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Community development and housing news

Posted by NMA on Apr 2, 2019 12:51:20 PM

Community development and housing news for April 2, 2019

Landmark decision in Connecticut fair housing case, new UPCS requirements for inspecting carbon monoxide detectors, VAWA reauthorization bill, and other stories we're following this week.

Breaking news

In a landmark civil rights decision, the Connecticut federal District Court established for the first time that consumer reporting agencies must comply with the Fair Housing Act when conducting tenant-screening services for landlords.

The decision in Connecticut Fair Housing Center et al. v. CoreLogic Rental Property Solutions, LLC, which the Center filed with the National Housing Law Project after CoreLogic’s tenant screening product, CrimSAFE, disqualified a disabled Latino man with no criminal convictions from moving in with his mother. CrimSAFE provides landlords with an accept or decline decision based on CoreLogic’s assessment of an applicant’s criminal record. The lawsuit alleges CrimSAFE discriminates on the basis of race, national origin, and disability in violation of the Fair Housing Act. Read more

HUD will begin requiring federal inspectors to check public housing apartments for carbon monoxide detectors.

Under the new requirements, which took effect yesterday, federal inspectors must check for the detectors in any public housing units that contain fuel-fired appliances or have an attached garage, and determine if they are working, according to a HUD notice issued last week. The new requirements will apply to properties owned and operated by public housing authorities, as well as privately owned developments under contract with HUD, according to HUD spokesman Brian Sullivan. But they will not apply to privately owned apartments rented to people with Section 8 housing choice vouchers. Read more

U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) have introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), H.R. 1585.

The bill is expected to be considered by the full House of Representatives this week. It retains the baseline housing protections in VAWA 2013 and includes amendments that would strengthen VAWA’s emergency transfer and lease bifurcation remedies; address the need for proper VAWA implementation and compliance; as well as protect VAWA survivors’ right to report crime and support effective law enforcement.

Importantly, VAWA 2013’s housing protections continue to be in effect. These safeguards did not expire when Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA last year. Therefore, VAWA 2013’s statutory housing provisions and related implementing regulations and guidances by HUD and RD are still in force. Read more

The National Low Income Housing Coalition has published their annual analysis of recent data, and the results are stark.

Nationally, there is a shortage of 7 million homes affordable and available to the lowest-income renters. Rents have risen faster than renters’ incomes over the last two decades, and while more people are renting than ever, the supply of housing has lagged. Fewer than four affordable and available rental homes exist for every 10 deeply poor renter households nationwide. As a result, record-breaking numbers of families cannot afford decent homes. Read more

HUD announced that the Federal Housing Administration is expanding its low-income housing tax credit financing program for multifamily properties.

Back in 2012, the FHA rolled out a LIHTC pilot program that dealt specifically with applications to refinance mortgage debt under FHA's Section 223(f) program. Under the new expansion, FHA will begin to support "new construction and substantial rehabilitation" under its Section 221(d)(4) and Section 220 programs. Read more

What we're reading

In a study that raises alarms about an increasingly tattered safety net for low-income seniors in America, researchers have found that just short of half—44 percent—of all homeless people older than 50 years old hit the streets for the first time after they were 50.

The study’s finding speaks to the danger of a shrinking ability of people to adequately save money and make other arrangements for retirement and indicates that there is too little help in place to catch them before they fall into homelessness when hard times hit. Perhaps most disturbingly, it reflects society’s ambivalence toward the plight of the elderly. Read more

A number of housing groups and state representatives are making another push to reform the scoring process for federal LIHTC applications in Texas.

If those pushing to change that process are successful, they say, the credits will be allocated more fairly and with less political influence, racist NIMBYism will lose some of its leverage, and affordable housing developers will have a better chance of serving residents who are the most in need. Read more

Climate change is getting harder to ignore, from alarming new reports about its impacts to debates around a Green New Deal.

Yet for all this attention, individual places—from the biggest cities to the smallest towns—are still struggling to do something about it. An unpredictable climate should serve as a strong motivator for every community to better maintain its man-made and natural stormwater infrastructure to be more flexible and responsive. Read more

When Sonoma County’s pilot project to build tiny homes for more than a dozen homeless veterans ran into one, then two, then three major roadblocks, it was fitting that the response was to just work around it and get the job done.

After all, the county's veterans have demonstrated their resilience throughout their lives, during their service and after. Thanks to the HUD-VASH (VA Supportive Housing) program, 15 formerly homeless veterans, including one couple, will have rental assistance and case management on a plot of county-owned land. Read more

How New Orleans reduced its homeless population by 90 percent.

New Orleans faced a major crisis in homelessness following Hurricane Katrina. In 2007, two years after the storm, there were more than 11,600 homeless people in the city. The strategy to tackle the "unprecedented explosion" of homelessness in the city following Katrina was threefold. Read more

Housing policy is on the presidential campaign agenda for the first time in decades.

The rising cost of housing has become an issue on the presidential campaign trail for one of the first times in living memory, thrilling advocates who are hopeful that tackling housing affordability can merit inclusion on a crowded 2020 Democratic policy agenda. Read more

Elizabeth Warren took aim last week at another pillar of Wall Street's empire: the rental housing market.

In a portion of her updated version of her ambitious 2018 housing bill, Warren proposed a check on the unregulated takeover of rental housing by the country's biggest investment firms. Instead of allowing Wall Street-backed developers to flip any distressed and foreclosed mortgage into a single-family rental unit, her bill would require the government to help keep the majority of these homes in the possession of individuals, community groups, and affordable-housing developers by setting aside a supply of mortgages that Wall Street can't touch. Read more

Articles to bookmark for later reference

Five ways to prepare your city for next year's census.

Now is the time for cities to lay the groundwork for a successful census. Small steps your community takes today can go a long way in ensuring it is accurately counted next year. Read more

How state and local governments can assume a greater role in disaster recovery.

State and local government leaders are increasingly responsible for shouldering the disaster recovery burden. FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan says recovery should be "federally supported, state managed, and locally executed." Read more

Local tools to address housing affordability.

The fifth annual research collaboration between NLC and the State Municipal Leagues examines interactions between cities and states on tools to improve housing affordability, including inclusionary housing, rent control, housing vouchers, housing trust funds, and tax incentive programs. Read more

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Topics: fair housing, indoor air quality, LIHTC, UPCS, VASH, VAWA, persons with disabilities, disaster recovery, climate and disaster resilience

REAC previews new inspection protocol, issues inspector notice on carbon monoxide detectors

Posted by Annie Stevenson on Apr 2, 2019 11:17:33 AM

HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) has established a new website with information about planned changes to its physical housing inspection model. The new model, National Standards for the Physical Inspection of Real Estate (NSPIRE), is intended to improve upon the current Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol by prioritizing health, safety, and functional defects.

As a first step in revising inspection requirements, HUD published Notice PIH 2019-02/H 2019-04 on February 22. The notice reduced the advance notification time for REAC inspections to 14 days. HUD then began a nationwide series of listening sessions on the new inspection model.

Resources available on the NSPIRE website include a description of the NSPIRE concept and learning materials from the listening sessions held in Philadelphia and Fort Worth.

A two-year, voluntary demonstration of the NSPIRE protocol is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019. REAC will publish a notice on the demonstration at a later date. Recommendations on the new model and demonstration may be submitted to NSPIRE@hud.gov.

On March 25, HUD’s Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) issued Inspector Notice 2019-01 establishing guidance for inspectors on performing a data collection process to determine the prevalence of carbon monoxide detectors at properties subject to inspection under the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) protocol.

The notice does not require the presence of carbon monoxide detectors, nor does the absence of such detectors affect a property’s UPCS score—noting the presence or absence of such detectors is for data collection purposes only. The specific procedures required for inspectors to collect data can be found on page 2 of the notice. As the notice explains, this data collection is part of the department’s efforts to support decent, safe, and sanitary housing that is in good repair, and REAC’s commitment to continuous improvement of physical inspection standards.

Need help with UPCS? Talk to our inspections team

Topics: indoor air quality, inspections, PIH notices, UPCS, Industry News, NSPIRE

2017 NMA Master Book updates

Posted by NMA on Sep 19, 2017 5:09:00 AM

master-book-updates.jpgNMA's revision services team has been working hard to get the latest editions of our Master Books written, published, and out to you! These books have been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, including HOTMA, VAWA 2013, and more. 

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Master Book has been been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, in addition to making the following additions and clarifications:

  • Several additions and modifications to account for the impact of the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program on FSS
  • Clarifications regarding the ability of ineligible immigrants to participate in FSS
  • Additional references for use in FSS program administration
  • Other corrections and changes for accuracy, logical flow, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA HCV Executive Management Master Book has been been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, including the following:

  • Changes brought about by the final rule on small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), published November 16, 2016, specifically as relevant to rent reasonableness and changes in payment standard amounts
  • Modifications per the HOTMA implementation guidance published in the Federal Register on January 18, 2017, which revised some requirements for inspections, the
  • Project-Based Voucher program, and special housing types
  • Multiple revisions to account for changes brought about by the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, also published November 16, 2016
  • Other fair housing-related changes with respect to the OGC guidance on harassment and discriminatory practices, the use of nuisance ordinances, and limited English Proficiency, respectively
  • Other modifications for clarity, accuracy, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA HCV Housing Qualty Standards Master Book has been completely revised, updated, and reformatted. This means that the book has an entirely new, streamlined look. The new book has likewise been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, edited for ease of reading, and is now presented in a more user-friendly format.

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Master Book has been been brought current with all recent HUD requirements and guidance, including the following:

  • Changes with respect to moves with continued assistance as specified in Notice PIH 2016-09
  • Modifications regarding the definition of independent student set forth in the Additional Supplementary Guidance on the eligibility of independent students under Section 8, issued September 21, 2016
  • Multiple revisions to account for changes brought about by the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, published November 16, 2016, including the addition of a sample Emergency Transfer Plan and several new HUD-required forms
  • Changes brought about by the final rule on small area fair market rents (SAFMRs), also published November 16, 2016, specifically as relevant to rent reasonableness and changes in payment standard amounts
  • Revision of rent reasonableness criteria under the Project-Based Voucher program, and the addition of a completely new section on administering PBVs under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD PBV)
  • Updated reference citations for consistency as well as other minor modifications for clarity, accuracy, and ease of reading

2017: For the 2017 revision, the NMA Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) Master Book includes the following revision:

  • An explanation of PHAS scoring for conversions under the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program

In addition, revision service subscribers and customers who purchase the product for the first time along with the revision service will also receive a copy of NMA’s Public Housing Occupancy Tool and its accompanying instructions for use (a $249 value). This tool allows agencies to track occupancy data by development as well as portfolio, do trend analysis, and spot problem areas quickly. A large portion of the PHAS score is dependent upon keeping your units filled, and this tool can help to ensure there are no surprises when it comes time for HUD’s evaluation.

2017: For 2017, the NMA Public Housing Management (PHM) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory updates, including:

  • Sweeping changes brought about by the Streamlining Administration Regulations Final Rule, issued March 8, 2016, including modifications regarding verification, utility reimbursements, annual and interim reexaminations, and proration of assistance for mixed families, among other areas of program administration
  • Implementation guidance on the streamlining rule as described in Notices PIH 2016-05 and PIH 2016-06
  • Modifications for the final rule implementing VAWA 2013, issued November 16, 2016
  • Modifications for the final rule Instituting Smoke-Free Housing in Public Housing, issued December 5, 2016
  • Other minor modifications and clarifications to bring the content current with HUD regulations and guidance

2017: The 2017 edition of the NMA Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) Master Book CD has been brought current with all regulatory guidance, resources, and tools, including:

  • The addition of UPCS Guidance and Protocol Clarifications from May 2016
  • The addition of Inspector Notice 2016-03 on UPCS deficiencies and industry standard repairs
  • Removal of obsolete software and other outdated reference materials

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, FSS, HOTMA, public housing management, RAD, UPCS, VAWA

Are your NMA Master Books up to date?

Posted by NMA on Feb 11, 2016 2:38:38 PM

NMA's revision services team has been working hard to get the latest editions of our Master Books written, published, and shipped to you!

2016: COMING SOON! For the 2016 revision, the NMA Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, including:

  • Expansion of the annual plan contents per Notice PIH 2015-18 on PHA plans
  • Replacement of Notice PIH 2009-48 with Notice PIH 2015-12 on administering the community service and self-sufficiency requirement (CSSR)
  • Deletion of references to the now obsolete certificate program per Federal Register 2/17/15
  • Other changes and corrections for relevance, clarity, and ease of reading

2016: COMING SOON! For 2016, the NMA Public Housing Management (PHM) Master Book has been brought current with all recent regulatory requirements and guidance, in addition to expanding on useful information for public housing managers. Changes include:

2016: COMING SOON! The 2016 edition of the NMA Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) CD has been brought current with all regulatory guidance, resources, and tools, including:

  • The latest version of the RAPID DCD 4.0 software, current as of September 2015
  • Additional information pertaining to the latest software, such as the most recent installation guide and instructions for scroll bar usage
  • REAC’s most recent Compilation Bulletin, dated March 2015

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: appropriations, books and revision services, community service, flat rent, FSS, Notice PIH 2013-03, public housing management, RAD, UPCS

Affordable housing news 1/29/16

Posted by NMA on Jan 29, 2016 4:27:10 PM

Last week HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH)–Real Estate Assessment Center (REAC) issued a notice for all certified inspectors who conduct physical inspections of HUD assisted and insured properties in accordance with the Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS).

Inspector Notice No. 2016-01 amends inspection requirements for properties reported to have or suspected of having bed bug infestations. The updated protocol, which among other things now requires inspectors to enter all units in which bed bugs are reported, becomes effective February 1, 2016.

You will find a link to the notice on this page at REAC’s website, along with a link to a compressed (WinZip) file of a recorded conference call discussing the new notice.

This week HUD also published its January newsletter for RAD participants, which includes a very positive article about the Housing Authority of Greene County (HAGC) in Illinois, who replaced obsolete units with new single family homes through a RAD conversion.

The January newsletter also includes an announcement that RAD's first substantial rehab project, an extensive rehabilitation of 150 units in Washington State, is now complete. Congratulations to the Housing Authority of the City of Yakima (YHA) for their success!

HUD's newsletter concludes with a page of handwritten thank-you notes from happy residents impacted by RAD at the Housing Authority of the City of San Buenaventura (HACSB).

Any interesting stories that we missed? Leave your links and recommendations in the comments!

Topics: inspections, public housing conversion, RAD, UPCS

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