Newly available: NMA’s Model Tenant Selection Plan!

affordable housing trainingWe’re very excited to announce the debut of the NMA Model Tenant Selection Plan (TSP) and Guide! The model TSP joins our existing family of model policies, including the model administrative plan, the model ACOP, and the model FSS action plan.

In HUD’s multifamily program, owners of project-based rental assistance (PBRA) projects are required to develop and make public a tenant selection plan (TSP) which contains each project’s eligibility and admissions policies. Our new model TSP covers all required and recommended topics from HUD Handbook 4350.3, REV-1, CHG-4, as well as a guide to help with discretionary decisions.

The NMA model TSP also includes all the requirements of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program found in Notice PIH 2012-32, REV-3. If your housing authority is converting to PBRA under RAD, we strongly recommend that you consider purchasing our model tenant selection plan for two reasons. First, it’s the only model TSP available that includes these required RAD policies. Second, as with our other policies, the model TSP offers a revision service option.

What does that mean? At least once a year, and more frequently if HUD releases major regulatory changes, the NMA team of subject matter experts updates our model policies so that you always have the most current and correct policies for your affordable housing program. We send you the revisions with with user-friendly instructions to help you insert them in your existing TSP as needed and provide any necessary guidance to assist you in discretionary areas.

If you’d like additional assistance, we can also provide on-site consulting with our policy experts. If you’re transitioning from an ACOP to a TSP under RAD, this is an excellent way to ensure that your new policies are current and compliant. Your TSP needs to be ready to go immediately after the RAD conversion is finalized. Our team of experts can get you there! For more information, visit our website.

Affordable housing news 2/17/17

Brookings: The changing geography of U.S. poverty

CityLab: Fair housing faces an uncertain fate

Greater Greater Washington: Myths and misperceptions surrounding public housing

NY Daily News: Report shows boost in affordable housing funds improves the economy

NLIHC: Inadequate funding puts housing vouchers at risk

Quartz: The unexpected solution to America’s affordable housing crunch

Rooflines: New bills would enforce ignorance on state of housing opportunity

SAHF: Bringing healthy, efficient infrastructure home

Urban Wire: What could happen if the Violence Against Women Act is defunded?

PIH issues guidance on smoke-free rule

Late yesterday HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2017-03, “HUD Guidance on Instituting and Enforcing Smoke-Free Public Housing Policies.” The notice follows December’s publication of the smoke-free final rule.

Subjects discussed in the guidance notice include implementation, PHA flexibility, and PHA policy options concerning use of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and designated smoking areas (DSAs). The notice also includes instructions for revisions to public housing leases and PHA plans.

The notice also encourages PHAs to adopt graduated enforcement mechanisms for violations of smoke-free policies. PHAs may not evict for a single incident of smoking.

On the subject of reasonable accommodations, the notice includes suggestions for smoke-free policies for residents with disabilities. Such measures could include offering the resident a transfer to a unit near an exit, to a unit on the ground floor, or to a unit in another development where DSAs are provided. However, a PHA may not permit continued smoking in restricted areas.

The notice concludes by encouraging PHAs to engage residents early in the development of smoke-free policies. Best practices have indicated that resident engagement in policy development, implementation, and enforcement are less likely to result in evictions.

Got questions about the smoke-free rule? Don’t miss Nan’s legislative update at the The Housing Conference this August in Boston, where she’ll discuss acts of Congress, regulation changes, and what’s ahead for 2017. Register now for the best rates!

Affordable housing news 2/3/17

CBPP: Every state will likely lose housing vouchers, unless Congress boosts funding

CHA: 2017 Moving to Work annual plan approved by HUD

CityLab: Fair housing faces an uncertain fate

CityLab (via Planetizen): This start-up takes (some) of the hassle out of renting

Homelessness Law: Communities count people experiencing homelessness

Minnesota Star-Tribune: Renters become homeowners through public housing program

Next City: How tax promises could affect the LIHTC program

Next City: New York public housing steps up on climate change

NHC: Appropriations will be messy, again

NLIHC: Affordable housing and transportation programs threatened by severe cuts

NLIHC: New blog series on affordable housing as infrastructure

Rooflines: AFFH: Moving the debate from concept to practice

Registration now open for 2017 national conference

The Housing Conference in Boston, 2017Registration for The Housing Conference is now open! All of us at Nan McKay & Associates are thrilled to be taking our fifth annual national housing conference to Boston, MA.

We have a fantastic schedule of sessions underway, including topics like how to manage your PBV and PBRA programs, streamlining your HCV program, multigenerational workplaces and succession planning, what’s new in RAD, applying to be an MTW agency, CDBG-DR and resilience, best practices for wait lists, and much, much more. As in previous years, we’ll also be announcing the winners of the 2017 NMA Housing Awards. Stay tuned for the agenda, which will be available very soon. 

The Housing Conference

Visit our website to register!

White House issues regulatory freeze memo

On January 20, White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus issued a memo titled “Regulatory Freeze Pending Review.” The memo, which applies to government departments and agencies including HUD, announces a temporary “freeze” on submission of new regulations through the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). Freezes or holds on new rulemaking are customary for new presidential administrations and have occurred in the past.

Specific instructions from Friday’s memo include the following:

  • New rules which have not yet been submitted to OFR must be held until reviewed and approved by a department or agency head designated on or after January 20.
  • Rules which have been submitted to OFR but have not yet been published in the Federal Register must be withdrawn pending review and approval.
  • Rules which have been published in the Federal Register but which have not yet taken effect must be postponed so that their effective dates are at least 60 days after January 20.
  • The Director of the Office of Management and Budget may make exceptions to the freeze for urgent or emergency situations.

The freeze also applies to “guidance documents,” described as “any substantive action by an agency (normally published in the Federal Register) that promulgates or is expected to lead to the promulgation of a final rule or regulation, including notices of inquiry, advance notices of proposed rulemaking, and notices of proposed rulemaking.”

HUD publishes HOTMA implementation notice

HOTMA implementation notice

On Wednesday in the Federal Register, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a notice implementing several of the provisions of the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (HOTMA) that impact the housing choice voucher (HCV) and project-based voucher (PBV) programs, in addition to requesting comments on both current and future implementing requirements. The HOTMA implementation notice is broken down topic-by-topic, followed by specific questions for comment in each corresponding section. The first sections of the notice address:

  • Allowing PHAs to approve tenancy and commence HAP payments when a unit fails HQS, but only if it has non-life-threatening deficiencies.
  • Authorizing occupancy prior to inspection if the unit passed under an alternate inspection within the previous 24 months.
  • Amending the definition of units owned by the PHA so that the unit is PHA-owned only if unit is in a project that is: owned by the PHA, owned by an entity wholly controlled by the PHA, or owned by an LLC or limited partnership in which the PHA or entity wholly controlled by the PHA holds a controlling interest in the managing member or general partner.

The notice also addresses numerous statutory changes to the project-based voucher (PBV) program set forth under HOTMA, covering implementation requirements for the following:

  • Changing the terminology in the statute from “structure” to “project.”
  • Changing the PHA HCV program limitation on PBV vouchers from a 20 percent funding limitation to a 20 percent unit limitation calculation and allowing for additional project-basing of vouchers by raising the limit an additional 10 percent for homeless families, families with veterans, supportive housing for persons with disabilities or elderly persons, or in areas where vouchers are difficult to use.
  • Changing the income-mixing cap on the number of PBV units in a project to be the greater of 25 units in a project or 25 percent of the units in a project (the project unit cap), and making changes to the categories of PBV units that are excepted from this project unit cap.
  • Allowing the PHA to provide for an initial PBV contract of up to 20 years and to further extend that term for an additional 20 years.
  • Allowing the PHA to establish a selection preference for families who qualify for voluntary services, including disability-specific services, offered in conjunction with assisted units, provided that the preference is consistent with the PHA plan.
  • Allowing the PHA to attach assistance to structures in which the PHA has an ownership interest or control without following a competitive process.
  • Allowing PHAs to project-base HUD–VASH and FUP vouchers in accordance with statutory and regulatory requirements of the PBV program without additional requirements for approval by HUD.

The implementing requirements set forth in today’s notice become effective April 18, 2017. Comments on the specific questions posed in the notice are due by March 20.

Got questions about HOTMA? All of NMA’s HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules. Register at least 45 days in advance for most seminars and you’ll receive a 10 percent discount. (The discount does not apply to seminars hosted by housing authorities or associations.)

HUD publishes final rule on lead-based paint

lead-based paint

Last week in the Federal Register, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a final rule amending the lead-based paint regulations to reduce the blood lead levels in children under the age of six who reside in federally assisted housing.

In addition to revising the definition of elevated blood lead level to conform with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the rule also establishes more comprehensive testing and evaluation procedures and addresses other aspects of CDC guidance regarding assisted housing. Other highlights of the rule include:

  • Definitions for the terms certified, environmental investigation, evaluation, and expected to reside have been added to the regulations
  • Posting notices of environmental investigation in centrally located common areas is prohibited to protect the family’s privacy, although the PHA must notify residents if conducting lead hazard evaluations or reduction activities
  • When a child under six has an elevated blood lead level, the housing provider must conduct an environmental investigation within 15 calendar days of receiving notification
  • The housing provider must complete the lead-hazard reduction within 30 calendar days of receiving the environmental investigation report
  • If lead hazards are identified at the property, the housing provider must conduct risk assessments for the rest of the property within 30 calendar days from receiving the environmental investigation report when there are fewer than 20 units on the property, and within 60 days if there are more than 20
  • If the risk assessment for the rest of the property identifies further lead hazards, the housing provider has 30 calendar days to complete the lead hazard reduction, or 90 days if there are more than 20 units identified with lead-based paint hazards where the control work would disturb more than the de minimis threshold
  • The housing provider is required to report cases to HUD and provide documentation that it has completed requirements within the specified timeframes within 10 days of the deadline for each activity

Further information can be found in the notice, and in this press release announcing the publication of the rule. It becomes effective February 13, 2017.

Keep up with final rules like this one with a subscription to NMA’s PIH Alert. You’ll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

2 new notices on MTW expansion slated for publication

MTW expansion

Yesterday on the Moving to Work (MTW) demonstration webpage, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) announced that it will be soon be publishing two notices to implement the 2016 MTW expansion statute.

The first notice, to be published in the Federal Register on January 23, 2017, details the implementation and continued operations of MTW agencies selected through the expansion. It also requests comments on all areas of the notice, in addition to other particular areas of the notice where specified. The 91-page prepublication copy covers the following 12 topics:

  • Purpose and applicability of the program
  • Waivers, including general, conditional, and cohort-specific waivers
  • The term of participation
  • Funding, the MTW Block Grant, and Financial Reporting
  • Program-wide and cohort-specific evaluation
  • Program administration and oversight
  • The Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program
  • Applying MTW flexibilities to special purpose vouchers
  • Regionalization
  • The applicability of other federal, state, and local requirements
  • Sanctions, terminations, and default

The second notice, Notice PIH 2017-01, solicits applications for the first cohort of PHAs under the expansion and announces the selection criteria that will be used to admit eligible PHAs to the program. Although numbered as the first PIH notice of the year, note that the copy of the notice linked in the announcement does not yet contain a date and has not yet been posted to HUDClips. The 28-page notice provides:

  • An overview of the MTW expansion
  • The anticipated program structure
  • The program terms and conditions
  • A list of the eligibility requirements, including who is not eligible
  • Requirements for submitting applications, including the application contents, organization, and detailed instructions
  • An explanation of how PHAs will be evaluated, including application evaluation criteria and other information regarding the selection process
  • Administrative and contact information

Notice PIH 2017-01 also contains three attachments: Attachment 1, Eligibility Checklist; Attachment 2, Commitment to Participate in First Cohort Policy Evaluation; and Attachment 3, Moving to Work Certifications of Compliance. For more information on both notices, you can visit the MTW expansion page at HUD’s website.

If your agency is interested in applying under the MTW expansion, NMA can help. We have extensive experience working with MTW agencies, including as partners during the application process, and we can guide you through questions such as the kinds of things MTW agencies can do, how you intend to measure performance, guidance and insight into what HUD is looking for from newly sanctioned agencies, and more. For more information, call (800) 783-3100 or email sales@nanmckay.com.

HUD issues revised RAD notice

RAD conversions

Last week via email, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced to the public the online publication of revised program instructions for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) in Notice PIH 2012-32/Notice H 2017-03, REV-3. The revised notice, which fills 242 pages, includes the following key revisions for the first component (from the email):

  • Allowing PHAs to increase RAD rents by relinquishing existing balances of replacement housing factor (RHF) funds or demolition and disposition transition funding (DDTF)
  • Eliminating the cap on the number of project-based voucher units at a project
  • Revising the requirements regarding information provided to residents and PHA responses to resident comments at properties undergoing conversion
  • Extending the prohibition on re-screening to current public housing households that will reside in non-RAD PBV or non-RAD PBRA units in projects that contain RAD PBV or RAD PBRA units to facilitate the right to return to the assisted property
  • Consolidating the selection priority categories for new applications into “high investment applications” and “all other applications” (subject to public comment)
  • Allowing PHAs to submit a simple letter of interest rather than an application when a waiting list has formed, where the letter of interest would serve to reserve a project or portfolio’s position on the waiting list subject to future submission of a RAD application (subject to public comment)
  • Making an entire contiguous HOPE VI project that was developed in phases eligible, as long as the earliest phase is greater than ten years old (subject to public comment)
  • Correcting rent phase-ins for residents who may experience a rent increase as a result of conversion
  • Clarifying that a PHA is permitted to receive cash acquisition proceeds in excess of any seller take-back financing and that such proceeds must be used for affordable housing purposes, which is a newly defined term
  • Allowing flexibility for requirements related to capital needs assessments, i.e., permitting certain exemptions when the assisted units are a small percentage of the total project
  • Requiring title reports to be submitted with the Financing Plan
  • Modifying the maximum allowable developer fee by excluding from the formula for larger transactions any acquisition payments made to the PHA, developer fee, and reserves
  • Establishing greater flexibility to underwrite to new loan products
  • Providing greater detail on the acceptable forms in which a public or non-profit can demonstrate ownership or control
  • Providing guidance on owners’ responsibilities to treat lead-based paint hazards in the context of a RAD conversion
  • Encouraging PHAs and their partners to grant current workers whose employment positions may be eliminated during conversion the right of first refusal for new employment openings for which they are qualified

Changes for the second component include:

  • Likewise eliminating the cap on the number of PBV units at a project
  • Permitting Mod Rehab conversions to PBRA to convert at comparable market rents, up to 110 percent of fair market rent (FMR)
  • For Mod Rehab SRO conversions, authorizing the use of the efficiency FMR for SRO units, rather than 75 percent of the efficiency FMR, which is the existing SRO standard
  • Allowing all conversions to PBRA to achieve rents between 110 percent and 120 percent of FMR, if justified by comparable market rents and only in certain circumstances where preservation criteria have been met
  • For conversions to PBRA, permitting the use of small area FMRs (SAFMRs) in the calculation of the contract rent cap, with HUD approval

To help navigate through these numerous changes, HUD has kindly provided two versions of the notice: one showing all of the changes in a redlined format, and a clean version of the document. Both are available here, on the RAD webpage. According to the email, HUD intends to hold live webinars on the notice and will provide more information in the following weeks. Click here to join the RADBlast! email list.

Got questions about RAD? Nan McKay & Associates currently offers three RAD certifications: RAD Project-Based Rental Assistance (PBRA) OverviewRAD Project-Based Voucher (PBV) Specialist, and our newly redesigned Multifamily Housing Specialist (MHS), which is the only training in the affordable housing industry that includes specific requirements for PHAs participating in the RAD program. If your PHA has elected to transform its public housing to project-based rental assistance (PBRA), this training is a must.  If you aren’t sure which training is the right one for your agency, give us a call at (800) 783-3100 or email sales@nanmckay.com and our experienced staff will point you in the right direction.