Friday news roundup 8/29/14

In last week’s roundup, we shared HUD’s revised addendum for the 2015 proposed FMRs. This week, HUD officially announced the correction to the 2015 proposed fair market rents (FMRs) published on August 15 in a Federal Register notice. The new notice includes a corrected version of the Schedule B addendum, which contains proposed small area FMRs for the five demonstration participants. According to the notice:

Unfortunately, the Schedule B addendum published on August 15, 2014 inadvertently excluded the small area FMRs for Dallas, Texas. This notice provides the corrected Schedule B addendum.

You can review the 2015 proposed FMRs on HUD’s Policy Development and Research (PD&R) FMR page. In other news:

GoSection8: Upgraded map feature for RentWatch4

HUD: Veteran homelessness has declined by 33 percent since 2010

The HUDdle: How the collaboration between agencies helps bridge gaps between organizations

NCSHA: NLIHC report describes growing affordable rental housing gap

Next City: 4 public housing lessons the U.S. could learn from the rest of the world

NHC: RAD isn’t as radical as it sounds

NLIHC: Nationwide, there are only 31 affordable and available units for every 100 extremely low-income renters

Rooflines: Going beyond the discussion of concentrated poverty and environmental influences of bad neighborhoods

PIH publishes notice on equal access rule

Late yesterday, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) posted Notice PIH 2014-20, “Program Eligibility Regardless of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity or Marital Status as Required by HUD’s Equal Access Rule.” The notice is dated August 20 and is effective on that date.

The equal access final rule was published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2012. The rule provides that eligibility for HUD programs must be determined regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status. It also prohibits inquiries as to sexual orientation or gender identity for purposes of determining eligibility or making housing available.

The new notice “provides guidance on how the equal access rule applies to PIH-assisted housing programs administered by public housing agencies (PHAs).” Subjects addressed in the notice include the following:

  • Applicability: The rule applies to all HUD-assisted housing, including public housing, the housing choice voucher (HCV) program, project-based vouchers (PBV), and the moderate rehabilitation program. It also applies to PHAs under the Moving to Work (MTW) program and the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD).
  • The notice also clarifies that the equal access rule applies to landlords participating in the HCV program. The landlord becomes subject to the rule when he or she executes a housing assistance payments (HAP) contract with the PHA. Housing providers are also subject to state and local fair housing laws.
  • Fair Housing Act: The federal Fair Housing Act does not include sexual orientation, gender identity, or marital status as protected classes. However, violations of the equal access rule could violate the Fair Housing Act’s prohibition on discrimination based on gender or disability.
  • Plan and Policy Revisions: PHAs must review and update their annual plans, HCV administrative plans, and public housing admissions and continued occupancy policies (ACOPs) to comply with the equal access rule. PHAs may have already made these revisions in response to the 2012 final rule.
  • Prohibited and Permissible Inquiries: The notice points out that the equal access rule does not prohibit all inquiries as to an applicant’s or participant’s sex, including inquiries necessary to determine the number of bedrooms for which a family may qualify. However, PHAs and owners are prohibited from inquiring about an applicant’s or participant’s sexual orientation or gender identity for the purpose of determining eligibility or otherwise making housing available.
  • Complaints to PHAs: Upon receipt of a complaint from an applicant or participant alleging a violation of the equal access rule, the PHA must determine if a program violation occurred and implement appropriate corrective action(s). The PHA must follow its written policies for responding to complaints. These policies must include a requirement that the PHA provide written notice of receipt of the complaint to those alleged to have violated the rule, and the complainant must be informed that such notice was made. After investigating the complaint, the PHA must provide the complainant and those alleged to have violated the rule with findings from the investigation, and a proposed corrective action or explanation as to why corrective action is not required. The PHA must keep records of all complaints, investigations, notices and corrective actions consistent with its current record-keeping obligations.

The notice also contains examples of program violations under the equal access rule, and examples of actions that may violate both the rule and the Fair Housing Act. Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to the local HUD field office or fair housing field office.

Do you have concerns about whether or not your agency is compliant with federal fair housing law? Nan McKay and Associates can help. Contact sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Conference photos, Miami sunshine, and other NMA news

John McKayThank you to everyone who joined us at the NMA and GoSection8 Housing Conference last week in Chicago. To view a gallery of photos from the event, go here. I’d like to extend a warm thank-you to our generous sponsors, GoSection8, HAI Group and HousingHub, COTG, Aurico, and National Credit Reporting, who helped make the conference a truly special event.

It was a real pleasure to enjoy face-to-face conversations with so many enthusiastic and thoughtful members of our industry who appreciate the unique challenges and successes we all navigate, whether new to affordable housing or an old pro. I continue to be inspired by what you’re doing to improve the lives of the families in your communities. For some more impressive achievements, go here to read about the honorees of the 2014 NMA Housing Awards.

It’s been a while since I’ve written for the blog, so I wanted to take this opportunity to share some news about what NMA has been up to over the past few months:

  • I’ve been spending much of my time at our Miami office, where we’re managing the HCV program for Miami-Dade County’s Public Housing and Community Development department.
  • We now have NMA Inspections contracts with agencies in 10 states. If you missed Michael Petragallo’s recent article about the future of HQS inspections and the new deregulation options, read it here.
  • Our calendar of classes for the last quarter of 2014 has just been released. Get more details here.

Finally, if you missed the NMA Housing Conference, we’d love to say hi to you at another event! The NMA team will be attending the upcoming conferences for PHADA (September 7–9 in Washington, DC), AZ NAHRO (September 18 in Phoenix, AZ), and national NAHRO (October 16–18 in Baltimore, MD).

John McKay has been with NMA since 1998, and has served as chief executive officer of the company since 2007. Prior to his appointment as CEO, he was vice president of operations, spearheading the creation of the new consulting and technology services departments. This initiative introduced the first fully functional NMA Performance Portal to the affordable housing market.

Mr. McKay brings his knowledge of housing regulations and industry best practices into his role as project executive on many of NMA’s contracts with large housing authority clients and HUD. He has assessed, analyzed, and provided feedback to some of the country’s most well-run private and public organizations.

How does the capital fund final rule affect PHAs? Part II

Late last year, HUD published the much-anticipated capital fund final rule in the Federal Register. Effective November 25, 2013, the new regulation combined and streamlined former capital fund program (CFP) requirements for rehabilitation and development into one comprehensive regulation.

It goes without saying that while much has remained the same, some significant changes have occurred, and understanding these changes is crucial for efficient and uniform program implementation and management. We hope that this blog series will provide you not only with an overview of the final rule, but also the answers to some questions you many have, and that it will ultimately help you navigate these changes.

Who does the rule apply to?

The capital fund final rule provides financial assistance to PHAs and resident management corporations (RMCs) to make improvements to develop public housing. It applies to all PHAs that have public housing units under the annual contributions contract (ACC).

What are some of the major changes brought about by the rule?

The main purpose of the rule is to provide a better understanding of program requirements for PHAs and residents to more effectively use capital funds, but there are several other changes brought about by the final rule as well. These include:

  • Decoupling (separating) capital fund submission requirements from the larger PHA plan requirements
  • Directing more funds towards modernization and maintaining the PHA’s physical inventory, given our limited fiscal environment
  • Simplifying mixed-finance requirements
  • Incorporating HUD’s energy efficiency strategic goals, and allowing total development cost (TDC) exception for cost-saving energy initiatives

Given these changes, what is the new process for submitting capital fund requirements?

Because the capital fund final rule decouples capital fund forms from the larger PHA plan submission, PHAs now submit their capital fund requirements with the ACC amendment. The final rule eliminates requirements to submit a preliminary budget, so there’s only one budget submission. Additionally, the final rule enables PHAs to hold only one public hearing. All PHAs must complete a physical needs assessment (PNA).

These submission requirements apply to both qualified and non-qualified PHAs. The definition of qualified PHAs found at 24 CFR 903.3 is now the one used for the purposes of the CFP as per the capital fund final rule. Qualified PHAs are PHAs that administer 550 or fewer units (the sum of public housing units and vouchers under Section 8(o)) that are not designated as a troubled PHA under SEMAP during the prior 12 months. PHAs that meet this definition are not required to file the PHA annual plan.

Next week, we’ll discuss what the CFP funds can be used for.

Kaylene Holvenstot has been a technical writer at NMA since 2008. She contributes to and edits NMA Master Books, seminars, and model policies while researching and analyzing the latest HUD guidance to ensure that all course material is always up to date and fully accurate.

NMA’s Capital Fund Program seminar provides you with the information you need to understand and accurately apply the capital fund final rule. Don’t miss the upcoming session in Cincinnati this October — save 10% when you register before August 30!

How does the capital fund final rule affect PHAs? Part I

Late last year, HUD published the much-anticipated capital fund final rule in the Federal Register. Effective November 25, 2013, the new regulation combined and streamlined former capital fund program (CFP) requirements for rehabilitation and development into one comprehensive regulation.

It goes without saying that while much has remained the same, some significant changes have occurred, and understanding these changes is crucial for efficient and uniform program implementation and management. We hope that this blog series will provide you not only with an overview of the final rule, but also the answers to some questions you many have, and that it will ultimately help you navigate these changes.

Background

Before getting into the rule itself, some background information is in order. The final rule implements Section 9 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, which created the capital fund program as part of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 (QHWRA). Before publication of the final rule, PHAs were required to reference three different regulations and two different statutes in order to understand the program requirements. Under the final rule, all of these requirements have been put together in one place, drawing from legacy public housing capital programs such as the Comprehensive Grant Program (CGP), the Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program (CIAP), and the Public Housing Development Program (which encompasses mixed-finance development).

The basic idea is that PHAs will now have a clear picture of eligible activities, the planning process, and the requirements for rehabilitation and development activities in a format that is much more accessible. This is a major step up from the multiple sources, interim guidance from HUD notices, and outdated 1996 guidebook for the Comprehensive Grant Program (issued pre-QHWRA) that PHAs had to work from previously.

Where can I find the regulation?

All of the CFP legacy programs and regulations concerning different parts of the CFP are now located at 24 CFR Part 905: not just the previous statues and guidance, but also regulations that used to exist elsewhere. This means that the previous regulations for modernization, formerly found at Part 968, and those for development and mixed finance at Part 941, have been eliminated and are now incorporated into Part 905. Additionally, the Capital Fund Financing Program (CFFP) regulation, published in the Federal Register October 21, 2010, is also contained there.

In Part II, we’ll discuss the major changes brought about by the capital fund final rule and whether they apply to your PHA.

Kaylene Holvenstot has been a technical writer at NMA since 2008. She contributes to and edits NMA Master Books, seminars, and model policies while researching and analyzing the latest HUD guidance to ensure that all course material is always up to date and fully accurate.

NMA’s Capital Fund Program seminar provides you with the information you need to understand and accurately apply the capital fund final rule. Don’t miss the upcoming session in Cincinnati this October — save 10% when you register before August 30!

Friday news roundup 8/22/14

HUD has posted a revised version of the Schedule B Addendum to the 2015 proposed fair market rents (FMRs). The proposed FMRs were published on HUD’s Policy Development and Research (PD&R) FMR page on August 15. The Schedule B Addendum contains the proposed small area FMRs for the five demonstration participants. The new version contains the proposed FMRs for the Dallas metropolitan area, which were omitted from the original version. In other news:

The HUDdle: Secretary Julián Castro celebrates the the 40th anniversary of HUD’s CDBG program

NLIHC: Section 3 proposed rule improvements

Rooflines: HUD improves PBV program, but more remains to be done

PIH issues notice on 2015 op sub eligibility calculations and revised preliminary eligibility report for 2014

On Tuesday HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2014-19 to provide instructions for the calculation of 2015 operating subsidy eligibility. The content of the notice is similar to the content of last year’s notice on the same subject (PIH 2013-16), but it’s not identical. For this reason, we recommend a close reading of the entire text. A few new and noteworthy additions:

  • Because PHAs are no longer required to enter unit status data into HUD-52723s, the burden on PHAs ultimately will decrease as redundant reporting requirements are eliminated. In general, HUD anticipates only limited unit status changes. However, it is essential that PHAs ensure that all data on their operating subsidy forms are correct so as to provide for accurate funding. Agencies may work with their respective HUD field office to edit their unit status data.
  • HUD will notify PHAs via the Financial Management Division (FMD)’s mailing list when it has generated its list of projects determined to be eligible for 2015 operating subsidy. If you see any errors on the list, you should notify your HUD field office within 10 business days after the list is published.
  • No date is given for when the PIH office expects to deploy the 2015 Excel tools or when they will be due. The tentative submission schedule will be posted here.
  • PHAs are reminded that operating subsidy provided to PHAs must be obligated by PHAs by the end of the calendar year for which it was appropriated. Thus, CY 2015 operating subsidy must be obligated by PHAs no later than December 31, 2015. Consistently, HUD appropriation acts have defined an obligation as a binding agreement that will require an outlay or expenditure of funds immediately or in the future. Because 24 CFR part 990 permits PHAs to accumulate reserves (referred to as excess cash in 24 CFR 990.280), disbursements of operating subsidy in LOCCS constitute both an obligation and expenditure. To the extent that a PHA has not disbursed all CY 2015 operating subsidy in LOCCS by December 31, 2015, it should maintain sufficient documentation to demonstrate that any balance remaining in LOCCS is obligated.
  • HUD has partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to encourage PHAs to use the EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager system to manage their utility consumption. To facilitate this, HUD is exploring ways to import data directly from EPA’s Portfolio Manager to prepopulate 52722 tools. HUD currently prepopulates 52722 tools with rolling base data, with PHAs entering data for the current year. HUD plans to roll out Portfolio Manager for PHAs to use on a voluntary basis in CY 2015. HUD will publish a notice providing instructions and guidance for PHAs interested in utilizing Portfolio Manager for CY 2015.

In an email sent today to the Financial Management Division (FMD) mailing list, HUD announced that it has posted a second preliminary eligibility report, post revisions, for the calendar year (CY) 2014 operating subsidy. The report has been posted to the CY 2014 operating subsidy website. According to the email:

This report reflects revisions submitted to date, as well as new projects.  This is one of the last opportunities PHAs will have to confirm that their eligibility amount is accurate.  PHAs should review the eligibility report immediately, and contact their field office if there is any discrepancy.

The email also states that today’s report does not include flat rent adjustments. A report with flat rent adjustments included will be posted shortly. To join the PH-FMD mailing list, click here.

To receive updates and analysis on the latest PIH notices, subscribe to NMA’s PIH Alert and receive a daily email with breaking news and other important information for PHAs and housing professionals.

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