implemented innovative eviction prevention strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic. Call in information for the webinar can be found below.
Step 1: Dial into the conference.
Dial-in: 888-251-2949 or 215-861-0694
Access Code: 1323293##
Need an international dial-in number?
Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/839493
Step 2: Join the conference on your computer.
On June 17, 2021, NAHRO along with its industry partners—CLPHA, PHADA, and the MTW Collaborative—jointly issued a statement on universal housing vouchers. Only one in five low-income households that are eligible to receive housing assistance can be served by existing programs due to limited funding. The statement discusses the need for additional rental assistance to address housing instability and prevent homelessness. The statement also discusses the strengths of the voucher program in providing scalable assistance that is proven and effective.
The full statement is can be view here.
HUD has updated a document of frequently asked questions (FAQ) on HUD’s new Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHV). Topics covered by the FAQ include eligibility, partnerships and collaborations, voucher administration, administrative and service fees, portability, reporting requirements, EHV voucher allocation, EHV voucher acceptance/rejection process, and Moving to Work (MTW).
The revised EHV FAQ can be found here.