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:
Public Housing Agencies that are interested in receiving an allocation of HUD-VASH vouchers must email VASH_ROI@hud.gov by midnight (in the PHA’s time zone) of September 15, 2020. To be eligible, PHAs must have a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program and meet certain threshold requirements:
Utilization Requirements (only for PHAs that currently have a HUD-VASH program with more than 25 vouchers):
Minimum of 70% HUD-VASH unit utilization rate; or
Greater than 100% HUD-VASH budget utilization rate;
Capacity to administer HUD-VASH vouchers:
No major unresolved program management findings;
No significant program compliance issues;
No unresolved civil rights matters; and
Signed Letter of Support from a partnering Veterans Affairs (VA) facility.
To register interest for the vouchers with HUD, PHAs must consult their partnering VA facility to discuss their intentions of registering their interest and request a letter of support for HUD-VASH. The letters do not need to include a specific number of vouchers requested. The PHA must then send an email to HUD for each facility it partners with.
The email must meet certain requirements. The subject line should read “Registration of Interest [followed by the PHA code].” The body of the email should identify the name of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) or Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC), the Veterans Integrated Services number (VISN), and the facility’s Station ID. Finally, all registrations of interest must include a signed letter of support from the partnering entity.
The notice also makes several other miscellaneous points. Interested PHAs are encouraged to consult with their Continuum of Care lead agency, though PHAs are not required to provide a letter of support from them. The Department is establishing a minimum of 5 vouchers allocated and a maximum of 500 vouchers allocated per agency. Some PHAs will be invited to apply for HUD-VASH vouchers.
Earlier today, HUD published an eviction prevention and stability toolkit. The toolkit consists of six documents that offer “information and resources to PHAs and HCV landlords on ways to stabilize families during and after COVID-19.” The documents are listed below.
PHA brochure – this brochure “contains information on permitting repayment agreements and updating repayment agreement policies, adopting policies for retroactive interim reexaminations, directing outreach to households behind on rent, reviewing policies on minimum rent and financial hardship exemptions, and positioning residents for stability during and after COVID-19.”
Tenant brochure – this brochure provides helpful information to help tenants avoid eviction through preventative strategies. It also provides tenants with information related to COVID-19; information related to protections for domestic and sexual violence; and other resources related to tenant needs (e.g., disaster distress helpline, unemployment insurance website, economic impact payments website, etc.).
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.
Join us tomorrow, July 1, 2020 at 2pm eastern time for NAHRO’s Wednesday Webinar to get caught up on the latest assessment standards! Accreditation is a very effective way to demonstrate your agency’s excellence to the community and other stakeholders. Join special guests from the Affordable Housing Accreditation Board and accredited housing agencies as they discuss the benefits of AHAB accreditation and share stories about the accreditation process for their organizations. Also learn about the eight industry-adopted management standards and how accreditation can be used to enhance staff morale and public trust, and to reduce inefficiencies.
The National Housing Law Project (NHLP) and the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) have collaborated to produce a resident flyer on the federal eviction moratorium. The flyer is designed for Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher residents and simplifies the 120-day eviction moratorium that was included in the CARES Act when it passed in March by using a question and answer format along with descriptive case studies.
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 June 16, 2020 at 3 pm ET, which will feature 3 PHAs that will share PHA best practices during COVID-19. The Department invites PHAs to submit their own best practices and submit 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: 0576321## 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: 0153620## Step 2: Join the conference on your computer. Entry Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/827974
A calendar invitation can be accessed by clicking here.
HUD’s Office of Housing Choice Vouchers has published a Frequently-Asked-Questions (FAQ) document about project-based vouchers (PBVs) and public housing repositioning. Topics covered in the document include the following (taken from the table of contents):
I received word from a HUD official that the Mainstream Two-Year Tool is now available. For PHAs with Mainstream voucher programs, the Mainstream Two-Year Tool is within the regular Two-Year Tool and can be accessed by clicking the “Access Additional Tools” button. Additionally, the tool provides information on cash management to be used to assess the need for additional disbursements. “Reserve reconciliations” will be sent this week for PHAs with Mainstream programs.
Join us for a very special conversation with Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Cali.), Chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee. Congresswoman Waters has been a dedicated advocate for affordable housing throughout her entire career, a priority that has taken center stage during the COVID-19 crisis. For this reason, NAHRO leadership will honor her with our Legislator of the Year award.
Help NAHRO thank the Congresswoman for the CARES Act and for her commitment to affordable housing and community development programs!