12/02/2011
IN THIS ISSUE:

Public Housing to Lose a Champion

Public housing residents and stakeholders will lose an invaluable champion when Rep. Barney Frank, (D-MA), retires from Congress after this term. As a former chairman and the current ranking member on the House Financial Services Committee, he has been a long-time leading advocate for affordable rental housing. He has used his unparalleled knowledge of housing and market issues – along with his trademark wit and intelligence -- to fight on behalf of people struggling to live in safe and decent homes.

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Legislative Loose Ends

Now that the sound and fury of the THUD bill has subsided—following enactment of the fiscal year 2012 HUD appropriations legislation—appropriators have turned their attention to wrapping up the remaining spending bills for FY12.  The original target adjournment date for the House was December 8.  However, the current funding continuing resolution (CR) expires December 16, and legislators are tacitly considering that the new adjournment date.  Although appropriations staff are working towards an omnibus spending measure for the remaining nine appropriations bills through the rest of the fiscal year, another short-term CR—perhaps through February—remains a distinct possibility upon expiration of the current CR.  Due to continuing disagreements on spending cuts beyond the deficit reduction agreement from last summer, legislators are under no illusions that enough support for a wrap-up spending bill will be possible.  And while the appropriators are working feverishly to finish an omnibus, another CR is starting to look more and more likely.

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VASH Program Needs More Support

When HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan spoke to the CLPHA membership last month, he pointed to the amazing job that housing authorities have done to house homeless veterans through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) program. He noted that the program has grown from 1,200 to 24,000 successfully housed veterans within a few short years and stated decisively that we will end veteran homelessness by 2015.

However, success in the VASH program is threatened by the unprecedented cuts in administrative fee funding. Later in the day, HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs Milan Ozdinec spoke of a housing authority running an exemplary VASH program that was forced to turn down additional VASH vouchers because the administrative fees do not cover the costs of operating the program.

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CLPHA Comments on the Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Administrative Fee Study

Following a presentation by Marina Myrhe, a Social Science Analyst in the Program Evaluation Division at HUD’s Office for Policy Development & Research, and the technical and contract lead on the HCV Program Administrative Fee Study at CLPHA’s October Executive Directors’ Meeting, CLPHA members expressed a number of concerns. Informed by those concerns, CLPHA submitted comments to Abt Associates on its draft Research Design, Data Collection, and Analysis Plan on October 18. A copy of those comments is available here.

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HUD Survey on PHA Engagement With Homeless Households

In October, CLPHA, as well as all housing authorities, received a letter from HUD Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Housing and Voucher Programs Milan Ozdinec about an upcoming research project, now entitled “Study of PHA’s Engagement with Homeless Households.”

HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research, Office of Public and Indian Housing, and Office of Community Planning and Development would like to learn more about how housing authorities engage with homeless households. They have contracted with Abt Associates to perform a survey which will; (1) establish a baseline level of housing authorities’ current engagement in serving homeless households; and (2) document the practices of those that have an explicit preference for homeless households, with a focus on the housing choice voucher and public housing programs. Findings from the study will enable HUD to use current practices to inform the development of strategies to expand access to mainstream housing opportunities for homeless households.

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CLPHA Comments on the Recent PHAS Physical Condition Interim Scoring Notice

On November 14, CLPHA submitted comments to HUD on the recent Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS): Physical Condition Interim Scoring Notice.  The interim notice proposed a point loss cap for single deficiencies and provides mostly technical changes to some of the deficiency definitions. The comments express CLPHA’s chief concern that the proposed changes in the interim notice do not reach deep enough in addressing the larger problem inherent in PHAS — the physical condition scoring process is complicated and expensive to implement and does not adequately reflect the condition of the property or the management of the housing authority.  Read More >

CLPHA Members Making News in Green, Health Areas

News from Cuyahoga County, Jersey City, Houston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia.

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