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Updates from HUD on recent U.S. disasters

Posted by NMA on Sep 25, 2017 12:44:17 PM

govt-columns.jpgHUD has been extremely busy with their disaster relief efforts in response to the numerous hurricanes and storms that have struck the U.S. Recently, they released a fraud alert to warn those affected by hurricanes to potential scams. In addition, HUD provided further information regarding their disaster relief efforts for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

OIG Warns of Hurricane Disaster Scams

HUD’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a fraud alert advising everyone affected by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria to be alert to scams that commonly occur after a disaster. Specifically, the alert warns to watch out for:

  • Scam housing inspectors
  • Scam contractors
  • Fake relief programs
  • Flooded cars for resale
  • Mortgage rescue scams

OIG also cautions those affected not to be persuaded to commit fraud by misrepresenting eligibility or misusing funds. Details on what to look out for and how to protect yourself in each of the categories above can be found in the alert.

HUD Announces Disaster Relief for Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

In two press releases, HUD announced that it will again speed federal disaster relief to the U.S. Virgin Islands and various municipalities in Puerto Rico to provide support to low-income renters and homeowners forced from their homes due to Hurricane Maria. Among the assistance discussed in the press releases, HUD is currently contacting state and local officials to explore streamlining the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing. These programs give communities the flexibility to redirect funds to address critical needs, such as housing and services for disaster victims. For more information, click here.

Topics: disaster programs, HOME, CDBG-DR

HUD announces disaster relief for Puerto Rico

Posted by NMA on Sep 12, 2017 11:17:30 AM

govt-columns.jpgIn a press release yesterday, HUD announced that it will speed federal disaster relief to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and provide support to low-income renters and homeowners forced from their homes due to Hurricane Irma.

Among the assistance discussed in the press release, HUD is currently contacting state and local officials to explore streamlining the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and HOME programs to expedite the repair and replacement of damaged housing. These programs give communities the flexibility to redirect funds to address critical needs, such as housing and services for disaster victims. For more information, click here.

Topics: CDBG, disaster programs, HOME, CDBG-DR

HUD announces Hurricane Harvey resources

Posted by NMA on Sep 5, 2017 11:58:41 AM

govt-columns.jpgToday HUD introduced two websites offering information and resources for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief. An accompanying press release discusses the housing needs of hurricane survivors.

First, in an email this morning HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) announced that it has established a website devoted to Hurricane Harvey Latest News. The site includes links to resources to assist survivors in beginning the building clean-up process safely so that they can get back into their homes as soon as possible. The site also features guides on dealing with mold, asbestos, lead, and other home health hazards that can occur after a disaster. Click here to join the OLHCHH mailing list.

A hurricane recovery website has also been posted on HUD Exchange. The site contains information and resources for HUD grantees, partners, and residents. Resources include links to press releases, disaster recovery toolkits, information for HUD and non-HUD residents, and resources for the care of pets and other animals.

In a press release posted this morning, HUD addressed the need for affordable rental housing for hurricane survivors. In partnership with other federal departments and agencies, HUD is the lead coordinating agency for long-term disaster-related housing needs resulting from Hurricane Harvey. HUD, its federal partnering agencies, and the Texas state housing task force are focused on identifying strategies to strengthen the housing market, building inclusive and sustainable communities, and integrating disaster mitigation measures into community design and development to reduce future damages.

Topics: disaster programs, indoor air quality, Program News and Notices, CDBG-DR

House releases omnibus appropriations bill for FY 2017

Posted by NMA on May 2, 2017 11:46:13 AM

appropriations

The House Appropriations Committee yesterday released the fiscal year 2017 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which would provide discretionary funding for the federal government for the remainder of the current fiscal year. Congress is expected to vote on the bill later this week, in time to avoid a government shutdown when the current continuing resolution expires on Friday.

Proposed funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is described in a summary prepared by the House committee. The legislation includes a net total of $38.8 billion for HUD, a $513 million increase above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level, and $824 million below the requested funding level. Highlights include:

  • Section 8 and Public Housing – Included in the bill is $27.5 billion for Public and Indian Housing. This is an increase of $623 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $760 million below the requested level.
  • Office of Housing – Other housing programs are funded at $11.5 billion – an increase of $259 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Project-Based Rental Assistance is funded at $10.8 billion; Housing for the Elderly is provided with $502 million; and Housing for Persons with Disabilities receives $146 million.
  • The bill cuts HUD’s administrative payments to public housing agencies by $427 million below the previous administration’s request. It also includes a provision prohibiting HUD from guaranteeing mortgages seized by eminent domain.
  • Community Planning and Development – The bill contains $6.8 billion for Community Planning and Development programs – $152 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
  • Community Development Block Grants are funded at $3 billion – the same as the fiscal year 2016 level. The HOME Investment Partnerships Program is funded at $950 million – the same as the current year. Grants for homeless assistance are funded at $2.4 billion, an increase of $133 million over current level.
  • Emergency Funding for Disaster Relief – In addition to regular appropriations, the legislation includes an additional $948 million in disaster relief. Of this amount, $528 million is for the Emergency Relief Program for qualifying emergency road and bridge repair expenses, and $400 million is for Community Development Block Grant disaster recovery assistance.

The full 92-page committee report is available here.

Topics: appropriations, CDBG, disaster programs, government shutdown, HOME, PBRA, Program News and Notices

HUD publishes HOTMA implementation guidance

Posted by NMA on Oct 25, 2016 12:05:11 PM

HOTMA

Yesterday in the Federal Register, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the initial implementation guidance for the Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act (HOTMA).

The guidance sets forth the statutory provisions effective immediately under HOTMA, and the actions that may or should be taken now in order to comply with those changes, in addition to identifying the provisions that are not effective until HUD subsequently issues a notice or regulation to implement them.

As specified in the guidance, among the HOTMA provisions that are effective upon enactment, or otherwise in effect, are the following:

  • Reasonable accommodation payment standards. HOTMA allows PHAs to establish a payment standard of up to 120 percent of fair market rent (FMR) without HUD approval as a reasonable accommodation for a person with a disability. Because the streamlining rule previously provided PHAs with this flexibility, no action is required to implement this provision.
  • Establishment of FMR. This provision changes how HUD publishes FMRs and the procedures for comment and requests for reevaluation. Additionally, HOTMA provides that in the housing choice voucher (HCV) program, no PHA is required as a result of a reduction in the FMR to reduce the payment standard of a family continuing to reside in a unit under HAP contract at the time the FMR was reduced. Should PHAs choose to use the higher payment standard for the family’s subsidy calculation, this must be specified in the administrative plan. HUD’s FMRs for 2017 already reflect the new procedures, and HUD will issue additional guidance with regards to payment standards in the future.
  • Family Unification Program (FUP) for children aging out of foster care. HOTMA revises the length of the term that an FUP-eligible youth may receive FUP assistance from 18 to 36 months, in addition to revising the eligibility requirements for FUP-eligible youth. Changes to the FUP program were effective upon implementation of HOTMA and PHAs were made aware of the new provision by means of a letter to FUP PHA executive directors on August 29, 2016. Further details can be found in today’s guidance.
  • Preference for United States citizens or nationals. This section applies to Guam only. The provisions were effective upon enactment of HOTMA and the details can be found within today’s guidance.
  • Exception to PHA resident board member requirement. Certain jurisdictions, as specified in the guidance, are excepted from the resident board member requirement. While effective upon implementation of HOTMA, this exception has already been effective for a number of years through various appropriations acts.
  • Inclusion of PHAs and local development authorities in Emergency Solutions grants. HOTMA authorized local governments receiving these grants to sub-award all or some of those funds to PHAs and local redevelopment authorities. The provision was effective upon implementation of HOTMA, although HUD does intend to issue further guidance on the matter.
  • Inclusion of Disaster Housing Assistance Program (DHAP) in certain fraud and abuse measures. This provision considers DHAP a HUD program for the purpose of income verifications. Like other provisions described in the notice, it has previously been in effect through appropriations acts for a number of years.
  • Energy efficiency requirements under the Self-Help Homeownership Program (SHOP). While this provision was effective upon enactment of HOTMA, changes will be reflected in the future SHOP notice of funding availability (NOFA), where more information will also be provided.
  • Formula and terms for allocations to prevent homelessness for individuals living with HIV or AIDS. This provision makes several changes to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA) program. They apply to FY 2017 funds and HUD’s Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) will issue further guidance on how the changes will affect future funding.

As mentioned above, today’s guidance also specifies several other pieces of HOTMA that will require further rulemaking or guidance in order to become effective. In other words, PHAs may not apply these provisions until HUD issues a rule or a notice addressing them. Because they are not immediately effective, they are summarized in brief below, although further details can be found in today’s guidance:

  • Changes regarding initial inspections in HCV units
  • Changes on the enforcement of housing quality standards (HQS) in HCV units
  • Changes regarding the frequency of income reviews
  • Changes on income reviews in project-based housing, in addition to changes on project-based assistance in general
  • Limitations on public housing tenancy for over-income families
  • Limitations on eligibility for assistance based on assets
  • Changes regarding PHA-owned units
  • Revisions to requirements regarding the public housing capital and operating funds
  • Changes regarding the use of vouchers for manufactured housing
  • Modifications of FHA requirements for mortgage insurance for condominiums
  • Changes regarding the definition of geographic area in the Continuum of Care program
  • Changes regarding HOPWA allocations

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.)

Topics: capital fund, disaster programs, energy efficiency, FMR, HOTMA, HQS, inspections, operating subsidy, over-income families, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation, streamlining, voucher reform legislation

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