On Sept. 26, HUD published a notice titled “Extension of Certain Regulatory Waivers for the Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream) Program and Streamlined Review Process” (Notice PIH 2022-30). The notice would extend two waivers that were previously made available for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program.
The waivers that would be extended are the following:
- Increase in Payment Standard During HAP [Housing Assistance Payment] Contract Term – this waiver would allow PHAs to increase the payment standard for a family at any time after the effective date of the increase instead of at the next regular reexamination.
- Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount – this waiver would allow PHAs to establish payment standards up to 120% of the FMR, instead of 110%, which is the maximum usually allowed in most scenarios.
Extending a Waiver
If a PHA already is using one of these waivers, it need only extend the waiver. Agencies that are using these waivers may continue to use them, without taking additional steps, until Dec. 31, 2022 and may extend them until Dec. 31, 2023. To extend the waivers, PHAs must email PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov, while copying their local field office. The notice provides details on the contents of the email to be sent. Waiver extensions may be requested until Dec. 31, 2022.
Requesting a Waiver
Agencies that wish to apply for one or both of the waivers, if they do not currently implement them, or agencies that have not extended their waiver before the deadline, may request the use of the waiver through a streamlined approval process. Requests for waiver usage under this process must be submitted to HUD before the end of Sept. 30, 2023.
Agencies that request a waiver through this process must provide a good cause justification. The good cause justification must include all of the following:
- Why the PHA needs the waiver;
- The impact on PHA operations or applicants if the waiver is not provided; and
- The proposed waiver duration (this should be limited to the time the PHA needs the waiver, but should not exceed Dec. 31, 2023).
Examples of good cause for each of the waivers can be found below:
- Increase in Payment Standard During HAP Contract Term;
- Increases in family rent burdens;
- Potential negative impacts to tenants or the onset of housing instability;
- Voucher Tenancy: New Payment Standard Amount;
- Rental Market Fluctuations – The PHA is in an area that HUD has determined has significant rental market fluctuations (a list of those areas is listed at the end of the notice);
- Utilization Rate – The PHA has a lower than 98% utilization rate for the current year or more than a 5% utilization drop between 2019 and 2021; The utilization rate for this purpose is the higher of the unit utilization rate or the budget utilization rate; and
- Timely Leasing of Vouchers – the PHA has leased less than 85% of the vouchers that it has issued in the last six months.
A PHA may request a waiver by emailing PIH_Expedited_Waivers@hud.gov, while copying their local field office. The notice provides details on the contents of the email to be sent.
As always, a PHA may use the regular waiver request process for any additional waiver it may require, but those requests will not be subject to a streamlined approval process.
The full notice may be found here.
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.
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.
HUD has published their CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool (CAWRT; pronounced “cart”) dashboard. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This act gave HUD the authority to offer PHAs the option to waive certain statutory and regulatory requirements. In late 2021, HUD requested that all PHAs fill out a survey on which, if any, waivers they used. The Department took that information and created a publicly accessible dashboard on which PHAs used waivers and which waivers they used.
The CAWRT dashboard can be found here.
As previously reported by NAHRO, HUD has now officially extended the deadline to April 1st for submitting a request for an expedited waiver. The new notice, Notice PIH 2022-04, states the following:
“This notice amends PIH-2021-34 solely by extending the submission deadline in Section 5 of the notice from March 1, 2022 to April 1, 2022. No additional submission extensions will be issued.”
From NAHRO’s discussions with HUD staff, NAHRO was able to learn that even after the deadline, PHAs will be able to apply for these waivers, but post-deadline requests will not go through the expedited waiver process. In addition, the simplified payment standard waiver process in the expedited waiver notice will remain in place after the deadline. Additional details on that process remaining in place will be explained in a future notice.
The full notice extending the deadline to April 1st can be found here.
On Jan. 5, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register titled “Regulatory and Administrative Requirement Waivers and Flexibilities Available to HUD Public Housing and Section 8 During CY 2022 and CY 2023 to Public Housing Agencies To Assist With Recovery and Relief Efforts on Behalf of Families Affected by Presidentially Declared Disasters.” The notice provides an expedited process for PHAs to apply for certain waivers and flexibilities when faced with a Presidentially Declared Disaster (PDD) for the calendar years (CYs) 2022 and 2023. The notice is effective from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2023.
This notice lists the waivers and flexibilities that are available to PHAs, notes that it will consider certain exceptions, and provides instructions on how to submit waiver, flexibility, and exception requests. The following flexibilities and waivers may be requested (please note that the list below is summarized—see the full notice to read the complete descriptions of the waivers):
- Operating Subsidy Flexibility in Approved Vacancies – a PHA is eligible to receive funding for vacant public housing units that are vacant because of a declared disaster, subject to HUD approval. Eligible units will be considered approved for 12 months.
- Uniform Financial Reporting Standards; Filing of Financial Reports; Reporting Compliance Dates – HUD may approve delays to certain financial reporting requirements.
- Public Housing Assessment System – HUD may consider waiving the physical inspection and scoring of public housing projects.
- Cost and Other Limitations; Maximum Project Cost; TDC Limit – HUD may waive total development costs (TDC) and housing cost cap limits for all work funded through the Capital Fund until the next issuance of TDC limits.
- Cost and Other Limitations; Types of Labor – HUD may allow PHAs that are not high-performing to use force account labor for modernization-only activities even with not included in the PHA’s 5-year action plan. This waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
- Capital Fund Formula; Replacement Housing Factor to Reflect Formula Need for Projects With Demolition or Disposition Occurring on or After October 1, 1998 and Prior to September 30, 2013 – HUD may allow unexpended Capital Fund Replacement Housing Factor Grants to be used for public housing modernization. This waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
- Tenant Selection Policies and Administrative Plan – HUD may waive requirements that a PHA’s Board of Commissioners approves revisions to tenant selection policies and a PHA’s administrative plan if the revisions are temporary, do not exceed a period of 12 months, are not significant amendments, and comply with the PHA’s plan or state law.
- Waiting List; Opening and Closing; Public Notice – HUD may waive the requirement that it must provide public notice when opening and closing its waiting list by posting in a local newspaper of general circulation. It would replace that requirement by an alternative one requiring the PHA to post notice to its website. The waiver will not exceed a period of 12 months.
- HUD Approval of Exception Payment Standard Amount – HUD may approve an exception payment standard that is higher than 110% of the Fair Market Rent.
- Housing Quality Standards; Space and Security – HUD may waive the requirement that units have at least 1 bedroom for every 2 people to house families displaced by natural disasters. The waiver will be in effect for the initial lease term.
- Occupancy of Home – HUD may allow families participating in the homeownership program to continue receiving housing assistance payments even if displaced from their homes.
- Contract of Participation; Contract Extension – HUD may consider authorizing a PHA to extend a family’s contract of participation in a Family Self Sufficiency program for up to 3 years. Any waiver will be in effect for a request made to the PHA during a period of up to 12 months.
- Section 8 Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) – HUD may consider a request to carry forward a PHA’s last SEMAP score.
- Verification of the Social Security – HUD may consider a request to transmit form HUD-50058 within 90 days, instead of the usual 30 days, of the receipt of the applicant’s social security documentation.
- Specific Criteria for HUD Approval of Demolition Requests – for certain Section 18 demolition requests, HUD will accept certain environmental reviews.
- Approval of Demolition – HUD may waive the requirement for a list of specific and detailed work items for certain Section 18 demolition requests.
A PHA may also request an exception to a requirement that is not listed. HUD will consider these requests subject to statutory and regulatory limitations.
To request waivers, if in a Presidentially Declared Disaster area, a PHA should complete Appendix A of the notice and email the completed appendix with supporting documentation to PIH_Disaster_Relief@hud.gov.
The full notice can be accessed here.
On Dec. 9, HUD published a notice titled “Expedited Regulatory Waivers for the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (including Mainstream and Mod Rehab) Programs” (Notice PIH 2021-34). This notice provides information on flexibilities that HUD will continue to provide for the public housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs, even though most regulatory and statutory waivers related to the COVID-19 pandemic will expire at the end of the year. The COVID-19 waivers for the public housing and voucher programs were published because of authority given to HUD through the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Additional information on the expiration of these waivers can be found in HUD’s guidance for winding down CARES Act waivers; PIH 2021-14 (providing revised waivers for public housing and the HCV program); PIH 2020-20 (providing waivers for the Mod. Rehab. program); and PIH 2020-22 (providing waivers for Mainstream vouchers).
This notice divides the additional potential flexibilities into three categories. First, there are flexibilities that will continue with no waivers needed. Second, there are regulatory waivers that PHAs may request and which HUD will review through a streamlined process. Third, there are additional regulatory waivers which PHAs may request, but which HUD will review through its normal waiver review process. None of the statutory waivers provided through CARES Act authority will be extended. In general, HUD lacks the authority to waive statutory program requirements, so PHAs should not request waivers for statutory requirements.
On Dec. 6, HUD published a notice titled “Submitting CARES Act Waiver Adoption Information to HUD by December 20, 2021” (PIH 2021-33). This notice requires all PHAs–including those that did not adopt any CARES Act waivers and those that are Moving to Work (MTW) agencies–to report on the waivers that they did or did not implement in the CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool (CAWRT).
The CARES Act, passed on March 27, 2020, provided HUD with the authority to waive certain statutes and regulations for the public housing and the housing choice voucher (HCV) programs as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Department exercised its authority to issue waivers through multiple notices, including PIH 2021-14 (providing revised waivers for public housing and the HCV program), PIH 2020-20 (providing waivers for the Mod. Rehab. program), and PIH 2020-22 (providing waivers for Mainstream vouchers). Additionally, HUD has provided guidance for winding down the waivers as they near their end of life.
Housing agencies must now report to HUD the waivers that they adopted. In adopting CARES Act waivers, HUD required PHAs to record which waivers the PHA had adopted. Agencies should have made this document available to the public. The Department also provided a suggested format for recording adopted waivers in the form of Attachment I of PIH Notice 2021-14. HUD requires one response from each PHA code. Agencies participating in the MTW program should only indicate adoption of the waivers that were adopted through CARES Act authority.
This reporting requirement must be met by Dec. 20, 2021.
Step-by-step instructions to complete this reporting requirement can be found here.
Housing agencies can access the CARES Act Waiver Reporting Tool here.
Late this afternoon, HUD published additional guidance instructing PHAs on how to wind down CARES Act waivers. According to HUD, the guidance “outline[s] planning considerations available to PHAs as they evaluate how to effectively and efficiently navigate the CARES Act Waivers expiration.” The Department did not publish additional guidance documents on waivers that were already expired or where HUD felt it unnecessary. There will be future guidance on both the Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP) and the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS).
There are guidance documents for the following program areas:
- Verification – this document provides guidance on verification documents on income, citizenship, social security numbers, and proof of family composition. Information in it is applicable to public housing, housing choice vouchers (HCVs), and mod. rehab. programs.
- Inspections – this document provides information inspection-related waivers. Information in it is applicable to public housing, HCVs, and mod. rehab. programs.
- Occupancy Policies – this document provides guidance on waivers that allowed families to remain in their units during the pandemic. Information in it is applicable to public housing and HCVs.
- Project-based and Enhanced Voucher Provisions on Under-Occupied Units – this document provides information on waivers that enabled homeless families to enter into lease agreements for under-occupied project-based voucher (PBV) units. Information in it applies to PBVs, the rental assistance demonstration (RAD) program, and enhanced voucher programs.
- Capital Programs – this document provides information on waivers related to capital program operations during the pandemic and certain additional waivers. It is applicable to the public housing program.
- Uniform Financial Reporting Standards – this document provides information on how PHAs submit their financial statements.
- Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirements (CSSR) – this document provides information about the requirement that public housing residents participate in community service or an economic self-sufficiency program and is applicable to public housing.
Links to all of this guidance along with a table with updated waiver expiration dates can be found here.
NAHRO members will receive additional information on these guidance documents in the coming days.
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.