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 Requests Comments on RAD for PRAC Notice

In an email sent to its RADBlast! email list earlier today, HUD is requesting comments to a new draft Section 4 to be added to the RAD Revised Notice. The new section would allow for the conversion of properties assisted by Section 202 Project Rental Assistance Contracts. The draft section is posted on the Office of Multifamily Housing’s Drafting Table website. Comments are due by March 12, 2019.

Specifically, HUD is seeking comment on the following topic areas:

  • Is this document well organized?
  • Is the guidance set forth in this document clear? Are there sections that are unclear?
  • Are the proposed terms of the Use Agreement reasonable and adequate?
  • Are there unique features of 202 PRACs or the elderly population that the properties serve that HUD has not adequately accounted for in this Notice?
  • The draft Section describes an option to convert to Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) or to Project Based Vouchers (PBV) What is the degree of interest in PBV conversions? Please note that while HUD has developed the framework for a process for seamlessly funding a conversion from PRAC to PBRA, funding a conversion from PRAC to PBV is likely to be more complex.
  • Does HUD provide adequate avenues for stakeholders to provide feedback on the direction of the RAD program and, if not, what additional measures for public feedback should HUD consider?

Comments may be submitted to rad2@hud.gov.

The draft section of the notice can be found here.

HUD Reports Worst Case Housing Needs Increased in 2015

Yesterday, HUD released the sixteenth edition of the Worst Case Housing Needs: 2017 Report to Congress which finds that in 2015 there were 8.3 million unassisted very low-income households in the U.S. that were experiencing “worst case housing” by spending more than half of their income on rent, living in severely substandard housing conditions, or both. “Very low-income households” are those earning no more than 50 percent of the area median income (AMI). Overall, the number of households with worst case needs have increased by 41 percent since 2007 and by 8 percent since 2013.

A few highlights of the report include the following: Continue reading

Senate Appropriations Approves Transportation, HUD Bill

In other news from the Senate yesterday, the Appropriations Committee voted unanimously to approve its FY 2018 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill. The bill provides $60.058 billion in funding overall, $2.407 billion higher than current funding levels and $3.5 billion higher than the House. Considering the constraints of the FY 2018 budget cap, the increased THUD allocation is a huge win and allowed appropriators to avoid making the same types of cuts seen in the House THUD bill. The House Appropriations Committee approved its bill on July 17.

NAHRO will provide a detailed analysis of the bill next week.

The future of THUD in both the House and the Senate is unclear, though it is unlikely either chamber moves its THUD bill to the floor. Yesterday, the House approved a four-bill minibus package of spending bills, dubbed the “security-bus” because of its composition of defense and security-related bills. The House will likely adjourn for August recess this afternoon without passing any additional spending bills. The Senate, shifting its focus away from health care this morning, delayed August recess by two weeks to work on nominations and the debt ceiling. It may also choose to move appropriations bills to the floor during that time, assuming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell does not adjourn the Senate earlier than expected.

Housing and Community Development Highlights

  • Rental Assistance Demonstration- cap eliminated, sunset date removed
  • Public Housing Capital Fund- $1.945 billion, $4 million higher than FY 2017
    • Jobs Plus- $15 million, level funded
  • Public Housing Operating Fund- $4.5 billion, $100 million higher than FY 2017
  • Choice Neighborhoods Initiative- $50 million, $87 less than FY 2017
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals- $19.37 billion, $1.015 billion more than FY 2017
  • Administrative Fees- $1.725 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Ongoing Administrative Fees- $1.715 billion, $75 million higher than FY 2017
    • Additional Administrative Fees- $10 million, level funded
  • Family Self-Sufficiency- $75 million, level funded
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance- $11.507 billion, $691 million higher than FY 2017
  • Community Development Block Grant- $3 billion, level funded
  • HOME Investment Partnerships- $950 million, level funded
  • Homeless Assistance Grants- $2.456 billion, $73 million higher than FY 2017

 

Free Smoking Cessation Webinar – July 20 at 1pm ET

The Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC), in collaboration with the CDC Tips From Former Smokers™ Campaign, the National Center for Health in Public Housing (NCHPH), and the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) are pleased to invite you to this free webinar, “Comprehensive Tobacco Cessation in Public Housing Community Health Centers : Beyond Policy Adoption and Implementationon Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 1:00pm EDT (90 minutes).

We are honored to have the following speakers presenting on this topic for us:

  • Bill Blatt, MPH, National Director of Tobacco Programs, American Lung Association
  • Elizabeth A. Davis, MD, Chief of Adult Medicine, Medical Director of Addiction Medicine, South End Community Health Center
  • John Kane, Senior Project Coordinator, Boston Housing Authority
  • Jose Leon, MD, Chief Medical Officer, National Center for Health in Public Housing

Webinar Objectives:

  1. Review tobacco use disorders data in public housing primary care
  2. Discuss key components of successful implementation of the non-smoking policy in public housing
  3. Describe the smoking cessation interventions provided by South End Community Health Center
  4. Learn how to talk to multi-unit housing residents about quitting smoking, including why they should quit, and learn about locally available programs and resources to help them

REGISTER HERE:

https://cc.readytalk.com/r/7ombg8t9bo76&eom

NAHRO, CAP Offer Free Webinar on PHA-CAA Partnerships

Does your Public Housing Authority (PHA) want to provide necessary non-housing services to your residents, such as access to case management, transportation services, food security, or the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)? Is your Community Action Agency (CAA) looking for better ways to partner with your local PHA to help your clients find safe, secure, affordable housing? If so, please join the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and the Community Action Partnership (CAP) for a free webinar to learn about how PHAs and CAAs work hand-in-hand to help address poverty in communities across the nation.

On June 20, from 1:30-3:00 p.m. EDT, NAHRO Senior Director of Congressional Relations John Bohm, CAP CEO Denise Harlow, and NAHRO and CAP staff will discuss the results of a recent survey conducted by NAHRO and CAP, provide examples of established working relationships between PHAs and CAAs, and examine the results achieved by these partnerships.

Nationally, PHAs help over 4.8 million families and individuals by providing safe, decent, affordable housing for families in need. Community Action Agencies provide critical programs to more than 15 million people with low incomes every year. Collaboration increases the capacity of both PHAs and CAAs, and making the CAA programs and services available to public housing residents puts communities are in a far better position to combat poverty. Join us for this free webinar to learn how to build and strengthen these collaborations.

Register Now Button

FY 2018 Proposed Budget: Process and In-Depth Analysis

The Administration’s budget proposal, released on May 23, is the first step in a months-long journey. Now that the Administration has released its recommendations, this Direct News will provide in-depth coverage of how it would affect the Community Development, Section 8 and Public Housing programs administered by HUD.

The budget proposal requests cuts, which if implemented, would be devastating for communities. NAHRO strongly opposes the President’s budget proposal and will work to provide necessary and responsible funding for critical housing and community development programs. NAHRO will also fight for long-overdue program and regulatory reforms that can reduce costly administrative burdens.

Members should note that the President’s request is the beginning and not the end of the budget and appropriations process. The Administration’s budget request has over the years become a political document that reflects the fiscal goals and priorities of the Administration for the upcoming fiscal year. It does not carry the force of law. Congress, who controls the nation’s purse strings, can choose to accept the request wholesale, pick and choose parts of it, or reject it outright, which they frequently do. NAHRO will fight to ensure that work undertaken by our members to address critical housing needs for vulnerable families can be sustained.

NAHRO’s initial review can be found in The NAHRO Blog’s post, “President Officially Releases FY 18 Budget Proposal, Slashes Housing and CD Spending.” NAHRO members click on the links below to review the in-depth FY 2018 budget request analysis for Community Development, Section 8, and Public Housing:

Community Development (NAHRO Login Required)

Section 8 (NAHRO Login Required)

Public Housing (NAHRO Login Required)

President Officially Releases FY 18 Budget Proposal, Slashes Housing and CD Spending

The President’s FY 2018 budget request was officially released today.

The proposal, which largely mirrors the budget preview released in March makes steep cuts to housing and community development programs, slashing the overall HUD budget by $6 billion. The bulk of the cuts are to community development programs, which are largely eliminated. The budget also cuts the Public Housing Capital Fund by 68 percent, requesting a funding level of just $628 million for the upcoming fiscal year. The budget document also mentions that the Administration is working toward a “comprehensive package of rental assistance reforms” including “increased tenant rent contributions, the establishment of mandatory minimum rents, and the end of utility allowance reimbursements, among others.”

These proposed cuts, if implemented, would be devastating for communities. NAHRO strongly opposes the President’s budget proposal and will work to provide necessary and responsible funding for critical housing and community development programs. NAHRO will also fight for long-overdue program and regulatory reforms that can reduce costly administrative burdens. Listed below are the Administration’s proposed 2018 funding levels for programs central to the work of NAHRO’s membership.

  • Public Housing Operating Fund: $3.9 billion, $500 million less than FY 2017
  • Public Housing Capital Fund: $628 million, $1.31 billion less than FY 2017
  • Choice Neighborhoods: $0, $137.5 million less than FY 2017
  • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance: $19.318 billion, $974 million less than FY 2017
  • Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals: $17.584 billion, $771 million less than FY 2017
  • Ongoing Administrative Fees: $1.54 billion, $100 million less than FY 2017
  • Family Self-Sufficiency: $75 million, level funding from FY 2017
  • Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance: $10.751 billion, $65 million less than FY 2017
  • Community Development Block Grant: $0, $3 billion less than FY 2017
  • HOME Investment Partnerships Program: $0, $950 million less than FY 2017
  • Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS: $330 million, $26 million less than FY 2017
  • Homeless Assistance Grants: $2.25 billion, $133 million less than FY 2017
  • National Housing Trust Fund: $0, approximately $219 million less than FY 2017

Members should note that the President’s request is the first step in the budget and appropriations process. The Administration’s budget request has over the years become a political document that reflects the fiscal goals and priorities of the Administration for the upcoming fiscal year. It does not carry the force of law. Congress, who controls the nation’s purse strings, can choose to accept the request wholesale, pick and choose parts of it, or reject it outright, which they frequently do.

Though the budget preview released in March was largely rejected by members of Congress, it is still important to communicate to your members of Congress the impact these types of cuts would have in your community.

This year’s budget comes months later than the traditional budget release date of the first Monday in February, placing a serious time constraint on Congress to approve as many appropriations bills as possible prior to leaving Washington for the August recess. Typically, by this time in the year, cabinet agency funding bills for 2018 would have already been approved. For example, the Senate passed the FY 2017 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (T-HUD) spending bill on May 19, 2016. Because of this shortened timeline, it is largely expected that a continuing resolution (CR) will be necessary to keep the government functioning beyond the end of the fiscal year on September 30.

Detailed coverage of the 2018 HUD budget request will follow later this week, which will give the membership more specific information and analysis that will assist you in educating and inform decision-makers and other interested parties.

VAWA Implementation e-Briefing Next Week

VAWA 2013 Implementation
A NAHRO Professional Development e-Briefing

Next Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 1:30 – 3:00 pm EDT

Last November, HUD published a long-awaited final rule that provides expanded housing protections for survivors of violence by fully codifying the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into HUD regulations. At its core, VAWA 2013 prohibits HUD housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a survivor of violence.

Join NAHRO’s in-house policy experts as they discuss compliance with the final rule and the requirements for completing an emergency transfer plan and providing emergency transfers. HUD’s deadline to implement a VAWA Emergency Transfer Plan is June 14, 2017.

Just $95 for NAHRO Members!

Reminder: Whether you’re watching alone or with an audience of 100, only one registration per connected device is required, making NAHRO Professional Development’s e-Briefings an outstanding value!

Online registration will close Monday, May 15 at 11:59 pm EDT.

HOME Impact Story in Vancouver, Washington

During National Community Development Week, NAHRO celebrates the hard work of communities across the country by sharing Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) impact stories, highlighting the importance of these federal affordable housing and community development programs at the local level.

Project name Isabella Court I IMG_3578_Isabella
Location Vancouver, WA
District WA-03
Project Year 2015
Project Description Spearheaded by REACH, one of the largest and most successful Community Development Corporations in Oregon, Isabella Court offers affordable, senior living in Vancouver, Washington. Isabella includes 46 one-bedroom and 3 two-bedroom apartments and is built to the Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard (ESDS), with its focus on energy efficiency and promotion of sustainable living. The Isabella offers vibrant living in the Fourth Plain Corridor, with nearby restaurants, shopping, movie theater, and parks.
Use of HOME Funds New construction and development costs for multifamily rental housing.
Target Population Apartments are reserved for households 62 years of age and over earning 60% or less of the area median income.
HOME Funds $2,518,734 were provided by the Washington State Department of Commerce, the City of Vancouver and Clark County Community Services.
Other Funds 10 Project-Based Section 8 vouchers valued at $331,200; LIHTC; Tax-exempt bonds; State Housing Trust Fund. Total project cost: $12,476,777.
Project Impact The investment of these HOME funds and other leveraged dollars brought one of the first rent-restricted senior developments to the City of Vancouver in almost ten years and supplied the area economy with construction jobs with a living wage. The affordable housing provided much needed apartments to a City with one of the highest percentage rent increases in the nation between 2015 and 2016. Other impacts of this project include municipal economic development, job skills training, apprenticeship and neighborhood revitalization for one of the poorest Census Tracts in Clark County.
Contact Ben Sturz – bsturtz@reachcdc.org www.reachcdc.org