Affordable Housing News

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Posted by NMA on May 31, 2017 12:12:19 PM

Housing Help Sessions

What is a Housing Help Session, you ask? Our longtime customers will remember them previously known as Lunch ‘n’ Learns. They’re a very popular way to get the latest program guidance in a convenient two-hour online session.

Following is the schedule of Housing Help Sessions for summer 2017. The links below will take you to the registration page.


DATE CATEGORY TOPIC HOST
Fri. 6/30 VAWA Session The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2013
  • Learn what's new for your agency in VAWA 2013
  • Understand VAWA's basic requirements, including notification, confidentiality, and how VAWA applies to both applicants and participants
  • PIH Alert subscribers save $30 on registration
Annie Stevenson
Fri. 7/14 PBV Session Changes to the PBV Program under HOTMA
  • Learn how HUD's HOTMA implementation notice affects the project-based voucher (PBV) program
  • Major changes include when the PHA inspects units, the number of PBV units in the project, the definition of excepted units, the definition of PHA-owned units, and the length of the PBV HAP contract
  • PIH Alert subscribers save $30 on registration
Samantha Sowards

Topics: HOTMA, Housing Help Sessions, PBV, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, Trainers and Consultants, VAWA

HUD publishes final rule on lead-based paint

Posted by NMA on Jan 20, 2017 1:23:31 PM

lead-based paint

Last week in the Federal Register, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published a final rule amending the lead-based paint regulations to reduce the blood lead levels in children under the age of six who reside in federally assisted housing.

In addition to revising the definition of elevated blood lead level to conform with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the rule also establishes more comprehensive testing and evaluation procedures and addresses other aspects of CDC guidance regarding assisted housing. Other highlights of the rule include:

  • Definitions for the terms certified, environmental investigation, evaluation, and expected to reside have been added to the regulations
  • Posting notices of environmental investigation in centrally located common areas is prohibited to protect the family’s privacy, although the PHA must notify residents if conducting lead hazard evaluations or reduction activities
  • When a child under six has an elevated blood lead level, the housing provider must conduct an environmental investigation within 15 calendar days of receiving notification
  • The housing provider must complete the lead-hazard reduction within 30 calendar days of receiving the environmental investigation report
  • If lead hazards are identified at the property, the housing provider must conduct risk assessments for the rest of the property within 30 calendar days from receiving the environmental investigation report when there are fewer than 20 units on the property, and within 60 days if there are more than 20
  • If the risk assessment for the rest of the property identifies further lead hazards, the housing provider has 30 calendar days to complete the lead hazard reduction, or 90 days if there are more than 20 units identified with lead-based paint hazards where the control work would disturb more than the de minimis threshold
  • The housing provider is required to report cases to HUD and provide documentation that it has completed requirements within the specified timeframes within 10 days of the deadline for each activity

Further information can be found in the notice, and in this press release announcing the publication of the rule. It becomes effective February 13, 2017.

Keep up with final rules like this one with a subscription to NMA’s PIH Alert. You’ll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: final rule, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, lead-based paint

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

Q&A: Flat rent annual review

Posted by NMA on Sep 6, 2016 12:32:53 PM

Flat rent annual reviewQUESTION    I’m confused about all of the flat rent changes over the past couple of years. I see that HUD has published FMRs for 2017 and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do with them. Help, please!

ANSWER    You’re correct that HUD published the fair market rents (FMRs) for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017 on August 26. The FMR data set includes a table of unadjusted rents. Small area fair market rents (SAFMRs) were posted on August 30. Your agency will need one or more of these data sets in order to comply with HUD’s current requirements for reviewing flat rents on an annual basis. The flat rent annual review must be completed within 90 days after the issuance of new FMRs.

The current requirements for determining public housing flat rents were published in the streamlining final rule (published March 8 in the Federal Register) and in Notice PIH 2015-13 (published September 8, 2015). The corresponding regulations are at 24 Code of Federal Regulations 960.253. PHAs are now required to set flat rents at no less than the lower of:

  • 80 percent of the applicable FMR
  • 80 percent of the SAFMR (published for metropolitan areas)
  • 80 percent of unadjusted rents (published for nonmetropolitan areas)

Alternatively, PHAs may apply for an exception waiver through HUD to allow a lower flat rent. For areas in which HUD has not published a SAFMR or unadjusted rent, flat rents must be set at no less than 80 percent of the applicable FMR.

Since FMRs are published annually, PHAs must now review flat rents each year to ensure compliance with the current rule. The following is an excerpt from Notice PIH 2015-13 which describes the requirements for the flat rent annual review:

In order to comply with the flat rent requirements annually, no later than 90 days after issuance of new FMRs or SAFMRs by HUD, the PHA must:

1. Compare the current flat rent amount to the applicable FMR and SAFMR/unadjusted rent:

a) If the flat rent is at least 80 percent of the lower of the FMR or SAFMR/unadjusted rent, the PHA is in compliance with the law, and no further steps are necessary;

b) If the flat rent is less than 80 percent of the lower of the FMR and SAFMR, the PHA must set flat rents at no less than 80 percent of the lower of the FMR or SAFMR/unadjusted rent, subject to the utilities adjustment in this notice, or the PHA may request an exception flat rent pursuant to the requirements of Section 4 of this notice;

2. Update the flat rent policies in the admissions and continued occupancy policies (ACOP) as necessary;

3. At all new admissions, permit the family to choose between the flat rent amount and the income-based rent; and

4. For families that are current public housing residents, offer the updated flat rent amount at the next annual rent option, and permit the family to choose between the flat rent amount and the income-based rent

Flat rent increases must be capped at 35 percent per year. PHAs are no longer permitted to phase in increases of 35 percent or less.

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're attending The Housing Conference this month in San Antonio, you can also ask Annie your question in person! Don't miss her sessions on the fair housing final rule and new and upcoming affordable housing legislationRegister online or email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: final rule, flat rent, FMR, PIH Alert, PIH notices, Program News and Notices, Q&A, streamlining

HUD publishes proposed rule on lead-based paint

Posted by NMA on Sep 1, 2016 12:29:41 PM

proposed lead-based paint rule

This morning in the Federal Register, HUD’s Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes (OLHCHH) published a proposed rule titled “Requirements for Notification, Evaluation and Reduction of Lead-Based Paint Hazards in Federally Owned Residential Property and Housing Receiving Federal Assistance; Response to Elevated Blood Lead Levels.” The proposed rule would amend HUD’s current regulations on lead-based paint at 24 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 35.

As explained in an accompanying press release, the proposed rule would redefine “‘elevated blood lead levels’’ in children under the age of six to match the definition used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“There is no amount of lead in a child’s blood that can be considered safe,” said HUD Secretary Castro. “We have an obligation to the families we serve to protect their children.  By aligning our standard with the one used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, we can act more quickly and make certain the homes we support are as safe as possible. This proposed rule is the centerpiece of HUD’s intensified efforts to protect our next generation from debilitating lead poisoning.”

The proposed rule would apply to the voucher and public housing programs, to some HUD-assisted multifamily programs, and to some properties receiving non-HUD federal assistance. The deadline date for comments is October 31, 2016.

Keep up with proposed rules like this one with a subscription to NMA’s PIH Alert. You’ll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices, proposed rule

Congratulations to Marlene Cieslak!

Posted by NMA on Jul 6, 2016 4:14:39 PM

PIH Alert contestWe're excited to announce the winner of our quarterly PIH Alert contest!

Marlene Cieslak at the Utica Municipal Housing Authority in New York will receive a free one-year subscription to the PIH Alert.

Enjoy your PIH Alert subscription!

If you didn't win, you can still try out the PIH Alert for thirty days, free, no commitment required. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices

Win a subscription to NMA's PIH Alert!

Posted by NMA on Jun 28, 2016 9:30:00 AM

PIH AlertNMA's PIH Alert is a daily email summary with notices, regulation changes, new guidance, tools, webcast announcements, acts of Congress, and everything else that affects the public housing and HCV programs — plus weekly Q&As, in-depth analysis, and more.

In short, it's a must-have for anyone working in the affordable housing industry. And now you can win a full year's subscription!

To enter the  contest, all you need to do is sign up for NMA blog updates via email. How? It's easy — just enter your email address in the box to the right, where it says "Follow our blog via email," and click the Subscribe button. If you're already receiving blog updates via email, you don't have to do anything. You're automatically entered to win!

The contest is open until Tuesday, July 5, and we’ll announce a winner on Wednesday, July 6. If you’re already a PIH Alert subscriber, we’ll extend your current subscription by another year. Good luck!

Topics: PIH Alert, Program News and Notices

NMA's 2016 model policies shipped to subscribers!

Posted by NMA on May 26, 2016 10:55:58 AM

model policiesWe're pleased to announce that the 2016 editions of our model policies have shipped out! All revision service customers should receive these within a week or so.

2016: For 2016, the NMA Model Administrative Plan and Guide has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, inspection protocol, among other areas of program administration
  • Further clarifications on the streamlining rule as described in Notice PIH 2016-05, which provided implementation guidance on various aspects of the rule
  • Updates to policies on the use of arrest records per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Clarifications regarding the definition of tuition, as specified in Notice PIH 2015-21
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: For 2016, the NMA Model Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy (ACOP) and Guide has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, calculating rents for mixed families, grievances, and the community service requirement, among others
  • Implementation guidance on the final rule as described in Notices PIH 2016-05 and PIH 2016-06
  • Further clarifications on the community service requirement found in Notice PIH 2015-12
  • Modifications to policies on phasing-in flat rents per Notice PIH 2015-13
  • Updates on the use of arrest records as described in Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Revision of the definition of tuition specified in Notice PIH 2015-21
  • Discussion in the model ACOP instruction guide on over-income families following the letter to executive directors issued September 3, 2015
  • Other minor changes and clarifications throughout to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2016: For 2016, the NMA Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Revisions regarding Notice PIH 2015-12 on the community service and self-sufficiency requirement (CSSR)
  • Modifications concerning the redesignation of 24 CFR Part 85 to 2 CFR Part 200
  • Updates to relevant references, including regulatory updates for the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016
  • Other corrections and modifications for clarity and ease of reading

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the final rule on streamlining administrative regulations, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, the earned income disallowance, annual and interim reexaminations, and inspection protocol, among other areas of program administration
  • Further clarifications on the streamlining rule as described in Notice PIH 2016-05, which provided implementation guidance on various aspects of the rule
  • Changes to account for the final rule on streamlining portability, issued August 20, 2015
  • Updates regarding the use of arrest records in denials and terminations per Notice PIH 2015-19
  • Revisions for Notice PIH 2016-02 on enhanced voucher requirements for over-housed families
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

Questions about your revision services subscriptions? Contact Laurie Durrett in our accounting department and she'll be happy to assist you.

NMA revision services provide a yearly update to your NMA Master Books and model policies with explanations and guidance regarding the most current HUD rules and regulations. To stay updated on the latest program information, try a free 30-day trial subscription to the PIH Alert. Email sales@nanmckay.com to get started.

Topics: books and revision services, community service, criminal records, EID, flat rent, HQS, inspections, over-income families, PIH Alert, portability, Program News and Notices, recertification, rent calculation, streamlining, utilities

Q&A: Where are the HUD letters to EDs?

Posted by NMA on May 12, 2016 9:48:20 AM

raised-hands.jpgQUESTION    Recently I saw a reference to a "letter to executive directors" from HUD. I am the ED in my agency and I never received this letter. Are they talking about a paper letter? Where can I find letters to EDs on HUD’s website?

ANSWER    In the past couple of years, HUD has issued several important pieces of guidance in the format of letters to executive directors. Some of the notices contain implementation requirements for new rules or policies (for example, a September letter added 30 days to the portability billing deadline for the HCV program). The HUD letters are transmitted via email and usually they are not posted to HUD’s website.

Some recent examples of letters to executive directors include:

So where does HUD get email addresses for PHA executive directors? The addresses are pulled from the HA Profiles module in HUD’s Inventory Management System/Public and Indian Housing Information Center (IMS/PIC). The contact information is entered by PHA staff and must be updated as needed. The HA Profiles page includes links to a "walkthrough" guide for using the module and a set of frequently asked questions.

If your agency is not receiving these important emails from HUD, there could be several reasons:

  • The email address in HA Profiles no longer exists
  • The email address exists but an employee has left and no one is checking his or her email
  • The email inbox is full
  • The emails are being intercepted by a firewall or anti-spam program

We recommend that you first check the information in the HA Profiles module to make sure that the email address under the Contact tab is current. Next verify that the email inbox can receive mail, and finally, check the settings for your anti-spam software.

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

Topics: final rule, FMR, IMS/PIC, PIH Alert, portability, Program News and Notices, Q&A

Final rule on faith-based organizations out now

Posted by NMA on Apr 5, 2016 11:41:08 AM

Yesterday in the Federal Register, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and eight other federal agencies published a final rule implementing “fundamental principles and policymaking criteria for partnerships with faith-based and other neighborhood organizations.” The final rule is effective on May 4; recipients of federal financial assistance must be in compliance by July 5.

A HUD press release posted on March 31 explains that the final rule provides new religious liberty protections for beneficiaries of its programs and activities. In addition, the rule ensures that faith-based providers can compete for government funds on the same basis as any other private organization. The rule clarifies what activities can and cannot be supported with direct federal financial assistance by replacing use of the term “inherently religious activities” with the term “explicitly religious activities” and providing examples of such activities.

“These regulations build on widespread agreement that we can and should do more to protect the religious liberty of beneficiaries and provide greater clarity and transparency about applicable church-state rules,” said Melissa Rogers, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “These reforms will strengthen partnerships that serve people in need, and we commend the agencies for working together to issue these final regulations.”

Keep up with housing industry news, trends, and notices with a subscription to NMA's PIH Alert. You'll receive a daily email filled with up-to-the-minute program changes, requirements, and assistance. Email sales@nanmckay.com for more information.

Topics: faith-based, final rule, PIH Alert, Program News and Notices

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