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December 13

December 13 Advocate: PDF Version

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President’s Forum: Final Stretch on HUD Appropriations

Even though the new fiscal year began three months ago, there is still not a final budget in place for FY 2018. The present Continuing Resolution (CR) runs to December 8. As this edition of the Advocate was headed to print, it appeared that another short term CR would be adopted, which would last right up to around Christmas. The most significant issue Congress is trying to resolve centers on the “top line” dollar amounts available for domestic discretionary spending.
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HUD Issues Notice on Public Housing Flat Rents

On November 15, HUD issued a notice (PIH 2015-13) to provide guidance on public housing flat rents and supplemental guidance to its final streamlining rule. Subsequently, HUD realized that its notice contained an error regarding the flat rent option based on unadjusted rents. As a result, HUD republished a corrected version of its notice dated November 30. HUD’s notice includes detailed instructions on each of the flat rent options and examples of how to apply them. One noteworthy aspect of HUD’s notice is that for the first time since flat rents have been in existence, HUD’s new notice provides housing authorities (HAs) with guidance and examples about the intersection in rent setting between flat rents and Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) maximum rents. HUD and PHADA’s useful resources regarding exception flat rents are also made available in the related resources section below. 
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U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Introduces Regulatory Relief Bill

On November 17, 2017, Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID), Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), Chairman of the Small Business Committee, introduced S.2155, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act. According to a news release from Senator Crapo, this bipartisan legislation “…right-sizes regulation for smaller financial institutions and includes important consumer protections for veterans, senior citizens and victims of fraud.” In addition to providing regulatory relief to small financial institutions, the bill also includes a section related to regulatory relief for small public housing agencies. Specifically, Section 210 streamlines certain requirements for small public housing authorities operating in rural areas. 
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PHADA’s Demolition and Disposition Survey Confirms Spotty Experiences of Housing Authorities

In July, PHADA reported on ongoing issues reported by members concerning demolition or disposition applications. PHADA discussed application experiences with consultants who have helped several agencies navigate the application process, and they indicated that, although the process has continued to be opaque, unpredictable, and time consuming, matters had improved. HUD issued Notice PIH 2012-7 which changed the demolition and disposition application process and approval standards and appeared to constrain grounds for approval of applications. In addition, senior HUD staff which had managed review of these applications at HUD’s Special Applications Center (SAC) changed. Events did not seem to bode well for applications to demolish or dispose of public housing assets.
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Urban Institute Traces Housing Market Trends, Documents Housing Assistance Gap

An Urban Institute research paper surveying affordable housing trends describes a growing “housing assistance gap” between the housing needs of low income families and the actual number of households that receive federal assistance, and predicts this gap will likely widen due to current trends.
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Housing America’s Families Forum Held in the Motor City

The J. Ronald Terwilliger Foundation held its annual meeting in Detroit in November, gathering practitioners and experts to focus on the nation’s affordable housing crisis. High rent burdens, the decrease in the homeownership rate, financial and regulatory obstacles, and demographic trends that will affect the rental housing market over the next decade and beyond were discussed.
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November 29

November 29 Advocate: PDF Version

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The House Tax Bill Is Devastating to Affordable Housing Development

Early indications from the President’s tax proposal, which explicitly retained the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC), created optimism for its preservation as an affordable housing development tool. But while the House tax reform bill, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, does preserve the LIHTC, the unexpected elimination of private-activity bonds – including multifamily tax-exempt bonds – would have devastating effects on the construction and preservation of affordable housing. The housing tax credit is responsible for virtually all construction and preservation of low-income housing units, financing more than 40 percent of all LIHTC-financed affordable homes annually. 
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President’s Forum: Please Contact Congress on Tax Bills

Two significant issues arose in the last few weeks, and are covered in further detail elsewhere in this edition of the Advocate. I wanted to add my brief perspective on those matters. The issues are the tax bills presently making their way through both chambers of Congress, and a new report concerning the Moving to Work (MTW) program.
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UC Berkley Publishes an Assessment of Early RAD Implementation

The Terner Center for Housing Innovation at UC Berkley published a report entitled, “Lessons for the Future of Public Housing: Assessing the Early Implementation of the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program,” in October 2017. The Center is an initiative supported by the College of Environmental Design and the Fisher Center for Real Estate and Housing Economics of the Haas School of Business. The center is directed by Carol Galante who served as the Assistant Secretary for Housing and the Federal Housing Commissioner in the Obama administration.
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Announcing The Mutual of America Life Insurance Company Scholarship

Mutual of America Life Insurance Company recently committed $5,000 for PHADA’s 2018 scholarship which is awarded to a deserving public housing resident student, selected by the PHADA Scholarship Committee. Shown here with the signed agreement are LaDoverick “Dobie” Huggins, Senior Field Vice-President National Accounts for MOA, and Hershel Thrasher, PHADA Trustee. This agreement with MOA enables PHADA to continue to award three scholarships each spring: The Bollinger, The Freedom & Civil Rights, and now, The Mutual of America Life Insurance Company Scholarship.
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HUD Issues Long Awaited Guidance on HOTMA – Housing Quality Standards Provisions

The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act (HOTMA) was unanimously passed by both houses of Congress and became law in 2016. The bill institutes modest reforms over a range of programs, including public housing, Section 8 tenant-based, project-based rental assistance, HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), Family Unification Program (FUP), Emergency Solution Grants, and rural housing programs. Several provisions became effective upon enactment, some provisions require further rulemaking, and others became effective after the issuance of a notice by the Department. As a result, the Department recently published guidance related to a few of these reforms. One such notice issued is PIH Notice 2017-20 entitled, “Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Housing Quality Standards (HQS) Implementation Guidance” on October 27, 2017.
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HUD Issues Detailed Guidance on HOTMA – PBV and HCV Provision

On October 30, HUD issued a 67-page notice (PIH 2017-21) to provide detailed implementing guidance on the Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) – Project-Based Voucher (PBV) and Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) provisions. 
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Low Income Housing Tax Credit Fact Sheet

PHADA has established a working group related to the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program, which continues to be the major production program for affordable rental housing. Two bills, Senate 548 and House of Representatives 1661, propose expanding and strengthening the LIHTC program. Below you will find some basic background information about the LIHTC program as well as a  synopsis of the bills.
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November 16

November 15 Advocate: PDF Version

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President’s Forum: Update on the Operating Reserves Litigation

PHADA was pleased to announce this past January that the U.S. Court of Federal Claims found in favor of nearly 350 housing authorities that brought a lawsuit against the government challenging HUD’s reduction of their FY 2012 operating subsidies. The government decided not to appeal the decision and damages totaling about $136 million are expected to be distributed soon. Within a matter of days, more than 500 HAs will initiate a second round of litigation related to the same matter.  
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Thank You, John Bohm

Longtime NAHRO staffer John Bohm recently left the association to relocate with his wife to the Richmond, VA, area. “It’s been a pleasure to work with John over so many years, even before he came to NAHRO,” said PHADA Executive Director Tim Kaiser. 
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Final Lead Safe Housing Rule

Despite drastically reduced numbers of children exposed to lead today as a result of long-term and ongoing efforts by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), blood level monitoring continues to uncover some children exposed to elevated blood lead levels. As a result, this time last year, the HUD issued a proposed rule entitled, “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 final rule was published on January 13, 2017. 
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Is Your Housing Authority Prepared for a HUD/EPA Lead Based Paint Review/Audit? Quick Tips

HUD and the EPA are clearly putting a large focus back on lead based paint. Recently, staff from both agencies in D.C. swung through the Pacific Northwest and conducted lead based paint reviews with several housing authorities. There is a good chance that more housing authorities will be reviewed in the upcoming weeks and months. With this renewed emphasis on lead based paint comes a chance for housing authorities to ensure they are protecting their families and being compliant with HUD and EPA standards. 
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HUD Publishes the First Report on Its Rent Reform Demonstration

In the fall of 2012, HUD contracted with MDRC to conduct a rental assistance demonstration in collaboration with several other research organizations including the Urban Institute, Quadel, the Bronner group, and scholars at the City University of New York, and New York University. MDRC also assembled an expert panel to advise MDRC on the project that includes representatives of PHADA and other housing industry groups.
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The Federal Budget Process Moves Forward

On October 26, by a vote of 216–212, the House adopted the Senate’s version of the budget resolution, providing a pathway for tax reform legislation. With the prospect of adding at least $1.5 trillion to the debt in tax cuts over the next 10 years, no Democrats voted in favor of the House resolution, citing concern that it favors the wealthy and corporations but hurts the middle class, despite Republican claims to the contrary.
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Elderly and Disabled Have Increased Reliance on HUD Housing Programs

The length of stay in HUD’s rental assistance programs grew longer in 2000 through 2015, lengthening from an average 4.4 years in 2000 to 6.0 years in 2015, an increase of 1.6 years, according to a HUD-commissioned report authored by Kirk McClure of the University of Kansas. According to the report, an increase in elderly and disabled households is the likely reason since recent research shows these residents tend to stay longer than non-elderly renters.
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PHADA’s Analysis of HUD’s FMRs and Recommended Improvements

In the last two rounds of regulatory comments, PHADA expressed its support of the HUD’s four proposed methodological changes in the way it calculates Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) for those areas where they represented an improvement. However, the Association found that HUD also failed to produce rent estimates that reflected consistent increases in other rental markets where warranted, but resulted in decreasing FMRs instead. The rent estimates stemming from HUD’s changes were also negligible for other areas and failed to adequately deal with the underlying problems of erratic and inaccurate FMRs. As a result, PHADA conveyed to the Department that its FMR and SAFMR data sources and methods still needed substantial improvement. 
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Zillow’s Study Shows HUD’s FMRs Are Too Low in the 100 Largest U.S. Counties

Zillow Group Rentals, the nation’s largest online rental network, recently published a study of HUD’s FY 2017 Fair Market Rents (FMRs) showing that in 75 of the nation’s 100 largest counties, rent estimates were insufficient for voucher holders to access the bottom 40th percentile of rental markets. HUD’s FMRs were only sufficient to allow voucher holders access to less than 10 percent of available rental units in 15 counties. As a result of HUD’s inadequate FMRs, Zillow’s analysis shows that voucher holders’ housing options are significantly limited. 
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November 1

November 1 Advocate: PDF Version

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President’s Forum: PHADA’s Perspective on the “Numbers Debate”

There has long been a debate in housing policy circles concerning how to best measure the success of HUD’s various programs. This debate re-surfaced at a recent hearing of the House of Representatives Financial Services Committee during Secretary Ben Carson’s testimony before the panel (see separate article on page 14). During that meeting, one lawmaker summarized the matter succinctly. He said Democrats tended to determine success by the number of people served by the programs. Republicans, he added, gauge success by the number of people who leave the programs, ostensibly because they have become self-sufficient. We would argue that BOTH of these measures have merit and that they should not be considered mutually exclusive. 
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PHADA, CLPHA, and NAHRO Meet with HUD Again on Operating Fund Eligibility

On October 11, 2017, PHADA, CLPHA, and NAHRO met with staff from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to discuss significant decreases in Operating Fund eligibility nationwide earlier this year. This meeting follows a previous meeting with HUD in April 2017 and two industry letters sent to the Department requesting information in an effort to clarify questions and concerns related to Operating Fund data and methodologies used to arrive at agency eligibility. 
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HAs Deal with FY 2018 Appropriations Limbo in the Voucher Program

There are significant uncertainties at this time about the total amount of appropriations for Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and administrative fee funding and prorations in voucher programs. Given this fact, housing authorities’ (HAs) would be well-served by accessing a number of easy-to-use features in HUD’s pre-populated and formula-driven HCV Two-Year Tool (TYT). This is also a good time for HAs to assess different funding scenarios and to make good use of valuable features in HUD’s spreadsheet that may be overlooked or unknown to them. This will help HAs maximize their funding and mitigate harmful outcomes in HAs’ voucher programs next year. 
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Housing Authorities Encouraged to Stay in Touch With Officials as Recovery Begins

With the federal disaster funds starting to flow, housing authorities can get needed help for their communities by staying in touch with their state and local governments, letting their governor and state agencies know what the recovery needs are and updating these estimates over time. PHADA is also encouraging HAs to stay in touch with members of Congress to provide them with types and estimates of unmet needs. 
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HUD’s Office of Inspector General Publishes Many Audit Reports in September

In September, HUD’s OIG published 34 audit reports, following its practice of 2016 when it published 33 reports. September’s issued reports represent approximately one third of the 100 reports the OIG has issued so far in calendar year 2017. In 2016, the OIG issued 110 audit reports, so it seems likely that the office will meet or exceed that number by the end of December 2017. This recent volume of issuances may be related to the close of the federal fiscal year on September 30.
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A Tale of Two HUDs

In an emotionally charged atmosphere, the House Financial Services Committee met on October 12, with HUD Secretary Ben Carson as the sole witness. The Committee examined HUD’s vision for the future of federal housing policy as well as whether its programs have furthered its mission. On one side the Democrats, some with personal tales of family hardship and the public housing that improved their lives, spoke in favor of HUD programs and against $6 billion in HUD budget cuts put forth by the Administration. On the other, comments by Republican members focused on their belief that public housing can inhibit residents from reaching their potential and, instead, encourage too much reliance on the government for housing and other supports.
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HUD’s Published FY 2018 FMRs and SAFMRs Take Effect

HUD’s methodological changes to its Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) published on September 1, 2017, took effect on October 2, 2017. The exception to this effective date, is for housing authorities that submitted a reevaluation request by the end of the comment period on October 2.
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July 26

House Marks Up FY 2018 HUD Spending Bill

On July 11, the House of Representatives T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee marked up an FY 2018 spending bill. As the Advocate went to print, the bill was scheduled to be marked up by the full committee the week of July 17. A copy of the bill language is available at: http://bit.ly/2tfaCO9 , and a subcommittee explanation may be accessed at: http://bit.ly/2uaMGja . As expected, the measure provides grossly insufficient funding for public and assisted housing programs, although it is clearly preferable to the Trump Administration’s proposed budget for the new fiscal year, which starts October 1.
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President’s Forum: NAHRO, PHADA, and CLPHA Leaders Meet to Discuss the Future of Public Housing

I was delighted to be an active participant in the recent industry group meeting referenced on the opposite page. Also attending on behalf of PHADA were our former President Nancy Walker (Laurinburg, NC) and Senior Vice President John Hodge (Brunswick, ME) along with some of our policy staff. As per the joint statement, the three groups are now developing specifics into a more detailed paper that will be shared with the broader leaderships of the three associations. 
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A Joint Statement on the Future of Funding for Public Housing

On June 20, a working group of industry leaders and staff from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO), the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) met in Washington, D.C., primarily to discuss the challenges facing the public housing program, and also to enhance voucher programs, to identify promising legislative and regulatory initiatives that will preserve and improve the public housing portfolio in the long-term, and to foster industry collaboration and coordination.
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Ranking Member Waters Introduces Bill to Fully Fund Public Housing

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, recently introduced legislation, the Public Housing Tenant Protection and Reinvestment Act Of 2017 (H.R. 3160). The bill proposes full funding of operating and capital funds for the more than one million families who reside in public housing.
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PHADA Investigates Impacts of HUD’s Demolition and Disposition Policies

For decades, HUD has had processes in place to approve HAs’ plans to demolish or dispose of public housing property, including dwelling units, non-dwelling structures, and land. As part of the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act (QHWRA), Congress vested significant discretion for decisions to demolish or dispose of public housing assets in local HAs. Under QHWRA, HUD’s role was to approve demolition or disposition proposals that HAs determined were in the residents’ and the HA’s best interests and certified that determination to HUD. HUD could deny approval of an application only if it was “clearly inconsistent with information and data available to the Secretary,” or otherwise failed to comply with procedural requirements.
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July 12

July 12 Advocate: PDF Version

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Federal Housing Programs Contribute to Resilient Families, Sustainable Communities

In its latest annual research report, the Public and Affordable Housing Research Corp. (PAHRC) takes a holistic look at publicly assisted housing programs, examining how they support economic mobility for families, save money for communities, and stimulate economic growth. “The 2017 PAHRC Report: How Sustainable Communities Create Resilient People” has a wealth of data showing why federal spending on housing is an investment that brings savings and economic returns for all. 
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President’s Forum: More Flexibility & Fungibility Would Help with Budget Uncertainty

President Trump’s FY 2018 budget continues to undergo congressional scrutiny on Capitol Hill while PHADA and others remind lawmakers of some of the spending plan’s more harmful aspects. Among other serious problems, the budget would cut the Operating Fund by about $600 million and slash the Capital Fund to well below $1 billion. It also reduces voucher funding to the point that as many as 250,000 vouchers could be lost next year. 
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Housing Authorities Collaborate on a Concept for the Future of the Public and Assisted Housing Programs

The following concept paper was developed by the individuals cited below following a recent meeting they held in Denver concerning the future of the public and assisted housing programs. The housing professionals shared their ideas with the three industry groups in advance of a recent joint meeting of PHADA, CLPHA, and NAHRO. PHADA thought the paper was well done, appreciates the effort, and supports many of the concepts advanced in it. 
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Update to FY 2017 Capital Fund Awards Announcement

PHADA staff recently spoke with the Department regarding Capital Fund grant awards for FY 2017. According to HUD, housing authorities (HAs) should keep an eye out for the award announcement as they plan to issue the notice, as well as ACC amendments online at the end of June 2017.
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HUD Notifies HAs of 74.25 Percent Fee Prorations in First Quarter

As PHADA reported on June 15, HUD recently notified all Housing Authorities (HAs) administering voucher programs that for the first quarter of this year, ongoing administrative fee prorations would be 74.25 percent of the amounts for which agencies are eligible. This fee proration, which is based on directly appropriated funds from Congress for FY 2017, represents the second lowest one in the history of the voucher program. 
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HAI Group Press Release: HAI Announces Appointment of Interim President and Chief Executive Officer

Cheshire, CT, June 20 – HAI Group, a national provider of innovative solutions tailored for the public and affordable housing industry, is pleased to announce that Edmund (Ed) Malaspina, Jr., has been appointed Interim President and Chief Executive Officer. 
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An Update on PHADA’s New Website Development

This past May, PHADA members received an email announcing the redesign of the association’s website. Once completed, the new site – scheduled to launch in early 2018 – will offer improved features including the following:
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HUD Continues to Move Forward with UPCS-V Demonstration

The Department’s efforts to replace the current inspection standard for the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) program, HQS or Housing Quality Standards, with UPCS-V, or Uniform Physical Condition Standards for the voucher program, continues steadily. At the time of PHADA’s last report on the status of UPCS-V in November 2016, HUD began training on the protocol at 11 agencies participating in the demonstration. Since that time, the Department has trained 24 agencies on the proposed standard and has completed at least 1,019 UPCS-V inspections of record. 
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PHADA Issue Brief: Update - Over 100,000 Go Without Housing

Download a PDF version of the Issue Brief  here.
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June 28

June 28 Advocate: PDF Version

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Senators Protest HUD Budget Cuts

HUD Secretary Ben Carson testified before the Senate T-HUD Appropriations Subcommittee on June 7 and faced stiff opposition to the President’s FY 2018 proposed budget. In addition, Senate Banking Committee members informed HUD Deputy Secretary nominee Pamela Patenaude of their many concerns in her June 6 confirmation hearing. President Trump’s plan would cut HUD’s budget by more than 15 percent compared to this year with large reductions proposed in almost all accounts. Senators were particularly vocal about the proposed elimination of the CDBG program. 
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President’s Forum: Please Use Effective Advocacy Guide and Tool

One point I have often heard repeated in our industry is that we must all be more effective advocates for our individual agencies and our industry. With so much happening in Washington affecting our operations, this has never been truer. With this in mind, PHADA staff recently reminded me of a quality publication on this topic. 
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The Moving to Work Program Expansion Operations Notice Comments

As it proceeds to implement the 100-agency expansion of the Moving to Work (MTW) Program authorized by Congress in 2015, HUD has published a series of notices requesting public comments on its plans to change the MTW Program. On December 20, HUD published a proposal concerning standards to use in evaluating the statutory requirement that an MTW agency serve substantially the same number of families (STS) as the agency would have served had it not combined Section 8 and Section 9 funds under the U.S. Housing Act of 1937. 
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PHADA Submits Comments to the Department

On, June 14, PHADA submitted extensive comments to the Federal Register Notice entitled, “Reducing Regulatory Burden; Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Under Executive Order 13777.” On a number of occasions, PHADA has provided the Department with recommendations and proposals to reduce administrative and regulatory burdens so that housing authorities (HAs) could focus efforts on their core mission of providing affordable rental housing and related services to residents. We welcome this formal opportunity to assist HUD’s Regulatory Task Force with the charge of identifying agency regulations that may be outdated, ineffective and/or excessively burdensome. 
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HUD Issues Guidance on the “Violence Against Women Act” (VAWA)

On May 19, 2017, HUD issued a notice (PIH Notice 2017-08) regarding the “Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013” (VAWA). HUD’s notice provides guidance to Housing Authorities (HAs) and owners on the requirements of VAWA. In the near future, PHADA will provide additional information regarding HUD’s implementation of VAWA.
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HUD Proposes Changes to Its Method for Estimating FMRs, SAFMRs and Inflation Factors

Over the years, PHADA has pointed out to HUD and Congress that the Department’s Fair Market Rents (FMRs) and Small Area Fair Market Rents (SAFMRs) have had extreme year-to-year fluctuations that adversely affect low-income households subject to a wide range of Federal programs. PHADA has also raised concerns that the FMRs and SAFMRs are either not timely enough and/or are not based on enough local information.
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Senate Press Release: Blunt, Reed, Scott, and Menendez Introduce Legislation to Improve Education and Economic Opportunities for Low-Income Families

Washington, DC, March 2  – U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Jack Reed (D-RI), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced the bipartisan Family Self Sufficiency Act, which would streamline and improve the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Family Self-Sufficiency (FSS) program.
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June 14

June 14 Advocate: PDF Version

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President’s Forum: A Closer Look at the President’s Budget

Congress just completed action on 2017 appropriations in mid-May and must now move on immediately to consideration of the FY 2018 budget. President Trump released an early “skinny budget” a few months back, and his Administration has now issued a more detailed version of the plan. As expected, the proposed budget contains deep cuts in many domestic discretionary programs including those we administer.
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Farewell to PHADA Policy Analyst, Kathi Whalen

The members and staff of PHADA would like to wish a fond farewell to Kathi Whalen, who, for the past 10 years, has been a policy analyst here.
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HUD Establishes Task Force to Consider Repeal, Replacement, or Modification to Regulations

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a notice of request for comment in the Federal Register on May 15, 2017. The notice is entitled, “Reducing Regulatory Burden; Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda Under Executive Order 13777.” A summary of the notice, provided by the Department, states that: “In accordance with Executive Orders 13771, ‘Reducing and Controlling Regulatory Costs,’ and 13777, ‘Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda,’ HUD is reviewing its existing regulations to assess their compliance costs and reduce regulatory burden.” 
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Inspector General Faults HUD for Inadequate Implementation of Mandatory Conversions

A HUD Inspector General audit concluded that the Office of Public and Indian Housing has not adequately implemented the mandatory conversion of distressed public housing to tenant-based assistance authorized in Section 33 of the U.S. Housing Act of 1937, which is intended to remove rental units from the HUD inventory that are not cost effective to replace and to continue rental assistance to residents.
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PHADA Encourages HAs To Move Forward with Voucher Leasing Plan Now

All Housing Authorities (HAs) are encouraged to download HUD’s Voucher Two-Year-Tool (TYT) for their specific agency now in order to learn how much total Housing Assistance Payment funding they have to work with for 2017 and to move forward with their voucher leasing plans now. HUD’s TYT uses the identical data and calculations the Department will use in its pending notice over the next several weeks. 
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PHADA Comments on HUD’s Operations Notice Governing the Moving to Work Expansion

On June 5, PHADA submitted comments to HUD concerning the revised draft of its Operations Notice governing the MTW expansion. In 2015, Congress enacted a 100-unit expansion of the MTW program and since then HUD has formed and met with a Research Advisory Committee, and has received recommendations from that committee. 
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May 31

May 31 Advocate: PDF Version

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Summary of FY 2017 Spending Bill

Congress recently passed and President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 – seven months into the fiscal year. The long awaited spending bill delivered disappointing funding levels to public housing programs as Congress continues to withdraw from decades-old funding commitments made to local housing agencies. PHADA had hoped that the final bill would include the slightly more helpful numbers contained in the Senate proposal. In the end, however, both the Operating Fund, the Capital Fund received low funding – shortchanging public housing residents and their homes by more than $4 billion for the fiscal year. This spending level is well below the estimate of actual need – and far below the level of funding received by the similarly-sized privately-owned publicly-assisted housing portfolio (PBRA).
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President’s Forum: Thank You for the Honor

I am honored to serve as PHADA’s new President and will do my best to live up to the standards set by my predecessor, Nancy Walker (Laurinburg, NC). We owe a large debt of gratitude to Nancy for her excellent leadership the past two years. I sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence that the PHADA Board of Trustees and the entire membership has placed in me.
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Letter to HUD on Operating Subsidy

In response to some members’ questions and concerns regarding significant changes to their Operating Fund subsidy in March and April 2017, PHADA and other industry groups met with the Department on April 24, 2017. HUD provided a considerable amount of information and data at that time – a summary of the additional details made available related to the operating subsidy calculation can be accessed online at: http://bit.ly/2qEJp7W. 
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Industry Accreditation Standards Released; PHADA Member Comments Needed

The Affordable Housing Accreditation Board (AHAB) has released draft AHAB Accreditation Standards and Guidelines, a project that has been in the works during the past five years and a major advance toward the goal of an industry accreditation system that relies on peer review and support to achieve organizational excellence.
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HUD Implements Various Provisions of HOTMA with Different Effective Dates

The Housing Opportunity Through Modernization Act of 2016 (HOTMA) was signed into law in July 2016, following unanimous passage of the bill by both houses of Congress. Under HOTMA, HUD has the authority to implement many statutory changes by notice. HUD published several notices to put into play specific provisions that impact the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV), PBV and other programs.  
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May 3

May 3 Advocate: PDF Version

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President’s Forum: Thank You for the Honor

This is my final column as your President so I wanted to take the opportunity to thank some of those who assisted me since I took office in May, 2015.
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PHADA Congratulates the 2017 Bollinger Scholarship Winner, Marwat Mohammed Al-Olefi (Oakland, CA)

PHADA is pleased to announce the winners of its annual Scholarship Programs. Marwat Mohammed Al-Olefi of Oakland, CA, has been awarded the 2017 Stephen J. Bollinger Memorial Scholarship. A senior at Life Academy of HealthBioscience, Marwat is a resident of the Oakland Housing Authority. OHA’s Executive Director, Eric Johnson, states that Marwat is a “very socially conscious student who has incorporated social-justice advocacy in her high-school life.”
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Bipartisan Legislation to Improve, Strengthen Housing Tax Credit Reintroduced in Congress

Bipartisan legislation to strengthen and increase the flexibility of the low income housing tax credit has been reintroduced in Congress at a time when tax reform remains a top priority of President Trump and congressional Republicans. The Senate bill would increase the amount of available housing tax credits by 50 percent over five years, while both the House and Senate measures have features to improve the financial feasibility of projects, to better target housing toward extremely low-income households, and to facilitate development in challenging markets.
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House Authorizers Consider Changes to HUD Programs

The Views and Estimates (V&E) of the Committee on Financial Services for FY ’18 passed February 28 on a 33–25 party line vote. The document is prepared annually and sent to the House Budget Committee. The V&E allows the Financial Services Committee to provide information and authorizing plans on topics within its jurisdiction that could impact the federal budget. The FY ’18 V&E begins with a desolate vision of the U.S. economy and urges Congress to “rein in spending and put our nation onto a sustainable fiscal path.” 
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Three Groups Write to Congress on Infrastructure Package

PHADA, CLPHA, and NAHRO sent Congress a detailed letter outlining why housing should be included in any infrastructure legislation. Among other things, the groups noted the potential economic and health benefits, the growing modernizations needs of HAs, and the successful track record of agencies with the ARRA stimulus spending just a few short years ago. Following is an abridged version of the letter. The full version may be accessed at: www.phada.org/news.php?id=2693. 
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PHADA Continues to Remind HUD About HAs’ OPEB Commitments Prior to FY 2018 Budget Release

Budget and appropriation pressures for non-defense domestic discretionary (NDD) program accounts like public housing operating and capital funds, remain under enormous pressure now and into the future, for reasons PHADA members are well aware. PHADA recently reported ( www.phada.org/news.php?id=2670 ) about an article by The Washington Post based on leaked copy of HUD’s FY 2018 budget showing a proposed $600 million reduction in operating funds and more than $1.3 billion in planned cuts to the capital fund. 
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PHADA Position Paper: Trump Administration and 115th Congress Must Enact Major Changes in Housing Programs

Download a PDF version of the Position Paper here.
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Adrianne Todman Named New NAHRO CEO

The National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) recently announced the appointment of Adrianne Todman as the incoming Chief Executive Officer. She will assume this position on June 1.
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April 19

April 19 Advocate: PDF Version

Download a PDF version of the Advocate here.
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President’s Forum: Thank You for the Great Support

With so much happening in our industry these days, the PHADA staff and I thought this would be an opportune time to share some of the things we have been working on with your continuing support, which enables us to push important priorities that members have identified. 
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PHADA Leadership Meets With Secretary Ben Carson

PHADA appreciated the opportunity to meet with HUD Secretary Ben Carson at the Department’s headquarters on Wednesday, April 5. 
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HUD Publishes Three PIH Notices

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First Things First – Pass FY 2017 Spending Bills

Six months into the fiscal year and with less than a week in session before the FY 2017 continuing resolution (CR) expires, Congress needs to pass appropriations bills (including T-HUD) to avert a possible shutdown of the government. The current CR that expires April 28th was passed to accommodate the new Trump Administration’s interest in influencing funding decisions for the current year. 
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Persistent Funding Shortfalls Warrant Bolder Strategies, Not Just Modest Deregulation

PHADA has repeatedly expressed concern for the Public Housing (PH) and the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) programs as a result of significantly reduced federal funding and drastic increases in regulatory and administrative burdens. The Association on its own, and as part of a joint letter with CLPHA and NAHRO have recommended a number of ways the Department could reduce burdens, scale back its regulatory agenda, and provide some much needed relief to agencies so that HAs can focus on their key mission and objectives to better serve their residents and house families.
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Moving to Work Expansion

On Friday, March 31, HUD held a meeting with staff of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA), the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment and Housing Officials (NAHRO), and the Public Housing Authorities Directors Association (PHADA) to discuss the expansion of the Moving to Work (MTW) program and the department’s recently published Operations Notice for that expansion.
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FY 2018 Public Housing and Section 8 Program Funding Needs

Download a PDF version of the joint funding recommendations here.
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April 6

April 6 Advocate: PDF Version

Download a PDF version of the Advocate here.
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President’s Forum: Administration Releases Budget Blueprint

The Trump Administration released a FY 2018 budget blueprint on March 16. Otherwise known as the “skinny budget,” the plan does not provide much detail on specific HUD line items. However, as PHADA recently reported, the Washington Post obtained a copy of a draft plan, publishing more detailed information including more than $1.3 billion in planned cuts to the Capital Fund and a $600 million reduction in Operating Funds. 
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Why Public Housing Operating Subsidy Is Lower In 2017

Housing authorities across the country have seen significant decreases in CY 2017 operating funding. Per the Department, these decreases are a result of alleged significant increases in tenant rental income and corresponding reductions in utility costs. PHADA has raised some serious concerns with the formula calculation as whole, particularly tenant rental income assumptions. The following article, which discusses this topic in greater detail, was provided by Brian Alten of BDO PHA Finance. PHADA would like to thank Brian for providing us with some additional information to clarify why public housing Operating Subsidies have decreased in 2017.
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HUD’s Letter Provides HAP and Admin Fee Estimates During Limbo Period

On March 15, HUD sent a “Get Ready” letter to all Housing Authorities (HAs) administering voucher programs, regarding what the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) renewal funding and administrative fee prorations would be if either the House of Representatives or Senate’s FY 2017 T-HUD appropriation bills were to be enacted. Final funding levels are likely to remain unknown until final resolution between House and Senate’s FY ’17 T-HUD Appropriations bills, which is expected to take place before the Continuing Resolution (CR) expires on April 28. HUD’s letter is intended to provide HAs with the most up-to-date FY ’17 proration estimates for both voucher accounts during this limbo period. 
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HUD Issues Final Rule: New Housing Counseling Certification Requirements

On December 14, 2016, the Department issued a final rule entitled, “Housing Counseling: New Certification Requirements.” The final rule implements statutory requirements that housing counseling required under or provided in connection with all HUD programs be provided by HUD-Certified Housing Counselors and HUD-certified agencies. HUD expects that more knowledgeable housing counselors and standardized certification requirements will lead to better identification of housing issues, more knowledgeable referrals and resolution of barriers, and a greater ability to avoid scams. Counselors have up to 36 months after the date that the certification examination becomes available, which will be published in a separate Federal Register Notice sometime in the future.
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Congress in Recess from April 10–21

The Trump Administration has proposed outrageously low funding numbers for virtually all non-Defense discretionary programs in its FY 2018 budget proposal. The White House wishes to reduce non-Defense spending by $54 billion in order to provide that amount to the Defense side of the budget. As a consequence, the spending numbers for the HUD budget proposed in the Administration’s “skinny budget” and released March 16th are unacceptably low. The Operating Fund, already prorated at 85 percent, would see the loss of $600 million and the Capital Fund would be decimated by lowering funding by $1.3 billion. These drastic reductions would be widely felt. This level of reductions would likely lead to: a lower the quality of life for public housing residents,  housing units being boarded, and growing losses to the public housing inventory as more units – without needed repairs – become candidates for demolition. 
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The Ambiguous Status of Assessments of Fair Housing

Since its publication of a new final Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) rule on July 16, 2015, HUD has been developing data resources, forms, and web based user interfaces for various kinds of program participants to use to submit their Assessments of Fair Housing (AFHs).  AFHs become due in coordination with program participants’ multi-year planning submissions. For entitlement communities, states and insular areas, that submission is the Comprehensive Plan that covers three to five years. For HAs, that submission is the PHA Plan that covers five years.
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PHADA Members Continue Their Advocacy with Congress for HUD to Implement It Now!

In a rare feat, the House passed a piece of affordable housing legislation by unanimous consent entitled, The Triennial Income Verification Relief Act on March 23, 2015. The bill allows housing authorities (HAs)/owners and managers to conduct triennial recertifications for households with fixed incomes of 90 percent or more where their sources of income have not changed. The measure also requires HUD to establish policies to adjust for inflation-based income changes. Congress amended the “Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act” (FAST Act) with the triennial recert provision on December 4, 2015. Despite several letters from the law’s cosponsors – Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH) and Rep. Ed Perllmutter (D-CO) – including one on March 2, HUD has yet to implement it over a year later.
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PHADA Seeks Feedback from Members on UPCS REAC Inspections

Over the last few months, a number of questions and concerns related to the Real Estate Assessment Center’s (REAC) administration of Uniform Physical Condition Standards (UPCS) in public housing have come to the attention of the Association. The following information lists and describes these concerns; we would like to encourage members to contact us if your housing authority (HA) has additional information related to these specific examples, or additional concerns that may not be listed. 
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PHADA Issue Brief: Update - Over 100,000 Go Without Housing

Download a PDF version of the Issue Brief here.
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