HUD to Revise HUD-VASH Program Rules

Early next week, the Department of Housing and Urban Development will publish in the Federal Register a notice titled “Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers: Revised Implementation of the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program.” The HUD-VASH program combines Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program assistance with case management and clinical services through Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Centers (VAMCs), Community-based Outpatient Clinics, or a designated service provide (DSP). The program aims to increase access to affordable housing for veterans, while also providing additional needed supports.

This notice revises the policies and procedures for the administration of HUD-VASH vouchers. As part of this revision, the notice includes new waivers and program flexibility. The new waivers and flexibility include the following:

  • Allowing the PHA to act in the role of the VAMC or the DSP for the purposes of family selection, where the PHA has been selected for this authority in the past;
  • Allowing the PHA and owner to agree to amend a project-based voucher (PBV) housing assistance payment (HAP) contract to re-designate a normal PBV as a HUD-VASH PBV;
  • Allowing PHAs to apply separate payment standards for HUD-VASH families without prior HUD approval; and
  • A new requirement that PHAs must allow special housing types for HUD-VASH.

The notice also updates some of the existing requirements. These updates include the following:

  • Allowing PHAs to house HUD-VASH veterans referred by the VA in a PBV unit without selecting from the PHA’s waiting lists or applying local preferences;
  • Additional explanation for the portability process for moves of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking;
  • Additional information regarding case management from the VAMC or DSP;
  • Clarification that when a family breaks up, the HUD-VASH assistance must stay with the veteran, but not in cases where the veteran is a perpetrator of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking;
  • Revision stating that Moving to Work (MTW) agencies may apply their MTW flexibilities to their HUD-VASH program with approval from HUD’s HCV office;
  • Explanation of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) exceptions for project-basing HUD-VASH vouchers;
  • Explanation that when a HUD-VASH family is eligible to move from its PBV unit, the family must be able to move with a HUD-VASH tenant-based voucher; and
  • An explanation of the HUD-VASH reallocation process through voluntary moves between PHAs and voucher recapture.

A pre-publication copy of the notice can be found here.

US Supreme Court Overturns CDC Eviction Moratorium

On Thursday, August 26, the United States Supreme Court vacated the stay that has allowed the current CDC eviction moratorium to continue. The order vacating the stay and dissent arguing to keep the stay can be found here. It confirms lower court decisions that the CDC did not have statutory authority to impose a nationwide eviction moratorium and states, “If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it. The application to vacate stay presented to THE CHIEF JUSTICE and by him referred to the Court is granted.”

The Court order placed considerable responsibility on Congress to act on a federal eviction moratorium, “It is up to Congress, not the CDC, to decide whether the public interest merits further action here. And Congress was on notice that a further extension would almost surely require new legislation, yet it failed to act in the several weeks leading up to the moratorium’s expiration.”

NAHRO continues to meet and work with HUD to develop solutions that will provide housing authorities the flexibility to minimize local evictions and will provide additional information when it becomes available. NAHRO encourages housing authorities, landlords, and tenants to work together to avoid COVID related evictions and to review HUD’s Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit for information and best practices. A White House Fact Sheet has also been released that provides additional actions that are being taken to prevent eviction and increase access to emergency rental assistance funds.

HUD Releases Revised COVID-19 Waiver Notice

On November 30, HUD released a notice extending COVID-19 waivers for PHAs. This notice is titled “COVID-19 Statutory and Regulatory Waivers and Alternative Requirements for the Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab), Indian Housing Block Grant and Indian Community Development Block Grant programs, Suspension of Public Housing Assessment System and Section Eight Management Assessment Program, Revision 2” (PIH 2020-33(HA), Rev-2). This notice restates the waivers from previous notices and incorporates the waivers from the mainstream voucher waiver notice and mod. rehab. waiver notice. It also adds several new waivers and alternative requirements and extends most of the waivers until June 30, 2021 (previously, most waivers were set to expire at the end of this year).

Some aspects of the previous waiver notice remain in place. First, the use of these waivers is discretionary. The PHA may choose which waivers it wishes to use. Additionally, some waivers have alternative requirements which should be read carefully. Finally, PHAs must publicly post or otherwise make available a list of all the waivers and alternative requirements the PHA choose to implement. The PHA must also notify residents and owners or the impact of the waivers and alternative requirements.

Members of NAHRO will receive additional information about this notice.

The full notice can be read here.

A quick reference chart of the waivers and their period of availability can be found here.

HUD to Release Additional Mainstream Voucher Funding

Earlier today, HUD released a new Mainstream voucher notice titled “Mainstream Vouchers – Non-Competitive Opportunity for Additional Vouchers Authorized by the CARES Act, Temporary Waivers and Alternative Requirements, and Modified 2020 Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Renewal Calculation” (PIH 2020-22). This notice does the following:

  1. Allows any PHA with a Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program to apply for new Mainstream vouchers;
  2. Provides Mainstream-voucher-specific waivers; and
  3. Modifies the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal formula for Mainstream vouchers.

The deadline for applying for new voucher funding is Dec. 31, 2020. The additional flexibilities offered in this notice may be used until Dec. 31, 2020. Additional information on the new notice can be found below.

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HUD Publishes Mod. Rehab. CARES Act Waiver Notice

Earlier today, HUD published a notice titled ‘Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Program – CARES Act Supplemental HAP Funding Allocation and COVID-19 Waivers and Alternative Requirements” (PIH 2020-20). This notice allocates additional funding for PHAs with Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod. Rehab.) programs and establishes voluntary waivers and alternative requirements that may be used by PHAs. This notice only applies to the Mod. Rehab. program administered by the Office of Public and Indian Housing and does not apply to the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy (SRO) program.

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President Signs Executive Order on Assistance to Renters and Homeowners

On August 8, President Trump signed an executive order titled “Executive Order on Fighting the Spread of COIVD-19 by Providing Assistance to Renters and Homeowners.” This Executive Order (EO) was signed after the negotiations on a fourth COVID-19 legislative relief package broke down.

The EO states, “[i]t is the policy of the United States to minimize, to the greatest extent possible, residential evictions and foreclosures during the ongoing COVID-19 national emergency.” Specifically it directs the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) “to promote the ability of renters and homeowners to avoid eviction or foreclosure” through actions that “may include encouraging and providing assistance to public housing authorities, affordable housing owners, landlords, and recipients of Federal grant funds in minimizing evictions and foreclosures.” The agencies of HUD and Treasury are also directed to “identify any and all available Federal funds to provide temporary financial assistance to renters and homeowners.” Additionally, the Department of Health and Human Services, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “shall consider whether any measures temporarily halting residential evictions . . . are reasonably necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19.”

This Executive Order, in and of itself, does not specifically extend nor create an eviction moratorium nor does it create a new rental or homeowner assistance program. This Executive Order instructs the executive branch of government – specifically Health and Human Services; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Treasury; Housing and Urban Development; and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) – to assess their current resources and tools related to renters and homeowners affected by COVID-19.

NAHRO continues to encourage Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Section 8 landlords, and tenants to work together to minimize the financial impact of COVID-19. 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. Best practices in preventing evictions include repayment agreements, retroactive recertifications and proactive communication with tenants.

Below are links to HUD and NAHRO eviction prevention resources:

Our advocacy must continue to ensure adequate resources that support your programs and provides rent relief for unassisted families. Use the NAHRO Advocacy Action Alert Center to send letters to your members of Congress and the Administration and let them know the critical role quality house and rental assistance plays as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

HUD PIH Posts Updated COVID-19 FAQ (Revision 5)

The Department’s Office of Public and Indian Housing has updated their COVID-19 frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document to revision 5. This revision updates information related to the evictions moratorium, preventing evictions, PHA operational considerations, contacting HUD staff, use of disaster-related funding, retroactive reexaminations, whether to consider CARES act unemployment benefits in calculating income, HQS inspections, and many other topics.

The FAQ can be found here.

It can also be found on NAHRO’s coronavirus page.

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.