HUD Webinar on Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on June 10th at 2 pm ET

HUD will host a webinar on its Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit on June 10th at 2 pm ET. The webinar will focus on “how PHAs can use the components of the Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit to work with residents collaboratively.” Registration for the webinar is not required. The webinar can be joined by clicking the link below at the appropriate time.

Webex Link: https://ems8.intellor.com/login/839449 (no registration needed)

Dial-in: 888-251-2949 | Access Code: 2419011##

Summary of CARES Act Waivers Exploratory Meeting

The following is a summary of an exploratory meeting with HUD staff on 5/19/21 on CARES Act statutory waivers, considering the potential advantages and disadvantages of making each waiver permanent. PHAs and industry group members in attendance offered feedback and comments about their experience with the waivers, to give context to the operation of each waiver in practice. NAHRO will continue to be engaged in discussions to ensure efficient and effective HUD affordable housing programs that serve the needs of local communities. Select comments, questions, and concerns from the meeting are included below:

  1. HQS Inspection Requirement: Biennial Inspections
  • Allows for delay in biennial inspections
  • PHAs must require landlord certification there are no life-threatening deficiencies
  • All delayed biennial inspections must resume by 6/30/21 and be completed by 12/31/21

Comments on how to assure units meet HQS standards:

Switch to random inspections

For new units for last 2 years, allow landlord to do self-inspection but tenant has to sign-off on no life-threatening issues, and then every 5th unit look out for 90 days

RVI  was initially not well-received by households or inspectors, but now successful as inspectors became efficient with technology and residents got familiar with the process

2. Public Housing Agency Annual Self-Inspection

  • Waives the requirement that the PHA must inspect each project

Comments:

Goal to ensure compliance without being intrusive

Flexibility of the waiver is good, but residents need a mechanism to complain to the PHA

One solution is to send property staff with LIHTC state inspections, which are unofficial but reduce intrusions and get eyes on the property

3. Homeownership Option: Initial HQS Inspection

  • Waives the requirement to perform an initial HQS inspection to begin making homeownership assistance payments
  • Requires family to obtain independent professional inspection

4. Family Unification Program (FUP): FUP Youth Age Eligibility to Enter HAP Contract

  • Allows PHAs to increase age to 26 for foster youth to initial lease up

Comments:

Multiple comments that expanding age would help program with utilization, and benefit program overall

Youth considered a dependency on parental health insurance until 26 if parents have health insurance, and would help with youth in more expensive cities

Questions about different timelines for youth in FSS for FYI and FUP

5. Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR)

  • Temporarily suspends CSSR

Comments:

Has no specific outcome

Administrative argument to made as well that it takes unnecessary time, effort, funding to manage

6. 1-and 2-Year Substantial  Improvement Requirements

  • For PHAs designated as troubled prior to the date of this Notice that have not received a PHAs assessment for the first full fiscal year after the initial notice of the troubled designation.
  • HUD will: (1) evaluate the 1-year substantial improvement benchmark based on the first released score for fiscal years ending on or after June, 30, 2022; and (2) toll the evaluation of the 2-year recovery benchmark to the next sequential fiscal year.

7. Extension of Deadline for Programmatic Obligation and Expenditure of Capital Funds

  • Provides an 18-month extension for obligation and spending of cap funds

Comments:

Construction currently very difficult because of high building costs, can only get materials costs 6 weeks at a time

Hard to make a 5-year plan when we don’t know what the funding will be

Additional waivers and comments:

  • Waiver for publishing openings and closing of wait lists:
    • Feedback: Expensive to publish in print, requests to consider alternative methods of publication

HUD Updates Eviction Prevention and Stability Toolkit

HUD has updated its eviction prevention and stability toolkit. The toolkit provides ten items that can help PHAs and Housing Choice Voucher landlords stabilize families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The toolkit provides the following documents:

The updated eviction prevention and stability toolkit can be found here.

New HCV Landlord Participation Webinar on Partnerships and Monetary Incentives

HUD is hosting a webinar on two new chapters of the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Landlord Strategies Guidebook. The chapters are on establishing partnerships and monetary incentives. The webinar will be oriented towards current HCV landlords, landlords interested in the HCV program, PHAs, rental housing industry groups, and other interested stakeholders.

The one-hour webinar is on June 22, 2021 at 2 pm ET.

Registration for the webinar can be found here.

Emergency Housing Vouchers FAQ Updated to Version .2

HUD has updated the Emergency Housing Voucher frequently asked questions (FAQ) document to version .2. The FAQ can be found on HUD’s Emergency Housing Voucher (EHV) website. The new updated FAQ answers questions related to eligibility, partnerships and collaborations, voucher administration, administrative and service fees, portability, reporting requirements, EHV allocation, EHV voucher acceptance/rejection process, and moving to work (MTW).

The FAQ can be found here.

Application Deadline for SR-FBR Program Extended

HUD has extended the application deadline for the Small-Rural Frozen Rolling Base (SR-FRB) to June 30, 2021 (Notice PIH-2021-17). To apply to the SR-FRB program, eligible PHAs must elect to participate in the program via the Operating Fund Web Portal. The election will be made through the SR-FRB submodule, which can be found in the Energy Incentives module. Elections must be on or before June 30, 2021 if an agency wishes to begin the program in 2022. As with other Operating Fund Web Portal submissions, applications must be filled out by the PHA Executive Director. Detailed instructions on how to fill out the election form can be found here. A list of eligible PHAs for the program can be found here.

The SR-FRB program allows small, rural PHAs to freeze their three-year rolling base consumption level that is used to calculate their operating fund amounts received. Housing agencies will be able to freeze their most recent three-year period for a period of up to 20 years. All cost savings will go to the PHA and the PHA may use them for any eligible public housing purpose.

President Kicks Off Holiday Weekend With Proposal to Increase HUD Funding

The President’s full FY 2022 budget proposal released May 28, provides additional details to the topline numbers outlined by the Administration in April. Overall, the President proposes to increase HUD funding by 15%, focusing increases core programs, climate change resiliency, disinvested communities, and HUD staff capacity.  

The Administration proposes full funding for Section 8 On-going Administrative Fees, which HUD estimates to be $2.79 billion. In addition to fully funding Admin Fees, the President calls for an additional $490.7 million in Admin Fee for PHAs to use for mobility-related social services. If funded, it would be the first time since FY 2003 the full cost of operating the voucher program has been met. NAHRO commends the Administration for the recognition of the work that PHAs are doing in communities and the resources needed to continue those vital services.

NAHRO is glad to see the Administration’s support for affordable housing and community development reflected in the FY 2022 proposed budget. This 15% increase in HUD funding includes a significant increase for the public housing capital fund to preserve existing affordable housing, $500 million more for the HOME Program, which will build more affordable housing, and an increase in resources to support the Housing Choice Voucher Program. These are all vital steps in helping to house our nation’s families, seniors and children.

NAHRO President Sunny Shaw, in response to the budget proposal
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Work Requirement MTW Cohort Rescinded

On May 21, HUD announced that the Department will rescind the selection notice seeking applications for the Work Requirements Cohort of the MTW Expansion (PIH Notice 2021-02). NAHRO remains supportive of the MTW Expansion and still encourages PHAs interest in the Expansion to apply to other cohorts. HUD notes that PHAs that were interested in applying to the Work Requirement Cohort can apply to either the Landlord Requirements Cohort (PIH Notice 2021-03) and/or future cohorts of the MTW Expansion. The application for the Landlord Incentives Cohort will be extended until at least September 2021.

Sec. Fudge Testifies on Importance of the American Jobs Plan

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testified this morning in a joint hearing on the American Jobs Plan for the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs. Titled “21st Century Communities: Expanding Opportunity Through Infrastructure Investments,” the joint hearing focused on how housing and transit work together to support communities and jobs, and the importance of housing as infrastructure.

In her testimony, Sec. Fudge focused on the ways that “yesterday’s lack of investment” is driving the affordable housing crisis through lack of supply of housing units and state of disrepair of existing housing units. She emphasized the different ways the American Jobs Plan (AJP) addresses these two issues, which includes $213 million to build 2 million new homes and $40 billion to repair existing public housing infrastructure.

In his testimony, Sec. Buttigieg highlighted how the relationship between housing and transit infrastructure impacts families who must choose between “living impossibly far from work to afford housing,” relying on aging transit systems in need of repair, or “paying more for housing than they can afford in order to have a reasonable commute.”  

Both Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) separately asked about manufactured housing, and the potential for HUD to issue guidance on manufactured housing. Sen. Scott emphasized the importance of manufactured housing in disaster recovery his state, and Sen. Sinema focused on the importance of manufactured housing considering increased construction materials costs. Sec. Fudge said HUD had been preoccupied by COVID, but supports manufactured housing as resilient, energy efficient, and affordable, and should have guidance out by the end of the year.

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asked about the lack of available senior housing, and how that might be a growing problem as the number of aging Americans significantly increases in the next decade. Sec. Fudge responded that many people forget a large percentage of public housing residents are seniors and need to be able to age in place, and that requires investing in Section 202.

Several senators also asked about landlord and community incentives to lease to voucher holders or to build new housing. Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) took the hearing as an opportunity to talk about his new bill with Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE).  Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) asked about how the AJP currently addresses zoning, and how more targeted incentives could motivate local communities to address exclusionary zoning, bans on multifamily construction, and other barriers to more affordable housing.

You can watch the hearing here.

You can find the testimony of the witnesses here.

HUD Posts First FAQ for Emergency Housing Vouchers

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has posted its first frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on Emergency Housing Vouchers. These vouchers–for people at-risk of homelessness, people experiencing homelessness, people fleeing domestic violence, and people experiencing housing instability–were recently allocated to almost 700 PHAs. The Department released guidance discussing how the vouchers will operate. This FAQ answers questions that may not have been answered by the initial operational guidance notice.

Topics in the FAQ include the following:

  • Eligibility;
  • Partnerships and collaboration;
  • Voucher administration;
  • Portability; and
  • Reporting requirements.

The full FAQ may be found here.