Notice PIH 2011-45 was issued by HUD’s Office of Public and Indian Housing (PIH) to clarify federal statutes and regulations and HUD policies that apply to local, non-traditional activities implemented by public housing agencies (PHAs) granted flexibility under the Moving to Work Demonstration Program (MTW).
An MTW PHA may combine its public housing and Housing Choice Voucher funding to provide housing assistance and services for low income households. MTW PHAs must still meet four statutory requirements:
1. Assure that at least 75% of the families assisted are very low income, with incomes below 50% of area median income (AMI).
2. Maintain a comparable mix of families (by size) and serve substantially the same number of families as would have been assisted if the PHA were not in the MTW demonstration.
3. Have a reasonable rent policy designed to encourage employment and self-sufficiency.
4. Assure housing quality standards.
This new notice applies to all MTW PHAs authorized to implement local, non-traditional activities, defined as MTW block grant-funded activities not otherwise eligible under the basic public housing and Housing Choice Voucher programs. Local, non-traditional activities must still be limited to serving low income households, those with incomes below 80% AMI. These special activities must also meet one of the three MTW statutory objectives: increasing efficiency, promoting resident self-sufficiency, and increasing housing choice for low income households.
The notice provides four categories of examples of local, non-traditional activities:
1. Rental subsidy programs could include supportive housing services, homeless housing programs, and creation of local rental subsidies for people with special needs.
2. Housing development programs could include tax credit partnerships and gap financing for the development of non-PHA affordable housing.
3. Service programs could include assisting low income non-residents or low income residents of housing owned by a PHA that is not public housing.
4. Homeownership programs such as mortgage guarantees.
A number of “parameters” are presented. The notice uses the term parameters to mean regulations, statutes, and guidelines that cannot be waived under MTW. There is a long list of “general parameters” such as income eligibility at 80% AMI, fair housing, Section 3 employment opportunities, and Davis-Bacon wage rates. There are also specific parameters for each of the four categories of local, non-traditional activities.
For instance, there are two parameters pertaining to any rental subsidy non-traditional activities. MTW PHAs must provide a hardship policy for all rent policies that deviate from the regulations. For purposes of determining a household’s eligibility and the amount of rent it must pay, the basic regulation pertaining to income calculation must still be followed.
When MTW funds are used to acquire, renovate, and/or build units that are not public housing or voucher units, the notice sets out parameters regarding:
- Allowable uses of MTW funds, such as direct expenditures, grants, or loans.
- A 30-year minimum affordability requirement.
- Site and neighborhood standards and environmental review compliance.
NLIHC has long been concerned about the MTW demonstration because of the ability of MTW PHAs to impose time limits and work requirements, establish rent policies that cause housing cost burdens, and other actions that increase housing instability for residents.
Notice PIH 2011-45 is available at http://nlihc.org/doc/PIH_Notice_2011-451_MTW.pdf
More information about the Moving To Work Demonstration is on page 149 of the 2011 Advocates’ Guide, www.nlighc.org