Update on 2015 HUD appropriations bill

Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4745, the bill that provides funding for HUD in federal fiscal year (FFY) 2015. The vote was 229 to 192. The U.S. Senate has yet to schedule a vote on its version of the bill (S. 2438).

On June 5, when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved S. 2438, the text of the bill was not available. Now that it is, we can provide you with a more comprehensive summary of what the bill contains.

  • For the HCV program, the Senate bill recommends $19.562 billion in total funding (as compared to $19.177 billion available for this year and $19.357 billion recommended in the House bill), with:

o    $17.719 billion for voucher renewal funding (as compared to $17.366 billion available for this year and $17.693 billion in the House bill)

o    $130 million for tenant protection vouchers (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

o    $1.555 billion for administrative fees (as compared to $1.5 billion available for this year and $1.35 billion in the House bill)

o    $83.16 million for the renewal of Mainstream 5 vouchers (as compared to $106.691 million available for this year and $108.45 million in the House bill)

o    $75 million for incremental HUD–Veterans Affairs supportive housing (VASH) vouchers (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

  • For the public housing program, the Senate bill recommends:

o    $1.9 billion for the capital fund (as compared to $1.875 provided for this year and $1.775 billion in the House bill), with a $45 million set-aside for “supportive services, service coordinator, and congregate services” (as compared to the same amount available for this year and in the House bill) and a $15 million set-aside for a Jobs-Plus pilot (also the same amount available for this year and in the House bill)

o    $4.475 billion for the operating fund (as compared to $4.4 billion provided for this year and $4.4 billion in the House bill)

o    $10 million for the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) (as compared to no funding provided for this year and no funding in the House bill)

o    $90 million for Choice Neighborhoods (as compared to the same amount provided for this year and $25 million in the House bill)

  • For a consolidated family self-sufficiency (FSS) program, the draft recommends $75 million (as compared to the same funding level available for this year and recommended in the House bill). As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) points out in its “Off the Chartsblog post, the bill would also broaden the program’s reach by allowing private owners of HUD-assisted properties to offer FSS to their tenants. (Owners would have to pay for the case management services.)

There is no mention of the new flat rent requirements in the general provisions. You can read the committee report here.

Friday news roundup 5/23/14

CBPPThe HUDdle: National Resource Network: Helping cities help themselves

MetroTrends: How black women’s activism changed suburban America

MetroTrends: How to create a more integrated society

NBC New York (via National Fair Housing Alliance): A lawsuit announced yesterday by New York’s Fair Housing Justice alleges racial discrimination by apartment owners in the Bronx

NCSHA: House Appropriations Committee approves FY 2015 HUD funding bill

Next City: HUD launches new network aimed at helping cities learn from each other

Off the Charts: House funding bill disproportionately cuts assistance to low-income renters

Off the Charts: For veterans, more bad news than good in housing funding bill

Washington Post: Housing segregation is holding back the promise of Brown v. Board of Education

Washington Post: What you need to know about Julián Castro, the likely next head of HUD

Meet the NMA team: Cydney Jones

Cydney JonesToday in our interview series we’ll be talking with senior consultant Cydney K. Jones, who recently wrote for the NMA blog about how to run a successful VASH program. With an exceptional knowledge of HUD regulations, she honed her skills while working at the District of Columbia Housing Authority (DCHA), the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles (HACoLA), and as a business owner at CKJ Consulting.

How did you get your start in the industry?

I started as the secretary to the executive director at a housing authority.

How many years have you been at NMA?

I’ve been happily working for NMA for over three years, and in the low-income housing industry for almost twenty years.

Education credentials and professional organizations?

I have a bachelor’s degree in communications from Howard University, and am a candidate for a master’s degree in public policy.

What’s one topic you’re most passionate about in the affordable housing industry?

I believe in the housing choice voucher program, and enjoy helping housing authorities administer the program effectively and efficiently. I’m passionate about ensuring the program is run efficiently. Our tax dollars are on the line!

What’s your favorite part about your job?

Issuing housing choice vouchers to families in need.

Describe your typical work day?

I have to travel a lot, which can be a blessing and a curse. But probably the best part of my job is my home office — I usually wear pajamas to work.

Tell us about a successful project that you had a part in.

Unquestionably, our first program management engagement at a large agency in the Midwest was a great overall experience for me as a housing professional. Managing the HCV program from the private sector really allowed us to administer a highly efficient and effective program and also allowed us to be creative in meeting very high performance standards. And the winters in the Midwest build character!

NMA senior consultant Cydney Jones is expert in providing a wide range of technical assistance, management training, and on-site expertise for multifamily assisted programs and the HCV program. She’s also a member of several professional organizations: NAHRO, NLHA, and her local PTA. In her free time, Cydney enjoys boating, rollerskating, swimming, and spending time with her family.

HUD updates VASH PBV funding notice

If you read our earlier blog post regarding HUD’s announcement of available set-aside funding for project-basing vouchers under the HUD–Veterans Affairs (VA) supportive housing (HUD-VASH) program, you’ll be interested to learn that HUD has posted an updated version of Notice PIH 2014-03.

Issued on February 4, the original notice provides guidance on applying for $7 million in set-aside funding expected to support about 1,000 units of project-based voucher (PBV) assistance.

The corrected notice revises the first sentence in Part 2 as follows:

  • Original version: “A PHA may submit only one application for one project to be placed under one PBV housing assistance payments (HAP) contract and may request no more than 75 PBVs in its application, with the following exception.”
  • Corrected version: “Any PHA that administers a Housing Choice Voucher program may submit only one application for one project to be placed under one PBV housing assistance payments (HAP) contract and may request no more than 75 PBVs in its application, with the following exception.”

In response to our inquiry, HUD staff stated that the correction is intended to clarify that a PHA must be administering a housing choice voucher (HCV) program in order to apply for the set-aside funding. PHAs that administer an HCV program but do not have an existing HUD-VASH program are eligible to apply.

An email sent to the HUD-VASH mailing list late yesterday provided the following additional clarifications:

  • Only PHAs that currently administer a housing choice voucher (HCV) program are eligible to apply for the set-aside funding
  • PHAs do not need to currently be operating the HUD-VASH program to apply for these vouchers. However, all applications must include a signed letter of support from the director of the VA Medical Center or Veterans Integrated Service Network, as detailed in the notice
  • The application due date is May 5, 2014. The anticipated selection date for funding awards is August 4, 2014
  • The email also contains estimated project readiness dates, which are subject to change based on project selection dates

To stay updated, follow the #VASH tag to keep up with all related blog posts or subscribe to the PIH Alert and Housing Resource Newsletter.

How to run a successful VASH program: Tip #5

Cydney JonesTip #5: Communicate often.

While the secret of buying real estate is location, location, location, the secret of a great VASH program is communication, communication, communication. As HUD policy and funding changes, caseworkers turn over, and tenants have leasing disputes, it’s critical that all partners maintain open and frequent communication. Some tips for keeping the lines of communication open:

➤  Meet often. Ensure that the VA and PHA have regular meetings that include not just senior-level managers but also housing specialists, caseworkers, and a landlord or community liaison. A diverse group of involved parties will provide valuable input toward improving the lives of your veterans.

➤  Designate one point of contact. Great VASH programs have one designated person to respond to the VASH clients, owners, and caseworkers. Incorporating a VASH hotline phone number or designated email address can work wonders. Centralizing this function with someone who’s knowledgeable about the VASH program and landlords’ needs, who is adept at managing conflict, and who has good negotiation and customer service skills can greatly help resolve a concern before it escalates into a bigger problem. Responsiveness is paramount to great customer service.

➤  Mediate. Have staff who can intervene in a timely fashion when there are lease violations. Remember, there are always two sides to any story; sometimes, mediation may involve helping veterans with legal assistance if their rights have been violated.

➤  Conduct home visits. Great VASH programs do offer individualized levels of support to veterans based on their needs. However, successful VASH programs also have staff, mostly VA caseworkers, who proactively conduct home visits to identify and prevent future tenancy concerns.

➤  Get feedback and monitor performance. Survey landlords, VA partners, and staff to solicit feedback and recommendations for improvement. Track VASH leasing progress with HUD’s two-year forecasting tool or a similar method to identify trends in leasing so you can keep doing what’s working, and modify and amend your policies for what’s not.

By incorporating some of these best practices, your VASH program will surely increase its potential of being hugely successful.

With an exceptional knowledge of HUD regulations, NMA senior trainer and consultant Cydney Jones is expert in providing a wide range of technical assistance, management training, and on-site expertise for multifamily assisted programs and the HCV program. Ms. Jones recently headed operations for NMA’s contract with one of the largest public housing authorities in the country, including administration of VASH vouchers.

Nan McKay and Associates has assisted a number of agencies across the country with their VASH voucher programs and can leverage that experience to help your PHA be more successful. For information, contact sales@nanmckay.com.

HUD announces availability of set-aside funding for VASH PBV

Today HUD issued Notice PIH 2014-03, announcing the availability of set-aside funding for project-basing vouchers under the HUD–Veterans Affairs (VA) supportive housing (HUD-VASH) program. The set-aside funds total approximately $7 million and are expected to support about 1,000 units of project-based voucher (PBV) assistance.

According to the notice, a PHA may submit one application for one project of up to 75 PBV units (PHAs administering multiple HUD-VASH allocations with multiple VA facilities may submit additional applications). Applications are due within 90 days, and PHAs must select PBV proposals prior to submitting the application.

The notice includes instructions for downloading an application, Form HUD-52515, from the HUDClips forms library. It lists six threshold factors which must be met in order for the application to be given further consideration (HUD may contact the PHA to clarify or request missing information). Applications meeting the threshold requirements will be awarded up to 85 points under the following scored factors:

  • Project readiness
  • Participation in the VA’s Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) program
  • Relative need

To stay updated, follow the #VASH tag to keep up with all related blog posts or subscribe to the PIH Alert and Housing Resource Newsletter.

Friday news roundup 1/31/14

On a single night in January, cities across the country walked through their communities to do a one-night count of their homeless population who live in shelters and on the streets. This annual point-in-time count aims to measure homelessness over the course of one night every January. (Credit: HUD’s Facebook page)

On a single night in January, volunteers across the country walked through their communities to do a one-night count of homeless people living in shelters and on the streets. This annual point-in-time count aims to measure homelessness over the course of one night every January.
(Credit: HUD’s Facebook page)

Brookings: Congress passes a new $1 trillion Farm Bill, cuts $8.6 billion from SNAP

MetroTrends: Girls face unique gender-based risks in public housing

MSNBC (via HUD): Secretary Donovan talks about HUD’s annual homelessness point-in-time (PIT) count

NCSHA: President Obama calls for housing finance reform in State of the Union address

NeighborWorks: Is there truth to those renter stereotypes?

NHC: More than 80 families have purchased homes with the help of DCHA’s homeownership program

NLIHC: Families living doubled-up tripled from 2003 to 2009

Off the Charts: Poverty and the safety net

Rooflines: Poverty today looks completely different and that’s important

VAntage Point: On Wednesday night, hundreds of volunteers walked the streets of Washington, D.C., to get a “point-in-time” count of the current homeless population

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