On April 26, HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) sent letters to public housing agency (PHA) executive directors, providing interim guidance regarding cost savings measures they must take to be eligible for funds set aside to prevent voucher terminations.
The Continuing Resolution, which appropriated funds for FY13, provided a $100 million voucher renewal set-aside for certain situations. As in the past, the set-aside may be used to cover significant increases in voucher renewal costs due to portability or unforeseen circumstances, vouchers not in use the previous year because they were held for a project-based voucher commitment, or for HUD-VASH. New for FY13, the set-aside may be used for a PHA that might have to terminate vouchers because it does not have sufficient funds to cover existing voucher contracts, even though the PHA has taken cost saving measures.
PIH acknowledges “the significant funding cuts resulting from Sequestration,” and states, “We do understand the difficulties PHAs face in administering the HCV (housing choice voucher) program, given funding cuts in both HAP (housing assistance payment) and administrative fee funding.”
PHAs must take five steps to be eligible for set-aside funding to prevent terminating vouchers due to insufficient funding:
- Work with the HUD Shortfall Prevention Team.
- Stop issuing vouchers to applicants (except if for tenant protection vouchers, homeless veterans under a recent HUD-VASH allocation, or if the household was issued a voucher to move to a different unit).
- Rescind vouchers issued on or after April 1 and stop leasing (with exceptions similar to #2).
- Stop absorbing portable vouchers.
- Stop issuing vouchers to those voluntarily moving from a project-based unit.
Detailed guidance regarding applying for set-aside funding will be provided in a formal notice, anticipated in late May.
The letter states that PIH will not approve PHA requests to reduce payment standards or utility allowances because such measures create hardships for residents. PIH thinks that there is adequate funding in the set-aside to prevent any terminations.
HUD encourages PHAs to engage landlords, residents, and other stakeholders throughout the process, noting that in some instances, landlords have deferred rent increases or reduced rents.
View the letter at: http://bit.ly/10BVh4e