Affordable housing news 4/29/16

This week HUD announced that it will establish a federal advisory committee for the Moving to Work (MTW) program. The committee will advise HUD on specific policy proposals and methods of research and evaluation for expansion of the MTW demonstration. HUD published a request for policy proposals and evaluation methods for the expansion on April 4.

Establishment of the advisory committee is required under the 2016 appropriations bill, which authorizes HUD to expand the MTW demonstration by an additional 100 public housing authorities over seven years. According to today’s notice, the committee will have up to 14 members appointed by the HUD Secretary.

Comments on the notice are due by May 26, 2016. In other news:

Brookings: Examining multidimensional poverty

MSNBC.com: Residents of New York City public housing speak out about how important affordable housing is for them

NLIHC: People with criminal records should get a fair chance at housing

Urban Institute: Lessons from Memphis’s collaborative campaign against blight

Save on two San Antonio seminars this September

San Antonio seminarsTo help you squeeze the most out of your training dollars, Nan McKay and Associates will be offering two seminars right after our fourth annual national housing conference this September in San Antonio.

The Housing Conference in San Antonio, TX

Visit our website to register!

Stay tuned, we’ll start publishing session descriptions next week! If you’re registered for the conference and want to sign up for a free one-on-one Q&A session, click here and reserve your time now. The Q&A sessions are limited to registered attendees and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

REAC posts draft dictionary for UPCS-V

UPCS-V

The Oversight and Evaluation Division (OED) is currently revising HUD’s methods for overseeing inspections in the housing choice voucher (HCV) program. REAC plans to replace the current housing quality standards (HQS) with a new inspection protocol called UPCS-V (with the V signifying “voucher”), and has previously announced that a demonstration period for the new protocol would begin early this year.

As part of this process, REAC has posted a recently revised draft version of the UPCS-V Dictionary of Definitions. The dictionary lists each possible deficiency and levels of deficiency comprising the UPCS-V inspection standard based on five inspectable areas: unit, building systems, building exterior, common areas, and site. The dictionary also contains a separate section for health and safety deficiencies. While the UPCS-V Dictionary of Definitions will be the inspector’s primary resource in making deficiency decisions, REAC is careful to note in the document that the draft version should not be construed as the final UPCS-V standard.

As previously reported, REAC has already sent a letter requesting feedback from technical experts on a proposed list of UPCS-V deficiencies and defects, and has also stated that it intends to reach out to coordinate a technical forum discussion. In the meantime, questions or comments regarding UPCS-V should be directed to upcsv@hud.gov.

Could your agency use help with inspections? Our team of NMAI professionals have an average background of 12 years’ experience conducting inspections, are highly qualified and certified in HQS and/or UPCS, and have completed required sensitivity and sexual harassment training as well as extensive criminal background checks before beginning work. For more information about NMA Inspections, please visit our website or contact us directly at sales@nanmckay.com.

Register now for free Q&As at The Housing Conference

The Housing Conference in San Antonio
Nan McKay visiting with conference attendees at The Housing Conference in Miami last year

Signups for Q&A sessions at The Housing Conference are now open!

We’re thrilled to be taking our fourth annual national housing conference to San Antonio this September. Included with every conference registration is the opportunity to reserve a free, one-hour Q&A session with one of our NMA experts, including Nan herself!

If you’re registered for the conference and want to sign up for a consulting session, click here and reserve your time now. The consulting sessions are limited to registered attendees and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Presented by NMA and HAI Group, this year’s conference will feature informative and insightful sessions and panels on the latest industry topics. We’ll also be announcing the winners of the 2016 NMA Housing Awards.

The Housing Conference

Visit our website to register!

The conference will spotlight three tracks this year: an executive track, a regulatory track, and a hands-on track. Stay tuned for session details soon.

NMA’s seminar calendar for Q3 2016 is now available!

affordable housing trainingWe’re pleased to announce the release of NMA’s seminar calendar for the third quarter of 2016. You can view a list of the affordable housing training that Nan McKay and Associates is offering from now through September on this page at our website.

Start planning your summer training now and save! If you register at least 45 days in advance for most seminars, you’ll receive a 10 percent discount. (The discount does not apply to seminars hosted by housing authorities or associations.)

Upcoming classes updated for the streamlining final rule include:

Having trouble finding the class you want? We can bring the seminar to you. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information about our affordable onsite training options.

Affordable housing news 4/15/16

CBPP: Cuts in federal housing have exacerbated families’ struggles to afford housing

CityLab: Deadlock over the federal budget made the affordable-housing crisis worse

Democracy Journal (via Rooflines): Making housing affordable for all the working poor

The HUDdle: Race should never defer the dream of homeownership

NLIHC: Concentrated poverty increased dramatically after Great Recession

Rooflines: Energy efficiency is vital to the budgets of low-income households

Shelterforce: Long-forgotten battle over a set of row houses in South Philadelphia makes current-day NIMBYism look tame

Urban Institute: For families who are stuck in place, it’s much harder to break the cycle of poverty and disadvantage

OCI revises capital fund guidebook

capital fund guidebookThis week on the Office of Capital Improvements (OCI) website, HUD posted a revised version of the Capital Fund Guidebook. The new, undated version replaces the original guidebook, which was dated August 2015. While the 2015 version was numbered “Handbook 7600.1,” the new version does not have a handbook number.

The following brief announcement was posted to the OCI home page:

The capital fund guidebook details the requirements contained under the public housing capital fund program final rule, including but not limited to eligible and ineligible activities and cost limits; decoupling of the capital fund from the PHA plan submission; replacement housing factor grants (RHF) and demolition and disposition transitional funding (DDTF); changes in obligation and expenditure end dates and close-out requirements; emergency, non-presidentially declared natural disaster, and safety and security grant program requirements; streamlined mixed-finance and other public housing modernization and development requirements; changes to demonstration programs such as RAD and MTW; and capital fund rule impact on security interests and financing activities.

Got questions about RAD, MTW, and the capital fund? Don’t miss the The Housing Conference this September in San Antonio, Texas, where NMA’s Carrol Vaughan and other industry experts will address hot topics around those issues. Register online or email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

HUD publishes new guidance on streamlining final rule

Samantha Sowards discusses the streamlining final rule

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has published a 33-page notice containing guidance for implementing the streamlining final rule. The streamlining rule was published on March 8 in the Federal Register. Notice PIH 2016-05 is dated April 7, 2016.

The notice includes a three-page narrative followed by 15 attachments, each addressing a separate provision of the streamlining rule. Each attachment describes the applicable regulation, the programs to which the rule applies, a background and description of the change, whether the change is mandatory or discretionary, and the effective date for the change.

In the narrative portion of the notice, HUD discusses the requirement for revisions to an agency’s administrative plan and/or admissions and continued occupancy policies (ACOP). PHA policies must be revised prior to the implementation of discretionary changes. Each PHA must also determine whether policy revisions constitute a significant amendment to the agency plan, and if so, must follow the agency plan amendment process before implementing the change. Furthermore, the notice states that a PHA must begin the process of revising its administrative plan/ACOP/agency plan as soon as possible so that modifications may be implemented in a timely manner.

The notice’s 15 individual attachments contain implementation guidance for regulatory changes to the following program areas:

  • Verification of social security numbers
  • Definition of extremely low-income families
  • Exclusion of mandatory education fees
  • Streamlined annual reexaminations for fixed sources of income
  • Earned income disregard
  • Family declaration of assets which do not exceed $5,000
  • Utility reimbursements
  • Public housing rents for mixed families
  • Self-certification for the community service requirement
  • Public housing grievance procedures
  • Biennial inspections and use of alternative inspections
  • HQS reinspection fees
  • Exception payment standards as reasonable accommodations
  • Regular and interim reexaminations
  • Utility allowance schedules

HUD followed that guidance with Notice PIH 2016-06, “Administering the Self-Certification Flexibility when Verifying Community Service and Self-Sufficiency Requirement (CSSR) Compliance.” The notice provides clarification of the self-certification option introduced in the streamlining final rule, specifically regarding tenant notification and validation requirements.

Under the streamlining rule, agencies adopting a policy permitting self-certification of community service compliance must notify residents of the option. The notice contains revised versions of Attachment A (Entrance Acknowledgment) and Attachment B (Annual Renewal) containing the required language. The attachments are examples and are not HUD-required forms.

The notice directs PHAs that plan to accept self-certifications to develop standardized forms which must include:

  • A statement that the resident has completed the number of hours listed and this statement is subject to penalties of perjury
  • The number of hours and type of activity (community service or self-sufficiency) that the resident completed
  • The name of the organization or person for which the activity was completed
  • The address of the organization or person
  • The phone number of the organization or person, and
  • A contact person in the organization or the person for which the activity was completed

PHAs that adopt a policy for accepting self-certification must validate a sample of the certifications through third-party documentation. The required sample size, based on a universe of residents who submitted self-certifications, is shown in Appendix C to the notice. For example, a PHA with a universe of 27 self-certifications must validate at least 21 self-certifications. Validation procedures must follow the verification requirements of Notice PIH 2010-19.

As explained in the notice, PHAs must update their community service policies prior to accepting resident self-certifications, and may only accept such certifications prospectively.

For residents under lease at the time the PHA amends its policies, the PHA must review annual compliance and obtain third-party verification for that lease cycle. However, for any subsequent lease cycles beginning after the PHA has adopted the policy change, the PHA may accept resident self-certifications for those periods. A PHA may not accept resident self-certifications for tenants subject to a work-out agreement until the resident has completed, and the PHA has verified through a third party, that the resident has completed the required hours.

Our technical writers and subject matter experts are currently working on a revision to both our model ACOP and model administrative plan. Because the streamlining final rule includes several new policy options, we will be issuing a special mid-year revision rather than having customers wait for the standard annual revision. We were in the process of formatting the revision when HUD released these two clarifying notices, and are now going back to rework our revisions. This has pushed our timeline back a bit.

Once the revision is done, we’ll be releasing it in two ways: we will announce on our website and in the PIH Alert when electronic copies are available to be emailed by request, and we will also offer copies on CD through the mail. I anticipate that the electronic copies will be ready in about three weeks. Once you see our announcement, you can just request that we email them to you. If you’d prefer to get them through the mail, those will take longer since you have to wait for us to print CDs and ship them, probably about a month from now.

We have also reviewed all our seminars and updated them with new guidance as needed.

HCV seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Public housing seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Multifamily seminars updated for the streamlining final rule:

Thank you to all our subscribers and students. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with the NMA team by emailing sales@nanmckay.com or calling us at (800) 783-3100.

Senior trainer Samantha Sowards has been a part of the NMA team since 2008. As NMA’s manager of curriculum development, Samantha oversees publications from concept and creation through the ongoing revision process, including NMA Master Books, model policies, and handbooks.

Affordable housing news 4/8/16

The HUDdle: Kicking off Fair Housing Month with a vision of shared opportunity for all

New York Times: Growing up in a bad neighborhood does more harm than we thought

Next City: Public housing jobs program, Jobs Plus, is springboard to big goals

NHC: Affordable housing supports health of vulnerable infants

NHC: Why the recent Lifeline decision matters to housing providers

NLIHC: Affordable rental housing lacking in 11 largest metropolitan areas

Rooflines: 2 sneaky reasons why building more housing isn’t helping

Urban Institute: Changing the way we talk about those touched by criminal justice system