After years of persistence from advocates, led by the National Alliance of HUD Tenants (NAHT), HUD announced a new program, the Tenant Resource Network (TRN). The purpose of the program is to help preserve Project Based Section 8 homes at risk of leaving the affordable housing stock. For many years, $10 million has been available for such a program under Section 514 of the Multifamily Assisted Housing Reform and Affordability Act of 1997 (MAHRA), but was held up by previous Administrations. Advocates will recall a TRN predecessor called Outreach and Training Assistance Grants (OTAG).
TRN will pay nonprofits with a minimum of five years’ tenant outreach and organizing experience to carry out tenant outreach at eligible projects. TRN is designed to inform and engage tenants about their rights and options if their HUD-assisted private apartments are at risk of leaving the affordable housing stock. TRN will help to identify potential preservation strategies, or if preservation is not feasible, ensure that tenants are fully informed about protections available to them, such as receiving “enhanced vouchers” that enable them to remain in their homes.
TRN considers projects “at-risk” if an FHA insured or direct mortgage will mature within 24 months; an owner decides to “opt out” of or prepay a Project-based Section 8 contract within 12 months; or, if a property receives REAC physical inspection scores below 60 for two consecutive months within the last year.
A Notice of Fund Availability (NOFA) is available on HUD’s NOFA website, http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=2011TRNnofa.pdf. Also on that site is a list of eligible properties by Metro areas HUD has targeted for priority given the large number of TRN-eligible properties in those areas. A list of all TRN-eligible properties is also posted. Applications are due December 6, 2011.