CLPHA supports the nation’s largest and most innovative housing authorities by advocating for the resources and policies they need to solve local housing challenges and create communities of opportunity. We frequently champion our members' issues, needs, and successes on the Hill, at HUD, and in the media. In these arenas CLPHA also advocates for legislation and policies that help our members, and the public and affordable housing industry as a whole, strengthen neighborhoods and improve lives.
Click below for links to congressional testimonies, statements for the record, action alerts, comments to HUD and other federal agencies, and the latest information about CLPHA's multi-pronged housing advocacy.
On Thursday, March 26, CLPHA participated in a call with other industry groups and senior HUD staff, led by PIH Assistant Secretary Hunter Kurtz. During the call, HUD staff shared some updates of interest to CLPHA members:
- Forthcoming guidance. FAQ documents from REAC and the RECAP office should be available shortly. HUD will also be releasing guidance to PHAs on procedures to help residents experiencing a loss in income recertify quickly, and PIH will release a second set of FAQs for PHAs. You can view PIH's first set of FAQs here.
- Forthcoming notices. HUD will be releasing three notices related to the stimulus package that has passed the Senate and is expected to pass the House shortly. The first notice will address the blanket waiver authority granted to HUD in the stimulus package and will contain guidance for PHAs on what statutory and regulatory waivers HUD will provide. A second and third notice will focus on public housing and vouchers respectively and address eligible uses for the stimulus funds and describe how the funds will be allocated.
During the call, CLPHA also raised the issue of various communications that our members have received from their field office, including requests to report on the number of employees and residents who have tested positive for COVID-19. PIH has instructed field offices to gather this information from PHAs, and they agreed to reconsider this information request in light of the concerns raised by CLPHA, primarily around privacy issues. We have also encouraged HUD to direct field offices to refrain from contacting PHAs regarding routine monitoring and reviews at this time and we ask that members notify CLPHA staff if they continue to receive burdensome requests from their field office.
CLPHA staff will discuss this call and the stimulus package on Monday’s COVID-19 member call. Members with other questions about these issues can contact Senior Research & Policy Analyst Emily Warren at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Over the past weekend of March 21, we asked CLPHA members to sign onto a letter to be sent to congressional leadership asking for emergency funding and longer-term preservation resources for public housing and housing vouchers in a COVID-19 stimulus package.
Sign on deadline for the letter has been extended. Negotiations for a third supplemental economic stimulus legislative package continue. The House Democrats under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi recently unveiled their separate stimulus package, and the possibility of a fourth economic stimulus legislative package is also being discussed.
Therefore, CLPHA is calling on members to re-double efforts to ensure our funding and regulatory relief requests are considered by Congress.
Specifically, CLPHA asks members to:
- Sign-on to the letter sent this past weekend, if you have not already done so
- Send a letter to your Members of Congress and ask them to support including emergency funding and longer-term preservation resources for public housing and housing vouchers in the next COVID-19 economic stimulus legislation. (see attached form letter)
- Ask your Members of Congress to urge the House and Senate Leadership to include emergency funding and longer-term preservation resources for public housing and housing vouchers in the next COVID-19 economic stimulus legislation.
The Democratic proposal spearheaded by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) unveiled on March 23, HR 6379, the “Take Responsibility for Workers and Families Act” introduced by Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY), includes housing-related provisions in two main sections, Division A—Third Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020, and Division I—Financial Services, Title I—Protecting Consumers, Renters, Homeowners and People Experiencing Homelessness. Division I wholly taken from HR 6321, “Financial Protections and Assistance for America’s Consumers, States, Businesses, and Vulnerable Populations Act” was also introduced on March 23 by House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA). Highlights from the Speaker’s package include:
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD) – $158.827 billion
Management and Administration – $20 million to support activities by the Administrative Support Offices and Program Offices to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus. Funding would also support program administration and oversight for the $158.8 billion in emergency assistance provided to state, local, and tribal governments and housing authorities through this Act.
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance – $1.5 billion to allow public housing agencies (PHAs) to respond to coronavirus and the ability to keep over 2.2 million families stably housed even when facing a loss of income. Allows PHAs the flexibility necessary for the safe and effective administration of these funds while maintaining fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and environmental protections.
Public Housing Operating Fund – $720 million for PHAs to carry out coronavirus response for the operation and management of almost 1 million public housing units. Allows PHAs the flexibility necessary for the safe and effective administration of these funds while maintaining fair housing, nondiscrimination, labor standards, and environmental protections.
Native American Programs – $350 million to address the needs of Indian tribes and tribally designated housing entities in preventing, responding to, and preparing for coronavirus. This includes $250 million in formula funding through the Native American Housing Block Grants program and $100 million in imminent threat grants through the Indian Community Development Block Grant program.
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS – $130 million to maintain operations, rental assistance, supportive services, and other necessary actions to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on low-income persons with HIV/AIDS.
Community Development Block Grant – $15 billion for coronavirus response and to mitigate the impacts in our communities: up to $8 billion to be distributed by formula to current grantees, $5 billion awarded directly to States, based on public health needs and other factors, and the remainder to be awarded on a rolling basis via a formula that prioritizes the risk of transmission of coronavirus, number of coronavirus cases, and economic and housing market disruptions resulting from coronavirus. The legislation also waives the public services cap to allow communities to respond to the impacts of the pandemic.
Homeless Assistance Grants – $5 billion for Emergency Solutions Grants to address the impact of coronavirus among individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and to support additional homeless assistance, prevention, and diversion activities to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.
Emergency Rental Assistance – $100 billion to provide emergency assistance to help low-income renters at risk of homelessness avoid eviction due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Housing Assistance Fund – $35 billion for State housing finance agencies to provide housing or utility assistance to individuals and families to prevent foreclosure, eviction, mortgage delinquency, or loss of housing or critical utilities as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Assisted Housing Stability – A total of $1.1 billion for HUD multi-family housing programs to prevent, prepare for and respond to coronavirus and ensure the continuation of rental contracts and necessary support services, including:
- Project-Based Rental Assistance – $1 billion;
- Section 202 Housing for the Elderly – $75 million; and
- Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities – $25 million.
Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity – $7 million to address fair housing issues resulting from coronavirus. This includes $4 million for the Fair Housing Assistance Program and $3 million for the Fair Housing Initiatives Program.
DOT and HUD Oversight –
Inspectors General – $10 million total for the DOT and HUD Inspectors General to conduct audits and investigations to ensure transparency and efficiency within the agencies as they prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus.
The CARES Act, the third supplemental economic stimulus legislative package offered by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, contains the following provisions for HUD:
DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT – $17.4 billion
Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) – $10 billion. CDBG is a flexible program that provides communities and states with funding to provide a wide range of resources to address COVID-19, such as services for senior citizens, the homeless, and public health services. Funding will be distributed using formula.
Homeless Assistance Grants – $4 billion. These funds will enable state and local governments to address coronavirus among the homeless population. These grants, in combination with additional waiver authority, will provide effective, targeted assistance to contain the spread of coronavirus among homeless individuals. These grants will also provide state and local governments with homelessness prevention funding for individuals and families who would otherwise become homeless due to coronavirus.
Tenant-Based Rental Assistance – $1.25 billion. These funds will preserve Section 8 voucher rental assistance for seniors, the disabled, and low-income working families, who will experience loss of income from the coronavirus.
Public Housing Operating Fund – $685 million. These funds will provide Public Housing Agencies with additional operating assistance to make up for reduced tenant rent payments as well as to help contain the spread of coronavirus in public housing properties.
Native American Programs – $300 million. These funds will be used to prevent homelessness due to lost income from the coronavirus, as well as to contain the spread of coronavirus on tribal lands. These programs provide flexibility to local tribal governments and Tribally-Designated Housing Entities to respond to local conditions and needs.
Housing Opportunities for Person with Aids (HOPWA) – $65 million. HOPWA is dedicated to the housing needs of people living with HIV/AIDS by giving grants to local communities, states, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Project-Based Rental Assistance – $1 billion. This additional funding will make up for reduced tenant payments as a result of coronavirus. Preserving this critical housing assistance will prevent low-income families and individuals from being at risk of homelessness.
Section 202 Housing for the Elderly – $50 million. These funds will maintain housing stability and services for low-income seniors. Seniors are particularly at risk from the coronavirus.
Section 811 Housing for Persons with Disabilities – $15 million. This additional funding will make up for reduced tenant payments as a result of coronavirus.
Fair Housing – $2.5 million for additional fair housing enforcement.
HUD Administrative Expenses – $50 million. These funds will ensure that HUD’s programs are able to continue serving low-income vulnerable populations, while also providing states and local governments with resources to contain and respond to the coronavirus.
HUD Inspector General – $5 million. Funding for the HUD Inspector General to provide oversight and ensure funds provided are used for lawful purposes.
Affordable Housing Finance covered CLPHA's press statement calling for $8.5 billion in emergency funds as well as regulatory relief for public housing authorities during the coronavirus pandemic.
CLPHA sent letters to Congressional leaders and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary Ben Carson formally requesting $5 billion for the public housing program and $3.5 billion for the housing choice voucher program in emergency supplemental funds and additional regulatory relief for public housing authorities as they work to protect residents and staff during the COVID-19 public health crisis.
"Without a commitment from the federal government to support public and affordable housing operations during and after the COVID-19 emergency, millions of households could be left unprotected from the virus and face longer-term housing insecurity,” CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman said in the statement. “CLPHA members are working tirelessly, compassionately, and pragmatically to support low-income households. We urge Congress and HUD to do the same."