February-March 2015 Housing Wrap-Up

HUD Reports on Results of Admin Fee Study

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced the release of its long-awaited study on administrative fees in the housing choice voucher (HCV) program. HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) provides this introduction to the study:

PHAs can only help low-income families with housing choice vouchers if they can pay the costs of administering the program. Since the beginning of the program in the mid-1970s, the formula for allocating administrative fees has largely relied on differences in fair market rents (FMRs) for determining administrative fee allocations, based on the weak theory that FMRs correlate with wage rates and other costs of operation, like office rent.

The lack of actual data on how much it costs to run a high-performing and efficient voucher program has undermined HUD’s efforts to ensure adequate levels of funding throughout the nation.

Through a very detailed and methodical approach, this study captured all costs incurred (labor, non-labor, direct, indirect, overhead costs) at a broad sample of 60 PHAs operating high-performing and efficient HCV programs across the country between 2012 and 2014. The study proposes a new administrative fee formula, which is based on cost drivers that cover the actual costs to administer the HCV program and has implications for the overall budget and for individual PHAs.

The full report is at http://www.huduser.org/portal/publications/pdf/AdminFeeStudy2015.pdf

HUD will be will be airing a webcast briefing on Friday, April 17, at 10 am Eastern time (9 am Central). If you wish to watch the briefing live, you can find more details here. The direct registration link is here.

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Housing Committee
February/March Wrap-Up

Jennifer Keogh, VP of Housing
Jennifer.keogh@metc.state.mn.us

February
PIH Posts 2015 Admin Fee Rates

On February 17, 2014, HUD posted the 2015 administrative fee tables for the voucher program. There are two fee rates for each PHA, Column A and Column B. As usual, the Column A rate applies to the first 7,200 unit months leased in calendar year (CY) 2015, and the Column B rate applies to all remaining unit months leased. The portability fee would be 75 percent of 80 percent, or 60 percent, of the Column B rate.

2015 HCV Program Funding—SET ASIDE APPLICATIONS
The 2015 Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act calls for a set-aside of $120 million to adjust PHA allocations in six categories. PHAs that may qualify for set-aside funds must apply by close of business Wednesday, April 15, 2015.

HUD Awards Resident Opportunities and Self-Sufficiency (ROSS)
Congratulations to the City Wide Resident Council of the City of St. Paul for their award of $724,500 and to Northwest Minnesota Multi-County HRA for their award of $240,000.  The funding for ROSS goes to public housing authorities and non-profit organizations across the nation to hire or retain service coordinators to help residents achieve economic and housing independence. The funding will also link the elderly and people with disabilities with supportive services that allow them to maintain independent living and age-in-place.

March
PIH Announces Expiration of Temporary Compliance Assistance (3/13)
On March 13, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) issued Notice PIH 2015-04, announcing the expiration of four temporary streamlining options. The temporary options were first announced in Notice PIH 2013-03, and were extended through March 31, 2015 under Notice PIH 2013-26. Today’s notice announces that the temporary compliance options will expire as scheduled and that HUD will not be providing a further extension.

The options available under temporary compliance assistance were:

  • Use of actual past income
  • Family self-certification for assets worth up to $5,000
  • Biennial reexaminations for elderly and disabled families on fixed incomes
  • PHA approval of exception payment standards up to 120 percent of fair market rent

As explained in the new notice, all four of the options are included in HUD’s January 6 streamlining proposed rule. Any or all of the options may be made permanent when a final rule is published. Meanwhile, PHAs may request regulatory waivers for good cause pursuant to Notice PIH 2013-20.

HUD Publishes FY 2015 Income Limits
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) published the income limit data set for fiscal year (FY) 2015. You can access income limits at: http://www.huduser.org/portal/datasets/il/il15/index.html

Final Guidance on Procurement is Published
HUD posted a 25-page document containing guidance on transitioning to new government procurement standards. The new requirements, which apply to all federal agencies, were published in a Federal Register notice in December 2013. An interim final rule was published on December 19, 2014.

As explained in the notice, non-federal entities (including PHAs) were given a one-year grace period for implementation of new procurement standards.

As will be detailed in the 2015 OMB Compliance Supplement, non-Federal entities choosing to delay implementation for the procurement standards will need to specify in their documented policies and procedures that they continue to comply with OMB Circulars A-87 or A–110 for one additional fiscal year which begins after December 26, 2014. For example, the first full fiscal year for a non-Federal entity with a June 30th year would be the year ending June 30, 2016. The notice also contains highlights of the new requirements and a chart summarizing their applicability to federal awards.
http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=15-01sdn.pdf

HUD Publishes Proposed Section 3 Rule
On March 27, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) published a proposed rule to create economic opportunities for low- and very low-income persons and eligible businesses through strengthened Section 3 requirements. The proposed rule was previously announced in a press release, which explained that in addition to these strengthened requirements, the goals of the proposed rule are to:
Launch a national Section 3 business registry

  • Recognize new HUD programs established since 1994, when the interim rule was issued
  • Clarify vague language in the interim rule
  • Ease challenges to achieving compliance

Comments are due by May 26.

HUD to Implement Expanded Protections for Survivors of Domestic Violence
HUD Secretary Julián Castro announced a new proposed rule to implement changes brought about by the Violence against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013), which expands HUD’s authority to protect survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking who reside in assisted housing.

Previously, under VAWA 2005, protections were afforded only to residents of public housing and Section 8 tenant-based and project-based program participants. Under VAWA 2013, however, legal protections have been expanded to nearly all HUD programs. Additionally, VAWA 2013 extends housing protections to survivors of sexual assault, adds “intimate partner” to the list of eligible relationships covered in the definition of domestic violence, and requires appropriate agencies to adopt a plan to respond to tenants’ requests to transfer housing units if they believe they are in danger if they do not move.

The proposed rule will be open for a 60-day public comment period. A draft version is available here pending publication in the Federal Register.

VAWA Informing Notices
VAWA 2013 requires PHAs to provide an informing notice and Form HUD-50066 for every new admission and with every notice of denial or termination of assistance or tenancy. This requirement applies to both the HCV and PH programs, as well as to various HUD and non-HUD housing programs named in the notice. VAWA 2013 also requires HUD to develop a standardized informing notice for use by all PHAs. HUD has not yet issued the standardized notice.

DOJ Settles Discrimination Suit against Minnesota HOA
In a press release dated March 20, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it has settled a housing discrimination case against a Minnesota homeowners association (HOA) and management company. A complaint filed in November 2013 alleged that the housing providers violated the Fair Housing Act by establishing rules that prevented children from equal enjoyment of common areas and making statements that indicated a preference against families with children.

Under the terms of the settlement, the housing providers will pay a total of $100,000 to six families that suffered as a result of the discrimination. They will also pay a civil fine, implement a new non-discrimination policy, and attend fair housing training.