NAHRO Submits Regulatory Reform Comments to HUD

On June 14, NAHRO submitted its comment letter to HUD’s request for comment on Reducing Regulatory Burden; Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Under Executive Order 13777.

NAHRO identified many regulations that would make good candidates for streamlining. Each of the regulations met at least one of the following reasons for streamlining:

(a) The regulation results “in the elimination of jobs, or inhibits job creation”;

(b) The regulation is “outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective”;

(c) The regulation imposes “costs that exceed benefits”; or

(d) The regulation creates a “serious inconsistency or otherwise interferes with regulatory reform initiatives and policies.”

The regulations listed are non-exhaustive. NAHRO’s comment letter is a start of a conversation between the Department and NAHRO. Given the limited time to compile this list, NAHRO expects to identify additional avenues for further regulatory streamlining, which we will share with the HUD.

NAHRO’s comment letter is organized into three sections: Public Housing and Section 8 recommendations; Community Planning and Development; and recommendations on cross-cutting programs and initiatives. Within each major section are topic headers with NAHRO’s recommendation on each topic.

HUD PIH Publishes Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 Guidance

On May 19, HUD Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a new notice (PIH-2017-08) that provides guidance to PHAs and owners on the requirements of the “Violence Against Women Act of 2013: Implementation in HUD Housing Programs Final Rule,” (VAWA Final Rule, published November 16, 2016) with respect to the Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs (including the Project-Based Voucher (PBV)), and Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation (Mode Rehab).

Overall, the VAWA Final Rule provides expanded housing protections for survivors of violence and fully codifies the provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) into HUD’s regulations. At its core, VAWA 2013 prohibits housing providers from denying or terminating housing assistance on the basis that an applicant or tenant is a survivor of violence.

Notice PIH-2017-08 provides a summary of the major changes of the final rule’s impact on PIH programs and details who is eligible to receive VAWA protections and how eligibility is determined and certified.

Among its topics, the notice reviews policies for:

  • PHA Documentation Requirements
  • Notice of Occupancy Rights
  • Victim Confidentiality
  • Emergency Transfers (Emergency Transfer Plans must be in place by June 14, 2017)
  • Family Break-up
  • Record Keeping and Reporting Requirements
  • Developing Partnerships with Victim Service Providers
  • Lease Bifurcations
  • Establishing Waiting List Preferences
  • Landownership: Move with Continued Tenant-Based Assistance
  • Owners in the HCV Program
  • Assistance Under More Than One Covered Housing Program
  • Fair Housing and Nondiscrimination

Please note that this guidance does not encompass every aspect of the VAWA Final Rule and should be used in conjunction with the VAWA Final Rule. NAHRO will provide a deeper analysis of this PIH notice for members in a forthcoming edition of the NAHRO Monitor.

FY2017 Omnibus Spending Bill Agreement

On Monday, May 1st, an agreed to fiscal year 2017 omnibus appropriations bill was released. The spending deal would fund the Federal government through September 30, 2017. This omnibus must still be voted on in the House and Senate and then be signed by the President but there is optimism and agreement among the parties involved.

The omnibus provides the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with $38.8 billion for fiscal year 2017, which is a 1 percent increase over fiscal year 2016 levels. Below is a brief breakdown of a few of the HUD program areas. The NAHRO Policy Team will continue to analyze the omnibus and will provide a deep dive analysis once the omnibus becomes law.

Public Housing (PH)

The omnibus funds the PH Operating Fund at $4.4 billion, which is $100 million less than fiscal year 2016.

The PH Capital Fund is funded at $1.9415 billion, an increase of $41.5 million from fiscal year 2016. This capital funding includes set-asides of $35 million for Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS), $25 million for new Competitive Lead-Based Paint Hazard Grants, $21.5 million for Emergency Capital Needs, $15 million for Jobs Plus Pilot, and $10 million for PH Financial and Physical Assessment Activities.

Section 8

Tenant-Based Rental Assistance is funded in the omnibus at $20.292 billion, which is an increase of $663 million more than fiscal year 2016. This amount includes set-asides for Section 8 Housing Assistance Payment Renewals funded at $18.355 billion, Ongoing Administrative Fees at $1.640 billion, Special and Ongoing Administrative Fees at $10 million, Tenant Protection Vouchers at $110 million, and new Incremental Vouchers at $57 million. The Mobility Demonstration program is not funded in the FY2017 omnibus appropriation bill.

Community Development

The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and the HOME Investments Partnerships Program (HOME) have flat funding at $3 billion and $950 million respectively.

The Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) is funded at $356 million, an increase of $21 million from FY2016 and the Homeless Assistance Grants are funded at $2.383 billion, an increase of $133 million over FY2016 levels.

Other Rental and Service Programs

The Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program is funded at the same level as FY2016, $75 million.

Section 8 Project-Based Rental Assistance increased $196 million from FY 2016 levels to $10.816 billion.

The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program did not receive any additional funding but the cap on the number of units eligible for the program was increased from 185,000 to 225,000 and the RAD program was extended from 2018 to 2020.

The Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation (NeighborWorks) was funded at $140 million with $5 million to be used for a multi-family rental housing program.

The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness is funded at $3.6 million and is extended to October 1, 2018.

Upcoming NAHRO e-Briefing on HUD Year in Review

 

On February 7, 2017, img_0015NAHRO will present, Moving Forward: A Review of 2016 Regulation and
Legislation
, part of NAHRO’s Housing Rules!! series.

The NAHRO Policy team will discuss
many areas that HUD and Congress addressed during 2016 and NAHRO reviewed in detail
in NAHRO’s Regulatory and Legislative Year in Review – 2016, which will provide a solid regulatory and legislative foundation as we work with the new Administration and new Congress to keep our affordable housing agenda moving forward.

Registration information for this e-Briefing and other professional development offerings is available through the NAHRO Professional Development calendar.

HUD Family Options Study: HCV Most Effective and Rapid Re-Housing Least Costly

On October 25, HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) released a report titled Family Options Study: Long-Term Impacts of Housing and Services Interventions for Homeless Families, which seeks to identify the most efficient and cost-effective way to house and serve homeless families with children.capture

The report presents the long-term (37 months) outcomes of HUD’s Family Options Study, which tracked how homeless families in emergency shelters across 12 U.S. communities responded to various homelessness interventions. Between September 2010 and January 2012, over 2,000 families were enrolled and randomly assigned to participate in one of four homelessness interventions: housing subsidy, community-based rapid re-housing, project-based transitional housing, and usual care (defined as any housing or services that a family accesses in the absence of immediate referral to the other interventions).

The study found long-term housing subsidies, typically Housing Choice Vouchers, had the greatest impact on reducing family homelessness and improving non-housing family outcomes (i.e., increased adult well-being, child well-being, food-security, and less economic stress). While not as effective as housing vouchers, rapid re-housing programs were significantly less expensive, with an average per-family monthly cost of approximately $800, compared to voucher at $1,172/month, transitional housing at $2,700/month and emergency shelter programs at $4,800/month.

Read more about HUD’s study and findings here.

 

 

UPCS-V Update Call to be Hosted by HUD

On October 31st from 2pm to 4pm eastern time, HUD will host a UPCS-V quarterly update call. During the call, two broad topics will be discussed:

  1. The UPCS-V Test Plan – looking at the potential burdens and barriers to UPCS-V implementation.
  2. Immediate Next Steps – How UPCS-V demonstration PHAs can use UPCS-V as their inspection of record.

The conference call may be connected to at: http://ems7.intellor.com/login/707781, up to 10 minutes prior to the conference start time, 2pm eastern time on October 31, 2016. Feel free to contact HUD UPCS-V staff at OED@hud.gov with any questions, thoughts or suggestions.

Five HOTMA Self-Implementing Provisions

On September 26, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez sent an e-mail to PHA executive directors identifying the self-implementing provisions of the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA). All the other Housing Choice Voucher or Public Housing provisions will require HUD promulgated notices or regulations.

Five HOTMA Self-Implementing Provisions

  1. Reasonable Accommodation Payment Standards – PHAs may establish, without HUD approval, a payment standard of up to 120 percent of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. The Streamlining Rule already provided this flexibility.
  2. Establishment of Fair Market Rent
    1. HUD may publish FMRs directly to their website, skipping the Federal Register, but must publish a notice in the Federal Register that they are published. Changes how interested stakeholders comment on FMRs and requests that HUD reevaluate the FMRs in a jurisdiction before those rents become effective.
    2. PHAs will no longer be required to reduce payment standards as a result of a FMR reduction for families continuing to reside in a unit under a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract at the time of the FMR reduction. The regulation at 24 CFR 982.505(c)(3) requiring the new decreased payment standard be applied to program participant families at their second regular reexamination is no longer applicable. PHAs must “adopt policies in their Administrative Plans that further explain this provision.” HUD will issue additional guidance in the future.
  3. Family Unification Program (FUP) for Children Aging out of Foster Care
    1. FUP-eligible youth may receive FUP assistance up to 36 months. Applies to current as well as new FUP-assisted youth.
    2. Expands eligibility requirements for FUP-eligible youth. Expanded eligibility applies to the following:
      1. Youth aged  18 to 24 that are homeless or at risk of being homeless, and
      2. for those that left foster care at age 16 or older, or those that are within 90 days of leaving foster care.
    3. “At risk of being homeless” is defined at 24 CFR 576.2.
  4. Preference for U.S. Citizens or Nationals in Guam – Only applies to Guam. Establishes a preference for U.S. Citizens or Nationals in receiving financial assistance.
  5. Exception to PHA Resident Board Member Requirement – provides an exception for certain jurisdictions from resident board member requirements. Provision has been in effect through multiple appropriations acts.

SAFMR Demonstration Evaluation and Section 8 Eligibility of Students Guidance

Tomorrow, HUD will publish in the Federal Register two notices dealing with the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program. The first is a proposed information collection highlighting a series of interviews for landlords and tenants in areas served by the five PHAs that participated in the Small Area Fair Marker Rents (SAFMR) Demonstration. The second is guidance for the rule that excludes certain individuals enrolled in an institution of higher education from receiving Section 8 funds.

  • Small Area Fair Market Rent Demonstration – HUD is evaluating the SAFMR demonstration. To assist in this evaluation, HUD is looking at how “voucher holders and landlords perceive the shift from traditional area-wide FMRs to SAFMRs.” HUD will interview 70 tenants and 35 landlords in the areas served by the five PHAs in the SAFMR demonstration.
  • Eligibility of Independent Students for Assisted Housing Under Section 8 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937; Additional Supplementary Guidance – Prior appropriations acts stated that if a college student “is under the age of 24, is not a veteran, is unmarried and does not have dependent child” or is ineligible or has at least one parent that is ineligible for assistance, then no Section 8 assistance can be provided for that student. This notice updates the list of items that PHAs, owners, and managers “are required to verify when determining whether a student’s income alone should be used to determine Section 8 eligibility.” The notice also reduces “barriers for vulnerable youth to receive assistance and continue their education.”

The SAFMR Demonstration pre-publication notice can be found here.

The Eligibility of Independent Students for Section 8 Assistance Guidance pre-publication notice can be found here.

PHA AFH Tool updated by HUD

An updated Public Housing Authority (PHA) Analysis of Fair Housing (AFH) Tool that takes into account public comments HUD received has been posted for public inspection. HUD continues to state that they are committed to issuing an additional AFH Tool specifically for Qualified-PHAs (QPHA.) To that end, the PHA AFH Tool is intended to be used by non-QPHAs and QPHAs that are collaborating with non-QPHAs.

HUD has made a number of updates to the PHA AFH Tool. The NAHRO Policy Team will continue to review and provide additional analysis of this notice. Below is a brief list of the PHA AFH Tool updates:

  1. QPHA Insert – This insert is to be used by QPHAs that collaborate with non-QPHAs and covers the required analysis of the QPHA’s service area.
  2. Contributing Factors – HUD added and made small changes to the descriptions of contributing factors.
  3. Disparities in Access to Opportunities – The number of questions has been reduced and references to PHA waiting lists have been removed.
  4. Disability and Access – Two additional question have been added to the tool that relate to interaction of PHAs and individuals with disabilities.
  5. Instructions – Various sections of the instructions have been updated to provide clarity.
  6. Fair Housing Analysis of Rental Housing – This section only applies to PHAs that administer a Housing Choice Voucher program and not to PHAs that are Public Housing only.
  7. Enhancements for PHAs in the Data and Mapping Tool – Specific maps and date related to PHAs are planned along with enhancing the functionality of the maps.

This notice requests comment be submitted within 30 days of issuance. HUD is requesting comment on the notice generally and on 15 specific questions, listed at the end of the notice. NAHRO members should review this notice and provide their comments to HUD. NAHRO will also be providing comment on behalf of our members.

Public inspection of the updated PHA AFH Tool can be done at: https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2016-22594.pdf.

HUD to Release Long-Term Outcomes of Family Options Study

On October 25, HUD will release the long-term outcomes of the Family Options Study. The study was a “multi-site random assignment experiment designed to study the impact of various housing and services interventions for homeless families.” Homeless families across the nation in twelve communities were assigned one of four possible interventions:

  1. subsidy only;
  2. project-based transitional housing;
  3. community-based rapid re-housing; or
  4. usual care.

Families were tracked for a minimum of 37 months and metrics on housing stability, family preservation, adult well-being, and self-sufficiency were collected.

HUD will be announcing the long term results of the interventions on October 25. The event can be attended in person at the Brooke-Mondale Auditorium at HUD Headquarters or via webcast.

Register for the event here.