Administration Announces Housing Supply Action Plan

On May 16, the administration announced a housing supply action plan that is intended to “ease the burden of housing costs over time, by boosting the supply of quality housing in every community.” The plan includes both legislative and administrative actions and is meant to align with other policies currently in effect (e.g., federal rental assistance) to create more affordable rents and make homeownership more affordable.

While the plan includes many specific actions, many of those actions can be grouped into the following categories.

  • Incentivizing jurisdictions to reform their zoning and land-use policies by giving higher scores to jurisdictions that do this in federal grant allocations.
  • Implementing new financing mechanisms to build and preserve housing, including manufactured housing; accessory dwelling units; two to four unit properties; and other multifamily buildings.
  • Improving existing federal financing for development and preservation, which includes making construction to permanent loans more available; promoting the use of COVID recovery funds for affordable housing; reforming the low-income housing tax credit and the HOME program.
  • Ensuring that more housing goes to owners that live in the units or non-profits that will rehabilitate them.
  • Addressing supply chain issues by working with the private sector.

The White House’s full announcement of their housing supply action plan can be found here.

Public Housing Residents and Section 8 Program Participants Eligible for Affordable Connectivity Program

Public housing residents and Section 8 program participants are eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). The program provides a discount of up to $30 per month (and up to $75 per month for households on qualifying tribal lands) towards internet service for eligible households. Households can also receive up to $100 to purchase a laptop, desktop computer, or tablet from participating providers if they contribute between $10 and $50 toward the purchase price.

To enroll in the program, a household has to do the following:

  1. Complete an online or mail-in application at ACPBenefit.org; and
  2. Contact a participating provider to select an internet plan and have the ACP discount applied.

There is a limit of one monthly service discount and one device per household.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has created a consumer outreach toolkit. The toolkit includes infographics, fact sheets, flyers, consumer handouts, audio public service announcements, videos, newsletter blurbs, press release text, and sample social media posts to help spread the word about the program. It also includes translations of some of the handouts, web resources, and a speaker request section.

Additional information on the Affordable Connectivity Program can be found here.

HUD’s guide to the program can be found here.

A program fact sheet can be found here.

The FCC’s ACP Consumer Outreach Toolkit can be found here.

New Opportunities to Learn Asset Building Strategies

Earlier today, the HUD Moving to Work (MTW) office sent an email with information about upcoming webinars on asset building strategies that PHAs can employ to help their residents. Asset building (as defined in PIH 2022-11–the MTW cohort on asset building) is defined as “activities that encourage the growth of savings accounts and/or aim to build credit for assisted households.” The information from the email is reproduced below.

  • Asset Building Opportunities for HUD-Assisted Tenants
    Tuesday, May 10, 2022 | 2:00-3:00 pm EST
    Join HUD and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Webinar to learn the key financial components for people trying to build assets & increase financial well-being.
    Link to Join | Access Code: KbnJzUPA?782
  • How to Apply – MTW Expansion Asset Building Cohort Webinar
    Tuesday, May 24, 2022 | 2:00 – 3:00 pm EST
    During this webinar, HUD will walk through the selection notice and application materials and give PHAs more information about this cohort.
    Link to Join | Join via telephone phone at 888-251-2949 | Access Code 3334803#
  • Rent Reporting and Credit Building Opportunities for PHA Residents
    Tuesday, June 7, 2022, 2:00-3:00 pm EST
    Join HUD and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Webinar to learn about strategies for helping public housing residents build positive credit histories.
    Link to Join | Access Code: 2SThfN6Zmj$2

New Webinar on Using PBVs

On April 21st, from 2 pm to 3 pm ET, HUD will host a webinar on how PHAs can expand their project-based voucher (PBV) portfolio. According to HUD, “[t]his webinar will review the PBV program requirement, highlight PBV resources, and provide case studies for how PHAs have used PBVs to improve HCV program utilization.”

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

HUD Extends Streamlined Waiver Requests for Certain HCV Waivers

On April 11th, HUD published a notice extending the time in which certain Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) waivers could be applied for in an expedited manner. The notice is titled “Streamlined Regulatory Waivers for the Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab) Program” (PIH 2022-09).

The notice extends the deadline–until September 30, 2022–to apply for three specific waivers that apply to the Housing Choice Voucher program. These waivers were previously available through prior notices, but the deadline to apply through the expedited process had ended.

The three waivers that are still available for the HCV program are the following:

  • Increase in Payment Standard During HAP Contract Term – this waiver would allow the PHA to increase the payment standard for a family at any time after the effective date of the increase, rather than waiting for the next regular reexamination.
  • Term of Voucher: Extensions of Term – this waiver would allow PHAs to grant extensions of the initial voucher term, irrespective of what is written in the PHA’s administrative plan.
  • Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount – this waiver would allow PHAs to establish payment standards from 111 to 120 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR).

In requesting a waiver, the PHA must articulate a good cause justification. The good cause justification must include three elements: 1) why the PHA needs the waiver; 2) the impact on PHA operations or applicants if the waiver is not provided; and 3) the proposed waiver duration. The waiver may not extend past Dec. 31, 2022. The notice provides examples of good cause.

To request a waiver, PHAs should email PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov. The notice provides instructions on the information required and the proper formatting of the email request.

The full notice can be found here.

New HUD Notice Provides Opportunity for Additional Mainstream Vouchers and Additional Administrative Fees

In April, HUD released a notice providing an opportunity for PHAs to access additional Mainstream vouchers. The notice is titled “Mainstream Vouchers – Non-Competitive Opportunity for Additional Vouchers Authorized by the CARES Act and Extraordinary Administrative Funding” (Notice PIH 2022-07). The notice provides an opportunity for PHAs to receive new Mainstream vouchers and extraordinary administrative fees. The Department will make up to $35 million available for these vouchers. The deadline to apply for these vouchers and additional administrative fees is no later than May 6, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET.

Housing agencies that are eligible for these vouchers must meet certain requirements. Those PHAs that have previously received Mainstream vouchers from certain notices and that have a Mainstream voucher utilization rate of 80% or higher as of Nov. 2021 are eligible.

To receive an allocation of new Mainstream vouchers, a PHA, through its Executive Director (or equivalent position), must submit a form HUD-52515, according to instructions in the notice, via email to MainstreamFunding@hud.gov. The subject line of the email must include the PHA’s unique identifying number and the words “Request for Mainstream Award for COVID-19 Response.” Outstanding civil rights matters must be resolved before the Department will award additional Mainstream vouchers under this notice.

The Department will award vouchers by granting either the number of vouchers the PHA requests or number of vouchers determined by the PHA’s size, if the number the PHA requests is larger than the number allocated by size. HUD may, at its discretion, grant fewer vouchers. The maximum number of vouchers HUD will grant according to PHA size is detailed below:

  • PHAs with more than 5,000 vouchers – Up to 50 Mainstream vouchers under this notice;
  • PHAs with more than 1,000 vouchers, but fewer than 5,000 vouchers – Up to 30 Mainstream vouchers under this notice; and
  • PHAs with fewer than 1,000 vouchers – Up to 10 Mainstream vouchers.

The deadline for to apply for these vouchers is no later than May 6, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET.

Additionally, extraordinary administrative fees will also be made available. The Department will make available $500 dollars per voucher awarded in certain prior Mainstream voucher notices and this notice. Applications for these administrative fees must be received no later than May 6, 2022 at 11:59 pm ET. To apply for the funds a PHA’s Executive Director, or equivalent position, must send an email to MainstreamFunding@hud.gov, with a subject line that includes the PHA’s unique identifying code and the words “EAF Mainstream Application” and includes a statement printed in the notice. The notice also contains certain other details about what should be included in the application email.

The full notice can be found here.

HCV Mobility Demonstration Supplementary Notice Published

A pre-publication copy of a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Mobility Demonstration Supplementary Notice has been posted to the Federal Register’s public inspection desk. This notice expands on the original implementation notice to describe additional policies and flexibilities for PHAs that are participating in the HCV mobility demonstration (now called the “Community Choice Demonstration“). The notice touches on topics such as the pilot length; enrollment of existing voucher holders and new admissions; flexibility between the treatment groups and the control group; the memorandum of understanding and the performance standards requirements; and the eligible uses of funds.

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2022 Administrative Fee Rates Posted

On March 30, HUD sent an email to Executive Directors of PHAs noting that calendar year (CY) 2022 administrative fee rates have been posted to HUD’s website. Administrative fees are used by agencies to cover the costs of operating the Housing Choice Voucher program. Advanced administrative fee prorations for the months of April through May 2022 were at 88% proration. Final national prorations will be provided via email.

The following files may be found on HUD’s website:

When Does a PHA Not Receive a SEMAP Score? Find Out Here!

The COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted many PHAs’ voucher operations. In recognition of this, HUD has afforded PHAs that meet certain criteria the opportunity to waive their Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) scores in recognition of the pandemic environment. There are also certain other instances when PHAs may not receive a SEMAP score. This blog post illustrates three instances where a PHA may not receive a SEMAP score.

Instances Where a Prior SEMAP Score Is Carried Forward

PHAs with a fiscal year end (FYE) on Dec. 31, 2021 will have their most recent SEMAP score on record carried forward. See pages 39 and 40 of Notice PIH 2021-14 (HA). (Note: For these PHAs, they will not qualify for the expedited waiver described below for their FYE on Dec. 31, 2022.)

PHAs that Receive an Expedited SEMAP Waiver

PHAs with a FYE of 3/31/22, 6/30/22 or 9/30/22 may request to waive the application of SEMAP in its entirety, but only if the PHA has SEMAP indicators that were–directly or indirectly–affected because of a disruption to PHA operations caused by the PHA’s adoption of CARES Act waivers. See page 4 of Notice PIH 2021-34. Additional information on applying for the SEMAP waiver or other expedited waivers can be found in Notice PIH 2021-34. The deadline to apply for expedited waivers has been extended to April 1, 2022. After April 1, PHAs may still apply for a regulatory waiver, but the expedited waiver process will no longer be available. See Notice PIH 2022-04.

Certain Small PHAs (Fewer than 250 Assisted Units)

HUD’s regulations state that HUD will assess and score SEMAP for PHAs with fewer than 250 assisted units every other PHA fiscal year unless the PHA elects to have itself scored annually or the PHA is troubled. 24 CFR 982.105(a)(2). Clarifying HUD guidance states that non-troubled PHAs with fewer than than 250 assisted units and FYEs of 3/31/2022 or 6/30/2022 do not have to have submit a SEMAP certification. See chart and accompanying text on page 3 of the IMS-PIC SEMAP Sub Module PHA Certification and PHA Appeal Submission Instructions, March 2019.

PHAs that fall into one of these categories may not receive an SEMAP score from HUD.

Emergency Housing Vouchers: A How-To Guide for PHAs

HUD has published a guide for using Emergency Housing Vouchers (EHVs). The purpose of the guide is to provide an overview of EHVs, highlight program best practices, and reduce inequities. Topics covered by the guide include the following :

  • Background and Purpose [of EHVs];
  • Key Features of Emergency Housing Vouchers;
  • Partnerships and Collaborative Planning;
  • Emergency Housing Voucher Program Design;
  • Use of the Service Fee;
  • Coordinated Entry and Emergency Housing Voucher Referral Processes;
  • EHV Waiver and Alternative Requirements Checklist;
  • Sample Memorandum of Understanding;
  • Example of a Homeless Provider’s Certification;
  • Example of a Victim Service Provider’s Certification;
  • EHV Referral Packet Template: Sample Forms; and
  • EHV Portability Scenarios.

The full guide can be found here.