HUD made a number of announcements in December regarding developments of interest to assisted residents and tenants, and to other housing advocates.
Rental Assistance Demonstration
On December 20, 2012 HUD announced the first 112 public housing agency (PHA) developments awarded preliminary approval to convert a public housing development to project-based rental assistance through the Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) (see Memo, 7/27/12). The awards entail only 12,940 units in those 112 developments; the statute allows for up to 60,000 units. Other PHAs and developments will be added as more applications are submitted and accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. The announcement also included RAD approvals for eight Rent Supplement (Rent Supp), Rental Assistance Program (RAP), or Moderate Rehabilitation (Mod Rehab) developments involving 965 units. HUD intends to provide more information about each award later this month.
The preliminary announcement provided the selected PHAs with a commitment to enter into a Housing Assistance Payments Contract (CHAP). Much more needs to be done by the PHA before there is a final approval by HUD. For example, the PHA must go through the formal PHA Plan process within two months because the RAD conversion will be a significant amendment to the PHA Plan. In addition, the PHA must have at least one meeting with residents of the development before HUD will finalize a conversion contract. The PHA must submit a financing plan within 180 days, and if HUD approves it, the PHA has 320 days to secure a firm financial commitment from a lender.
Click here for the RAD award summary page.
Click here for the RAD webpage.
Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI)
On December 13, 2012, HUD announced four FY12 Choice Neighborhoods Initiative (CNI) implementation grant awards. A total of $30 million was awarded to projects in Cincinnati, San Antonio and Tampa; a $20 million grant was awarded to a Seattle project that also received an FY10/11 $10 million implementation grant.
CNI is HUD’s successor to the HOPE VI program. CNI implementation grants are intended primarily to help transform severely distressed public housing or HUD-assisted private housing developments through rehabilitation, demolition and new construction. Applicants must prepare a comprehensive plan to address other aspects of neighborhood distress such as violent crime, failing schools and capital disinvestment. Funds can be used for supportive services and for improvements to the surrounding community, such as developing community facilities, and addressing vacant, blighted properties.
Unlike HOPE VI, CNI projects must replace assisted units on a one-for-one basis, although HUD may make exceptions. Advocates at FY10/FY11 sites think that one-for-one replacement will be achieved.
Click here for a HUD CNI media release.
Click here for project summaries.
Click here for the CNI webpage.
Moving to Work
On December 18, 2012, HUD announced that four additional PHAs have been selected to participate in the Moving to Work demonstration (MTW): Columbus, GA; Fairfax VA; Holyoke, MA and Reno, NV. These four new MTW agencies join 35 existing MTW PHAs.
PHAs selected for the MTW demonstration can receive waivers from most of the existing statutes and regulations governing the public housing and Section 8 voucher programs, and can combine public housing capital and operating funds with voucher funds. MTW PHAs can change rent rules and income targeting requirements, impose work requirements and time limits and change how they use project-based vouchers, among many other functions.
NLIHC and others contend that in the absence of evaluation of the MTW demonstration, there is no evidence that the program is helping or harming extremely low income people in the public housing and housing voucher programs. However, in early 2012 NLIHC and several other groups, including the Council of Large Public Housing Agencies (CLPHA), the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials (NAHRO) and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) developed a stakeholder agreement on MTW expansion in an attempt to advance voucher reform legislation (see article elsewhere in Memo). The stakeholder agreement allows limited MTW expansion but also includes significant protections related to residents, use of rental assistance resources and evaluation.
Click here for HUD’s MTW media release, including brief descriptions of the four demonstrations.
Click here for the MTW homepage.