CLPHA Legislative Director Gerard Holder (right) speaks with Secretary Ben Carson at HUD's first Stakeholder HUDdle.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude addressed representatives from housing groups, including CLPHA, during the agency’s first Stakeholder HUDdle event organized by HUD’s Office of Public Affairs on October 30. In his remarks, Secretary Carson specifically highlighted several public and affordable housing programs among the Department’s successes including RAD, MTW, and additional housing vouchers for homeless veterans and people with disabilities.
HUD leadership and staff across HUD’s departments were available to meet with attendees at the HUDdle.
The invitation-only event was the first in a series to facilitate better communication between HUD and its stakeholders. The next HUDdle, slated for the winter, will focus on policy initiatives and include time for discussions of areas of shared interest.
As we follow the news of Hurricane Michael, our thoughts are with those in the storm’s path. CLPHA stands ready to work in support of low-income Americans impacted by the disaster and, as we have in the past, will advocate for HUD and FEMA programs such as DHAP and CDBG-DR that provide funds to assist recovery efforts.
On September 12, HUD released a notice on expedited regulatory waiver review for PHAs in disaster areas impacted by Hurricanes Florence. HUD has issued similar waiver opportunities following previous hurricanes including Katrina, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as Superstorm Sandy.
PHAs covered by MDDs (major disaster declarations) related to Florence can apply for expedited waivers to provide relief from HUD regulatory and/or administrative requirements that may otherwise delay recovery efforts. Key waiver flexibilities listed in the notice include, but are not limited to:
Waiving the Family Self-Sufficiency minimum program size for up to 24 months
Extension of financial (audited and unaudited) information reporting dates
Temporary revisions to tenant selection policies or Section 8 administrative plan that would address circumstances unique to relief and recovery efforts
Waiving certain requirements related to public notice when opening tenant-based waiting lists
Allowing PHAs to carry forward previous SEMAP scores
Extension of deadline for obligations and expenditure of Capital Funds
Allowing PHAs to receive operating subsidies for disaster-affected units
Waiver of inspection and scoring requirements under PHAS
Allowing all Capital Fund Replacement Housing Factor Grants with undisbursed balances to be used for public housing replacement/modernization.
Waiving certain requirements related to environmental review, TPVs, and Total Development Costs (TDCs) for demo/dispo applicants
Request of exception payment standards up to 150% of FMR without supporting data
PHAs in disaster-affected areas that wish to apply for waivers should send their request to PIHDisasterRelief@hud.gov. HUD has developed a checklist (Attachment A of the notice) that MDD PHAs must complete and submit, along with requested documentation. PHAs can also request a waiver of a HUD requirement that is not listed in the notice and receive expedited review if the PHA can document that the waiver is needed for relief and recovery purposes. If written documentation is not possible, the PHAs can submit other forms of documentation.
On Friday, September 28, the President signed HR 6157, an appropriations conference report which funds the Departments of Defense; Labor; and Health and Human Services for FY19, and includes a continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding for HUD and all other departments and agencies at FY18 levels until December 7.
After the conference report was signed, the House and Senate Appropriations committees issued statements addressing the CR and ongoing negotiations for the remaining FY19 funding bills. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL), took pains to note:
“This conference report contains a continuing resolution to account for the appropriations bills not yet signed into law. I want to stress that my colleagues should not read this as a sign that we have reached an impasse with the House on the remaining bills now in conference. To the contrary, we are very close to an agreement on four additional bills – Interior, Financial Services, Transportation [HUD], and Agriculture. While we still have differences to resolve on each of the bills, none of them are insurmountable, in my judgement. So we will continue to work diligently, and hopefully return to the floor soon with yet another conference report in hand.”
Since members of the House of Representatives also took the occasion to informally recess on Sept. 28 (except for pro forma sessions), further formal action on a full FY19 HUD funding bill is unlikely until after the mid-term elections.
Contact CLPHA Legislative Director Gerard Holder with questions at email@example.com.