Affordable Housing News

NMA's seminar calendar for Q3 2017 is now available!

Posted by NMA on Apr 10, 2017 9:08:26 AM

affordable housing trainingWe’re pleased to announce the release of NMA's seminar calendar for the third quarter of 2017. 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.)

All Nan McKay classes have been updated for the latest HUD rules and notices. Our Fair Housing and Reasonable Accommodation class, the most comprehensive training on fair housing regulations available, has been updated for the recent notices on LEP, sexual harassment, and nuisance ordinances. All of our HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules from HOTMA and the recent Federal Register notice for the student rule.

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.

Topics: books and revision services, fair housing, HOTMA, LEP, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation

NMA's seminar calendar for Q2 2017 is now available!

Posted by NMA on Jan 11, 2017 2:10:24 PM

affordable housing trainingWe’re pleased to announce the release of NMA's seminar calendar for the second quarter of 2017. You can view a list of the affordable housing training that Nan McKay and Associates is offering from now through June on this page at our website.

Start planning your spring 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.)

All Nan McKay classes have been updated for the latest HUD rules and notices. Our Fair Housing and Reasonable Accommodation class, the most comprehensive training on fair housing regulations available, has been updated for the recent notices on LEP, sexual harassment, and nuisance ordinances. All of our HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules from HOTMA and the recent Federal Register notice for the student rule.

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.

Topics: books and revision services, fair housing, HOTMA, LEP, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation

The NMA year-end sale is back!

Posted by NMA on Nov 1, 2016 11:13:26 AM

In the spirit of customer appreciation, NMA is once again holding our much-anticipated year-end sale! Now through December 31, save 20 percent on January–March 2017 seminars. (The discount does not apply to seminars hosted by housing authorities or associations.)

You can view a list of the training opportunities that Nan McKay and Associates is offering from now through the end of March on this page at our website. All classes have been updated for the latest HUD rules and notices. Our Fair Housing and Reasonable Accommodation class, the most comprehensive training on fair housing regulations available, has been updated for the recent notices on LEP, sexual harassment, and nuisance ordinances. All of our HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules from HOTMA and the recent Federal Register notice for the student rule.

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.

Topics: books and revision services, fair housing, HOTMA, LEP, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation

NMA's seminar calendar for Q1 2017 is now available!

Posted by NMA on Oct 10, 2016 3:36:55 PM

affordable housing trainingWe’re pleased to announce the release of NMA's seminar calendar for the first quarter of 2017. You can view a list of the affordable housing training that Nan McKay and Associates is offering from now through March on this page at our website.

Start planning your winter 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.)

All Nan McKay classes have been updated for the latest HUD rules and notices. Our Fair Housing and Reasonable Accommodation class, the most comprehensive training on fair housing regulations available, has been updated for the recent notices on LEP, sexual harassment, and nuisance ordinances. All of our HCV classes have been updated for the new payment standard rules from HOTMA and the recent Federal Register notice for the student rule.

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.

Topics: books and revision services, fair housing, HOTMA, LEP, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, rent calculation

HUD issues Fair Housing Act guidance on limited English proficiency

Posted by NMA on Sep 15, 2016 1:41:05 PM

In a press release today, HUD announced that its Office of General Counsel (OGC) has issued new guidance on the application of the Fair Housing Act to a housing provider’s consideration of a person’s limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. Specifically, the guidance addresses how methods of proof apply with regards to disparate treatment and discriminatory effects in fair housing cases in which adverse housing actions are based on limited English proficiency (LEP). According to the notice:

  • A housing provider violates the Fair Housing Act if the provider uses a person’s LEP to discriminate intentionally because of race, national origin, or another protected characteristic.
  • Because of the close link between LEP and national origin or race, justifications for language-related restrictions in a Fair Housing Act case must be closely examined to determine whether the restriction is in fact a proxy or pretext for race or national origin discrimination.
  • Intentional discrimination may involve imposing restrictions, targeting individuals for unfair or illegal housing-related services, or failing to comply with the requirement to provide housing-related language assistance services to LEP persons.
  • A housing provider also violates the Fair Housing Act when the provider’s policy or practice has an unjustified discriminatory effect, even when the provider had no intent to discriminate. That is, even policies that appear neutral on the surface that potentially restrict access to LEP individuals can be seen as in violation to the act.
  • As with the nuisance guidance issued earlier this week, the LEP guidance covers the three steps used to analyze claims that a housing provider’s use of LEP results in an unjustified discriminatory effect in violation of the act, which includes: assessing the discriminatory effect; evaluating whether the challenged policy or practice is necessary to achieve a substantial, legitimate, nondiscriminatory interest; and evaluating whether there is a less discriminatory alternative.

To read the press release, click here. To access the guidance document, click here.

Do you have concerns about whether or not your agency is compliant with federal fair housing law? Nan McKay and Associates can help. Contact sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: fair housing, LEP, Program News and Notices

HUD issues notice on portability

Posted by NMA on Jun 9, 2016 11:17:18 AM

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On Monday HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2016-09 to provide guidance on moves with continued assistance by families in the housing choice voucher (HCV) program, both within a PHA’s jurisdiction and outside it under portability. The notice updates previous guidance, such as guidance issued under Notice PIH 2012-42, by incorporating changes resulting from last year’s streamlining portability final rule, in addition to providing guidance on briefings and suspension of the voucher term. Notable highlights include the following:

  • The section on fair housing and equal opportunity requirements has been updated to account for the affirmatively furthering fair housing (AFFH) final rule, further guidance on voucher extensions as a reasonable accommodation, and limited English proficiency (LEP) requirements.
  • A new section has been added which focuses on the changes to the required contents of family briefings resulting from the streamlining portability final rule. The section covers the explanation on how portability works, explanation on the advantages of moving to areas with low concentrations of low-income families, information on selecting a unit, explanation on how voucher suspension works under the current regulation (since it is now required), and the list of landlords or other resources, specifically in terms of how the list should line up with AFFH requirements.
  • Much information has been added addressing required suspension of the voucher term, including general requirements and information on the impact of suspension on the initial billing deadline.
  • A section on denying family requests to move has been added, taking into account mandatory denials, discretionary denials, and exceptions under the Violence against Women Act (VAWA). Denying requests due to insufficient funding is also covered in detail in its own section.
  • The notice discusses the use of email or other delivery confirmation method, and supports HUD’s use of email as the preferred method.
  • Processing responsibilities of the initial PHA are detailed in the notice, including the initial PHA’s role regarding new requirements on the family selecting the receiving PHA. In addition to more basic procedural elements, this section also provides guidance on the use of special purpose vouchers.
  • Of course, processing responsibilities of the receiving PHA are also specified. Items of note in this section include rescreening, voucher extensions, when the family decides not to lease in the PHA’s jurisdiction, and absorption. The notice also covers ongoing responsibilities of the receiving PHA, including use of special purpose vouchers, 50058s, and if the family decides to port to another jurisdiction.
  • The notice provides guidance on administrative fees, including the administrative fee structure changes under the streamlining portability final rule.
  • Finally, the notice goes into great detail on portability billing. Of these remaining sections, only the section on billing the initial PHA contains substantive changes from the previous notice.

Notice PIH 2016-09 will be effective until amended, superseded, or rescinded.

Got questions about portability? Don't miss Nan's legislative update at the The Housing Conference this September, where she'll discuss the latest rules and regulations, including the new portability notice. Register now, early bird pricing ends June 30!

Topics: fair housing, final rule, LEP, PIH notices, portability, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation, streamlining, The Housing Conference, VAWA

How does the proposed demo/dispo rule affect PHAs? Part II

Posted by BEMuser on Jan 13, 2015 2:12:00 PM

On October 16, 2014, HUD published in the Federal Register a proposed rule on the demolition and disposition of public housing projects, and the conversion of public housing to tenant-based assistance.

The rule has been in the works for quite some time, with the goal of finally bringing the regulations up-to-date with sweeping changes mandated by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).

Additionally, the proposed rule offers several clarifications and additions regarding resident consultation, application processing, conversion, and other requirements that until now have not made it into regulation.

Demolition and disposition

As far as demolition and disposition are concerned, the rule at 24 CFR 970.3(b)(7) would permit, as an exception, the leasing of the entire project only for one year or less for the strictly limited purpose of allowing a prospective owner-entity to show site control in an application for funding for the redevelopment of the project. The rule would also clarify that reconfiguration as an exception to demolition may only be done for an authorized use related to the normal operation of public housing and without demolition.

The regulations as they currently stand, as an exception to the requirement that PHA property generally must be disposed of for fair market value (FMV), allow for the disposition of public housing for less than FMV if there is a commensurate public benefit to the community, the PHA, or the federal government. However, there are no further requirements ensuring the commensurate benefit is actually obtained. The proposed rule would add informational requirements to ensure that commensurate public benefit is actually being obtained for these types of dispositions. Required information would include anticipated future use of the property, a detailed description of any housing to be located on the property, and the length of time the future use would be maintained, among other relevant information.

Regarding application requirements, the proposed rule would require the supporting evidence to include:

  • A description of the process of the consultations summarizing the dates, meetings, and issues raised by residents, and the PHA’s responses to those issues
  • Meeting sign-in sheets
  • Any written comments submitted by affected residents/groups, along with the PHA’s responses to those comments
  • Any certifications or other written documentation that the PHA receives from the resident advisory board (RAB) and resident council

In terms of resident relocation made necessary by demo/dispo, the rule would continue to require that the housing being offered must meet housing quality standards (HQS) and be in a location “not less desirable” than the housing the resident is being displaced from, although the existing regulations fail to define what not less desirable means. The proposed rule, on the other hand, would define the “not less desirable” location within the definition of comparable housing, as essentially having comparable access to public transportation, employment, education, childcare, medical services, shopping, etc.

The rule would also strengthen notification requirements, including the obligation to notify in languages other than English.

Finally, the proposed rule would add civil rights requirements, including documentation that the PHA is not in violation of any civil rights law, compliance agreement, settlement agreement, or court order. Certifications would be required that the action does not serve to maintain or increase segregation based on race, ethnicity, or disability. This includes requiring a description of the civil rights-related characteristics of both the residents who will be displaced by the action, the residents anticipated to remain in a public housing project that is partially demolished or disposed of, and the residents on the PHA’s waiting list.

Kaylene Holvenstot has been a technical writer at NMA since 2008. She contributes to and edits NMA Master Books and model policies while researching and analyzing the latest HUD guidance to ensure that all course material is always up to date and fully accurate.

Topics: fair housing, HERA, HQS, LEP, proposed rule, public housing conversion, Trainers and Consultants

Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #19

Posted by NMA on May 13, 2013 2:40:08 PM

Cara Gillette

While public housing funding for May is now at an 82% proration level (up from 79% in April), sequestration is still in effect, and Congress shows no inclination to reverse it any time soon.

The business of owning and managing affordable housing in decent, safe, and sanitary condition and in good repair remains our mission. PHAs need to plan more strategically than ever before. So, as all businesses must ask in tough times: How can we maximize dollars and cut costs?

Tip #19: Limit liability.

Losing a lawsuit is a way to lose big money. Avoid getting hit with a voluntary compliance agreement (VCA), which can be extremely time-consuming and expensive.

Make sure your reasonable accommodation processes, forms, and policies are compliant, understandable, understood by staff, and communicated to applicants and residents. If your PHA has 15 employees or more, you're required to have a 504 coordinator, although of course in smaller PHAs that function may be fulfilled by the executive director or other manager. Track your reasonable accommodation requests, and have a final approval process for any denial of a reasonable accommodation.

Be proactive and vigilant about other fair housing issues. Take another look at your LEP plan for competent interpretation and written translation of key documents (or key portions of key documents). Make sure you're not prohibiting children in your elderly/disabled developments — the eligibility requirement is that the head of house, spouse, or cohead are 62 years or older or meet the HUD definition of disabled. Nothing allows you to prohibit children in public housing.

Be sure that you're implementing Section 3 requirements in your procurement processes. FHEO is monitoring this, a sure sign that HUD is serious about it. We've seen PHAs, counties, and even states put under VCAs for lack of fully implementing Section 3.

Lastly, never skip any steps when it comes to safety. Onsite staff as well as maintenance technicians should note anything with the potential to become unsafe, and a work order should be issued. Train staff to keep their eyes out for potential safety hazards when walking the grounds and common areas. Staff, as well as maintenance, should understand what a health and safety deficiency is under the uniform physical condition standards (UPCS).

Next: Working with sequestration in the public housing program: Tip #20

NMA senior associate Cara Gillette trains, consults, and provides technical assistance nationwide in fair housing, public housing management, hearings, economic self-sufficiency, and governing boards. Prior to joining NMA, Ms. Gillette served at the San Diego Housing Commission, administering its public housing and Section 8 waiting lists, serving as hearing officer, managing public housing, and overseeing resident economic development programs. She has previously written for the NMA blog about blended occupancy projects.

If you find that you need staffing help during sequestration, NMA can assist your agency with recertifications (done remotely), quality control, outsourced hearing officer services (done remotely), HQS inspections, and more. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: budget cuts, fair housing, LEP, maintenance, reasonable accommodation, Section 3, seniors and elderly, sequestration, Trainers and Consultants, UPCS

Fair housing resources for PHAs

Posted by NMA on Apr 24, 2013 9:59:37 AM

As we head towards the close of Fair Housing Month, here's a roundup of some of the resources that HUD and other organizations have made available:

➤  HUD headquarters released two new public service announcement (PSA) videos, which are available for viewing in HUD’s Webcast archive. The first video, posted on April 1, is about 20 minutes long and includes segments on disability, race, and familial status, each shown first with onscreen captions and then again without captions. The second PSA video runs for about eight minutes and features the same stories in a shortened format, with closed captions instead of onscreen captions.

➤  The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA) issued its annual report on fair housing trends in the United States. This year’s report includes four maps identifying the states where housing discrimination is still legal based on marital status, source of income, sexual orientation, and gender identity. You’ll find links to the individual maps, as well as a link to this year’s 40-page fair housing trends report, on NFHA’s home page.

➤  The Federal Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency (LEP) posted a Microsoft Excel file containing data on LEP speakers in the United States at the county and state level. The data was compiled by the Migration Policy Institute “to assist the array of stakeholders who require demographic information in order to make decisions about how to communicate with newcomers.” As the cover sheet explains, the data are taken from the U.S. Census Bureau’s pooled 2007–2011 American Community Surveys and organized by state. They show LEP groups “as a percentage of the total population of the state and county (if any LEP group accounted for 5 percent or more of the county population) as well as by absolute number (if any LEP group had 500 or more members in the county).” They do not reflect all speakers of a given language, just those that identify themselves as LEP. The file includes a tab for each state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as well as a tab with summary data for the all of the states and the country as a whole. You can access each of the tabs easily through a hyperlinked table of contents. You’ll find a link to the file at LEP.gov.

➤  NMA trainer Becky Gligo began a new blog series about how to make informed reasonable accommodation decisions. Step #1, Step #2, and Step #3 have already been published; come back next week for the series conclusion. Last year, Becky wrote about how to meet your community's LEP needs and ideas for maximizing fair housing efforts.

Follow the #fairhousing tag to keep up with all related blog posts. To stay updated on the latest program information, subscribe to the PIH Alert and Housing Resource Newsletter. Are there other fair housing resources that we should know about? Let us know in the comments!

Topics: fair housing, LEP, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, reasonable accommodation

How to meet your community's LEP needs: Tip #4

Posted by NMA on Sep 12, 2012 10:22:01 AM

Becky GligoTip #4: Develop and implement a language assistance plan based on a four-factor analysis.

The steps we've discussed up to this point comprise an analysis of the following four factors:

  • The number or proportion of LEP persons eligible to be served
  • The frequency with which these individuals come into contact with the program
  • The nature and importance of the program, service, or activity to these individuals' lives
  • The resources available to the PHA, and the costs

Collectively, this is referred to as a four-factor analysis, and it's the cornerstone of any successful language assistance plan.

Once you've conducted a four-factor analysis, developing a language assistance plan (LAP) should come easy. The four-factor analysis will give your agency a clearer picture of which services it will provide, and your LAP can be a guide to realistically implementing those services. The LAP will help ensure consistency in the way staff members work with LEP individuals  and serve as a framework for how your agency documents these important efforts. The plan can also offer guidance to managers for budgeting and training decisions.

More information on developing language assistance plans can

be found at the HUD website. You may also want to review the

Federal Register notice spelling out relevant LEP guidance.

Once you've developed your LAP, you can move forward with implementation. While every housing authority should have an LAP, not every housing authority will need to implement it. The key is to have a plan on paper should the need for services arise. Your plan can take place over a period of time — HUD recognizes that financial constraints are real and that LEP implementation doesn't happen overnight.

In summary, here are the four basic steps that your agency can take in order to meet the needs of the LEP members of your community:

As a federally funded agency, you are responsible for making sure that individuals in your community with limited English proficiency have meaningful access to the programs and services you provide. When taken together, these steps will help your agency to develop a language assistance plan (LAP) that can effectively remove the barriers for this group of individuals, while at the same time keeping your agency in compliance with HUD LEP guidance.

Becky Gligo has been a trainer and consultant at Nan McKay and Associates since 2008. She trains hundreds of housing authority staff each year, both in open enrollment and onsite trainings. Ms. Gligo is one of NMA's primary fair housing experts.

Do you have concerns about whether or not your agency is compliant with federal fair housing law? Nan McKay and Associates can help. Our resources for your PHA include consulting, a newly-updated video, and a training seminar, also newly updated.

Topics: fair housing, LEP, Trainers and Consultants

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