Application Deadline for 2017 ConnectHome Nation Cohort is July 31st

As NAHRO previously reported, EveryoneOn, in partnership with HUD, has announced the expansion of the ConnectHome pilot program. First unveiled in 2015, ConnectHome is a White House initiative aimed at narrowing the digital divide within 28 pilot communities (which includes participation from 23 NAHRO member agencies). ConnectHome tested the impact of cross-sector collaborators using non-government resources in order to accelerate the adoption and utilization of broadband technology by families living in HUD-assisted housing.

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Upcoming Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Webinar

NAHRO would like to share information on an upcoming Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Webinar provided by HUD, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and TDA next Monday, November 21st at 2 PM (EST).


 Climate Corps for Affordable Housing

On October 4, 2016, HUD announced a proposed reporting requirement that will require all Public Housing Authorities and owners of HUD-assisted multifamily housing to benchmark their portfolios’ utility usage.  The notices can be found at  https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-10-04/pdf/2016-23979.pdf and https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-10-04/pdf/2016-23978.pdf; the 60-day public comment period ends December 5, 2016.  Benchmarking will give affordable housing owners and operators a better understanding of the overall utility consumption and costs associated with their properties and enable them to more efficiently and effectively manage their portfolios.

To help owners with the greatest need for technical assistance in complying with the benchmarking requirement, HUD is partnering with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and TDA Consulting to bring you the Climate Corps for Affordable Housing Summer Fellowship program.  The program will embed 12 fellows with affordable housing organizations across the country for the summer of 2017 and will be offered at no cost to host institutions, which will be chosen on the basis of need.  This free, full-time technical assistance will allow affordable housing organizations to get ahead of the curve on this upcoming HUD requirement.

Please join us for a webinar to further explain the details of this exciting new opportunity on MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21 @ 2 PM ET.

To register, please click here.

Report: Homelessness in the U.S. Continues to Decline

Earlier this week, HUD published Part 1 of the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment (AHAR) Report, providing Congress with local estimates of sheltered and unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness on a single night in January 2016. According to the report, on a single night in 2016, there were 549,928 persons experiencing homelessness – a 14 percent decrease from 2010 and a 3 percent decrease over the past year. This decline was especially prevalent among families with children, Veterans, and individuals with long-term disabling conditions. Despite the downward trend of homelessness nationally, 13 states and the District of Columbia still saw an increase in their share of homelessness between 2015 and 2016.

The AHAR is typically released in two parts: Part 1 provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates that offer a “snapshot” of homelessness as reported by Continuums of Care (CoCs) across the U.S.; Part 2 offers in-depth detail on the characteristics of the homeless. The PIT methodology is regarded as a reliable estimate of the general size of the homeless population; however, it is important to note that it does not count every single homeless person, nor does it measure the number of people who are at risk of homelessness.

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NAHRO members have long been on the front lines of preventing and ending homelessness. Read this recent NAHRO white paper to learn about public housing authority (PHA) collaborations and new directions and opportunities for ending homelessness.Case studies include: effectively ending veteran homelessness in Houston, Texas; implementing medical respite to save lives and reduce costs in Fargo, North Dakota.; and using a model for working with the chronically homeless in encampment settings by the City of West Sacramento, Yolo County, California.

HUD Extends AFH Submission Deadline for Small Local Governments

On October 24, HUD published a notice in the Federal Register announcing the extension of the initial Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) submission deadlines for small consolidated plan program participants that received a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of $500,000 or less in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 or in a subsequent FY; or in the case of a HOME consortium, whose members collectively received a CDBG grant of $500,000 or less.

Previously, HUD established the first AFH due date for small consolidated plan program participants to be 270 days (approximately 9 months) before the program year for which a new 3-5 year Consolidated Plan is due, starting on or after January 1, 2018. HUD is now extending the initial due date to 270 days before the program year which a new 3-5 year Consolidated Plan is due, starting on or after January 1, 2019 – the same date that qualified public housing agencies (QPHAs – PHAs with a combined unit total of 550 or less) are required to submit their AFHs.

Learn more about HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule and subsequent AFH requirements for states, local governments, and PHAs by accessing NAHRO’s AFFH Resource Page (members only).

September is Attendance Awareness Month

As schools get into full swing this month, September is Attendance Awareness Month. For schools to work as centers of learning, it is important for students to be in class. Attendance Works focuses on the importance of student attendance and tracking student attendance data. PHAs and community development organizations can be an important partner with families and schools to insure increased school attendance and therefore improved educational outcomes for the children living in affordable housing..

As part of Attendance Awareness Month, Attendance Works is hosting a webinar on using attendance data.

Thursday, September 8, 2016: Ensuring an Equal Opportunity to Learn: Leveraging Chronic Absence Data for Strategic Action, 11-12:30 pm (PT) / 2-3:30 pm (ET). Register now.

In June 2016, the U.S. Office for Civil Rights released its first national count of students who were chronically absent. The data showed a staggering 6.5 million students were chronically absent, which means that they missed so much school that their ability to read well and gain fundamental skills and knowledge for college and career was hampered. In the 500 most heavily impacted districts, over 30% of students were chronically absent.

Join experts Hedy Chang, Executive Director of Attendance Works and Dr. Robert Balfanz, Director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University as they release a major national study analyzing the data and more importantly, showing how leaders at the local, state and national levels can take strategic action to monitor and address chronic absence in order to ensure an equal opportunity to learn and succeed.

 The webinar will provide suggestions and tips on to become engaged in attendance awareness month activities such as displaying an attendance poster at housing sites, establishing or expanding programmatic interventions such as a mentoring program, etc.

More information on Attendance Awareness Month and Attendance Works can be found at: http://awareness.attendanceworks.org/.

HUD Publishes Lead-Based Paint Proposed Rule

(9/6/16 Update: The published Federal Register notice can be found here. Comments are due by October 31, 2016.)

Tomorrow, HUD will publish its lead-based paint proposed rule titled “Requirements for Notification, Evaluation and Reduction of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Federally Owned Residential Property and Housing Receiving Federal Assistance; Response to Elevated Blood Lead Levels” in the Federal Register. While NAHRO is still in the process of doing a deeper dive into the proposed rule, here are some of the core requirements being proposed.

  • Program Scope –  The proposed rule will apply to the following 5 sets of programs:
    • Project-Based Assistance Provided by non-HUD Federal Agencies;
    • Project-Based Assistance;
    • HUD-owned and Mortgagee-in-Possession Multifamily Property;
    • Public Housing Programs; and
    • Tenant-Based Rental Assistance.
  • Effective Date –  HUD is considering an effective date of 6 months after publication of the final rule, but is also looking at time periods of either 1 year or 1 month.
  • Elevated Blood Lead Level –  The rule proposes to revise the Lead Safe Housing Rule (LSHR) to adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) approach to establishing a blood lead level for which the CDC recommends environmental intervention. Currently, CDC guidance defines Elevated Blood Lead Level (EBLL) in children under age 6 to be “based on the blood lead level equaled or exceeded by 2.5 percent of U.S. children aged 1 – 5 years.” The current reference range level is 5 or more micrograms per deciliter of lead in the blood. As the CDC is “tying the reference value to the national distribution of blood lead levels, the reference level will continue to decrease whenever progress is made on reducing childhood lead exposure.”
  • Inspection, Evaluation, and Control Activities –  Depending on the program, lead-based paint inspections, inspections for deteriorated paint, and risk assessments including dust-wipe sampling and soil sampling may be required.
  • Abatement Measures –  Public Housing must perform abatement measures to eliminate lead-based paint or lead-based paint hazards during comprehensive modernization.
  • Interim controls and Paint Stabilization –  Depending on the program, additional interim controls (measures designed to reduce temporarily human exposure or likely exposure to lead-based paint hazards) or paint stabilization (repairing physical defects and applying a new coating of paint) may be required.
  • Response to Young Children with Elevated Blood Levels –  If a child under 6 has an elevated blood lead level, the owner or other entity must follow a designated protocol (same for all programs, except non-HUD project-based assistance, for which it is narrower) including:
    • Conducting an environmental investigation;
    • Conducting interim control – measures designed to reduce temporarily human exposure or likely exposure to lead-based paint hazards;
    • Controlling other housing-related sources of lead exposure; and
    • Encouraging occupants to address other non-housing related lead exposure sources.
  • Other units –  If the unit where the child resides is in a building or development with other assisted dwelling units covered by the rule, the owner or other entity must provide documentation to the HUD field office that the owner or other entity has complied with the evaluation requirements. If there is no documentation of compliance with the evaluation requirements, the owner or other entity must conduct a risk assessment and conduct interim controls or conduct a visual assessment and paint stabilization–depending on the program.
  • Comments –  HUD has 4 questions for comment each with subparts.

NAHRO will continue to read and analyze this rule and will provide additional, deeper coverage to its members. Comments will be due 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

The pre-publication proposed rule can be found here.

HUD’s Press Release on the rule can be found here.

Assessment of Fair Housing Tool for Local Governments with Proposed Changes Now Available

As NAHRO previously reported, on August 23, HUD published a 30-day Notice in the Federal Register seeking additional public feedback on the proposed changes to HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Local Government Assessment Tool (Local Government Tool). The Local Government Tool is the standardized tool that communities receiving HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula grant dollars must use to conduct and submit their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFH).

The 30-day Notice proposes a number of additions to the Local Government Tool that would, ideally, help simplify the AFH process for Qualified Public Housing Authorities (QPHAs), defined as PHAs not designed as “troubled” with a combined unit total of 550 or less, and for local governments receiving small CPD formula grants. The tool would include two new sections for streamlined assessments for QPHAs and small local governments, called “inserts.”  QPHAs and local governments seeking to fulfill their Fair Housing requirements through these streamlined “inserts” must be involved in a joint or regional collaboration with a local government as the lead entity.

The proposed Local Government Tool with the new “inserts” is now available for public viewing on  HUD Exchange. The deadline to respond to the 30-day Notice and comment on the Local Government Tool is September 22, 2016.

HUD Announces Changes to the AFFH Assessment Tools for Small PHAs and Local Governments

On August 23, HUD will publish a 30-day notice in the Federal Register seeking public feedback on the Local Government Assessment Tool, the instrument with which communities receiving HUD Community Planning and Development (CPD) formula grant dollars must use to conduct and submit their Assessment of Fair Housing (AFH) analysis, as required by the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) Final Rule.

Due to limited staff and resources, NAHRO has long-requested for HUD to streamline the AFFH assessment tools for small program participants. The 30-day Notice announces two substantial changes that would, ideally, help simplify the AFH process for Qualified Public Housing Authorities (QPHAs), defined as PHAs not designed as “troubled” with a combined unit total of 550 or less, and for local governments receiving small CPD formula grants:

  • HUD seeks to revise the existing Local Government Assessment Tool to include two new streamlined assessments for small program participants, called “inserts.” The first insert would be for use by QPHAs and the second insert would be for use by local governments that received a CBDG grant of $500,000 or less in the most recent fiscal year prior to the AFH due date. QPHAs and local governments seeking to fulfill their AFFH requirements through these streamlined inserts must be involved in a joint or regional collaboration with a local government as the lead entity.
  • HUD seeks to issue a fourth assessment tool for Qualified PHAs. Prior to this notice, HUD had committed to issuing only three AFFH assessment tools (Local Government, State and Insular Areas, and PHA-only). The new QPHA Assessment Tool would be for use by a QPHA or by multiple QPHAs jointly collaborating to submit an AFH. HUD assumes that many QPHAs will want to take advantage of this option, particularly those unable to enter into a joint or regional collaboration with another partner. HUD intends to issue a separate public notice and comment process for this new tool.

The 30-day notice also addresses the public comments received in response to the 60-day information collection notice that was published on March 23, 2016 (see NAHRO’s comments here). NAHRO’s next issue of The Monitor (members only) will have additional details about the contents of the 30-day notice.

Moving On from Supportive Housing Toolkit

Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has developed a new Moving On Toolkit for supportive housing providers, Continuums of Care, PHAs, state and local government agencies and other organizations that would like to plan, develop, sustain and evaluate Moving On initiatives within their communities. Moving On initiatives provide rental subsidy and transition assistance to tenants who are able and want to move out of supportive housing and into a new apartment. The toolkit outlines the various phases and steps in the Moving On process and offers numerous links and helpful resources, including descriptions of previous or existing Moving On projects and practical tools or templates developed by implementing organizations. According to CSH, the fundamental goal of Moving On is to promote the highest levels of independence and choice for tenants. HUD has previously provided public support for Moving On but current initiatives only exist on a small scale through scattered pilots.

HUD Awards 10 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants

On June 28, HUD awarded $8 million in Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants to 10 communities across the nation. The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) helps struggling neighborhoods with severely distressed public housing or HUD-assisted housing by comprehensively investing in the community’s housing, residents and neighbors. Planning Grants, which assist communities in developing their comprehensive neighborhood revitalization plan or “Transformation Plan,” is one of two types of grants offered through the Initiative. Implementation Grants, which support communities that are ready to implement their Transformation Plan, are also funded through this program.

HUD is awarding Choice Neighborhood Planning funds to the following grantees:

  • Asbury Park Housing Authority, New Jersey
  • Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville, Texas
  • Greater Dayton Premier Management, Ohio
  • Louisville Metro Housing Authority, Kentucky
  • Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • City of Newport News, Virginia
  • City of Phoenix, Arizona
  • Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Sanford Housing Authority, Florida
  • City of Shreveport, Louisiana

Prior to the funding announcement for the FY 2015/FY 2016 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grant last November, Planning Grant funds could only be used for the creation of a Transformation Plan. HUD has now introduced a new component called Planning and Action Grants that will allow communities to use grants of up to $2 million over three years to demonstrate a commitment to “doing while planning.”

During the planning process, communities will identify Action Activities to be carried out during the latter portion of the grant period that must build upon the planning for the target housing and neighborhood. Eligible Action Activities may include reclaiming and recycling vacant property into community gardens, pocket parks, farmers’ markets, or land banking; beautification, placemaking, and community arts projects; homeowner and business façade improvement programs; neighborhood broadband/Wi-Fi; fresh food initiatives; and gap financing for economic development projects. The inspiration for this new component comes from the 63 previously awarded Planning Grantees that showed “tangible, early actions help sustain community energy, attract new resources, and build momentum to turn that plan into reality.”

Read comprehensive summaries of the 10 Choice Neighborhoods Planning grants here.