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Q&A: HOTMA implementation

Posted by NMA on Oct 3, 2016 2:01:08 PM

Q&A: HOTMA implementationQUESTION    We understand that HOTMA was signed into law by the president on July 29, 2016. Inasmuch as there are many substantive administrative changes to the HCV and public housing programs contained in this new law, we are wondering whether PHAs need to await the issuance of a HUD notice before they implement these changes (for example, increase in elderly/disabled deduction, asset limitations, reporting changes of 10 percent or more) or whether PHAs are obligated to immediately adopt these changes even before HUD issues new rules clarifying this new law? We have many recertifications in the pipeline and an answer to this question will obviously impact these pipeline cases.

ANSWER    Most provisions of the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) will not take effect until HUD has completed the formal rulemaking process. This typically involves issuance of a proposed rule, review of public comments, and publication of a final rule. Changes would likely go into effect 30 days after publication of the final rule, so it may be a year or more before PHAs are permitted to implement the new law.

Five self-implementing provisions of HOTMA were discussed in a letter to executive directors dated September 26. While the remaining HOTMA changes will be implemented through the formal rulemaking process, these five sections became effective immediately upon enactment. Implementation requirements are described below.

Reasonable accommodation payment standards: Section 102(d) of HOTMA provides that PHAs may establish, without HUD approval, a payment standard of up to 120 percent of the fair market rent (FMR) as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. Since this option was made available under the March 8 streamlining final rule, no further action is required.

Fair market rents: Two changes involving FMRs are included in Section 107 of HOTMA. The first change involves HUD’s methods for establishing and publishing FMRs. HUD will no longer publish “proposed” and “final” versions of the FMRs, but PHAs and other interested parties may comment on the FMRs and request HUD to reevaluate them in a jurisdiction before those rents become effective. FMRs for fiscal year 2017 were published on August 26 using the new method.

HOTMA also provides that no PHA in the housing choice voucher (HCV) program is required, as a result of a reduction in the FMR, to reduce the payment standard applied to a family continuing to reside in a unit under a housing assistance payment (HAP) contract at the time the FMR was reduced. PHAs must adopt policies in their administrative plans that further explain this provision. According to the letter:

Effective July 29, 2016, PHAs may choose, but are no longer required, to reduce the payment standard for a family that remains under HAP contract at the family’s second annual reexamination if, as the result of a decrease in the FMR, the payment standard would otherwise fall outside the basic range. HUD will issue additional guidance on this change in the future.

Family Unification Program (FUP) changes: HOTMA expanded FUP eligibility and increased time limits for eligible youth. The changes were effective upon enactment. HUD issued a letter to FUP executive directors on August 29 to ensure awareness of the changes.

Citizenship preference: This provision applies only to Guam and requires a preference for U.S. citizens and nationals over citizens of the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and Palau. It was effective upon enactment of HOTMA.

Exception to resident board member requirement: HOTMA provides an exception to the requirement that the board must include at least one public housing resident for the Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles and for any PHA in the states of Alaska, Iowa, and Mississippi. Since the provision has been in effect for a number of years through appropriations acts, no further action is required.

The letter contained the following guidance on HOTMA implementation:

All of the other sections in HOTMA that impact the HCV and public housing programs require that HUD first issue a notice or regulation for the provision to become effective. Until HUD issues the applicable notices or regulations, your PHA may not implement those additional sections. This information will also be transmitted in the near future via a Federal Register notice.

We realize that many PHAs are eager to implement the flexibilities and other statutory changes provided under HOTMA, so please be assured that HUD is working diligently to develop and provide the necessary implementation guidance in a timely manner. If you have any questions, please send them to HOTMAquestions@hud.gov.

Are you a PIH Alert subscriber? Every Friday, the PIH Alert includes one frequently asked question (FAQ) submitted by our readers. To submit your question, email Annie Stevenson at annie@nanmckay.com with the subject line "FAQ Friday." If you'd like to try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert, email sales@nanmckay.com to get started.

Topics: appropriations, final rule, FMR, HOTMA, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, proposed rule, Q&A, reasonable accommodation, recertification, rent calculation, seniors and elderly, streamlining, voucher reform legislation

Affordable housing news 9/16/16

Posted by NMA on Sep 16, 2016 4:26:55 PM

Boston Globe: Housing subsidies represent perhaps the country’s best shot at breaking intergenerational poverty

CityLab: The case for preservation instead of construction

CityLab: Most Americans are worried about losing their housing

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies: How do U.S. renters fare compared to those around the world?

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies: Older single women face greatest housing challenges

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies: New data on incomes suggests growing demand for housing

Next City: What Texas ruling means for fair housing

Next City: Nashville affordable housing advocates score 2 victories

NLIHC: Congress debates stopgap funding to avoid government shutdown

NLIHC: U.S. ranks poorly in housing affordability among advanced countries

Rooflines: Why we need to invest greater resources into the role of residential property managers

San Francisco Chronicle (via Planetizen): Housing crisis linked to public health problems

Urban Wire: What new programs and policies should PHAs be testing?

Urban Wire: How MTW could teach us about the benefits and costs of car access

Urban Wire: How HUD and PHAs can support students

Urban Wire: To increase housing choice, try incentivizing landlords

Topics: appropriations, fair housing, government shutdown, MTW, Program News and Notices, seniors and elderly

Affordable housing news 8/19/16

Posted by NMA on Aug 19, 2016 3:10:05 PM

CBPP: Why HUD should move quickly to implement SAFMR expansion

CityLab: Can "gentefiers" evolve a neighborhood without displacing people?

Next City: Affordable housing gets 2016 presidential election bump

NHC: No time for nostalgia: Why both parties must focus on housing and opportunity

NLIHC: Housing advocates warn about impacts of a long-term continuing resolution

Rooflines: As affordability worsens, state and local governments act on their own

San Francisco Chronicle (via Planetizen): HUD rejects neighborhood housing preference

Washington Post: The moral dilemma of a housing lottery

Topics: appropriations, fair housing, FMR, Program News and Notices

Affordable housing news 5/27/16

Posted by NMA on May 27, 2016 1:24:41 PM

Boston Business Journal: Pilot program would help prevent residents of multifamily properties from being displaced from their homes

CBPP: Rental assistance to families with children at lowest point in decade

CityLab: Hourly wage needed to rent a 2-bedroom apartment is rising

NCSHA: House Appropriations Committee approves FY 2017 HUD funding bill

New York Review of Books: Why the very poor have become poorer

Next City: Opening up HUD's "Prosperity Playbook"

NLIHC: In no state, metropolitan area, or county in the United States can a full-time worker earning the prevailing minimum wage afford a modest 2-bedroom apartment

Wall Street Journal: No relief in sight for minimum-wage renters

Topics: appropriations, Program News and Notices

Affordable housing news 5/20/16

Posted by NMA on May 20, 2016 4:38:29 PM

Bipartisan Policy Center: Can Congress deliver appropriations bills on time?

CBPP: Helping ex-offenders get housing and health care

City Observatory (via Planetizen): Is supply finally coming to rescue the rental market?

CityLab: Which neighborhoods win by building affordable housing?

CSSP: Lessons from the intersection of housing, child welfare, and vulnerable families

Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies: Housing inadequacy remains a problem for the lowest-income renters

The HUDdle: Transforming lives with summer youth job opportunities

Los Angeles Times (via Planetizen): California's governor wants to make it easier to build affordable housing

NCSHA: Senate passes FY 2017 housing appropriations bill

New York Daily News (via CSSP): Gentrification is eroding the stability provided by housing choice vouchers

Next City: From a high of $4.4 billion in 1995, CDBGs for 2016 are budgeted at $3 billion

NHC: House appropriators release draft FY2017 THUD bill

NLIHC: 75% of extremely low-income renter households pay more than 50% of their income on rent and utilities

NLIHC: House panel advances FY17 THUD spending bill

NLIHC: Senate passes THUD bill, as advocates mobilize to defeat amendment attacking fair housing

Topics: appropriations, CDBG, criminal records, fair housing, Program News and Notices

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